Eric Carle’s stuff is just SO fabulous for the small ones. I’ve mentioned before that his illustrations are very appealing to young children. Also, his use of repitition is extremely valuable to an emergent reader. Today’s book has both of those qualities and is also a great example of the way he teaches simple concepts through stories. It is called The Very Busy Spider and is about–well–a very busy spider. She hangs out in the corner of the barn spinning her web. As each of the barnyard animals ask the spider to do something else, she doesn’t answer–as she is too busy spinning her web.
Each page goes something like this: “‘Oink! Oink!’ grunted the pig. ‘Want to roll in the mud?’ The spider didn’t answer. She was very busy spinning her web.” Simple as that. But think of everything we’ve learned from that simple exchange. We’ve been introduced to a picture of a new animal and know what the animal is called. We know what kind of sounds the animal makes and a characteristic or behavior of the animal. Pretty great, huh?
In the end the spider finishes her web and we learn a characteristic of spiders– “And the spider caught the fly in her web…just like that!” And now we know what spiders look like and what spiders do. Just like that!