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It's been a while but I'm back with a new book club pick for January: Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert.
I picked up this gem at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in 2015 and have been waiting for the right time to share it with you and it's finally here!
Feeding the Sheep is what you would consider a circular plot. This means that the story begins and ends in the same place (think, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie). In this case, that place is feeding the sheep.
The story follows a mother and daughter team through the seasons as mom tends to her sheep from feeding them, to shearing, to washing the fleece, carding and spinning, dyeing, and finally knitting a sweater for the little one. The language is simple and repetitive while bringing in some great new vocabulary related to the fiber arts. I love how with only a few simple lines on each page, the text has a wonderful sing song quality to it (What are you doing, the little girl asks. Feeding the sheep, her mother says. Snowy day. Corn and hay.).
What makes texts like Feeding the Sheep really special is its ability to capture the attention of our littlest readers. When I purchased this book for D, he was just a bit over 2 and a half and this quickly made its way to our #1 regular bedtime story. Because of the predictable text, after several readings he was able to help me "read" the story by reciting the "What are you doing?" line on each page.
My favorite thing about Feeding the Sheep is the ton of fiber related vocabulary I was able to teach D. Each time we read a new page I'd ask, what is the mama doing? And he would reply with knitting, or spinning the yarn on her spinning wheel, etc. I also loved that we were able to relate a lot of the process of shearing and wool prep with things we had seen at Maryland Sheep and Wool. I know I keep saying love, but this book really is one of my favorites. We have read it over and over and over again.
Repeated readings are one of those things that you love, and also drive you completely nuts. Raise your hand if you've ever read the bedtime story with your eyes closed mumbling "How do dinosaurs say goodnight..." while turning the pages at all the right parts! Yea, me too. But repeated readings are so very important for early literacy development. They encourage vocabulary growth related to the text as well as greater text-related comprehension. This is the reason you can read Kitten's First Full Moon about 50 times and your child still has something different to say about it. Books that also have that special sing song quality (I'm looking at you Goodnight Moon) are enjoyable to listen to. Children like hearing your voice reading that rhyming story. Here is a short study that gives some tips for making the most out of those repeated readings.
I hope you have a chance to get a copy of this book. Right now it's less than $4 for the hardcover on Amazon! SO totally worth it! Grab a copy and get ready because I have a new pattern coming for you and some fun fiber related activities! If you join us this month please share on Instagram using #klbookclub. Happy reading (and rereading)!
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