Monday, June 16, 2014

Trout, Trout, Trout!: A Fish Chant

Trout, Trout, Trout!: A Fish Chant 
Ant, Ant, Ant!: An Insect Chant
by April Pulley Sayre
illustrated by Trip Park

Bird, Bird, Bird!: A Chirping Chant
by April Pulley Sayre
illustrated by Gary Locke

April Pulley Sayre is the author of many popular non-fiction animal picture books. Some of her books we liked are shared in the Non-fiction Animal Picture Books post. Her commitment to accuracy of facts and her talent with lyrical text makes many of her books popular with the kids, especially for read-aloud sessions.

What's not to love about American freshwater fish? Being in trout and salmon country here in the pacific northwest, the younger kid has been learning about fish and other sea creatures as and when they catch his fancy.

As the title says, it is a fish chant. The rhythm sets the pace, making it addictive after the second read.

Threespine Stickleback.
Freshwater Drum.
Lake Chub. Creek Chub.
Chum, chum, chum!

Sockeye salmon. Arctic Char.
Mooneye, Walleye,
Gar, gar, gar!

The book is filled with freshwater fish names some of which are quite silly - makes one wonder how they got their names. The illustrations capture this silliness of the names while not straying far from what the fish really look like. There is a certain wild humor woven into the pictures that my kids easily picked up on and enjoyed heartily.

At a certain level, it is possible to dismiss it as just a gimmick of listing names of fish in some enchanting order, but at another level, it is pretty clever and multi-layered for learning and read-aloud fun.

What's the point of a good formula, if there aren't more along the same lines, right? So, we came upon Ant, Ant, Ant!: An Insect Chant. Unlike some sequels that disappoint, this one is a winner again, at least with the 6 yo.

Employing a similar catchy rhythm, Ant, Ant, Ant! lists various insects,some of which I had never heard of until now. And by the third read, we get curious and start researching these new insects.

Billbug, bed bug,
bark beetle, bee
Painted lady butterfly,
flea, flea, flea!

Cockroach, Earwig.
Like them? Can't!
Firefly, Flower Fly,
Ant, Ant, Ant!

Again, Trip Park has cleverly integrated some subtle humor that kids pick up on. For example, one of the pictures shows an insect reading Trout, Trout, Trout! and a Perch leaps out of the water to make a cameo. Enough to make the resident 6 yo squeal with delight at the discovery.

While Bird, Bird, Bird! is not illustrated by Trip Park as with the other two books, it still has the same lilt and charm and eye-catching popping-out-of-the-book caricature-ish appeal.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,
picture that!
Chachalaca, Chickadee,
Chat, Chat, Chat!

Kingbird, Kingfisher,
Kinglet, Kite,
Frigatebird, my word,
what a sight!

While most of the birds were familiar to us, there were quite a handful that we enjoyed learning about.

The only thing that the 6 yo objected to: The inconsistency in title of the 3rd book! While the first one is "Trout! Trout! Trout!" - a particular fish, and the second one is "Ant! Ant! Ant!" - a particular insect, the 3rd book should have been "Chat! Chat! Chat! A Chirping Chant" --OR-- Keep the 3rd the same, and the first should have been "Fish! Fish! Fish! A Bubbling Chant" and the second should have been "Insect! Insect! Insect! A Buzzing Chant" to be in alignment with "Bird! Bird! Bird! A Chirping Chant".

[Teacher's guide for Trout, Trout, Trout!]
[image source: April Pulley Sayre website]

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