What a fun day here at Simple Kids! We are launching What We’re Reading Wednesdays – a weekly feature in which members of the Simple Kids community offer reviews of some of the best of children’s literature. The series begins today with this review from Emily:
As I was sorting and cataloging books for the list a few weeks ago, I began creating my own must-be-checked-out list. With my background in education and childcare, I was already familiar with quite a few of the books. I was surprised, however, with how many that were brand new to me!
The first book I want to share with you is James and the Rain written by Karla Kuskin and illustrated by Reg Cartwright. The title and beautiful cover drew me in, and because it was available at my local library, that’s where I began.
I’m actually really sad that I didn’t know about this book until now! I would have used it on every single rainy day when I was teaching.
The basic premise is a young boy, James, takes a walk in the rain where he meets a menagerie of animals that share their favorite thing to do in the rain. It is a counting book as he meets one cow all the way up to ten cats, and children could practice one-to-one counting by pointing at the pictures. Also, each page builds on the last, including all of the animals, so older children could practice counting past ten.
The text is written in a rhyming and chanting manner, making it fun to read and to listen. In the course of my studies, we talked a lot about the importance of “word exposure” for children, and how it’s important for their vocabulary for them to hear a wide variety of words even if they don’t understand the meaning of them all. Well, I’m going to steal Tsh’s phrase and assure you that this book is indeed “twaddle-free”! The language is rich and delightfully descriptive. Also, the illustrations are just gorgeous. The kind I enjoy looking at over and over again.
My favorite page is the one where James meets four birds:
“Well,” said the birds, “when it rains we soar
up to the clouds and a little bit more.
We seek and we search
soaking our skins
to try to find out where the rain begins.”
Do yourself a favor and snag this lovely book on your next library trip. You won’t be disappointed!