Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Spy Storytelling

My kids love books where the goal is to search for a given object.  Some of their favorites include:

I Spy
Can You See What I See?
Where's Waldo
Look & Find Disney Friends
I Spy Art Series, which includes:
     -  I Spy An Alphabet in Art
     -  I Spy Shapes in Art
     -  I Spy Colors in Art

Often, all the kids want to do is find the images they're looking for and then turn the page.  But sometimes, I can get them to linger on a page for long enough to start talking about what is going on in a given scene, what the people are doing, why the objects are there in a given way.  I particularly like the Can You See What I See? books for this because each page of the book follows a story along.  For example, in Toyland Express, the reader follows the train from creation in the toy shop, to the toy store, to the home of a child opening it in a brand new box, to abandoned in the attic, to refurbished and played with all over again.  Because these book tend not to have too many words (the I Spy books do usually incorporate a small rhyme), they are wide-open for children to use their imaginations to start learning how to tell a story.

Recently, our friends at Carrots are Orange and An Everyday Story introduced us to another set of books that are in this category:

Welcome to Mamoko
The World of Mamoko in the Year 3000
The World of Mamoko in the Time of Dragons

The Mamoko books are written by the same people who wrote another favorite I recently shared, Maps. They are wordless books intended to promote storytelling in children - at the front is a page with a number of characters that appear throughout the rest of the book.  Then, as you flip through the pages you can choose to look at the scene as a whole or follow a given character through the book.  While it is fun just to search for each character on a page, slowly my kids started to get the idea of telling the story of each character - including interesting funny backstories.  Here is an explanation by the authors of the books and explaining their thinking behind their creation:  We had so much fun getting know the world of Mamoko.  We can't wait for more to come!

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