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Going Places, by Peter and Paul Reynolds

Published September 17, 2015 by Dagmar

I’m a rule follower, excellent at following directions and getting things done on time, but I’ve always admired people that take a different path – who have minds so creative, ingenious and unafraid that they feel comfortable completely departing from the norm to create something new.  I think the best projects take a combination of rule followers and dreamers to be successful.
going places

In Going Places, Rafael is just like me. He is so excited when his class receives go-cart kits.  All the students are to build the kit and then have a race.  Rafael goes home and builds the kit, following the directions to the letter.  His go-cart looks exactly like the picture.  He decides to check on his friend and next door neighbor, Maya to see how she is progressing.  He sees her sitting in her yard staring at a bird on a tree and then at a bird flying.  When she builds her go cart, it doesn’t look at all like the picture on the kit.  It looks more like an awkward flying machine. When Rafael asks Maya why she didn’t building a go-cart, she says that no one said she had to build a go-cart. Rafael sees where Maya is going with her project and asks if they can team up. Nothing in the rules says that they can’t team up.

The result?  A plane!  As they roll up to the start line, other kids laugh.   It’s clear that everyone else in the class has followed the directions exactly, just as Rafael had. When the race starts, the go-carts take off.  The plane doesn’t move; but, then it does move…past all those go-carts.  Rafael and Maya fly to the finish line well ahead of their competitors.  As they roll to a stop, Maya sees a frog jumping off a rock in the lake. She turns to Rafael and smiles. He smiles back. Guess what they build next? 🙂

This is a wonderful book that makes you cheer for all your dreamers and the rule followers can spot a great idea and help bring it to reality.


Marilyn’s Monster, by Michelle Knudsen

Published November 29, 2015 by Dagmar

Marilyn's MonsterI wrote about a wonderful book called Going Places a few weeks. ago.  It’s about a young girl who takes a go cart kit and builds something completely different.  I love creative thinkers, kids and characters who have the courage to follow their hearts, even if it means doing something completely different from what others are doing.

In this same spirit, I would like to introduce you to Marilyn, a young girl who is waiting and waiting for her monster to arrive.  All the other children have already met their monsters…at the library, or the playground, on the way home from school or while riding their bikes. Monsters are fun.  They become playmates and protectors. Monsters are great.  Marilyn starts to become upset, even a little angry that her monster hasn’t arrived.

Finally, Marilyn decides to break the rules.  Instead of continuing to wait for her monster, as she is told she must, Marilyn strikes out to find her monster. Like any worthy adventurer, she brings peanut butter and banana sandwiches and juice.  Marilyn looks everywhere.  She calls out to her monster.  Finally, she hears a faint sound.  It’s her monster.  He got lost and then stuck on his way to her.  He was waiting for her to find him.

Michelle Knudsen’s story makes you cheer for Marilyn and Matt Phelan’s illustrations will make you want a monster of your very own.

This is a wonderful story, perfect for younger students.  My students loved it.

Prek-2 read alouds

Published November 10, 2012 by Dagmar

in alphabetical order

Ask Mr. Bear, by Marjorie Flack

A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka

Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue, by Molly Coxe

The Best Pet of All, by David LaRochelle

Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown

Blackout, by John Rocco

Boot & Shoe, by Marla Frazee

Cat up a Tree, by John and Ann Hassett

Chicken Big, by Keith Graves

Chu’s Day, by Neil Gaiman

Clever Jack Takes the Cake, by Candace Fleming

Creepy Carrots, by Aaron Reynolds

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow?, by Susan Shea

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems

The Stories of Ezra Jack Keats

Five Little Ducks, by Raffi

Ghosts in the House, by Kazuno Kohara

Ginger, by Charlotte Voake

Going Places, by Peter and Paul Reynolds

Goyangi Means Cat, by Christine McDonnell

I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen

In November, by Cynthia Rylant

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Taback

Kitten’s First Full Moon, by Kevin Henkes

Little Blue and Little Yellow, by Leo Lionni

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams

Little White Rabbit, by Kevin Henkes

The Lost Boy and the Monster, by Craig Kee Strete

Mirette on the High Wire, by Emily Arnold McCully

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming

Ninja Red Riding Hood, by Corey Rosen Schwartz

Of Thee I Sing, by Barack Obama

One Fine Day, by Nonny Hogrogian

Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses, by Kimberly and James Dean

The Really, Really, Really Big Dinosaur by Richard Byrne

Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson

Rosie’s Walk, by Pat Hutchins

Secret Place, by Eve Bunting

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by Philip C. Stead

Sing, Sophie, Sing! by Dayle Ann Dodds

“Stand Back!” said the Elephant, “I’m going to Sneeze!”, by Patricia Thomas

Stuck, by Oliver Jeffers

There was a Tree, by Rachel Isadora

Tippy-Toe Chick Go!, by George Shannon

Too Tall Houses, by Gianna Marino

Tuesday, by David Wiesner

The Voyage of Turtle Rex, by Kurt Cyrus

Wangari’s Trees of Peace, by Jeanette Winter

What! Cried Grandma: an almost bedtime story by Kate Lum

Where’s Walrus?, by Stephen A. Savage

Wild Horse Winter, by Tetsuya Honda

Wilfred, by Ryan Higgins