Another fun book Joey and I recently discovered together was Stuck, by Oliver Jeffers. In it’s ridiculous plot, a boy’s kite gets stuck in the tree. To problem solve this he throws EVERYTHING into a tree – his cat, a boat, the fire department, etc. In the end he gets an ax… and throws it into the tree too. Luckily, the ax knocks the kite down (but leaves everything else at the top.)
When I first picked up the book it seemed simple and silly – both of which are a plus. Simple books tend to give us more opportunities to encourage interaction from Joey, instead of simply having him listen as I read. I laminated a picture of a tree and covered it in velcro dots. Then I found clip art of the items the boy threw into the tree and made velcro cards so that Joey could find each item and place it into the tree – watching as the tree goes from having one item to being ridiculously full.
To support Joey’s counting in a sequential order I also added a numbered list so that the velcroed items could begin on the numbed list and Joey could carefully take off each picture in sequential order and add it to the tree.
Because of the character’s repetitive actions of throwing the item into the tree, It is an easy book to incorporate core words into. Joey can easily talk about what is happening in the story by labeling the items being added into the tree, or using prepositions to describe where the items are – in, up, on.
The first time I read the book with Joey he paused halfway through and said “100.” Yes – it feels like there are 100 items going into the tree. I love that Joey’s words give him the opportunity to show that five year old number sense – anything that is “a lot” is obviously 100 – not accurate, but it captures the assumption going on in their five year old brains.
Admittedly , Joey seemed to lose interest in this book after awhile. It was a fun initial book, but didn’t give us the sustaining power that Room on the Broom, or Not a Box has. Now I’m off to find more engaging books.