Bringing a Book to Life for Your Child

Caitlin Murray Giles - Chicago
March 6, 2012

Cuddling up in a cozy spot with your favorite little one and a big stack of books is a favorite activity for many families. But what if you could take that reading experience "on the road?" Instead of turning pages and telling a story at home, take your little one on an adventure and bring your favorite tales to life (don't forget that stack of books!). Here are a few ideas to get you inspired to read-on-the-go.

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andrede

This book tells the tale of a giraffe who learns to dance and discovers that marching to the beat of your own drummer isn't such a bad thing. Stop by the Lincoln Park or Brookfield Zoo to see their giraffes in action while you enjoy this story. The real-life giraffes might not be cutting a rug, but they are sure to be doing lots of other interesting things.

Dig, Dig, Digging by Margaret Mayo

If your preschooler loves diggers, bulldozers, and anything else on wheels, he or she will love all of the vehicular action in Dig, Dig, Digging. Use this story as the inspiration for a tour of firehouse, construction sites, and highways around town. See how many cranes, road rollers, and car transporters you can see in action. 

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

What kid doesn't love the adventures of Frog and his buddy Toad? This classic and timeless tale delights kids and brings back memories for mom and dad. Why not get up close and personal with some real-life froggies? The Children's Garden at the Morton Arboretum has a pond that fills with tadpoles in the spring. Over the course of a few weeks, visitors can watch these little guys grow and eventually hop off to explore the forest. Your kids will never look at Frog and Toad the same way again!

Larry Gets Lost in Chicago by Michael Mullins and John Skewes

This charming book tells the tale of a dog named Larry who gets distracted by a hot dog (who can blame him) and becomes separated from his owner, Pete. A tour of the city ensues as these two try to meet up again. Along they way, they visit several major tourist spots around town. Tuck this book under your arm and recreate their city-wide journey, ending at Millennium Park for a peek at The Bean and a splash in The Crown Fountain (weather permitting, of course). 

My Garden by Kevin Henkes

Kids love to get their hands dirty and help with gardening, and there is no better place to do that than the Chicago Botanic Garden. In this book, a little girl helps her mom in the garden while dreaming of what she would plant in her own garden (think jelly bean plants and sea shells—not your average fruits and veggies). Use this story as inspiration for a garden walk to see what unusual things you can find growing up out of the earth at Chicago's largest garden. 

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