The artwork and simple sentences are very engaging. Worked well as a read aloud for K-2. I especially liked the nonfiction description of the holiday...moreThe artwork and simple sentences are very engaging. Worked well as a read aloud for K-2. I especially liked the nonfiction description of the holiday at the end. I agree with Donalyn that the rhymes don't always work, but the children were so engaged by the illustrations that they didn't notice.(less)
I love the spirit of this story -- how it shows Ben Franklin trying all sorts of different ways to solve his problem. This would work very well with t...moreI love the spirit of this story -- how it shows Ben Franklin trying all sorts of different ways to solve his problem. This would work very well with talking about keeping a positive mindset, about thinking of problems and solutions as trial & error, as not reaching the solution just yet, but keep on going.(less)
Four curators gather together ominous tales, organizing them into different themes ranging from tricks to cake, luck to travel. There are ghost storie...moreFour curators gather together ominous tales, organizing them into different themes ranging from tricks to cake, luck to travel. There are ghost stories, monster stories and bizarre stories. Some have direct villains, while others set a creepy tone without letting you exactly see what's menacing the main character.
The curators have a terrific website Enter the Cabinet with many tales, both ones from the cabinet and others freshly added. My current favorite is The Door Downstairs, with a courageous heroine, eerie setting, and psychological themes. For extra creepy fun, check out the podcasts the curators recorded. Katherine Catmull's recording of "Dark Valentine" is enough to haunt my dreams tonight.(less)
Ten orange pumpkins start the night stacked neatly on hay bales outside the farmer's house, but one by one they disappear. Savage combines bold illust...moreTen orange pumpkins start the night stacked neatly on hay bales outside the farmer's house, but one by one they disappear. Savage combines bold illustrations with rhythmic rhyming text, giving young readers just enough clues that they can figure out what happens to each pumpkin. I especially love his striking use of silhouettes--they are creepy and dramatic, yet they are simple and straightforward.
Look how effectively Savage uses the page to hook young readers. They'll love counting the pumpkins and figuring out where the missing one went. Here's a great example that there are so many details in the illustrations that kids can add many layers to the story beyond the text.(less)
A new favorite with our kindergarten teachers is Not Very Scary. They love this cumulative story not only for its counting practice, but also for its...moreA new favorite with our kindergarten teachers is Not Very Scary. They love this cumulative story not only for its counting practice, but also for its message. While we all might get a little bit scared at Halloween, it's really just all our friends having fun.
Melly, a cute litte monster, is excited to walk over to her cousin Malberta's house for a Halloween party. Sure it's a gloomy night, but Melly isn't scared--even when she sees "a coal-black cat with an itchy-twitchy tail." She tells herself how brave she is, but readers can tell that she's actually getting scared. Turn the page, and Melly sees "two skittish skeletons" dancing along after the cat.
Young children know just how Melly feels, getting more and more frightened as each ghoulish creature turns up. This makes the final resolution all the more enjoyable, as Melly realizes that they are all just Malberta's friends coming along to the Halloween party.
Brendler uses wonderfully descriptive language, full of alliteration (grimy goblins, spindly spiders) that makes reading it aloud a joy. Pizzoli's illustrations strike just the right balance, emphasizing the silly fun each creature brings, but never making them too scary.(less)
Wonderful language and setting. I wanted to save some of my favorite quotes:
"I’ve never been anywhere that’s so unbelievably hot and humid. Like the s...moreWonderful language and setting. I wanted to save some of my favorite quotes:
"I’ve never been anywhere that’s so unbelievably hot and humid. Like the sky is sweating and everything smells kind of stinky and moldy and wet"
"the sun would hit you like a hot fist"
"Bandy barks sharply, as if he senses something off in the distance, and a moment later there’s a deep booming noise, like the sound when you thump the side of an empty fuel oil tank, only deeper. Deep enough to feel it rumble through your bones and in the bottom of your belly. Not a good noise. Something big and bad just happened. Next I hear a pop-pop-pop, like corks released from a row of bottles, and the fat, wet noise of rushing water. That’s when I see it with my own eyes. A manhole cover pops into the air, releasing a geyser of brown water. Then another and another, right down the street, one, two, three, four."
"The snake has a thick, scaly body and shiny black eyes and a white mouth with fangs like white needles. The open mouth is an inch from my bare toes, as if tasting the air, or maybe smelling how afraid I am. Something touches my shoulder. Mr. Tru with the blade of the paddle, silently urging me to be still. He gives me a tight smile, and then in one deft move he slips the paddle under the snake and flips it high in the air, out of the canoe."
I agree that the ending is very abrupt, but I think this bookpresents a difficult subject in a way that will engage young readers(less)