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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Front of My House, written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc. Kids Can, 2010. $19.95 ages 5 and up

"Behind the teeny-tiny octopus...
a blue whale named Babette.
In Babette's belly...
a tuna sandwich,
an old boot,
an ocean liner,
a parrot,
an accordion,
my old teddy bear,
a little elf,
a wedge of cheese and
a magician's hat."

And so it goes...on and on. Kids love 'circle' stories (one that comes back to where it began) and they will add this to their list of books to read again and again. They may even use is to help them write their own circle story.

It starts 'in front of my house' and the action is kept to that particular space until a book of fairy tales fires the imagination and sends the narrator far beyond the close environs of hearth and home. Meeting a princess leads to the proverbial prince, a lily pad, a pond, a bear dipping its paw in the pond and so we go.

With each turn of the page, young readers have the opportunity to guess where the words are leading. And guess they will! Experience will definitely help with those predictions and a knowledge of fairy tales will be a real advantage when we meet the Big BAD Wolf:

"In the Big Bad Wolf's belly...

the Three Little Pigs,
the house made of bricks,
the house made of sticks,
the house made of straw,
one of the Seven Little Kids,
a potful of stone soup,
Grandmother and
Little Red Riding Hood."

Much discussion is sure to be had as the reading progresses...what isn't familiar will need some context, but that is definitely part of the fun of sharing this imaginative tale. It won't be long until kids want to try some of the reading on their own, all the while building vocabulary and even some sight words. Never will they think of it as a reading lesson!

Pencil crayon illustrations add to the enjoyment and will help young readers and listeners make connections to the real world. They ably support the written text and offer humor and spooky delight. Careful consideration will be given to each page as it is shared. What fun!

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