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Creating a Book Chain: Linking Books for Kids

Welcome to our March Online Book Club for Kids!

This month, we explore the wonderfully imaginative books of Julia Donaldson. 

Each month, our group of 40+ book-loving bloggers chooses an author and highlights some fun projects, crafts and activities that match up with their books.  The book club is a great way to find fun extension activities that will get the kids more excited about reading and books!

For more details about the Online Book Club for Kids, browse through our Welcome to the Kids Book Club intro post


We chose Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book to highlight this month.  Why?  We LOVE to read and this book is all about reading!

In the story, Charlie sits down to read his favorite book which leads us to a pirate on an island, who finds his own book to read which leads us to ….

Well, we don’t want to spoil the book for you!  But just so you know, we meet up with Charlie again at the end of the story.  The last character in the book is actually reading her favorite story about – Charlie!

Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book is a great example of a circle story.  My daughter has been discussing circle stories in her class this month so this was a great connection for us.  A circle story is one where one event or idea in a story triggers the next.  And in the end, the final event brings you back to the beginning of the story.  (For adults, it’s a little like a Seinfeld episode 🙂



Book Activities

Play ‘I Spy’

One of the things I love about Charlie Cooks Favorite Book is the opening page of the book.  In the illustration of Charlie reading his book, kids are able to find an item from each of the books mentioned in the story.

Use this opportunity to play a little ‘I Spy’ or detective game with the kids after you read the book.  Ask the kids to find an item on the opening page that represents each of the books – really lots of fun and a great way to practice their comprehension and visual skills.



Creating a Book Chain

After reading Charlie Cook, we decided to talk more about story circles and how different books can be connected by similar events and ideas.  Helping kids to create connections between books and stories is wonderful for their critical thinking and reasoning skills. 

One fun way to do this is to create a book chain. 

First, choose 8 – 10 of their favorite books.  These should be books that your child knows well and has read (or had them read to them) a few times. 

Next, cut a strip of paper for each book and write the title of the book on the paper strip.  Next to the book title, draw a line.

Now comes the fun part!  We’re going to create a chain by connecting similar things in the books. 

For example, maybe there are animal characters in two of the books, so you would connect those two paper strips together to begin the chain.  Write the word “animal characters” on the blank line for one of the stories and connect the links.

Now look at the second book you just linked in the chain.  What does it have in common with one of the other books?  Maybe two of the stories have the same setting (teaching literature vocab during this exercise is a plus!) Write the similar event or item and then connect those two paper strips. 




Do this for each book – find a topic, event or theme that connects it to another book.

It’s really easier than you think.  Many books have main characters that are animals.  Lots of books have trees or water, or a similar theme.  Make sure to have the kids think of their own connections – you’ll be surprised at some of the details they find in the stories.

To give you an idea of themes or topics, some of our connections included connecting books that talked about rocks, books that had helicopters, books that had a big brother and little sister and books where the main character is an animal.

The most challenging part is finding a way to connect that last book to your first book – when you find the connection, you can complete the circle chain!


More Circle Stories

I’m sure the kids have heard a circle story before – they are really fun to read!  Here are a few of our other favorite circle stories:

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie




Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree



We have some great activities & crafts for you this month!



Browse through the ideas below for some fun projects to match with more Julia Donaldson stories: