All posts for the month December, 2013

There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, by Dr. Seuss

Published December 21, 2013 by Dagmar

Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss?  I think the most spectacular shrieks of the year came on Thursday when I read, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, to my K/1 wocketclass.  My students went wild over all the fantastic creatures with names that rhyme with every day household things, like the Ghair in the Chair, the Nink in the Sink.  They were properly spooked by the Vug under the Rug who, let me tell you, has always made the hair stand up on my neck.

This book is not only perfect for beginning readers, this book is also a perfect read aloud for students ready to appreciate some good rhymes.  One student, upon leaving, told me to be careful to check my shelf for a zelf and my book basket for a wasket.  I dutifully checked everything before the student left; and, of course, jumped three feet in the air when I actually saw the zelf and then the wasket.  That made him laugh!

Have fun with this one.


Board Book favorites

Published December 8, 2013 by Dagmar

We use a lot of board books at our school, not only for our preschoolers, but also for some of our students in our PEC, Program for Extraordinary Children (formerly known as SDC), which runs from Pre-k all the way through the fifth grade.  These books also make fantastic baby gifts if you’re in the market for baby gifts as I often am.  I’m a big proponent of reading from the very first day of life.

Here are some of our students’ and my favorite board books:

Goodnight Gorillapajama time!bigredbarndearzooGoodnight Moonfreight train

Freight Train, by Donald Crews: This book has wonderful soothing words and great colors.  Read about the parts of a freight train.  One of my favorites.

Goodnight, Gorilla, by Peggy Rathmann: This book is so loved in our library that I own three copies.  A funny wordless book about a gorilla who steals a zookeepers keys and lets out all the animals. You’ll read it so many times that your students/or children will read it to you.  They still wear out every year!

Pajama Time!, by Sandra Boynton: This is one of my absolute favorites.  It has great rhymes and is very, very cute.  I’ve had entire pre-school classes saying “Hush, Hush. It’s Pajama Time!”

Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown: Again, soothing words about animals on a farm

Dear Zoo! by Rod Campbell: This is a sweet “lift the flap” book.  “I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet, they sent me…”  This is a real favorite.  Children love the rhymes and lifting the flaps to see what animal the zoo sent.

Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown: Before you say this book is a cliche, there is a reason.  It is a peaceful, calming book that never fails to please the child I’m reading it to.  It also allows a child to look for the little mouse on each page!

Stay tuned for more board book favorites!

One Fine Day, by Nonny Hogrogian

Published December 7, 2013 by Dagmar

onefinedayThis 1971 winner of the Caldecott Medal worked really well with my kindergarten students.  One day, a fox, traveling through a forest, notices a pail of milk.  He quickly laps up all the milk but is caught by the old lady who owns the pail.  Angry that the fox drank all her milk, the old lady cuts of his tail.  He asks her to please sew it back on so his friends won’t tease him.  She tells him that she’ll sew it back on if he brings her more milk.  So begins fox’s journey to find milk.

The fox meets a cow who won’t give him milk unless the fox gives her some grass.  He goes to the meadow, but the meadow won’t give him grass until she gets water and so on.  Finally, after six different people ask him for something the miller takes pity on the poor fox, giving him some grain to give to the hen so he can have an egg to give to the peddler and so on until he has enough milk to pay back the old woman.  The old woman does finally sew back on the fox’s tail.  My guess is that our fox won’t be stealing milk again. 🙂


Wild Horse Winter, by Tetsuya Honda

Published December 6, 2013 by Dagmar

wildhorseThis book was a sleeper, sitting for the last three years in a paperback picture book basket.  As I flipped through my basket, organizing books one day, I was intrigued by this book.  You may have read that my first grade students board my library plane each week, taking trips to different continents and countries.  Thinking that this book took place in Wyoming or Colorado, I was already to break out my state books.  The fact that I was rushed and hadn’t read the book before I decided to read it to my students was quickly discovered as the horses in the book inexplicably reached the ocean.  Last time I heard, there are no oceans in Colorado.  My very forgiving students were happy to re-board our plane and head West, all the way across the Pacific Ocean to the island of Hokkaido in Japan.

This beautifully illustrated book by Tetsuya Honda is about the wild horses that live on the island of Hokkaido in Japan.  These horses, according to the author’s note, were brought to the island of Hokkaido three hundred years ago, by merchants and fisherman.  In the winters, the merchants and fisherman would abandon the island to go to the mainland, but left their horses to survive the harsh winter on the island.  In this story, we see a colt and his mother brave the winter by sleeping in a snow drift as they try to find their way from the grassy inland to the ocean.  According to the author, Dosanko horses are known to lie down close to the ground and allow the snow to cover them in an effort to stay warm.  Over many years, yhe horses, known as Dosanko horses, adapted to the harsh winters gradually developing longer hair, shorter bodies and stronger hooves. There are now only about 1,000 of these horses, living mostly on wild horse preserves.

This book was a jumping off point for lots of discussion: about Japan, how animals adapt to harsh conditions, how the native tribes near the arctic circle sometimes use ice to build homes to stay warm and how you might stay warm if caught in a blizzard or avalanche.

The book really captivated my students.  I recommend it for first through third grade audiences, or younger audiences at home.

Nelson Mandela, by Kadir Nelson

Published December 6, 2013 by Dagmar

mandelaYesterday, Nelson Mandela passed away.  He fought for freedom and won it for his people.  He was a tremendous man.  He lived 95 years and is a symbol of the power of protest for so many around the world.  President Obama said, “Let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived–a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.”

How lucky for us that we have Kadir Nelson’s beautiful picture book about Nelson Mandela to help children understand the life and work of Nelson Mandela.  The book, written in verse, leads the reader through Nelson Mandela’s life from the time he was a child through the end of apartheid and his election as South Africa’s first black president.  The illustrations are full-page and incredible in the way that they capture the emotion of each scene.

On the back cover of the book, the author says, “My work is all about healing and giving people a sense of hope and nobility.  I want to show the strength and integrity of the human being and the human spirit.”  He certainly succeeded in this book.

Highly recommended.  Best for third grade and up, but could work for younger students as well.  Thank you to Junior Library Guild for introducing me to this book.