Do you remember elementary school social studies? I remember a few bits and pieces—my memories are of a little American history and a lot of social studies. It seems that we talked quite a bit about how society works. We talked about the police, the fire department, community leaders, the library, and other societal mechanisms. Though I have chosen a chronological approach to history, I still want my children to know how our community works.
I believe that these ideas are communicated well in their proper context through the normal activities of life. A few living books will complement your childrens’ early social education.
Things People Do written by Anne Civardi and illustrated by Stephen Cartwright is an Usborne book that shares the general idea of community and the specific details of several occupations with preschool and lower elementary students.
Information is presented in the form of a loose story about the people who live on the fictional Island of Banilla. Banilla has a mayor and city council, fishermen, builders, a hotel with a staff, a school with personnel, a baker, farmer, a garage, a fire department, a police department, a dance school, an airstrip, a veterinarian, and even a television station.
Each character’s job is explained in a two-page spread that includes part of the story-line and presents additional characters who work alongside him or her. Workplaces, task details, and work schedules are included in each character’s description. The descriptions are just right for a young listener.
Things People Do is illustrated by Stephen Cartwright. The pictures are realistic enough to look like adults, but cute enough to appeal to a young reader.
There are two additional surprises. Cartwright included a small yellow duck on every page, providing a bit of search and find fun. Also, the characters’ names are puns, reflecting their careers.
Younger readers can find the ducks while older siblings decipher the characters’ names.
Things People Do has been a favorite with my children. Though Usborne no longer sells it, Sonlight continues to carry an over-sized hardbound version. Used copies are not difficult to locate either.
Enjoy your journey to the Island of Banilla!
Susan S. is a homeschooling mama of three little ones who get bigger and livelier every day. They delight in living books and hands-on math, and are nurturing a love for God and the amazing world that He created.
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