A Time of Wonder {Book Activities}

A Time of Wonder {Book Activities}
A Time of Wonder {Book Activities}

Just in time for summer!  Many will be familiar with Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey, author of Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal, among others.

Time of Wonder, winner of the 1958 Caldecott Medal, tells the story of a summer spent on the coast of Maine.  Along with being a favorite read aloud, this is another gentle introduction to geography.  Those who have never lived by the sea will be introduced to bays, islands, hills, coves, shores, forests, tides, and the beach.

There are also elements of science — clouds, rain, fog, hurricanes, and the various forms of animal life in the bay.

This beautiful picture book is one you will want to read over and over.  The suggested activities below can be accomplished over a long space of time.


(We are suggesting a variety of activities that can be enjoyed from the smallest to your much older student.  As always, pick and choose what suits your family!)

  • Find Penobscot Bay on a map.
  • Make a notebooking page for the various forms of animal life mentioned:
    • crabs
    • cormorants
    • gulls
    • bees
    • hummingbirds
    • seals
    • owls
    • herons
    • eider ducks
    • fish hawks
    • robins
    • swallows
    • herrings
    • loons
    • mice
    • spiders
    • crows
    • sea urchins
  • The phrasing below is a modification the old folk song “Green Grass Grew All Around.”  Learn the song (see Activities below) and substitute Robert McCloskey’s words.

    With the blue water sparkling all around, all around,
    With the blue water sparkling all around!

  • List the various types of boats mentioned.  Or if you are into boats, create a notebooking page for each type with an illustration at the top and a description below.  (Notebooking helps below.)
  • Who does “One pair of eyes watching over all” refer to?
  • List the preparations made for the coming weather.

    She’s gonna blow!

  • Learn what a buoy is and why it is particularly important during a storm.
  • “People and papers and Parcheesi are puffed hair, over, eyes across the floor” is an example of alliteration — a literary device where the beginning sounds of words are repeated.  Imagine what else is being blown about and create your own alliterative sentence describing it.
  • Learn “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” the song they were all singing together, “shouting eyes have seen the glory.”
  • Narrate what happened during the storm.
  • Where DO hummingbirds go in a hurricane?  (See fascinating article below.)
  • Learn more about Maine.
  • Create an author notebooking page for Robert McCloskey, adding any other books you may have already read or will read by him in the future.
  • Add Time of Wonder to a Caldecott notebook.
  • Illustrate your favorite scene from the book.

Additional Resources

Robert McCloskey Biography
Very interesting biography, especially for young people, from Greater Dayton Public Television.

Whimbrel Successfully Negotiates Most Severe Part of Hurricane Irene
Fascinating look at how one bird survived a hurricane.


Time of Wonder
Activity suggestions from New Hampshire Public Television.

The Green Grass Grew All Around
Learn the song (and substitute Robert McCloskey’s words as mentioned above).

A Time of Wonder {Book Activities}

Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey
The book for those interested.

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Reading to Kids Books: Time of Wonder
Discussion questions and craft ideas.

Maine: A Unit Study

Maine: A Unit Study
Learn more about Maine with investigations, activities, recommended books, and notebooking pages.

Refining the Personal Narrative
Sessions 1 and 2 of this lesson plan use Time of Wonder to help students write their own personal narrative.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Maine State Map
For locating Penobscot Bay.

Animal Facts Sheet
Free printable from HomeschoolNotebooking.com for creating a page for the various animals mentioned.

Author Notebooking Pages

Author Notebooking Pages {Free Download}
Simple pages that include room for copywork, narrations, an illustration and dates of birth/death of the author, and books by the author.

Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}
For copywork, narrations, illustrating and describing your favorite scene from the book, or creating boat notebooking pages.