This featured nature book for kids Where Once There Was a Wood is a picture book written by Denise Fleming. Where Once There Was a Wood is a short and concise story for children ages 4-8. This book introduces children to the inhabitants of forests and other integrated ecosystems in a fun and age-appropriate way.
My Experience with Where Once There Was a Wood
I have used this featured nature book for kids for story hour and at camp. To get this story hour off to a start I read A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer and then read Where Once There Was a Wood by Denise Fleming. Early childhood readers are easily able to understand through the easy rhyme, rhythm and age-appropriate language that woods have a variety of creatures and sometimes they also encompass other ecosystems as well.
Where Once There Was a Wood Crafts
After reading two books about forests and their most populous plant, trees, we decorated tree cookies that were placed on yarn for our product craft of the day. Easily created, these “tree cookies” are simply saplings or tree limb cross-sections that are cut using a band saw and drilled with a hand drill. Through the children’s art these tree cookies turned into necklaces, badges and many other things simply using markers and yarn.
We also took some time to highlight different critters that would be found in the forest as well with our negative forest paintings as our process craft. Using plastic insects, faux leaves, liquid watercolor, spray bottles and cardstock we had fun with creating negative effect on paper. To create a negative effect the kiddos placed down a few of the foresty items on their paper in a spot they wanted to remain white. Then they sprayed the paper with the liquid watercolor. We then went outside and removed the items when we returned. The foresty items blocked the paint and left a “negative” behind.
Where Once There Was a Wood Outdoor Activities
This book lends itself well to be taken outside. There is mention throughout the entire story about the inhabitants of the forest so we took out bug boxes and spoons and explored the forest for some great finds. With how dry it’s been this summer I knew it would be imperative to find a moist location so we looked in an area that had been a large vernal pool in the spring. This area provided us with wood frogs, leftover fingernail clam shells, camel-back crickets, worms and more.
Overall, Denise Fleming is one of my go-to authors for her simplicity, rhythmic writing and overall outdoor content; Where Once There Was a Wood is a wonderful compilation of many ecosystems making it applicable not only to forests but to creeks and meadows as well. Read this book to your early childhood readers and they will truly love it!