We all Went on Safari

I haven’t traveled to Africa yet, although I am confident that my wanderlust will guide me there in the coming years.  Until then, I continue to visit Africa in books.  I like to dream of a time and place when animals, big and small,  roamed freely on an peaceful and plentiful Earth.  

If I had a pair of ruby slippers, I’d tap them together and step into the pages of  We all Went on Safari.  I’d  join Arusha, Mosi and Tumpe as they admire the animals of Tanzania from a distance with wonder, respect and honor.  

Regional focus:  Africa/Tanzania

Author:  Lauri Krebs

Illustrator: Julia Cairns

Genre:  children’s literature

In We all Went on Safari we meet Arusha, Mosi, Tumpe and their Maasai friends in Tanzania as they take us on a walking safari through the African grasslands. As we turn the pages of Kreb’s story, we encounter native animals like elephants, lions and monkeys. Along the way, we  learn to count in Swahili.

What I love:

  • The book contains an illustrated guide to counting in Swahili, a map, notes about each of the animals and facts about Tanzania and the Maasai people.
  • The story uses repetition, which invites children to participate in read a-louds.
  • Krebs weaves gentle rhymes and descriptive adjectives into her writing.
  • The illustrations by Julia Cairns are playful, vibrant and whimsical.

Themes: counting, habitat, African animals

Discussion:

  • What animals did you most like in the story?
  • How old are you in Swahili?
  • How are you similar and different from the children in Tanzania?
  • Where would you like to explore with your friends? Why?

Connections:

  • Investigate a specific animal from Tanzania.
  • Make animal masks with supplies found at home. Play “safari” in your garden.
  • Design your own Maasai necklace with a paper plate and paint.African Necklace Craft

 

 

Rechenka’s Eggs

Regional Focus: Ukraine/Russia

Author:  Patricia Polacco

Genre:  Children’s literature

In Patricia Polacco’s heart-felt story, Babushka is known throughout all of Moskva for her beautifully painted eggs. She also has an eye for the wonders of nature, so it is no surprise when she befriends an injured goose she names Rechenka. But, when Rechenka turns over a basket of Babushka’s specially prepared eggs, the reader is surprised by another wonder that saves the day!

What I love:

A tale of friendship between a caring adult and a goose.

  • A reminder to appreciate the simple miracles of life.
  • A carefree approach to difficulties and unexpected circumstances.
  • Flow of foreign words woven into the text.

Themes:  miracles, natural wonders, kindness

Discussion:

  • What words would you use to describe Babushka? Would you like her to be your friend? Why?
  • Have you ever rescued an injured animal? What happened?
  • Babushka witnesses many “natural” wonders as she journeys through her day such as a visit from deer or a flock of flying birds. What natural wonders have you seen today?

Connections:

  • Find the Ukraine on the map. Investigate culture and tradition from this country.
  • Using natural dyes, paint and decorate your own eggshells.
  • How are the buildings in the story Rechenka’s Eggs similar or different from the buildings in your community? Make a picture of a building or a house in your town and compare it with the buildings of the “onion domes” in Moscow.