Thursday, January 19, 2012

STEM Friday: A Leaf Can Be...

A Leaf Can Be...
written by Laura Purdie Salas; illustrated by Violeta Dabija
2012 (Millbrook Press)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Check out STEM Friday at Laurie Thompson 
Check out Poetry Friday at Wild Rose Reader

A leaf can be a ...
Soft cradle; Water ladle
Sun taker; Food maker

Lovely: Having a beauty that appeals to the heart or mind as well as to the eye. (Dictionary.com)

A Leaf Can Be... is lovely. The appeal to the heart for me is the number of connections I made while reading this book of leafy verse. I remember raking leaves with my grandmother and the woods that I played in as a child. The leaf booklet I made with wax paper in 5th grade and the beauty of the western North Carolina mountains in fall. Appealing to my mind were all the uses of a leaf Laura Purdie Salas manages to put into this book. Versatile is not the first word I think of when I hear leaf, but they can serve so many purposes. A lesson on theme using this book could be taught with the idea that leaves are essential to life.  I would think about doing a before, during, and after reading circle map with young readers. I would write this question above the circle: "What can you do with a leaf?". You can have students suggest ideas for the map as a whole class and with turn-and-talk partners. There are also vocabulary lessons to be had with words like concealer and welter. Many of the two word phrases could also be introductions to science lessons on topics like photosynthesis or camouflage. The appeal to the eye is the sumptuous artwork by Violeta Dabija. I'm not terribly eloquent when describing illustrations, so all I can say is that I love these pictures. The combinations of blue and green are wonderful.

A Leaf Can Be... could also serve as a fun shared reading experience with younger readers. They will enjoy reading this book several times. It wouldn't be difficult to create a reader's theater script out of the text and have students draw leaves on bulletin board paper to serve as a backdrop for your performance. I would add A Leaf Can Be... to my science and poetry collections.


16 comments:

  1. I have gained a special affinity for science and poetry ever since I discovered The Songs of the Water Boatman and other pond poems by Joyce Sidman - the beautiful marriage of science and verse, I believe, is exquisite. I have heard of Laura's book and it does look luscious, Jeff. I also loved the way that you shared your memories of leaves and possible activities that can be done in the classroom. Can't wait to flip through the pages of this lovely book. :)

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    1. Thank you, Myra! Great comments about science and poetry. There are several great books out there now.

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  2. I've read Laura's blog & know about this book, but still don't have it. You've convinced me that it would be a wonderful addition to anyone's library. I too liked your sharing of leafy memories. It might be a good pairing with The Giving Tree when doing certain studies of nature, or when doing nature writing. Thanks for the great share!

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    1. Yes, a pairing with the Giving Tree would be terrific! The giving and taking contrast would be interesting. Thank you for stopping by!

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  3. Laura had me at "soft cradle." Love! And how sweet is that cover? Thanks for sharing

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    1. I agree about the cover. It's such a great match of words and pictures. Thank you for commenting and stopping by.

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  4. nice review... what a neat way to think about a leaf.

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    1. Thank you, Sue! I appreciate your kind words and you hit the nail on the head. This book is very clever.

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  5. I just adore these leaf poems! I don't have the book yet but it is on my list. Thanks for this enticing taste!

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  6. Oh my, I have this in the queue to review for next week and your review is so very lovely, I don't know what I'm going to say now. :-)

    It is a very special book and I think there will be a lot of buzz about it.

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  7. Thank you, Roberta! I agree that this is a special book.

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  8. I can't wait to get my hands on this book! Thanks for the preview!!

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  9. Thank you for stopping by, Mary Lee! Love the Jackie Robinson poem you posted Friday.

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  10. I love the definition of lovely and the book certainly sounds lovely.

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  11. I would be lost without dictionary.com and thesaurus.com. Thank you for stopping by!

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