I Went Walking… through a Picture Book Classic #tbt

Baby Bookworm took his first two steps this week! Watch out, world! Although….he hasn’t shown much interest in longer stretches or even repeating the two step feat. And that’s just fine with me! Slow it down, boy! But anyhow, as Daddy Bookworm and I cheer him on at his walker, we find ourselves adapting the refrain from today’s feature book: “Baby went walking! What did you see?”

Each Thursday I’ll be featuring a book that my parents *could* have read to me as a child (spoiler alert: I’m no spring chicken), so we will go with a publication date of 1989 or earlier; all books must still be in print as of my writing.

Title/author: I Went Walking by Sue Williams

Copyright date: 1989

Plot in a Sentence (or two): A child goes for a walk and sees a variety of domestic and farm animals along the way, who end up following the active toddler on the adventure.

Why It’s Timeless: A gem for pre-readers and early readers! This book offers repetition, rhyme, picture clues, and artwork that adds to the basic plot line. If you were to hear the text alone, I Went Walking is strikingly similar to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (by the brilliant picture book team Eric Carle & Bill Martin Jr., which I bet you’re familiar with). Brown Bear was written by Martin as part of an educational reading program, and it is fabulous in its own right, teaching the same language skills as I Went Walking but with a focus on color learning. I Went Walking, however, adds a dimension of plot at the hand of illustrator Julie Vivas that Brown Bear lacks. The precocious toddler (drawn with androgynous features) interacts with the animals playfully, and there are many details in the illustrations for little eyes to notice: the child loses various garments (coat/shoes– sound familiar? true to (my) life, shown with one shoe on, one shoe off at one point), gets soaked with a hose, enjoys a face full of dog kisses, and generally has a rollicking good time on the excursion.

While You’re Reading: Depending on the age of your bookworm, you can interact with this book in various ways. The illustrations provide a clue before the introduction of each animal– a tail or the hind quarters of the animal, perfect for bookworms to guess what the next page will bring. You can practice color naming, animal sounds, or garment names (keep an eye on the jacket, shoes, and socks throughout as they are put on/taken off/carried). With older bookworms, you can practice sequencing and cause & effect; the story is also great for early readers because it is predictable and rhyming.

Just for Fun: Lead your little bookworm on a text comparison! Try extending your reading to compare & contrast I Went Walking with Brown Bear What Do You See?and its sequels, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You See? and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? (written 35 years after Brown Bear as a tribute to conservation & endangered animals).

Books mentioned in this post should be readily available at your local library, or at the Amazon affiliate link provided. 

Keep Reading!



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