All posts for the month May, 2013

Chopsticks, by Amy Drouse Rosenthal

Published May 22, 2013 by Dagmar

chopsticks A pair of chopsticks have been friends forever; in fact, they are inseparable, until one day while karate chopping a spear of asparagus, one chopstick breaks.  He is “whisked” away to recuperate.  His chopstick friend never leaves his sick friend’s side until one day, the hurt chopstick urges his best friend to venture out alone, as a single chopstick.  Unsure of himself, the healthy chopstick begins to find new things to do.  He learns that he can test muffins to see if they’re done, play pick up sticks with a set of pick up sticks, direct a band and pole vault over cookbooks.  In fact, he becomes stronger without his best friend.  Then, when his best friend has healed, they realize that, together, they have so many new things to share.  Knife called for a “toast”.  This book has the double entre that older readers just love.  It’s a story of friendship – a funny one.  Great illustrations by Scott Magoon.  Enjoy!

Mirette on the High Wire, by Emily Arnold McCully

Published May 20, 2013 by Dagmar

miretteMirette on the High Wire is a Caldecott Award winner and a big hit with my students.  I think my students particularly loved the fact that a young girl helps an adult through a difficult time.  This book is a real hit in my library.

Mirette’s mother operates a boarding house in Paris where many actors, jugglers and other performers like to stay.  A man comes and asks for a room.  Mirette discovers that the man is actually the Great Bellini, a famous high wire artist.  She watches, fascinated, as Bellini practices on a small wire in the back.  She begs Bellini to train her, but he warns her that once she begins walking on the wire, her “feet will never be happy again on the ground.”  Mirette can’t resist learning.  She practices and practices.  While she works with Bellini, she learns that Bellini has become afraid of working on the wire.  Together, Mirette and Bellini practice.   Their work together inspires Bellini to get back on the high wire, high in the sky in Paris.  Mirette, seeing him high in the air, quickly climbs up to the high wire and walks across to meet him in the middle.  It’s a wonderful moment in the book that my students love.

Too Tall Houses, by Gianna Marino

Published May 20, 2013 by Dagmar

Tall Tall HousesI was drawn to this book because of the really beautiful illustrations and was so happy that my 2nd graders loved this book. The animals’ expressions are incredibly well drawn. My students giggled when they saw Owl’s face as Rabbit poured water on his head. There is one page that made all my students say, “ooohh”.

Rabbit and Owl live next to each other. Rabbit grows vegetables, and Owl likes to look into the forest.  Everything is going well until Rabbit’s corn grows too tall. The friends begin to build their houses taller and taller until their houses are high above the earth.  Now Rabbit can’t carry water to his plants and Owl can’t see the forest.  When everything comes tumbling down, Rabbit and Owl figure out that they can build one small house together.

I loved it!  Enjoy!

Katie Kazoo, by Nancy Krulik

Published May 20, 2013 by Dagmar

katie kazooKatie Kazoo is a cute series for 2nd and 3rd grade that is a real favorite with the girls at my school.  I bought eight of the series, and they’ve asked me to buy the rest!  (There are 35.)  In the first Katie Kazoo book, Katie Kazoo Switcheroo, Katie and the rest of her third grade class a have to deal with a class bully, who doesn’t seem to be able to be anything but mean, especially to Katie.  Imagine Katie’s surprise, when after wishing she could be anyone else as a shooting star goes by… she turns into a hamster!?  Can she turn back into a girl?  Can she help George figure out how to be nice?  Read this fun series and see!

Little Blue and Little Yellow, by Leo Lionni

Published May 19, 2013 by Dagmar

littleblueI’m a big fan of Leo Lionni’s books.  They are timeless.  This is a wonderful pre-k book that never fails with my preschool and kindergarten students.  In this book, Leo Leonni blends colors to create a story of friendship and family.  His ripped paper art is creative and appealing to young audiences.

Little blue has lots of friends, but little yellow is his best friend.  One day, little blue goes out looking for little yellow.  When they finally find each other, they hug and become one green dot.  They go on all sorts of adventures together but when they go home to their families, their families don’t recognize them.  It isn’t until they both cry that their tears turn them back into blue and yellow.  The families recognize their children and everyone hugs, going from blue and yellow to green.

The Lost Boy and the Monster, by Craig Kee Strete

Published May 19, 2013 by Dagmar

lost boyReminiscent of the Lion and the Mouse, this is the tale of a boy who helps others and is then helped by himself.  My students just loved this book and clapped as I finished it.  The monster is creepy and comical and the boy’s good deeds are laudable.

Old Foot Eater is an awful monster who lives in a tree and catches young children by coiling a very sticky rope at the bottom of a tree.  Old Foot Eater particularly likes eating the feet of small children.  A lost boy, who has wandered so long that he’s forgotten his own name, sees a rattlesnake sunning himself on a rock.  Rather than trying to strike at the snake and kill it, the boy acknowledges the snake’s place in the world and lets it be.  As the boy continues wandering, he runs into a scorpion.  He also lets the scorpion live.  Suddenly, the boy walks right into the Old Foot Eater’s trap and is hauled up into the tree by the monster.  Caught and placed into a cooking pot from which he can’t escape, the boy is saved by the rattlesnake who hangs down from the edge and helps the boy escape.  The monster sees the boy escape and chases him.  The scorpion gives him a medicine bag that allows the boy to spread prickly cactus on the ground around the monster, leading to the Monster’s own demise.

Duck, by Randy Cecil

Published May 18, 2013 by Dagmar

DuckI have to admit that I choke up whenever I read Duck by Randy Cecil.  This book tells the story of a carousel animal, a duck, that dreams of flying like other ducks.

One day, a small lost duckling walks up to Duck, thinking Duck is his mother.  Duck takes the duckling under her wing and raises her.  They laugh, plan and dream together.  Duckling is growing up, and soon, Duck realizes that she will have to teach Duckling to fly.  After trying everything she knows how to do, Duck finally straps Duckling to her back with her scarf.  When they see ducks flying by, they jump off a hill, and Duckling flaps his wings.  Duck realizes that she is weighing Duckling down.  She loosens her scarf and falls to the ground, watching Duckling fly away with the other ducks.

The winter passes sadly for Duck.  When spring comes, she no longer looks at the ducks flying, because flying took Duckling away from her.  Then, she spots Duckling out of the corner of her eye.  Duckling has returned.  They laugh and play until Duckling takes duck onto his back and helps her to fly.

This is honestly such a sweet and touching book.  Randy Cecil’s drawings are fantastic and my young audiences love it.