Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Title: Windsong
Author: Lynn Hall
Publisher: Charles Scrubner's Sons, 1992
Genre: novel/ realistic fictions
Grade: 4-6

Summary: Marty a little girl is a helper at Orland’s greyhound breeding facility. In one of the litters a white, underweight, whiny pup is born and Orland decides to trash it until Marty says she will take it and train it. So she raises it. For the first couple weeks of life Marty is the only one that can get little windsong to eat or stop whining. After winsdsong is full grown they test her on the tack, she fails because she is too shy to even finish a round. So Orland once again says he has to “take care” of windsong since she is not fit to be a racer. Marty begs for the dog to come home with her knowing her brother has horrible allergies. Once home with windsong the family decides with marty’s brother being so allergic that the dog can not stay. So she takes windsong to her old piano teachers house, they call her Ushie. After a while Ushie doesn’t even want Marty to come visit the dog anymore because she says it her not martys. Marty leaves windsong with Ushie in hopes of running a kennel like Orland.

Response: I got so excited when I found this book because it is a dog book. The insides cover states how this little girl saved this pup and helped raise it. Honestly this was an awful book. I hate sad endings! And some of the parts to this book I thought were too mature for students. There was a love affair going on between two married couples. It described what happened to the unfit pups in the breeders litter, the breeder killed them. He would also kill them if he gave them a chance to grow up and weren’t fast enough on the track! And at the end the little girl doesn’t end up with the dog! It started off very sweet with the little girl saving this underweight greyhound because the breeder was going to kill it. And she takes it home and it all goes down hill after that. What made the book even worse to me is that the little girl wanted to be just like Orland, the dog breeder! All in all I just didn’t really like this book.

Teaching ideas: I wouldn’t teach this book, but I am putting it in my selection because I read it! But things that were incorporated were dominant and recessive genes from a breeding stand point, in science. Also selfishness was a big issue in this book.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket

Title: Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket
Author: Barbara Park
Illustrator: Denise Brunkus
Publisher: Random House, 2000
Grade level: 2-3
Genre: novel/ realistic fiction

Summary: Junie B. Jones is in school; kindergarten that is, and finds out school will soon be over and have to go to the next grade. But before she moves up the whole class gets to go on a class field trip to a farm! Everyone was excited except for Junie. She went home and explained to her parents that horses are evil and can stomple you in the ground, and roosters can peck your head into a nub. After her mother telling her she would go on the field trip, even though she didn’t want to, she arrives at the farm very nervous. The farmer takes Junie under his wing and shows her around the farm. She gets to be the farm helper, which of course means she gets to tell everyone what they need to do. At the end Junie finds this very cute little chick and thinks that it is just wonderful. Come to find out that little chick would grow up to be a rooster that Junie was so scared of. She figures maybe the farm is a fun place to go.

Response: I have never read a Junie B Jones book. And she is hysterical. My favorite parts are when she is just larger than life and is a confused typical little 6 year old. She gets very confused while Mrs. is explaining how school will be over, but not for good, only the summer. And I love when she was telling about the show she watched on TV “when ponies attack” she was just a very straight forward little girl and took everything so seriously and believed everything she heard. Through Junies actions and the was she looks from the pictures she reminds me so much of this little girl I babysat named Olivia. She responds in the same way Junie does.

Teaching Ideas: I think this would be a good book for students to see that everything isn’t always as it seems. Another thing I would point out is that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear or see on TV. Especially in today’s world I think that lesson in itself would be beneficial. But you could also have the students make a collage of pictures or words that tell a story of a time that they thought was going to be boring or awful that turned out pretty good.

Amber Brown: I, Amber Brown

Title: Amber Brown; I, Amber Brown
Author: Paula Danziger
Illustrator: Tony Ross and Jacqueline Rogers
Publisher: Scholastic, 1999
Genre: Novel/ realistic Fiction
Age Range: 3-5

Summary: This book is written from the point of view of a sweet, average, 10 year old named Amber Brown. She constantly refers to herself as “I, Amber Brown” She says she does it because she’s not mom’s Amber Brown, or Dads, or Student Amber Brown. But just herself I, Amber Brown. Amber’s parents are divorced and she has just discovered that her dad was moving back in town where she and her mother live. Throughout this book Amber discusses her feeling about her mother’s attitude towards her father and how it upsets her. Once her dad comes in town she tricks her dad into getting her ears pierced, even though her mother forbidden her. This obviously causes problems between Amber’s mom and dad. Another scene that unfolds is that Amber’s dad promised her she could help pick out his apartment, but one night her father surprised her and took her to his new house. Amber was very upset and had to explain why. But towards the end everything comes together the best it can.

Response: I thought this book was very cute and very realistic. I know my parents are divorced and do all the same things Amber’s parents do. Although I was much older when it happened so I didn’t care as much, at 10 years old those are awful things to her about your dad or mom. Another issue Amber comes across is that her dad broke a very big promise to her and she goes on to explain that he had no idea why she mad. I think all children go through this at one point or time. I think that kids will really be able to relate to Amber and her books are very humorous. If I have a higher grade such as 3-5, I will definitely have Amber Brown on my shelf.

Teaching Ideas: There are a huge number of teaching ideas in this book! A couple of possibilities include discussing families and how all of them are different. Amber’s parents are divorced in this book, as will many of the parents of the students in the class room. Another issue was playing one parent against another or bending the truth, like when Amber got her earrings. But what I might do to use all the ideas is to have the student write a paragraph on each issue found in the book and think of a different way Amber could have handled it. And maybe let them write an issue that happened in their life when they could have handled it differently.

Friday, February 22, 2008

There's a Wocket in my Pocket!

Title: There’s a Wocket in my Pocket!
Author: Dr.Seuss
Publisher: Random House, 1996
Genre: Picture book
Age Range: K-1

Summary: It’s a silly story about a little boy who goes around and finds make believe creatures in or on things that rhyme with it. For example he finds a zamp in a lamp. And a Wocket in his pocket.

Response: This is definitely a lower grade book. But kids love silly! And that’s what Dr.Suess’s books are. They have bright images and silly words; it’s a tongue twister that I think kindergartener or first graders would really like.

Teaching Ideas: This would be a good book to look at rhyming words in an English curriculum. You could even have the students draw a make believe creature in or on an object and name it something that rhymed with the object.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Three Snow Bears

Title: The Three Snow Bears
Author: Jan Brett
Publisher: G.P Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Picture Book/ multicultural/ traditional literature
Age Range: k-3

Summary: This book is a revised version of the three bears with goldilocks. The ‘goldilocks’ in this story is a little Inuit girl named Aloo-ki. And the three bears are snow bears that live in igloos. She first drinks out of each bears bowl deciding that the littlest bowl was not to hot or to cold. Then she finds three pairs of boots, with the littlest ones fitting just right. She then goes to the room with a long sleeping bench piled with three different mounds of fur blankets, with the littlest one that was warm and cozy and just right. The snow bears come back and find their bowls empty, their boots had been warn, and their beds slept in, in fact baby bear finds that little Aloo-ki is still in his bed. Aloo-ki jumps out of bed through the papa bears legs and back on her dog sled were everyone waved goodbye.

Response: AMAZING images! I wanted to touch the bears and rub his white very fuzzy looking fur, and touch these beautiful carved bowls, and the soft jackets! Oh the imagery in this book is nothing like I have ever seen. Everything honest to goodness looks so real like you could touch it. The little girl is precious. I love how it shows so many things from the Inuit culture. The utensils, beds bowls, clothes, boots, houses were totally different than anything you would find around here. I loved all the detail to the home. Another thing I found very neat is that each page has almost like a border, telling a whole nether story. If you haven’t seen this book I would highly recommend that you do! I have seen some of her other books like the mitten, but this is my favorite!

Teaching ideas: I would obviously use this book to discuss the Inuit people. In fact I think you do this in the 5th grade. I remember each student having to make igloos out of sugar cubes. One thing that I might do in the classroom is talk about the detail in all their possessions such as clothes, utensils, beds, tools, any object. And have each student or pair of students’ research how they made these objects and what efforts went into them and to see if they could make some kind of object (tool, clothes, utensil) that the Inuit’s might use. This book could also be used to discuss the different kinds of wildlife in Canada or any artic area.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Aleutian Sparrow Free Verse Poem

This novel is written in free verse poetry.
Each poem has a title, giveing direction and insight to the reader
even before begining.
Each are emotional diary like entries.
They are no more, no less than what the writer wants to share.
your eyes follow along because each poem is so short.
while your heart follows along becasue the alutian people are so hopeful.
Through hard times and bad situations the free flowing verses never show anger
only insight into a loving and uplifting tribal community.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Skippyjon Jones

Title: Skippyjon Jones Color Crazy
Author: Judy Schachner
Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books
Genre: Picture Book/ Colors
Age Range: K

Summary: Skippyjon Jones is a Siamese cat with very large ears. He goes through the book with crayons and colors different color pictures. He draws big blue suns, tall Yellow grass, Pink sky, etc.

Response: I think this is a cute book for a kindergartener or younger child to learn and reinforce colors. I like the illustrations colored in crayons. And the little cat reminds me of my little puppy. She is a rat terrier and they have big ears too.

Teaching ideas: this would definitely been done with kindergarten or younger. I would use this book to reinforce colors and have the children draw pictures using these colors.

Henry and Mudge Get the Cold Shivers

Title: Henry and Mudge: Get the Cold Shivers
Author: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrator: Suzie Stevenson
Publisher: Bradbury Press, 1989
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Range: 3-5

Summary: This story starts out with Henry having a sick day, and Mudge loved it! He got to eat all Henry’s crackers when his parent gave him some. The next Henry felt good, but Mudge did not. Mudge had to go to the vet because he didn’t feel good. Mudge didn’t like the vet; he shivers and sheds every time he goes. The vet said he had a cold, so Henry took him home and took extra good care of him. The next day Mudge was feeling better and gave Henry a big kiss.

Response: I love Mudge. Mudge and Henry always seem to have great stories. I like how the book has mini chapters that are easy to read, but in big kid format. I think this format will really make a child want to read because it’s a chapter book. I like the water color pictures. Any child that has any kind of pet will really fall in love with this series.

Teaching Ideas: This would be a good book to talk about illnesses and hand washing. In this book Henry and Mudge both come down with a cold. It would be good to discuss what makes people sick and what we can do to prevent colds. Washing hands, no hand shaking, eating vitamin C…etc. A lesson plan I really liked that I would probably use with this book is a lesson on hand washing. You let each student hold out their hands and you squirt a lotion type liquid in their hands called “Glo-germ.” They then rub it in their hands and then are instructed to go wash their hands. When the students come back to the room they can each take their hands and look at them under a black light. They residue that they did not wash off will remain and be easily seen. This will show were students need to spend extra time on and show them how hard it is to get germs off their hands.

In the Small, Small Pond

Title: In the Small, Small Pond
Author: Denise Fleming
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, 1993
Genre: Picture Book/ Realistic Fiction
Age Range: k-3
Awards: Caldecott Honor

Summary: This is a rhyming story about animals and their actions and sounds. It’s about all the activity that happens at just one pond. At this one pond there are turtles, ducks, fish, sparrows, frogs, muskrats, bugs, tadpoles, etc. It shows things that these animals would be doing in their habitat.

Response: I couldn’t find out what kinds of material were used to create these pictures, but I really wish I knew. These pictures are so bright and lovely. The colors are perfectly mixed so that the dirt looks like dirt and water looks like pond water. Since this is a rhyming story it creates almost a musical quality by building patterns and repetition.This is such a good book for children to learn about habitats, animals, and onomatopoeias. It showed a great variety of creatures that live in a pond environment. It covered animals that live in, on, under, and even near the pond. I can definitely see why it won the Caldecott Honor, and was suggested in the Temple text for books on nature and animals. I loved this book, especially the illustrations.

Teaching idea: Get the children to pick an animal. Then have them write five to seven sounds (onomatopoeias) that their animal could or would make. I would also have the students take the animal that they picked and research their habitat and discuss what other kind of animals live there. This could be a fun little lesson or a take home project for the students to complete. They could each then share making all the other students aware of their animal and habitat.

Dog's ABC, A Silly Story About the Alphabet

Title: Dog’s ABC, A Silly Story About the Alphabet
Author: Emma Dodd
Illustrator: Tucker Slingsby
Publisher: Dutton Children Books, 2002
Genre: Picture book/ ABC
Age Range: K-3

Summary: This is story about Dog as he goes through his day. He hits every letter in the alphabet starting his day by being hit with an “Apple” and barked because it hurt and scared a “Bird”, then a “Cat” chases the bird while “Dog then chases the cat. You get the idea. Throughout Dogs day he not only finds things that start with the alphabet but makes many fun sounds along his way like Bonk, Whew, Ribbit, Blub, Quack, etc. At the back of the book on one whole page it reviews all the alphabet letters and the things that start with them.

Review: I thought this was a good story using the alphabet. Instead of going through and saying A: apple. It creates a whole story while incorporating the alphabet in it. Then at the end I like how it reviews all the letters and the objects associated with that letter. The pictures were computer made is what it looks like, so all the colors are very bright and bold. The writing was typography, so it was fun reading it as well.

Teaching Ideas: This would obviously be a great backup reading to the alphabet. But what I really liked is all the fun sounds, so this book could also be used in a higher grade like 2nd to discuss onomatopoeias. You could let a child look at different pictures and let them make up there own sounds to put in. You can also have students create their own poem or story with onomatopoeias in it.

Speak To Me (And I Will Listen Between The Lines)

Title: Speak To Me (and I Will Listen Between the Lines)
Author: Karen English
Illustrator: Amy June Bates
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004
Genre: Poetry/ Multicultural/ Picture Book
Age Range: 3-5

Summary: This is a collection of poems by six San Fransico, inner-city, African Americans children about their school day. Most of the poems are non rhyming poems. Each are different stories about each child’s school day. One has a good day and brings his teacher a flower, the next gets sent to the principals, one has a new baby brother, one is a show off, and one is a day dreamer, etc. They all have stories to tell and they express themselves through poetry.
Like Tyrell “I just got here and
Already I don’t care about anything this day
Send me next door to Miss Cross’s room
And I don’t care
Bench me for recess
And I don’t care
Make me write: “I’ll do my homework quietly”
One hundred times
And I don’t care
I don’t care about anything this day
And you can’t make me.”

Response: This was a good book, because there was so many completely different stories. Each student was feeling something different on the same day. It shows the point of view on girls and boys, trouble makers and sweethearts, daydreamers, slackers, and hard workers. The illustrations are bright and detailed. I think it was done with pen or black charcoal and water color. I love the expression on each kids face, their very cute. My favorite poems throughout this book were Tyrell’s. He seems to have a hard time in school and does care, he gets sent to the office, and can’t wait to go home. This really gives the teachers a chance to see what going on a child's life and helps them "read between the lines" of their work.

Teaching Ideas: this would be a great book to begin a poetry lesson and a great way to share ones feelings and emotions. This shows the students that not all poems are happy. They can be about whatever you feel. I would take a class of 3rd graders and let them create their own poem on how they are feeling that day. I would also tell them to create another poem that made them feel this way today. We could then go around the room and who ever wanted to share could do so.

HENRY the Dog with No Tail

Title: HENRY the Dog with No Tail
Author: Kate Feiffer
Illustrator: Jules Feiffer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books, 2007
Genre: Picture book/ Fantasy
Age Range: K-1

Summary: This book is about a sweet little Australian Shepard, named Henry, who has no tail. All of his friends have tails: his best friend a lab has a long tail, the pug has a curly tail, and the poodle has a fancy tail. Henry goes out to find a tail. He has a special tail made by a tailor, a very very long tail. So when he comes back to show it off, he figures out he can’t wag it! “What good is a tail that didn’t wag.” So he sets off again and ends up in a battery park, where he attaches one to his tail and it comes to life. A little too much for Henry. It has him swirling in the air like a helicopter until he decides to take the battery off. As he climbs down from a tree, again with not tail; Henry realizes that he is happy being himself, even with no tail.

Response: This book is precious, especially for dog lovers. It’s an adorable tale of a dog with no tail! He finds himself different from all the other dogs and is sad at first. But once realizing him having no tail is who he is. He comes to reason with it and likes being the Henry with no tail. The illustrations are very cute as well. It was created with charcoal pencil and water color. This story is also very funny so it makes it enjoyable for small children to read or listen too. For instance, Henry flies through the air like a helicopter, gets tangled in his own tail, finds a land of batteries, and meets new friends along his way.

Teaching Ideas: This is a great story to show diversity and uniqueness at a young age. This book could easily lead into a discussion on how people are different and what makes them unique. I would have a kindergarten class go around and say one thing they think is unique about them selves. And maybe in a small group they could go around and say something good about each student in the class.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Me Poem

(I'm not sure if I did this right but here it is!)

I am from saddle, from Blistex and Alpo.
I am from the two levels; brick …red, black, smell of charcoal.
I am from the _fern, tulip, bark, the shrub, rose, brown.I am from butting eggs and freckles, from Doris and David and Miller.
I am from the bad backs and glasses.
From come inside and wash your hands.
I am from Catholic when I was younger in the big churches with millions of people. Now, for 6 years, I go to my boyfriends church ‘United Church of Christ’. It’s very tiny, in a farming community, but I love it!
I'm from Atlanta and Ireland, Cranberry sauce and dry chicken.
From the Grandma who had Alzheimer’s and went into the hospital were my grandpa was sent after a acute heart attack. She was told no visitors so she said she would be back with her gun. When told she can’t do that. She saw nothing wrong with it, she was then taken back to one of her daughters house were she spent the week, the Aunt who caught her hair on fire while leaning over a candle at thanksgiving dinner, and the Dad who just got telling me that the front porch on his new house was the strongest ever, he stomped, and feel through the porch at that exact moment.
I am from old pictures on the mantle and old family portraits only in my room. Letters from my cousin while in Iraq, which couldn’t be bought not for a million dollars. While in Iraq he stayed for many years, he scared me to death with sotires of granades that landed under him and just happened to not go off, while the ones behind him exploded. He sent pictures of the granades and such.But he is now back in the states with a new wife and baby boy. He would do it agian in a heartbeat, I envy someone so brave.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

Title: Moses; When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children 2006
Genre: Picture book/ Historical fiction/ multicultural
Age Range: 3-5
Award: 2006 Caldecott Honor Book

Summary: With out any support from anyone Harriet Tubman looks higher for help. God answers Harriet and gives her encouragement along her journey to freedom. God mentions to her that she is to be the Moses of her people and that is exactly what she is. She frees them all and leads them to the promise land, free soil!

Response: What beautiful pictures. The scenery is so real looking. I noticed while reading this book on my desk if you turn on the lamp the starts and sun in the book light up and the further you move the light away it looks like the sun is setting and such. I loved it! It reminds me of Thomas Kinkade’s art work. It is sensitive to the light. I loved how the writing was broken up as well. God’s words were all caps and bold. While Harriet’s actions were in regular text, her thoughts and words were in italics. This makes it much easier for a child to keep up on what is going on. This was a beautiful story, told in such an uplifting way.

Teaching Ideas: This book should obviously be used in the teaching of slavery and Harriet Tubman. It’s a great book that will keep the students attention the pictures and the different voices you can just imagine. You can just picture God’s big bellowing voice while Harriet’s is so much quieter and unsure.

What do you do with a tail like this?

Title: What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?
Author: Robin Page
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Publisher: Houghton Mufflin Company, 2003
Genre: Picture book/ Informative
Age Range: K-3
Awards: 2003 caldecott honor book

Summary: The Author goes through and describes each sense and informs about different types of animals. She says what do you do with eyes like these and goes on to show and describe different types of animals that use their eyes for different things. She goes through and uses eyes, feet, ears, nose, and mouth. The pictures used cut paper collage only.

Response: I loved everything about this book; the way it was set up, the information in it, and especially the pictures. The illustrator used only cut-paper collages to illustrate this book. And you can tell so much time was put in to this book. The papers were perfect colors and even textures. You can tell some were cut and some were torn or wrinkled to get that perfect look. I also really liked how it went through as a picture book and at the end of the book it ended up with definitions and a little background on each animal in the book. I was even unaware of half of the information in this book. For instances platypus, uses there nose to dig in mud…. I had no idea! I thought that was great because with that you can use this book with very young kids and older kids!

Teaching Ideas: This book could be integrated easily in a science class discussing animals. You could have the students pick one of the animals in the book they found interesting and have them do a little research on it. You could also use this book discussing the 5 senses; touch, sound, sight, smell, hearing. You could have each describe an animal that uses each and why. This would also be a great book in art if you were doing a session on paper collages. The pictures are fabulous.