Perfect Picture Book Fridays are the creation of the lovely children’s book author Susanna Leonard Hill. Check in each week on Fridays for new book reviews. Susanna also has a complete list (alphabetically and by theme) of all the book reviews. It’s a wonderful resource if you’re looking for activities for a book, or books focused on a particular theme.
This is the second in my series reviewing books for very young children and babies. Our own copy of JAMBERRY by Bruce Degen is dog-eared but still going strong. Enjoy!
Author/Illustrator: Bruce Degen
Year: 1983 (board book published 1995)
Genre: Board book/picture book
Themes: Adventure; Language Fun
One berry/Two berry/Pick me a blueberry
Hatberry/Shoeberry/In my canoeberry
Under the bridge/And over the dam/Looking for berries/Berries for jam
Synopsis: (from publisher’s website) They’re off…a boy and an endearing, rhyme-spouting bear, who squires him through a fantastic world of berries. And their adventure comes to a razzamatazz finale under a starberry sky.
Children will want to feast again and again on Bruce Degen’s exuberant, colorful pictures and his rollicking, berryful rhymes.
What makes it great: The exuberant, playful, and inventive use of language, plus the richly detailed illustrations where you can always find something new to look at make this a delight to read over and over (and over and over).
What readers notice: My children always loved the moment when the bear and the boy tip their canoe down a waterfall of blueberries (a wordless spread) as well as the end, where the boy and bear end up buried in a mountain of berries.
What a writer notices: This story is really just a romp, but even still there is a clear purpose stated at the beginning (the characters are “Looking for berries/Berries for jam”) which is achieved at the end (“Mountains and fountains/Rain down on me/Buried in berries/What a jam jamboree!”). In this way, the author achieves a change in the characters from the start to the end of the story.
I also admire how he managed shift the lilt and rhythms of his text so that each section achieves a different feel, appropriate to the illustrations. For example, one section shows a train passing through a blackberry patch, and the text takes on the rhythm of a train:
Quickberry!/Quackberry!/Pick me a blackberry!
In the next section, the text swings and rolls just like the brass band shown in the illustration:
Berryband/Merryband/Jamming in berryland
It’s subtle, but all adds to the delight of this story.
Activities/Links to Resources:
Counting, art, movement, and food-related activities: http://www.brighthubeducation.com/preschool-lesson-plans/66738-jamberry-book-activities-and-lesson-plan/
Art, cooking, movement, and science activities: http://www.gryphonhouse.com/activities/activityDetail.asp?ID=109&CatID=5
A recipe. I didn’t make it, but it looks delicious! http://offtheshelf.typepad.com/off-the-shelf/2012/06/whole-wheat-jamberry-crumble-bars.html%20