Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
by Al Perkins, illustrated by Eric Gurney
Advent is a quiet time
A season for reflection
We wait for some great happening
We long for some direction
Unless of course your dearest boy
Enjoys the booming echo
Of his voice careening endlessly
Like a drunken flying gecko
So whose brilliant idea was it
To bring this book to church?
‘Twas Dumb ditty dumb ditty dumb dumb dumb
Forgive me, Fr. Birch
Note: I grew up on Al Perkins’ books and have enjoyed sharing them with Nick. It’s a joy to see him love reading so much – even aloud, even in the middle of church.
We have two versions of Hand, Hand. The first is the standard size paper version which we’ll read together. It’s longer, with more characters and requires a bit more concentration. The second is a board book – abridged, durable, and portable – which he will “read” on his own.
Some time around 2 kiddos will start to memorize a favorite book and “read” it back to you. Given how excited they are to share the story, the more durable the book the better. This is why we have plenty of board books lying around the house for Nick to pick up whenever he feels like kicking back with the printed word.
(We also leave lots of our own books and magazines around for him to peruse. The other day, he spent 15 minutes flipping through This Is Your Brain on Music. No idea what was going through his head at the time!)
Up until the age of 2 we did the read-and-point method – read the words, point to the pictures – to develop his vocabulary. Now we are following the words as we read so he starts to develop print awareness – the words on the page are related to the words coming out of my mouth.
So our fingers don’t get too tired tracing the words on the page, we pair a book like Hand, Hand (short, easy to memorize) with a richer narrative book like Cyrus The Unsinkable Sea Serpent (long, easy to ad lib).
Will it make a difference in his future reading abilities?
Check back in a few years or so.