Lola has crafted a book that is both beautifully written and useful. The illustrations are fun and rich. Not only is the book to be enjoyed, but it teaches. Kids could learn far more about grammar from this book with it's lovely sentences of perfect sequence than they could from books intended to teach. "Stone breaks. Water quakes. Magma glows. Volcano blows." It seems so simple;however for students learning the core of sentences (subjects and powerful verbs), Lola's work has many layers. Fun, craft, and learning--incidental or analytic for older students. You have to get this book. Wouldn't it be fun for kids to write another book about a sequence in science or social studies content and use many of those two word sentences with powerful verbs like Lola does? Get it!
The ideal picture book is a happy marriage of text and art. An Island Grows is a perfect picture book. Brief text--just under 120 carefully chosen words--contains the bare facts of how a volcanic island is formed: "Deep, deep beneath the sea ... Stone breaks. Water quakes. Magma glows. Volcano blows." Colorful illustrations composed of cut paper collages bring the information to life. The art grows across the page as the island grows in the ocean. At first only sharp, sheer black rocks emerge from a stormy sea; slowly green plants sprout from wind-blown seeds; in time, a profusion of flowers, insects, and birds take over the newly formed land. Eventually, the infant island is discovered by sailors. "Ships dock. Traders flock. Settlers stay. Children play." Dancing, singing villagers celebrate life in an exuberant double-page spread. Each cadenced rhyme and intriguing collage adds to the image of this "busy island in the sea, where only water used to be." Elegant language and evocative art would in themselves be enough to make any book a success, but An Island Grows offers a bonus: a fascinating geology lesson at a level accessible to preschoolers. For the read-aloud adult, notes at the end of the book contain just the right amount of background information to answer questions a child may have. The Earth's crust, for example, is compared to "plates of thick rock." Science becomes personal at the thought that these plates "move at the same speed that your fingernails grow." The story is told in present tense because island formation isn't ancient prehistory; it's something that's still possible today. The island of Surtsey, near Iceland, was formed in 1963, less than 50 years ago. Who knows?--a new volcanic island could be in the news next month. And if it is, young children will understand what's happening--thanks to the science story told so well in An Island Grows.
Prior to purchasing this book, I pulled it off the shelf at the library... it had cool art and seemed like it could interest the kids. I had no idea how much we would all love it. Each page invokes questions from the kids that we are able to teach from. The art makes you want to go work on a craft project with them to learn more about volcanoes, islands and the sort. Highly highly recommend everyone own a copy of this book.
I loved the way it was written- in short rhyming couplets. It used minimal words (in a good way) to convey the lesson of how Magma becomes lava and ultimately gives rise to an island. DD7 appreciated the 'lesson' more than DD3 who liked the cute illustrations. It is a great Science book but also great resource for poetry/writing styles
This book works well for teachers who study Six Traits. It works on teaching short, simple sentences. Students who can write short, simple sentences in addition to long, flowing sentences have achieved sentence fluency.