Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek
written by Marianne Berkes; illustrated by Jill Dubin
2012 (Dawn Publications)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Check out STEM Friday at rovingfiddlehead kidlit
Check out Poetry Friday at Teaching Authors
In each two page spread of Over in the Forest, an animal parent and their children are featured. The first four line stanza introduces the parent, the children, and their habitat. Stanza two starts off with a verb related to actions of the animal. The children follow the lead of the mother. Look at the example of raccoons below:
"Dunk," said the mother.
"We dunk" said the eight.
So they dunked and dabbled
As they ate very late.
This is a counting book, so the number of animals increases from 1-10 as you read. Jill Dubin's collage illustrations are very engaging and will be great models if you want to try an art activity based on the book. I love that she has hidden other animals in each illustration and challenges readers to find them. Information about the hidden animals is located in the back matter.
Over in the Forest is such a smart book! Marianne Berkes covers a ton of bases with each set of two stanzas. You get information about the names of different animal babies, feeding habits, and a good lesson on using vivid verbs or writing dialogue in the space of eight verses. These poems would be great for shared reading lessons in kindergarten. I really like that each poem follows a predictable pattern which is helpful for beginning readers. I think the publisher should make this available in a big book format. In addition to all of this, the back matter contains a paragraph about each featured animal, tips from the author about looking for animals outside and a list of activities that can be done inside. Jill Dubin adds a terrific step-by-step account of how she created the illustrations. Over in the Forest would be an excellent addition to the nonfiction collection of a primary grade classroom.
The other books in the Over in the ... series have PDF activities on the Dawn Publications website, so I suspect that you will see a similar set of activities in the near future for Over in the Forest.