~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

More Books with Extension Activities ~ March, 2012

The following books and activities were some of the ones discussed at the March 7th workshop ~

 ~ Raven A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest by Gerald McDermott  [Caldecott Honor Book]

  • Author / Illustrator: Gerald McDermott
  • Folktale
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: middle reader (4-8 yrs.)

Caldecott Honor Book
ALA Notable Children’s Book
Boston Globe – Horn Book Honor
New York Public Library: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

Summary:  Raven, in Native American tradition is a powerful trickster. In this tale Raven feels sorry for those who must live in noting but darkness, and he decides to help. He travels far flying over mountains, valleys, and lakes to discover that the light is being kept hidden inside the house of the Sky Chief. Raven must use his cleverness to find a way to bring light to everyone.

Themes: human virtues


  1. Why do you think Raven felt sorry for people?
  2. Why do you think Sky Chief was keeping the sun to himself?
  3. What would our day be like if there was no sunlight only darkness?

Extension Activities:

  1. Make clay suns, trying for the style of the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest
  2. Retell the story sitting around a campfire with puppets, felt board, sequencing cards
  3. Make a toilet paper tube totem pole with Raven as part of it.

Comment: Indian culture of the Pacific Northwest, mixed media illustration of McDermott are incredibily strong and representative of the culture of the tale, as well as, taking the reader from darkness to light as the story unfolds.

Curriculum Resources: for vocabulary, issues, further readings
Storytelling, Discussion and Art Lesson


Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert 

  • Author / Illustrator: Lois Ehlert
  • Informational
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (3-7 yrs.)

Summary: Follow vegetables from the process of planting to harvesting and eating.

Themes: plant life cycle, nutrition


  1. What is your favorite vegetable and why do you like it best?
  2. Why do you think the author titled this book Growing Vegetable Soup?

Extension Activities:

  1. Harvest crops from the garden and make your soup. Here are a few of the vegetables we harvested for our soup→   Our soup had carrots, cabbage, beets, onions, tomatoes, green beans, peas and corn in in.
  2. Do a word chart on the observations of the vegetables harvested.
  3. Plant seedlings, set in garden, chart growth, harvest, eat. Simple homemade seedling starters: cardboard tube planters, Spring in a bottle, paper pulp startersseed packet (information on planting to storage ideas) – store packets of seeds and document what happens, seed viability test, recycled clear containers
  4. Do seed growing experiments: window baseball card holder, CD case, fancy baggie


Bein’ with You This Way by W. Nikola-Lisa 

  • Author / Illustrator: W. Nikola-Lisa / Michael Bryant
  • Multi-cultural, Poetry
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (4-8 yrs.)

Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club Selection
Best Books Winner Child Magazine
Reading Magic Award Winner Parenting Magazine

Summary: On sunny day, an African American girl visits the park playground and meets up with her friends. As they play, they discover their physical differences — straight hair, curly hair; brown eyes, blue eyes; light skin, dark skin. At the same time they realize they are all really the same and isn’t it wonderful to all be together.

Themes: Individuality, Cultural diversity, Neighbors, Similarities and Differences


  1. What is one way that you are different from your best friend?
  2. What would it be like if we were all exactly the same? Why?
  3. Why do you think the author wrote this as a rap?

Extension Activities:

  1. draw a self portrait
  2. chart similarities and differences of individuals in the class or group
  3. take a photo of each child and then with sites such as BeFunky change out an characteristic or two.


The Mitten by Jan Brett  

  • Author / Illustrator: Jan Brett
  • Folktale
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (4-8 yrs.)

2007 National Education Association – “Educators’ Top One Hundred Children’s Books
1999 National Teachers Association Top Ten Titles for Elementary Students
ALA, Booklist Magazine Best Children’s Books of the 1980s
1989 New Yorker Magazine Best Children’s Books

Summary: Niki wants pure white mittens, but his Baba is sure he will lose them when outside playing. Baba knits the mittens for Niki and warns him not to lose them. However, the first time out he immediately loses them, but is unaware of that. As Niki disturbs the animals from their winter activities the head off and come across the mitten. Each animal wants to enter into the warmth of the mitten. Each time the inhabitants say there is not enough room for the newcomer, but each one still pushes in until the smallest mouse arrives. A nose is tickled, a gaint sneeze and everyone is tumbled out of the mitten. Niki notices his lose at this same point and seeing the mitten recovers it. Upon returning home, Baba wonders at the change in the mitten.

Theme: straw that broke the camel’s back

Questions: prediction while reading –

  1. Which animal do you think will come to the mitten next?
  2. How will Baba know Niki is safe?

Extension Activities:

  1. retelling activities – masks, finger puppets, flannel board, dramatic play- as retelling crawl under a blanket or sheet that represents mitten or this paper bag puppet from Mrs. Lee’s Kindergarten.
  2. site for expansion ideas across the curriculum –
  3. Work with the verbs used in the story – change them – how does that change the story
  4. Take an indoor/outdoor thermometer and place in the freezer. At activity time place the thermometer inside a mitten, read a little of the story, then have a child place their hand inside the mitten over the thermometer. Read a few more pages then check to see what has happened. Great science on reading a thermometer and why the animals would enter a mitten or why we wear mittens for warmth.


Night Tree by Eve Bunting

  • Author / Illustrator: Eve Bunting/ Ted Rand
  • Realism
  • Age Range/Level Recommendation:  4-8 yrs.

Summary:  As evening falls, a young boy and his family decorate their favorite tree n a quiet forest just outside town, with popcorn, apples, tangerines, and sunflower-seed balls as a gift for the animals of the woods. The take time to enjoy this special tree before returning home.

Themes/Tags: family, traditions


  1. Why do you think the family had this tradition?
  2. What is a tradition in your family’s holiday celebration?

Extension Activities:

  1. Make goodies to hang outside for birds like a bird seed ornament, or cereal hanger or string popcorn and cranberries
  2. List all the animals that live in your area during the winter. Find out what they eat.


Mouse C0unt by Ellen Stoll Walsh

  • Author / Illustrator: Ellen Stoll Walsh
  • Concept
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (2-5 yrs.)

Summary: Ten little mice fall asleep and a hungry snake finds them. He catches them and counts them into an empty jar. The mice escape and the ‘greedy’ snake goes hungry.

Themes: greed, survival, counting


  1. What you do think the snake will do with the empty jar?
  2. What does greedy mean? (this is a key vocabulary  word in young children understanding the story)

Extension Activities:

  1. Make a counting game – see ours at **Game for Mouse Count
  2. Do a study on local snakes, habitat and what they eat.
  3. Retell story though movement/ dramatic play.


  • Author / Illustrator: Linda Williams / Megan lloyd
  • Fantasy
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (3-7 yrs.)

Summary: Once upon a time there was a little old lady who was not afraid of anything. On her walk home one evening as it was getting late she meet some interesting items. Clomp Clomp, Wiggle Wiggle, Shake Shake, Clap, Clap…. She makes it home and solves a problem at the end.

Themes: problem solving, fear, humor


  1. What gives you a clue that this time something might have scared the little old lady?
  2. Why was the solution to the problem a good one?

Extension Activities:

  1. Make a scarecrow from the parts of the story – posting on **Country Fun
  2. Make a flannel board set for retelling.
  3. Stand up and move as the repeating/cumulative refrain is read.
  4. List body parts and actions words that might be used.


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