Quality picture books that make children laugh, wriggle and jiggle, and learn something new every time they open the cover, are gems. They are written and illustrated for that purpose.
And so it is with Have You Seen My Duckling? Nancy Tafuri, a giant in the field of children’s literature, received the Caldecott Honor for her beautiful picture book.
The story has few words. It’s told through pictures. Mother Duck loses her eighth duckling and sails frantically around the pond, the rest of her family behind her.
“Have you seen my duckling?” Mother duck asks the pond animals: bird, turtle, beaver, and fish. None of them has seen her baby. But baby duck is never really lost, only cleverly hidden in each picture.
This hide-and-seek feature makes the storybook a game. Children can’t help but respond when they spot the hidden duckling on every page.
Have You Seen My Duckling? is a wonderful story for parent and child. Each page offers something different to talk about. From toddler to preschooler, it’s a perfect read-aloud for story time and belongs on your little one’s bookshelf.
Playful Early Learning
- Look at the cover. Name the animal mother and count her little ones.
- Open to the title page. Find the venturesome duckling.
- As you read aloud, be sure to point out the details of every picture. The pictures tell the story.
- Search for the missing duckling on each page. (Duckling isn’t lost, just adventuring.)
- On the last page, count and make sure all eight ducklings are safe with Mother Duck.
When young children memorize storybooks, they think and act like readers. This is a beautiful beginning to a lifetime of loving books—and reading.
“Seasons come, seasons go. But a little brown bunny and a graceful blue bird discover that friendship, true friendship, lasts forever.”
Forever Friends by Carin Berger is a tender, simple story of friendship between a small bluebird and a brown bunny. Bird and bunny play together through spring, summer, and fall. When cold air arrives, bluebird flies south. The long winter months are lonely for bird and bunny. But their reunion in springtime is pure joy when bluebird soars into the green meadow to play with bunny.
The gentle beauty of the pictures is captivating. Berger creates paper-cut collages using old book pages, magazines, receipts, letters, graph paper and ticket stubs. Little ones will delight in finding the print within the pictures.
Playful Early Learning:
- Make up a tune for “Hello! Come Play!” Sing, rather than read, bird’s tune
- Finger trace the dotted lines of bird’s flights
- Name the colors Berger uses for the seasons. (Green for spring, blue for summer, brown for fall, and dark purple for winter)
- Notice how the trees change with the season
- Find words and letters on the collage paper pieces
- Name the games bird and bunny play (hide and seek, tag, chase, swing, catch, juggle)
“Learning to make friends takes years of practice … teach your children how to socialize effectively – how to make friends, how to keep friends. The greatest predictor of happiness is having friends.” —John Medina
Choosing a quality preschool for your little one can be a daunting task. What is a caring parent who wants the best for their child to do?
First, remember you are your child’s first teacher. Nothing can replace the value of everyday language and learning experiences in the home, from the moment of birth. Face-to-face talk, open-ended play, and reading aloud can catapult a child to school success.
Second, know that the choice is yours. Whether you choose private, public, voluntary Pre-k, or home schooling, you can make the best decision for your child’s learning needs.
Third, visit preschools. Take tours. Ask questions. Are they National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited?
- Teachers talking directly to children
- Happy children talking, busy, engaged
- Small group and whole group learning
- Movement, music, and original art everywhere
- Dramatic play, pretend play, spontaneous play, learning center play, outside play
- Storybooks everywhere for reading aloud and joyful browsing
Last, and most importantly, look for language-driven learning with teacher to child, and child-to-child interactions.
A quality preschool gives children the same contentment, curiosity, and learning choices they have grown up with at home.