About this blog Subscribe to this blog

Friday Blog Round Up

Spout CoverCongrats to Eric Carle on the big 80!  The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art will be celebrating this event in a number of ways, including a Birthday Bash and Children's Book Festival with the Western Massachusetts Illustrators' Guild, on June 13th. If you can't make it, be sure to check out their online gift shop. The bath spout is one of my favorites.   

Oh, the Places You'll Go!, that Dr. Seuss classic, is the focus of a new scholarship sponsored by Random House. President Chip Gibson announced Random House Children's Books, "will award one 2010 graduating high school senior $5,000 toward post-secondary education." Visit www.ohtheplaces.org for details.

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast has yet another interesting interview, this time with illustrator Amy Ackerley. I still haven't stopped laughing from seeing her illustration of Patrick the penguin with a plunger on his head.

Tuttles-Cover If you're in the market for some picture book illustrations you need to check out the R. Michelson Galleries. They have a terrific selection; everything from Dr. Seuss to Mo Willems. They even had a show for one of my favorites, Thomas Locker. If you're in the Northampton, MA area, this jewel of a gallery is worth a visit. You can even pick up an autographed copy of one of Mr. Michelson's picture books.  

Have you signed up yet for Scholastic Mini Books?  Now's the time my book-savvy friends. There is quite a selection, including resources on favorites like The Grouchy Ladybug and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Hope you have a super summer folks. If you're looking for some summertime books reviews, be sure to visit me on TeacherShare. Until then, keep reading and enjoy the sun!

Picture Book Thursday: Art for Everyone

FlyKiteFly Fly, Kit Fly!: A Story of Leonardo and a Bird Catcher
Written and illustrated by John Winch
Little Hare

Ages 4-9

A_is_for_Art A Is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet
Written and illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson
Ages 5-9

Vermeer_Interviews The Vermeer Interviews: Conversations with Seven Works of Art
Written and illustrated by Bob Raczka
Ages 8-16

Fly, Kit Fly!: A Story of Leonardo and a Bird Catcher

This book was published a year or two ago but it's a good one to have for your classroom. This bit of historical fiction is based on the real meeting of Leonardo da Vinci and his life long friend Giacomo. Challenged to capture a red-tailed kite for the prince, the young boy completes his mission by offering a model built by da Vinci. Combined with rich red infused illustrations, this book is a fun tale and visual treat.  

A Is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet
This has to be one of the most interesting alphabet books on the market. Filled with truly abstract artwork and accompanying alliterative text, this title is well suited for old and young students alike. I think my favorites are "Fast Food Frenzy" featuring french fries and "Hoopla!" every Slinky aficionado's dream. Nice job Stephen T. Johnson!

The Vermeer Interviews: Conversations with Seven Works of Art
What a innovative way to help children to appreciate art. Bob Raczka "interviews" a number of the figures found in the paintings of Vermeer, allowing him to comment on artistic style and symbolism as well as everyday life in the 1600s. You're going to enjoy reading this as much as your students will.

After having a class discussion about Leonardo da Vinci, students can draw pictures of their own inventions. Bind the drawings together to create a class book or display them on a bulletin board.

For more book reviews during our summer hiatus, be sure to hop on over to TeacherShare.

Friday Blog Round Up: Duck! Rabbit! and an Olivia poster

Duck_rabbit Cathleen at Chronicle Books tipped me off to a bunch of cool book features they have online. They include teacher guides, printable posters and videos. Check out the links for the following: Duck! Rabbit!, Little Oink, and Horse Crazy.

Chris Gall is currently being featured on the Little Brown Books You Tube channel. Hear about his inspiration behind Dinotrux! or check out another video to hear Patrick McDonnell, Stephenie Meyer, or James Patterson.

Over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, there's an interview with one of my favorite illustrators, Christopher Denise, as well as author Kristy Dempsey. It's also worth taking a look at his Web site; you'll get a full sense of his artwork. Keep up the good work Christopher!

With all the festivities around last week's Children's Book Week, there are still so many fun resources out there. I'm assuming this poster of Ian Falconer's Olivia is still available and worth the 60 cents for your classroom.

There's something about Mir that makes me want to pull a chair up to the table at Kitchen Table Reviews. This week she's blogging about Tedd Arnold's Super Fly Guy -- and fly he is!

You know the drill folks. Have a happy weekend and we'll see you back here next week!

Picture Book Thursday: Chicks

Missingchick The Missing Chick
Written and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev

Candlewick Press

Ages 4-8

Littlechick Little Chick
Written by Amy Hest
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
Ages 4-8

Toughchicks Tough Chicks
Written by Cece Meng
Illustrated by Melissa Suber
Ages 4-8

The Missing Chick

I have to admit, right off the bat, that I am a Valeri Gorbachev fan. His artwork has always reminded me of that of Garth Williams, another of my all-time favorite illustrators. He once again delivers with The Missing Chick, a Richard Scarry-esque mystery about a missing chick. With good-hearted help from the police, firefighters, neighbors, and a detective, the chick is found safe and sound in a laundry basket. The cute characters and simple plot will keep children engrossed. 

Little Chick
I honestly was not expecting this book to be able to pull off three entertaining stories, but they're all very sweet. Children will find them affirming as Little Chick struggles with life's wonders. "The Carrot That Would Not Grow," "The Kite That Would Not Fly" and "The Starry Night" all feature the nurturing relationship between Little Chick and Old-Auntie.  

My favorite tale has Old -Auntie offering some words of wisdom: "'A tall carrot is certainly nice,' agreed Old-Auntie. 'But sometimes,' she whispered, 'a small carrot is just what you need.'"  This book could easily become a beloved classic.

Tough Chicks
Are they tough? Well they're certainly not punks, but tough in more of a resourceful and inquisitive way. Much to the chagrin of their barnyard buddies, they also know how to have a good time, diving after barn flies, roping the roosters, and rolling in the pigpen. When it's time to save the day, they jump into action, stopping the tractor from hitting the hen house -- and then going so far as to repair it. These are some chicks I'd want watching my back!

Take a white paper plate and cut it in half in a zigzag fashion. Attach the two halves with a brad fastener to create a "cracked egg."  Cut out a chick from yellow construction paper and glue it to the back of one half of the plate.  When the egg "cracks" the chick should peek out.

Nonfiction Monday: Travel

Nonfiction.monday Get ready for summer travel with this fiction/nonfiction book pair and activities for K-2.

2004_cv2 Facts First

Follow That Map! A First Book of Mapping Skills
by Scot Ritchie

Reading level: Grades 1-3
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Kids Can Press

Follow Sally and her friends as they search for Max the dog and Ollie the cat while traveling across different types of maps.

Pair With


The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman
by Darcy Pattison (Author)
and Joe Cepeda (Illustrator)

Reading level: K-2
Hardcover/Paperback: 52 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In this story told in postcards and letters, different travelers take a life-sized wooden man across the country.


Participate in the Oliver K. Woodman Map Project and geo-tag Oliver's travels.

Plan ahead for the next school year with these Travel Pal Scrapbook lesson plans.

Print and perform this mini-book, A Play: Follow the Map and make the map center in the lesson plans.

If you're blogging about nonfiction books on this Nonfiction Monday, go to ACPL Mock Sibert blog and add your blog to this week's Round-up.

Friday Kid Lit Round-Up

According to PBS, Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat is coming to TV this fall in the new animated series "The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!" With comedian Martin Short giving voice to the whacky feline, "the world's most beloved cat will whisk preschoolers off on a voyage of scientific discovery for the first time ever as an animated TV series..."

I'm guessing any number of you Twilight fans would have loved to trade places with beauty salon owner Casey Ray. She found the script for New Moon laying in the trash and went to lengths to return it to the studio. Nice job Casey!

Have you taken a look at the handy summer reading book list that's part of the Summer Reading Challenge? Which titles are new to you? I bet you'll find a few fun selections to share with your favorite young friends.

I'm not sure how I missed it, but Jennifer posted a list of class made ABC books that looks just super. Ideas include photographing students as they shape their bodies into letters and finding objects in the classroom that begin with each letter.

While I'm bringing this to your attention too late to win a copy, you'll still definitely want to check out the reviews for Chicken Butt. I'm trying not to judge a book by its title but it's a struggle people. Let me know what you think.

OK folks, you know the drill. I'm off to write a lesson plan or two and I want you to have a super weekend. I'll catch up with you next week.

Picture Book Thursday: This Little Piggy

Cornelius_P_Mud Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Baby?
Written and illustrated by Barney Saltzberg
Ages 4-8

Being_a_pig_is_nice Being a Pig Is Nice: A Child's-Eye View of Manners
Written by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Illustrated by Dan Krall
Ages 4-8

Ping_Pong_Pig Ping Pong Pig
Written and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
Ages 3-6

Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Baby?

Any child adjusting to a new sibling at home will easily relate to this story. When mom brings home Cornelius' baby brother, Cornelius becomes discouraged by what the newest piglet can't do and is ready to send him back.  

(My brother tried the same thing when my sister arrived home. He added the additional flourish of locking himself in his room. Thirty years later he's made the adjustment.)

With some reassurance from mom and some quality time with his new brother, Cornelius is more than willing to welcome home his new brother.

Being a Pig Is Nice: A Child's-Eye View of Manners
This fun and goofy take on a child's book of manners features a variety of creatures and their topsy-turvy ideas on what it takes to be polite. Being a quiet owl? That's a no-no. A racing snail? Another bad idea. My favorite is a non-splashing elephant, being frowned upon by his dad. "I won't say it again, mister! Splash me this instant, do you hear? -- or ELSE!" Dan Krall's illustrations only add to the fun.

Ping Pong Pig
Ping Pong Pig is one resilient porker who wants to fly but doesn't like to help the other farm animals as he bounces about. Chaos ensues as he knocks over hay, ruins apples, and splashes mud on the barn. With a little help from his friends, in the form of a trampoline, Pig "flies" and attempts to pull his weight with the chores. This quirky tale is bound to have your students laughing at Pig's antics.

After enjoying Being a Pig Is Nice, have students create paper lunch bag puppets based on their animal of choice. Using the puppets, they can take turns acting out "bad manners" for their classmates.

Picture Book Thursday: And For My Next Trick...

MoonRabbit Moon Rabbit

Written & Illustrated by Natalie Russell
Ages 3-6

BunnyCanBake This Little Bunny Can Bake
Written & Illustrated by Janet Stein
Ages 4-8

Miffy_Artist Miffy the Artist
Written & Illustrated by Dick Bruna
Ages 4-8

Moon Rabbit

Wow!  This book had me rooting for Little Rabbit to find a soul mate. After falling asleep at the park, this city-loving rabbit meets a brown rabbit with the same taste in music. In fact, he plays the guitar. After dancing, picnics, and fun, Little Rabbit begins to pine for her life in the city. When she returns, it's with the knowledge that there is a kindred spirit out there and they can keep in touch by visiting. Combine this sweet story with Natalie Russell's use of color and printmaking skills and you have a book your students will enjoy.

This Little Bunny Can Bake
I make it a policy not to skip the endpapers when I'm reading a book, so when I saw these endpapers included recipes, I was intrigued. They all look yummy. When you get to the recipe for "Chocolate Salami" don't worry, there's no actual salami involved.

If you want to learn how to make some of these desserts, and you happen to be an animal, you might consider Chef George's School of Dessertology. Bunny does, along with a host of goofy animals. The back story told through the illustrations is as likely to keep you laughing, as it is your students. (The picture of the mouse raising his hand in the measuring cup is priceless.)

Miffy the Artist
You can take the rabbit out of the museum but you can't take the museum out of the rabbit. When Miffy gets back from a visit to the museum, she is inspired to create her own works of art and then posts them to create her own exhibit.  

Dick Bruna's use of primary and secondary colors and simple shapes makes for an endearing and straightforward title. Simply put, this is THE perfect book to read to young students preparing for a museum visit.

This is an activity I just completed with my class. I downloaded color copies of famous works of art and had my students choose one to reproduce. They used markers for the outline and then filled in with colored pencils. Once they were mounted on construction paper "frames," I hung the artwork in the hall alongside the color copies. Students from neighboring classrooms continue to comment on how much they enjoy our museum.

Picture Book Thursday: Springtime Holidays

Cinco_de_Mayo Cinco de Mayo: Celebrating the Traditions of Mexico
Written by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
Photographs by Lawrence Migdale
Holiday House

Ages 6-12

Book_Fiesta Book Fiesta!
Written by Pat Mora
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez
Ages 3-7

ThatBookWoman That Book Woman
Written by Heather Henson
Illustrated by David Small
Ages 4-9

Cinco de Mayo: Celebrating the Traditions of Mexico

I wouldn't expect anything less than a quality book from Holiday House and this title is certainly no exception. In depth text, great color photos, and skillful graphic design make this book a must have for celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the classroom. Students will enjoy Rosalba Rosas and her family's celebratory traditions. The glossary of Spanish words is the icing on the cake. 

Book Fiesta!
You can't judge a book by its cover, but I won't blame you if you're smitten with the colorful artwork by the time you open to the endpapers. When you reach the two-page spread of "reading to the moon," you'll wonder if Rafael Lopez has the artwork available in poster form.  

Author Pat Mora has done a fine job crafting a book that celebrates reading and nods to the April 30th Mexican celebration "Day of the Child." Written as a bilingual picture book, both English and Spanish speakers will enjoy the celebration that this book has to offer.

That Book Woman
According to the author's note, "This story was inspired by the true and courageous work of the Pack Horse Librarians, who were known as 'Book Women' in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky." Told from the point of view of a poor farmer's son, Cal goes from disinterest in reading to asking his sister to teach him after he observes "that book woman" and her dedication to her readers. Author Heather Henson does a nice job capturing Cal's voice, while David Small uses his beautiful illustrations to keep the focus on Cal.

Distribute large index cards to students to make book lists they think the "book woman" should share. Make copies of the cards and bind them into books for students to take home. They'll be able to refer to their friend's book lists when they're choosing what to read.

Friday Blog Round Up

Duck_rabbit OK, I have to admit it, I have not weighed in on the whole Duck! Rabbit! debate. Now that Chronicle has released this video on YouTube, we can all make an informed decision.

Now that your mind is at rest about Duck! Rabbit! you can devote some more time to wondering, "Who knitted Coraline's little sweater for the movie?" That would be miniature knitter extraordinaire Althea Crome.

Margaret Peterson Haddix has a new title out and Achockablog offers a review. I'm not sure how the rating system works but The Missing appears to have earned 4 green chicks.

The folks at PaperTigers are celebrating Earth Day with Jan Reynold's Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life: A Story of Sustainable Farming. They describe it as a "fascinating photo essay." Sounds like one to add to your classroom bookshelves.

Here's a tip for you as you finish celebrating National Poetry Month with your students. Check out Jack Prelutsky, Karla Kuskin, and Jean Marzollo -- and their writing tips -- on Scholastic's Writing with Writers.

As always folks, have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday.

Nonfiction Monday: Dogs

Learn about life with a dog in this fiction/nonfiction book pair and activities for K-3.

Nonfiction.monday Facts First

15228808 May I Pet Your Dog?
The How-to Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs
(and Dogs Meeting Kids)

by Stephanie Calmenson (Author)
and Jan Ormerod (Illustrator)

Reading level: Grades K-3
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books

Practical advice for kids meeting a new dog.

Pair With

9780395822661_lg Little Dog Poems
by Kristine O'Connell George (Author)
and June Otani (Illustrator)

Reading level: Grades K-3
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books

The dog is little and so are the poems as a girl narrates a day in the life of her dog.


Have your students write a "mask poem" to welcome Bo to the White House (and send them to the author of Little Dog Poems.)

Watch Bo at the White House.

Learn about dog care from the ASPCA.

If you're blogging about nonfiction books on this Nonfiction Monday, go to Mommy’s Favorite Children’s Books and add your blog to this week's Round-up!

Picture Book Thursday: Spring Has Sprung

Ohwhatabeautifulday Oh, What a Beautiful Day!: A Counting Book
Written by Jeanne Modesitt
Illustrated by Robin Spowart
Ages 2-6

Agardenofopposites A Garden of Opposites
Written and illustrated by Nancy Davis
Ages 3-8

Thetwelvedaysofspringtime The Twelve Days of Springtime: A School Counting Book
Written by Deborah Lee Rose
Illustrated by Carey Armstrong-Ellis
Ages 4-8

Oh, What a Beautiful Day!: A Counting Book
How can you not enjoy a book depicting hugging hamsters, flipping ferrets, and a prancing pig? Young readers will enjoy the simple counting and fun rhyming. Combined with illustrator Robin Spowart's simple color palette and color pencil-like strokes, spring is in the air. Sitting under a tree is the perfect place to share this book with students.

A Garden of Opposites
Printed on heavy paper with young readers in mind, this title features illustrations reminiscent of Lois Ehlert's work. With bold shapes and colors, Nancy Davis features opposites like asleep and awake, plain and fancy, and short and long. As a special treat, there is a fold-out at the end, where children can search for more opposites and check their finds by reading the butterfly's trail on the endpapers.  

The Twelve Days of Springtime: A School Counting Book
Any teacher who reads this book is going to immediately recognize that the creators have done their homework. The tank of tadpoles, easel board displays, craft projects, and writing on the chalk board are all familiar scenes to anyone who has spent in an elementary classroom. Combine this attention to detail with the humorous goings-on of the students and the teacher trying to hold it all together and you have one heck of a fun read aloud.

Using construction paper, students can create a set of opposites to be featured on a class bulletin board. Choose a theme like gardens, the ocean, or space and list the opposites on the side.

Nonfiction Monday: Earth Day

Prepare for Earth Day next week with these books, one for K-2 and one for grades 3-9.

Nonfiction.monday Facts First

9780824968243_big Keeping our Earth Green
by Nancy Castaldo

Reading level: Grades 3-9
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Williamson Books

The subtitle says it all: "Over 100 Hands-On Ways to Help Save the Earth."

Pair With

9780805082906 What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe?
by Anna Alter

Reading level: Grades K-2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt

This "Green Activity Book About Reuse" has 12 activities for young readers.


Celebrate Earth Day with Scholastic's activities for K-8.

Stop by EarthDay.gov's kid's pages for games and activities.

Visit Larry Ferlazzo's blog for The Best Earth Day Sites for ELL, ESL, AND EFL.

If you're blogging about nonfiction books on this Nonfiction Monday, go to Abby (the) Librarian and add your blog to this week's Round-up!

Picture Book Thursday: Hey Batta Batta Swing!

RulesoftheGame Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems

Written by Marjorie Maddox
Illustrated by John Sandford
Ages 9-14

ChangeUpBaseballPoems Change-up: Baseball Poems
Written by Gene Fehler
Illustrated by Donald Wu
Ages 6-11

YouNeverHeardofSandyKoufax You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!
Written by Jonah Winter
Illustrated by Andre Carrilho
Ages 4-10

Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems
National Poetry Month is the perfect time to celebrate the opening of the season with baseball poetry. Marjorie Maddox, grandniece of former Brooklyn Dodgers manager, has written a compilation that includes Choking Up on the Bat, Beanball, and my favorite, The Line Drive.  This is a book of baseball prose that all student sports enthusiasts will want in their classroom library.

Change-up: Baseball Poems
Wow!  Another comprehensive book of baseball poetry.  Gene Fehler sets forth a series of poems that flow from February, through baseball season, and back to February, covering topics like parents playing ball, superstitions and bench warming.  The combination of picture and poem for Snow Baseball had me feeling like I was in Cooperstown. Fellow Kid Lit Kit blogger Hannah Trierweiler also featured this book in her New Review Tuesday post.

You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!
If you can stop playing with the lenticular cover of Sandy pitching, you'll learn everything you ever wanted to about this talented ball player.  By the end of 1961, "Sandy had broken the National League record, with 269 strikeouts."  His repeated pitching led to his elbow swelling to the size of a grapefruit after each game.  Readers will enjoy reading about his carer in baseball, as well as the facts sprinkled throughout the work.  This book is a home run.

Compare "Bench View" from Change-up and "The View from the Dugout" from Rules of the Game.  Have students illustrate the poems, without having seen the original illustrations.  Mount the pictures as a bulletin board display, being sure to include copies of the poems and accompanying artwork.

Friday Blog Round Up

Tshare If you haven't checked out TeacherShare lately, now would be a good time. If you type "lesson plan" into the search box above "resources" on the left, you'll find a treasure trove of picture book related lesson plans. While not all of the hits will be picture books, the majority of them will. They should pop up with the picture book title, followed by lesson plan.
One of my favorite publishing folks, Karen Walsh at HMH, clued me into this fun online resource. The Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Poetry Kit offers classroom activities, downloadable stickers, a Poem-A-Day calendar and a letter from award-winning poet Joyce Sidman. Rhyme on folks!
Our own Anastasia Suen is putting her poetry powers to great use, showcasing a poem a day, from K-12 students.  Keep an eye on PencilTalk this month and you'll be treated to a variety of poems. 
All this poetry talk is making me hungry and I can't help but look back to March, being National Noodle Month and all. Jama Rattigan's AlphabetSoup  serves up a host of pasta related books. Nora Dooley's Everybody Eats Noodles is just the tip of the iceberg.  
By now you're probably rubbing your growling tummy and asking yourself how I could have forgotten to mention Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?  Well don't despair!  If your "appetite for adventure" is in full swing, you're going to want to check out the movie trailer over on Sony's site. (My favorite is the ratbirds.)
Now that I'm ready for Prince Spaghetti Day, I'll bid you all a super weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday. Oh, and send me a note people!  Let me know what interests you in the Kid Lit World.

Picture Book Thursday: April Poems

Soup Soup for Breakfast
Written and illustrated by Calef Brown
Ages 5-12

Hands Steady Hands: Poems About Work
Illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy
Ages 8-12

Stampede Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School
Illustrated by Steven Salerno
Ages 4-9

Soup for Breakfast

According to the book jacket on Soup for Breakfast, Calef Brown tries to write a poem a day. "Believe it or not, I was once very averse to verse, but now all my nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs go forwards and backwards, riffing and rhyming. It's all about the timing." And that they do. With fun poems like "Painting on Toast" where butter is used as a primer and "T.P.L.T.T.F." (The Parking Lot That Time Forgot) that imagines "rumble seats and window fans, classic coupes and vintage vans," students are sure to find some new favorites.

Steady Hands: Poems About Work

Who would have thought that a welder, retail clerk, and programmer would make for good poetry? But they do, along with a host of others. Tracie Vaughn Zimmer does a wonderful job of capturing the nuances of these careers. With descriptive prose found in poems like "Camp Counselor," she holds a magnifying glass to the sensory experiences that might easily be overlooked. "They roll out sleeping bags and -- too tired to speak -- point out shooting stars and listen to the tink tink tink of the flag hook against the empty pole, the restless crickets, the bullfrog by the riverbank."

Not to be forgotten are the collages Sean Addy has created to accompany the poems. His artwork adds a whole new layer to the poems.

Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School
One look at the frenetic, animal and alphabet infused endpapers lets readers know they
are in for some fun. Laura Purdie Salas and Steven Salerno make a super team as they romp through a series of school inspired poems like "Tomorrow Is Picture Day," "Printer Problems" and my personal favorite, "Turtleneck."  Laura does a super job of connecting with students and their school day experiences, while Steven offers up a retro series of illustrations that are just plain fun. Great job guys!

Based on Soup for Breakfast, cut paper in the size of a soup labels and have students write poems on them. Don't forget to add some illustrations. Wrap the poems around cans and create a display to share the poems.

Nonfiction Monday: World Health Day

Prepare for World Health Day on April 7 with this fiction/nonfiction book pair and activities for grades 3-5.

Nonfiction.monday Facts First

Cv_0822575558 Keep Your Cool! What You Should Know about Stress
by Sandy Donovan (Author)
and Jack Desrocher (Illustrator)

Reading level: Grades 3-5
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Lerner

In this new Health Zone book, students will learn what causes stress and how to reduce it.

Pair With

Londoneye2 The London Eye Mystery
by Siobhan Dowd (Author)

Reading level: Grades 3-5
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: David Fickling Books

Talk about stress...Ted and Kat watch their cousin Salim board the London Eye, but when the ride is over, Salim is no where to be found! 


The theme of this year's World Health Day is "Save lives. Make hospitals safe in emergencies."

Use the CDC's Body and Mind classroom activities.

Have your students take the health quiz at the UN's CyberSchoolBus page.

If you're blogging about nonfiction books on this Nonfiction Monday, go to Tales from the Rushmore Kid and add your blog to this week's Round-up!

Picture Book Thursday: Frogs

Bigmouth The Frog with the Big Mouth
Written by Teresa Bateman
Illustrated by Will Terry
Ages 4-8

FooFrog Foo, the Flying Frog of Washtub Pond
Written & illustrated by Belle Yang
Ages 3-7

Quentin Blake's Ten Frogs/Dix Grenouilles:
A Book About Counting in English and French
Written & illustrated by Quentin Blake
Pavilion Children's Books
Ages 4-8

The Frog with the Big Mouth
Set in the rainforest "by Iguazu Falls, where Argentina meets Brazil," the Frog with the Big Mouth is on the hop, boasting about his fly eating capabilities to any animal that will listen. Illustrated with verdant greens and filled with interesting points of view, Will Terry does a nice job complementing Teresa Bateman's text. And with a funny, "I should have seen it coming" ending, readers are bound to enjoy the adventures of Frog.

Foo, the Flying Frog of Washtub Pond
I think frogs must just be boastful creatures because Foo is on a roll, bragging to his friends Mao-Mao and Sue-Lin. But he gets his comeuppance and lands on his feet both figuratively and literally. Described as having a "remarkable style influenced by childhood memories of Taiwan and Japan, her experience immigrating to the United States at age seven, and her studies in Scotland and China," Belle Yang has an interesting illustrating style that continues to grow on me. Nice work Belle!

Quentin Blake's Ten Frogs/Dix Grenouilles
I was already a Blake fan from his Roald Dahl illustrations and continue to be with this fun counting book. His quick and quirky make for a fun English/French counting book. I think his "5 Rats" page is my favorite.

Use Ten Frogs as the inspiration to create a class counting book. Have students illustrate their own number page to be bound into a class book. For a home/school connection, xerox the book and send copies home with students.

Nonfiction Monday: It's Almost Poetry Month!

Get ready for Poetry Month with this fiction/nonfiction book pair and activities for grades K-12!

Nonfiction.monday Facts First

9780689834097_lg You Have to Write
by Janet S. Wong (Author)
and Teresa Flavin (Illustrator)

Reading level: Grades 2-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

This how-to book about writing at school is also persuasive (You can do it!) and poetic.

Pair With

MyHippoSmall My Hippo Has the Hiccups And Other Poems I Totally Made Up
by Kenn Nesbitt (Author)
and Ethan Long (Illustrator)

Reading level: Grades K-8
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks

This new book and CD of poems performed by the poet (say that three times!) includes tongue twisters, word play and just plain silliness.


Continue reading "Nonfiction Monday: It's Almost Poetry Month!" »

Picture Book Thursday: Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Littlemouse Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears
Written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
Ages 4-11

LittlerabbitLittle Rabbit and The Night Mare
Written by Kate Klise
Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
Ages 3-7

Underbed What's Under the Bed?
Written and illustrated by Joe Fenton
Ages 3-7

Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears
I have to admit, I missed Gravett's book Wolves when it was first published. I'm happy to report, I did not miss Little Mouse. Ms. Gravett uses humor and a clever mix of trompe l'oeil effects to create a story within a story. There are so many different cuts, folds, and fold-outs, that my hands were constantly running over the pages to see what was three dimensional. Meanwhile, Little Mouse's neurotic scribblings kept me in stitches throughout. His "I get edgy near sharp knives," page was particularly amusing. What a treat!

Little Rabbit and The Night Mare
The Klise sisters offer a charming tale of a rabbit who becomes so anxious after being assigned his first report, he begins to suffer from nightmares. Well, a "night mare" to be exact. This horse-like boogie man causes Rabbit no end of anxiety until he faces it down and aces his report, you guessed it, on his nightmare. The animal infused illustrations are well done; I'd call them Garth Williams meets Margaret Wise Brown. This title is a great way to broach nightmares and worries with your students.

What's Under the Bed?
What do you get when you combine a peppy Seussical text with a carefully chosen color palette? Joe Fenton's first, hopefully of many, picture book. Children will find a kindred spirit in Fred and his monster-in-the-dark troubles. The surprise ending is sure to please and leave readers with a smile. FYI: I've found lining up stuffed animals around the perimeter of the bed to be a reliable monster deterrent.

Nonfiction Monday: Women's History

Celebrate Women's History Month with this fiction/nonfiction book pair and activities for grades 6-8.

Nonfiction.monday Facts First

Jacket_med No Girls Allowed
by Susan Hughes (Author)
and Willow Dawson (Illustrator)

Reading level: Grades 6-8
Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: Kids Can Press

See the stories of seven women who dressed as men, including Hapshepsut and Mu Lan, in this history book written and illustrated as a comic.

Pair With

9780590226516_lg Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie
The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell, 1847

by Kristiana Gregory

Reading level: Grades 6-8
Hardcover: 168 pages
Publisher: Scholastic

In this Dear America historical diary series thirteen-year-old Hattie travels with her family across the country on the Oregon Trail.


Continue reading "Nonfiction Monday: Women's History" »

Friday Kid Lit Round-Up

While he didn't technically write any picture books, he sure did have an effect on our language: good, old William Shakespeare apparently had his portrait painted in the early 1600s and there's evidence that the painting is directly of him instead of a copy of another piece of art.  

I would have to say that I agree with the BookChook that Mem Fox is "The Queen of the Read-Aloud."  "Fall in love with the pause," is just one of her "14 Fantastic Hints on Reading Aloud."

I know you've heard the big debate, Harry Potter or Twilight? Well, the Seattle Public Library has decided to take it to the fans as an after-school fundraiser, with panels that will "debate the merits of each series." Nicely done Seattle Public Library!

RIF has done a nice job of creating a collection of read-along stories and songs, including The Eeensy Weensy Spider, The Frog Princess and my personal favorite, Mice-tro Mozart. Try sharing these with students with the help of a whiteboard or projector.

Flashlightreader_large_lg As usual I'm hooked on Flashlight Readers, in particular the Underland Chronicles. The site is loaded with features: a moderated message board, a meet-the-author section, and the Gnawers' Labyrinth to name a few. I can't stop playing with the Creature Creator!

Alrighty then folks. Send me a comment or two and tell me what featured sites or books you've enjoyed. I'm all ears. Until then, have a super weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday. 

Picture Book Thursday: And the Cow Jumped Over the Moon

Icarus Icarus at the Edge of Time
Written by Brian Greene
Art Direction & Design by Chip Kidd
Ages 10-Adult

Moonpowder Moonpowder
Written and Illustrated by John Rocco
Ages 5-8

AlmostastronautsAlmost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream
Written and Illustrated by Tanya Lee Stone
Candlewick Press
Ages 10 and up

Based on this post's title you had a 50/50 shot at guessing this posting's theme. By now you've probably figured out I'm not focusing on our bovine friends but on the moon itself. So, without further ado...

Continue reading "Picture Book Thursday: And the Cow Jumped Over the Moon" »

Nonfiction Monday: Bullies

Teach students how to deal with bullies with this fiction/nonfiction book pair and activities for grades 3-5.

Nonfiction.monday Facts First

GoodbyeBullyMachine_SC Good-Bye Bully Machine
by Debbie Fox and Allan L. Beane, Ph.D.

Reading level: Grades 3-5
Hardcover/Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing

This new book about bullying in school comes out in April, and it's filled with practical advice and colorful collage art.

Pair With

9781434210487 BMX Bully
by Jake Maddox
and Betsy Lewin (Illustrator)

Reading level: Grades 3-5
Hardcover: 72 pages
Publisher: Stone Arch Books

Matt wants to make the Evergreen racing team, but his chances are seriously threatened when a new boy moves to town and resorts to cheating in order to win.


Continue reading "Nonfiction Monday: Bullies" »

Nonfiction Monday: Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Celebrate Read Across America today on Dr Seuss' birthday with this fiction/nonfiction book pair and activities.

Nonfiction.monday Facts First

9780375922985_lg The Boy on Fairfield Street
by Kathleen Krull (Author)
and Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (Illustrators)

Reading level: Grades 3-5
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Random House

Ted Geisel grew up to be the famous Dr. Seuss, but this biography shows him taunted as a child and told he could never make it as an artist.

Pair With

9780394944944_lg And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
by Dr. Seuss

Reading level: Grades K-2
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Random House

This easy reader was the first book Ted Geisel both wrote and illustrated...and it was rejected 27 times!


Continue reading "Nonfiction Monday: Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!" »

Friday Special: Gone Fishing

(Note from Amy: Well, we experienced a little computer blip this morning when Jeremy's Friday Round-Up mysteriously disapeared into the netherworld of computer-land. It was a good one, too! Filled with Daniel Pinkwater on Car Talk and other fun and interesting tidbits that Jeremy's so good at finding. So, we reached into our secret vault and found this never-been-shared post. It does seem appropriate. To explain it technically, Jeremy's origial post "went fishing." Thanks for visiting the Kid Lit Kit and have a great weekend!)

Gone Fishing: Ocean Life by the Numbers
Written and illustrated by David McLimans
Walker & Company
Age Range: 4-8 yrs
Publication Date: October 2008

Gone_fishing_4 Gone_wild_3 Hey folks. It's nearly summer! Well, no, but it does feel just a little bit like spring today. It makes it possible to believe it will be warm again someday. In keeping with the summrey theme, I chose David McLimans’ Gone Fishing: Ocean Life by the Numbers.  You may remember his previous Caldecott Honor book, my silver medal segue, Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet.


Gone Fishing is illustrated in black, blue and white, a palette that fits beautifully with the ocean themed illustrations.  Mr. McLimans leads the reader through the numbers one through 10, pauses for some ocean facts, and then counts back down from 10. Students with a keen eye will pick up on the color scheme changing from black and white on blue to blue and white on black.

It’s worth noting that along with listing information about the various sea creatures, the author has gathered some pretty revealing facts about the way we mistreat oceans.

•    Plastic waste kills up to 1 million seabirds every year.

•    There are 220,000 pounds of garbage swirling out in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and it is growing every year.

•    About 10 million shipping containers arrive in the United States each year. Worldwide, about 10,000 containers fall overboard each year.

But readers need not despair; a list of Web sites that help the oceans finishes off the book. What a great way to inform and empower readers!

For a quick activity, make copies of the small animals as they appear in the sidebars and have students pick one. After they have drawn the habitat of their chosen creature, students can paste their animal to the paper. Display the artwork on a bulletin board or bind the pictures to create a class book.

Picture Book Thursday: Bugging Out

Animals Charles Darwin Saw:
An Around-the-World Adventure
Written by Sandra Markle
Illustrated by Zina Saunders
Chronicle Books
Ages 7-10

076361436x.medOne Beetle Too Many:
The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin
Written by Kathryn Lasky
Illustrated by Matthew Trueman
Ages 7-12
Read the author interview.

9781416903864 Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails
Written by Betsy Franco
Illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Simon & Schuster
Ages 3-7
Read the author interview.

I know, I know. You were so swept up in books celebrating President's Day that you completely skipped over the bicentennial of Darwin's birthday. Well, breath a sigh of relief cause I'm riding to your rescue.

Animals Charles Darwin Saw: An Around-the-World Adventure
Based on key concepts from the National Council for the Social Studies and the National Academy of Sciences, this book delivers on providing a fun and informative account of Charles Darwin. And boy, was Darwin one dedicated scientist. Readers will be shocked to learn what happened when he ran out of hands to transport beetles and what led to his being sick in later life. The book is nicely illustrated with what appear to be wood cuts and is topped off with a map of Darwin's voyage, a glossary, and a list of related books and Web sites. Thank you Sandra and Zina!

One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin
I wouldn't expect anything less than quality from a Candlewick publication, and I'm certainly not disappointed with this offering. It contains super illustrations packed with details.No wonder, as illustrator Matthew Truman shares, "Wandering around with my nose in the grass while collecting the weeds, wildflowers, and herbs for these pictures made me feel a little bit like Charles Darwin. Then concocting different ways to sneak them into the paintings was similar to a secret scientific experiment."

Author Kathryn Lasky has done her homework, as well. The book is peppered with quotes and interesting facts about Darwin. If you want to find out what his childhood nickname was -- and believe me, you do -- get a hold of this book.

Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails
While Darwin isn't featured in this one, it does a nice job of showing the shapes and patterns found in nature. Illustrator Steve Jenkins uses a deft hand to create cut-and-torn-paper illustrations that will keep children's attention. Betsy Franco's text is sure to delight as well -- and keep children rhyming as they follow along. It's hard to resist lines like, "The animal known as the puffer fish does not want to be someone's gourmet dish. Whenever it senses there's something to fear, it puffs itself up till it's almost a sphere." Here's a super title to tie into science and math lessons.

Provide children with a variety of paper plates in different sizes, markers, and scissors. Have them use the plates to design their own bugs, cutting another plate in half to create wings or other bug body parts. When the bugs are complete, display them on the bulletin board, accompanied by labels with the students' chosen bug names.

Nonfiction Monday: Your Teeth

Talk about Dental Health Month with this easy-to-read fiction/nonfiction book pair and activities for K-2.

Facts First

9780516279152_lg Take Care of Your Teeth
by Don L. Curry

Reading level: K-2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Scholastic

This easy reader gives practical advice about tooth care.

Pair With

9780590483766_lg My Tooth is About to Fall Out
by Grace Maccarone (Author)
and Betsy Lewin (Illustrator)

Reading level: K-2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Scholastic

A girl loses her first tooth in this easy reader.


Continue reading "Nonfiction Monday: Your Teeth" »

Picture Book Thursday: Winter Thaw

18916Maple Syrup Season
Written by Ann Purmell
Ages 4-8

9780152049676_150 Winter Is the Warmest Season
Written and illustrated by Lauren Stringer
Ages 4-8

9781561486366 The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm

Written by Paul Bright
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
Good Books
Ages 4-8

We're expecting another round of of snow and ice here in Massachusetts. Can you blame me for wanting a bit of a winter thaw? And as you all know, the best way to get that thaw started is to hunker down with a good picture book or two. Or three, for those of you doubting my ability to count.

Maple Syrup Season
Framed by two maple trees and chock full of woodland critters, the cover of this book does more than hint about the mapley goodness contained within. The story follows the Brockwell family's quest to make maple syrup, from their journey to the sugarbush to eating sugar on snow. There's even a page on maple syrup lore and a glossary of terms. Did you know it takes 40 gallons of sap to boil down into 1 gallon of syrup? This book is a welcome must for anyone studying the syrup season in the classroom.

Winter Is the Warmest Season
A young boy shares his thoughts on why winter is the warmest season and he makes a pretty convincing case. With the jelly sandwiches of summer giving way to grilled cheese and pajamas gaining feet, he gives this warm description, "In winter, bodies sit closer, books last longer, and hugs squeeze the warmest." Illustrations that make good use of warm and cool colors and energetic viewpoints only serve to make the reader wish for winter.

The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm
And for all of you bear fans out there, here's another one to add to your list of "must haves." With wind blowing, thunder crashing, and lightening flashing, the youngest members of the bear family retreat to their parents bed. Convinced a monster is on the loose, the entire Bear family is pleased to offer safe haven to a homeless moose. And the young bears are just as pleased to realize there is no monster! Jane Chapman's cozy illustrations will have readers wishing for a winter storm so they can curl up under the covers.

Are you kidding me? How can I not suggest you make waffles or pancakes topped with maple syrup? For a real treat, make sourdough pancakes or top your waffles with raspberries. Those are two favorites your students won't be able to pass up.  I know I can't.

The 2008-9 Cybils Winners

The 2008-9 Cybils (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards) were announced on Valentine's Day and two Scholastic books were on the list!

Non-Fiction Picture Book Winner

9780439877558_lg Nic Bishop Frogs
by Nic Bishop

Reading level: Grades 3-5
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Scholastic

Nic Bishop takes a close-up look at frogs around the world.

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Young Adult Winner

9780439023481_lg The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

Reading level: Grades 9-12
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Scholastic

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen has her name drawn for the annual Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death on live TV.

Continue reading "The 2008-9 Cybils Winners" »

Recent Posts


Quick Links:

Recommended Sites:

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Kid Lit Kit are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.