Booklist: Worms on the Sidewalk, Books for Shared Reading

Booklist: Worms on the Sidewalk, Books for Shared Reading

Ground Hog Day’s Punxsutawney Phil may get the notoriety for heralding the onset of spring, but to me the surest sign of spring is worms on the sidewalk.  My mother is a gardener, so I grew up respecting worms and using gardening gloves to move them from the sidewalk to soil.

My favorite worm book is Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin with pictures by Harry Bliss. This book inspired son #2’s summer project of a DIY worm composting bin. Due to only having a small patio, we couldn’t winterize the worms and set them free in the fall in time for their dormant stage. The azalea bush is still grateful. When granddaughter #1 is ready, I will probably pair that book reading with the nonfiction book We Dig Worms! — words and pictures by Kevin McCloskey — because they share the same cartoon style illustrations. Bonus: both authors are from Pennsylvania where we live.

 

Before Shared Reading: Set the Stage

Select a good time, these books are perfect to read during a rainy day.  Get comfortable and cozy; proximity is important because in a shared reading experience you want everyone to be able to see all the pictures and the words. The book should be within reaching distance so your child can help turn the pages (when appropriate by skill and age).

Point out the names of the author and illustrator on the book cover. This will build the concept that books are created by people and will subtly reinforce your own child’s agency in creating pictures and stories.

 

During Shared Reading: Be Dramatic and Go for an Encore

It’s time to let your inner Oscar, Emmy, Tony or Golden Globe out. Use funny voices and encourage your child to add in sound effects.

During the first couple of read throughs you might want to stick to the main text. For repeated readings take time to explore the dialog balloons or side text boxes; move your along the words to show that you where your are on the page. Ask questions (who, what, where, why, & how) to check your child’s comprehension for the plot and character or factual information.

 

After Shared Reading: Engage in Activities

Find a few worms to observe in a jar with local soil (potting soil may not have enough compost nutrients for them) for a couple of days. Feed them small bits of compost material (for example: leftover vegetable leaves) and lightly spray the soil with water.  Also, make a wrap around sleeve of cardboard for darkness when you aren’t observing them. (See the nonfiction books on earthworms, they don’t have eyes but do have light sensitive cell receptors) Like a any good scientist, encourage your child to take dated field notes (pictures, dictation, bullet points) or like the worm in the book keep a diary for the time you have your wormy guests. Besides observing them, there are a few experiments you can try with your worms. For example, while on a tray place the worm in front of wet paper towel and a dry paper towel, in which direction will your worm move? After a few days, do the capture/release or search & rescue (if you saved them from a wet sidewalk) and set them free because the earth needs worms in the environment.

 

Booklist: Worms on the Sidewalk, Books for Shared Reading

Diary of a Worm

Words by Doreen Cronin and Pictures by Harry Bliss

Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8

With humor and clever cartoons, this book takes you through the day to day life of a young worm. There is also an easy reader spin-off in the I Can Read series that extends your stay in this setting as well as a companion picture book Diary of a Spider.

 

 

Best Lowly Worm Book Ever!

Words and Pictures by Richard Scarry

Picture Book Fiction Ages 3 – 7

Nostalgia for grown-ups and new adventures for children, readers follow Lowly Worm as he rides around in his apple car on a busy day. Plenty of details in the pictures will keep children engaged during re-reads. Huck Scarry completed the book making process for his dad.

 

How to Eat Fried Worms

Thomas Rockwell

Chapter Book Ages 8 – 12

Two boys make a bet that forces one of them to eat a worm each day for 15 days in a row. Lots of dialog makes for a great read aloud. There is a 2006 movie adaptation with a PG rating, for more on the movie see https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/how-to-eat-fried-worms

It’s a Good Thing There Are Earthworms

Words by Jodie Shepherd

Illustrated Book Nonfiction Ages 4 – 8

Basic introduction to earthworms with photographs for up close illustrations.  Also see similar photographic works: Earthworms, by Lisa J. Amstutz; Earthworms, by Nikki Bruno Clapper; Earthworms, by Claire Llewellyn and Barry Watts.

 

Snail and Worm Again!

Words and Pictures by Tina Kügler

Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 9

Geisel Honor Winner

Snail and Worm are friends, share three stories about their friendship. The mini-chapters can be read by new readers on their own. There is a previous work with the same duo, Snail & Worm. Also see, Wiggle and Waggle, a beginner chapter book by Caroline Arnold that features the friendship between two worms.

 

The Story of Silk: From Worm Spit to Woven Scarves

Words and Photography by Richard Sobol

Picture Book Nonfiction Ages 6 – 9

The author/photographer shares his trip to a village in Thailand, where all the town’s people including the children work together to produce cloth from silk worms.  Pair this travel story with How to Eat Fried Worms, because there is a photograph of villagers eating boiled silkworms with their lunch, nothing gets wasted in this culture.

 

 

We Dig Worms!

Words and Pictures by Kevin McCloskey

Graphic Novel Nonfiction Ages 5 – 7

School Library Journal’s Top 10 Graphic Novels 2015

Shares facts about worms with a focus on how earthworms aid in plant growth with their tunnels and castings. In the back of the book, the author shares great tips on how to read comics with kids.

 

Wiggling Worms at Work

Words by Wendy Pfeffer 

Pictures by Steve Jenkins

Picture Book Nonfiction Ages 4 – 8

Basic presentation of a worm life cycle and facts with interesting torn paper collage illustrations. Back of the book suggests experiments for observing worms in their environment. For a similar book, see Garden Wigglers: Earthworms in Your Backyard; Words by Nancy Loewen and Pictures by Rick Peterson (Picture Book Nonfiction Ages 4-8)

 

Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer

Words by Carol Brendler

Pictures by Ard Hoyt

Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8

Our spunky heroine, Winnie Finn is on a quest to enter her worm friends in the Quincy County Fair, even if there is no category for worms. See the back of the book for advice on starting a family worm farm.

 

The Worm (Disgusting Critters Series)

Words and Pictures by Elise Gravel

Picture Book Nonfiction, Part of a Series  Ages 6 – 9

With humor, a worm introduces himself to the readers, along with a variety of worm facts.  The cartoon illustrations will pair well in a read along with Diary of a Worm.

 

Worm Weather

Words by Jean Taft

Pictures by Matt Hunt

Picture Book Ages 3 – 5

In rhyming verse, two children play in rain as worms underground raise up to explore the wet ground.

 

Superworm

Words by Julia Donaldson and Pictures by Axel Scheffler

Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8

Superworm saves his friends, the toads, the bees, and the beatles, however, when Superworm is caught by the wicked Lizard wizard, it’s time for Superworm’s friends to save him.

 

Yucky Worms

Words by Vivian French

Pictures by Jessica Ahlberg

Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8

Bridges the gap between a fiction and nonfiction book. While gardening, a grandmother explains to her grandson the importance of worms, so this book provides an overview of worm facts within a gentle setting.

If you like this booklist, then see

Booklist: Spring Books for Shared Reading with Children

Recommend your favorite book with worms here

 

Booklist: Spring Books for Shared Reading with Children

Booklist: Spring Books for Shared Reading with Children

 

The onset of seasonal allergies aside, spring is the favorite season of many. With the renewed energy from blooming flowers, hatching eggs, and bouncing bunnies, there is also the welcome of shared reading about spring on a warm and sunny day outside or crisp yet cozy spring night. Share the joy and exuberance of spring with the children in your life.

 

Before Shared Reading

Many spring books mark the transition between winter and spring by giving picture clues in the beginning and end pages of the book (the first/last spread between the covers the the rest of the book). Check and see if your book does and provide that hint to your child before reading.

Spring books tend to have pastel colors. Point to and label these colors, let your child know that these are lighter shades of the typical primary colors they usually see. For older children, you can expand their vocabulary by bringing in science color words such as, hue, saturation, and gradation.

 

During Shared Reading

Point out and label objects in the pictures. Remember that your child might be young enough to have only vague or fuzzy memories of the previous year, so the material might be new to them.

Note, time is a difficult concept for young children, so reiterate that waiting, anticipation, and patience might be needed to see spring. It might help to break time down into recognizable units related to their daily schedule, such as “after naptime we can go for our walk” or “it will take at least 10 night time sleeps for the seeds to sprout; we can mark each night on the calendar.”

 

After Shared Reading

Go on a spring walk with your child and look for anything that might have been mentioned in the the books you were reading – flowers, plants, eggs, birds, and animals. Talk about the similarities and differences between the story representations and the real objects.

For a long term project, start some seedlings indoors for transplant  to an outdoor container in the spring. Plants which are easy to grow from seed for children include marigolds and nasturtiums both edible flowers. Some plants such as celery, carrots with partial tops, onions, and garlic can be started from kitchen leftovers in water, then moved to a pot for planting.

If you used the color discussion prompt before reading, follow-up on that with some color exploration with washable paints.

Booklist: Spring Books for Shared Reading with Children

Spring is Here

Words and Pictures by Will Hillenbrand

Picture Book Ages 3 – 6

Mole is awake and spring is here! Oh, but he needs his friend bear to share spring with — time to wake up bear. Also see Finding Spring by Carin Berger.

When Spring Comes

Words by Kevin Henkes

Pictures by Laura Dronzek

Picture Book 3 – 8

Watch as the world transforms from winter to spring with each turn of the page. A lovely collaboration between this award winning husband and wife team. Also see by the same author, Egg, a nearly wordless book which has a delightful plot twist.

Make Way for Ducklings

Words and Pictures by Robert McCloskey

Picture Book Ages 4 – 8

Caldecott Medal

The classic story of a duck family stopping Boston traffic to get from their nest to the park’s pond.  If you’re ever in Boston see the duck statues in the park.

Miss Rumphius

Words and Pictures by Barbara Cooney

Picture Book Ages 5 – 8

American Book Award Winner

Based on a true person, this story shares how Alice Rumphius scattered lupin seeds during her walks in Maine, leaving a living legacy of flowers.

And Then It’s Spring

Words by Julie Fogliano

Pictures by Erin E Stead

Picture Book Ages 4 – 8

Watch and wait with a boy and his dog for the arrival of spring in their garden.

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

Words by Marion Dane Bauer

Pictures by Emily Arnold McCully

This rhyming story illustrates the traditional spring phrase about March coming in like a lion, in this case a muddy mess, and leaving like a lamb.

The Tiny Seed

Words and Pictures by Eric Carle

The classic picture book showing the life-cycle of a flower from seed to blossom. Also see The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons for a complete overview of the seasons.

Everything Spring

By Jill Esbaum

Part of the National Geographic Kids series Picture the Seasons, this books has beautiful photos of spring.  Celebrate and discover the joys of spring with this gorgeous book. If your family enjoys photos, then see the photo-story, Lost in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick.

Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms

Words by Julia Rawlinson

‎Pictures by Tiphanie Beeke

Fletcher the fox sees tree blossoms and mistakes them for snow in springtime leading his friends into a forest wide panic, oops!

999 Frogs Wake Up

Words and Pictures by Ken Kimora

A sequel to 999 Tadpoles, in this quirky story the frogs wake up find everyone else is still asleep, so they go around waking everyone up — big frog, old turtle! Uh-oh, what about snake?

Rabbit’s Spring Adventure

Words by Anita Loughrey

Pictures by Daniel Howarth

A beautiful spring day is so distracting, that rabbit gets lost in the woods. Who will help him find his way home?

 

If you like this book like see for other similar reads:

Booklist Bunnys: If You Like Peter Rabbit…

Booklist Worms: Worms on the Sidewalk, Books for Shared Reading

Share your favorite spring books here

 

Booklist: LOL Books to Laugh Out Loud with Your Children

Booklist: LOL Books to Laugh Out Loud with Your Children

The day before I went to see the grandgirls, I was in the bookstore and saw a picture book with a funny cover that was on sale. Of course, I just had to buy it!

It was one of the best things I have ever bought in my life.  I was on the second or third re-read of Mother Bruce with granddaughter #1 , who is currently age 2, when my son sat down near us.  He chuckled along, then laughed out loud when we got to the page “He liked to support local business, you see.” My daughter in-law came into the room when we got to the section “Bruce was very stern and said things like ‘Go away!’ And ‘I am not your mother!’ And also ‘I liked you better when you were eggs’” and she blurted out “What are you reading?” with the most incredulous look on her face that my son and I broke out in chuckles; context is everything. Granddaugher #1, of course, was not impressed that there was an interruption to her story time.  That weekend we read Mother Bruce at least a half dozen more times. Since then, my husband has taken the book into work to show his colleague who also has grandchildren, who also loved it. Spread the joy, spread the laughter!

Laughing out loud with your kids is a good thing. Research shows that laughter and humor connects with cognitive and language development as well as positive social/emotional growth.  

In order to get a joke or see something as humorous, a person has to have an understanding of cause and effect. More complicated forms of humor require abstract thinking with an ability to use symbols or substitutions of one thing for another or knowing when one thing does not belong within a set (as the old Sesame Street song goes “one of these things is not like the other…). Laughter is a solid way of knowing that your child has a growing awareness of situations around them and can perform simple analysis by categorizing a scenario as funny. So, reading and laughing with your child is time to be enjoyed and encouraged.

Before Shared Reading

When you introduce the book, note the title, author, illustrator, and say that this should be a fun story or funny book. Comment on any cover art that gives clues on story plot or what your child might find funny.

During Shared Reading

Point out plot points, phrases, or illustrations that provide humor clues by noting that something is silly or funny. Note expressions on characters’ faces that show how they feel and ask your child to describe those feelings.

After Shared Reading

Ask your child what they thought was the funniest parts of the story or pictures and what makes those pieces funny. During re-reads build vocabulary by labeling those funny parts as silly, ridiculous, quirky, witty, amusing or droll as alternative words for funny. For older children try some symbolic substitution, would they still think the scene was funny if it happened to them.

 

Booklist: LOL Laugh Out Loud Books for Infants and Toddlers

Blue Hat, Green Hat

Words and Pictures by Sandra Boynton

Board Book Ages Infants & Toddlers

Turkey makes this introduction to colors and getting dressed an adventure with his silly antics. Also, purple socks!

Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus

Words and Pictures by Mo Willems

Picture Book, First in a Series Ages 2 – 6

Caldecott Honor Book

Pigeon tries to beg and whine his way with the reader, but the bus driver said, “Don’t let Pigeon Drive the Bus!” Son #3 adored Pigeon (perhaps because they were so alike?) Will be a family favorite! Also see Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny trilogy.

For more LOL Books for infants and toddlers see Author Spotlight: Sandra Boynton

Booklist: LOL Laugh Out Loud Picture Books for Shared Reading with Children

Mother Bruce

Words and Pictures by Ryan T. Higgins

Picture Book Ages 4 – 8

E. B. White Read Aloud Winner and Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, New Illustration Honor

Bruce, a solitary and grumpy bear, is faced with hard work and challenging choices when a case of mistaken identity turns his fancy breakfast into gosling fosterlings. What’s a bear to do when his geese won’t migrate?

Bob, Not Bob “To Be Read as Though You Have the Worst Cold Ever”

Words by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick

Pictures by Matt Cordell

Picture Book Ages 4 – 8

We’ve all been there, when you have a cold you sound like a muppet. This books plays on  the frustration of trying to pronounce your words correctly with a stuffy nose, but it’s all ok when you have a Bob (pet dog) and a not Bob (mom) to help you when you feel sick. Remember as the cover states this book is “to be read as though you have the worst cold ever.”

I am Not a Chair

Words and Pictures by Ross Burach

Picture Book, Ages 4 – 8

A twist on the typical first day of school story, here is Giraffe’s first day in the jungle.  Why does everyone think he’s a chair? How is Giraffe going to clear up this confusion?

Muddle and Mo

Words and Pictures by Nikki Slade Robinson

Picture Book Ages 4 – 8

Muddle the duck and Mo the goat are both friends.  Mo helps Muddle figure out their differences when Muddle doesn’t understand that Mo is not a duck too.

Guess Again

Words by Mac Barnett, Pictures by Adam Rex

Picture Book Ages 4 – 8

Expect the unexpected, this is not your typical guessing game. Each rhyming riddle sets the reader to guess the answer, but the illustrations provide a misleading clue to a totally random and clever reveal.

Is Everyone Ready for Fun

Words and Pictures by Jan Thomas

Picture Book Ages 3 – 8

Three cows invade chicken’s sofa with jumping, dancing and wiggling.  Kids will want to join the cows in their fun and pretend to be cows too,  while the grown-up reader came sympathize and give voice to the exasperated chicken.; an easy book to dramatize while reading.

That’s Not a Hippopotamus

Words by Juliette MacIver

Pictures by Sarah Davis

Picture Books Ages 4 – 8

A class field trips gets turned upside down, when the hippopotamus goes missing.

Booklist: LOL Laugh and Read Aloud Chapter Books for Elementary and Middle Schoolers

Fortunately the Milk

Neil Gaiman

Similar to the escalating hilarity found in Dr Seuss’ And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street, this story builds as a dad explains to his kids in great zany detail, why it took him so long to fetch some milk for the breakfast cereal. The ultimate book to showcase “Dad Humor” with this dad’s improbable adventures.

8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel + 1 Dog = Chaos

Vivian Vande Velde

Twitch the squirrel get chased into the school by Cuddles the principal’s dog, now the school pets are on a rescue mission to save Twitch.

I, Funny: A Middle School Story

James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Part 1 of a Series

Jamie Grimm is on a quest to become a comedian and entering The Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic is a step towards his goal; but his journey is filled with both comedy and drama, because hey, this is a middle school story.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

The world is suppose to end on Saturday, but where is the Antichrist? A bookish angel and a demon with car issues team up to save the planet.

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

William Goldman

The title says it all and the 1987 PG movie adaptation is a rare gem since it is just as good maybe even better than the book, both are classics.

Mort

Terry Pratchett

Mort, slightly inept but with a good heart, becomes the apprentice to Death, yes, that Death, the one with the horse and scythe. A great introduction to the madcap and marvelous Discworld series.

 

Recommend your favorite LOL funny books here