Jerry Pinkney

All posts tagged Jerry Pinkney

Lesson ideas: The Lion and the Mouse, Africa and the savanna

Published October 8, 2013 by Dagmar

This year, I’m trying to tie my picture books into our non-fiction texts as often as possible.  Sometimes, it’s just tying to a book about the place where the story takes place, or facts about the animal involved, or maybe the climate or the season.

For those of you looking for ideas for your own library class times, I hope this new part of my blog on Lesson ideas is helpful to you.

Here’s my first lesson idea based on a favorite wordless book, Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse.  (click the link to see my previous blog article on this wonderful book.)

spotlight on africaLots of my students don’t have the ability to travel outside Oakland, and I’m a geography buff.  So I take every opportunity to introduce geography into my time with my students. The Lion and the Mouse is a great gateway book to talk about Africa, the African savanna and the animals that live there.

I started with asking my students to name the seven continents.  Then I focused them on Africa on our map.  It’s also great to incorporate a globe to show students how far away places are from their home.  Today, I used a wonderful book we just added to our library from the First Facts series on continents by Capstone Press.  The book I used is called Spotlight on Africa.  I took a few moments to shoafrican savannaw my students some pictures from the books and then turned to the page on Africa’s climates.  This page shows a picture of desert, rain forest and the savanna.  I then pulled out book on the African savanna called Here is the African Savanna.  This book has a lot of repetition and is really meant for younger children, but it nicely goes through many of the animals that live on the African savanna and even talks about the acacia trees.  I didn’t read everything on the page, because I wanted to focus the students on the different animals they might see on the savanna.  Altogether, we only spent about five or 10 minutes looking at a map, the book on Africa and the pages of the Savanna book.

We thlionen went on to, The Lion and the Mouse. I ask my students to “read” this book in silence.  It is so beautifully illustrated. The lion’s and the mouse’s facial expressions are wonderful.  I see my students telling themselves the story with their mouths moving.  After they’ve finished “reading” this wordless book, I ask them to tell me the story.

Summer reading recommendations

Published June 13, 2013 by Dagmar

My last summer reading list was my own – books that I have been meaning to read but haven’t had the time to read yet.  Here’s a list for kids of books that I’ve loved and students in my library have loved.  Of course, as I was writing it, I remembered all the books I still have to write about that are missing from this list.  Here’s a great start, though.  I hope you enjoy the list.  I’d love to hear your own recommendations.

I’ve listed books by an approximate age group and added links to my blog articles so you can read more about each title and see cover pictures.

Favorite Picture Books

Early readers (K-2nd grade)

  • I love the Mr. Putter and Tabby series, a sweet series by Cynthia Rylant with short chapters.  Click on the link to my blog article.
  • Katie Kazoo, by Nancy Krulik
  • Magic Tree House, by Mary Pope Osborne is a suspenseful series great for either read aloud or to read alone.
  • My Weird School and My Weird School Daze by Dan Gutman and Jim Paillot are very funny and full of snarky humor, perfect for this age.  Short chapters work, too.

Favorite chapter books (2nd-tween):

  • Inside Out & Back Again, by Thanhha Lai a wonderful book in verse about 10 year old girl’s transition from war-time Vietnam to the United States.
  • Moon over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool.  The story of a girl who goes to live in a new town with a friend of her father. There she discovers new friends and a mystery that might tell her more about her father.
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams is an award-winning book about a strong and resourceful 12 year old girl who, along with her sisters, flies to see the mother that abandoned her.
  • Ranger’s Apprentice, by John Flanagan is a fantastic fantasy series about an orphaned boy who is taken on as an apprentice to the elite but mysterious Rangers who work to protect
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio the story of a boy with severe facial disfiguration and his entry into school.

Favorite chapter books for tweens and middle school:

  • Conspiracy 365, by Gabrielle Lord an exciting and suspenseful series about a high school boy who has to solve a mystery in order to save his own life.One for the Murphys, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt was my favorite book of the year.  Realistic fiction about a girl in foster care and her new foster family.
  • Okay for Now, by Gary P. Schmidt, the story of a boy with a difficult home life that finds his way in a new town and discovers a love for the drawings of John Audobon.
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams is an award-winning book about a strong and resourceful 12 year old girl who, along with her sisters, flies to see the mother that abandoned her.
  • One for the Murphys, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.  My favorite book of the year.  Realistic fiction about a girl who winds up in foster care, her relationship with her foster family.
  • Ranger’s Apprentice, by John Flanagan is a fantastic fantasy series about an orphaned boy who is taken on as an apprentice to the elite but mysterious Rangers who work to protect
  • Shooting Kabul, by N.H. Senzai

Great non-fiction:

Aesop’s Fables, by Jerry Pinkney

Published May 2, 2013 by Dagmar

Caldecottaesop-winning author and illustrator Jerry Pinkney’s Aesop’s Fables appear with Pinkney’s incredible illustrations.  I’ve seen a many versions of Aesop’s Fables and can honestly tell you that this is my favorite version.

It’s hard to deny the appeal of fables to children.  My students tend to want to read the most familiar fables, “The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf”, “The Tortoise and the Hare” and the “The Lion and the Mouse”; but, there are so many wonderful fables to explore in this book.  I love that this book appeals to children of all ages.

The Lion & the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney

Published May 2, 2013 by Dagmar

lionThis Caldecott Medal winning book is superb.  I have always been a fan of Jerry Pinkney’s illustrations, but this book is truly beautiful.  The Lion & the Mouse is a wordless retelling of  Aesop’s fable of a lion who spares a mouse’s life and then has his life saved by the mouse.  The moral of the story? “Even the strongest can sometimes use the help of the smallest.”

The illustrations in this book are breathtaking.  I love watching my students intently look at each page and then listening as they recount the story to me.  Pinkney says in his author’s note at the end of the book, “My curiosity and reverence for animal life has grown over the years, and my concern for them grows in equal measure.  It seemed fitting, then to stage this fable in the African Serengeti of Tanzania and Kenya, with its wide horizon and abundant wildlife so awesome yet fragile – not unlike the two sides of each of the heroes starring in this great tale for all times.”  It is clear that Pinkney loves animals, because I honestly believe that the detail is so wonderful in these pictures, that I can read the animals’ expressions.

This is a book that would be an incredible addition to any child’s library.