Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Books to read while the tannins leach

(Out of your acorns, that is.)

Here's the third installment of my book list for our "squirreling away" project. These are the books we're reading about acorns and squirrels. If your kids, too, are filling their pockets with acorns or noticing the squirrels at work in the yard, you may enjoy these books:

The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri.
This book has a familiar story-line, much like Eric Carle's The Very Busy Spider. In this case, the squirrel is too busy to play with the other animals, because he's gathering nuts, berries, seeds, and corn. As always with her books, the animal illustrations are wonderful, and there's lots of interesting detail in the pictures for young children to notice and discuss. This is one of my favorite fall books, perfect for toddlers.

Earl the Squirrel by Don Freeman.
The kids love this story about a squirrel who accidentally outwits a bull, helping him find his first found-by-himself acorns. There are all those great adventure-story aspects: a journey, a difficult mission, danger, darkness. And the black-and-white (and red) drawings are simple and appealing. As a bonus, there's a nut-cracker: a tool we've been using which is new to most of the kids.

Seeds and More Seeds by Millicent E. Selsam and Tomi Ungerer. Because, of course, acorns are seeds (one of many types in this book), and as we gather acorns, we're finding lots of other seeds, too, not to mention pits and seeds in the fruit we process (I love how everything's connected to something else, and every single thing the kids are interested in has the potential to lead us to learning about anything else). Of course, any good seed book would do, but I love vintage books, and this is a great one.

Chipmunk Song by Joanne Ryder and Lynne Cherry.
This one's quite a bit more complicated, and if you're reading to toddlers, you may find yourself talking about the pictures rather than reading all the text. But the text is poetic, and you may be surprised to find that children of all ages can appreciate it. But what really grabs me here are the pictures. The kids love looking at all the details of the underground burrows, pointing out all the various animals, and pretending to eat the berries right off the page. Just beautiful.

Squirrels by Brian Wildsmith.
Here, too, it's the illustrations that draw me to this book. Oh, how I love Brian Wildsmith's animals! The kids must, too, as they gravitated to this book as soon as I put it in the basket. The text here is solidly nonfiction--no poetic imaginative prose here. But I was fascinated to learn new things here. Did you know squirrel nests have 2 rooms? That squirrels eat mushrooms? That they can swim?

What are you reading this fall?

By the way...if you click on a link and find yourself at IndieBound, and then buy a book through there from your local independent bookstore, I should theoretically earn a bit of change (hasn't happened yet). If you find yourself at Librarything, it's because IndieBound didn't have it and I want you to see the book without finding yourself at an online giant retailer.


Luisa said...

The favorite around here is
"Chipmunk at Hollow Tree Lane" by Victoria Sherrow
They love the illustrations. We were just talking about squirrels and chipmunks today.

Anonymous said...

It's been a pleasure to find your blog recently. I'm particularly relishing your children's books posts. I have an almost 2 year old and we're always looking for new books. Any suggestions for Thanksgiving books?

Lise said...

Welcome, Ellen! Thanks for your comment; I'm so glad you're enjoying the book posts (they don't get many comments, so I wonder...). I'm sorry to say I don't actually have any particularly good Thanksgiving recommendations! I have some general holiday books I like that include Thanksgiving (Tasha Tudor's "A Time to Keep," Charlotte Zolotow's "Over and Over," Lois Lenski's "Now It's Fall"), but nothing great that's specifically about Thanksgiving. I'll have to keep an eye out for some...