Spring time is here - well, at least according to the calendar. It is 39 degrees in Ohio as I write this post. It is time to clean up the yard, prepare the garden, and tidy up the flower beds. For my son, it means time to play in the dirt, aka "muckity-muck". He loves to be outside and loves to try to find worms! So you probably wouldn't be surprised to find out that he loves the book Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin. Actually, my daughter loves this book too.
Diary of a Worm is written from the viewpoint of a young worm named Worm. He writes in his diary about advice he receives from his mother such as digging tunnels takes care of the earth. He describes significant happenings at school like when he ate his homework because he was hungry. Worm and his best friend, Spider, have lots of fun including the time when Spider tries to teach Worm to walk upside down. The book is "laugh out loud" funny. My favorite part is when Worm makes fun of his sister by saying to Spider, "No matter how much time she spends looking in the mirror her face will always look like her rear end." In addition to the great text, the illustrations by Harry Bliss, a cartoonist, are vivid and eye-catching. My kids thought it would great to give away this book in the Birthday Book Bonanza this week - Good Luck!
Diary of a Worm was the first in a series of three books by Cronin that are written in the form of a diary. The other titles are Diary of a Spider and Diary of a Fly. The main characters in these next two books, Spider and Fly, are friends of Worm. Worm introduces readers to Spider in his diary. Then, Spider introduces readers to Fly in his diary. Fly and Spider's relationship is unique, since spiders usually eat flies. Spider's grandfather points out the spiders and flies didn't get along in his day. These books complete a great trilogy that belongs in any home library! The books are entertaining and even teach us a little about worms, spiders, and flies (I didn't know that flies beat their wings 200 times per second). Diary of a Worm and Diary of a Spider are also available on DVD.
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type was Doreen Cronin's first book. Cronin wrote the book while she was in law school, during a sleepless night after her father passed away. It only took her 20 minutes to write, but it was was not until five years later that it was published. This book was a Caldecott Honor Book in 2001. The illustrations for this book and all the books with her farmyard friends are by Betsy Lewin. Click, Clack, Moo and its sequel, Giggle, Giggle, Quack are available on DVD.
I loved and still love to read ABC and 123 books with my kids. Doreen Cronin has written one of each that star the clan from Click, Clack, Moo. Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack: An ABC Adventure tells the story of Duck organizing a picnic away from the farm. Click, Clack, Splish, Splash: A Counting Adventure is about the animals saving ten goldfish from Farmer Brown's fish tank while he takes a nap. We just read these books before bedtime the other night. These books would be great candidates for a "picture walk". Talking about the pictures before reading would have helped us understand the story better. We ended up having to go back through the book after reading to catch all the little details in the illustrations that weren't mentioned in the text.
New this week! I am made up a quick page that I am going to call a Library Checklist. There have been many times that I have gone to the library and have felt overwhelmed. I just did not know where to start looking. Now with Happy Birthday Author I hope you always have an idea for a book to check out for your children. Print this page out each week before you head to the library. This week's checklist gives you the list of Doreen Cronin's books, plus a word search and a few other activities for your kiddos. I hope you find it useful.
For my Ohio Readers:
Next week, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is having worm composting workshop on March 31 from 10am to 3pm. Learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle with worms in a two liter bottle. There is also a workshop on April 7. Maybe we will find Worm!
Our Photos from Worm Composting (these pics were added after the publication of the blog post):
1. Scholastic Diary of a Worm Lesson Plans - One, Two
2. Doreen Cronin's Website
3. Doreen Cronin discussing Diary Books - Google Video
4. Audio Interview - First Book Podcast
5. PBS Kids - Click Clack Moo Unit
6. Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss Speaks at BookFest 2005
7. Giggle, Giggle, Quack - Lesson Plan
8. Bounce - Lesson Plan (A good one!)
9. Using Diary of a Worm as a Mentor Text to teach writing - YouTube
Note: Normally, I have the author birthday confirmed from numerous sources. Her birthday was only listed on a couple sites including School Library Monthly. I was unable to contact her directly.