1. Non- Fiction: As a baseball fan, I love that this story is all true! I never even thought about the origin of the signs each team uses and was completely fascinated reading this.
2. Perseverance: One very valuable lesson for kids to learn is to never give up. I love that William Hoy is a perfect example of this.
3. Deaf Applause: Churnin weaves the significance of the deaf applause throughout the story as a common thread for the reader to follow. It really tugs at the heart strings.
4. The Back Matter: I appreciate all of the extra bits of information about William Hoy that was added to the back of the book. Although they don't pertain to the narrative non-fiction story they are interesting additional facts for readers who are looking to know more.
5. The Illustrations: The lines, color choices, and facial expressions all work together fabulously and really add to the enjoyment of the story.
Parents: Have a baseball lover in the house? This book will be a homerun. (sorry, I couldn't help myself)
Teachers: Have reluctant readers who enjoy baseball? This may just be the perfect book for them!
Writers: Extremely well done narrative non-fiction; weaving in a common thread; including only the details that pertain to the narrative and leaving other interesting facts to the back matter; choosing a topic kids will care about
1. The Mashup- Kids are all about mashups these days. Don't believe me? Do a quick search on YouTube Kids. And this mashup of dinosaurs and pirates is so brilliant. It definitely won't disappoint!
2. Captain Rex- I absolutely love that the biggest baddest dinosaur is a she. Big win here on giving the audience something unexpected and fabulous.
3. Rhyme- I feel like you should sing rather than just read this book. The rhyme and rhythm is just so spot on.
4. The Main Character- Little Scute's his name, although it isn't stated in the book. His emotional ups and downs throughout the story will tug at your heartstrings and have you cheering for him at the end.
5. Illustrations- Somehow Michael Slack managed to make these Pirasaurs scary and fierce but cute at the same time. And the vibrant colors throughout really catch your eye.
Parents: If your kids love mashups like mine do then they will LOVE this book!
Teachers: Looking for a book to hook a reluctant reader? Look no further!
Writers: Mashups; brilliant rhyme; great pacing; leaving room for the illustrator
1. The Monster- I love so many things about Love Monster but mostly how relatable he is for kids.
2. To Share of Not To Share- The inner conflict here is spot on. What kid (or adult) hasn't had this exact dilemma?
3. The Guilt Page- My favorite page in the book. You have to pay attention to the illustrations to appreciate the humor.
4. The Ultimate Chocolate Selection- Love Monster's favorite might be the Double Chocolate Strawberry Swirl but I'm eyeing the Raspberry Heart...and the Peanut Butter Crunch...and the Double Toffee Diamond...
5. The Ending: After all of the internal struggle, Love Monster learns what it means to be a great friend.
Parents: Great news: There are other Love Monster books! Love Monster, Love Monster and the Perfect Present, and Love Monster and the Scary Something - all equally fabulous!
Teachers: Making predictions, Morning Meeting discussion on sharing/kindness
Writers: How to make the author's message fun enough that it is clearly stated but doesn't outshine the enjoyment of reading the story, great character, character driven story
1. The Unknown: I love that you don't know what is lurking in the cave and you don't find out until halfway through the book. Kids will love guessing!
2. The Pattern: Kids love patterns in books and books with patterns make for great read alouds. The best part about books with patterns is the spot where the pattern is broken!
3. Simple Sentences: The short and to-the-point sentences work perfectly for this text. The pacing is quick which is perfect because kids won't be able to wait for you to turn the page.
4. Illustrations: Amazing full color pages, the color choices that match the tone of the text, the details that add to the story (Like the detail of what the bird left behind on one of the rocks!), and the contrast in the endpages.
5. The Wordless Spread: Arguably my favorite element in any picture book and this one doesn't disappoint. So simple, yet so effective.
Parents: Kids will love guessing what is inside the cave on the first read. The low word count makes this a great choice to read over and over again.
Teachers: Have your students use this as a mentor text for their own cave stories. What will be lurking in their cave? What animals will stop by that won't interest the main character and what will be the one thing that will make the MC emerge from it's home? For reading work, you could use this text to teach how a good reader makes predictions and/or using your schema.
Writers: Simple, tight text; little twist at the end; repeating pattern
1. Read Aloud-ability: The repeated text throughout the story makes this so much fun to read aloud. Kids will anticipate the line and read along with you.
2. Activities: Martha and her moose do just about everything together and it all looks marvelously magical.
3. Illustrations: Mark Chambers adds in those little details that make a big difference. Hi art is so full of color, life, and personality.
4. The Lesson: The all important: too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing explained in such a fun, unique way.
5. The Rhyme: Spot on and fun! The great rhyme definitely adds to the enjoyment of the story!
Parents: Kids will love to read this book along with you! The repeated text makes it great for reading together. Also, a great lesson that is told through humor is always a win for parents. Plus, go to books.sourcebooks.com/moose-mart/ and your child can name their own Moose!
Teachers: Have your students create their own "Too Many" stories
Writers: Great rhyme; repeated text; lesson delivered without being too preachy;
1. The Rhyme: For me, bad rhyme breaks a book and frankly, makes me cry. But Peter Bently's rhythm and rhyme are spot on and really adds something extra fun to the story.
2. Little Blue Bird: I love when the illustrator adds an extra element to the written text. David Roberts is one of my favorite illustrators and he does this so well.
3. The Sheep: Lambert, Eunice, Marty, Mabs, Old Uncle Ramsbottom, Bart, Ben, and Babs. Because nine sheep would have been too many, and seven would be too few.
4. Read aloud-ability: It is absolutely impossible to read this book without a smile and lots of expression.
5. Circular Ending: These sheep have quite an adventure. But I love that they end up right where they started. To find out why you have to read the book!
Parents: Kids will have so much fun listening to you read this book aloud! The vibrant illustrations will capture their imagination while they listen.
Teachers: Fabulous book to model reading with expression. As with all well rhymed text, you can also use this book to model how a good reader uses words they do know to help figure out words ones they don't.
Writers: fabulous rhyme; circular ending; voice; characters that jump off the page
1. Show-and-Tell with a Twist: Elise Parsley takes a topic so familiar to kids and adds such a hilarious twist. If you were thinking of passing on this book, don't.
2. Magnolia: A spunky main character trying to warn you, the reader, not to make the same mistake she did.
3. Illustrations: There is so much rich color and detail on each page. My favorite part of the illustrations is the expressions by Magnolia, her teacher, and the other kids in the class.
4. Name on the Board: Any adult who reads this book will immediately identify with having one's name written on the board by the teacher. It brings back a sick feeling in my stomach as I type this...not that I ever had my name written up there.
5. The Endpapers: Flip from the front endpapers directly to the back ones once you get the book. Little boy's face = priceless.
Parents: A fun read for your kids just going back-to-school.
Teachers: Great intro story to read if you do show-and-tell or sharing in your class. Also, a great choice to model reading with expression or to use as a mentor text for writing...If you ever want to bring a __________ to ___________, DON'T!
Writers: Voice; second person point-of-view; great build-up of the drama
1. Throwback - This book sent me right back to fourth grade picture day! From choosing the photo background to the complimentary plastic combs and, of course, that little stool.
2. The "Perfectly" Page - The unexpected twist!
3. Illustrations - You know a Dan Santat book when you see it and this one doesn't disappoint. There is so much action is his illustrations. It almost seems like we're watching a cartoon. Even the endpaper are fabulous.
4.Point-of-View- This story is told in first-person and I couldn't agree more with the author's choice to do so. It brings us so much closer to the main character's emotions as the story progresses.
5. Page Turns- Diesen does a fabulous job at setting up the page turns here; pulling the reader to flip forward to see what happens next...and it's never what you would expect.
Parents: A fabulously silly story that will have your kids laughing from start to finish! Have a nervous nelly on picture day? This will surely help!
Teachers: The obvious: great book to read on school picture day. Show your kids that anything can be an idea for a story or teach predictions with this text.
Writers: Page turns; twists; voice; great first page
1. The Main Character- So relatable! Who hasn't has a wonderful idea that is perfect in one's mind but the execution just doesn't do it justice? She is everyone.
2. The Assistant - We all could use an assistant like this to suggest we go for a walk when things get extremely frustrating or to chase away any distractions while we're working. Adorable.
3. GRIT- I love the author's message in this story which basically boils down to the old, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." The MC proves that no attempt is wasted and sometimes we just need a little distance to find the perfect solution.
4. The Illustrations- I love the black and white cityscape background set against the colorful elements in the foreground. And Spires nails the facial expressions of focus, frustration, friggin' fed-up, and failure.
5. The Dedication- "For all the little perfectionists of the world"
Parents: If things usually come easy for your child but something has come up that isn't so simple, this book has the perfect message. Also, a great read for kids that love to tinker/build or create original works of art.
Teachers: This book really is perfect for the beginning of the year. It sets up a discussion about hard work, failure, and perseverance leading to success!
Writers: How to incorporate a sidekick-type secondary character; great dramatic build; great at letting the pictures help tell the story.
1. Page 1- You had me at "Where are the girls?" Such a kid-like response that sets the stage for the entire story.
2. Grace- The perseverance this little girl has is remarkable. She has spunk. She has grit. She never gives up, even when she finds out that she's running against the school spelling bee champion/blue ribbon at the science fair winner/soccer team captain in the school election.
3. Mrs. Barrington- Don't we all want our kids to have a teacher like her? One who embraces his/her students' passions like Mrs. Barrington did Grace's and makes learning memorable and meaningful.
4. Illustrations- Pham packs, and I mean packs the book with amazing illustrations- campaign posters, campaign rallies, the "constituents" - they are all fabulous!
5. Civics- I know not everyone is interested in the specifics of citizenship but it is an important responsibility. This book is full of interesting vocabulary and important facts about our electoral process... but I promise it is told through an extremely engaging plot that kids will enjoy!
Parents: No doubt your kids have seen the political chaos we are all surrounded with these days. This book may help answer questions they might have or just give them some information about what it's like to be a citizen.
Teachers: This is the perfect text to help fulfill those civics standards! Also, great book to use for teaching characterization.
Writers: Strong, unique main character; weaving non-fiction elements into a fictional story; great first page