Jeanne Loves Books: August 2018


The Big Umbrella was cowritten by a mother-daughter team, Amy June bates and Juniper Bates. The two were inspired by sharing an umbrella in a rainstorm. The Big Umbrella is a sweet, wrap-its-arms-around-you book with limited text, lovely clear illustrations and a gentle message of inclusivity and generosity.

The story begins with a two-page illustration of a plain hallway with a big, red umbrella leaning against the door. “By the front door … There is an umbrella.” An observant little reader will spot the lines of a mouth, nose and closed eyes on the umbrella. A child dressed for rain goes out with the umbrella in hand. We see the top of the umbrella against the outline of a city skyline on one page and then we turn to a full two page spread with the umbrella fully open. “It is a big, friendly umbrella…It likes to help.”

The pages describe numerous ways the umbrella helps and how it gathers various creatures under its ever-expanding span. There is some wonderful humor as we see web feet and hairy creatures sticking out from under the umbrella along with various children. “It doesn’t matter how many legs you have, … There is ALWAYS room!” The final illustration reveals the humorous and joyful gathering under this generous umbrella.

Fun with Reading:

Notice the different expressions on the umbrella and talk about what they tell us.

Notice the end pages. What do the illustrations of the inside front and back cover tell us?

Identify and describe the different people and creatures on the final two pages.
There is a lot there including an octopus, dogs, chicks, a ballerina, families….

Author: JeanneLovesBooks

Jeanne is a retired youth services librarian and the former Supervisor of Hennepin County’s Readmobile Program. The Readmobile, which is also retired, was like a Bookmobile, but dedicated to young children, which developed and provided early literacy enriched visits to Head Start Programs, Early Childhood Learning Centers, Child Care Providers and Family, Friend and Neighbor Providers. Jeanne shares literacy info about books for infants through preschoolers in her “Jeanne Loves Books” column once a month. She welcomes your feedback and suggestions for books to highlight.

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