Tots and tykes will get a worm’s eye view of the world in “Underground,” by Denise Fleming. The picture book is the September Baby Buzz Pick, choosen by parent educators with the Washington School District.
Each month, the group selects a quality hardcover book for young readers birth to 5 years of age. A review of the book appears in the second weekend issue of The Missourian. The parent educators then purchase copies of the Baby Buzz Picks to use in their visits with parents and caretakers.
Baby Buzz has been ongoing since March 2007. A list of Baby Buzz Picks can be found at emissourian.com and is continually updated.
The following review was written by Nancy Nagel, area literacy advocate.
The wonderful world of life beneath the surface is celebrated in this new book. Simple, rhythmic text sets the location, “low down, way down, underground” and describes what goes on, “creatures dig, and run around.” Throughout the book, the story of planting a tree is developed by the illustrations, without words, seen from the perspective of the underground inhabitants.
Author/ illustrator Denise Fleming uses pulp painting to create earthy-colored illustrations. Various shades of brown and green fill the pages in large, richly textured blocks.
Young children will enjoy pointing out the animals on each page and perhaps discussing their own experiences with that animal. Some also may be familiar with the root vegetables and flower bulbs depicted. Older children will relish following the sequence of how a tree is planted.
This is a great book for talking about seasons and what animals do during the winter. You may want to introduce new words like hibernation to your child’s vocabulary.
Older children and parents also will appreciate the factual information provided on the last two pages of the book. Each illustration is presented in reduced size with several sentences about each creature’s underground activities.
The literature extensions suggested by this book should be obvious. Take your young child out to the backyard and start digging. Ask her what she thinks she will find. Look for worms, roots, insects or other buried treasures. Plant a tree or flower bulbs in the fall and watch the results of your labors bloom in the spring. Whatever you do, talk about it, write about it and watch your child’s development blossom.
Other parent educator favorites this month are “ABCers” by Carole Lexa Schaefer, “Boot and Shoe” by Marla Frazee, “The Bear in the Book” by Kate Banks, “Little Cub” by Olivier Dunrea, and “Dog Loves Drawing” by Louise Yates.