Calling all Halloween enthusiasts! This week, I'm featuring a Halloween-inspired picture book that takes you on a wild ride...literally.
Written by Julia Donaldson & illustrated by Axel Scheffler, "Room on the Broom" is a rhyming delight that introduces little readers to the whimsical adventures of a friendly witch and her animal friends.
The witch's broomstick journey begins alongside a cat, but quickly turns into a bumpy ride that has her losing numerous items, while gaining all kinds of friends...and broomstick passengers! One passage reads:
"Then out of the bushes on thundering paws,
There bounded a dog with the hat in his jaws.
He dropped it politely then eagerly said,
(As the witch pulled the hat firmly down on her head),
'I am a dog, as keen as can be.
Is there room on the broom for a dog like me?'
'Yes!' cried the witch, and the dog clambered on.
The witch tapped the broomstick and whoosh! they were gone."
As evidenced in her other books, Donaldson is a rhyming genius. Her rhymes are slick and engaging, and there is always a witty sensibility to her story-telling. I also appreciate the way her stories have a beginning, middle and end; with just enough of a cliffhanger to pull the reader further into the story.
Scheffler's illustrations match the whimsy nature of the rhymes. Every little detail is captured beautifully from the cheeky looks on the animals faces, to the ever-changing gusty clouds in the sky. With the turn of each vivid page, little readers will feel like they are flying through the sky too.
As the story comes to an end, an unexpected character will force the witch's animal friends to think fast. Hint, hint: Little readers will want to stick around for the book's ending.
"Room on the Broom" is a great Halloween-inspired picture book that will surely capture your little readers' attentions. It was such a crowd pleaser in our home that it got me thinking about follow-up activities.
Here's my take on ways to engage little readers after reading "Room on the Broom"...
1. Witch Shape is Witch?
The Witch in the story has lots of identifiable shapes that make for a fun crafts exercise. Cut out different shapes from construction paper and identify them on the witch's wardrobe. Triangle = witch's hat. Star = top of witch's wand. Oval = witch's cauldron. Rectangle = witch's broomstick. Circle = witch's brooch.
2. Spell Bound!
Just like the Witch who fills up her cauldron with different ingredients and mutters a magic spell, you can grab a large bowl and ask your littles for different items that help encourage cognitive association. "Grab something orange". "Grab something that starts with the letter T". "Grab something fluffy".
3. DIY Broomsticks
You can make your own Witch broomstick with a sturdy stick and dried up twigs from your backyard. All you have to do is bunch together the dried up twigs and tie them around a long branch/stick. A simple and fun way to get outside and use your imagination!
As always, happy reading!