We love participating in the Virtual Book Club for Kids each month and really enjoyed this month as we explored one of our favorite books: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. with illustrations by Eric Carle. My boys love all of the bear books, but we happened to focus on this one last week during Letter B week with a fun Brown Bear, Brown Bear Sensory Basket as we focused on things we can see that start with the letter B: bear, blue, brown, blocks, etc.
Each month with the VBCK, we always try to Move, Eat, Draw and Learn with our selected book. This month was no different.
Move - Of course, we moved by acting like each animal -- growling like the bear, stretching like the cat, leaping like the frog, galloping, etc. At the library, though, I also decided to do a scavenger hunt inspired by the book as we sought a book that featured each animal from the book. You can see what they found. For the red bird, What If? by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. They loved the birds flying on the cover of the book above the beach. Wild Thing loved finding Duck On A Bike for the yellow duck. They also loved finding Farm by James Brown, a lovely and simple picture book, that covered the blue horse and black sheep for us. Frog by Susan Cooper, which I absolutely loved. It's a charming story about a frog that gets lost and lands in a young boy's swimming pool. The boy helps the frog get back to his pond and conquers his fear of swimming! Wild Thing and Caterpillar also selected Jump, Frog, Jump! by Rogert Kalan and Byron Barton.
For the purple cat, Wild Thing found Meow and the Pots and Pans by Sebastien Braun, a very fun book about a cat and his animal friends who turn kitchen items into musical instruments.
And Caterpillar beamed with pride when he found Little Puppy by L. Rigo for the white dog, especially since the dog in the book is white.
For the goldfish, we found Swimmy by Leo Leonni, an author we discovered through the Virtual Book Club for Kids and fell in love with through little blue and little yellow. Finally, Wild Thing wanted us to find a book with a teacher and children too, and it had to be Maisy Goes to Preschool by Lucy Cousins. We followed up the fun of finding all of the books with the fun of reading them all -- we all enjoyed this engaging experience that encouraged us to explore our library and discover new books and authors, while also revisiting some of our favorite children's books too!
Eat - We had two Brown Bear-inspired snack experiences, one that I preferred and one that Wild Thing loved. I bent my rules on sugar-filled cereal so that we could retell the story using food items that were the same color as the animals in the book. In the past, I've used fruits and vegetables, as was the case last month with our snack time inspired by Freight Train by Donald Crews. But, to be honest, this time I took an easy route and bought fruity o cereal. I also got teddy bear grahams, goldfish, salami and cheese. Here's our snacks. I hope you can tell that the salami is the red bird and the cheese is the yellow duck...
You'll see that in addition to the o's, graham bears and goldfish, we have a super mini marshmallow for the white dog and raisins for the black sheep -- we tried a pistachio for the green frog in addition to the green o. Wild Thing also chose an apple to represent the teacher and the colored o's again for the children because, his words, "kids come in all colors, Mommy!" Sometimes simple things bring big smiles.
Draw - Our art activities were very simple this month. I happened to have an Eric Carle Activity book, so we colored some of the pages that had animals from the Brown Bear book and added letter stickers to match the beginning letter sound of the animal. The activity book also has stickers of Eric Carle characters, so we used those stickers to make a simple storytelling page. Wild Thing enjoyed retelling the story to Caterpillar through the stickers and did end up drawing (this may be the first time he's ever drawn anything for our "draw" component, usually we do some other type of art activity). He drew the teacher. I love it! (Caterpillar brought doggy to help retell the story too).
Learn - In addition to reinforcing colors, engaging the boys in exploring the library and getting excited about reading and learning through their Letter B basket, we also used the Brown Bear book to do some service learning as well for Hunger Action Month this month. We have a cube that has different animals from the book -- all except the white dog, black sheep and goldfish. We took the cube to the grocery store and went to the dried goods aisle to find items to donate to our food pantry that "matched" with the animals/characters from the book using our cube. Here's what the boys chose: brown bear = brown rice, red bird = red beans, yellow duck = yellow lentils, blue horse = pasta in a blue box, green frog = split peas, purple cat = rice again (purple on the bag). We did something similar with The Very Hungry Caterpillar this summer. I see this as a fun way to engage children in giving back and helping others.
What's your favorite Bill Martin Jr. book? Please share, and if you have an activity, link up!