Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jessica by Kevin Henkes

When I can (read: when I get myself organized to plan them), I like to do little activities with Hadley and Harper to go along with the books we read together.  The gap between their two years seems to be closing, and they can do a lot of the same things which makes it fun.

Recently, we read Jessica by Kevin Henkes.  This is a charming story about a little girl named Ruthie who has an imaginary friend named Jessica.  (I think this book pairs well with Dotty by Erica Perl.)  When I told the girls we were going to read the story, Hadley's first question was: "Who's that guy?"  She was pointing to the picture of the author on a page of the book. 

"That's Kevin Henkes."  I told her.

"I don't think I know Kevin."  she said.

I made a mental note to learn more about the authors of the stories we read, and also, to teach Hadley the importance of calling adults "Mr/Mrs/Ms."

Anyway, the girls loved the story, and afterwords we did some activities from a workbook called More Story Stretchers by Shirley C. Raines and Robert J. Canady.  The first one we did was take turns working on a picture, because in the book Ruthie and her imaginary friend Jessica create a picture together.   The idea behind this is for children to "take turns and to respond to each other's" drawing.

Harper went first:
And then Hadley:

Look how happy Harper was to let Hadley take a turn!

And in this picture, I'd like to write that Hadley is saying, "Good job, Harper!"  But what's really happening here is I'm taking a picture while telling Hadley, with much authority, that "Harper can draw whatever she wants to on that guy.  Leave her alone and let her take her turn!"
But we got the picture done.

The girls even let me have a try. 

Hadley says, "Mama, how 'bout you do the shoes?"

"OK!" I say and grab a marker.

"Mama, do you want to do stripes on the shoes?" Hadley suggests.

"Uhhhh, sure."

"How 'bout pink?" she adds.

"I thought I got to do the shoes!" I start to whine.

"Yea, you can.  I'll hand you the pink marker when you're ready." 

Hadley gets the concept of sharing and letting people do their thing.  She really gets it.

Next, we took out our letter blocks and tried to spell our names like Jessica and Ruthie do in the book.  Harper was more interested in making a tower and knocking it down, but Hadley really liked this activity.

She got this far with her name, but got frustrated because she couldn't find a "D" or an "E" with the same kind of pattern.  So she decided to start over.
Ahhhhhh, much better.
Apparently, it was just fine for me to have a different pattern for my name.  Sheesh.  The things we sacrifice for our children.


  1. I'm surprised I've never heard of this book. I fancied I knew all of Kevin Henkes' picture books, but I was wrong! I am going to look for it.