Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
- When the child is old enough, have the child pick a favorite animal and create a similar story in which the chosen animal wants to drive the bus. Perhaps an elephant would offer the reader a peanut as a way of bribing out a yes. Or maybe a snake wants to drive a taxi. Or maybe that same pigeon comes back and wants to drive a train. Let the child have fun choosing what they want to do and then write and illustrate a book of their very own. (Why not scan a copy of this book and share it with family and friends and the author? Or send me a copy. I’d love to see how some of these suggestions are used by you and your child(ren).)
- Make a book of transportation. In this book the pigeon wanted to drive a bus so begin with a bus and then think about other ways of going from one place to another. Include everything from walking to flying, running to sailing, riding in a car to crawling. Perhaps you can make a scrapbook with photographs of your child doing the various things like walking, skipping, running, etc. Take other pictures of your child in a car, bus, bicycle, etc. This is a project that can grow with the child and maybe will never be fully finished but can still be updated for many years to come. (Sure, this will embarrass your teenaged child but when that same child is an adult they will be delighted to see this book and maybe be reminded of something they have yet to do.)
- If you live in a city that has a public transportation system, plan a bus trip to somewhere new. Together look at a bus schedule and map and show your child where you will begin your bus trip and count the number of stops between there and your destination. Be sure to talk about etiquette rules like letting people get off the bus before climbing aboard.
- If you don’t live where there is public transportation, why not take an imaginary trip to a family member who lives in another city or state? For instance, a lot of Rob’s family live in Kentucky while most of my family lives in New York and New Jersey. Using a map, find the cities where different family members live and plan an imaginary trip there and back or even from one family member’s home to another. How much would it cost to take the trip there and home again? How much time will it take? If you go to more than one place, have your child use math skills to calculate the cost. Be sure to suggest that longer trips will also require having food packed or extra money to buy food on the journey.
My First Words at HOME from Star Bright Books
- Some of the things in one room may be found in another room. For instance, the book says a phone is in the kitchen but your phone may be located in another room. And the outlet in the book’s living room can be found in all sorts of other rooms. Hunt for some of these things in your own home.
- Count how many of each thing is in one room. How many outlets? How many chairs? How many lamps? How many plants? Then count how many doors there in the house. How many light switches? Etc. For the early mathematician, try adding up one room with another. If one room has 2 outlets and another room has 1, how many outlets are in both rooms?
- Make word labels for some of the things in a room and put a little double sided tape (or a loop of tape) on the back and make a game of taking the labels and taping them to the different things around the house. Or, if you want to make this game re-usable, don’t use any tape and just put the label close to the object. (Post-It © notes can also be used but won’t last very long.)
- Try mixing up the labels and putting them on the wrong item and then have your child put them where they belong.
- Take a photo scavenger hunt and take pictures of the different things in a room and create your own picture book using your own things. Use the labels you made to head each page. Create a furniture scrapbook and add to it as your child gets older, from crib to first bed to older bed, etc. (You can also do this with the homes of family who live nearby or even far away and collect pictures of different things your child would find in a grandparent’s home or an aunt’s home or even a relative’s home who lives far away. Why not ask your family members to take a picture of their bed or desk and send it to you? Be sure to send a thank you note from you and your child.)
- Make a set of cards the same size as the labels and put photographs of the different things onto the new cards. Have the child match the word with the picture. (These can be stored in a file folder or manila envelope.)
- Have your child cut photographs out of magazines or store catalogues of different pieces of furniture. Collect these and when you have enough sort them in different ways. Find all of the red things or things you sit on or things you would find in a bedroom. You can also do this with the cards you make if you made, especially if your family helped you by adding photographs from things in their own homes.
It’s a Big World Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi
- There are many books about pigs, from The Three Little Pigs to Charlotte’s Web. Why not read several books about pigs, both fictional and factual. Watch pig themed movies as well including Babe and Charlotte’s Web. Even small children can enjoy novels when you read one chapter an evening. This also helps develop attention spans as children have to remember from one day to the next what previously happened in the story.
- In the book, Poppy goes to Paris. Using a map or a globe, trace Poppy’s trip for New York City to Paris, France. Poppy also makes friends from all over the world. Try to find a city or place that begins with the letter P in each of these other countries and see how far away from Paris these friends live. Maybe even plan an around-the-world trip for Poppy as she goes to visit each of her friends.
- Using blank post cards or 5x7 index cards, have your child make their own travel postcards. They can either pretend they went to a far off country, like Poppy, or they can draw a picture of places they go closer to home—like school, the park, the library. Have your child dictate or write a note to a relative who lives far away and mail it. Hopefully the relative will send a card back.
- With your child, plan a trip to Paris, France. Make a list together of the places you would want to see and the things you would want to do. Plan on where you will stay and what you will eat. (Many restaurants now have their menus online.)
- Why not spend the day eating French foods? Have a croissant for breakfast and some French Onion Soup (or even French Garlic Soup) for lunch. For dinner, a quiche and salad. And of course, don’t forget a dessert. Perhaps a plate of small petit fours or an éclair or Napoleon would end the day right. Be sure to listen to some French music while enjoying your meal.
- For older children, watch a French foreign film. Cocteau’s La Belle et le Bête was a personal favorite of mine when I was growing up. Other classics include The Three Musketeers, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Cyrano de Bergerac. For younger children, you might prefer to watch Beauty and the Beast, which has several French terms sprinkled throughout.
- Poppy learns many ways to say hello in the book but there are many more languages out there so why not learn different ways to greet people in different countries? Write these words onto Post-It notes and put the appropriate greeting on a map of the country. Try to have at least one greeting on every page of your family atlas.
- Visit the official website for the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower, and anywhere else you and your child would imagine Poppy and her parents went while in Paris. Many museums now offer “virtual tours” on their websites. If you’re fortunate enough to live near a city where an exhibit from the Louvre is scheduled, be sure to take your child with you to the local museum. But, if you’ve never been, don’t forget to “always dream” of someday going to the Louvre for yourselves.
If you have further suggestions for exploration, please leave a comment because someone else may be reading who wants more ideas. Needless to say, my suggestions are not meant to be exhaustive. But it is my hope that the ideas will allow a picture book to grow with your child and years or even decades from now it will still be there on a shelf, perhaps being shared and loved by a grandchild or two.
(This post and future Bibi Bookshelf posts are a part of my participating in the Illustrated Year Challenge.)