Thursday, August 12, 2010

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick - Book Review, Giveaway & Buffalo Craft

I get excited about little things like the librarian previews on Fuse #8 blog, for instance. Last June, as I scrolled through the Fall HarperCollins Preview on Fuse #8, I became even more excited. In the middle of this preview, I noticed a mention of a book called Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? As many of you know, my daughter is starting kindergarten this fall. Upon first sight, I knew this was a book I wanted for our home collection. I promptly bought a copy and, boy oh boy, is it ever adorable! It's the perfect school themed read for all those little kids that will be attending school for the first time and will amuse even those older, experienced kids that are preparing to go back to school once again.


"Some people say kindergarten is no place for a buffalo. How crazy is that? Does your buffalo have a backpack? Well, then. He's definitely ready for kindergarten!"
Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Daniel Jennewein; Balzer + Bray (June 2010); ISBN 9780061762758; 32 pages;
Book Source: Personal copy from our home library

A big, backpack wearing buffalo makes his way to kindergarten for the very first time, walking hand-in-hand with his friend, a little girl in pigtails. His teacher looks slightly worried about her newest bovine student, but buffalo eventually wins her over along with his classmates. Even though he is shy at first and looks different from everyone else, he tries to do his very best. No, he doesn't exactly fit in -- he eats the schools flowers, smashes a little chair, gets carried away painting, and regurgitates his food (ew!) -- but he is a good role model otherwise. Buffalo follows all those important rules of kindergarten like caring and sharing and teaches his classmates that "everyone's special in his or her own way."

What I love about this book is the lighthearted tone and the creative text. It's only natural that some kids will be a little anxious on the first day of school, but Vernick cleverly uses a hilarious and big character to help alleviate their fears. Obviously a buffalo could never attend school, yet Vernick makes it seem that it really could happen, especially since the book addresses the reader personally. This out-of-place character grabs your attention and makes his way into your heart.

Jennewein's illustrative style pairs wonderfully with Vernick's story. He uses a black caran d’ache pencil to create a crayon outline look that's perfect for a book about kindergarten. With muted, soft colors and effective use of white space, the layout of the book is crisp and clean. And, I adore how the comical characters make you smile. I mean, just look at that buffalo -- isn't he the cutest, cuddliest, big and lumbering animal you've ever seen? In my book, he's right up there with the lovable Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street! The page where the buffalo is finger painting always makes my daughter laugh, but I think one of the funniest illustrations is on the title page -- the buffalo is head-butting the bus.

Is my own little buffalo ready for kindergarten? - she says, "Yes! Yes!" Is her mommy ready for her to go to kindergarten? - maybe not quite as ready. But, if a buffalo can manage to adapt to kindergarten, I'm sure my daughter will be just fine, too, so long as she doesn't use her horns in class and takes the book's message to heart!



Related Links:
Audrey Vernick - Author Website
Daniel Jennewein - Illustrator Website
Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? Teacher's Guide and Activities [pdf]
Buffalo Coloring Sheet [pdf]


❖❖❖❖❖ stART Craft - Buffalo Paper Bag Craft ❖❖❖❖❖


After reading the book, every kid will want their own buffalo. At least my daughter did. I know that paper bag crafts are a dime a dozen in the world of preschool and kindergarten art, but really a brown bag makes the perfect the buffalo to go along with this story. It's already brown!! Plus, the bag buffalo is super simple to create, so kindergarteners can have their very own buffalo in a matter of minutes.

Instructions: Using the illustrations in the book as a guideline, I drew a 5 inch wide buffalo face on a piece of copy paper, complete with horns and ears. My daughter colored in the face and added her own personal touches (her buffalo is a girl with a hair bow). Using a glue stick, she glued the face onto the bottom of the bag. We cut out two arms with notched hooves out of brown construction paper and attached them to the side of the bag with glue. We also cut the tail out of brown construction paper and glued it to the back of the bag.

There you have it -- a brown bag buffalo puppet ready to go to kindergarten. Hmmm...the only thing missing is a blue backpack!




HarperCollins has kindly offered a giveaway. Enter to win a hardcover copy of Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?

**Plus, as an additional incentive, the winner of this Brimful Curiosities contest will also be entered (along with me) into a contest for a grand prize -- if this post is chosen over of all the posts in the blog tour, the winner and I each get to pick a personalized pose for the buffalo which Daniel Jennewein will illustrate and then print onto a book bag. How cool is that?


To enter, leave any comment relevant to this post. (Or amuse me with a comment about one of your experiences with an animal in school or homeschool. Any buffaloes visit by chance?)
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US Only
• Contest ends on Monday, August 30th, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader




A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Hope Is the Word hosts a Read Aloud Thursday link-up as well.

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

55 comments:

Ticia said...

We saw a buffalo in Bearizona, which was a field trip of sorts. But, he didn't come over to our house. And luckily unlike the donkeys, he was not attempting to procreate........ Silly donkey.

Steph said...

My daughter is also starting Kindergarten this year. We actually already started since our curriculum arrived in July, I got her started right away. The book looks adorbale and I liked the Buffalo craft you guys did. Sounds like something my daughter would enjoy.

Steph said...

I follow and tweeted

http://twitter.com/mnsteph/status/20978547961

bermudaonion said...

I loved this book too! The puppet you and your daughter created is adorable! I have a feeling your daughter is going to be a great kindergartner. If you're like me, you'll stand outside the door and cry, though. (No need to enter me.)

JamericanSpice said...

My son just did his assessment test today for kindergarten. I'm sure he would love love this book.

Raising a Happy Child said...

I like both the book and the craft. It sounds like the story Anna would enjoy. Thanks for the chance to win it!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

There are buffalo (or bison, at least), in a field not far from our house. My youngest two would get a real kick out of this story - and craft!

Little Wonders' Days said...

It looks like a really cute book and what a great and easy craft to go with it!

Linda Kish said...

What a cute little book. We had a raccoon visit our garage for several days and also an opossum. Drove our dogs nuts!

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I have a niece going into Kindergarten - this would be great for her!

Gail A said...

My oldest grandson is starting kindergarten this year. This looks like a book he would enjoy.
terryaven@att.net

Kristine said...

No stories about buffalos - but here's a different animal school story.
The school I taught at and that my daughter will start at in January use to have a pet peacock. I don't know where it came from or where it ended up but it caused major havok. We use to get upset calls from neighbours wanting it removed from their roof. We use to also have to rescue it from the busy road that passes the school. The poor teachers spent meant hours chasing after this big bird. We also had a funny pair of rabbits that lived inside. They were well behaved by day but a night would sneak out of their hutch and set off the alarms. Eventually our upset security pursuaded us to find a new home. These little rabbits happily moved to a family's home. I'm not sure the peacocks story ended so well - something about a farm for pea-cocks!!!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

What a cute book!

The only animals we currently have in our homeschool are butterflies and a caterpillar. :-)

Staci said...

This sounds like a great read!

No buffalo stories to share, but last year my mom (who teaches at my son's school) had to take a goat kid to school with her for a week because it needed bottle fed throughout the day. My son took it to visit his class for show and tell and was so excited about it!
mommastaci33 at yahoo dot com

Marcia said...

My 5 year old granddaughter is ready for kintergarten and she would love this book

Susanne Drazic said...

I'm a follower of your blog. This would be a fun book to have.

smdrazic(at)yahoo(dot)com

Susanne Drazic said...

What a fun book to help with first day jitters. What kid would be scared of starting school after reading this book? : )

Great project to go along with the book.

Susanne Drazic said...

Following you on Twitter and tweeted about book giveaway.

http://twitter.com/susannedrazic

Jackie H. said...

I think paper bag crafts are a dime a dozen because preschoolers LOVE them. Can't go wrong with that!

rubynreba said...

What a cute book! Wish I had a cute animal story but I don't!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

I follow your blog and subscribe by email. Very nice blog!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

dolphee said...

We saw buffalos on vacation in South Dakota. They came very close to the car and one turned and "grunted" at me. We drove away.
My son is going into Kdg. this year. He would like this I think.

Pat Zietlow Miller said...

I would love to have this book. It looks adorable. I've only seen buffalo from a distance, so I don't have any good stories to share.

Angiegirl said...

I had the opportunity to meet Daniel not long ago and am so excited about his book. The illustrations are wonderful and I know my six-year-old who started first grade today would love it!

Laura Lowe DeLuca said...

timmiedeluca@comcast.net

http://twitter.com/GabbyLowe/status/21996598462

tweeted

degood said...

My son was learning letters of the alphabet last year in preschool and for A there was an aligator and so on B day, he told me to guess the animal, i guessed bird and he said "no it was a cow." I said "I don't think Cow starts with B." then he told me "it is a cow that needs to go on a diet" I was amused to learn from the teacher that it was a buffalo.

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

Clemencia said...

wow! thank you so much for this cool giveaway!, my daughter just started kindergarten, this would be perfect for her :)

Karen said...

My youngest begins Kindergarten this year, and it has been bittersweet;)

Karen Propes said...

Love the book, no major animal stories in school, but we have helped with some other pets in the classroom.
ncjeepster@aol.com

Karen Propes said...

I follow you on Twitter & tweeted: http://twitter.com/ncjeepster/status/22381872020
ncjeepster@aol.com

traciet said...

I would love to win this for my nephew who just starting kindergarten! tracietrump@yahoo.com

Lauren E said...

my DD will be starting kindergarten next year. She would love this. My sister got to hatch chickens in first grade, my school wouldnt allow animals or critters.
neyaney[at]gmail.com

thatlittlehouse said...

I'd love to have this book for my granddaughter who starts kindegarten a year from now!

nblexp at gmail dot com

Mozi Esme said...

Do Cape buffalo count?! We were privileged to live about 1 hour (plus 1 hour border crossing) from Kruger National Park and got to see lots of these up close, plus all the other big 5. Once we got surrounded by a herd of them as they were crossing the road from a water hole - it seemed they were going to try stampeding us!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I took a rabbit to school once!

theyyyguy@yahoo.com

Honey Mommy said...

We have seen buffalo near Yellowstone National Park. My little guy goes to kingergarten next year and would love this book.

Bakersdozen said...

My daughter just started kindergarten and I would love to share this book with her and her siblings. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com