We recently bought the book There's a Barnyard in My Bedroom for our 5-year old son. With the help of their parents and their own imaginations, Jamie and Megan discover that nature is all around them, even in their own home. Sheets and pillows, fruits and furniture — they all come from nature. Here are some excerpts from the book.
"Oh no! It's raining! What'll we do, Dad?" "No problem," says Dad. "We can take our hike in the house." Jamie's eyes fly open. "How can we do that?" "We can start right here, with the sheets and blanket on your bed. Where did they come from?" "Oh, I know!" says Megan. "The sheets are made of cotton, and the blanket is made of wool..."
"That sponge used to be an animal. It lived at the bottom of the ocean."
"This flower smells nice," says Megan. "Yes. Bees can smell the flowers too. And when they come to get nectar to make their honey, they pollinate the flowers."
I have to admit that I initially thought that Elijah would find this book a little boring. I was uncertain whether or not he would be interested to know from where the food comes from, or that our house is filled with things that come from nature. The book is recommended for children aged 4 to 8 years old, but Elijah is only 5 years old, so I had my doubts whether or not he would find the topics/ideas presented in the book interesting. After all, we selected the book for him! We picked this book because both my husband and I really want Elijah to care about the environment and nature. We believe that it's important that he knows that we, humans, cannot survive without nature and all the services that it offers to us.
Well, Elijah loved the book. I read the first story entitled "A Rainy Day Hike" to him in his bedroom, just before going to sleep. As I was reading the story, he started to look all around his bedroom trying to guess from where the furniture came from. For instance, he noticed that his bed and dresser came from trees and the curtains came from plants. He kept saying that nature was in his bedroom. I was so pleased to see him getting exciting about the story, and about the fact that nature was all over. I took the opportunity to talk about other nature-related issues including recycling. He also enjoyed the other two stories "Seeing the Air" and "Time Travelers".
There's a Barnyard in My Bedroom is a great book for young children. I like the fact that using imagination and curiosity, the stories help children to discover nature. For example, they discovered the air they breathe includes water and life-giving gases. They also learn that the seeds they find will grow into vegetables. The main message of the book is clearly presented in each one of the three stories: nature is all around us, you just have to observe. With a forest growing in the living room and a stream appearing in the back garden. Each chapter ends with a page of related activities (answers are also provided!). The book is a great resource for parents and teachers interested in introducing children to nature and environmental issues.
I highly recommend this book!