Monday, March 14, 2011

Storytime: Where Does a Tiger-Heron Spend the Night?

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

This book teaches about unusual birds and their habitats and behaviours. Each page presents children with subtle and appealing acrylic illustrations of each bird and its habitat. The text asks the child a question about the bird and the child lifts the flap on the opposite page to find the answer. The text rhymes and also presents children with vocabulary that they may not be accustomed to hearing. Words like: mangroves, crests, plunge, warbling and gizzard are just a few examples.

This is one aspect of the book I liked. I recently read that Jim Trelease said [paraphrasing]: "If a child never hears a word, he won't say it. If he never says it, how will he be able to read it or write it?" That is a key in literacy education - putting words in childrens' ears. And that is yet one more beauty (and advantage) of reading aloud: children are exposed to scores of words that, independently, they cannot read but can understand when heard in context or with a little explanation insha'Allaah.

In Where Does a Tiger-Heron Spend the Night? even the names of the birds are unusual and exotic sounding. Have you ever heard of a ptarmigan (pronounced tar-ma-gun)?  That aspect mixed with the appealing illustrations and fun text combine to make this book one children may love hearing read aloud...waallaahu a'lam.

The only thing I changed in the story when reading it aloud was a line of text that seemed.....a bit...ummm..morbid? The text reads, ' Why does a vulture soar high overhead ? It's sniffing the wind for the scent of the dead.'  Instead I read, 'Why does a vulture soar high overhead? It finds dinner but  doesn't get dirty with its shinny bald head.'

Overall, Where Does a Tiger-Heron Spend the Night? is a wonderful book that I hope to add to my library insha'Allaah.

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