Our school as a delightful birthday book program, through which you can make a monetary donation to the library and the librarian will use that money to buy new books for the library. These books are designated “birthday books,” marked with a special birthday book note in the front, and given to your child first, to keep for as long as he/she wants before they are entered into the regular library rotation. Our new five-year-old received her birthday books on her birthday (our librarian even makes housecalls for students who are learning at home or have birthdays on weekends!!!), and they are delightful! Today, I’m sharing one of her birthday books (a book that was completely new to me, so that was unusual and exciting): I’m Sticking With You by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, illustrated by Steve Small.
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A poem in two voices, I’m Sticking With You is the tumultuous tale of two friends, Bear and Squirrel. Bear appears to adore Squirrel and cherish his friendship, through good and bad, happy and sad. Squirrel, though patient through Bear’s many blunders, reaches the end of his fuse when Bear jams himself into Squirrel’s igloo, cramming Squirrel against a wall. Squirrel asks Bear to leave, then tidies the space just to his ideals. “Everything’s perfect, except…”
You guessed it! Squirrel misses Bear! “Me without you? It just doesn’t work. / Me without you? I’d just go berserk.” Once Squirrel finds Bear and remedies the hurt, the rest of the book is told in alternating voice, with Bear’s and Squirrel’s lines designated by different texts (making this very fun for 2 people to read aloud together).
Small’s illustrations are simple, often highlighted by plain backgrounds, but this allows readers’ attention to focus on the details he’s added to deepen our understand of the characters’ feelings. Bet you never knew you could learn so much from a squirrel’s eyes, ears, and tail!
Y’all, in addition to being a terrifically fun and insightful story, Prasadam-Halls has nailed the rhyme and rhythm, so this is a delight to read aloud. Combine that with the two voices and you’ve got a terrific opportunity for young readers to develop fluency, as two readers can read Bear’s and Squirrel’s lines.
If you liked this, you might also like:
- Garcia & Colette Go Exploring by Hannah Barnaby, illustrated by Andrew Joyner
- The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah and Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Tricia Tusa
- Molly and Mae: A Friendship Journey by Danny Parker, illustrated by Freya Blackwood
I’ve added this to our list of books about cooperation and teamwork, so be sure to check out the rest of those books, too! What book have your kids received as a gift that surprised you with how much you enjoyed it?