Ok! I’ve decided to make Saturday book reviews an ongoing series here. To be honest, though, I don’t finish books quickly enough to keep up, so I’ve decided to include some children’s book reviews as well. I love children’s books, so I think this will be so fun. When I review my own reading, I’ll probably just give an overview of my thoughts, but when I review children’s books, I’ll try to include helpful information for both parents and teachers, as well as my own opinions.
I’m going to get the ball rolling with some of my favorite picture books. First up? All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee. I first read this book in a children’s literature course at UCF; we were milling about the room, exploring the illustrations in books sprawled across our tables. As I flipped through this book, I actually gasped as I turned one of the pages, because the pictures are just that striking. I love this book because it is simple one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read: Frazee’s illustrations are detailed and colorful, and the large size of the book really makes them stand out. I always think that the pictures would be awesome framed and hung up in a playroom or library.
Now, I know picture books can be expensive. You might be tempted to buy a paperback version or an iPad version but here me when I say this: you want this book in all its hardcover, book jacket, page turning glory. (And it’s only about $13 at B&N online right now! Worth it.)
All the World follows a group of people from morning to night and through various places in their community: the beach, the farmers market, a restaurant, and home. It’s a short but sweet poem that highlights the beauty in our communities and the significance of our relationships. The language is rhythmic and lovely to listen to–it would make a great bedtime story (and occasionally does in our home. I also love that the book includes multiple ethnicities, but it never seems forced or contrived.
Scholastic rates this at a mid-first grade reading level, but some of the vocabulary is a bit higher than that, for sure. Still, the repetition and sight words makes it great for early readers. I think children through the upper elementary grades will love to listen to this read aloud.
Use this book for mini-lessons on adjectives, opposites, and rhyming. It would also be a great book to incorporate into social studies lessons about communities, landforms, or geography. Poetry features prominently in the Common Core standards, and this is a great way to incorporate a poem & poetic features in a picture book format. Vocabulary: moat, husk, blossom, bed (as in “garden bed”), kin.
This is a great book to initiate conversations about what’s special in your community: where does your family like to go together, how do people in your community help one another, and where are your child’s favorite places to spend time? The illustrations are wonderful reflections of the beauty of creation, and there are lots of pictures of people serving one another: great for sparking conversations about how our families can care for the environment and the people around us.
This book was a Caldecott Honor Medalist, but I feel like it hasn’t gotten nearly the attention it deserves. It’s a favorite in our home, for sure, and I hope you love it too!
Let me know if you read it with your family, or if there’s any other helpful info you’d like me to include in these reviews in the future!