Thursday, May 13, 2004

Hands Can

Hudson, Cheryl Willis. 2003. HANDS CAN. Photographs by John-Francis Bourke. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press. ISBN 0763616672 [Suggested Grade Levels: Pre K-K].

Have you ever stopped to think of all the things that human hands can do? Hands can: wave, throw, and clap. Hands can hold things and touch things. Hands can learn things, like how to tie a shoe. Hands can even sing and say, “I love you.” Through photographs and rhyming text, this book presents a small sampling of several exciting and adventurous activities in which human hands might be engaged throughout a day. Also depicted in this book is the joy that can be found as hands are used to explore the world. This joy is seen in the expressions and reactions of the young children who have been photographed doing just that: exploring the world in which they live.

Throughout this book, the richly detailed photographs depict young children engaged in a variety of hands-on activities. The young reader can easily relate to what is shown, for these are the types of activities in which human hands are regularly engaged, often on a daily basis. The rhyming text of this book describes the actions of each photograph in a simple, easily understood format, with a touch of repetition as each new activity is introduced by the phrase, “hands can.” This repetitive phrase encourages the reader to interact with the story, and while the actual words themselves may not be discernable as of yet, the relationship between the pictures and text is so concrete that by simply looking at the photographs, young children will be able to “read” this story for themselves.


Create additional pages for this book showing other things hands can do that were not mentioned by the author. Have students illustrate each page.
Create a sequel. What can feet do?
Take a “hands-on” field trip and explore the outdoors.
Use hands to create an art picture. Trace student hands onto white paper and let students turn their hand into another object like a tree or a turkey or anything else.

Other stories about hands:
Holzenthaler, Jean. MY HANDS CAN. ISBN 0525354905.
Moon, Nicola. LUCY’S PICTURES. ISBN 0805003282.

Other books by Hudson that could be compared to this one:
BRIGHT EYES, BROWN SKIN. Illustrated by George Cephas Ford. ISBN 0940975238.

By Kirsten Murphy

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