We were recently given the opportunity to review a copy of Branch Out World’s ‘Picture Book Explorers‘. The resource is available as a download which can then be printed out at home in its entirety or page by page as required. Each Picture Book Explorers booklet focuses on one picture book which is then read every day for five days. Each day the child is encouraged to complete an activity based on an aspect of the book and each day looks at a particular topic such as art, maths, science an so on. The idea is to help develop a life long love of literature for children and this is something that I think this series does very well.
‘The Day the Crayon’s Quit‘ by Oliver Jeffers is one of our favourite books and also happened to be the book that the Picture Book Explorers unit was based on. My children were familiar with the story already and wanted to get stuck in straight away so we began where all good stories do – at the beginning.
The first thing to mention is that the information at the start of the unit is very well put together. Parents are given three pages of information whch explain what the resource is all about and sets out how the activities are structured. I was able to see what topics would be covered each day and importantly I could prepare any materials in advance by using the list of ‘extra materials you will need’ at the start of the booklet.
Day one focused on the history and geography topics relevant to the picture book. In this case we looked at Northern Ireland as this is where Oliver Jeffers was born. The children spent the day researching the city of Belfast using prompts from the section to help them.
Day two looked at the words. I was able to differentiate for my children with my eldest researching epistolary writing and my youngest practicing writing and retelling the story to me. I especially appreciate the way that the activities can be pitched at different age groups which makes it an ideal resource for families with more than one child.
Day three was art based – a big hit for us as arty types anyway. They enjoyed the tint grading activity which they hadn’t tried before. The main activity for the day was making a sequel to the picture book which went down a storm with the boys. They were both extremely proud of their finished books and we spent the evening sharing the new stories with each other.
Day four explored the science of wax crayons. We melted various brands of wax crayons watching to see if they melted at the same rate and discussed changes of state. It was a wonderful activity for the children plus they recycled all the old bits of crayon they had accumulated.
Day five was all about maths and crafts. The final activities rounded up the week nicely.
I have been deliberately brief about each day because I don’t want to give too much away. I must say that each section is extremely detailed and has been researched very well so that the information given is accurate. The sections have a number of activities to complete each day with children, many more than the few I have mentioned here. We devoted a day to each ‘day’ which gave the children time to fully explore the picture book and maximize their enjoyment of the activities.
It is evident that huge amounts of time and effort are devoted to the preparation of these publications. They are excellent quality and extremely good value for money (all available for well under £5). I recommend the Picture Book Explorers range of books as a valuable addition to your home education resources.
Disclaimer. This product was provided for free but I was under no obligation to provide a positive review. The views and opinions expressed here are my own. The review is an honest one.