Read Write Think has a document with picture books that have well-developed settings. You can find that document by clicking here.
I used this as a guideline for my kiddos, 4th and 6th grade, to go through and write about the characters, settings, and giving a short summary. Good practice for them and will help them in their journey in being stronger writers.
We read these books together as a group after the fact to discuss what they wrote down, as they need much practice in writing about books. After reading, we also did an extension activity. I found there were not a whole lot of ideas for these books online, like other more common books so I'll share the extension of this particular book with you.
When the Root Children Wake Up
This book was about the four seasons. There is a character to represent each four seasons and children who had been asleep all winter wake up to enjoy spring, and then move through summer, fall and back to sleep.
Before reading we brainstormed what we thought about when we see a color. At first they started out with objects and then after a little talk about how certain seasons would fit into specific colors, they began to move into ideas/feelings colors may represent. We talked about how illustrators often use a set of colors to portray an idea.
At Web Design Depot we found this image that added to our conversation.
This image was stated to be at ZoeSoulSpa but is no longer available. Moods/feelings are something we try to fit in as often as possible for the 4th grader, especially.
Another image that couldn't be found, supposedly at Educational Coloring Pages. Kids liked this one because it was in a familiar format.
Google images are USUALLY a homeschooling mom's friend. :-D We can quickly BUT CAREFULLY search a topic and usually come up with a visual to help extend our conversations and thoughts. My goal with discussing color is to bring their attention to how authors use color in their writing, especially to set a mood.
An art project that we did to go along with this book was a Four Seasons Tree. We got this idea from Arteascuola, a classroom blog.
They used oil pastels and a toothpick to create the patterns, with exception of kinder who just used watercolor as this project was a bit above him. We attempted doing watercolor-crayon resist but it really didn't suit for the paper we were using. Regular construction paper, it probably would have worked. Kiddos picked 2 or more colors to layer onto each section, per season, then used a toothpick (we did start with a paperclip but toothpick worked better) to create a pattern, if they wished.
We "doodled" trees in our sketchbooks first. This video helped us...
She went at a PERFECT speed for us. :-) Her calm voice helped diffuse any anxiety. However, it starts out very light....the kids had a hard time seeing what she was doing at first, when we watched it as a group. So, recommendation, watch it individually if you can and watch it completely through before starting over and sketching with her.