Wednesday, November 23, 2011

If you Take a Mouse to School

If you Take a Mouse to School
Written by Laura Numeroff and Illustrated by Felicia Bond
Publisher: Scholastic Inc., 2002
Grade Level: Pre-K-2
Themes: humor, friendship and sharing
Summary: This is about a mouse and a young boy. They are friends. The boy is going to bring the mouse to school, but the mouse has a lot of requests. Once he asks for one thing, he will need something to go a long with it. There are a series of chain events that take place. If you take a mouse to school, he'll ask for your lunchbox. When you give him your lunchbox, he'll want a sandwich and so on.

Reflection: This is a cute and funny story. The boy is very patient with the mouse and fulfills all his requests even though the mouse is never fully satisfied. The boy shares everything with the mouse. The illustrations are very colorful and they complement the text well. The books in the series are equally as funny and entertaining. Some of them include, If you Give a Dog a Donut, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, If you Give a Moose a Muffin and If you Give a Cat a Cupcake. These books are perfect for teaching the skill,  sequencing to children.

Pre-Reading: I will discuss with the children what it is like getting ready for school. Is it hard to get up in the morning? Do you make your bed and pick out your own clothes? Do you bring your lunch or buy it? Does it take you a long time to get ready in the morning? Do you have the same routine everyday? What is your routine? I will also draw the children's attention to the pictures and talk about how they go right a long with the text. We can look at the pictures for meaning of the story even if we don't know every word.

Post-Reading: I will have sequencing paper strips with sentences and illustrations on them. We will all work together to put them in order. What happend first in If you Take a Mouse to School? Then what happend and we will keep going until we reach the end of the cycle with the correct order. Then the students will go back to their seats and do the same thing on their own. They will have paper strips with words and illustrations. Then they will paste them in the correct order onto construction paper.

About the Author: 
Laura Numeroff grew up in Brooklyn, NY. She loved reading, drawing and making up stories. Laura thought she wanted to be a fashion designer just like her sister, Emily. She went to Pratt Institute, but her last year there she had no idea what she wanted to do. She took a class in writing and illustrating books for children. Many of her books are printed in different languages for children all over the world to enjoy.

A Chair for my Mother

A Chair for My Mother
Written and Illustrated by Vera B. Williams
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, 1982
Grade Level: K-2
Themes: family, love, support and tough times
Summary: Rosa is a young girl who lives with her mother and grandmother. A fire destroys everything they own. Rosa and her family decide to save all their pennies until they can buy a new chair for her mother. It is a beautiful, nice soft chair that her mother can come home to after she has been waitressing all day. Rosa wants to do this for her mother because she appreciates all she has done for her and how hardworking she is.

Reflection: This is a sweet book about a loving family and community support. The plot is simple, but it has a great lesson, if you work hard even when times are tough you can get what you want eventually. This is a Caldecott Medal Winner. The illustrations are beautiful and they support the text perfectly. 

Pre-Reading: I will ask students to talk about their favorite possessions and how much they enjoy having them. The main characters in the story we are going to read lose all their favorite possessions in a fire. In what ways could you help someone who experiences a tragedy? Could you donate some of your toys to children who lose theirs? Could you and your family collect money to donate to other families?

Post-Reading: I will ask students to draw pictures of the objects that they pick for Rosa to buy and write their sentences under their pictures.

About the author: 
Vera B. Williams lives in New York City. She went to Black Mountain College and in 1949 got her degree in Graphic Art. She started writing after her divorce at the age of 46. She enjoys writing children's books, but also writes and draws for adults. She writes short stories, leaflets and posters.

An Island Grows

An Island Grows
Written by Lola M. Schaefer and Illustrated by Cathie Felstead
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, 2006
Grade Level: K-2
Themes: geological history and volcanoes
Summary: This book is about how a volcano forms from beginning to end. First there is an undersea explosion of molten lava. Then the gradual buildup of solidified lava. Next the arrival of plants and wildlife. Lastly, the arrival of people.

Reflection: This is a nice book about the development of a volcanic island. It is simple text, but the wording is nice. Great sentence fluency. This is a great book to teach science (geology and rocks) with. The illustrations are colorful.

Pre-Reading: Tell the children that this book is about a volcanic island forming. Make sure they listen to how to it forms. Turn to someone sitting next to you and make a prediction about how you think a volcanic island forms? Can plants and people live on an island?

Post-Reading: I will write a couple things from the book on the board. Stones break,water quakes and Lava flows. We will talk about subject and verbs. Subjects and Verbs are essential for making sentences. Ask students to think of processes such as the water cycle, life cycle of a plant or tree. Pick one of these and brainstorm the steps in each process using a subject and verb. I chose the life cycle of a plant. For example, Leaves sprout, branches fill, sun shines and so on. Once we are finished brainstorming, children will go back to their seats. They will get with a partner and create a book about any process they choose.

About the author:
Lola M. Schaefer has always loved books, but she never imagined that she would be writing children's books. She is also a writing consultant. She travels to schools, conferences and workshops. She has written more than 250 books for children. Her book, Frankie Stein was awarded the Children's Choice Book Award for Kindergarten through Grade 2. She has won many other awards. She was a teacher and an instructor for graduate level courses. She lives with her husband Tim.

The Tortilla Factory

The Tortilla Factory
Written by Gary Paulsen and Illustrated by Ruth Wright Paulsen
Publisher: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1995
Grade: K-2
Themes: Tortilla making process, cycle
Summary: This story is about how tortillas are made. Farmers are in the field, preparing the soil, planting the seeds and growing the corn. We see the workers in the factory, using corn flour to create dough, kneading the dough and baking it into tortillas. Then, we return to the farmer's home, eating the tortillas so they have energy to continue their work. Tortilla making is basically a full circle just like seasons and water cycle for example. The process repeats itself.

Reflection: This non-fiction topic would be interesting to children because tortillas are a staple in so many families kitchens. It is simple text, but almost poetic. The illustrations are perfect for the book. They are made up of warm colors that helps you to envision someone making the tortillas in your kitchen and how delicious and warm they are when you finally get to eat them. This book is perfect to demonstrate a cycle. The cycle of planting, harvesting, processing the grain and eating the tortillas.

Pre-Reading: Make an overhead of the beginning and ending of the book's text and discuss what the students think it means and predict what will happen in the story based on the sentences in the beginning and the sentences at the very end.

Post-Reading: Ask the children if they noticed anything about how the book was organized. I would tell the children that the book goes in a cycle or full circle. We will make a list on chart paper of other things that go in cycles. Some examples could be the water cycle, seasons, school, days and night and trees and plants. Then the students will be given a piece of paper. They will draw and color one of these cycles we talked about.

About the author:
Gary Paulsen was born in 1939. He was never a dedicated student, but he enjoyed reading. He ran away from home when he was 14 and traveled with a carnival. Paulsen realized he wanted to be a writer when he was working as a satellite technician for an aerospace firm. Paulsen has written over 175 books. Gary's wife, Ruth is an illustrator. They spend their time at their home in New Mexico and a boat on the Pacific.

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace
Written by Mary Hoffman and Illustrated by Caroline Binch
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1991
Themes: performing, determination, inspirational and love
Summary: A young girl named Grace loves reading and acting out stories. She puts on plays for her family. One day in school, Grace's teacher told the class that they will be putting on the play, Peter Pan. Grace knew she wanted to be Peter Pan. Her classmates told her she couldn't be Peter Pan because she was a girl and African American. Grace was very upset, but she believed in herself and auditioned for the part of Peter Pan and in the end she got the part!

Reflection:   This is a sweet and inspirational book about a determined girl who wouldn't let her classmates bring her down. She wanted something and never gave up. Determination, race and gender roles are all things to discuss after reading this book.

Pre-Reading: Tell the children that this book, Amazing Grace has a lot in common with a book they read a couple days ago called Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie DePaola. As I read this book think about how it is similar and different than Oliver Button. As I read the book to the children I will model text- to- text connections to construct meaning and enhance understanding. I will tell them that making text-to-text connections from one book to another, can help them to understand the new story and make predictions about what may happen based on what they know from the other story.

Post-Reading: As a class we will complete a large Venn-diagram comparing and contrasting the connections we made between Amazing Grace and Oliver Button is a Sissy.

About the Author:
Mary Hoffman was born in New Hampshire. When she was three her family moved to London. She has two degrees, one in English Literature and one in Linguistics. Her first book, White Magic was published in 1975. She has written over 90 books for children and teenagers. She has a husband and three daughters. She travels to Italy at least once a year. 

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Written by Philip E. Stead and Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
May, 2010
Grade Level: K-2
Themes: Friendship
Summary: Amos McGee is a zoo-keeper. He has a lot to do everyday, but he still finds the time to visit his friends. His friends are zoo animals. He has lots of fun playing with the animals, but one day Amos wakes up with a horrible cold. He can't go into work. His friends wait and wait for him, but he never shows up. The animals are very sad, they then decide to take the bus to Amos's house. Amos is delighted and they play games such as chess and hide and seek. At the end of the book they have a sleepover.

Reflection: This is one of my favorite books! This book makes me feel as if I have been reading it from the time I was very little until now. It feels like a classic. This is a really great story about friendship. The children will find it entertaining how all the animals leave the zoo and show up at Amos McGee's house to play with him. Amos is a cute elderly man and is so nice to the animals. There are awesome life like illustrations with hints of color.  This book is a Caldecott Medal Winner. The illustrator uses woodblock printing techniques and a pencil.

Pre-Reading: Tell the children that this is a story about friendship. Ask the children to think about their friends. What makes a good friend and what kinds of things do you do with your friend? I will record their responses on chart paper.

Post-Reading: Discuss Amos and how kind he was to his friends. When Amos got sick his friends went to see him. Tell the children to write a short paragraph describing what they would do for a friend or family member if they got sick and then draw a picture.

About the author:
Philip E. Stead is the author of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2010 and Publisher's Weekly Best Children's Book of 2010 Amos McGee. Philip's wife, Erin illustrated the book. Philip, also an artist, both wrote and illustrated in debut, Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast. Philip lives in Michigan.

One Tiny Turtle

One Tiny Turtle
Written by Nicola Davies and Illustrated by Jane Chapman
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2001
Theme: Loggerhead turtle's habitat
Summary: This is about a Loggerhead turtle. She makes her way from her egg far into the sea to her summer and winter feeding areas and her nesting ground, the beach where she was born. We experience her feasting on crabs, clams and shrimp. The struggle of depositing her eggs in the sand and swimming from one location to another.

Reflection: I love sea turtles so I really enjoyed this book. I love the author's descriptive language to explain the lifecycle of Loggerhead sea turtles. I like on each page how there are interesting well researched bits of information about the Loggerheads. The pictures are very beautiful. This is a great and interesting non-fiction book! There is also a version of this book with a cd including music and facts.

Pre-Reading: Ask children if they know anything about Loggerhead Turtles.Tell the children that they need to listen for similis and metaphors. There are a lot in this book. The children will have background knowledge on similis and metaphors because we will have already gone over what they are.

Post-Reading: I will have sentence strips with the similis and metaphors from the story written on them. I will have a chart with similis on one side and metaphors on the other. The children will help to read each sentence strip and I will call on the students and ask them if that sentence is a simili or metaphor and then he or she will put it on the appropriate place on the chart (under simili or metaphor). Then, they will go back to their seats and write one fact they learned about Loggerhead Turtles and draw a picture.
There is a lot you can do with this book. You could use this book to demonstrate the characteristics of non-fiction books. You could discuss complete sentences and fragments. There are some sentences in the book that are not complete (fragments). Discuss that a complete sentence has a subject and a verb (a doer and an action). I would re-read sentences from the book and students will put their thumb up if the sentence is complete and thumb down if it isn't. Then the students will go back to their seats and write one complete sentence using a fact from the story and then draw a picture. 

About the author: 
Nicola Davies has always been fascinated with animals. Nicola's first job was studying geese in Scotland. She has been all over the world studying animals. She has written 8 non-fiction picture books. All the animals she has written about are creatures she has seen in the wild or habitats she has visited. She visits schools and runs writing workshops for children.