Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"A mouse with lioness's voice"

A: Becoming Naomi Leon
B: Ryan, Pam Munoz
D: Scholastic 2004
E: Multicultural Novel, Realistic Fiction
F: 4-6
G: Naomi Leon and her brother Owen live with their great-grandmother because their mother left them to “find her life.” They live in southern California in a trailer. They have their normal lives interrupted one day when their mother shows up on their doorstep. She says she has changed her ways, but they soon find out she has been drinking, in rehab, and back to drinking. Her and her new boyfriend want to take Naomi away. In order to stop this, Gram and the neighbors pack up the trailer and head to find Naomi and Owen’s father in Mexico. While down there, Naomi carves a lion for La Noche de los Rabanos. Her father finally shows up and they have a very tearful reunion. He writes a letter to the judge that the kids should stay with Gram, and he also want to see them once a year at least. Once back in the U.S. they go to court and Gram wins custody of Naomi and Owen after Naomi gives testimony against her mother. Everything ends the same as the beginning, only differently.
H: This was a book that I did not look forward to reading. I just did not wish to read another novel, but I am glad that I read it. This is a wonderful piece of multicultural literature.
The author of this book seamlessly weaves two cultures together through the use of believable situations. Naomi’s father was from Mexico, actually the state of Oaxaca, in a town on the coast. She weaves in traditional aspects of the Mexican culture such as La Noche de los Rabanos wile keeping the story flowing and believable. This culture does not feel forced on the reader and flows naturally throughout the story. One custom that is explained very well is Las Posadas. This is a parade were towns people go from house to house looking for a place to stay, reenacting the trials of Mary and Joseph. We get a first hand account of how candles are lit, how they are tuned away then the families join everyone in the street, how the little boys get firecracker, and how they are finally let into a house and have a big celebration. This is a wonderful look into true Mexican culture.
The perspective of this book could almost be described as an outsider how is brought in and embraced. I feel that the Mexican society in this book accepts Naomi and Owen, the opposite of many Americans. This gives a firsthand account of this girl's struggles to find not only her Mexican father, but also her Mexican self. We get to see her grow in this culture; she learns some of the language and many of the traditions.
I felt like this story did have a few stereotypes in it. When someone thinks of white trash, I see someone who fits the description of Naomi’s mother to a tee. On the other hand I think it breaks a lot of Mexican stereotypes. Many people think that all Mexican looking people can speak Spanish, but even a woman living in Mexico did not speak Spanish she spoke zapotec. I also feel that some people think Mexicans are all poop and uncivilized and mean. This book shows that the Mexican culture is very accepting and kind. It also revels the wonderfully rich traditions. This book does a great job of breaking down many of the stereotypes people have about Hispanics.
I also loved the used of Spanish by the author. Naomi knows no Spanish, but quickly picks it up. The author offers us the real words and the translation, such as pan dulce (sweet breakfast bread) or la catedral (the church). This, I feel, is a valuable pert of the story and it add another dimension to this book. I feel that it is worked in seamlessly and without it the book would be nowhere as good.
I: This book will be a wonderful tool for the upper elementary classroom. I will use this book in the 5th grade when we start talking about and studying Mexico. This will be a great way to work into Mexican culture and will show the connection that many people have to other countries. I also just think that this book will be a great instrument in snuffing out stereotypes. It breaks down many racial and cultural barriers and this is something that will be very valuable for kids to read and experience.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Diary of a Worm

A: Diary of a Worm
B: Cronin, Doreen
C: Bliss, Harry
D: HarperCollins, 2004
E: fiction Picture Book
F: K-3
G: Its not easy to be a worm. But there are some things to remember. Worm faces a lot of things. The earth needs him to dig tunnels, and he can’t bother Daddy while he is eating the paper. His best friend is Spider. He tries to teach Spider to dig and Spider tries to teach him how to walk upside down. Neither one works very well. When fishing season starts, they must dig deeper and after it rains, he must watch out for hopscotch players. Worm got hungry at lunch in April and ate his homework, and the sentences he had to write. Worm also likes to scare the girls on the playground and make them scream. He had a nightmare about birds playing hopscotch. Spider made him sad by making fun of him not having legs, but worm made him laugh and they were friends again. Worm even went to the dance. He insulted his sister and got in trouble and gave some bad thing about being a worm. In the end he reminds us that the earth needs them.
H: I really liked this book. I have heard a lot of good things about this about this book and I was anxious to read it for myself. The simple, yet descriptive artwork is what caught my eye from the start. It is not of the wall or over the top; it just provides a great backdrop for this story. I also like how the illustrator changes the spreads from small pictures to full 2 page spreads. The story can almost be told entirely from the pictures, they do that good of a job depicting the story. I also loved the format of this book. I have not had the chance to read a journal picture book. This is a great concept that students can really benefit from. This book is also not as simple as some other picture books. This journal form would make it harder for younger readers to understand, but is great for a bit older students. I also like the lessons presented in this book. It talks on manners, friendship, family relationships, and the importance of worms. Overall, this is a great book and I will be reading more from this author.
I: This book will be a valuable tool in many classroom settings. It can be implemented in a first or second grade classroom to introduce journal writing. This book will show them that your entries do not have to be very long, just say what is needed. I would also like to use this book near Earth Day to show how worms play a great part in the environment. Their tunnels help the earth breath. I also think that maybe this book could be used in a kindergarten class to talk about the relationship within families.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Blue Day Book for Kids

A: The Blue Day Book for Kids
B: Greive, Bradley Trevor
D: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2006
E: Picture Book
F: K-2
G: This book starts by asking a question, “Have you ever had a blur day?” It then follows this by explaining that a blue day is a day where nothing goes your way, you feel bad, lonely, grumpy, shy, or pooped. It then explains that sometimes you have blue days and others don’t understand, pick on you, or hurt your feelings. It also brings up some causes of blue days such as being put in time out at school, having to share something, getting yelled at, eating Brussels sprouts, and you don’t fit in. After telling all about blue days and what causes them, it offers some solutions to your blue day. These solutions include taking a nap, singing, dancing, playing, standing on your head, talking to friends, or doing something crazy. By the end everyone is smiling and not having a blue day anymore.
H: This is a very cute book that conveys a great message. I will start by talking about the illustrations. This book is full of wonderful black and white pictures of animals doing some crazy things. I wanted to learn more about these pictures and found that were taken by various people and can all be found at www.btgstudios.com. This is a cool feature. I love how detailed these pictures are and them being in black and white really makes this book pop. It sets the mood as a blue day, but add flair at the same time. I also really love the message of this book; how to cheer you up. This is a skill that is hard to teach to children, but is one that they will need throughout their lives. This book offers it in a way that children will love and understand. I think this book will be a wonderful asset to not only a classroom, but also a home with young children.
I: This book will serve as a great resource in the elementary classroom. This will be a great book for early in kindergarten to help kids understand that everyday is not a great day, but there are things you can do to make yourself feel better. This will stay with them throughout school and life and will help them tremendously. I also think that this will make a great book for free reading in 1st grade. When students are feeling down, they can read this book and it will cheer them up.

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late

A: Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late
B: Mo Willems
D: Scholastic, 2006
E: Modern fantasy Picture book
F: K-2
G: This books starts by a very nice man asking if you will help him out and not let Pigeon stay up late. The Pigeon makes good and well that you know it is not sleepy. It says it is not sleepy; it actually wants to have a hot dog party. It goes on to mention TV shows, only 5 minutes. It then freaks out because you will not let it stay up. Pigeon also wants to talk about your day, count the stars, get water, and many other things to get out of going to sleep. It finally starts to yawn and get sleepy. Pigeon finally drifts off and falls asleep, and you get thanked for putting him to bed.
H: This is the first book my Mo Willems that I have read. I really like his style of writing and illustrating. My first impression of this book is that it is a very cute book and it would be a fun read. As I started to read I loved the fact that the story starts as soon as the book is opened, there are not tons of empty pages. I also like how this book talks to the reader and keeps you engaged the whole time. This aspect of the story is not something that has been seen much before now, but it a great way to write a children’s book. I also really like the artwork in this book. It looks like it is cut paper with crayons outlining the shapes. This is a simple style of art that is very effective in this book. The way Mo uses the words to express the emotion in the book is also really interesting. The emotion felt when the Pigeon yell that it is not sleepy is intense. I loved this book and look forward to reading more books by Mo Willems.
I: This book would be great in a kindergarten classroom to get kids started reading. It contains only small words and is predictable. It is also a story that can be figured out by the pictures only. This book will also be great to introduce kids into a lesson about the importance of sleeping. This would be a great book for the classroom.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Big Black Bear

A: Big Black Bear
B: Yee, Wong Herbert
D: Scholastic, 1993
E: Picture Book, Fable
F: K-1
G: Big black Bear smelled something in the woods. It made him hungry and he headed into the city. He found the house it was coming from and went in. The girl there was nice but the Big Black Bear was not and caused some problems and said he was going to eat the little girl. However, Big Black Bears mother showed up and set him straight and he apologized and asked nicely for food. They made up and became friends.
H: This is a very cute book. I liked the way that the book rhymed; it is like an illustrated poem. This rhyming gives the story a very good flow that is great for young readers. The colors of this book are very vivid. This is also a sign to me that this book is for young readers. The lines are simple and the pages are uncluttered, but the colors are bright and alive. The movements of both the girl and the bear are very life like and realistic. This story also has a moral to it. I loved how this story ended when the mother bear showed up and made her child make up for the trouble he caused. This lesson of treating people right is one that I think is important for kids to learn early.
I: This book would be great in a kindergarten or first grade class to teach how to treat others. The students would be drown in by the story then pleased with how it turns out. This would also be good to use when teaching about family in kindergarten. The relationship between mother bear and little bear will help show the relationships within a family. This book can also be used with beginning readers. They will be able to quickly figure out the text, it does not have large words and the rhyming makes it flow well.

Monday, April 21, 2008



How many slams in an old screen door?
Depends how loud you shut it.
How many slices in a bread?
Depends on how thin you cut it.
How much good inside a day?
Depends how good you live ‘em.
How much love inside a friend?
Depends how much you give ‘em.

This Poem is by Shel Silverstein and is in "A Light In The Attic."

I have been a fan of poetry since I was very young. I guess I was the odd child, by I think it is a lot easier to write than anything else. I have also been a fan of Shel Silverstein for a very long time.
This is one of my most favorite poems by him. This poem does not take a lot of pulling apart to understand the meaning. It tells all right on the page. This does not mean that you cannot read into it though. When I first read this poem, I was struck by how is changes from meaningless things to things that are required for life. I have always tried to live my live like I stole it and I think this poem does a great job of summing this up. Life is what you make it. I also think this is a great message for young readers to hear. They can do what they want in life, but it will only be as good as they make it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Out Of The Dust

A: Out Of The Dust
B: Hesse, Karen
D: Scholastic, 1997
E: Realistic Fiction, Newberry Medal Winner
F: 4-6
G: Billie Jo was born to a family living in Kansas before the dust bowl. Her mom was pregnant with another child, around the same time as the worst of the dust bowl settled in. They had a rough time on the farm, nothing would grow and they were not doing well. One thing that helped Billie Jo was playing piano. Her mother taught her to play and she was good, she even got paid to play at times. One morning in July 1934, Billie Jo’s father left a can of kerosene next to the stove and her mother thought it was water, poured it into a pot, it caught fire, her mother ran out to get her dad, but Billie Jo tried to toss it out the door and it hit her mother. It burned her bad and burned Billie Jo’s hands when she tried to put it out. This killed her mother and newly born baby brother, this lead to a riff between her and her father. Billie could not play the piano well anymore and her father was pulled away from everything around him. All the while, dust storms were coming and going and rain was nowhere to be found. Eventually Billie Jo needed to escape and ran away, but she soon returned. When she got back, her relationship with her father became a lot better. He father also found a new lady and was falling in love. Billie Jo cam to like her and the story ended with them all happy again.
H: This is a book that has so much more in it that I first expected. I never expected a book about the dust bowl to include such happiness, arts involvement, tragedy, and so many other emotions. This book had some shock value to it also. Some emotions and situations just appeared suddenly, while others festered for a long time. I can defiantly say that nothing in this book was predicable.
It started slow and I took a long time to get settled into the story, free verse poetry does that to me. Billie Jo is a wonderful piano player; this is what first got me drown into the story. I was then shocked as this taken was taken as fast as her mother and brother. This was the turning point for me. The book went from a nice story about a bad time to a tragedy in a horrible time. I was engulfed in emotion when Billie Jo tossed the burning pail out the door and hit her mother by accident. This is an unfortunate even that could happen to almost anyone.
I was also wrapped up in the dealings between Billie Jo and her father after her mother died. A wall was built between them and neither one knew how to tare it down. The poetry added to the feeling. It provided just enough detail to give you a picture, but vague enough to keep you guessing and to let you add in some details. This made the book an easy read that also provided a wonderfully vivid story.
I thought this book was awesome and defiantly has potential to be used in a classroom.
I: I think this book would be a great way to teach what the dust bowl was and how it affected the people who lived at that time. I also think it would be a great way to help students see how families deal with tragedy and what it can do to a family. This book would also be a great way to teach free verse poetry. Most students are afraid of poems, but reading this book will help them to see that poetry is not a scary thing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone

A: Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone
B: Rowling, J.K.
C: Grandpre, Mary
D: Scholastic, 1998
E: Fantasy
F: 4-5
G: Let me just say, summarizing this book will not be easy, but here goes. This story starts with a normal family living a normal life. They do not, however, have normal relatives. Their relatives are magical and they do not associate with that crowd. Harry is their nephew and when his parents die, he must live with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. Strange things happen to Harry as he grows up, like weird dreams and objects doing strange things. When Harry Potter turns 11 he finds out his parents were wizards and that he is invited to go to school at Hogwarts to become one himself. He accepts and goes with Hagrid to a place called Diagon Alley to buy supplies for school. He also finds out that his parents left him a lot of money and that everyone in the wizarding world knows who he is. He travels to school and a train that leaves from a platform that doesn’t exists and meets several neat people, including his future best friends Ron and Hermione and his enemy Draco Malfoy. Once at Hogwarts, he had to be sorted into a house by a hat. It told him that he would make a great Slytherin but placed him in Gryffindor. Once in class, Harry’s worst teacher turns out to be Professor Snape. He also has many friends on the staff and does rather well in school. Harry also finds out he is good on a broom and made the Quidditch team as seeker. He is very good and is the envy of many because first year students are not allowed to be on the teams. At Halloween, a troll gets in to the school and Hermione tries to get it out, but Harry some how saves her and they get away. At Christmas Harry got an invisibility cloak, which is very hand later on. Harry also found a mirror in which he cold see what he wanted most, it turned out to be his parents staring back at him. Later in the school year, strange things start happening and Harry and his friends start to investigate. It all comes down to them going after the Sorcerer’s stone. They go through many trials and only Harry makes it to the end to find that the person who is trying to steal the stone is a professor, Quirrell. It turns out that Voldemort has infected him and is controlling him. Harry kept Quirrell from getting the stone and he saved the day. He will be returning to Hogwarts in the fall.
H: The first time I read this book was when I was in 8th grade. I did not want to read it and I “suffered through it,” and then I read it again and again. I guess I have read this book 5 or 6 times now, and it gets better every time. My most favorite art of this story, and it goes for all of the books, is the complex and overlapping emotion. To me, this book feels more like real life than anything I have ever read. You experience more than one emotion in real life, and you do in this book also. The most overwhelming section of the book for me was when Harry finds the mirror. “He had a powerful kind of ache inside him, half joy, half terrible sadness.” It is so full of emotion when Harry is so close to his parents, but is so far away and will never meet them. If this does not spark emotion in you, you are a lost cause. The only thing that I do not like about this book is that dumb luck saves Harry more than his knowledge or skill. I also love how Harry has an anonymous helper who gives him a broom and a cloak. He has someone looking over his back to take care of him. This is a wonderful book, I recommend it to everyone, and I will use it in my classroom if I teach older students.
I: The teaching connections for this book for me are many. One of the most obvious would be to get students interested in reading. Students quickly fall in love with this book and it will spark their interest to read the others. I also think this book is a great way to introduce fantasy to young students. This is one of the most captivating and interesting fantasy novels to date.

Monday, April 7, 2008


A: Rosa
B: Giovanni, Nikki
C: Collier, Bryan
D: Scholastic, 2005
E: Nonfiction Picture Book, Multicultural, Caldecott Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Award
F: 2-5
G: Rosa was having a good day. Her mother was feeling better and her husband had just gotten more work. She went to work and even got off early enough that she might have time to make meatloaf. When she got on the bus to go home, she had to sit in the neutral section, not for blacks or whites. Well, the bus filled up and white people wanted to sit, but Rosa decided she had a right to sit there and she would not give up her seat. She was then arrested and the news spread very quickly and the women soon jumped into action. They made posters to ask people not to ride the busses and support Rosa. The walking protest lasted for almost a year with people donating things, Dr. Martian Luther King Jr. preaching, and people everywhere marching. Finally the Supreme Court said that separate was not equal and separate bus seats and other things was illegal. All of this because one woman would not give up her seat.
H: This book moved me. I was not expecting such a wonderful story of Rosa Parks when I opened this book. I thought it would be cute and get the point across, but it turned out to be much more. The biggest selling point of this book for me was the illustrations. I felt that the cut pictures, card stock, and construction paper added something that would not be able to be obtained with paint of pencil. It added an almost surreal feeling, while still looking similar to real life. I also loved how the story was presented. Nothing was sugar coated; Rosa was not some super hero. It showed how she was just a normal person who stood up for what she believed and what happened because of it. This was a great book.
I: I will use this book in any elementary grade level I teach. I think it will be a great story to read aloud to younger children and good for older students to read to themselves. This book will also be a great way to introduce civil rights into a social study lesson, or just moral character. This is a wonderful book with lots of potential.

All About Rattlesnakes

A: All About Rattlesnakes
B: Arnosky, Jim
D: Scholastic, 1997
E: Nonfiction Picture Book
F: 1-3
G: This book starts with a life size picture of an eastern diamondback rattlesnake. It then states some questions that will be answered by this book. The book describes what rattlesnakes are and the different types and where they live. It describes the different parts of the snakes from the types of scales to the rattles to their fangs and poison sacks. It then tells us about how the snakes maintain their body temperature and how and what they hunt. It then discusses how they eat and what eats them. The book ends by telling us that we are the main reason rattlesnakes are in danger and what we can do to help.
H: This book is everything I thought it would be. I was not amazed at the illustrations, but I did however think they are well done. I also really liked the content and think it will be very useful in a classroom, but I was not blown away. I do think that this will be a good book to use in a class and I have seen it used in the class I am in for block 1.
G: I have seen this book used for the study of animals and life cycles in 2nd grade science. This is what this book was made for. There are many way this book can be used to bring reading into science.

The Remarkable Benjamin Franklin

A: The Remarkable Benjamin Franklin
B: Harness, Cheryl
D: National Geographic Society, 2005
E: Nonfiction Picture Book
F: 3-5
G: Ben Franklin was the tenth generation youngest son of a youngest son and his father knew he would be special. He grew quickly and started working a printer. One night he decided to leave his home in Boston and runaway, he ended up in Philadelphia where he quickly started working again as a printer. He wished to open his own shop, but lacking money he took the offer of the governor to go to England and he would provide the needed money. Once in England, Ben found out that the governor had lied and he was stranded. He worked for a time and the returned home to find his girlfriend had married someone else. He had a son and did finally marry is lost girlfriend and together they had Ben’s second son and a daughter. Ben also led several clubs and opened his own printing shop. He also started making inventions and studying the world around him. He discovered many things about electricity and he printed the first political cartoon. Ben even traveled to England to try to resolve the problems between the colonies and England, but to no avail and he son sided with the Patriots. When he returned home, his wife had died and his daughter was married. He helped form the original government of the colonies and helped write the Declaration of Independence. He also traveled to France to ask for help in the war with England and was treaded like royalty. Once home he was happy with the newly free country and helped write the new constitution. He lived many more years, happy and always thinking about the world.
H: This book turned out to be much more than I expected it to be. It provided a much more in-depth look at Benjamin Franklin than I was expecting. I was impressed at how this book takes so much information and offers in a way that younger children can read and understand the importance Ben Franklin had on our lives today. I also really love the illustrations in this book. They use very vivid colors, but still look as if they are from the time period. This life like appeal really drew me into this book.
My most favorite part was, however, the quotations at the bottom of each page. Quotes directly from Ben and other sources of the time are provided to reinforce the text and they also include their own illustrations. I loved this aspect of the book.
I: This would be a great book for 5th grade history. It would provide vast amounts of information to them, in a format that they can read. I also think this would be good to use parts of in a science lesson in any grade from 3rd to 5th. We could recreate some of his inventions or make our own.

Ben Franklin


Wise, Witty, Inventive, Virtuous
Husband to Debbie, Father to William, Francis, & Sally
Lover of Peace, Knowledge, & Idealism
Who feels Happy, Content, & Appreciated
Who finds happiness in Industry, Frugality, & Order
Who needs Discoveries, Love, & Cool morning air
Who gives Himself, His Knowledge, & His Love
Who fears it won’t work, We won’t win, Nothing
Who would like to see William on his side
Who enjoys soaking naked in the cool morning air
Who likes to wear his spectacles when he thinks
Resident of The United States of America, Philadelphia, PA

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I poem

Writing an I poem was a lot harder than I expected. I love to write poetry, but this one was hard. I found the hardest thing was to draw connections between the two books. After I got started, it did start rolling a bit better. I will publish it here shortly.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Magician's Nephew

A: The Magician’s Nephew
B: C.S. Lewis
D: Harper Collins Publications, 1994
E: High Fantasy Novel
F: advanced 4th and 5th
G: Digory is a country boy living in London with his Aunt and Uncle because his mother is very ill. He meets Polly while playing outside and they become close friends. One day while exploring Polly’s attic and trying to get to the next empty, they windup in Digory’s Uncle’s study. He is experimenting with some magic and ends up sending Polly and Digory into another world using a set of rings. This new world is a wooded area with many pools. Each of these pools leads them to another world. In one world the accidentally release a powerful witch named Jadis. They mistakenly bring her back to earth and quickly find out they must get her back to her own world, so the take her, and their uncle, and a cab driver and horse with them, but they wind up in Narnia by accident. They get to see a lion singing the world into existence. After the lion has created the world, he makes the cab driver king and his wife queen. He also sends Digory and Polly on a winged horse to a garden to get an apple that will be planted to form a tree that will protect the world from the evil witch Jadis. Digory also takes one of the apples to his mother when he gets back, and it cures her. He then plants the core and it grows into a tree, which is later made into a magical wardrobe.
H: This book hit all the right buttons for me. From start to finish I was totally engrossed with the magical world created be C.S. Lewis. One thing I noticed, and something that I really liked, was that Digory and Polly did not get along for the whole story, the fought just like real kids. This allowed me to trust the story a lot more. The magical aspect of this book made me think of the “Harry Potter” series. I really loved this book and will be reading the rest of the series as soon as possible.
I: To me, this book would best be used as a free read to get kids interested in reading. I think, that for many kids, this will be a great read and will get them geared up to read the rest of the series.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The books I
compared are
The Stinky
Cheese Man,
and Chicken Little.

Swamp Angel

A: Swamp Angel
B: Isaacs, Anne
C: Zelinsky, Paul O.
D: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 1994
E: Picture Book, Tall Tale, and Caldecott Honor Book
F: K-3
G: Angelica Longrider was born scarcely taller than her mother and couldn’t climb a tree without help. She grows up to be a great woods woman, building cabins, butting out fires, stopping floods, and other great things. She even saved a wagon train from the swamp. There was also a giant bear in those parts at that time. His name was Thundering Tarnation and he was terrorizing all of Tennessee. Swamp Angel entered a competition to kill him and was soon the last person standing. When she finally found the bear, they started a great fight. They fought and fought when they finally fell asleep. While they were asleep, Swamp Angel snored down a tree that killed Tarnation. When they cooked him up, he fed all of Tennessee. Swamp angel took his hid and went west; his hide is now the Shortgrass Prairie.
H: This book is awesome. I am a fan of the old Jack Tales and this book is along the same lines, only with pictures. The story in this book breaks the stereotype that men have to be the hero by having a larger than life woman saving the day. This story also shows her in a larger then life battle with a giant bear. I also love how the fight takes them all over the state. She is a giant hero whose tradition lives on.
I found the illustrations in this book to be amazing. The way that Paul O. Zelinsky painted the pictures on wood veneers. This gives the book an old fashioned feel. It also adds a wonderful border around the pages. The wood background also gives the paintings a very soft feel. This makes them feel more realistic. I also like the way that the pictures tell the story along with the words. Even if a child could not read, they would still be able to understand the story.
I: This would be a great book to just have as a silent reading book for students. Even students that have a hard time reading would be able to figure out the story and this might spark their interest and would keep them from getting frustrated. I would also use this book to introduce tall tales and folklore. I could then have the student write down a story that they have heard or that they make up. This would be a great way to practice creative writing skills.

Lon PoPo

A: Lon Po Po
B: Young, Ed
D: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 1989
E: Picture Book, Asian Folktale, and Winner of the 1990 Caldecott Medal
F: K-2
G: This book starts with a dedication to all of the wolves of the world, thanking them for lending their good name for our symbol of darkness. The story starts as a Mother is going away to see the Grandmother (PoPo) on her birthday. She left her three daughters behind with instructions to lock the door at sunset and latch it. That night, a wolf sneaks up to the house and convinces that children that it is their PoPo. The wolf says that it did not pass their mother and convinces the children to let him in. When the wolf is inside, he blows out the candle quickly, so that the children cannot see his face. They then get in bed, but the children notice something different about their Grandmother. The comment on her tail (which they think is a brush) and her claws (which they think are thorns). The wolf diverts that questions but Sang, the oldest girl, quickly light a light and see the wolf before he blows out the light. She then tells that wolf that the nuts of gingko will make her live-forever. The wolf believes this and lets them climb the tree to pick some. The girls climb the tree than say that the wolf must pick them for himself, so they start to pull him up, however the keep dropping him until he dies and they are safe. When their mother gets back, they tell he the whole story.
H: I remember reading this story when I was very young and I remember how I thought it was so much better than our story of little red ridding hood. I will start by talking about the illustrations. I love the imagery crated by the tone of them. Like the darkness that follows the wolf inside. I do not, however, like the way the illustrations are sectioned on the pages. I feel like this takes away from their effectiveness.
This story captures the fear that children have when staying by themselves. I remember when I was smaller, I was always scared at night, and that was when my parents were home. This book also does a wonderful job of capturing the creativeness of children. This is at its peak when Sang decides to trick the Wolf with the Gingko tree. It is also wonderful when the children all work together to defeat the Wolf. This is a great book, but it does have its fallbacks for me.
I: This book would be great to use in a kindergarten class when talking about family. The way the sisters bonded together would be a great way to talk about sibling connection. This would also be a great way to show creative thinking in action. It shows how quick thinking can solve problems, or give you enough time to solve the problems. It also shows teamwork between the sisters.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A: Kira-Kira
B: Kadohata, Cynthia
D: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2004
E: Realistic Fiction, Novel, Multicultural, 2005 Newbery Medal winner
F: 5-6
G: This book starts with the main charter (Katie) being taught her first words (kira-kira) by her older sister Lynn. They are a Japanese family that is living in Iowa in the 1950’s. They own a small Japanese grocery store, but are forced to sell it and move to Georgia because they are not making enough money. When they move to Georgia, their father goes to work at a chicken hatchery and their mother goes to work at a processing plant. The working conditions at both places were horrible. The hatchery requires long hours and the processing plant did not allow bathroom breaks, so they had to wear dippers. After they have been in Georgia for a while, Katie’s parents have a son named Sammy. She became Katie’s new companion when Lynn made other friends and did not want to hang out with Katie any more. About half way through the book Lynn gets sick. The doctors do not really know what is going on, but they thing she has Anemia. One day when she was feeling better she went on a picnic with Sammy and Katie on the land of their parents boss. While they were there Sammy got his leg caught in a trap and had to be taken to the hospital. It is not long after that when Katie finds out the Lynn has Lymphoma. She dies shortly after Katie finds this out. On the day that she dies, Katie’s father goes to the house of his boss and smashes the windshield of his car to pay him back for the trap that Sammy got caught in. The book ends with the family taking a vacation to California, the place that Lynn wanted to live, but never got to see.
H: I had mixed feelings going into this book. I did not know what to expect or what would happen. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. This story is told from the first person, Katie’s point of view. This is such a realistic piece of work about the trouble faced by not only a little girl, but by a Japanese family living in a segregated south. There in one point in the book that really moved me. Katie tell us that in the restaurants there are signs that say colored in the back, the whites sat in the front, and they did not know where to sit so they always got theirs to go. This is really sad for me to read because things like this happened every day and it was accepted in society. I was not shocked by the ending however. I could see Lynn’s death coming from the first time she got sick. Her sickness still does not stop us from being able to see the struggle between siblings and how no matter how bad they treat each other, they still love each other. This would have to be my most favorites novel I have read this semester and I recommend it to everyone.
I: This would be a wonderful book for the upper elementary classrooms. I would use this book to teach civil right in the south in the ‘50s and discrimination. I also think it would be a wonderful book to teach diversity and it would allow students to see that Japanese Americans are no different than themselves. It would also be a good book to teach the writing style of first person; Katie tells us the whole story. This is a wonderful book that would be invaluable in a classroom.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A: Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent
B: Child, Lauren
D: Hodder Children’s Books, 2004
E: Picture Book
F: 1-3
G: A very rich couple decides to have a child. This child is Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent. He turns out to be a boy genius. He learns how to do things at a young age such as use the telephone, read, swim, really everything. Hubert has a friend named Stanton Harcourt III. Together they do everything, Stanton was a genius also. Hubert’s parents loved to party and the always had plenty of money, but one night they ran out of food and Hubert discovers that his parents are broke. He came up with a plan to make money and did everything from selling paintings to winning tournaments to giving tours of their house. It finally came down to Hubert and Stanton having to sell the house. Hubert thought this would make his parents very sad, but it turns out to be a good thing and they live very happily after that.
H: This book is one of my most favorite books by Lauren Child. I love that this book is so well written that you could almost think it was based on a true story. It also contains a lesson that more people that ever need to learn. I also love the creative use of artwork throughout this book. The use of so many different forms of media is very refreshing.
I: This book would be a great book to read to introduce a first or second grade lesson on money. It teaches how spending habits can lead to lots of troubles, but that you don’t need money to be happy. This is a real life lesson offered in a real life story. I also think that this would be a great silent reading book for children.

A: I Want a Pet
B: Child, Lauren
D: Tricycle Press, 1999
E: Picture Book
F: K-1
G: This little girl really wants a pet. She asks her mother if she can get one. Everyone in the house has something to say about it including Dad, Granny, and Grandad. She then goes through all the different types of pets and finds that she needs to avoid pets that will eat you, copycats, animals that howl, animals that leave lots of footprints, pets that squeeze, and ones that wont make mom mad. She ends up with an egg, she does not know what it is, but we can imagine what it will be.
H: This is a very creative book. As with all Lauren Child books, I love the artwork. I also love the story. It is a great tale of something that is faced by almost all kids; I think that this will help a lot of children relate to this book. This is overall a very cute book.
I: This book has a lot of potential in the classroom. First off, it could be used to teach different types of animals and some things about them. I also think that this book would be a great book for beginning readers because it has minimal text and the story can almost be told with the pictures alone. I would also let the children predict what they think the egg with hatch into and have them draw a picture.

A: Clarice Bean, Guess Who’s Babysitting?
B: Child, Lauren
D: Orchard Books, 2000
E: Picture Book
F: 1-3
G: Clarice’s uncle Ernie got hurt and her mother must go see him. He dad has to go to work, grandad is to old, her older brother will not, and someone must take care of her little brother. This causes her mother to resort to uncle Ted. Clarice loves uncle Ted. Mom did not want to do this because there is always trouble when Ted comes, but she has too, so she leaves lots of rules. All is fine for the first two days, the guinea pig gets out and Minal (her little brother) get hurt and has to go to the hospital. It all ends with Clarice getting her head stuck in a fence, the fire department shows up, but Mom come to the rescue and fixes everything.
H: I really liked this book. I think that it is a bit predicable, but that is needed in a book for young readers. I like this book for its entertainment value and the artwork. Lauren Child is a wonderful artist and it shows in all of her books, especially this one. I also liked this book because this is a story that is real life and can appeal to children based on this.
I: This would be a great book for little girls in the first, second, or third grade. It offers a real life story that is used to teach a lesson. This book can be used to teach about families and some of the problems they face. It can also be used to teach responsibility. This, like all of Lauren Child’s book could be used in an art lesson to teach about different way of creating a picture or the use of different materials.

A: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book?
B: Child, Lauren
D: Hyperion Books For Children, 2003
E: Modern High fantasy, Picture Book
F: K-3
G: This book starts by telling about how much Herb loves to read. Even though he is not the best reader, he loves to read and look at the pictures in scary stories. One night when he has a friend over, he cannot fall asleep, so he finds a book to read. This book turns out not to be his favorite, it is a fairy tale. After he falls asleep, he is startled awake and is in the book! He is right in the middle of Goldilocks and The Three Bears. He meets the Bears on his way out and passes Hansel and Gretel, Repunsul, and Puss in Boots on his way to find a way out. Herb then finds himself in front of a large door. He went in to find a ball without a prince. Herb finds himself in trouble when the King and Queen blame him for all of their problems (which he did cause!) He escapes to find himself with the ugly stepsisters and then with Cinderella. She helps Herb out by calling her fairy godmother. As she is trying to help, Goldilocks runs in and screams and this jolts Herb out of the book. The book ends as Herb and his friend Ezzie fix everything that Herb had previously done to deface the book.
H: I think this book is very unique. I really love the used of visual art and word art to covey the message of the book. Lauren Child changes text size and style to emphasize different parts of the story and make different things stand out. I was also drown in by the unusual conflicts of this story. It is not a normal children’s story. It breaks all of the rules, and that makes it even more entertaining.
I: This would be a great book to read aloud in kindergarten or first grade. This is another book that might defy convention a bit too much for children to read when they are just learning to read. I do, however, think that you could use this story to introduce other stories or to lead into a lesson about respect. Herb did not respect his book, and that made the characters in the book mad. This book could also be used in an art lesson and you could have your students create a modern picture of a story they know.

A: The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
B: Scieszka, John
C: Smith, Jane
D: Penguin Books, 1992
E: Modern High Fantasy, Picture Book. This is also a Caldecott Honor Book.
F: K-1
G: This book starts with the Red Hen trying to tell her story. She is interrupted by the title page. The pages of this book do not follow the normal order, and the narrator, Jack, is talking directly to you for the entire book. Jack introduces himself and then we are led into the story of Chicken Licken. Chicken Licken thinks the sky is falling, but it turns out to be the table of contents. The Princess and the Bowling Ball is next. It takes the Princess and the pee and uses a bowling ball instead. Then The Really Ugly Duckling in up next. This one ends with the really ugly duckling growing up to be a really ugly duck. In The Other Frog Prince, the frog tricks a princess into kissing him, but he does not turn into a prince, he just wanted the kiss. Little Red Running Shorts is next, but gets interrupted by non other than the Red Hen. She complains at how Jack is telling the story and the author is lazy. The Giant steps in next with Jack’s Ben Problem. The Giant tries to tell his side of thinks, but the story makes no sense. Jack finally tells his story, but the text gets so small that you cannot read all of it. Cinderumpelstiltskin, The Tortoise and The Hair, and The Stinky Cheese Man are the last three stories with the Red Hen to end it. She ends up waking up the Giant and getting eaten.
H: This has always been one of my favorite books. I love that the story does not follow the normal form. I also think that the way the narrator talks directly to you is amazing. The illustrations are also a big part of the appeal of this book. They are unlike anything in any other book. I guess you could describe them as a form of abstract or modern art, they just defy the norm. I think this is a wonderful book.
I: This would be a great book to read for entertainment in K-1, but it is not a book I would require them to read due to the fact that it does not follow convention. I think that some of the book would confuse them if they tried to read it by their self. However, I think some students could handle it so I would not remove it from the book bins. This book could also be used to discuss why you should not be boastful.

Baseball Saved Us

A: Baseball Saved Us
B: Mochizuki, Ken
C: Lee, Dom
D: Lee and Low Books Inc, 1993
E: Multicultural Picture book
F: K-2
G: This book starts inside of a Japanese interment camp. A boy and his father are looking at an empty lot and his father decides that they need a baseball field to keep their sanity while in the camp. The boy then has a flash back to life outside of the camp and how they got to the camp. Once at the camp, the children started to act with disrespect, even his older brother started to act bad towards his father. The story then catches up to the future and picks up the men of the camp building the baseball field and the women making uniforms. They then played baseball on the field and the main charter started out bad, but started to get a lot better. In the final game he hit a home run to win the game. The book ends with the boy back at home after leaving camp. He had no friends, but was on the baseball team. He hit another homerun to win the game.
H: This book was a very well planned out book. I also feel that it would be a great way to introduce interment camps to younger students. On the surface this book would not be as moving unless you were aware of the conditions faced by the Japanese during the war. I thought the illustrations were unique. They were very vivid, but they also left a lot to the imagination. I really liked this book, the whole feeling of it has the same feeling of Weedflower; a novel about the Japanese interment camps.
I: This book would be a great book the teach children in K-1 about baseball and the importance of acceptance. About how you should not single someone out because they are different. I would also use this book in the second grade to teach what internment camps were and why they were wrong. I think that this is information that more students should have contact with.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1 The Field Guide

A: The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1 The Field Guide
B: DiTerlizzi, Tony and Black, Holly
D: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2003
E: Fantasy Novel
F: 3-4, or 5-6 for slower readers
G: This books starts as Jared, Simon, and Mallory are moving into a new house. It is old and run down, but their Dad left them so they are going to live in this house because it belongs to on of their relatives. The three children hear things running through the walls, and strange pranks are happening to all of them but Jared, and this leads them to find a secret room. Jared finds a riddle in this room, that is a lab of Author Spiderwick, which leads him to the attic where he finds a book, Author Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fanatical World Around You. This book tells them about what is causing the trouble in the house, it is a Boggart. At the end of the book, they are in the secret room when they meet the Boggart, who warns them to get rid of the book and that it will bring them harm if they do not.
H: This book was overall a wonderful book for me. It started very slowly and I only kept reading because I really wanted to read the books before I see the movie. After I got into the story however, I found it to be fascinating. I like how the author uses situations that are faced by many children and makes them into extraordinary events. I did like the ending because I feel like I have to read the next book because it left me hanging. This book had some connection to my life with the sibling interaction. I fought with my brothers a lot and it was a lot like in the story. I have also been blamed for things that I did not do. The dark feeling of this book is a lot like Harry Potter for me.
I: This book would be a great resource to teach sibling interaction and how to deal with family issues. It is better to talk through them rather than fight. I also think that in my classroom, this book will not be used as part of a lesson but rather it will just be used to get kids interested in reading. I feel that this is a book that appeals to many students and will get them excited about reading. I would like to set up book reviews in my future classroom, I would offer a review of this book as part of that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Free verse

I sit here looking out my window
The world seems to be passing by
My body is revolting against the world and me
I sweat and feel hungry, but can't eat
An ache in my neck and back also
Time to dream, let the world slip away
Its getting dark, the sickness fades.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Where I am From

I am the first,
Actually second,
Not the last.

I am from gumbo,
Crawfish etouffee,
Tater salad.

I am from a family far away,
Speaking only French,
Not knowing a word.

I am from Bluegrass,
And honeysuckle.

I am from cars,
G.I. Joe,
And H.A.D.A.

I am from music and soccer,
St. John’s,
And the snowman.

I look back,
Wish I were there,
Glad I’m not.

Monday, February 4, 2008


A: Moses, When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
B: Weatherford, Carole Boston
C: Nelson, Kadir
D: Hyperion Books for Children, 2006
E: Picture Book (Multicultural)
F: K-3
G: This book starts with Harriet praying for freedom, she is a slave in the south. She then hears God whisper to he with nature, and she makes up her mind to run away. Harriet faces many hardships on her journey to the North. She must sleep in the woods, run from dogs, hide in barns, and she must be careful of who she trusts. She finally reacher the north and decided to go back and help other slaves run away.
H: I will admit that I was a bit anxious to read this book. I know that teaching about slavery in elementary school is a very touchy subject. This book, however, pulls off teaching about this subject with the up most care. The story is very well thought out and follows many factual events. I think that this will allow students to get an idea of what people really felt about slavery, from the slave's eyes. The illustrations in this book also add to its creativity. The use of colors and two page spreads really set this book apart. The pictures and not like other picture books where the pictures are drown to look cute and happy. Kadir Nelson did a good job creating illustrations that look very realistic and add to the factual information presented in this story. I think that this book is the best piece of work I have ever seen to present the touchy subject of slavery to children.
I: The most obvious teaching implication is the teaching of the touchy issue of slavery in history. I would read this book with my young students and then have a class discussion about how they think it would have been to live and slavery and if they would have wanted to run away also. This book could also be used teach diversity to young students.

What do you do with a tail like this?

A: What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?
B: Jenkins, Steve and Page, Robin
D: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005
E: Picture Book
F: K-2
G: This book starts by talking about how animals use their sense organs. Then the book shows pictures of each organ (noeses, tails, eyes, ears, feet, and mouths). After the page of eyes, ears, etc... the book shows you which part goes which animal, it also tell the reader a little bit about how each animal uses the body part. At the end of the book, there is a section that gives more detail about each animal, for the readers that would like to learn more about them.
H: What do you do with a tail like this is the type of picture book I would have loved in school. The factual knowledge offered in this book is a great way to present science to young children. I was also drawn in by the wonderful illustrations. The ripped and cut paper used to create the animals is something that I have never seen. It add a unique affect that I do not think could by mead with anything else. I also like that Steve Jenkins and Robin Page included a section containing more information on all of the animals used in the story. Overall I think that this is a wonderful book and it will defiantly have a place in my classroom.
I: The teaching ides with this book are vast, but I would most likely use it in K or 1st grade science. This book would be great to teach different parts of the body and explain what they do. I also think that many students would read this book on their own during reading time.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


So, this is a Blog dedicated to all the books I am going to be reading this semester. Check in and talk to me!