2.)Summary: Abilene Tucker goes on an enchanting journey of the past historical event in her father’s hometown of Manifest1.)Genre: Historical Fiction
2.)Summary: Abilene Tucker goes on an enchanting journey of the past historical event in her father’s hometown of Manifest, Kansas. Through the use of colorful storytelling and the help of new friends, Abilene goes on the quest to discover what makes her father who he is. It’s a compelling tale of self-discovery.
3.)Critique: a.)The author does a wonderful job with the storytelling elements within the book. She does a wonderful job of building the characters into these colorful people with detailed descriptions. One of the best things about this book is the author’s sense of humor. She sneaks little remarks into the story in a way that you will find yourself laughing.
b.) I really enjoyed reading this book. I didn’t really want to put it down while I was reading it. The author displays beautiful articulation and a sense of dialect that makes the characters fun and interesting. The story is captivating and pulls the reader in because you want to find out more about Abilene and her father. One thing that I found inappropriate for the possible grade level reading the book was some of her vocabulary words such as “dilapidated” and “cantankerous.” I found some of her vocabulary to be incredibly challenging which would make this a book for older readers like 5th and 6th graders and above. This would be a great novel to read aloud to the class whether it is a chapter a day or a certain number of pages; that way the teacher can explain the meaning of the harder words and have the students learn a bit of a vocabulary lesson. I really love the author’s sense of humor within the story. The main character Abilene is a hoot! I kept wanting to continue reading just to see what she would say next. This was a strong story that I enjoyed very much and would highly recommend it to anyone. c.) The author does a wonderful job of making this story suspenseful by leaving her reader’s “hanging” so to speak. She breaks down the storytelling aspects of the book into pieces and distributes them throughout. I found myself not wanting to put the book down because I wanted to know the next piece of the puzzle and hear more of the story about the town’s past historical events which eventually ties all the characters together. Abilene gets stuck working off a Hungarian pot that she broke for Miss Sadie, the storyteller. Miss Sadie sent her out in the woods to collect flowers for a “brew;” some people thought Miss Sadie to be a witch. Abilene has a hard time collecting the flowers and comes back to Miss Sadie’s in a bad mood, “Having crawled through a bramble bush for prickly poppy, I was feeling a little prickly myself just then. Why Miss Sadie had call to send me all over God’s creation to dig up plants never intended for human use, I can’t say (pg. 177).” Those few sentences display the author’s colorful language that is presented throughout the entire book. Her fun use of dialect and word choices keeps the reader wanting to read.
4.)Curriculum Connection: This book is a wonderful example of historical fiction that can be tied into a social studies lesson. The book follows the depression, speakeasies and saloons, the war, etc. The book is rich in historical connections and through the authors use of language and storytelling it makes history fun to learn about. I personally always found history to be a boring subject. I liked learning about certain events as long as they were presented in a fun and interesting way. The students can get an opportunity to see how the author’s use of language and dialect pulls the readers into the story and in a sense; the student’s get to become the characters almost as if they are living these historical events themselves. This could serve as an introductory novel. The students could read this before a lesson on the depression, dust bowl, etc. to be introduced to the historical events but in a way that’s exciting and will make the students interested in knowing more in detail. ...more
1. Genre: Contemporary Fiction 2. Summary: This story follows Debbie, Hector, and their childhood friends through the summer season discovering life, l1. Genre: Contemporary Fiction 2. Summary: This story follows Debbie, Hector, and their childhood friends through the summer season discovering life, love, and what makes them who they are. Perkins incorporates humor and the use of haiku’s to bring this novel of self-discovery to life and makes it a great novel that any teen can relate to.
3. Critique: a.) The author does a great job bringing to life her characters. Each chapter swaps back and forth covering one of the characters stories. The author’s humor makes the story intriguing. I like that even though I’m an adult I still found myself laughing and shaking my head remembering my teenage years and my bouts with life and love.
b.) The author did a decent job with the novels layout. She had almost every chapter be a different characters story or viewpoint. I didn’t care for how the author added chapters about some of the characters that are just mentioned in passing. I also did not care for the way she started each chapter as a different character without letting you know in some way whose chapter it is. There were times where I started reading and didn’t figure out who I was reading about until a paragraph or two in. I feel like this would be confusing for kids who are reading this novel. The biggest issue I have with the novel is the layout. The overall book was fun and intriguing though.
c.) There is one chapter in the novel where the layout is really bad (pgs. 200-204). The author has two characters stories going at one time sharing the pages in the forms of columns like in newspapers. For example, Debbie’s story is on the left side of the page and Lenny’s story is on the right side of the page. I found it confusing and had to stop and start all over again because I didn’t realize what was going on and why what I was reading wasn’t making any sense at all. This chapter should not have been presented in this format. I found it confusing so I know kids will too.
4. Curriculum Connection: I am not sure any curriculum connection can be made here. You can tie it in with history and literature by asking them about characters, plot, etc. You can ask the students to use context clues to figure out what era this novel’s plot is set in. This is a great novel that the students can personally relate to. Every teen goes through the awkward phase where they are trying to figure out who they are and experience first loves and crushes. ...more
2. Summary: First the Egg is a wonderful children’s picture book about concepts. It teachers children what things come first and how1. Genre: Concept
2. Summary: First the Egg is a wonderful children’s picture book about concepts. It teachers children what things come first and how certain familiar things like flowers become flowers, butterflies become butterflies, etc.
3. Critique: a.) I love the accuracy and the beautiful illustrations of this book. The way the illustrations and concepts are presented with the cut-out pieces is genius.
b.) I enjoyed reading this book and was pleasantly surprised by the accuracy and the simplicity of the way the information is presented along with the wonderful illustrations. The colors are so vivid and incredibly accurate and realistic.
c.) I love the simplicity of the way the information is presented. This picture book is clearly suited for preschool and kindergarten aged children. A few steps are left out of each scientific life process and the names like tadpole, adult frog, etc. and same with the plant but the general idea is to introduce them to concepts on a level that can easily be understood and this book accomplishes that.
4. Curriculum Connection: This is a great book that can be used in the classroom to introduce scientific concepts like the life cycle of a frog, butterfly, and the plant. As a teacher, you can read the book and briefly introduce with scientific names (e.g. cocoon, butterfly, tadpole, etc.) to keep it on an appropriate level. ...more
2. Summary: A little boy and his family are spending the day at the beach. The little boy finds an old camera that has been washed u1. Genre: Wordless
2. Summary: A little boy and his family are spending the day at the beach. The little boy finds an old camera that has been washed up on shore. The pictures that are found inside the camera are incredibly interesting and tell the story of the camera and where it’s traveled to.
3. Critique: a.) Considering this picture book is wordless the illustrations are what you have to pay attention to and in this book the illustrations are stunning. The pictures look like watercolor works of art. The pictures are created in a way that allows the reader to add their own words to make it the story they want it to be.
b.) The illustrations allow you to make up your own story for what’s happening in the stories illustrations. As I was flipping the pages admiring the pictures and making up my own words as I would imagine them to fit, I found myself wanting some words and explanations for some of the strange pictures.
c.) There were some strange illustrations throughout the book such as the octopus’s family sitting around in their home, the mechanical looking fish swimming with the other fish, and the towns on the backs of the sea turtles and sea stars. I wanted the author to add words or some sort of explanation as to why the drawings were done that way. The unrealistic aspect of the pictures does allow the child’s imagination to be put in use.
4. Curriculum Connection: While reading this book to the kindergarten class you can point out how some of the illustrations are not realistic like the octopus’s family watching TV. You can talk about science and how things need certain things to survive in the ocean. You can use literary strategies like inferences by asking the students questions like what do you think will happen next? What is the little boy doing? ...more
2. Summary: Kitten sees her first full moon but thinks that it is a bowl of milk. Follow Kitten on her quest for the milk. Not1. Genre: Other- animals
2. Summary: Kitten sees her first full moon but thinks that it is a bowl of milk. Follow Kitten on her quest for the milk. Nothing seems to go Kitten’s way including falling into a pond. Read it to find out if Kitten ever gets her milk.
3. Critique: a.) The illustrations in this picture book are adorable. I love the illustrator’s use of black and white pencil and charcoal drawings. The author does a great job of showing Kitten’s emotions on her face in the drawings.
b.) This was such a fun story to read. At times you feel sad for Kitten when she cannot get her milk especially when she falls in the pond and gets all wet.
c.) I love the author’s repetition of, “still, there was the little bowl of milk, just waiting.” The author’s illustrations are so good. I love the use of emotion in the drawings. It is really cool to see the use of flip-book or cartoon style pictures that create movement across the page. When you see the pictures of Kitten’s facial expressions and read all the bad things that keep happening to Kitten you can’t help but feel bad for her and hope that in the end she gets her bowl of milk.
4. Curriculum Connection: This is a great story to read-aloud in a kindergarten class because this book is a picture book with few words. This can be connected to the kindergarten reading objectives such as how to hold printed materials and understand how print is organized and read. You could teach the kids about who the author and the illustrator are on the front cover. You can also have kids read the repetitive parts with you and connect that to the kindergarten oral language objectives. ...more
2. Summary: Everywhere Rabbit goes, trouble always follows. Watch as Rabbit and Mouse lose their airplane and have to find a w1. Genre: Other- animals
2. Summary: Everywhere Rabbit goes, trouble always follows. Watch as Rabbit and Mouse lose their airplane and have to find a way to get it back. What kind of trouble is Rabbit going to get into this time?
3.Critique: a.) The illustrations in this book are really good. I love the cartoon look of the pictures and the vivid use of colors. The story is so fun and it’s the illustrations that make it this way because there are few words in the book.
b.) I love how little words there are in this book because it allows the reader to be the voice and make up the words of the story. The illustrations are so fun it’s easy to make up the story and add sound effects as you go along.
c.) At one point in the book all the animals fall down. This is a great time to add sound effects to match the illustrations and the emotions that are being displayed by the animals in the illustrations. This is the perfect book to read-aloud in class to students and use voice and show expression which can be done by changing the pitch of your voice, adding the sound effects, etc.
4. Curriculum Connections: This story can be connected to the kindergarten history and social science SOLs such as friendship and practicing responsibility, kindness to others, and practicing decision making. You can talk about how Rabbit was trying to be a good friend and had good intentions but some of his decisions that he made were not the best and caused some of his friends to get hurt. You can discuss how Rabbit should have been more kind to his friends. It’s a good time to discuss how decisions you make can affect others and not always in a positive way. ...more
2. Summary: It is time for little red chicken to go to bed but she won’t go to bed until her papa reads her a bedtime story. P1. Genre: Other- Animals
2. Summary: It is time for little red chicken to go to bed but she won’t go to bed until her papa reads her a bedtime story. Papa tries to read several stories but chicken keeps interrupting and will not fall asleep. How many times will chicken interrupt and will she fall asleep?
3. Critique: a.) This story has the cutest illustrations and the story itself is wonderful! I loved seeing all of the colorful pictures and the limited words make the story easy to read. The illustrator does a wonderful job of showing chickens emotions such as excitement which is done by having her shown jumping out of bed after interrupting a story.
b.) This is such a great story to read aloud in class because the illustrations are so fun it makes it easy to add sound effects to the story. This story is so fun and easy to read.
c.) You cannot pick up this story and read it without adding your own voices to the characters and change the tone and pitch of your voice to show excitement and the annoyingness of the little red chicken. The author did such a wonderful creating this fun story for children through the use of beautiful illustrations and the cute story.
4. Curriculum Connection: This would be a great book to incorporate into the kindergarten classroom. The teacher could read-aloud the book and tie it in with the curriculum that teaches the students the basics of print. You could show them how to hold the book, who the author and illustrator are, how you read from right to left, etc. ...more
2. Summary: This is a recreation of one of Aesop’s Fables, The Lion and the Mouse. The story follows a lion that captures a mouse bu1. Genre: Wordless
2. Summary: This is a recreation of one of Aesop’s Fables, The Lion and the Mouse. The story follows a lion that captures a mouse but lets her go. Later on in the story, Mouse sees that Lion has been captured and she saves Lion from the poachers trap in order to return the favor of Lion letting her live.
3. Critique: a.) This wordless picture book has the most beautiful illustrations. Out of all the picture books that I have read, including the Caldecott Award winners, this book has had my favorite drawings.
b.) The watercolor illustrations are phenomenal. The details are incredibly accurate and whimsical. The illustrations do an amazing job of retelling the famous Aesop Fable of “The Lion and the Mouse without using any words. I love that the few words that Pinkney does use are sounds that the animals make during the night which adds emphasis to the setting of the African wilderness. I have studied art my whole life and I paint and draw in my spare time; the artwork in this book is exquisite and his use of technique is amazing.
c.) Every illustration that is presented in this story is amazing. The use of lines and colors are incredibly accurate and realistic. I love the drawing of the mouse when he has climbed up the tree and is about to chew through the rope. The way Pinkney painted the tree bark adds a sense of texture and the mouse looks like he would be furry if you could touch her. The artwork in this story is realistic but whimsical because the animal’s facial expressions show emotion and most animals don’t really show emotion on their faces which is what adds the whimsical element to the story.
4. Curriculum Connection: This story can easily be used in Kindergarten to orally tell the Aesop Fable of ‘The Lion and the Mouse.” This would be a great opportunity to discuss how a long time ago stories were first told orally and passed down from generation to generation until somebody started writing them down. You could also use this book to do a short geography lesson by explaining the setting as the African wilderness and you could show the students on a map or globe where Africa is located and show them how far away it is from the United States. You could also find a way to tie the book in with science because of the animals. You could ask the students how do animals survive in the plains because there doesn’t look like there is a whole ton of food readily available to the animals. ...more
2. Summary: This is a great twist on a classic. Rapunzel starts to wonder why she has never been outside of the walls of her “k1. Genre: Graphic Novel
2. Summary: This is a great twist on a classic. Rapunzel starts to wonder why she has never been outside of the walls of her “kingdom” and realizes that her whole life as she knows it doesn’t seem right. Rapunzel sets out in search of her real mother and to find out who she is.
3. Critique: a.) The illustrations in this book are really neat. I love how the book looks like a comic book and with few words tells the story of Rapunzel and her search for her mother. The illustrations do a wonderful job telling the story through facial expressions and short bubbles of words.
b.) This is such a cool way of retelling the classic story of Rapunzel with the comic book style and a more modern twist in the characters appearances. This is a really thick book but there aren’t a whole lot of words just tons of pictures that really capture the essence of Rapunzel.
c.) This story is so funny. The illustrations are so different than anything I’ve seen related to Rapunzel’s story. In this one she has red hair instead of blonde like in most stories. The comic book style of the illustrations is what makes the story funny I could see how lots of kids in the upper elementary grades like third grade through fifth grade would really enjoy this book.
4. Curriculum Connection: This story could be connected to literature. The story can be connected with different styles or genres of books. The teacher should discuss how comic book style graphic novels are rich in illustrations with few words to make it more enjoyable and easy for students to read. You could make connections with comic book style illustrations can be related to newspaper comic strips, etc. ...more
2. Summary: A great retelling of the classic fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood. Little Red Riding Hood is off to visit1. Genre: Traditional Literature
2. Summary: A great retelling of the classic fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood. Little Red Riding Hood is off to visit her ill grandmother and runs into a mean old wolf in the woods. Watch as wolf cunningly tricks Little Red and her grandmomma into eating the whole.
3. Critique: a.) Jerry Pinkney is wiggling his way into my heart as one of my favorite childrens novelists. His illustrations in this story of Little Red Riding Hood are brilliant.
b.) Jerry Pinkney's watercolors are so vivid and detail oriented. Every time I read one of his stories I continue to be amazed by how much detail he manages to paint into his watercolors especially in the woodland surroundings of this story.
c.) The wolf looks so realistic in this story due to Pinkney's watercolor illustrations. The story is so beautiful and easy to read. The illustrations are what draw you into this story and make the classic fairytale come to life.
4. Curriculum Connection: This would be a great book to read-aloud to a class of third or fourth graders. Even though most third and fourth graders should be reading chapter books they still love to hear a great classic story with lots of wonderful illustrations. I know my kids do. They really enjoy when someone else reads it to them because they get to hear the different voices and tones while reading it aloud. You could connect this to the reading curriculum by discussing the genre fairytales. This would be a great book to introduce the lesson and then branch out to more fairytales from other cultures. For example, Native American folktales like the Indian Paintbrush, etc. ...more
2. Summary: This is the story of an ugly duckling. A group of baby ducks are born and there is one that doesn’t seem t1. Genre: Traditional Literature
2. Summary: This is the story of an ugly duckling. A group of baby ducks are born and there is one that doesn’t seem to fit in. He searches for an answer as to why he looks different and doesn’t fit in with his other brother’s and sister’s.
3. Critique: a.) This is such a great retelling of the classic fairytale, “The Ugly Duckling.” The accuracy of this story is spot on. This story is almost identical to the original Ugly Duckling story with a few adaptations.
b.) The illustrations in this story are adorable. I love animals and the illustrations in this story are so whimsical. It helps to make the story enjoyable and it pulls the reader in. The story is almost identical to the classic story my mom used to read to me.
c.) I love the illustrations that help to retell the story of the Ugly Duckling. The little ducks are so cute in this story. I always thought it should be obvious that he isn’t actually a duck considering he wasn’t yellow like his other siblings and the egg he was in was bigger than all of the others. I love how he turns into a beautiful swan and doesn’t realize it until he sees other swans and his reflection and realizes he does belong.
4. Curriculum Connection: This would be a great story for a second grader to read or can be enjoyed by any grade if read aloud to the class. This could be a great book to connect literature and science together in one lesson. This is a great book to use with a science lesson about seasons and hibernation. You can discuss what happens to birds when the winter comes and what kind of food they eat, what their habitat is, etc. ...more
2. Summary: This is the story of several peas that are taking you on a journey of the alphabet. The peas teach you a little bit abou1. Genre: Alphabet
2. Summary: This is the story of several peas that are taking you on a journey of the alphabet. The peas teach you a little bit about themselves and what they do for jobs and in the end they would like to know who you are.
3. Critique: a.) The illustrations are what make this story. There are very few words and lots of pictures on every page. The alphabet is taught in such a unique and fun way.
b.) This is the perfect book for young children learning their alphabet. The letters of the alphabet are very large on each page which is great because it shows the main theme and idea of the book and every job description is accompanied by a picture.
c.) The point of the book is to teach children the alphabet in a fun and exciting way. The illustrations are wonderful. I love how the author/illustrator used pastel colors throughout the whole book. Pastel colors are usually associated with babies and this is the perfect book for young beginning readers who need to learn their alphabet.
4. Curriculum Connection: This is the perfect book to use with preschoolers and kindergartener’s when teaching them the alphabet. This book would need to be read-aloud because a lot of the job descriptions and words are too difficult for beginning readers. Some of the words can be sounded out but I would use this book as an introductory book to learning the alphabet and it’s a great visual representation of the alphabet in sequence. ...more
2. Summary: This is a great story about Cherry. He wants you, the reader, the follow him throughout the book by counting how many of1. Genre: Counting
2. Summary: This is a great story about Cherry. He wants you, the reader, the follow him throughout the book by counting how many of him you can find on each page(s). The story gives you the number you have to find and by finding them you have to count.
3. Critique: a.) This is one of the cleverest books I have read that has to do with children’s counting. This book hit me close to home because as a kid I loved to do anything that was related to “search and find.” The creativeness of this book is spectacular.
b.) It took me a few pages to realize that I was supposed to look for Cherries face and count how many of him is on the page. The book even tells you the number of cherries there are on the pages.
c.) I love how the author has the number of cherries in red font and bolded so that you know how many to look for. It’s hard finding Cherry because a lot of the times he is really small and blends in with his surroundings. Sometimes, there isn’t even a whole Cherry sticking out it might just be the top of his head or from his eyes up. This books creativeness makes it so fun and enjoyable to search for the cherries and count them. It’s so fun you not only forget you are reading but you forget you are counting and using math.
4. Curriculum Connection: This is the perfect book to have Kindergartener’s read on his/her own. The story might be a little difficult for some of the kids so if that’s the case they can buddy up or have someone read it aloud. This book is perfect for teaching kids to count to ten, seven, six, etc. Each page is different and they do not go in sequence so it helps that the kids cannot memorize what number they need to find on the pages. The fact that Cherry blends in on the pages also helps to challenge the kids. ...more
2. Summary: Ling and Ting are sisters and identical twins but Ling and Ting are not exactly the same, they do have some1. Genre: Controlled Vocabulary
2. Summary: Ling and Ting are sisters and identical twins but Ling and Ting are not exactly the same, they do have some differences. Follow Ling and Ting through six short stories and find out how they are different.
3. Critique: a.) This is a cute book that tells the story of Ling and Ting. The story is easy to read because of the repetition of words and phrases. The controlled vocabulary is pretty good. b.) The vocabulary in this book is great. The use of action words such as “Snip!Clip!” and “AHH-CHOO” are great in this book. Action words make this book very fun to read. It is perfect for kindergarteners and first graders. c.) Ling and Ting might look the same but they have different personalities and interests such as magic tricks, hair-cuts, library books, and cooking.
4. Curriculum Connection: This story is really good for first grade maybe even kindergarten depending on their reading level. Students who are having difficulties reading can use this book because of the controlled vocabulary. There are lots of words that are repeated so that the students can learn how to read through the use of repetition. ...more