Reading Together

Storybook Guide Based on Lois Ehlert’s “Color Zoo”

Explore math while reading and talking about this storybook.

Topic:

Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book “Color Zoo.” Many public libraries have this book.

Reading guide

About the Story

“Color Zoo” presents pages with cutout shapes that can stack together to create different animals. When your child turns a page, one shape is removed and a new animal is magically revealed. For example, the square and triangle stack together to make a mouse’s face, but when the square is removed, the child sees a fox!

On the left, there is a box and on the right, there is a fox with a triangle face. Illustration from “Color Zoo.”

Words to Learn

SHAPE NAMES AND PROPERTIES
circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, heart, diamond, octagon, hexagon, sides, corners, round

ANIMALS
mouse, fox, ox, monkey, deer, lion, goat, snake

About the Math

“Color Zoo” is a shape book. While exploring the various shapes in various readings, children can learn:

  • The names of the various shapes, such as oval, octagon, and hexagon.
  • The properties of each shape. For example, squares have four sides that are all the same length.
  • How shapes can be combined to make images. For example, the heart and circles together make the face of a deer.
  • How to compare different shapes. For example, an octagon has eight sides while a hexagon has six sides.
On the left, there is a hexagon and on the right, there is a snake with the hexagon as a face. Illustration from “Color Zoo.”

Math Talk During Reading

  • NOTICE HOW THE SHAPES ARE PUT TOGETHER TO MAKE A DIFFERENT ANIMAL ON EACH PAGE
    What shapes make up the mouse’s face?
  • EXPLORE HOW THE SHAPES ARE SIMILAR AND DIFFERENT
    How is the rectangle different from the square? How are they the same?
  • TALK ABOUT THE NAMES AND PROPERTIES OF SHAPES
    What is this shape called? How many sides does it have? How do you know?
  • OBSERVE THE DIFFERENT SHAPES THAT MAKE UP OBJECTS ALL AROUND YOU
    Let’s look around the room. What shapes do you see?

Try to come up with some of your own questions and comments, too!

Activity After Reading

  • MAKE YOUR OWN ANIMALS OUT OF SHAPES
    Let’s cut out some triangles, squares, and circles. What animal can we make if we put them together?
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