Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Children's Picks of the Week

This month our preschool co-op is learning all about harvest time. Because our lessons are about harvest and not Halloween I tried to stick with books that talked only about the harvest theme (you know picking apples, pumpkin patches, etc.), but this proved harder than I initially thought because while there are a lot of great "harvest" themed books out there, the majority of the content of these books tends to be 70% Halloween and only 30% harvest. In the end the three books I chose for this week's Children's Picks were my favorite:

Pumpkin Harvest by Calvin Harris. Published in 2008 by Capstone Press (Mankato, MN).

Pumpkin Harvest is an excellent picture book for young readers, but it also works well as a read-aloud for even younger book worms. I read it to my daughter and the other children in our preschool co-op. The book contains 24 pages with a simple text and beautiful photograph illustrations. As might be guessed from the title the book is mainly about pumpkins, but it also discusses other aspects of autumn and things one might see or experience during the harvest months (i.e. pumpkin pie, scarecrows, jack-o-lanterns, etc.). This book did not mention trick-or-treating and worked well for sticking to the "harvest" theme. My daughter enjoyed the pictures and has been pointing out pumpkins wherever we go.

Pumpkins by Ken Robbins. Published in 2006 by Roaring Brook Press (New Milford, Connecticut).

Pumpkins tells the story of a pumpkin's life cycle from a seed planted in the ground in the spring until late fall when if left alone it rots away until it is but seeds awaiting to be planted for the next season. In addition the reader learns fun little pumpkin trivia and all about the different breeds of pumpkins from tiny squatty pumpkins to the giant pumpkins that win prizes. Also included in the book is a little bit about how to carve a pumpkin and how pumpkins are sometimes included in the celebration of Halloween.

This book was my favorite when it came to illustrations. Nearly all the 29 pages contained beautiful photographs of pumpkins. This was also a great picture book for young readers and because of it's short simple sentences it also can double as a read-aloud for young children.

Because there are two pages discussing trick-or-treating and I was trying to stick to the harvest theme I just flipped past them without detracting from the lesson. The story flows seamlessly even without those pages. The children in the co-op loved hearing about the giant pumpkins.

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills. Published in 2009 by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books.

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin is an off-shoot of the Duck & Goose board book series. In this story Duck and Goose see their friend Thistle with a pumpkin and they go in hunt of their own. Uncertain where pumpkins come from Duck and Goose look everywhere, but cannot find a single pumpkin. At long last with the help of Thistle they learn of the pumpkin patch and finally locate their own pumpkin.

This story is much more entertaining then educational and is best as a read-aloud. Still, I love the Duck & Goose illustrations and enjoyed reading this to my daughter.

What about you? Have you discovered a fun harvest-themed book? Leave a comment and let me know about it.


Karla @ Ramblin' Roads said...

A favorite in our family since my children were small has been The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs.

Nancy said...

I can see how it would be difficult to find a book about harvest without mentioning Halloween. These sound like great choices.

Nancy @