February 8, 2011

Namibia: Day One

I'm afraid there isn't much about Namibia in the library. Africa in general, and African animals in particular, have resources galore. But Namibia--not so much. So, instead of focusing entirely on one country in Africa, I decided to make this section of our Babies Unit a little broader in scope. Continental, in scope, you could say.

Day one was about building interest. As I have come to find out, my children love animals in a deep, passionate way. So, I started with animals. Always build on their interests when possible. But, you pros already knew that.

To start off the day we read a book called: Who Comes to the Water Hole? by Colleen Stanley Bare. I couldn't find a cover image, but do not let that deter you. It was a great book. The pics were not National Geographic quality, but they were plentiful and in color and varied. The book talks about the wet and dry seasons, which was helpful later on that day when that concept came up again.

Then we read Face to Face With Cheetahs by Chris Johns with Elizabeth Carney. GOLD STAR BOOK. I'm pretty sure this is one of the best animal books we have ever read. It is published by National Geographic and Chris Johns is a National Geographic photographer so the pictures were beyond amazing. But the text was excellent as well. It was just enough information. Perfect children's book.

To end the day, we watched the movie Africa: The Serengeti. My daughter realized it was narrated by Simba's dad before I did. Smarty pants. James Earl Jones's voice really added to the overall coolness of the movie. How could it not? This is an IMAX movie, so only 40 minutes long (perfect for small children) and has a few strange cinematography moments probably due to it being a 3D movie. Despite that, the movie was excellent. It showed herds of wildebeests migrating and lions and crocodiles attacking them. Other African animals also make cameo appearances. The kids really caught on to the wet season/dry season concept, but I didn't realize that until later. Overall, this was a very enjoyable movie to watch with the kids and it made Africa really exciting to them.

Later that night, I had my hubs read A Story A Story by Gail E. Haley to the children. I don't usually use nightly story time for school purposes, but there were a few Africa books that didn't tie in very well to the activities I planned, and this is one of them.

It is an awesome book. Especially if you or your hubby do voices. My hubby does. My children were riveted. Highly recommend this one. It won the Caldecott and it deserved to win. Enough said.

So--day one went very well.

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