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The Children's Bookshelf: Finding Things - June 23, 2024

Finding Things written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Laura Dronzek is a beautifully put forth story about a brown dog who on one single day finds many things. First, it’s a red ball, then a purple flower, next, a box put out as trash and finally a baby kitty.

The beauty of these four finds by the dog are told directly to the reader in a lovely and simple poetic form: “If you found a kitten in the bushes and it was crying and crying and it didn’t belong to anyone and it didn’t have a mother and you got permission from everyone ---you could take it inside to keep.”

The touching illustrations are full of color. Children will enjoy the red ball, the sweet violet flower in a glass of soothing water, a box all decorated with orange and green left out as trash and the gentle white color of the baby kitten.

Finding Things written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Laura Dronzek is a beautiful and thought-provoking picture book for children 4-8 years of age. Moms, dads, and grandparents may also want to look back and remember other wonderful books by Kevin Henkes such as Chrysanthemum and Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse.

Finding Things is a sweet and thought- provoking book for children 4-8 years of age (Greenwillow Books/ Harper Collins) 2024.

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for Finding Things

1. Have you ever had a day like the dog in this story had where you found something? If so, describe what you found by drawing a picture of it. Use colored pencils, crayons, or watercolors. Take time and have fun.

2. The four things the dog in this story found were all very different from one another. Which “found thing” was your favorite? Why? Write a paragraph that answers this question.

3. Now try some creative movement: First locate a safe place to move about. Next, play like you are the ball rolling around. Then be the flower growing taller and taller from the crack in the sidewalk. Finally, be the little kitty moving slowly out from a leafy tree. Be sure to get more and more active as you feel safer. Have fun!



Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.