Tag Archive: learning


anna carries water

Anna Carries Water by Olive Senior, illustrated by Laura James

Anna wishes that she could carry water on her head the way her older brothers and sisters do.  Her family does not have running water in their home, so the children walk to the spring and back every day toting water.  Her siblings carry the water in different types of containers balanced on the top of their heads.  But Anna with her smallest container can’t do that.  Anna tries, but only manages to dump water down herself and have to refill the coffee can.  Then she carries it in her hands instead.  Anna’s oldest sister reminds her that when she is old enough to balance the water, it will just happen.  But can Anna wait that long?

This Caribbean picture book is a treat.  It not only offers a glimpse into a different way of life but also gives a gentle reminder of the importance of patience and perseverance.   Written in simple language, the book uses repetition very nicely to give it a sense of traditional folktale while being firmly set in the present day. 

The illustrations tell much of the story and also have a traditional feel mixed with modern content.  They are bright colored, vibrant and help make sure that readers know that they are in another part of the world.

A bright and vivid book, this is a great pick for sharing aloud and would make an unusual but great addition to any story time or unit on water.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

everyone can learn to ride a bicycle

Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka

The two-time Caldecott Medalist returns with another exceptional picture book.  In this book, a little girl learns to ride a bike.  She first picks out the bike she wants to try, then watches other people ride their bikes.  The training wheels are very helpful, keeping her upright and they steadily are moved upward so that she can start to balance on her own.  Training wheels off, she tries riding in the grass but when she heads down a small hill, she tips over.  It takes a lot of courage to get back on again and again and again after tumbling off.  But then, suddenly and incredibly, she learns to ride a bicycle on her own!

Written in second-person, the book really allows readers to see themselves as the one riding the bicycle.  Raschka’s text is simple and effective, encouraging readers to give it a try.  When the tumbling begins, Raschka starts talking about courage, sure to inspire young readers to see that quality in themselves both in learning to ride a bicycle and in other endeavors too.  As always, the art is the key with Raschka’s picture books.  His style is loose and flowing, capturing movement and wobbles with easy watercolor strokes. 

A great pick for spring when children are sure to be longing to be out playing in the warmer weather, this book is a quietly inspiring read.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

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