I have almost given up on finding a Filipino children’s book appropriate for a three-year old when I found Ang Pambihirang Sombrero (The Strange-Looking Hat) by Jose Miguel Tejido at National Bookstore. With fantastic illustration, this story of a hat that can hold so many things on top is just silly and magical. In a week’s time, our copy is dog-eared and wrinkled – signs of a well-loved book.
I put it in our Learning Basket when we were doing Caps for Sale, excited to introduce to Little T a Filipino book that is just as wonderful as the classic English-language books we’ve been reading. Here’s how we tackled this new favorite:
HATS Little T wore her sombrero in different, silly ways just like Mia, the main character. Since this book is about a hat, it is a natural go-along for our cap activities in Caps for Sale.
VOCABULARY Wonderful G and I are uncomfortable that Little T speaks English better than she does Filipino. We did not plan on raising her that way, but I suppose cooing and talking to a baby in English just seemed easier. Ang Pambihirang Sombrero perfectly complements our hopefully-not-late-effort to make our daughter fluent in both English and Filipino. Its story provides a wealth of Filipino words that Little T is now brandishing about: sombrero, hawla, saranggola, tindahan, panederya, pulis, bumbero, etc etc.
ART I am impressed by the art consciousness that Before Five in a Row has raised in Little T… and me. She asked me why only Mia is colorful in the picture below and the rest of the children are just blue. I scrambled for an answer and I think I gave her a valid one: that the artist wants the readers to focus on Mia, her hat, and all the things on top of it.
Little T and I love the pictures very much. We keep finding something delightful in every reading such as Mia’s dog doing something silly on every page. On one page, it is blowing bubble gum, and on the picture above, it seems to be an orchestra conductor.
SOCIAL STUDIES Mia goes around her neighborhood to ask everyone if they think her hat beautiful. She went to a sari-sari store (small neighborhood store), bakery, doctor’s clinic and saw a policeman, a fireman, and a gardener along the way. Guess what we did? We went on a field trip! We have not had the inclination to go to such neighborhood fixtures until now because everything is just inside a mall or super center these days, even doctors' clinics!
Exploring the world and learning this way with Little T is definitely fun and rewarding. With her insightful questions and comments, I feel affirmed of our decision to keep her at home for her preschool years with her first and best teacher.