A Chomp Through Berryland

May 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

Today’s excursion to pick strawberries at Shlagel Farm in Maryland was the perfect excuse to break out an old favorite: Jamberry (Ages 1-3), by Bruce Degen. Not that we need an excuse to read this rollicking rhyme of a boy and a bear romping through fields and down streams on a quest for every kind of berry. But as the kids and I were filling our buckets with the plumpest, juiciest strawberries I’ve ever tasted, our fingers and shirts and mouths stained red, I couldn’t help but hear in my head: “Three berry/ Four berry/ Hayberry/ Strawberry/ Finger and pawberry/ My berry, your berry/ Strawberry ponies/ Strawberry lambs/ Dancing in meadows/ Of strawberry jam.”

We didn’t encounter any strawberry lambs (although there were goats and some very vocal chickens), and my children are likely to eat all the strawberries before I get a chance to make them into jam, but the spirit of the book was very much alive as we chomped our way through the farm. Our excitement continued to build, as we got deeper into the patch, launching ourselves into uncharted territory wherein (as we imagined it) lay the biggest berries.

Bruce Degen escalates his rhyme, too, taking it further into the realm of the fantastical and the silly: the boy and the bear fill a train with blackberries, then ride it to Berryland, where they dance alongside a jazz band of rabbits, watch elephants skate on raspberry jam, and finally lift off in a hot air balloon propelled by a giant boysenberry. “Mountains and fountains/ Rain down on me/ Buried in berries/ What a jam jamboree!” Indeed.
Don’t Miss My Other Favorite Berry-Picking Book:
Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey

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