Thursday, July 30, 2009

Recent New Releases Worth Reading!

I've been coming across a lot of great literature that has inspired me to be creative and design some activities to tie-in with the books. Here are just a few more new releases worthy of a read this summer!

Sloat, Teri.
There Was an Old Man Who Painted the Sky.
Henry Holt and Company.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

When a child looks up to find drawings on the ceiling of a cave, she wonders how they were painted. Planets that spin, the birds and the beasts, woman and man—how did the old man in the sky paint it all? Based on the 1879 discovery of ceiling paintings in Spain’s Altamira Cave, this imaginative story expresses the awe of contemplating the creation of the world and locating beauty in an unexpected place. Children will revel in this timeless tale with truly breathtaking images.

I believe I've mentioned before how much I love any of the "There Was an Old..." books (if you don't remember, feel free to check out this post)... this book is just, if not more amazing! Because... there's an amount of truth shared with readers about the actual paintings in that Spanish cave! I really think history-lover kids will enjoy this story... and since it's got some educational background as well, definitely deserves a spot amongst my collection of "There Was an Old..." books!

Crum, Shutta.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

A summer storm brings relief from the heat—and a surprise—to a farm family. It's a hot day on the farm, and a little girl, her brother, and their mother are trying to cool off by the pond. Suddenly, dark clouds roll in. A thunder-boomer is on the way! The storm brings pounding rain and hail—and an unexpected visitor: a soggy wet stray kitten. Colorful descriptions of the storm are accompanied by lots of playful sound effects, making this free-verse poem perfect for reading aloud. Charming watercolor illustrations capture all the drama, humor, and tenderness of the text.

I love thunderstorms, so you can imagine just how much I loved this book! Something about the watercolor illustrations captured my attention right from the get-go and perfectly depict a hot summer day! A great activity to go along with this book would be to break out a set of water-color paints and ask the children to paint you a picture that shows you something about their favorite summer-time activity. Then, on a separate sheet of paper, ask them to write about their picture, describing their favorite summer activity. Looking back on this in the years to come, it will be interesting to see just how they've changed and how much they remember those summer days of their childhood!

Regan, Dian Curtis.
Monster Baby.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

A very different kind of baby is left on the doorstep of a kindly country couple. Mrs. Oliver's dreams have come true when her husband finds a tiny baby on the doorstep of their farmhouse. He looks like any other newborn—well, except for the fur, the tail, the pointy teeth, and the horns. But to Mrs. Oliver, he is beautiful. Olly begins to grow at an alarming rate, and in just three days he's big enough for kindergarten. He makes friends with the children at school, but his size keeps getting him in trouble . . . until he realizes all the things it allows him to do. After graduating from college two weeks after coming to live with the Olivers, Olly is adopted by his new parents. Even better, someone new—and equally unusual—moves into the farm down the road.

This book was really fun! I think kids will love it. As a tie-in, try a journaling activity with the kids (either at home or at school). Read them the story, then prompt them with the following:
The doorbell just rang. You race to the door, eager to see who might be here to see you. However, when you open the door, you don't see anyone. Instead, on the porch floor you've been left a box. You open it up and inside, you find...
Encourage the kids to write between 1-5 paragraphs depending on their writing abilities. Allow children to share their journal entry if they wish.

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to