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Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Taback

Published March 15, 2013 by Dagmar

josephThis beautiful book is a Caldecott Medal winner is based on a Yiddish folksong, “Hob Ich Mir a Mantl”.  I read it to my preschoolers and kindergartners and got a wonderful response.  This book is not only set apart because of its beautiful, colorful illustrations but because of the cutouts that show how Joseph creatively uses his old overcoat as it shrinks to a button and then, finally, to nothing.   “Joseph had a a little overcoat.  It was old and worn.  So he made a jacket out of it.”  My favorite message is on the last page.  When Joseph finally loses the small button he’s made out of the remains of his overcoat, he says, “So Joseph made a book about it.  Which shows…that you can always make something out of nothing.”  A great message and a beautiful book for little ones.

Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke

Published July 2, 2015 by Dagmar

This graphic novel might just rank with Amulet as my favorite in my library.  Zita the Spacegirl has characters you’ll love, evil villians, wonderful drawings and a plot full of suspense.  It is a huge favorite with my students.

Zita the SpacegirlZita and her friend Joseph are surprised when a small meteor hits the earth where they are playing. Zita is adventurous.  She goes into the small crater and finds an interesting object that looks like a button. As all adventurous girls are wont to do, Zita pushes the button. Off goes Joseph onto another planet. Zita quickly presses the button again and finds herself on the same strange planet, just in to see Joseph kidnapped.

Zita meets new creatures that soon become friends, a large creature she names Strong Strong, another called Mouse and Piper.  She learns that this new planet is just about to be destroyed by an enormous asteroid.  Everyone is trying to get off the planet before the asteroid hits.  Zita is determined to find her friend.  She learns that he has been taken prisoner by the original creatures to inhabit the planet, Scriptorians.  The Scriptorians think that sacrificing Joseph will stop the asteroid.

Zita sets out with her new friends to find Joseph and save him. Will they be successful? Who will try to stop them? Will the planet survive? Read Zita and the Spacegirl to see how one strong, adventurous girl can team up with friends and make things happen.

Don’t miss the next two books in this trilogy, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl and Return of Zita the Spacegirl. Look for Ben Hatke’s new book, Little Robot, to be released on September 1, 2015.

Lesson idea: The Girl Who Spun Gold and Rumplestiltskin

Published October 18, 2013 by Dagmar

Here’s a lesson idea, contrasting two different retellings of a fairy tale, that worked really well with my fourth graders.  I love the book The Girl Who Spun Gold, by Virginia Hamilton and wanted to pair it with the traditional telling of Rumplestiltskin.  I used a very old copy of Rumplestiltskin thegirlwhospungoldthat we had in our library.  I wasn’t thrilled with this older book and ordered Paul Zelinsky’s version of the book after this lesson (winner of the 1987 Caldecott Honor).  The illlustrations are full of vibrant color that are sure to attract students and compare nicely with Leo and rumplestiltskinDiane’s illustrations in The Girl Who Spun Gold.

I took two class times to read Virginia Hamilton’s book, about 20 minutes, in all.  I then read the traditional telling of the story.  My students were jumping up to offer me similarities and differences between the two retellings of the story.  It was a lot of fun to see them so excited.

Next week, I’ll do a book talk and read the first couple of chapters of Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin, a new book by Liesl Shurtliff, a fractured fairytale.

Women of Hope: African Americans who Made a Difference, by Joyce Hansen

Published June 30, 2013 by Dagmar

Women of HopeI love to read parts of this book aloud to my students during African-American history month.  This book features quotes, black and white photographs and a page about many notable African-American women, including: Ida B. Wells-Barnett, The Delany Sisters, Septima Poinsette Clark, Ella Josephine Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ruby Dee, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Marian Wright Eledman, Alica Walker, Alexa Canady, Mae C. Jemison with a list of more notable women in the back of the book.

This book makes a great resource for teachers or a wonderfully inspiring book for young people.  Read a page here and there, or read the entire book.  Either way, don’t miss it.

Caldecott Medal

Published March 9, 2013 by Dagmar

The Caldecott Medal is awarded by the Association of Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Creepy Carrots, by Aaron Reynolds(2013 Honor)

Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen (2013 Honor)

A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka (2012)

The Lion & the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney (2010)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick (2008)

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems (2004 Honor)

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Taback (1997)

Journey, by Aaron Becker (2014 Honor)

Mirette on the High Wire, by Emily Arnold McCully (1993)

One Fine Day, by Nonny Hogrogian (1971)

Seven Blind Mice, by Ed Young (1993 Honor)

Ezra Jack Keats (Snowy Day – 1963)

Fiction – Picture Books

Published November 10, 2012 by Dagmar

in alphabetical order

Ask Mr. Bear, by Marjorie Flack

Baby Beluga, by Raffi

A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon

A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka

Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue, by Molly Coxe

The Best Pet of All, by Kevin Henkes

Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown

The Black Rabbit, by Philippa Leathers

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

Creepy Carrots!, by Aaron Reynolds

Clever Jack Takes the Cake, by Candace Fleming

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

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

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, by Mo Willems

Duck, by Randy Cecil

The Empty Pot, by Demi

Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett

Ezra Jack Keats

Five Little Ducks, by Raffi

The Frog Prince continuted, by Jon Scieszka

The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, by Chris Van Allsburg

Ghosts in the House, by Kazuno Kohara

Ginger, by Charlotte Voake

Goyangi Means Cat, by Christine McDonnell

I Want My Hat Back, by John Klassen

In November, by Cynthia Rylant

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Taback

Journey, by Aaron Becker

Keeper of Soles, by Teresa Bateman

Kitten’s First Full Moon, by Kevin Henkes

Langston’s Train Ride, by Robert Burleigh

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

Lucy Dove, by Janice Del Negro

Mirette on the High Wire, by Emily Arnold McCully

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires

Of Thee I Sing, by Barack Obama

One Fine Day, by Nonny Hogrogian

One Grain of Rice, by Demi

The Painter and the Bird, by Max Velthuijs

The Painter and the Wild Swans, by Claude Clement

The Paper Crane, by Molly Bang

The Pencil, by Allan Ahlberg

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

Press Here, by Herve Tullet

Pumpkin Soup, by Helen Cooper

Quest, by Aaron Becker

Take Away the A, by Michael Escoffier

The Really, Really, Really Big Dinosaur, by Richard Byrne

Red Sled, by Lita Judge

Room on the Broom, Julia Donaldson

Rosie’s Walk, by Pat Hitchins

Secret Place, by Eve Bunting

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

Sing, Sophie, Sing! by Dayle Ann Dodds

The Snail and the Whale, by Julia Donaldson

The Sneetches and Other Stories, by Dr. Seuss

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

Stuck, by Oliver Jeffers

There Was a Tree, by Rachel Isadora

This is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen

Tippy-Toe, Chick Go!, by George Shannon

Too Tall Houses, by Gianna Marino

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by Jon Scieszka

Tuesday, by David Wiesner

The Voyage of Turtle Rex, by Kurt Cyrus

Wangari’s Trees of Peace, by Jeanette Winter

What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story, by Kate Lum

Where’s Walrus, by Stephen A. Savage

The Widow’s Broom, by Chris Van Allsburg

Wild Horse Winter, by Tetsuya Honda

Wilfred, by Ryan Higgins

Zoom, by Istvan Banyai

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