I haven’t posted in quite some time because I’ve been focusing on completing my M.Ed. and its major component: the master’s paper. Play through Literary Transcendence (my title, which basically means, how children play with books) looks at three unconventional titles for young children to discern how these books invite playful opportunities through the reading experience. I will speak more on my research in a future post, but something really cool happened at home that directly correlated with my non-stop train of thought on this topic.
One of the books I explore in my paper is Eric Carle’s famous The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In my paper, I assert that the cut-outs in the book not only facilitate engagement with the story of the caterpillar’s journey, but also contribute to opportunities for play for the young reader.
My Bucca has been thumbing through this book lately, and her 18-month-old brain has been soaking in the concept of caterpillar-into-butterfly. While she was looking through the book, without my direct oversight, I noticed her carefully touching each cut-out hole on the famous spread of the caterpillar eating through an entire picnic spread. As I saw her point to each hole, I started counting each time she moved her finger: 1…2…3…4…
As I counted and she touched, we created a new game within the book (making her repeat “AGAIN!” after she reached the end of the spread). She was able to touch and count and play for several minutes before she brought me the book to re-read to her. But her play really helped to solidify the ideas that I have been researching for months. There are so many ways to play with books!
Corduroy by Don Freeman
This book makes me tear up every single time. If you can get through the final page without tears streaming down your face, then…in the words of Monica Geller on Friends, “You’re dead inside.”
Mama Cat Has Three Kittens by Denise Fleming
The repetition in this story is wonderful to engage young readers, but the reprieve from established expectations is what makes this story so fun and playful.
A Good Day by Kevin Henkes
I love how this simple story presents an attitude of optimism that illustrates how a bad day can easily become a good day. This story is a great reminder that individuals have the power to see positive aspects of a given situation and discover the goodness around them.