Ben Train

It’s Funny Where Ben’s Train Takes Him

Title: It’s Funny Where Ben’s Train Takes Him

Author:  Robert Burleigh

Illustrator:  Joanna Yardley

Age:  preschool, elementary school

Description:  Ben sets up an elaborate train excursion in his room that takes him up, around, through, and under trees, farmhouses, tunnels and towns.  It all starts with a drawing…

Goals/Concepts: Motor planning

  • Sequencing
  • Spatial terms
  • Imaginative play

Why I like this book:  This story is a delightful example of how a simple little drawing can be the start of an adventure as Ben’s imagination takes over using everything in his room from blocks to toy animals, bubbles and plants.  I also love the book because it’s about a boy and his trains!  What a great way to capture and expand on imaginary play.

Ideas for use:  

  • Ask the kids to put all the places Ben and his train went in the correct sequence and act it out.
  • Use the book to facilitate ideation – have kids look around the room and think about what common objects they can use to represent buildings, trees, etc.
  • Read the story to a small group of kids and have them decide on a theme for a collaborative story to do together.
  • Play, “I’m Going on a Picnic” clapping game but go on a train ride instead…”and I will pass a farmhouse, go through a tunnel”, etc.
  • Have kids draw a story starter picture of some kind of adventure and then exchange it with a friend to complete the picture and story to promote flexibility.

Submitted by:  Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

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Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch

Book: Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch

Author: Mary Peterson and Jennifer Rofe

Age:  preschool, early elementary

Description:  Two young piggies explore their world by sneaking around the pumpkin patch while their mama sleeps.  Their adventures bring them under, through, over, across, between… (you get the picture), objects around the farm until they land safely in the pumpkin patch.


  • Sequencing
  • Motor planning
  • Sensory modulation
  • Motor exploration
  • Body awareness
  • Understanding positional words and concepts

Why I like this book:  Adorable illustrations make this simple story appealing for adults as well as children…AND it’s a fun book to act out.

Ideas for use:

  • Read the book through once and see how many piggy adventures the kids can remember.
  • Ask kids to retell the story using temporal markers such as first, then, next, etc.
  • Have kids use objects around the house, in the yard, on a playground or in a gym to set up an obstacle course that represents the actions of the piggies.
  • A nice map in the front of the book can be used to help the kids re-tell the story and help them set up the course.
  • Emphasize positional words such as under, over, between as kids move through their pumpkin patch obstacle course.
  • Use deep breathing exercises to lower arousal levels as the “piggies” fall asleep in the pumpkin patch at the end of the story.

Submitted by: Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

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my friend rabbit

My Friend Rabbit

Title: My Friend Rabbit

Author: Eric Rohmann

Age: Preschool, Early Elementary

Description: Rabbit tries to be a good friend, but bad luck just seems to follow him. He is persistent in trying to make things right.


  • Reading body language
  • Early prediction
  • Early inferencing
  • Animal vocabulary
  • Spatial terms
  • Early narrative
  • Friendship

Why I like this book: The pictures are awesome. It’s an adorable story filled with friendship and humor that kids love.

Ideas for use:

  • A great story for the Story Grammar Marker “Braidy” through Simple characters, clear “kickoff,” plan, and an easy sequence to follow.
  • Have kids make guesses as to how characters are feeling and based on their body language. Frustrated, annoyed, sad, etc. The illustrations are great for emotions.
  • A great story for cut out “thinking bubbles”- what are the characters thinking, why?
  • This is a great story to model spatial concepts such as “on top,” “under,” “above,” “below,” etc. Use stuffed animals similar to the story to have kids follow directions incorporating these terms.
  • Have children predict what might happen next. There are lots of “clues” as to what rabbit’s plan is, as well as what eventually happens in the end.
  • Have the children add to the ending. What might the rabbit and mouse do next to get out of their new problem?
  • I use “tub” toys (sponge animals that stick to the wall with a spray bottle of water) to “act out” this story. I have the kids follow directions, placing animals “on top” of each other like the story. I model and teach other similar spatial terms (i.e. above, under, etc.).
  • A good story for a younger social group. It opens discussion for how we can be good friends, even when friends make mistakes. Why is rabbit a good friend? Why is mouse a good friend?

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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