Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The chapter book Wringer, by Jerry Spinelli, is about a boy who is from a town that annually has a fundraiser where they shoot pigeons with shotguns to raise money for a playground.  In this town, ten-year-old boys all learn how to find the pigeons that aren't dead, and wring their necks to put them out of their misery.  The main character, Palmer, refuses to participate in this, but is later shamed into going by his friends.  While he is their, Palmer finds a pigeon that he names Nipper.  When he decides to release the bird, he finds out he released the bird near the sight that they were catching pigeons for the fundraiser.  You will have to read the book to find out if he is able to save Nipper or not.

This book is too mature for children in the grades kindergarten through third.  It is a great book, but it deals with more than little kids could understand.  This book includes the life and death of animals, but the I don't think the younger students will get that the young children are killing the pigeons.  This is a book that would be great for a fifth grader.  The difficulty level in this book is pretty high, but it is very manageable.  This is an amazing book that should be read. 


The book Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen, is about a 13 year old boy that is on a plane to Canada to visit his father.  On his way, the pilot has a heart attack and the plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness.  The only tool that he has is the hatchet that his mom gave him before he left on the trip.  The boy is then forced to learn how to start fires and hunt in order to survive.  While he is stranded, he is left with thoughts of things he wished he would forget.  You will have to read the book to find out what happens. 

This is a great chapter book to read to students.  The book provides a great example to use when teaching the development of stories.  Hatchet will show students about problems and solutions.  This book is all about the will to survive, and will be a fun book to read throughout the year.  It is extremely discriptive, and makes you feel like you are actually with the character.  It is obvious why this book is an award winner!

The Lion and the Mouse

The children's book The Lion and the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney, is a story about a mouse and a lion.  In the story, the lion catches the mouse when he accidently wakes the lion up.  The lion then lets the mouse go.  When the lion is then walking around, he becomes trapped in a net, and can't get down.  After countless roars, the mouse hears his cries for help.  Find out what happens when the lion's life rests in a little mouses hands.

This is one of the best wordless books that I have seen in a long time.  The book gives a fresh take to the old classic by the same name.  The artwork in this book is what really makes it special.  All of the illustrations really help give an understanding of what is going on in the story.  The Lion and the Mouse has a great moral in the story, and will send a good message to students in the classroom.  I highly recommend this book. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Don't Eat the Teacher1

In the story Don’t Eat the Teacher!, by Nick Ward, it talks about a shark named Sammy who has his first day of school.  Sammy is extremely excited about his first day of school.  The only problem is that when he gets too excited, he has a tendency to eat things that he shouldn’t.  Read the story to find out what Sammy goes through on his first day of school.
                This would be a great story to read to students on their first day of school.  It is about someone that is really excited to be at school, but does things that he shouldn’t do.  The book teaches that it is ok to have fun as long as you remain behaved.  There are parts in this story that the students could really participate in.  Throughout the story, there is the word “Crunch!” used several times, and the class could say this during the story.  This story is a fun one that uses many bright colors in the illustrations.  The pictures alone should keep the students engaged throughout the book.  This is just a fun book to read to the class!

What Pete Ate from A-Z

The children’s book What Pete Ate from A-Z, by Maira Kalman, explains all of the things that Pete.  In the story, Pete is a dog that eats things that he shouldn’t.  Everything that he eats is in alphabetical order.  An example is that he ate an accordion one day, and then on another day he would he a camera.  Pete continues this for every letter in the alphabet. 
                This is a great book to use when students are learning the alphabet.  Not only does it talks about things that he ate that started with each letter, but the story also uses numerous words that start with that letter.  For the letter L it says “At the Lucky Dog show, he ate all the leashes which let loose all the dogs who ate all the lemon tarts and drank all the lemonade, and Mrs. Parsley was LIVID.”  It is like this for the entire book.  One of the most unique things about this book is the picture.  Every page is like looking at a painting.  Every page has a different picture, so it really keeps the book interesting.  This isn’t my favorite alphabet book, but it still is a good one. 

Always in Trouble

In the children’s book Always in Trouble, by Corinne Demas, it explains how a dog named Toby gets into trouble on a daily basis.  On each day of the week, Toby does something that gets him into trouble.  On Monday, he might get into the garbage can, and on Tuesday, he might run into the road.  After Emma’s mom gets sick of his behavior, they decide to take Toby to obedience school.  When he finished obedience school, he graduated top of his class, but when he got home things continued to go wrong.  If you want to know what happens, you will have to read the book!
                This is a great children’s book because there are so many different activities with it.  Always in Trouble goes through every day of the week, and shows a different way that Toby gets into trouble on each of the days.  For this book, teachers could have their students wither write or draw a picture that goes with whatever day the dog is acting up on.  Another idea is that the students could write their own books in a similar type of fashion that this book is written.  Each student could be assigned to a day, and the students could come up with a way the dog could get into trouble.  The illustrations in this book are amazing.  The illustrator really gives the dog human-like qualities, and this makes the story really fun.  This is one of those kinds of books that just about any student kindergarten through second grade would enjoy.  I highly recommend this book. 

Skippyjon Jones

In the story Skippyjon Jones, by Judy Schachner, it talks about the incredible imagination of a cat named Skippyjon Jones.  After getting into trouble, Skippyjon got sent to his room because he wasn’t acting like a cat.  While he was in his room, he started jumping on his bed.  After looking in a mirror, he decided he was a Chihuahua because “My ears are too beeg for my head. My head ees too beeg for my body. I am not a Siamese cat… I am a Chihuahua.”  Skippyjon then continues to mess around in his room.  After he walked into his closet, he arrived on a desert road in old Mexico.  Find out what happens when Skippyjon Jones has a big adventure. 
                Skippyjon Jones is an incredible children’s book.  The book has a great adventure that is about Skippyjon’s adventure inside of his closet.  This book is very humorous, and it also shows the power of having an active imagination.  The illustrations in this book are incredible.  Every picture is very creative, and goes with the story.  There is even one page where there is a real life picture of a Chihuahua for Skippyjon’s reflection.  This book would be a great story to either read to a class, or for the students to read for themselves.  My practicum teacher told me that when she read this story to her kindergarten class, that the humor went over their heads.  This is just a fun book that needs to be read.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather

The children's book Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather, by Bruce Koscienliak, is about the importance of groundhogs on Groundhog Day.  In the book, Geoffrey is a groundhog that wakes up and finds out that he didn't see his shadow.  This meant that it was spring time.  This makes Geoffrey feel really important.  After a year passes, it is time for him to tell if he sees his shadow.  Find out what happens on a wild Groundhog Day.

This is a great book to read to any age group around Groundhog Day.  The illustrations in this book are pretty good.  The illustrator uses watercolors on every page.  Something else that is really nice is the newspaper articles on some of the page.  They really are key components to the book.  It will get the students really curious about what the day is really all about.  There are so many activities that you can do with Groundhog Day.  A class could either make their own groundhogs, or the class could predict whether or not the groundhog will see its shadow.  This is really a book that teachers will want to read to their classes. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Night Before the 100th Day of School

In the children's book The Night Before the 100th Day of School, it talks about a boy that has to find 100 things to bring to school.  This book is about a little boy who can't seem to figure out what to bring for the 100th day of school.  He goes through his room and counts out all of his toys and many other things, but he just can't find 100 things.  After he found something, he brought it to school.  Once he gets their that is when everything goes wrong!

This book is a great concept book that will help kids learn how to count.  Even the cover shows counting up to 100.  In the book, it shows several different ways to count to 100.  The pictures are all of students that a child could relate to.  It really gives a good idea for a project for students to do.  I really want to have my students bring in things that add up to 100 when I become a teacher. This book is great for young students, and I highly recommend it!

100th Day Worries

In the children's book 100th Day Worries, by Margery Cuyler, describes the days of stressing over a project that a little girl goes through to come up with a school project.  In this story, a girl must bring in a collection of 100 things for school.  She spends several days stressing and having nightmares about it.  After putting it off, her parents decide to step in and help her.  Her parents find several groups of objects, but none that add up to 100.  Find out if she is able to do it by reading this book. 

This children's book is a great book to read to students on the 100th day of school.  In the book, it shows all the different ways that a person can add up to 100.  The illustrations are very colorful, and express the emotions of the girl.  It is a very quick read, and the students will really enjoy listening to it.

The One Hundredth Day of School!

In the story The One Hundredth Day of School!, by Abby Klein, talks about what a boy went through to do his school project.  In the story, a boy named Freddy finds out that the 100th day of school just just days away.  While at school, Freddy finds out that he must find a collection of 100 items to bring to school to share with the class.  After a few days of searching, he finally decides on what to bring, when the unthinkable happens.  You will have to read the book to find out!

This book is a great book for either teachers to read to their class or for the students to read around the 100th day of school.  This book is for stronger readers, but is still manageable for most students.  The students will enjoy reading/hearing this book.  Since this book is written at a student's point of view, it is very relatable.  In the book, there are also a few illustrations that help the reader understand what is going on.  Probably the best part about it is the fact that there are activities for students to do on the 100th day of school.  Some of these activities include: clapping, jumping, and several other things 100 times.  There is also a counting activity where they will make trail mix that forces them to count out 100 of each ingredient to mix in the bowl.  I highly recommend this book!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?

In Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, by Dr. Seuss, it goes through many sounds.  This book is about a man that goes around and imitates sounds that he hears.  He imitates the sounds of things like cows, rain, and many others.  Every so often it will list all of the sounds that he has said throughout the entire book. 

This is a great book for beginning readers.  It has the sounds very large so that the reader know what to say.  In this book, the students can imitate the sounds that are on the page.  Something that a teacher could do is have the students write out sounds that the students know in the format of the book.  They can even draw a picture to go with their writing.   This is just a fun book that will get every student wanting to participate. 


The children's book Vote!, by Eileen Christelow, talks about a woman that is running for mayor.  This book goes through the process of what an election is like.  It talks about how a person registers to vote, how people research candidates, political ads, and the actual voting.  The entire book is narrated by the candidates two dogs.  After the story is over, there is a vocabulary section that defines several key words that are involved in the voting process.  There is also a timeline of voter rights in the United States. 

This is the perfect book to include in a lesson about how the political system works.  It covers just about every step that there is in an election.The book makes sure that the students will understand key vocabulary words that are used throughout the book.  The illustrations in this book are incredible, and the situation is realistic.  This book is great for any elementary school grade.   

Walt Disney Alphabet A-Z

Walt Disney Alphabet A-Z (Walt Disney Fun-to-Learn Library)In the book Walt Disney Alphabet A-Z, it goes through every letter of the alphabet.  For each letter, there are pictures of either Disney characters or objects that start with that letter.  Along with these, each letter had one or two sentences that feature that letter. 
For the letter A: "Alice picks apples and acorns on an autumn afternoon and gathers them in her apron."  Page 1
For the letter B: "Baloo the bear has a basket of berries in front and a bee in back." Page 3
It continues like this through every letter. 

This is a great book for young children just learning the alphabet.  It works because it not only gives you the letters, but it also gives examples of words that start with that letter.  Young students will love it because it features some of their favorite Disney characters.  This book is old, so some of the students might not know every character.