Children hopped on rocks made of construction paper, tossed stones in a creek made of blue poster board that had been creased to create a rippled water effect, and discovered a box turtle along a hike through the woods where they got lost with Dori Hoch, author of “The Bunny Brothers: Lost in the Woods.”
Hoch, Fleetwood Children’s Author, took a group of approximately nine kids on a StoryWalk to learn more about the latest adventures of Bobby and Benjamin, The Bunny Brothers, on Nov. 10, in the Fleetwood Community Center.
After a bitter cold and windy forecast, Hoch changed plans for the hike through Fleetwood Park to the Fleetwood Community Center’s gym.
“While Bobby, Benjamin, and I were all set for our hike in the Fleetwood Park, 35 is way too cold,” said Hoch.
Following the pages of a book allowed kids interaction through movement and to experience a hike just like Bobby and Benjamin went on in the story. Once again, Jane Wolfgang brought Bobby and Benjamin to life through her colorful illustrations.
Hoch said a StoryWalk is taking the pictures from the story and going from point to point and allowing movement. Pages from the book were arranged on chairs around the gym. The kids needed to go to each post to hear more of the story.
“It’s something really good especially for young kids because movement with a story is good,” said Hoch. “I had been visiting the Fleetwood Park and I thought, ‘There’s a bridge; there’s a stream. This goes right along with my, Lost in the Woods, story. This would be a perfect setting.’”
When Hoch decided to move the hike to the Community Center Gym, even though she felt the park would have lent itself for a beautiful reenactment, she said it was the movement that was most important.
Carin Mileshosky, director of the Fleetwood Library, loved the idea of a StoryWalk. She said it gets kids engaged in literature in a different setting and the idea was to have it outside in the park to really get them to kind of connect to nature.
“We always like to think of the library as more than books and the library can be outside of the walls of the library. This was kind of an opportunity to show kids that we can kind of still use literature in books and reading in the world around us,” said Mileshosky.
She said it would be a challenge for the kids to imagine being lost in a forest in a park.
“Just like when you are reading a book and you have to visualize where you are and kind of put yourself in the story. That’s what the kids will have to do this morning and put themselves in the shoes of the Bunny Brothers and imagine what it would be like lost in the woods,” said Mileshosky.
After the StoryWalk, Hoch sat down with the kids in a circle and talked about the story.
“Don’t go past the willow sign,” said Morgan Koegel, 4, Blandon, which is exactly what Bobby and Benjamin did when they got lost.
The kids said the brothers argued, which was why they didn’t see the sign. They also said the brothers left the turtle in the woods, which was what the brothers did that was good. Hoch explained that turtles live in a two-mile radius around where they hatched and would not live if taken from their environment. This was a fact she had learned from her StoryWalk at Nolde Forest.
When asked what did the brothers do right, one girl said Bobby put a flag up to help [others find them]. Hoch talked about how the brothers worked together to solve their problem and the kids all agreed that safety signs are important.
Mileshosky said she would like to have more of a permanent setup in the park like with the workout stations so kids can come and enjoy that whenever they want. They can walk around and read a book.
“We’ll try this again when it gets a little warmer. Lost in the Woods was a perfect book to try it out,” said Mileshosky.
“I think this is amazing for the kids. I think it would be really cool to be outside,” said Mackenzie Weaver, Blandon.
Weaver is on the library board and attends all the events with her two daughters, Layla, 5, and Raegan, 2. She plans on coming to the next StoryWalk planned for outdoors when the weather warms up in the spring.
Mileshosky had thought about trying a StoryWalk during a car show held by the rotary. She said it was a cute book about a little dog in a car and thought it would be an experience for the kids while they were at the car show.
“This is a family story because four years ago, when we visited our grandchildren in Alabama, we always go out on the trails in their development,” said Hoch. “Well, unfortunately this one time, we had packed our backpacks and packed snacks and got lost. We had no idea where we were.”
She didn’t realize there were so many ATV roads. She used her cellphone and called 911. Two police cars were sent to find the hikers. Hoch said she jumped for joy when one of the cars had located them. Hoch said they were four miles from her grandchildren’s home.
Hoch dedicated her story to her granddaughters, Hannah and Sofie [six and four-years-old at the time of getting lost], who were her true comrades in the true version of, The Bunny Brothers: Lost in the Woods.
To learn more about Hoch’s books, go to http://www.dorihoch.com.