Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful Feasting - A Thanksgiving Reading List

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! It's only just a few days left till Thanksgiving Day is here and when the month of November comes to a close. This is holiday has become completely under appreciated as the years come and go, which is quite unfortunate. Keep the spirit alive of being thankful for what you have and get a good laughs in with these great books to share!

  •  1, 2, 3 Thanksgiving! Written by W. Nikola-Lisa and Illustrated by Robin Kramer. 1991. Morton Gove, IL. ISBN: 0807561096. T
  • Alligator Arrived with Apples: A Potluck Alphabet Feast. Written by Crescent Dragonwagon and Illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. 1987. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN: 0027330907. P
  •  Happy Thanksgiving, Emily!. Written by Claire Masurel and Illustrated by Susan Calitri. 2004. New York: Puffin Books. ISBN: 014240201X. T
  •  I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie. Written by Alison Jackson and Illustrated by Judith Byron Schachner. 1997. New York: Dutton Children's Books. ISBN: 0525456457. P
  • One Is a Feast for Mouse. Written by Judy Cox and Illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler. 2008. New York: Holiday House. ISBN: 9780823419777. P, S
  •  The Perfect Thanksgiving. Written by Eileen Spinelli and Illustrated by Joann Adinolfi. 2003. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN: 9780805065312. P, S
  • Setting the Turkeys Free. Written by W. Nikola-Lisa and Illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max. 2004. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children. ISBN: 0786819529. P, S
  • Thanks for Thanksgiving. Written by Julie Markes and Illustrated by Doris Barrette. 2004. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN: 006051096X. T, P, S
  • Thank You, Thanksgiving. Written and Illustrated by David Milgrim. 2003. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN: 0618274669. T, P
  • Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks. Written by Margaret Sutherland and Illustrated by Sonja Lamut. 2000. New York: Grosset & Dunlap (Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers). ISBN: 0613317963. T
  • Thanksgiving at Our House. Written and Illustrated by P.K. Hallinan. 2006, Nashville, TN: Ideals Children's Books. ISBN: 9780824955342. T, P
  • Thanksgiving Mice! Written by Bethany Roberts and Illustrated by Doug Cushman. 2001. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN: 0618120408. T
  •  Thelonius Turkey Lives (on Felicia Ferguson's Farm). Written and Illustrated by Lynn Rowe Reed. 2005. New York: Borzoi Book (Alfred Knopf). ISBN: 0375931260.
  • A Turkey For Thanksgiving. Written by Eve Bunting and Illustrated by Diane de Groat. 1991. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN: 0899197930. P, S
  • Thanksgiving Is Here! Written and Illustrated by Diane Goode. 2003. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN: 0060515899. P, S
  • Turkey Trouble. Written by Wendi Silvano and Illustrated by Lee Harper. 2009. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Corporation. ISBN: 9780761455295. P, S

I have to say that Turkey Trouble is my all-time favorite from this list. I always read it at my preschool storytime! Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Reading Level Key:
  • T = Toddlers (ages 2-3)
  • P = Preschool (ages 3-5)
  • S = School Age (ages 6-8)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Chicken Thief

Rodriguez, Béatrice. 2010. The Chicken Thief. New York: Enchanted Lion Books. ISBN: 9781592700929.

It all started out on a country morning cottage where Bear, rabbit, and the chickens just got up. Then, all of a sudden, during breakfast, a fox who was peaking from the bushes at the edge of the forest, swoops up a chicken into his arms and runs! Dedicated friends, Bear, Rabbit, and another chicken chase after them to save their captured friend from a digested-doom! The pursuit winds through thick forests, a mountain, and torrents waters before we all discover that Fox and Chicken eloped! All of this is craftily presented in a narrow wordless picture book. With fine ink lines and colorful watercolor, the simple yet detailed illustrations are reminiscent of author/illustrator Peter Spier. Rodriguez wonderfully captures the mood of all the characters and the world around them in full page spreads. Though some older readers may over analyze and wonder if the chicken developed Stockholm Syndrome. However, beyond that it's quite a fun and almost romantic story. Readers of all ages will be delighted in the happy ending. A fun, unexpected-ending, storybook to include to your wordless collection.

  • Ask the children what they thought was happening as they venture through the story.
  • Have the children create their own wordless storybook that has an ending that can be viewed as unexpected.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom

Singer, Marilyn. 2011. Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom. Illustrated by Lee Widdish. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN: 9780375867101.

"Do animals celebrate Valentine's Day?" is the question that one will find on the jacket cover flap. It continues on to say no one knows for sure. However, thanks to children's poet extraordinaire Marilyn Singer's creative little poems found in this book you would be come a firm believer that animals do celebrate love and companionship in their own world. In rhyming couplets, these poems are full of love, humor and puns that will make readers of all ages laugh and giggle. Ranging from household pets (dogs and cats) to wild animals found in your backyard to ones found in Africa (elephants) and to animals found in the sky and in the ocean, there is an poem for each animal lover. Some poems are quite easy to understand, "A sunny day. It's perfect weather / to go outside - and nap together" (Cats), while other poems can make a reader think and can be educational at the same time, "You and I could be a team, / if we agree on a color scheme" (Chameleons) and "I'm finding a leaf. You're taking a bite. / Wait a few weeks and our hearts will take flight." (Caterpillars). Lee Widdish's illustrations compliment the adorableness of the books theme. On each page, a poem has a vignette style picture. The overall presentation for Twosomes is a sweet little package, especially with the book being a small book that is perfect for little hands to hold. A must-have book for any poetry collection.

  • Share this book in class or storytime for Valentine's Day or if you're celebrating animals.
  • When learning about animals, read the poems that may require a little more brain power (chameleons and caterpillars) and then explore info about each animal from nonfiction books. For example, after sharing the caterpillar poem, discuss its life cycle from being a caterpillar that goes into a cocoon that becomes a butterfly. You could even then read The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
  • If your studying poetry, after sharing some poems, have the children create their own two-liners about the animal of their choice.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List 2012-2013!

This weekend (Oct. 22-23) in Austin was the Texas Book Festival! I had the great fun to explore the fest on Sunday, and got my hot little hands on the just announce master list of the Texas Bluebonnet Award list! I must say, that I recognize only a couple titles from the list, which means that I have some reading and review perusing in my future!

Here is the list of new books that will be voted on! Do you recognize any?

  • Arnosky, Jim. 2011. Thunder Birds, Nature's Flying Predators. New York: Sterling.
  • Cardillo, Margaret. 2011. Just Being Audrey. Illustrated by Julia Denos. New York: Balzer & Bray
  • Deedy, Carmen Agra and Randall Wright. 2011. The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale. Illustrated by Barry Moser. Atlanta: Peachtree.
  • Durango, Julia. 2010. Under the Mambo Moon. Illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
  • Fleming, Candace. 2010. Clever Jack Takes the Cake. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books.
  • Hatke, Ben. 2010. Zita the Spacegirl. New York: First Second.
  • Jonell, Lynne. 2010. Misty Gordon and the Mystery of the Ghost Pirates. Illustrated by Greg Call. New York: Amulet Books.
  • Lupica, Mike. 2010. Hero. New York: Philomel Books.
  • McElligott, Matthew and Larry Tuxbury. 2010. Benjamin Franklinstein Lives! Illustrated by Matthew McElligott. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
  • Ramsey, Calvin A. 2010. Ruth and the Green Book. Illustrated y Floyd Cooper. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books.
  • Selznick, Brian. 2011. Wonderstruck. New York: Scholastic Press. (Is anyone surprised to see Brian's book on the list? I'm not!)
  • Smith, Clete Barrett. 2011. Aliens on Vacation. Illustrated by Christian Slade. New York: Disney Hyperion Books.
  • Sternberg, Julie. 2011. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie. Illustrated by Matthew Cordell. New York: Amulet Books.
  • Swaim, Jessica. 2010. Hot Diggity Dog: The History of the Hot Dog. Illustrated by Elwood H. Smith. New York: Dutton Children's Books.
  • Taback, Simms. 2011. Postcards from Camp. New York: Nancy Paulsen Books.
  • Warner, Sally. 2011. EllRay Jakes is Not a Chicken. Illustrated y Jamie Harper. New York: Viking.
  • Weinstein, Muriel Harris. 2010. Play, Louis, Play: The True Story of a Boy and His Horn. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. New York: Bloomsbury.
  • Yohalem, Eve. 2009. Escape Under the Forever Sky. San Fransisco: Chronicle.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Andy Warhol's Colors

Rubin, Susan Goldman. 2007. Andy Warhol's Colors. Art by Andy Warhol. San Fransisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC. ISBN: 9780811857215.

It's never too early to introduce Andy Warhol to your child. Humor aside, this little board book has some great elements that perfect for the beginning of exposing colors and animals to a baby. Rubin picks ten pieces of art from famed Andy Warhol to write her simple text around, like "small green cat just purrs meow," "purple horse is trotting fast", to provide a brief description of the illustration with a focus on the colors. The little pages are filled with bright colors and the art is large and clear enough for little eyes to focus and distinguish. The book ends with a great rhyming stanza, "See the colors bright and bold. Orange, yellow, green, and gold. Pink and blue and all the rest. Which of them do you like best?" that encourages second and third readings in one sitting. A great first book to include in any baby collection, including for parents who are Modern Art lovers.

  • When reading the book remember to point at the pictures and the words and read over and over!
  • Share other board books with your baby that include art such as: Sharing with Renoir by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Clock's Gone Cuckoo! - A Poetry Break

I don't know about you but Daylight Savings Time in the Spring (you know, when we have to spring forward one hour) throws me for a loop! This is an excellent poem to share with children who are learning about this time confusion (or may even be feeling it too!).


The Clock's Gone Cuckoo!
(A Daylight Savings Poem)
by Jenny Whitehead

They say we lost an hour.
I'm not sure where it went.
Our clocks are all mixed up-
My head feels like cement.

Down the stairs I stumble-
Hey, who turned on the sun?
Dad's newspaper is sideways,
His shave is halfway done.

Look! Mom's pouring cat food
In all our breakfast bowls.
My sister's twisted sweater
Has mismatched buttonholes!

Luckily, this strange time change
Starts quietly on Sunday.
Imagine what could happen
It it started on a Monday!


Ask the kids what they think of the Daylight Savings Time, and what would they think would happen if it really did start on a Monday instead of Sunday. Remember to tell them that Benjamin Franklin came up the DST concept (wouldn't you love to see what the kids responses to that will be!?). Of course, also invite the children to write a poem about what their ideas are for DST!

Whitehead, Jenny. 2007. Holiday Stew: A Kids Portion of Holiday and Seasonal Poems. NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC. ISBN: 9780805077155.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Yes, It Was My Grandmother - A Poetry Break

March is National Women's History Month! As part of the celebration of women throughout is the ages is to reflect on those who are closest to you. This is a great poem about knowing that you share characteristics as your own grandmother who did things that were not necessarily lady-like. Share this poem with some historical pictures of cowgirls and wild horses. Remember to bring a picture of your grandmas too!


Yes, It Was My Grandmother
by Luci Tapahonso

Yes, it was my grandmother
who trained wild horses for pleasure and pay.
People knew of her, saying:
.....................She knows how to handle them
.....................Horses obey that woman.

She worked,
skirts flying hair tied securely in the wind and dust.
she rode those animals hard and was thrown,
time and time again.
She worked until they were meek
and wanting to please.
.....................She came home at dusk,
.....................tired and dusty,
.....................smelling of sweat and horses.

She couldn't cook,
my father said smiling,
your grandmother hated to cook.

.....................Oh Grandmother,
.....................who freed me from cooking,
.....................Grandmother, you must have made sure
.....................I met a man who wouldn't share the kitchen.

.....................I am small like you and not protect my careless hair
.....................from wind or rain - it tangles often,
.....................Grandma, and it is wild and untrained.

Invite ahead of time children to bring a picture or two of their grandmas to share with everyone. After sharing the poem allow everyone time to share fun facts about their own grandmas and if they think they have similar characteristics. They can do this in poetic form or just in a list. Remember you can do it too!

Hollyer, Belinda, sel. 2005. She's All That!: Poems About Girls. Illus. by Susan Hellard. Boston, Mass.: Kingfisher (Houghton Mifflin Company imprint). ISBN: 0753458527.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Yellowstone Whale - A Poetry Break

National monuments, symbols, or and landmarks always appear in a child's school curriculum at one point or another. Why not through a little poetry into it as well? The Old Faithful geyser is an American landmark that many think about when one mentions the Yellowstone National Park. Share this poem with other poems that are about other landmarks or nature poems. Remember to have information and pictures of Old Faithful too.

The Yellowstone Whale
by Lisa Westberd

..................................Deep beneath
..............................the bubbling pools
..........................lives a big whale.

....................When it breaths,
................we snap pictures
.............of its spout.

.........When it flicks its tail,
.......the ground shakes
.....beneath our feet.

...Stay down deep,
Stay down.

Have the students explore other natural landmarks through books and other poems. Have them pick one so that they can create their own poem that provides a unique persepective on what the landmark is.

Westberd, Lisa. 2003. Earthshake: Poems from the Ground Up. Illus. by Cathie Felstead. NY: Greenwillow Books. ISBN: 0060292652.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Edgar Springs, Missouri? - A Poetry Break

Everyone needs to be exposed random facts everyone so often (or all the time!). The Edgar Spring, MO that is the subject of this poem is the "Center of the U.S. Population," and really is a little fact that isn't mentioned enough. This poem would be perfect for a geography lesson or a lesson on the U.S. Share this one with other poems found in the same book or from A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme, which is also by J. Patrick Lewis.

Edgar Springs, Missouri?
(Center of the US Population)
by J. Patrick Lewis

Smack-de-do-dab in the middle
Of America's a little
Hamlet by the name of Edgar Springs.

And I think I oughta mention
(Could I have y'all's attention?)
'Cause it may not have the most famous ring:

Hundred ninety (population)
Belly button of the nation,
One P.O.,
A general store,
A stop for gas.

It's a breadbox of a borough,
And the bloomin' Census Bureau
can't locate it with a magnifying glass!

With this poem and any other geographical poem shared, have maps available and an images of the subject for the children to look at. Invite them to explore the maps to find a city or town they have never been to then have them research from the chosen to location. With the information in had have them share a poem (doesn't matter how long) about it.

Lewis, J. Patrick. 2007. Good Mornin', Ms. America: The U.S. in Verse. Illus. by Mark Clapsadle. Columbus, OH: Gingham Dog Press. ISBN: 0769631703.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How to Make a Valentine - A Poetry Break

It's that time of year again. Pull out that construction paper, those bottles of glue and glitter (or glitter glue pens, you're choice), white paper doilies, and the all the instruments needed to create those little cards to put in someone's decorated shoe box. Yes, it is Valentine's Day is just around the bend! This poem is for those who may be shy at heart or just plain do not want to give a valentine to anyone at school. Share this poem with other fun ones to get the full range for this little day.


How to Make a Valentine - by Bobby
by Jenny Whitehead

.....................Cut one red heart,
................. ...Sprinkle sprinkles,
...................Smooth out all of the
................ ..Glue-bump wrinkles.
.............. .....Stick some stickers,
........... ............. ...Scribble,
........... ............. .Swirl swirl.
.............. .... .Give to Grandma,
.............. .... .. .Not a GIRL girl.
................... .... . (No way!)

Invite the kids to create their own poem about the process of creating their own valentine hearts or cards, and, if they are brave enough, to say who the cards are for. They could even create a secondary poem that could be the written sentiment for their recipients.

Whitehead, Jenny. 2007. Holiday Stew: A Kids Portion of Holiday and Seasonal Poems. NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC. ISBN: 9780805077155.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A New Year Comes New Reading!

Happy New Year to all readers out there in the blogosphere and beyond! Another year has come and gone, and we are now at the beginning of the next. Time to explore some highly recommended reading from the new award reading lists provided by the Texas Library Association (TLA)!

In the past month TLA have announced the following reading lists:

Texas 2x2 Reading List

The 2x2s are books that are perfect for readers from ages 2 to 2nd grade. There are picture books then the Easy Readers (aka Beginning Readers) chapter books. This is a collection of books that I always trying to use more because (1) it's always good to promote the award/reading list collections and (2) you know for sure that these books would fit into the required age limit.

Texas Bluebonnet Award

The Bluebonnet books are for readers in 3rd - 6th grade and range from picture books up to juvenile chapter books. These are generally great reads to recommend to people. Schools in Texas actually require students to read from the list.

A master list is created each year and one winning title will be announced by the end of January.

Note: I was very excited to see two great poetry books making the list this year:

Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer and illus by Josée Masse

This is an amazing book of poems about the classic and well-loved fairy tales. Each tale has two poems. They are exactly identical to each other, except one has been flipped text-over-text to tell the story of another important character in the tale. Does that make sense? Look to my Poetry Break I created based off of one of the poems! I must say that this is a must-buy book to introduce poetry on a classic and fun subject.

Amazing Faces selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illus. by Chris Soentpiet

This books is a collection of poems that are about the amazing diverse range of people that we live with. Written by today's popular and some award-winning poets the poems include stories of a baby, a boy who wants to be friends the other boys on the street, a high school football hero, a girl in karate, and the love of an abuela. The book is perfectly diverse in the culture and includes a bilingual poem!

Lone Star Reading List

Lone Stars are for grades 6th - 8th and consist of juvenile and some young adult novels and occasional nonfiction (dependent on how your books are placed into collections, that is).

The first book from this list that I'm going to get my hands on is The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman. I saw this book a couple months back when it first arrived in the library; however, I had forgotten it on my many scraps of "To Read" papers until I saw it on the reading list.

This is about Elizabeth who just an after-school got a new job at the "New-York Circulating Material Repository," a library that circulates objects instead of books. She discovers a room that houses items from all the famous Brother Grimm fairy tales, which begin to disappear and it's up to Elizabeth to find out who.

Tayshas are primarily young adult novel with the occasional nonfiction and adult reads. They're geared towards grade 9th - 12th grade.

The one book from this reading list that I truly liked looking through was Years of Dust: The Story Behind the Dust Bowl by Albert Marrin. This nonfiction title has amazing photographs from the Dust Bowl, and is a great book for teen readers to explore one of the US's moment of history.

Another nonfiction book that is worth reading is Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge. This title is about fight to vote and the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. The story is told through the voices of men, women, children and teens. A very good read to explore and learn.

All in all, I was really happy to see quite a number of books that I'm familiar with make it onto all the lists. My "To-Reading" List just got longer! Follow any of the highlighted links to get to the websites to get the complete reading list!

Explore and enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Longing for Beauty - A Poetry Break

I got the book from which these poems came from for Christmas (which I was very excited about!), and there were so many good poems to pick from it was hard to choose one for a poetry break!

There are so many different styles of poems! Acrostic, haiku, concret, and more! Poet Marylin Singer has beautifully introduced the Reverse Poem in her new book Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse where she has taken the famous fairy tales and written two poems telling the story from two points of view. The "cool" affect of these poems is they are the exact same words, only one is in reverse. To introduce the a poem, ask the children if they are familiar with the fairy tale and briefly discuss reverse poems to them.

Longing for Beauty
by Marilyn Singer

(poem 1)
A beast
can love
A moist muzzle
can welcome
a rose.
A hairy ear
can prize
a nightingale, singing.
Beneath fur,
A soft heart

(poem 2)
a soft heart.
beneath fur.
A nightingale singing,
can prize
a hairy ear.
A rose
can welcome
a moist muzzle.
can love
a Beast

After reading the poems as the children if they know which poem is about which character: Beauty or the Beast? (Note, if you show the book's illustrations this could help them decide as the artwork generally shows the characters standing on the left or right side of the page just like the poems are.) When the children know what reversible poems, they can create their own simple reversible poems about nature or a single object. If someone wants to be ambitious and try to write their own reversible poem stories based on a fairy tale or beyond let them try!

Singer, Marylin. 2010. Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse. Illus. by Josée Masse. NY: Dutton Children's Books (imprint of Penguin Group Inc.). ISBN: 9780525479017.