My daughter is now 7 year old and a very fluent reader. Very often I hear the same question, What did you do with her when she was little? Well, we read a lot, and I maintained a diary of our reading activities in weekly What My Child Is Reading entries in my blog. I decided to make these reading diaries more useful and create a new series on my blog where I will share our best books for each month for ages 3, 4, 5, and 6. Moreover, I will pair each book with an extension activity – sometimes with ours and sometimes with activities from my creative friends from Kid Blogger Network. In this post I am featuring books that we read when Smarty was almost 4 years old.
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1. Leaf Man
I’ll start with the book we read every fall since Smarty was 3 – Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. Simple text is beautifully supported by creative leaf collages. Lois Ehlert used a color copier to copy colors of real leaves on paper, but hardly anybody can resist running outside and creating something with leaves. I am sharing our own preschool take on Leaf Man here, but my post contains links to several more creative interpretations of this book.
2. Old Bear’s Surprise PaintingOld Bear’s Surprise Painting by Jane Hissey was a random library find, but it’s a great book to read with preschool children, especially in groups. All characters in this book are beautifully drawn stuffed animals who want to paint as well as their older friend, Old Bear. They soon discover that their individual “process art” pattern paintings are not that impressive, but Old Bear helps them to put a great picture together using a collage. Blog Me Mom has a beautiful textured paper collage project that would work really well as an extension for this book and would allow participation of children of different ages.
3. The Dollhouse Fairy
The Dollhouse Fairy by Jane Ray is a beautiful book, both in story and in illustrations. It might be a little long for wiggly preschoolers, but my 4 year old loved it. A little girl named Rosy loves her dollhouse made by her Dad. One night Dad is taken to the hospital, and life is simply not the same. While playing with her dollhouse, Rosy discovers an injured fairy inside and nurtures her back to health. In the end of the book all is well – fairy heals and leaves the dollhouse, Dad also heals and comes back home. It’s a wonderful story about the healing power of imagination. Smarty read it while staying with her grandparents, and my Mom made a dollhouse for her out of several boxes. Every night a “fairy” left little presents and sweets in that dollhouse. Now it’s a few years later, and Smarty still insists on her fairy dollhouse when she visits grandparents while at home she never plays with her dollhouse. I love this “upcycled dollhouse” project from Teach Me Mommy – it’s amazing what can be done out of old boxes.
4. Bunny Money
My daughter always enjoyed books by Rosemary Wells, and Bunny Money was not an exception. The book has a great lesson both on value of money and on spending it wisely as Max and Ruby go through a series of adventures while buying a birthday present for their grandma. The book has “bunny money” page that can be photocopied and used in play, but we had already play money that came with Smarty’s Play Cash Register (a present that was given too early, but in wide use now when Smarty is 7). We did a lot of activities teaching our preschooler about money, and I really like these suggestions on learning about coins from The Measured Mom.
5. Tell Me a Dragon
I think I liked Tell Me a Dragon by Jackie Morris more than my daughter, because the book is so lavishly illustrated, but doesn’t carry a lot of story. On each page spread a girl from a different culture describes her imaginary friend. The story would work well for artsy kids of both genders that could be inspired to draw their own dragons or, perhaps, make their own “customized” no sew dragon puppet like the one from My Little 3 and Me.
6. Apple Farmer AnnieApple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington is a great book to read before the visit to a real apple farm or even to a farmers’ market. The text is short and works well for beginning readers, and the illustrations are bright and cheerful. There is even a recipe in the end of the book. We have yet to go to an apple farm, but we certainly enjoy apples at this time of the year. Preschool Powol Packets has a great post about science experiments with apples. Interestingly, I considered writing a similar post this year, in the blogging word great minds often think alike :)
More September Books Recommendations
- September Books for 2 and 3 Year Olds
- September Books for 5 Year Olds – coming up next week
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