I’m teaching literature this year in a program for homeschool kids. The most challenging group is the fourteen six-and-seven-year-olds. Reading levels in the group are so varied that I’m focusing on excellent picture books, and they are loving it.
More than half of these kids were in last year’s five-year-old class, so I can’t rerun my thirty-five or so favorites. Which is why my ears perked when Sandy Hall, one of our Library Ladies, mentioned a picture book she recommends to moms every chance she gets. I had never heard of A House Is a House for Me, and was pleasantly surprised that my library had a copy. This is a really fun read-aloud.
As I read, I was interrupted on the second page by one of the kids blurting out, “This rhymes!”
“And did you notice,” I asked, “how I’m reading it? It’s almost like a song.” And I went back and started again, emphasizing the rhythm.
When we start getting into peaches being houses for pits, and trash cans as houses for garbage, the author acknowledges that things could be getting a bit far-fetched. But it’s such fun!
As you read aloud, your child’s imagination will be stretched by invitations to think about things from an unusual perspective. The entertaining illustrations present countless opportunities for discussion. Is a glove a house for a hand? Why do mosquitoes like mudholes and puddles?
My students were delighted by all the picture allusions they recognized from other stories. Some are obvious . . .
. . . and some are subtle. Who is the guy in that leafy plant? At first glance, it looks like all those crackers are there for the king. But what are the parrots up to? “Polly want a cracker!”
This is a book you can come back to again and again just for the fun of it. Its richness is in its simplicity. While you are naming things that get sillier and sillier, the rhymes and rhythm will stick in your child’s memory. Once he’s anticipating what comes next, you can begin to point to simple key words, helping your child make connections between sounds and letters. More important will be the connections between reading and fun, books and the joy of laughing together.
You can learn more about this book at biblioguides.com.