Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Frenzy

I've decided to use today as "Friday Frenzy" because I have so many books awaiting review that don't fall into my daily posts or any other topics I've planned. So, it's a whole frenzy of material to share today! Hopefully you'll find something to share and enjoy with your kiddos!

Wood, Audrey.
The Napping House.
2009 (1984).
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Guided Reading Level: I

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

In this cumulative tale, a wakeful flea atop a number of sleeping creatures causes a commotion, with just one bite.

So, as a teacher, you'd think I'd have been familiar with The Napping House long before now... but that's not the case and I can't even begin to tell you how cheated I feel! This story is absolutely wonderful and kids are sure to love it. It's a perfect book to use as a retelling activity or even as a cause-and-effect lesson. This book is definitely worthy of a spot on your shelves!

Reading Activities to Accompany The Napping House:
Willis, Jeanne.
Flabby Cat and Slobby Dog.
Andersen Press, USA.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Flabby Cat and Slobby Dog were very lazy. They ate and ate and ate. They drank and drank and drank. And they slept and slept and slept. But when they woke up, they were most uncomfortable. The sofa had shrunk! Or so they liked to think!

This book was really funny and definitely has the ability to get children laughing! Besides being used as a read-aloud, I can almost visualize this book being used in a classroom (or Phys Ed class) as a motivator to get children moving! According to the American Heart Association, 17% of children between the ages of 6-11 are overweight... We need to do something to decrease this number! Perhaps this goofy book will be the inspiration that children need!

Mordhorst, Heidi.
Pumpkin Butterfly: Poems from the Other Side of Nature.

Summary from Wordsong:

Look closely at the world around you, and you may see another world—a world where butterflies are the ghosts of pumpkins and an oak tree turns into a timber chimney; where raccoons are party animals, sunflowers blow jazz, and an ordinary egg is a source of wonder.

I think I've mentioned before that I always struggled with writing (and understanding) poetry. However, it's a big part of the ELA curriculum in schools today and because of that, I think there's no better way to familiarize children with poetry than to bring it into the classroom on a daily basis beginning in preschool. Even if kids can't put a name to that "weird story," they'll at least be able to recognize that it's different than a story. The poetry in this book would be perfect to share throughout the year, as it's broken into seasons and children will easily connect with the messages shared. I'll share my favorite fall poem with you!
Most Realistic Costume Award
trick sneaks under the gate
queen of scratch queen of screech
lying low
slipping spilling chasing treats
crouch creep
pounce! she's got one
she's caught it like a bird
in her sugarsharp teeth
a little candy bird flapping
cellophane wings
Trick sneaks under the gate
howl-yowl queen of prowl
far near disappear
Yeoman, John.
The Wild Washerwomen.
Andersen Press, USA.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Once upon a time there were seven unhappy washerwomen. They had far too much washing to do and the owner of the laundry, Mr. Balthazar Tight, was simply dreadful! See what happens when these feisty washerwomen decide to escape from a very large pile of laundry and go on strike!

This is another one of those stories that will have kids laughing! Immediately, I thought of my childhood favorite, Mrs. Wishy-Washy and it's definitely a book I'd use along side that one! The book is great for children if you're trying to encourage the skill of predicting what will happen next. It's also perfect for retelling, as there are many simple events that will catch children's attention quickly and easily! Definitely worth having on the shelves!

Bunting, Eve.
So Far from the Sea.
2009 (1998).
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Laura Iwasaki and her family are paying what may be their last visit to Laura's grandfather's grave. The grave is at Manzanar, where thousands of Americans of Japanese heritage were interned during World War II. Among those rounded up and taken to the internment camp were Laura's father, then a small boy, and his parents. Now Laura says goodbye to Grandfather in her own special way, with a gesture that crosses generational lines and bears witness to the patriotism that survived a shameful episode in America's history.

I absolutely love the moving stories behind Eve Bunting's works... they are so powerful, yet children can easily connect with them and understand that there's something important to be learned. This is definitely a book I will be using someday in a classroom to help children understand what World War II meant for not only the Americans (who get the majority of the focus in today's history lessons), but also for the Japanese-Americans, who were [in many cases] wrongly imprisoned based on their heritage. It's important for children to see all sides of the story, and Eve Bunting helps make this possible in this book!

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