Sunday, April 19, 2015

One Flower: Butterflies, Ticks and a Few More Icks

On One Flower: Butterflies, Ticks And a Few More Icks by Anthony Fredericks starts with a letter to the reader from a stinkbug. What an interesting way to start a book! The stinkbug introduces himself, telling us about where he lives and who his neighbors are. He encourages us to find "zoos" or communities of animals right where we live. This conversational tone is friendly and encourages the reader to explore. We need more books with this open invitation to the great outdoors. Below is a picture of wildflowers we have explored recently, thanks to this invitation. Bloodroot is gorgeous! Such personality in the leaves!

The rhymed words set the stage for where the star of the show, the goldenrod, can be found. There is lots of action, which is great with younger children. The next page introduces us to the flower in all of it's golden yellow goodness! The flower takes center stage up close and personal. Two boys wander by and wonder what could live there. I like that this models being inquisitive and asking questions while outside. We don't have to know all the answers, but the boys look and observe to find out more.

Upon closer inspection, the boys see various creatures as "They peeked and they peered and they searched and they spied." They find the stinkbug, spider, butterfly, bee, ladybug, ambush bug, (great illustration for this), and a tick. The boys are watching all the action, with a ladybug on one shoulder and a jacket on the other boy that proclaims, "I <3 bugs!" They can see the "leaves, petals, and stems" are teeming with creatures!

This is told in a cyclical style with the story adding on at each step. I'm often reading to preschoolers, so I would shorten the "cycle" but I do think books like this are fun. They actually can be a great way to act things out and reinforce the concept. Using masks or stick puppets, different children could chime in as we read that part of the story to make it more interactive. The words also invite action throughout the story.

At the end of the book, there are Field Notes, with more detailed information about the goldenrod (it does not cause hay fever! :-) and all the animals. A fantastic fact is shared about each, with great details to get to know the insect, spider, or bug better. I like that they look at more specific about the insect instead of just a spider, the field notes tell us about the Goldenrod Spider.

There is also a list of books to learn about insects, spiders, and bugs. The author also shares other books he has written (they're great!), as well as a list of organizations that may be helpful, such as the Young Entomologist's Society.

As a follow up activity, I would definitely take magnifying glasses out to visit a goldenrod plant. Additionally, I'd have us explore another nearby plant. I don't think we'd ever look at a plant quite the same, as now we know that the plants are busy with activity! We could use activity pages from the Handbook of Nature Study to record our observations in our nature journals. Additionally, I have several life cycle activities that would fit in well with the insect them. We've also done an insect and spider sort in nature preschool that would work well. While this post focuses on "animal play", insects are animals and many of these same activities would work as a play/learning extension from the book. We could even try some "loose parts play" or leaf art to complement what we learn.

I appreciate that the publishers pull together a variety of supporting activities to help extend learning from the book. Scroll down on Dawn Publishing's website to find On One Flower, with links to several activities with descriptions. Now, my only dilemma is deciding whether to use this in a program on wildflowers or insects! It fits so well with both!


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