|Image from OpenLibrary.org|
The illustrations of this Caldecott Honor book present a whimsical rural setting. The animals have anthropomorphic tendencies, such as wearing ties, shirts, or shoes. Kids will get a kick out of the variety of ways Bear manages to sleep in his deck chair and the mischievousness of Hare. The illustrations were done on paper handmade from vegetable fibers and this lends a variegated texture to the backgrounds. Vegetables fill the pages in great overflowing heaps. The book is oriented sideways (i.e. it’s read top to bottom) and text boxes make it easy to find and read the print. Once the story gets rolling, it follows a set pattern: make a deal, plant, harvest, rinse and repeat. The humorous ending leaves readers with the message that hard work pays off.
Use this as part of a storytime about gardening or vegetables. This is also a great book to feature if you want to focus on vocabulary. Words, including “wealth,” harvest,” “risky,” and “profit,” are used in the story and surrounded by helpful context. Take the time before, during, or after to discuss the definitions of these words.
Have the kids help you make two lists, one for tops and one for bottoms. Ask them for suggestions beyond the veggies mentioned in the book for each list. If they can’t think of any, throw out the name of a vegetable and ask them to choose top or bottom. Bring in photographs of the vegetables mentioned or illustrated in the story. Paste them to cardstock and have kids sort them by color, size, tops or bottoms. If you print a double set you can also play memory. If you can, bring in real vegetables for the kids to see and touch. The best are the kinds with the tops or bottoms still attached, such as beets or carrots with their leafy tops.
Try out this paper plate tops and bottoms craft posted by No Time for Flash Cards. If you don’t want to draw your own vegetables, look for an old seed catalog or save the pictures on seed packets.
And once again a big shout out to Carrie for bringing this book to my attention!