I enjoy reading non-fiction books with my third graders. This book is such a fun way to present animal facts. Each page shows the noses, ears, tails, eyes and mouths of five different animals. The fun starts as students try to guess which nose (ears, tail, eyes or mouth) belongs to which animal. Then, we turn the page and read about how each animal uses its nose, (ears, tail, eyes or mouth). Some of the facts, like monkeys hanging from their tails are not surprising. The fact that horned lizards shoot blood from their eyes….and crickets hear with ears on their knees…..surprising!! Don’t miss this fun way of presenting animal facts to children.
I do so love an oldie but goodie. Rosie’s Walk was published in 1968. Rosie, a hen, is going for a walk. Little does she realize that there is a hungry fox following her everywhere. As Rosie walks, fox steps on a rake, falls into a pond, falls into a haystack, has a bag of flour emptied on him and then falls into a wheelbarrow which rolls into bee hives. Rosie completely misses all of the action behind her. She finally ends up at her chicken coop, just in time for dinner. Every time I turned the pages, my students would shriek with laughter when they saw what happened to the poor fox. They were very cute.
I read this to my TK (Transkinder) class, with students who just missed the cutoff for kindergarten. They absolutely loved this book. I then tried it with my preschoolers and found that they had a harder time following this book. I’d recommend it for TK through 1st grade audiences.
So if you’re looking for a quick, funny read for your young students, here it is.
I was so happy to find this book at my local bookstore. I knew it would be a hit the minute I saw it. I love Julia Donaldson’s book, Room on the Broom, also illustrated by Alex Scheffler. Like the rhymes in Room on the Broom, the rhymes in this book are great, not forced or tiresome, and Alex Scheffler’s illustrations, wonderful. It’s a story of curiosity, adventure and friendship that you won’t want to miss. Be sure to check out my lesson idea using this book.
The Snail and the Whale is about a snail who sits on a rock with lots of other snails but dreams of traveling the world. The other snails mock him, but this snail is determined to go on an adventure. He writes “Ride Wanted Around the World” on the rock. Soon, a whale arrives, offering to take the snail around the world. Together they travel the oceans, seeing icebergs, “fiery mountains” and “golden sands”. Until one day, confused by speed boats in a bay, the whale is beached. The snail, though small, thinks of a plan. He makes his way to a school where he writes “Save the Whale” on a chalkboard. All the school children mobilize the town’s firefighters to help the whale swim back to sea. Once saved by the children, the Snail and the Whale return to ocean and the rock where their journey started. Once there, they tell the story of their adventures to the other snails. The book closes with the whale once again leaving the rock, but this time, with all the snails on his tail.
My first graders really loved this book. I think it’s great for read alouds to kindergarten through second grade classes and even younger readers at home.
I think I read this book to my son about a million times – no, two milion times. It’s a book I remember loving from my own childhood. This book doesn’t seem to age. The best thing, though, is to see the looks on the faces of my preschoolers and kindergartners when I read them this book.
Corduroy is a about a little teddy bear sitting on the shelf of a department store who is missing a button on his overalls. A little girl named Lisa wants to buy Corduroy, but her mother won’t let her, because he doesn’t look new. A button is missing on Corduroy’s overalls. That night, after the store closes, Corduroy searches the department store for a button to fix his overalls. Lisa, determined to bring Corduroy home, returns the next day with all her savings so that she can buy Corduroy, despite his missing button. In a very sweet ending scene, as Lisa sews on a new button to Corduroy’s overalls, both Corduroy and Lisa realize that they’ve each found a friend.
Here’s an oldie but goodie that I found on the shelves of my library. It can be easy to dismiss books, because they aren’t current. In this case, you would miss a wonderful story. The dedication, “To those of us who have ever been lost or lonely” is touching. This book really moved my students and led to great discussions about the value of friendship.
The once was a painter who was very poor. He had one favorite painting of a strange and wonderful bird. Then, a wealthy man comes and wants to buy the painting. The painter does not want to sell his favorite painting. When the wealthy gentleman offers more and more money, the painter, who needs money desperately, accepts the money and sells his painting. The wealthy man hangs the bird painting in his fancy house. The bird, who is magical, misses the painter and flies out of the painting. The bird begins a long search for the painter. In the meanwhile, the wealthy man goes to the painter’s house demanding his money back, because the bird left his painting. Now, the painter has no bird and no money. At last, the bird finds its way back to the painter, and the painter promises never to sell the bird painting again.
A little fish has taken a very big fishes’ hat. He swims confidently to the place where the plants grow big and tall and close together. He is sure that the big fish will not know where he is and that the crab that saw him swim by will not tell the big fish where to find him. Oops. This book has great pacing and is perfect for my “too old for picture books” students. They love it as do I.
Jon Klassen is also the illustrator of Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, one of my favorite picture books. C
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 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.
Ezra Jack Keats (1916-1983) wrote so many wonderful books for children. I think most notable for me, as a children’s librarian in a school that serves mostly children of color, is that Ezra Jack Keats, although white, made his characters all African American. It is really refreshing to reach to my shelves and show my students books with children that look like them. Of course, it’s not only that fact that makes me create multiple story times using Ezra Jack Keats’ stories. His books deal with universal problems that all children growing up face. I think he is so popular in my library today, because can relate to Peter and the situations he finds himself in.
They want to whistle like Peter in a Whistle for Willie, or be friends with a girl without getting teased, like Peter in A Letter to Amy, or keep a snowball overnight like Peter in The Snowy Day or figure out how to deal with bullies, like in the book Goggles.
Ezra Jack Keats wrote the following books: my favorite, The Snowy Day, as well as A Whistle for Willie, A Letter to Amy, Goggles, Pet Show, Peter’s Chair, Apt. 3, and John Henry and others. Snowy Day won the Caldecott Medal in 1963.
If you haven’t read Ezra Jack Keats’ books for children, I think you’ll really enjoy reading them and introducing a new group of young students to his beautiful illustrations and writing.
Eve Bunting’s books tend toward social justice and environmental messages. I find that her books treat subjects sensitively and give kids a real window into the subject at hand. Secret Place is focused on the issue of increasing urbanization and the loss of habitat for water birds and was a big hit with my students. After reading this book, we fell into a thoughtful discussion about the author’s message and how it connects to our city, Oakland, California.
Ted Rand’s beautiful water color illustrations take us through a city scape with traffic on freeways and a river running through a concrete bed. Written in first person, a young boy talks of a secret place he and his neighbors have found in the concrete river. It’s a place where all kinds of water birds like white egrets, teals, ducks, buffleheads and coots live. This secret place, where the birds live, has its own noises. Later, at night, a coyote and possum come to drink at the river side.
The child realizes that all the city was once wilderness and that it’s important to protect the last places where wildlife live in the city. He knows that he needs to keep this place secret and special.
It was wonderful to talk to my students, many of whom do not regularly leave the city, about all the wildlife that lives here in Oakland. I was able to talk to them about Oakland’s Lake Merritt, which became the nation’s first official wildlife refuge in 1870. We talked not only about the many birds that roost in the refuge at Lake Merritt, but also the other wildlife in Oakland, including racoons, skunks, possums and on the outskirts of town, coyotes. A great read for Earth Day.