In my husband’s family lore, his older brother wrote a letter to H.A. Rey, the author and illustrator of the Curious George picture books for children. I don’t know if the letter was an elementary class assignment or if the letter was an inspired, solo effort, but the letter was written in order to thank Mr. Rey because his Curious George books helped little brother(my husband) learn to read. Mr. Rey was so touched, that he wrote back a reply. I need to find out if my dear mother-in-law has saved this letter!
When it came time to select picture books for my husband and I’s first baby, it was a no-brainer to make sure we had Curious George books in our home. If you aren’t familiar with the Curious George books, H.A. Rey and his wife, Margret, wrote and illustrated 7 books in all, following the adventures of a cute, curious little monkey trying to understand life in a big city, with the guidance of his owner and friend, the Man in the Yellow Hat.
During the years that I homeschooled our kids, every year I’d get a fantastic, very large catalog: Rainbow Resource. The IL company still exists and it offered, and still does, lots of homeschooling curriculum to purchase at reasonable prices. The catalog also includes honest critiques of each curriculum, too. Educational games, children’s books, and a lot of teaching aids, fill the catalog.
One homeschooling year as I was going through the catalog, I came to the Children’s Books section. All of the children’s books that H.A. Rey and his wife Margret had written and illustrated were on sale. To my surprise, H.A. Rey had written two picture books for children, explaining the constellations and how to locate them in the night skies. One book in particular, peaked my interest and I ordered it to use that year in our homeschooling journey.
Find the Constellations is a a charming book and it explains very well to children, and adults, how and why the constellations got their names, where they are in the night time skies, and why they change with the seasons of the year. The drawings are cute stick figure types of children, and the constellations are also drawn with night time sky charts also depicting the constellations and how to recognize them.
Rey did take a few liberties with his drawings of the constellations, for example his drawing of Gemini, or The Twins, shows the twins holding hands, when more traditional drawings don’t depict this. As a mom of twins, I like Rey’s depiction better! Over the years, Rey’s constellation drawings grew in popularity and are now in quite a few Astronomy Guides.
For a fun way to teach children about the constellations, their histories, and also lessons about the seasons of the year and how the constellations tie in with them, get yourself to the library and find H.A. Rey’s Find the Constellations and The Stars: A New Way to See Them.