Roberta’s Book Nook: Leaves, by David Ezra Stein

Please welcome Roberta Edmisten, a former teacher with Watauga County Schools, and proud mommy to a beautiful baby boy! Roberta will be contributing book reviews to the Mom Squad along with some ways you can make the most out of your reading experience. She’ll share some areas to focus on as you’re reading and tips for enriching your child’s reading experience. If you have any questions or something to add, feel free to leave a comment or ask a question through Ask the Mom Squad!

By: David Ezra Stein
ISBN: 978-0-399-24636-4
Available at Black Bear Books, $15.99 Hardback

Summary: story of a young bear’s first experience with fall changing to winter and specifically the leaves, now dead, falling off of the trees.

Recommended Readers/Age of Children: Pre-readers, early readers, independent readers aged 6-8

Why I recommend this book: When I first saw this book on the shelf, I was drawn to the large brown title, and the beautiful cover illustration.  I am a visual learner, primarily, as are many children of all ages.  As the author and illustrator, David Ezra Stein does the job of connecting the pictures with the plot, thus providing visual support for younger readers.  I love the fact that these illustrations are artistic, watercolor representations of the character’s activities, rather than cookie-cutter cartoons.

The plot, some might call simple, is a classic example of the kinds of questions that children ask.  For this reason, I believe children will identify with the young bear’s dilemma, and his attempts to answer his own question.

The wonderful thing about this book is it’s adaptability for various ages of children., meaning this is an excellent choice for a “read aloud” session with pre-readers and early readers, a good practice book for early readers who are learning sight words and high frequency words, and a basic book for checking comprehension of the story.  For those of you who home school, and have children of various ages/reading levels, this book could be versatile and act as a springboard for further study, independent projects, reports, and creative writing based on the topics and post reading activities I have suggested.

Overall observations that support pre and early readers: illustrations that support text (picture cues), single sentence/line of text per page, minimal dialogue

Vocabulary Words:

  • Wondered
  • Island
  • Beneath
  • Woke
  • Bare

High Frequency Words/Sight Words:

  • Was
  • One
  • Put

Activities for Pre Reading:

1. Number pages in pencil.
2. Discuss cover illustration/ and title.
3. If appropriate, make predictions about the story.

During Reading:

1. Finger point
2. Check for word recognition by pointing to random words.
3. Check comprehension by asking questions that require a several word response.

Post Reading Activities:

1. Draw an additional picture.
2. Write the next part of the story.
3. Discuss the predictions made at Pre-reading stage.

*** Subjects/topics for further Inquiry: bear species, bear habitats, hibernation, deciduous trees, seasons, weather phenomena.