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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Summer symphony

August 13, 2012

There are special sounds associated with summer. The sounds of cicadas are a melody but I don't enjoy the percussive sounds of a thunderstorm.

Neither does a little boy named Brannon while his bigger brother, Chad, looks forward to the coming storm in a recent book by Marion Dane Bauer, Dinosaur Thunder (Scholastic). Adults in the family try to calm poor Brannon. Brannon rejects the idea that "thunder is only a big cat purring" or is "angels bowling in heaven." He's met cats and has been to a bowling alley. He knows that's not it.

But Chad reminds Brannon that he also knows about dinosaurs like "spinosaurus and stegosaurus and triceratops" and lots of others. With the focus and joy of a young child Brannon with his toy dinosaurs come "roaring to boom and bellow …."

A particularly loud clap of thunder sends both boys right into the comforting lap of their mom where Brannon smiles, and tells his big brother that "It's only dinosaur thunder." Margaret Chodos-Irvine's appealing, imaginative illustrations capture the children's fears and the warmth between them and in their family.

There are lots of rhythmic, onomatopoeic sounds to summer. Try sitting outside to identify different sounds. Talk about them. Describe them. There's music in the air.

Listen and enjoy the summer's symphony. It'll end all too soon.

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"Books are a uniquely portable magic." —

Stephen King