Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Title: Corduroy
author:Don Freeman
about the author: 
Born in San Diego, California, Freeman moved to New York City in the 1940's to study art while making a living as a jazz trumpeter. He died in 1978, leaving his beloved audience with a treasury of classic children's stories. Corduroy is a story that all children can relate to.http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/corduroy 

grades: pre k- 1

The book tells the story of a teddy bear named Corduroy, displayed on a toy shelf in a department store. One day, a girl named Lisa arrives in the store with her mother and spots the bear. She is willing to buy him, however, her mother declines to spend more money and notes that a button is missing from his overalls.
After they leave, Corduroy decides to find the missing button by himself and embarks on a trip around the department store after it closes in the evening. He goes upstairs and finds furniture he had never seen before, including beds and mattresses. Thinking that one of the mattress buttons is the one he is missing, he pulls it hard and eventually falls down from the bed, making noise. The store guard arrives, finds the bear and puts him back in place.
The next day, Lisa comes back with the money she had found in her piggy bank and buys Corduroy. At home, she sews a button on his shoulder strap and the book ends with them saying that they had always wanted a friend and hugging each other.

my reaction: As a small child I absolutely adored this book. It is a book that will stand the test of time. My preschoolers really enjoy this book as well. They will sit and listen to the feel good story and brightly colored illustrations. 
lesson ideas:

Give each student two pieces of construction paper, and have them cut one of them into the shape of a large pocket. Show them how to apply glue to the edges (all but one) to attach the pocket to the other piece of paper. Encourage them to decorate their pockets after they dry. Then give them old magazines and help them to cut out pictures of objects that they like or that relate to them. Show them how to place the pictures into their pockets. Then have them take turns explaining which pictures they chose to put in their pockets and why.

Vampires Don't wear polka dots

Title: Vampires Don't wear polka dots
author: Debbie Dadey
about the author: 
 Debbie Dadey is the author and co-author of more than 125 books, including the Publishers Weekly bestselling The Adventure of the Bailey School Kids series, which has over 25 million books in print, as well as The Worst Name in Third Grade, The Ghostville Elementary series, and The Swamp Monster in Third Grade series. She also teamed up with her son, Nathan Dadey, to write The Slime Wars.

Grade: 3
summary:The third grade at Bailey Elementary is so hard to handle that most teachers quit after meeting them. But no one dares make Mrs. Jeepers mad--she has long red hair and fingernails and lives in a haunted house with a coffin in the basement! The kids think she's a vampire.

My reaction: I absolutely loved this book. I used it during my third grade student teaching placement and the students were hooked on trying to figure out if Ms. Jeepers was really a vampire or not.

Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots Make your own Magical Brooch!

Magical Brooch like Mrs. Jeepers

Begin with oval shapes of oaktag approximately 2 inches in height.

Have students glue an oval of bright green construction paper of approximately 1 1/2 inches in height in the center of the oaktag.

Decorate the outside frame of the oaktag with crayons or markers.

Spread glue lightly on the green construction paper center and apply green glitter. Then apply a larger dot of glue on which the students can place one or two faux emeralds found in craft stores.


sideways stories from wayside school

title: sideways stories from wayside school
author: Louis Sachar

about the author
Mr. Sachar received a B.A. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. His first book, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, was accepted for publication during his first year of law school. After receiving his law degree, he spent six years asking himself whether he wanted to be an author or a lawyer before deciding to write for children full-time. His books include Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom, Wayside School is Falling Down, Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes, and the Marvin Redpost series.
Louis Sachar lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and their daughter, Sherre.
 Louis Sachar

grades 3-5  

Wayside School was supposed to be built with 30 classrooms all next to each other in a row. Instead, the classrooms were stacked one on top of the other — 30 stories tall! Here are some hilarious and fun stories about the school, the teachers, and the students.You'll meet Mrs. Gorf, the meanest teacher of all, terrible Todd, who always gets sent home early, and John who can read only upside down — along with all the other kids in the crazy mix-up school that came out sideways 

My reaction:
During my student teaching this was one of the only books that held my fifth graders attention and that they wanted me to continue reading after the time was up.   They loved that the book kept them on their toes and that they didn't know what to expect. 

lesson ideas:
Have students predict what they think will happen next in the story. Have them create their own version and chapter as a group and then share with the rest of the class. 

where the sidewalk ends

Title: Where the Sidewalk ends
Author: Shel Silverstein
ages: 2-6
about the author:
Sheldon Allan "Shel" Silverstein (September 25, 1930 – May 8/9, 1999), was an American poet, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter and author of children's books. He styled himself as Uncle Shelby in his children's books. Translated into more than 30 languages, his books have sold over 20 million copies

summary: Where the Sidewalk Ends  is a collection of children's poetry written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein and published by Harper and Row Publishers. The book's poems address many common childhood concerns and also presents purely fanciful stories.

my reaction: I absolutely love this book. It is a great introduction and poetry read for young children and adults. The language is easy to read and a joyful for all ages. It stands the test of time as being popular.

lesson ideas: Have students create their own poems.

curious george

Title: Curious George
author: Margret Rey and H. A. Rey
about the author:
 Hans Augusto "H.A." Rey (born Hans Augusto Reyersbach; September 16, 1898 – August 26, 1977), worked with his wife Margret Rey as authors and illustrators of children's books. They were best known for their Curious George series.

grades k-3

summary:  The man with the yellow hat captures a monkey called George in the jungle. They sail aboard a ship for a big city and George falls into the sea while imitating some birds. He is rescued and the ship finally puts into port. The man goes home with George but the monkey plays with the telephone and inadvertently calls the fire station, and is unfortunately taken to jail. Luckily, he escapes jail. Later, he tries to grab a balloon from a vendor, but takes the entire bunch and sails away high into the sky. The wind dies down and George descends, landing on a traffic signal. The man rescues him, buys all the balloons from the vendor, and takes George and the balloons to the zoo, George's new home.

My reaction: Curious George is a popular children's book with good reason. A child can relate to the mischief that George gets into. The illustrations are big and bright so that they alone can hold a childs attention and draw them back into the story. 

lesson plan: Have students create their own adventure for George to go on including an illustration to match. Have students share their stories and drawings with the class. 

The veveteen rabbit

Title: the velveteen rabbit
author:Margery Williams Bianco
grades: 3 and up

About the author:
Margery Williams Bianco (22 July 1881 - 4 September 1944) was an English-American author, primarily of popular children's books. A professional writer since the age of nineteen, she achieved lasting fame at forty-one with the 1922 publication of the classic that is her best-known work, The Velveteen Rabbit.

 A boy receives a Veveteen Rabbit for Christmas. The Velveteen Rabbit is snubbed by other more expensive or mechanical toys, the latter of which fancy themselves real. One day while talking with the Skin Horse, the Rabbit learns that a toy becomes real if its owner really and truly loves it. The Skin Horse makes the Velveteen Rabbit aware that "...once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
When the boy's china dog is misplaced, the Velveteen Rabbit is given to the boy as a quick replacement by the Nana. The Velveteen Rabbit soon takes his place as the boy's constant companion. The Rabbit becomes shabbier, but the boy loves him no matter what. In the woods near the boy's home, the Velveteen Rabbit meets actual rabbits, and learns about the differences between himself and the real rabbits when the real rabbits prove he is not real by his inability to hop and jump.
The Velveteen Rabbit's companionship with the boy lasts until the boy falls ill with scarlet fever. The boy becomes too ill to play for a very long time; upon his recovery, he is sent to the seaside on doctor's orders. The doctor orders all the toys the boy has played with, including the Rabbit, be burned in order to disinfect the nursery. The boy is given a new plush rabbit and is so excited about the trip to the seaside that he forgets his old Velveteen Rabbit. While awaiting the bonfire, in which the Velveteen Rabbit will be burned, the Rabbit cries a real tear. This tear brings forth the Nursery Magic Fairy. She tells the Rabbit that he was only real to the boy, and then brings him to the woods and kisses him, making him real to everybody. He soon discovers that he is a real rabbit at last and runs to join the other rabbits in the wild.
The following spring, the boy sees the Rabbit hopping in the wild and thinks he looks like his old Velveteen Rabbit, but he never knows that it actually was.

My reaction: A wonderful tale of being appreciative of what you have and that the greatest things are not necessarily the most expensive. The stories message rings clear even years later.

lesson ideas: Have students write about their favorite toy and why it is their favorite.

where the wild things are

Title: where the wild things are

author: Maurice Sendak

about the author:Maurice Bernard Sendak is an American writer and illustrator of children's literature who is best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963.Sendak was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents, and decided to become an illustrator after viewing Walt Disney's film Fantasia at the age of twelve. His illustrations were first published in 1947 in a textbook titled Atomics for the Millions by Dr. Maxwell Leigh Eidinoff. He spent much of the 1950s working as an artist for children's books, before beginning to write his own stories.
 Maurice Sendak

grades: 1-4

summary:A young boy named Max, after dressing in his wolf costume, wreaks havoc through his household and is disciplined by being sent to his bedroom. As he feels agitation with his mother, Max's bedroom undergoes a mysterious transformation into a jungle environment, and he winds up sailing to an island inhabited by malicious beasts known as the "Wild Things." After successfully intimidating the creatures, Max is hailed as the king of the Wild Things and enjoys a playful romp with his subjects; however, he decides to return home, to the Wild Things' dismay. After arriving in his bedroom, Max discovers a hot supper waiting for him.

my reaction: This book was a childhood favorite of mine. I love the bright illustrations and the dream like world that Max creates. Children and adults can relate to creating their own fantasy world to avoid real life and child play.

lesson plans: Have students write about a dream world  they create. Be sure to include supporting details and rich language. Have students illustrate their dreams. compare and contrast the book with the movie.