Thursday, July 5, 2007
Blue Manatee Escape
This past Monday finally felt like summer vacation for me. I wasn't chauffeuring kids to swim lessons, hosting the 4th like I did yesterday (hello stress)and I wasn't even on a breezy beach enjoying the sun. No, the feeling of true "summer vacation," to me, is when I can spend as much time as I desire finding books that I want to experiment with in my room next year (I feel a little weird admitting it to you). So, on Monday I enjoyed 2 1/2 hours at a children's bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio. In fact, Blue Manatee Children's Book Store is a place I could escape to for days. The warmth of the store, the people and the space captured my attention as soon I walked inside. The store connects to a "decafe"( doesn't decafe sound like a place where you can unwind) similar to a Starbucks or Caribou where you can sit down to your favorite drink and treat after finding your favorite books (and of course it is catered toward kids)!
Blue Manatee has a wonderful website (bluemanateebooks.com) with featured authors, newsletters and events. They even sell book gift baskets!
I found many books that I wanted to add to my classroom library and home library but limited myself to four. Here's one that I dug out of the poetry section. It is called Ook the Book and Other Silly Rhymes. Maybe you are familiar with this one but it was new to me and caught my attention for several reasons. Here goes:
1. I teach from a stack of children's books daily and loved how this one will support spelling and word study. It rhymes, incorporates word families(rimes), word endings (ing, y) and does so in the context of mini poetry-like stories!
2. Each page comes alive with a character named for a word family or ending...et is a pet and ing is a thing. I think by personifying the parts of words it will help kids come back to them. I can envision teaching them how to come back to this book as a resource for spelling. I can hear myself saying... " you remember ake from the silly rhymes book."
3. It leaves the readers with so many possibilities for noticing things...detailed pictures, memorable characters (In the twin and his pig Lin who is not so thin), word beginnings (onsets, digraphs, blends), and word endings (ing and y...like in fly and goodbye...we can notice y sounds like i but our crazy language has us spelling the sound many ways)!
4. Finally, it is interactive. The author often asks the reader to find characters and answer
questions. This part of the book I found appealed to my 4 year old. I am anxious to see what my first graders think of it next year!