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Family Book Festival is a project to help chase away the doldrums of winter by jumping into the favorite books of our author, illustrator, blogger friends.
It’s our hope that, not only will we provide reading families with amazing new booklists and activities, but also give the parents a chance to experience a blissful walk down memory lane as they share favorite books from their childhood.
Today I am thrilled to introduce fellow mom and book reviewer Renee Cormier!
Renee Cormier from the Mother,Daughter & Son Book club and I share something in common, and it’s more than the love of books! Many of you may not know this but Jump into a Book started as a mother/daughter book club many many years ago. We would choose a book and read it aloud to our children, a few weeks later we’d meet for our “book adventures” where we’d bring the pages of our chosen book alive. From that, it’s grown into this blog, a series of books and a publishing company. We too eventually added a son to our mix which opened up a whole new world for us book-jumpers.
Because of this history I feel a kindred connection to Renee and was so happy that she chose to share one of her families favorite Dr. Seuss books.
Please welcome Renee Cormier from the Mother/Daughter & Son Book Club
Welcome Renee! Share with us your thoughts and reasons why you picked Dr Seuss for your book pick.
From the immortal Dr. Seuss springs a great truth:
From there to here,
from here to there,
I must admit that thinking back to my own childhood and trying to remember my favorite books from when I was my own children’s current ages (6 and 9), only Dr. Seuss comes to mind for the simple reason that HIS BOOKS ARE AWESOME! Truth be told, my very, very, very favorite Dr. Seuss book is Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb for two reasons:
1. I loved the little rhyme: “Dum ditty, Dum ditty, Dum, dum, dum”; and
2. I loved looking at the picture of the “millions of monkeys”. In fact, I’m pretty sure I colored in many of the monkeys!
That being said, the very first Dr. Seuss book that I ever bought for my own children was One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. This is Seuss at his very silliest. The creativity in coming up with all of the unusual critters (e.g., Yink, Gack, Ish, Zeep, etc.) and them coming up with silly rhymes to reinforce the sounds and spelling of words (e.g., “wink, drink, pink”, “dish, wish, fish”, etc.) is sheer brilliance! Dr. Seuss was the master of combining fun with learning.
So, when Valarie asked me to pick a favorite book from my childhood and come up with an accompanying activity, that was easy peasy, because between myself and my kids, we have drawing skills, rhyming skills, and silly-making skills. We decided to create our own Seuss-inspired book.
Step 1: Choosing a Replacement for “Fish”
The first step was coming up with the front cover of our book. It took all of 5 seconds to agree that our focus would be on cats because we are a household of cat lovers. We wrote many ideas for words to describe our cats: black, brown, crazy (yes, we’re convinced one of them is a little “off”), sleepy, naughty, nice, fluffy, skinny, tall, small, etc. And then my daughter nailed it:
(Trust me…that describes them to a “t”)
Step 2: Choosing Our Critters of Interest
We decided that my son and daughter would each choose a made-up name for their make-believe critter. I instructed them to choose an ending that would have many rhyming words: “-at”, “-op”, “-ang”, “-ut”, and so on. They immediately each chose their critter. My daughter chose a “Yang” and his friend “Zang” and my son chose a “Doo-Blop” and his girlfriend, the “Dee-Blop”.
Step 3: Creating a list of rhyming words
Phew, luckily the kids chose critter names that were easy to rhyme. Here are the words they came up with that rhymed with their respective critter names:
Step 4: Creating Some Silly Rhymes
This was by far the most fun part and of course, the most challenging. From each list we chose 3 or 4 words that would be the easiest to make into a story. OK, truth be told, there was much erasing going on during this part but this is where the creative juices really got flowing. I wish I could say that there was a system, but the little poems just came out of no-where. Here’s what my two little poets came up with (maybe Mom helped her son just a wee bit).
Once, the doorbell rang
then, I heard a clang
then, I saw a Yang
with him was a Zang.
It was a Yang Zang gang.
I once climbed a hill to the top.
Under a tree was a Doo-Blop.
I took him back home to my Pop,
who said, “Let’s go to the Blog Shop,
to buy our Doo-Blop a Dee-Blop.”
Step 5: Drawing Out The Critters
My daughter has the most vivid imagination of all of us. She had already drawn the outlines of her Yang and Zang before my son and I finished our list of rhyming words! Confession: my son drew a blank for his critters so I, drawing inspiration from The Simpsons and Futurama in creating the Doo-Blop and Dee-Blop and my son coloured them in! We were howling with laughter over our drawings. Here are the final products:
What a great project for the budding author/illustrator in all of us!
Renee, along with her two kids, Danielle (9) and Dominic (6) review children’s books for the website Mother Daughter Book Reviews. Renee and her kids have lots of fun discussing what they love about the books that they read together. In a former life (BC: “Before Children”), Renee received her PhD in Psychology but she is currently taking a hiatus from the academic world to merge some of her passions: reading, the internet, and of course, the lights in her life: her kiddos! Aside from reading, she loves to bake, run for fun, garden, and create.