Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Secrets of the Apple Tree

Title: Secrets of the Apple Tree 
Author/Illustrator: Carron Brown And Alyssa Nassner   
Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Publishers 
Publication Date: January 1st, 2014 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Who lives around the apple tree? Shine a light behind the page and see...

Explore a tree up close and you will find a small world filled with great surprises! From worms wriggling among the roots, to birds nesting high in the branches, the hidden wonders of this amazing habitat are revealed. 
What I Think: We are non-fiction fans at my house but we had some extra fun with this book. Each page shared information about nature found in and around an apple tree. One page would ask a question, almost like a riddle, that got my kids thinking about what we might find when we shined a light through the pages from the back. I used the flashlight app I have on my phone and when I held it up behind the page, we could see the answer to the question and check if they were right. Then, when we turned the page, we could read about what was illuminated with the flashlight. I've never seen a book that worked like this and it was great fun. While we were learning and thinking about nature, we were also super engaged in discovering if we were right.
     Now that the weather is warming up in our neck of the woods, it would be a great time to look closely at a tree and all the creatures that make their home in, on, around and under it. As a mentor text, this would also be a great activity to get kids outside with their writer's notebooks, observing and exploring nature and writing down what they see, smell, hear, feel, and (maybe) taste outside. There is great description - lots of $100 words - in this book that kids could try to incorporate into writing their own riddles. It might be possible to even create their own flashlight drawings or even a lift-the-flap type page or book.
Read Together: Grades Preschool - 1st 
Read Alone: Grades Preschool - 2nd 
Read With: Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate, Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, Where In the Wild? by David Schwartz 
Snatch of Text: 
"Slithering, wriggling worms push 
through the soil around the roots.

A tree's roots grow long and deep. 
The roots soak up water from rain, 
which helps to keep the tree alive." 
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Asking Questions, Making Inferences, Making Connections 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Descriptive 
Writing Prompts: Describe one of the hidden scenes from this book using your five senses to bring the image to life for readers. Take a nature walk, pay attention to details in the world around you, write your own nature-related riddles using descriptive words that incorporate your five senses.
Topics Covered:  Integration - Science
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