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Lisa-Dai Keen Venker

November 2, 2009

Table of Content
Picture books
A Dog of My Own L. Mc Court

Ill. K. Krenina

Olivia-I Flaconer
Dogs Night-M. Hooper

Ill. A. Curless

Whos Afraid of the Dark-C. Bonsall

Dancing on the Sand-K.M. Hollenbeck

Ill. J. Popeo

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type-D. Cronin

Ill. B. Lewis

Traditional Literature
Rikki Tikki Tavi-R. Kipling

Ill. L. Davis

Fables-A. Lobel
Cinderella-C. Perrault & M. Brown
Rapunzel-P. Zelinsky
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses

A Whiff of Pine, A Hink of Skunk: A Forest of Poems- D. Ruddel Ill. J. Rankin
The Monsterologist: A Memoire in Rhyme-B. Katz

Ill. A. Mc Cully

Words, Wit, and Wonder: Writing your own poem-N. Lowen

Ill. C. Lyles

More Pocket Poems-B. Katz

Ills. D. Zemke

Realistic Fiction
Whats Happening to Grandpa?-M. Shriver

Ill. S. Speidel

Finding Lincoln-A. Malaspina

Ill. C. Bootman

Taking Sides-G. Soto

Next to Mexico-J. Nails
Andrew Wants A Dog-S. Kroll

Ill. M. Delaney

Stacy Had A Little Sister-W. Old

Ill. J. Friedman

Where Do People Go When They Die?-M. Portnoy Ill. S. Haas

Hurricane-J. London

Ill. H. Sorenson

Cliffords Halloween-N. Bridwell
Chester the Worldly Pig-B. Peet
Jumanji-C. Van Allsburg
Island of Time-R. A. Montgomery

Historical Fiction
A Song For Harlem-P. Mc Kissack
Two Bad Pilgrims-K. Lasky

Ill. G. James
Ill. J. Manders

Galileos Journal-J.K. Pettenati

Ill. P. Rui

Minty-A. Schroeder
Minn of the Mississippi-H.C. Holling
The Last Girls of Pompeii-K. Lasky
Abraham Lincoln-I & E Parin dAulaire
Snowflake-J. Martin Briggs

Ill. M. Azarian

Lincoln A Photo Biography
Hoaxed Fakest Takes in the World
Tara & Bella
Discovering Career For Your Future: Animals
Invincible Louisa-C. Meigs

A Dog of My Own
Mc Court, L. (1998). Chicken soup for little souls: A Dog of my own.
Illustrated by K. Krenina. Florida: Boingo Books, Inc.

Hardcover Picture Book Fiction

Award: none
32 pages Cost: $11.66
Possible themes: Adoption, animals, pet care, responsibility,
animal abuse, pet training, overcoming odds, love
e. Development Level: K/P (4-8)
f. Synopsis: Ben rescues a dog who is afraid of everything and
uses love and patience to earn his confidence and bring out his
good qualities. (from book)
g. Literary Qualities
From School Library Journal (
K-Gr 3--Ben's fervent dream of owning a dog is about to be realized. On the way to pick
up his new collie pup, however, he and his friend Kelly encounter their neighbor,
jarringly referred to as "Old Man Ackerman," who is trying to coax a scrawny stray out
of the bushes so he can take him to the pound. Ben kindly decides to adopt the dog,
whose name tag reads "Duke," and forgo the coveted puppy. Duke is fearful and
suspicious for weeks but the boy continues to love him. Finally, the dog warms up to him.
The prose is awkward and occasionally ungrammatical. The human characters remain
wooden in both words and illustrations although Duke does have a certain woebegone
charm. The stylized paintings have a flat look and sometimes strange proportions. On one
page, Kelly's mother appears to be smaller than her daughter. This tale has too much
message and too little liveliness. There are many better choices--picture books that are
full of life and doggy personality such as Rosemary Wells's McDuff Moves In (Hyperion,
1997), Gene Zion's Harry the Dirty Dog (HarperCollins, 1956), Margaret Rey's Pretzel
(Houghton, 1997), and Cynthia Rylant's Henry and Mudge (S & S, 1990). Sue Norris,
Rye Free Reading Room, NYCopyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
This heartwarming story was beautifully illustrated by Katya Krenina, whose stylized,
contemporary illustrations have been lavishly praised by reviewers and heralded as
'stunning' by the New York Times Book Review. Publishers Weekly has compared her
style to that of Chagall, for its intuitive, dreamlike quality.
h. Personal Response-A wonderful book about the possibilities of adopting a dog. Its even
better because the family adopts a highly needed dog and show how working with an
animal can result in a unique bond. Its a great book at dogs with special needs.


Falconer, I. (2000). Olivia. New York, NY: Antheneum Books for Young Readers.

Genre-Childrens Picture Book

Award- Caldecott Honor Book
40 pages, Cost $12.95 (
Possible Themes: Family, Daily Routines, Personal Abilities, Responsibility, Reading
Development Level: K/P (4-8)
Synopsis: Whether at home getting ready for the day, enjoying the beach or at bedtime,
Olivia is a feisty pig who has too much energy for her own good. (from book)
g. Literary Qualities:
From Publishers Weekly at
Come one, come all for this extraordinary debut for both Falconer and his unforgettable
porcine heroine. The author/artist begins this day-in-the-life tale with a kind of behindthe-scenes peek at Olivia. Articles from her wardrobe are strewn across the endpapers-red
tights, red sunglasses, a red T-shirt and red tank top-until the title page reveals her
selection: a red sailor dress with black-and-white striped tights. "This is Olivia./ She is
good at lots of things," the narrator begins, like an emcee introducing the star of the show.
The genius of the volume is its economy: the brief text brilliantly plays off the artwork,
rendered only in shades of red and black with an occasional background setting; a
deceptively simple design unifies each spread. For one such spread, demonstrating "She
is very good at wearing people out," Falconer shows Olivia engaged in a variety of
activities in 13 black-and-white vignettes, using red sparingly-for a hammer handle, a yoyo, a ball, a mixing bowl spatula and a jump rope-as she progresses from energetic to
spent. Against a completely white background, these vignettes seem to bob on invisible
undulating waves, with the intermittent splashes of red creating a sense of movement and
urgency-until Olivia's collapse at the lower right-hand corner of the spread beneath a
single line of text ("She even wears herself out"). The few full scenes amplify the
deadpan humor: a beach setting allows for the full impact of Olivia's spectacular
sandcastle model of the Empire State Building; a full-bleed black-and-white image of a
tutu- and tiara-clad Olivia bowing to unseen fans answers the narrator's question "What
could she be thinking?" as she stares at her favorite painting, featuring Degas's ballerinas,
in a museum. Whether in full scenes or vignettes, Falconer keeps the focus on his
inimitable protagonist. He clearly understands his audience: a standout spread shows
Olivia getting dressed in her red-only wardrobe ("She has to try on everything") in 17
separate fashion poses. Falconer's choice to suggest Olivia with a minimum of details and
a masterful black line allows readers to really identify with her-no doubt, they will.
There's a little bit of Olivia in everyone. Ages 3-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Reed Business
Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal, Harford County Public Library
PreS-Gr 3-From the articles of clothing strewn across the front endpapers of this droll
account of Olivia's escapades, readers may surmise that this porcine heroine is no
ordinary youngster. Olivia is constantly on the move, dreaming big dreams and meeting
every challenge head-on. She doesn't just get dressed, she tries on every outfit in the
closet. She doesn't just dance, she envisions herself as a prima ballerina bowing before an
adoring audience. When her mother teaches her to build sand castles, Olivia creates a

towering structure that closely resembles the Chrysler Building in New York City. When
she views a Jackson Pollack painting in the museum, she immediately concludes that she
can do better and proceeds to try her hand at painting a wall at home. Her efforts earn her
time out and a bath. The text is brief, funny, and sometimes ironic in relation to the highly
amusing illustrations. The only touches of color in the pictures, executed in charcoal and
gouache, are the bright reds of the clothing or objects used by Olivia. There are often
many renderings of the young pig on each large white background, effectively
demonstrating her boundless energy. Even at day's end, she is still going strong,
negotiating the number of books to be read at bedtime. For a lively storyhour featuring
feisty females, pair this with Kevin Henkes's stories about Lilly.-Marianne Saccardi,
Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Informa
h. Personal Response-A fun book about the daily life of a child. Fun to read and remember
how different and imaginative children be.

Dogs Night

Hooper, M. (2000). Dogs Night. Illustrated by A. Curless. Connecticut: The Millbrook Press

Genre-Childrens Picture Book

Award: none
36 pages, Cost $7.95 (
Possible themes: Museum, Art, Dogs, Paintings, Imagination
Development Level: K/P (4-8)
Synopsis: on their annual Dogs Night, all the dogs depicted in an art
gallery leave their paintings to play, but four of them create a sensation by going back
into the wrong paintings. (from books summary)
g. Literary Qualities:
From School Library Journal at
Kindergarten-Grade 2-These are not ordinary pets but dogs that actually live in paintings
in an art museum. Once a year, they secretly celebrate "Dogs' Night" and run wild. This
year an evening reception at the museum delays their party but compensates by providing
leftover food and bubbly for the canines to enjoy. When the clock strikes midnight, four
of the tired, giddy animals mistakenly return to the wrong paintings. Only the dogs know
the real story, but they have to wait another year to set things right. Happily, their
mischief makes the museum famous. The action is fast moving and children will become
quickly involved in the humor of the story and the antics of the pups. The illustrations are
as comical and whimsical as the tale itself. An addendum identifies the four featured
paintings from the National Gallery in London. After reading this lighthearted fantasy,
young readers will never again be intimidated by a visit to the museum.
Patricia Mahoney Brown, Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, Kenmore, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding
Children's Literature
If you've ever wondered about what goes on in an art museum at night, you may find
your answer here. Meredith Hooper lets us in on a secret ritual that happens once a year:
all of the dogs in the paintings come to life for an evening of rolling, chasing, skidding,
and exploring. A little too much fun results in four dogs returning to the wrong paintings
and having to stay that way for the whole year (until the next Dogs' Night). The mystery
of the mixed-up dogs attracts enormous crowds to the museum. Then, as suddenly as it all
began, the paintings are back to normal--only the dogs know what really happened.
Children are introduced to some of the art in the National Gallery in London, then
challenged to look for dogs in the art on their next visit to their own museums. A fun
follow-up will be to share Nina Laden's The Night I Followed the Dog (1994), another
tale of dogs out for a night on the town. 2000, Millbrook Press, Ages 6 to 12, $21.90.
Reviewer: Carol Lynch
h. Personal Response-A unique book that mixes art with the family pet, a dog. I enjoyed
including something that children might find dull but adding a twist. Children might
therefore, be more willing to visit an art museum to look for specific items of interest.

Galileos Journal 1609-1610

Pettenati, J.K. (2006). Galileos journal 1609-1610. Illustrated by P. Rui. Massachusetts:

Genre-Childrens Picture Book

Award: none
32 pages, $6.95 (
Possible themes: History, Inventors, Space, Jupiter, Telescopes, Italy, Journals
Development Level: I (9-12)
Synopsis: The fictional journal is from the year in which Galileo constructed
his own telescope and began to record his astronomical discoveries. (from book)
Literary Qualities: This book, combines attractive illustrations and lively text to
provide an introductory glimpse into the life of Galileo, imagining what he might have
written in his journal. It focuses on the scientists improvement of the telescope and his
subsequent realization that planets other than the Earth also have moons and rotate around
the sun rather than the Earth. While the story joins fabricated thoughts and dialogue with
actual science and biography, Pettenati does a good job, both in the text and in an authors
note about the scientists life, of clearly pointing out the difference between her creation and
historical data. (From School Library Journal) Booklist descirbes the illustrations as being,
accomplished paintings sometimes seem over-the-top in their jovial scenes of Galileo and
his fictional dog (both shown grinning or smiling in nearly every illustration), this unusual
picture book is a valuable addition to library collections because of its depiction of the
scientist at work.
g. Personal Response-A nice twist to historical fiction. With so much of Galileos life being
reevaluated its nice to see a book that brings history to life for students. I like the use of
a scientist to encourage students to create and dream big.

Dancing On The Sand

Hollenbeck, K.M. (1999). Dancing on the sand. Illustrated by J. Popeo. Connecticut: Trudy

Genre-Childrens Picture Book

Award: None
32 pages, $9.95 (
Possible themes: Blue Crabs, Crabs, Chesapeake Bay, Life Cycle
Development Level: K/P (4-8)
Synopsis: Blue Crab scuttles through the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay to find a
mate, to molt, and to avoid predators while waiting for her eggs to hatch. (from book)
g. Literary Qualities: Did not find any reviews from multiple searches. I did find the one
below from Barnes and Nobel reviews and awards.
Expressive Pictures --Scholastic Early Childhood Today
Realistic --Benjamin Franklin Awards
Wonderful --Clark County School District
h. Personal Response-I loved the illustrations in this book. I was also delighted to find out
that it is a real-life story based on the life cycle of the blue crab. I could see using this
book for science in my current teaching position.

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type

Cronin, D. (2000). Click, clack, moo cows that type. Illustrated by B. Lewin. New York:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.


Genre-Childrens Picture Book

Award: Caldecott Honor Book
32 pages, $17.77 (from Library Binding)
Possible themes: Cows, Domestic Animals, Typewriters, Farms, Animal
Care, Compromise,
Development Level K/P (3-7)
Synopsis: When Farmer Browns cows find a typewriter in the barn they start making
demands, and go on strike when the farmer refuses to give them what they want. (from
Literary Qualities:
From Publishers Weekly at Plucky barnyard denizens unite to improve
their working conditions in this hilarious debut picture book from Cronin (appropriately
enough, an attorney). Farmer Brown is dumbfounded when his cows discover an old
typewriter in the barn and begin experimenting ("All day long he hears click, clack, moo.
Click, clack, moo. Clickety clack moo"). Things really get out of hand when the cows
began airing their grievances. Lewin (Araminta's Paint Box) conveys the fellow's shock
as he reads: "Dear Farmer Brown, The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric
blankets. Sincerely, The Cows." When Farmer Brown denies the cows' request, the
bovine organizers go on strike. Through the use of the man's shadow, Lewin
communicates his rage: the straw in his hat creates the appearance of his hair on end.
With help from a neutral duck mediator, the exasperated Farmer Brown finally makes
concessions. But, much to his dismay, the cows are not the only creatures that can type.
Cronin humorously turns the tables on conventional barnyard dynamics; Lewin's bold,
loose-lined watercolors set a light and easygoing mood that matches Farmer Brown's
very funny predicament. Kids and underdogs everywhere will cheer for the clever critters
that calmly and politely stand up for their rights, while their human caretaker becomes
more and more unglued. Ages 3-7. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information,
Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Childrens Literature at
Children's Literature
"Cows that type? Impossible!" That's what Farmer Brown thinks when he first hears the
"click, clack" from the barn, but then he reads the note the cows write him. All they want
is electric blankets for the cold barn. When he refuses, they go on strike. What's worse for
the farmer is that the strike spreads to the cold hens as well. Duck finally negotiates a
compromise. Unfortunately for Farmer Brown, the ducks have learned from all this,
leaving us with a smile at the ending. This broadly humorous nonsense finds an
appropriately bold, almost slapdash visual counterpart in Lewin's illustrations. Thick,
brushed black lines define the characters and farm environment, while washes of color
help emphasize gestures and evoke emotions, as when the red door symbolizes the
farmer's rage. Great slapstick also suggests thoughts on animal rights.
Personal Response- A very odd book about animal rights, if only animals could type. A
fun book about make believe, but something that could lead to a discussion about animal
care and use of animals as a food source.

Rikki Tikki Tavi

Kipling, R. (1992). Rikki tikki tavi. Illustrated L. Davis. Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company.


Genre-Childrens Traditional Literature

Award: none
44 pages, $4.85 (private sellers on
Possible themes: Mongooses, Cobra, India, Families, Family Pets,
e. Development Level: K/P (4-8)
f. Synopsis: A courageous mongoose thwarts the evil plans of Nag and
Nagaina, two black cobras who live in the garden. (from book)
g. Literary Qualities:
From School Library Journal at Grade 2-4-- One of the most beloved of
Kipling's tales, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi tells how a young mongoose outwits the deadly snakes
that menace his new family. The epic narrative style accords near-heroic status to Rikki,
and he is anthropomorphized enough to be lovable without falling prey to Disneyish
cuteness. The humans see him as loyal, clever, fearless, and persistent; but readers will
understand that his exploits result from his instincts and nature (and luck) as much as
from his ``character.'' Davis's acrylic paintings, on every facing page, depict a suitable
1890s Indian bungalow setting. But the palette is heavy on boring tan, lime, and puce,
and the perspective is sometimes awkward; Rikki seems to change size from page to
page; and the stiff poses and smooth forms of humans and animals make them look more
stuffed than alive. Sadly, this is a so-so edition of a ``Just So'' story. --Patricia Dooley,
University of Washington, Seattle
From Publishers Weekly at
Pinkney (The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories) applies his considerable talents to the
smooth retelling and lush illustration of one of Kipling's best-loved animal tales. An
English family living in India can hardly foresee their good fortune when a scragglylooking mongoose literally washes up on their doorstep. But Rikki-tikki-tavi (so named
for the clucking sounds he makes) becomes champion protector of garden and household
as he courageously defends his new human friends from the dangerous snakes living on
the grounds. Kipling's exotic animal world comes to life in the voices of Rikki-tikki and
other talkative creatures, and Pinkney carefully structures his descriptive passages to
present well-rounded animal characters. The hissing, threat-filled dialogue of wicked
cobras Nag and Nagaina and Darzee the bird's excited calls of warning perfectly express
their respective personalities. Even pacing allows the excitement to build gradually and
rewards readers with several adrenaline-rush payoffs within the story. Full-bodied
watercolors showcase visually thrilling confrontations between Rikki-tikki and his
slithering enemies, while portraits of Rikki-tikki snuggling with the family are warm
without being sappy. A captivating work. All ages. (Sept.)
h. Personal Response- A classic that I remember reading as a child brought to life by unique
illustrations that soften even the snakes in this story. A wonderful tale that reminds you
of the importance that animals have in the life of families. I love that I could possibly
relate this to Meerkat Manor.
London, J. (1998). Hurricane. Illustrated by H. Sorensen. New York: Harper Collins Childrens


Genre-Childrens Realistic Fiction

32 pages, $14.03 (
Possible themes: hurricanes, Puerto Rico, Weather Preparedness, Military
Life, Family
e. Development Level: K/P (4-8)
f. Synopsis: a young boy describes the experiences of his family when a hurricane hits
their home on the island of Puerto Rico. (from book)
g. Literary Qualities:
From School Library Journal at
PreSchool-Grade 3-The power, danger, and excitement of a hurricane are brought to life
in this picture book set in Puerto Rico. A young boy tells the story, which begins as he
and his brother go snorkeling in a calm sea on a sunny day. Suddenly they notice that the
sky and air have changed dramatically. They race home, and the family packs up and
heads for a shelter as the winds pick up, "pushing the waves into mountains" and
thrashing the palm trees "in a wild dance." In the morning as the wind dies down, the
family returns home and starts cleaning up the debris. The beautiful oil paintings convey
every nuance of the weather system as well as the human emotions evoked by the
experience. On the final page, the boys return to the calm sunny beach. The last sentence
is a bit of a letdown after all the excitement-"The sparkle of sun on the water was brighter
than ever"-and the beach looks amazingly free of debris for the day after a hurricane.
Quibbles aside, the story beautifully evokes its mood and has a seamless blend of text and
pictures. Pair it with David Wiesner's Hurricane (Clarion, 1990), which also depicts two
brothers weathering a storm from a slightly different perspective, or with nonfiction such
as Franklyn Branley's Hurricane Watch (HarperCollins, 1985). Sue Norris, Rye Free
Reading Room, NY Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Publishers Weekly at Harford County Public Library online catalog.
A boy and his family witness an awe-inspiring storm in this exhilarating picture book
account. The narrator and his brother begin the day like any other as they scramble down
the cliff near their Puerto Rico home and go snorkeling. As they explore the coral reef,
the boys don't know the weather has taken a turn for the worse. Once up for air, they see
an ominous purple sky and quickly head for home. The family hastily grabs some
belongings and gathers the dog, then drives through the wind and water to a nearby
shelter. There they crowd together with neighbors and gently sing verses of "Silent
Night" as the hurricane roars and crashes, threatening to collapse the building. The storm
eventually passes and, happily, leaves little destruction in its wake. Based on London's
(The Candystore Man, reviewed above) recollection of a childhood experience, this
suspenseful tale has a "you are there" immediacy. Poetic descriptions of hammering
winds, crashing waves and lightning which "scribbled on the dark clouds" eloquently
capture the beauty and violence of severe weather. Sorensen's (I Love You as Much)
slightly hazy oil paintings move suddenly from sunny island blues and greens to
chillingly dark grays. Several changes of scenery demonstrate the artist's skill at depicting
varying types of light and shadow, from soft morning sun to dim kerosene lamplight. The

current popularity of weather topics-El Nino and natural disasters, especially-also makes
this a timely volume. Ages 5-up. (Aug.)
h. Personal Response-A great book that looks at emergency preparedness and real life
events that affect those involved in hurricanes. A book I would read to children in the
event of a real hurricane so that they see the concern but positive outcome.

Whos Afraid of the Dark

Bonsall, Crosby. (1985). Whos afraid of the dark. New York: HarperCollins
Publishers, Inc.

Fictional Picture Book I Can Read Book

Award - none
32 pages, Cost $3.99 (
Afraid of the dark, Dogs, Pets, Overcoming Fears
K-P (4-8)
A small boy projects his fear of the dark onto his dog. From book.
Literary Qualities Only info found was about author.
About the Author
Crosby Bonsalls many beloved I Can Read Books include The Day I Had to Play with
My Sister; And I Mean It, Stanley; The Case of the Hungry Stranger; and the My First I
Can Read Book Mines the Best.
In 1957, Harper published its first I Can Read title, Little Bear, written by Else
Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Large type, simple vocabulary,
chapter-like divisions, and decorative pictures made Little Bear perfect for emerging
readersthey could read the story comfortably and not feel overwhelmed by the text.
Following suit came such classics as Peggy Parish's Amelia Bedelia series, Lillian
Hoban's books about Arthur the monkey, and Syd Hoff's popular Danny and the
Dinosaur. Many books in this series are special in the depth of emotion evoked - Little
Bear, the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel, and Daniels Duck by Clyde Bulla, to
name a few - and all are enjoyed by children of all ages. Grade 1 - Grade 3.
h. Personal Response-A fun book for beginning readers and those children who are afraid of
the dark. Helps to bring light on a common fear of most children. Could be used as a
discussion with students as to how to over come fears.

Cliffords Halloween
Bridwell, N. (1986) Cliffords halloween. New York: Scholastic Inc.


Genre-Childrens Fantasy Fiction

32 pages, cost $ 3.99 (
Halloween, Dog, Holiday,
Developmental Level: K-P (4-8)
Synopsis - Clifford is the hit of the Halloween party when he arrives dressed as an
enormous ghost! From Harford Country Public Library
g. Literary Qualities Theres no denying that kids love Clifford. The Big Red Dog has
been a favorite since Norman Bridwell created him over 40 years ago. This book is part
of a series which explores the life of Clifford an oversized red dog. The author has used
his family and personal experience to create, a little girl with a big red dog. That
seemed like a funny idea, so I made up a story about them. I increased the dogs size from
as big as a horse to as big as a house. My wife named the dog Clifford, and we named the
little girl Emily Elizabeth after our daughter. (from Because of the
establishment of Clifford this series, Clifford remains a perennial favorite among
young readers. (From Clifford fits in this genre because,
Fantasy literature has unexplainable magic, and it is this element that captures the minds
and hearts of children. (From Childrens Books in Childrens Hands)
h. Personal Response I love Clifford books as a child and was happy to find this one. This
book is a great basic/beginning reader book and part of a series. I can see how the love of
a specific character might get a child reading. There is also the availability of the
Clifford television series which can also help students follow along with written

Chester the Worldly Pig

Peet, B. (1980). Chester the worldly pig. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.


Genre-Childrens Fantasy Fiction

Award- Author named a 1989 Caldecott Honor Book.
48 pages, Cost $11.56 (from
Pigs, Circus, Feeling special/unique, Running away,
Development Level K-P (4-8)
Synopsis - Chester longs to be a performer in the circus, but the road to
stardom is rocky until someone discovers Chester's true "worldliness."
g. Literary Qualities The author is an illustrator of childrens books and in his work as
sketch artist and continuity illustrator at Walt Disney, Bill Peet created a menagerie of
memorable characters. As he himself noted, "I write about animals because I love to draw
them. Most of my animal characters have human personalities, and some are much like
the people I know." (from His use of , signature style enabled him to
create fast-paced stories of fantastical adventure delivered with warmth and laugh-outloud hilarity. His unfailing humor did not, however, prevent him from addressing such
poignant issues as kindness toward others and respect for the environment. Through the
exploits of his characters, Peet offered his audience a chance to see themselves and their
world through new eyes. (From
h. Personal Response This was a fun book to read. I enjoyed that Chester had to learn to
struggle but eventually found his place in the circus. Chester struggles to find his skill,
but through practice does. I like the idea that through practice, dreams could come true.
I like the story and find it to be entertaining and cute.

Van Allsburg, C. (1981). Jumanji. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.


Genre Childrens Fantasy Fiction

Award The Caldecott Medal
32 pages, Cost $ 12.89 (
Games, Wild Animals, Responsibility,
Development Level K/P (5-8 )
Synopsis Left on their own for an afternoon, two bored and restless
children find more excitement that they bargained for in a
mysterious and mystical jungle adventure board game. (from book)
g. Literary Qualities The author drawing are described as, is a master at walking the
line between fantasy and reality. His unusually sculptured drawings (familiar to the many
devoted fans of the Caldecott-winning The Polar Express and The Garden of Abdul
Gasazi) convey the magical transition of a normal house to an exotic jungle. (From Van Allsburgs drawing are used to, add mystery and intrigue to the tale
of two children who enter a jungle adventure board game. Energized and perilous, the
book is a journey into the remarkable imagination of Van Allsburg. Like the Robin
Williams movie based on this book, the story is a masterpiece of fantasy. (from
h. Personal Response- I have always loved this story and the illustrations were beautiful. I
like the imagination the story brings with just playing a fun game. I also like the ability
to predict what would happen next at the end. I worry that students imagination is lost in
todays society and this book allows for what ifs?

The Monsterologist: A Memoire in Rhyme

Katz, B. The monsterologist: a memoire in rhyme. Illustrated by A. Mc Cully. New York:

Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.


Genre Childrens Poetry

Award - none
50 pages, Cost $ 12.21 (
Poetry, Monsters, Ghosts
Development Level I - 9-12
Synopsis From Harford County Public Library.
Open this memoir; if you dare! For inside this rare collection of letters, notes, and
interviews lie the choicest fruits of the monsterologists bone-chilling research. In
engaging rhyme, the monster master tells all about Count Dracula (When you visit
Transylvania, be sure to stay with me); issues a werewolf warning; and dishes on trolls,
ghosts, witches, ogres, and myriad mythological and literary creatures! Designed to look
like a treasured scrapbook, every page features an eye-catching mix of drawings, photos,
and handwritten text. Plus, kids will love the die-cut, gatefolds, and other cool surprises
g. Literary Qualities
About the Author
Bobbi Katz is the author of numerous childrens books, including We the People: Poems
(Greenwillow, 2000), Once around the Sun (Harcourt Childrens Books, 2006), and many
Adam McCauley has illustrated many books, including Wayside School Is Falling Down
by Louis Sachar (HarperTrophy, 1990), Mom and Dad are Palindromes by Mark
Shulman (Chronicle Books, 2004), Oh No, Not Ghosts! by Richard Michelson (Harcourt
Childrens Books, 2006), and Jon Scieszkas Time Warp Trio series (Viking Juvenile).
h. Personal Response- I thought the crafting of this book was superb. It is unique with
interesting layouts of the poems. I enjoy monsters/scary stories and these were fun to
read and possibly share with children. I could see using this as a Halloween activity to
incorporate poetry.

Words, Wit, and Wonder: Writing your own poem

Lowen, N. (2009) Words, wit, and wonder: writing your own poem. Illustrated by C. Lyles.
Minnesota: Picture window Books.


Genre Non-fiction Childrens Poetry

Award - none
32 pages, Cost $18.71 (
Poetry, Language, Writing, Author, Literature
Development Level I (9-12) ( P/I (7-9)
f. Synopsis From Harford County Library
Ready to build a poem? First, you will need the right tools. Open this title in the Writers
Toolbox series and discover plenty of tips and tools to get you started. Soon youll be
writing rhythms and rhymes like a pro.
g. Literary Qualities
This book offers readers and opportunity to write using, skillful, concise explanations
of the basic components of poetry and such forms as acrostic, concrete, and haiku are
further illuminated using examples of works by authors such as Edward Lear, Elizabeth
Madox Roberts, and Laura Purdie Salas. The end of the book offers a wide variety of
activities to help students obtain poetic forms, these include a handy review section,
writing activities, writers tips, a short bibliography, an index, a link to related Internet
sources, and a glossary that unfortunately lacks pronunciations, which would have been
especially helpful for such classic stumpers as cinquain, haiku, and onomatopoeia.
Quotes taken from Kristen McKulski Booklist review from
From School Library Journal found at Harford County Public Library online catalogue.
The author of this review writes that writers will find, descriptions of the use of
rhythm, rhyme, and metaphors The author of this review did not seem to like the,
mixed-media illustrations are reasonably attractive but not outstanding. The illustrator
seems to struggle a bit with proper body proportions, but this is a minor quibble in
otherwise attractive and useful books. This review was from Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche
Smith School, Hillsdale, California.
h. Personal Response- I really liked how this book took small steps and built skills to help
children to write. It incorporates poetic vocabulary and use in a fun and visually exciting
way. I think it is a great way to encourage children to write poetry.

More Pocket Poems

Katz, B. (2009) More pocket poems. Illustrated by D. Zemke. New York: Duttons Childrens


Genre Fictional Poetry

Award None
32 pages, Cost $14.03 (
Poems, Holidays, Animals, Childrens Poetry
Development Level K/P (4-8) (, (6-8)
f. Synopsis From
Here is a fresh new collection of "pocket-size" poetry. This lively anthology is packed
with kid-friendly poems, all eight lines or less, and features irresistibly playful artwork.
Join the fun with such favorite poets as Eve Merriam, Jack Prelutsky, Langston Hughes,
and Ogden Nash. Perfect to celebrate Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day.
g. Literary Qualities
A review from and School Library Journal enjoyed this book as they
thought, there is an air of excitement and sense of anticipation as each new season
dawns, holding the promise of fresh pleasures. The layout was also found to be
pleasurable saying, it used, playful watercolor illustrations capture the joyous spirit of
the poems, most of which have catchy rhymes. This was written by Sally R. Dow,
Ossining Public Library, NY.
From and Kirkus Reviews the following additional positive
reviewer found this book to, offers nearly 50 more short verses and excerpts paired to
bright cartoon scenes of, mostly, children at play in various settings. They also noted
that there are, plenty of good choices here for memorizing, for reading aloud or just . .
. reading.
h. Personal Response-This book was a wonderful grouping of poems from a variety of
authors. I think some of them would be fun to share to motivate students to write or to
just share depending on class topic.

A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk: A Forest of Poems

Ruddel, D. (2009). A whiff of pine, a hint of skunk: a forest of poems. Illustrated by J. Rankin.
New York: Simon & Schuster Childrens Publishing Division.


Genre-Fictional Poetry
40 pages, Cost $13.25 (
Poetry, Wildlife, Animals, Writing,
Development Level-K/P (4-8)
Synopsis- From
Take a lighthearted romp through four seasons in the forest
with these whimsical poems. Marvel at the overachieving
beaver, applaud the race-winning snail and its perfect trail of
slime, or head off to be pampered at a squirrel spa. Warning:
Deborah Ruddell's quirky cast of animal characters and Joan
Rankin's deliciously daffy pictures will cause giggles. The woods have never been so
much fun!
g. Literary Qualities
The first review came from Booklist at They seemed to enjoy the wider
use of poems through the including of zoological facts. They noted that, children may
need help putting a few lines into scientific context, as in a poem about an opossum who
dreams about kangaroos, the cousins she has never known. but enjoyed the use of the
poem to help explain this specific animal. The illustrations were also of note, Rankins
ink-and-watercolor illustrations feature evocative, wooded landscapes throughout the
seasons and expressive, memorable characters, including a lovesick badger, a preening
raccoon, and a frog who suffers indigestion after a too-salty slug. This was written by
Gillian Engberg who thought that this book offered a, a good choice for crosscurricular sharing.
From a note was made by *Bulletin. The happy result is a lively
and inviting collection that invites both examination of poetry and examination of habitat;
the vivacious verses are suitable for reading aloud or alone, inside or outside.
h. Personal Response-This is a fun compilation of poems for an environmentally friendly
science teacher. I could find use for these poems in the environmental unit that I teach in
the spring. I like the imagination of the author and thought that this could be a way to
infuse poetry in a lesson as a product. I was really caught by the title and the

A Song For Harlem

Mc Kissack, P. (2007). A song for Harlem. Illustrated by G. James.
New York: Penguin Group.


Genre-Childrens Realistic/Historical Fiction

112 pages, Cost $11.69
Possible themes/ Topics related to the text set/curriculum connection
Development Level 9-12
Synopsis: Harlem in its heydaythe 1920sis the backdrop for the next Scraps of Time
story. For Lilly Belle, "the capital of Black America" is about as far from her hometown
of Smyrna, Tennessee, as a twelve-year-old can getmaybe not in miles but certainly in
mind set. A summer program for gifted young writers opens a new world. Jazz music in
the street lulls her to sleep, her classroom is in a mansion called "the Dark Tower," and
the author Zora Neale Hurston is her teacher, helping Lilly Belle come to a deeper
understanding of the power of words, especially her own. Once again Patricia C.
McKissack builds an involving story around real events and famous figures.
g. Literary Qualities-Booklist writes about the author, McKissack writes with empathy for
the characters as well as a good eye for details that bring the period to life. Especially
appropriate for aspiring writers, the themes of finding your voice and telling the truth
resonate throughout this appealing chapter book. (from Carolyn Phelan). In addition
School Library Journal writes that the layout of this chapter book has, drawings are
scattered throughout. This easy-to-read novel has succinct chapters and sentences that,
while simple, convey a feel for the characters and the time, and a vivid sense of place.
h. Personal ResponseI think this book would give a great feel for the era and for the
struggle of young black children in a pre-civil rights era. The author also speaks
specifically about plagiarism and how young people often dont see how copying others
writing is wrong as Alice cries and Lilly Belle states, Cry all you want, and said.
Youre still a word thief. I also liked the chronological list of events that had occurred
in Harlem in the 1920s.

Whats Happening To Grandpa?

Shriver, M. ( 2004). Whats happening to grandpa? Illustrated by S.
Speidel. New York: Little, Brown, and Company and Warner Books.


Genre-Childrens Realistic Fiction

48 pages, Cost $10.87 (from
Possible themes: Death, Elderly, Taking care of family members, Extended Family
Development Level: 4-8
Synopsis-From Kate has always adored her grandpa's storytelling but lately he's been repeating the same stories again and again. One day, he even forgets
Kate's name. Her mother's patient explanations open Kate's eyes to what so many of the
elderly must confront: Alzheimer's disease and other forms of memory loss. Determined
to support her grandfather, Kate explores ways to help him - and herself - cope by
creating a photo album of their times together, memories that will remain in their hearts
g. Literary QualitiesThis book,uses the narrative to model a potentially prickly
conversation between parent and child (as she did with What's Wrong with Timmy?) but
also conveys a challenging conversation in which Kate tells her friends of her
grandfather's condition (to explain why she wants to spend Sunday with him instead of
them). (from Publishers Weekly at Additionally the author shows
both sides of Alzheimers disease and explains how Kate chooses to, help her
grandfather as he goes through this difficult time. Together they sit down with a box of
photographs and his still-intact memories and create a scrapbook. This well-meaning
book is clearly and lovingly written. Kate is admittedly "wise beyond her age," which
serves the author well as the child becomes the voice of reason. Grandpa is known to talk
to God and is grateful for having been granted a good life despite his current adversity.
The book is squat and square, helping to establish intimacy.
h. Personal Response-This book is a touching look at how Alzheimer affects families. I like
that the family becomes more involved and continues to work with Grandpa while he
undergoes changes. I also enjoyed the idea that Grandpa was willing to fight for his
memories, its frustrating and confusing for me, but with the help and love I get from
all of you, I still find joy in each new day. I believe this would be a great book to share
with students who have multi-generations living with them and understanding changes in
elderly adults.

Finding Lincoln
Malaspina, A. (2009). Finding Lincoln. Illustrated by C. Bootman.
Illinois: Albert Whitman & Company.



Genre-Childrens Realistic/Historical Fiction

Award-Paintings from Coretta Scott King Honor artist Colin Bootman.
32 pages, Cost $12.23 from
Possible themes: Racism, Alabama, Librarians, Historical Information, Segregation,
Southern United States.
Development Level: (7-9), (4-8)
Synopsis-In segregated 1950s Alabama, Louis cannot use the public library to research a
class assignment, but one of the librarians lets him in after hours and helps him find the
book that he needs.
Literary QualitiesThis book eloquently displays the struggles, struggle of AfricanAmerican activists for equal access to information. in 1951. the illustrations,
accompany the text, creating a compelling look at an important piece of history. Some
brief facts on Lincoln and the slavery issue, a suggested list of further reading, and a note
on the history behind the book's subject are appended. (from School Library Journal at In addition, the story shows a hero in, a courageous young librarian
whispers to him to come back tomorrow at five o'clock. How Louis gets his book, writes
his essay, and even looks forward to bringing Daddy a book about honeybees makes a
satisfying story and one that may be a revelation to young library patrons of today. (from
childrens literature at
Personal Response-the illustrations are in this book are wonderful and show a beautiful
representation using what appears to be watercolors. I didnt realize that books were not
able to be checked out by black students and just assumed that blacks had their own
libraries. I found the librarian a hero as, she could get in big trouble for helping him.
She might have to pay a fine or even lose her job. I think this book would display nicely
how tough it may have been for children prior to equal rights.

Taking Sides
Soto, G. (1991). Taking sides. Orlando: Harcourt Brace & Company.
a. Genre- Upper Level Childrens Realistic Fiction.
b. Award-none
c. 168 pages, Cost $5.95 from

d. Possible themes: Basketball, Friendship, Loyalty, Hispanic/White neighborhoods

e. Development Level (9-12)
f. Synopsis- Fourteen-year-old Lincoln Mendoza, an aspiring basketball player, must come
to terms with his divided loyalties when he moves from the Hispanic inner city to a white
suburban neighborhood. (
g. Literary Qualities-Gary Soto, masterfully conveys the Hispanic-American experience,
and readers will respect Lincoln's values and good sportsmanship. Ultimately, the boy
learns to adjust to a new situation and accept new challenges (from Publishers weekly
at School Library Journal from reports that this
novels, subject matter and its clear, straightforward prose, the book will be especially
good for reluctant readers. A glossary of Spanish words appears at the end of the book.
h. Personal Response-I think the topic and the struggle of Lincoln is a common theme
among children in any situation. Seeing the mean and nasty coach gets his when Lincoln
is happy for his former teams great game and congratulates them but coach yells to him
to come here and Roy puts coach in his place by reminding him, were secondstring. Dont you remember?...Dont mess with the boy. The easy read would and
should interest struggling readers and especially boys.

Next to Mexico
Nails, J. (2008). Next to Mexico. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
APA Style
a. Genre-Upper level childrens fiction
b. Award -none
c. 224 pages, Cost $ 12.48

d. Possible themes: Gifted & Talented students, Middle School, New Friends
e. Development Level (9-12)
f. Synopsis- When Lylice found out she was skipping fifth grade, she was excited. Then
nervous. Then excited again. Then terrified. On her first day of sixth grade everything
bad that could happen did. But when Senora Schwartz assigned her to be Mexico
Mendozas English Buddy, school got a little better. Then a lot better. Then not as better.
Then much, much worse.
This is the story of her first quarter at Susan B. Anthony Middle School. And its the story
of how to get away with something that grownups will first not like, then, after they think
about it, wont mind. And will actually think was a good idea. Oh, and its about doing
something so stupid because of a boy and worrying that your best friend will ever talk to
you again.
g. Literary Qualities - This book is credited to adding, Spanish words and phrases are
cleverly introduced and add authenticity to depictions of Spanish class, and to Mexico's
conversations with her aunt. The author is listed as adding, Her passionate,
enthusiastic voice and humor help to gather up the many subplots into a happy ending.
(from School Library Journal at Again in an additional review the author
uses great detail in the description of the characters. Lylice humorously narrates this
lively, thought-provoking story, becoming increasingly likeable and endearing. Mexico is
more passive and generally serves to personalize issues, such as illustrating health costs
by hospitalization after forgoing costly insulin or hesitantly assisting Lylice's increasingly
shrewd responses to problems. (From Voya at
h. Personal Response- this novel offers multiple layers of equality, friendship, and real
issues facing the diverse America we live in today. Although I think girls will appreciate
the portions of friendship most students would easily listen to possible issues in any
students life. Brighter, with little sparkling pieces of each other. This quote is how
friendships should be learning about differences and giving of each other. This is lesson I
think all students could learn from.

Lobel, A (1980). Fables.

Harper & Row, Publishers.

a. Genre-Traditional Childrens Fiction

b. Award-Winner, 1981 Caldecott Medal
Notable Children's Books of 1980 (ALA)
1981 Fanfare Honor List (The Horn Book)




Outstanding Children's Books of 1980 (NYT)

Children's Books of 1980 (Library of Congress)
48 pages, Cost $6.99 from
Possible themes: Fables, Childrens Stories, Animals, Fiction, Good Advice
Development Level: 4-8 from
Synopsis: pig flying through marshmallow clouds to a marzipan moon? A camel
pirouetting through the desert? A wolf who looks suspiciously like an apple tree-or is it
the other way around? A bear in a frying pan hat and paper bag boots?
Where can a reader -child or adult -find such marvelous things but in a fable? Arnold
Lobel, creator of Frog and Toad, has given own funny and true fables. Each accompanied
by an illustration of glowing color and rich detail.
Indeed, the reader of Arnold Loble's Fables will be rewarded-just like the mouse who
goes off to see the world-by many moments of happiness. (from
Literary Qualities-These stories are written by the author of Frog and Toad and are given
as, Many of life's hard lessons are brought forth, but they are softened with humor and
sometimes downright silliness. Additionally these, stories can be enjoyed on a basic
level by young readers and on a more sophisticated level by older ones. (From
Personal ResponseThese fables can be used in a variety ways as individual lessons or
as a combination of stories. I think some can be used in individual learning opportunities
when things happen in the classroom. I also enjoyed that all stories are written from an
animals perspective to show alliteration. My favorite fable lesson was, Even the taking
of small risks will add excitement to life I always remind students that you should
always take risks in learning and trying new things especially in science and would like
to share this tale with my current set of students.

Andrew Wants A Dog

Kroll, S. (1992). Andrew wants a dog. Illustrated by Delaney, M. New York:
Hyperion Books for Children.

Genre-Childrens Realistic Fiction

64 pages, Cost $2.95 from
Possible themes-Pet Care, Dogs, Responsibility, Magic/Make-believe

e. Development Level- 4-8 from

f. Synopsis- Andrew, almost eight, wants a dog more than anything . . . but his father won't
let him have one. When the boy sees a costume in Mr. Magic's store, he decides that the
next best thing to having a dog is being one. Once zipped into the costume, he makes a
very convincing golden retriever. . . from
g. Literary QualitiesSchool Library Journal from notes that the author,
Krolls, characterizations are deft; Andrew is interesting and appealing, and minor
figures are well drawn, too. The illustrator/Delaneys, black-and-white line drawings
complement the straightforward story nicely.
h. Personal Response-I enjoyed Andrews desire and promise to help properly raise a dog. I
think students could use this novel to look at how a dog might react in certain situations
and could be used in a lesson to help students act/or perceive from another point of view.
I found it hopeful that the father in the story was able to realize he could change his mind
with persuasive influence from his son, Son, theres a lot Ive had to change my mind
about today but at the top of the list- is of course the dog. This might be a great way to
introduce persuasive essay to a young group of children.

Abraham Lincoln
Parin dAulaire, I & E. ( 1939). Abraham Lincoln.
New York: Dell Publishing.

Genre Historical Fiction

Award-Caldecott Award
64 pages, Cost $13.95
Possible themes: Civil War, Bibliography,
President, Family,

e. Development Level-P/K(4-8)
f. Synopsis- From his humble beginnings in the Kentucky wilderness to the peak of his
career as President, this picture biography brings Lincoln to life for first-time readers.
g. Literary Qualities-The New York Times writes that this book is, well-rounded and
well-proportioned outline of Lincoln's an easy-running text unclouded by
sentimentality. Library Journal Review describes that children will, be stirred by the
sincerity of these pictures and text, each telling with noble simplicity and inevitable
pathos the story of Abraham Lincoln. Yet his story has natural humor and action. The
art will, appeal to children's imagination and satisfy their love of incident. Lincoln's
boyhood is portrayed with deep understanding of the life of a gangling boy in a
backwoods cabin. He grows taller by the page and his face shows the recognizable
features before he is grown.
h. Personal Response- I enjoyed the clean drawling with view colors. It flowed in a way
that most students would want to know more. Again, the ability to touch history could be
included in a trip to DC. Linking history to in class activities helps any reader and this
book puts things in a perspective that some students might enjoy.

The Last Girls of Pompeii

Lasky, K. (2007). The last girls of Pompeii. New York:

Genre-Historic Fiction, Chapter book

160 pages, Cost $11.99 from
Possible themes-Italy, Volcano, Womens Life,
Development Level- I(9-12)

f. Synopsis- In Pompeii, in the summer of A.D. 79, Julia and Mitka appear to lead opposite
lives. Julia is the daughter of a wealthy ship-builder; Mitka is an orphan. Julia bears the
Curse of Venusa withered arm; Mitka's beauty turns heads. Julia is free; Mitka is her
slave. Then Julia learns that her parents are planning to put her in the service of the
Temple of Damia, the center of a cultish new religion, and Mitka will be sold to an awful
man who plans to make her his concubine. But when Mt. Vesuvius erupts, Julia's and
Mitka's fates are forever altered, forcing them both to face the true meaning of freedom.
g. Literary Qualities- Booklist review finds that, ...Unfortunately, all her meticulously
researched detail gets in the way of this story. It is the looming volcanic disaster that will
hold readers, as well as the stirring fictional story of two young women. Kliatt writes
that the author, apparently has fulfilled a lifelong interest in that place of doom. She
has chosen to create a fictional family and focuses on two young girls At the end of
the novel are notes written to, tell how the author came to this historical period and
how she created her fictional family. She explains the role of religion in the lives of the
Romans of this period and clarifies the archeological history of the discovery of Pompeii.
A very successful approach, I think, and a good complement to any study of Roman
history for this age group.
h. Personal Response- This book would be great for children in older grades that are looking
for a story among history of an ancient town. Using a childs perspective could also be a
technique that an English teacher might be able to use in explaining this topic. I read
parts of this book and found it to be an easy read with history and life of the time infused.
A link to the real life Pompeii would help to make history real as well as infuse some
science in the setting.

Minn of the Mississippi

Holling, H.C. (1951). Minn of the Mississippi. New York: Houghton
Mifflin Company.
a. Genre-Historical Fiction
b. Award-Newberry Honor Book
c. 96 pages, Cost $ 11.95 from
d. Possible themes: Snapping Turtle, Mississippi River,
Minnesota, Ecology of the Mississippi, History of the United
States, Maps, States of the Mississippi.
e. Development Level-P/I(8-12)
f. Synopsis- The history of the Mississippi River Valley is told in
text and pictures through the adventures of Minn, a snapping
turtle, as she travels downstream.

g. Literary Qualities-The illustrations are credited with being, Outstanding book with
beautiful colored illustrations and marginal drawings similar to those in his previous
books. Wide interest level including adults." (From School Library Journal)
h. Personal Response-I loved the illustrations in this book they encouraged the science and
history behind the Mississippi. Showing how ecology and environment play a role in
history and the United States was encouraging. Even though this book is old the
information is current and could be used today. I think chapters would be best used
instead of reading the whole book as it is length. I also loved at the end that Minn, runnin forever to the sea

Schroeder, A (1996). Minty. New York: Dial Book for Young Readers.
a. Genre-Historical Fiction
b. Award-Winner of the 1997 Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration
An ALA Notable Book
An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists"
A Time Magazine Best Children's Book of the Year
Winner of the Christopher Award
An IRA/CBC Children's Choice
c. 40 pages, Cost $ 6.99 from
d. Possible themes: Slavery, Maryland, Civil War, Bibliography, Underground Railroad,
e. Development Level-K/P(4-8)

f. Synopsis- Young Harriet Tubman, whose childhood name was Minty, dreams of escaping
slavery on the Brodas plantation in the late 1820s.
g. Literary Qualities-This book is a bibliographic fiction story, With color and feeling he
humanizes a historic figure, coaxing readers to imagine or research the rest of the story.
Pinkney's (John Henry) full-bodied watercolors evoke a strong sense of time and place.
Laudably, Pinkney's scenes consistently depict young Minty's point of view, giving the
harshness of her reality more resonance for readers. Minty can be used as, A firm
stepping stone toward discussions of slavery and U.S. history.(from Publishers Weekly)
the illustrations, from Library Journal, are, are outstanding, even when compared to
his other fine work. His paintings, done in pencil, colored-pencils, and watercolor, use
light and shadow to great effect, and his depictions of Minty are particularly powerful and
expressive. This is a dramatic story that will hold listeners' interest and may lead them to
biographical material
h. Personal Response-I enjoy history and having visited many landmarks in Maryland found
the story of Harriet Tubman as both amazing and brave. Sharing this story would be a
great segway into civil war era history as in my 8th grade social studies curriculum. A
field trip to Harriet, Mintys slave owners farm may help to make a connection to
literature, history, and Marylands part. At the end was a moving quote and information
on Harriets future endeavors. There was one of two things I had a right to liberty or
death; if I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man should take me alive; I
should fight for my liberty as long as my strength lasted Harriet Tubman

Two Bad Pilgrims

Lasky, K. (2009). Two bad pilgrims. Illustrated by Manders, J. New
York: Penguin Group.

Genre-Childrens Realistic/Historical Fiction

40 pages, Cost $11.55 from
Possible themes American History, Pilgrims, Cartoons, Story
Telling, Thanksgiving
e. Development Level- (4-8)
f. Synopsis-Everybody knows about the Pilgrimspious, sober
voyagers who sought new lives in the New World. But two very
bad Pilgrims have been largely forgotten by history, and they're

ready to tell their story! Real-life boys Francis and Johnny Billington nearly blew up the
Mayflower, got kidnapped by Indians, and wreaked havoc wherever they went.
Award-winning author Kathryn Lasky and illustrator John Manders reveal the lives of
America's first troublemakersas well as tons of fascinating Pilgrim factswith kidfriendly humor and energetic comic bookstyle art in this irreverent book that is part
history, part parody, and all comedy.
g. Literary Qualities-The author, "Manages to deliver a substantial amount of
information...making this account easily one of the most enjoyably educational ones kids
will encounter this season." Kirkus (from The illustrators takes a
new art form in including, Cartoon graphic novelstyle panels depict the Pilgrims'
arrival, as Brewster provides scholarly background and the boys interject in speech
balloons, complaining about how boring the Mayflower was or objecting to the settlers'
taking a kettle full of corn from the natives (When we do it, they call it stealing. When
they do it, they call it 'A Special Providence of God.' ). The boys' comic hubris and the
snappy format enliven a familiar history lesson. (From Publishers Weekly at
h. Personal Response-I liked how this author uses graphic novel style to offer another view
at possible pilgrims lifestyle. The added information by the narrator gives lots of new
and informative information about the real history and back story. I think students would
enjoy this version of possible history from a students view.

Snowflake Bently
Briggs Martin, J. (1998). Snowflake Bently. Illustrated by Azarian, M.
Boston; Houghton Mifflin Company.
APA Style
a. Genre-Childrens realistic/historic/bibliographic fiction
b. Award-The Caldecott Medal
c. 32 Pages, cost $8.74 at
d. Possible themes: Snow, Vermont, Scientific Study, Historic
Figure, Snowflakes, Winter, Photography
e. Development Level: 5-8 at

f. Synopsis: From the time he was a small boy, Wilson Bentley thought of the icy crystals
as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others
the wonder of the tiny crystals.
Bentley's enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time,
but his patience and determination revealed two important truths about snowflakes: first,
that no two are alike and second, that each one is startlingly beautiful. His story,
gracefully told by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and brought to life in Mary Azarian's lovely
woodcuts, gives children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist's vision and
perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature.
g. Literary Qualities-From Publishers Weekly at, this book is a
picture-book biography beautifully captures the essence of the life and passion of Wilson
A. Bentley. . . . The story of this man's life is written with graceful simplicity. . . . An
inspiring selection. The authors writing is also noted as, lyrical language ("snow
was as beautiful as butterflies, or apple blossoms"), and punctuates her text with frequent
sidebars packed with intriguing tidbits of information (though readers may be confused
by the two that explain Bentley's solution of how to photograph the snowflakes) From
Childrens Literature the illustrations are noted, Azarian's hand-tinted woodcut
illustrations, the snowflake motif, and the wintry scenes and hues are a perfect match for
the story.
h. Personal Response-I loved this book because its about winter. As a scientist I have also
been engrossed in all things winter, including snowflakes. This would be a great book to
early scientific items like cameras but also a book for winter or snowstorms. One quote
from Mr. Bently is one that I also feel strongly for, "Of all the forms of water the tiny
six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied."
I think many students could and would enjoy this book on a snowy day.

Stacy Had A Little Sister

Old, W. (1995). Stacy had a little sister. Illustrated by J. Friedman.
Illinois: Albert Whitman & Company.

Genre-Childrens realistic fiction

32 pages, Cost $11.94 from
Possible themes-Death, SIDS, Sibling Rivialry, Loss, Families
Development Level- 5-8 from
Synopsis-From, Booklist Young Stacy has mixed emotions about the birth
of her new sister, Ashley. While Stacy misses the attention her parents formerly devoted

to her, she is anxious for Ashley to grow so they can play together. When the baby dies
unexpectedly, a victim of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), Stacy worries that
somehow she may be responsible or that SIDS may be contagious. Finally, her grieving
parents manage to assure her that she neither caused nor is in danger of contracting the
mysterious illness.
g. Literary Qualities-The authors, story does a competent job of anticipating the fears
and concerns of a young child and of providing comfort and reassurance. Particularly
well presented are the themes of jealousy upon the infant's arrival and feelings of guilt in
the aftermath of her death. (from School Library Journal at Additionally,
Old has done a commendable job of portraying the wide range of emotions encountered
by young families experiencing both the birth and death of a child. (from Booklist at The illustrator, Friedman's soft pastel illustrations mesh nicely with the
text, conveying the anguish of the loss. (from Booklist at
h. Personal Response-I think this book has a unique approach to sibling rivalry at the
introduction of a new child into the family. True feelings from a sibling are expressed
when Stacy says, Did Ashley die because Stacy had been angry that her parents spent so
much time with the baby? Additionally, the topic of death of a young sibling is tacked
by the author in a sensitive way. I can see specific uses for this book in certain students
lives but could offer another few for students who are dealing with death. Guidance
counselors could also use this book when working individually with students.

Perrault, C & Brown, M ( 1954). Cinderella. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Genre-Traditional Childrens Literature

Award-The Caldecott Medal
32 pages, Cost $7.99 from
Possible themes: Kingdoms, Royalty, Loyalty, Forgiveness, Wishes
Development Level- 4-8 from
Synopsis: From There is perhaps no better loved, no
more universal story than CINDERELLA. Almost every country in the

world has a version of it, but the favorite of story-tellers is the French version by Charles
This translation is excellent for storytelling and also reading aloud. Marcia Brown's
illustrations are full of magic and enchantment from the little cupids putting back the
hands of the clock to the last scene at the palace. They are pictures that will stay in a
child's mind.
g. Literary QualitiesIn retelling of the original, retain the essence of the original while
making the classic story of the lovely and virtuous Cinderella accessible to the readers of
today. (Childrens Literature at Kirkus review from also keeps the original but, has been slimmed and toned down
considerably, with her virtues less evident and the supporting cast less effective. This
book by the author/illustrated is listed again from Childrens Literature as , an easy to
read version of the story with beautiful pastel colored illustrations.
h. Personal Response-Ive read many versions of this lovely tale but never knew the original
story. This book would make a great comparison lesson for students with an easy to
understand story line that many know. I also love that Cinderella agrees to forgive her
sisters by giving, her sisters a home at the palace and on the same day married them to
two great lords of the court. I think understanding why Cinderella is given her name
was also very enlightening. Overall, I would read this to any young child with a fantasy
of being a princess!

Zelinsky, P. (1997). Rapunzel. New York: Dutton Childrens Books.

Genre-Childrens Traditional Literature

Award-The Caldecott Medal
48 pages, Cost $ 7.99 from
Possible themes-Traditional Fairy Tales, Love,
Development Level- 4-8 from

f. Synopsis-From An illustrated retelling of the fairy tale, based not

on Grimm's classic version but upon a 17th-century French tale. This version of
"Rapunzel" tells the story of a mother who strongly resists her child's inevitable growth.
A retelling of a folktale in which a beautiful girl with long golden hair is kept imprisoned
in a lonely tower by a sorceress. Includes a note on the origins of the story.
g. Literary noted the author/illustrator for, His gorgeous, Italian
Renaissance-styled illustrations are characterized by warm golden tones and the
mesmerizing sensation of trompe l'oeuil. Not only does he have the touch of a worldclass illustrator, Zelinsky has also proven himself a master storyteller. Other reviews
think this tale is for a more mature readers because, Young children may be at a loss, for
example, when faced with the typically well-wrought but elliptical passage in which the
sorceress discovers Rapunzel's liaisons with the prince when the girl asks for help
fastening her dress (as her true mother did at the story's start): " `It is growing so tight
around my waist, it doesn't want to fit me anymore.' Instantly the sorceress understood
what Rapunzel did not." (From Publishers Weekly at
h. Personal Response-The illustrations of Italy are magnificant, the story is told with little
words and the art helps to really sell the story. I could see use of the art in art class and
the story as a comparison study with other versions. I in my personal reading of this
story dont remember the birth of children or marriage, so this was a new version to me
but well liked.

Where Do People Go When They Die?

Portnoy, M. (2004). Where do people go when they die? Illustrator S. Haas. Minnesota:
Kar-Ben Publishing, Inc.

Genre-Childrens Realistic Fiction

24 pages, Cost $10.85 from
Possible themes-Death, Family, God, Afterlife
Development Level- 4-8 from

f. Synopsis-From Children ask different adults and themselves about

death and receive a wide variety of answers. Includes an afterword and suggestions for
g. Literary Qualities-This is a tough topic for many children, Here is a well thought
through book that gives many answers to where people go when they die. The child in the
story hears a factual answer: "into the ground (to) become part of earth and of nature;"
and a reassuring one: "into our hearts to make us strong." The author, Portnoy, a rabbi,
brings a rich sensitivity to her text, while award-winning artist Haas paints gentle,
reassuring water colors with lovely, heartwarming details to add strength to this beautiful
book. (from Childrens Literature at this book is written in, a
beautifully poetic style, a father, aunt, teacher, etc., all answer the title question. The
responses are nonthreatening and soothing. (From Booklist at
h. Personal Response-The simple story line and easy response make this a comforting book
for any student who under goes loss in any form from pet to parent. Using this as an
introduction to death and loss might soften the blow to young children when speaking of
the matter. My favorite idea of death comes from the aunt, They go into our hearts, she
said. They are with us when we cry and when we laugh. They are with us as we grow
up and grow old. They make our hearts strong.

Island of Time
Montgomery, R.A. (2008). Island of time. Vermont: Chooseco.

Childrens Science Fiction

144 pages, Cost $6.99
Possible themes: Native American, Science, Fantasy, Mysticism, Lake Champlain, Lake
Monster, Choose Your Own Adventure
e. Development Level-9-12
f. Synopsis-This book is different from other books. You and YOU ALONE are in charge of
what happens in this story. There are dangers, choices, adventures, and consequences.
YOU must use all of your numerous talents and much of your enormous intelligence. The
wrong decision could end in disaster - even death. But, don't despair. At anytime, YOU
can go back and make another choice, alter the path of your story, and change its result.
A stormy day on the waters of Lake Champlain has set you off course. You and your
friend Jayme were attempting to reach Providence Island, where your family has a cabin.
Now you're trapped in a storm in open water, with just your small inflatable motorboat
and a few paddles. This storm has changed more than your travel plans, though.
Something very suspicious is happening all around you. You've heard legends and stories
about this area, from Champ the lake monster to some mysterious Indian burial mounds.
You may have gone back in time! Will you meet with the tribes who lived here centuries
ago, or visit an antiquated historical hotel the day before it burned to the ground? Only
you can decide!
g. Literary Qualities-Choose Your Own Adventure titles have been around since the
1980s but have recently been republished because of the need for books targeted toward
possible reluctant readers. They have sold at least 250 million copies around the
world since the series debuted with Bantam Books in 1979, and anyone who remembers
reading them probably knows why. You were the protagonist. When you're 9 years old,
that's a pretty exhilarating feeling. Your fate depended on the choices you made at the
bottom of each page. Each installment had dozens of endings, and the more rabid fans
(including yours truly) wanted to experience every one. (from
These books fit the genre because fantasy literature is defined as, a variety of fantasy in
which an author, i9nspired by real developments in science, has conceived a version of
reality different from the one we inhabit. (from Childrens Books in Childrens Hands)
h. Personal Response-I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid and was very
excited to see that they still exist. These readers are fun and give options for students to
create their own story in their mind. This is why they would be so useful. Students who
maybe are reluctant readers may find that by given choices they can create their own
fantasy with help from the author.

Lincoln: A Photobiography
Freedman, R. (1987). Lincoln: a photobiography. Florida: Houghton
Mifflin Company.
a. Genre-Childrens Biography
b. Award-Newberry Award
c. 160 pages
d. Possible themes/ Topics related to the text set/curriculum
e. Development Level-8-12
f. Synopsis- Photographs and text trace the life of the Civil War
g. Literary Qualities- Publishers Weekly at wrote that this biography was,
highly readable and meticulously organized. In a boxed review, PW hailed it as a
``superb, encompassing account'' of ``an intriguing, recognizable human being.'' The
photographs are also listed as the trace evidence off, ...the life of the Civil War
President. Lincoln stood out in a crowd because of his wit, humor and height. The book is
richly illustrated with dozens of carefully chosen photographs and prints. (From
Scholastic Weekly at School Library Journal contributes by adding
that the author, Freedman's extensive research is apparent in the liberal use he makes of
quotations from original sources (letters, contemporary newspaper articles, etc.).
Freedman makes clear the controversy and vilification that Lincoln engendered and
endured during his presidency. A listing of historic sites open to the public and a sampler
of wise and witty excerpts from Lincoln's writings complete the book. Well-organized
and well-written, this is an outstanding example of what (juvenile) biography can be.
h. Personal Response-Although Lincoln is not my favorite president the history and detail of
this book was fabulous. I would use this to help convey the time that Lincoln lived and
the hardship of the war. Since, we take a trip every year to Gettysburg with my 8th grader
I can see a true connection that could be made as the out text suggests, biographies offer
endless possibilities for use in the classroom. (from Childrens Books in Childrens

Discovering Career For Your Future: Animals

Yehling, C. (2001). Discovering career for your future: animals. Illinois: Ferguson Publishing

Genre-Childrens Non-Fiction
94 pages, $10.38
Possible themes/ Topics related to the text set/curriculum connection
Development Level-12 and up
Synopsis- These books provide accurate career information in a two-color format
designed specially to appeal to students. They are compact and versatile resources that
teachers, librarians, and parents will feel confident in directing their students to use for
book reports or research projects. Each book profiles 20 careers and offers a
comprehensive look at everything from how to start preparing while still in school to
what the future might hold in terms of job prospects and salaries.
g. Literary Qualities-This book offers young readers an opportunity to, decide if they are
interested in the featured career by looking over a related checklist. Black-and-white
photographs enhance the in-depth information. For each job there is a complete
description, educational requirements, average earnings, job outlook, suggestions for
exploring details of a prospective career choice, and a "For More Info" section that
provides pertinent mailing addresses and Web sites. (From Library School Journal, Todays Librarian writes that it is, Well organized and up-to-date,
this gem of a series gives children a realistic overview of careers that may lie in their
h. Personal Response-As a former zoologist I was very excited to see a book with so much
information and help for children looking to find a possible career in their future. I liked
that the book had mixed ideas and formats our text reveals that an, advantage of
reading informational books is that they draw children into the patterns of inquiry
The topics and information were accurate and were definitely helpful for leading
someone to that future field.

Plisson, P. (2005). Lighthouses. New York: Abrams Books for Young
a. Genre-Childrens Non-Fiction
b. Award-none
c. 78 pages, $18.95 from
d. Possible themes/ Topics related to the text set/curriculum
e. Development Level-7-12
f. Synopsis- Beacons of safety shining in the night, alerting sailors
to dangers at sea, lighthouses have been a part of the coastal landscape for thousands of
years. From the earliest towers, which burned coal and wood to produce fiery signals, to
today's computer-automated structures, the world's vast network of lighthouses continues
to provide a vital link to safety for those who travel at sea.
The ideal young person's introduction, Lighthouses traces the history of these powerful
beacons from the first known structure, built in Alexandria Egypt in 300 BC, through the
introduction of the powerful Fresnel lens, and up to today's fully automated behemoths.
Readers can also explore the sometimes harrowing job of the lighthouse keeper, both past
and present.
g. Literary Qualities- Booklist speaks of Lighthouses as having, magnificent color
photos will draw young people to this introduction to lighthouses and the work of tending
them. Each spread in the oversize volume introduces a different aspect of the history and
technology of the structures or the work of maintaining them, from the lighthouses of
ancient Egypt to the automated towers of today. The text author is listed as having,
engaging text, which makes up a brief column on each spread, will pull readers to the
facts through anecdotes about lighthouse keepers' lives, including the danger and drama
of storms and accidents and the monotony of the everyday work.
h. Personal Response-The pictures were beautiful and the information behind them
illustrates the unique history behind each. I love the beauty and physics behind building
such a structure in such unique areas. The text includes how historical information books
allows students to, catch a glimpse of the past. Understanding the purpose and use
for lighthouses is something not always though of in todays technological society.
Explaining the use of these treasures is important for their preservation.

Hoaxed Fakest Takes in the World

Editors of Yes magazine. (2009). Hoaxed! Fakes & mistakes in the
world of science. New York. Kids Can Press.
a. Genre-Childrens Non-Fiction
b. Award-none
c. 48 pages, $13.22 from
d. Possible themes/ Topics related to the text set/curriculum
e. Development Level-8-12
f. Synopsis- The unbelievable-but-true stories behind the fakes,
mistakes and misunderstandings that have rocked the world of
science. From
g. Literary Qualities- Because this book was new not many reviews were found. One from
Kirkus Reviews from stated that, .the editors of YES Magazine
have put together an enticing collection of science misunderstandings. Another
review from Booklist at also described the content as including
information, From early medieval accounts of dragon sightings to modern claims of
missing links and crop circles, past hoaxes provide just the fodder to make educated
skeptics out of young readers.
h. Personal Response-This was a fun book based upon multiple questions that students have
asked me personally through the years. The color, drawing, and direct explanation was
proper for a childrens book. It kept the science and information behind the reasoning
brief and to the point. Our text also supports this by including that informational books,
can help to clarify abstract concepts that may be unknown to readers or difficult to
understand. Sharing misconceptions is always valuable when teaching science.

Tarra & Bella

Buckley, C. (2009). Tarra & bella: the elephant and dog who became best
friends. New York: Penguin Group.

Genre-Childrens Non-Fiction
32 pages, $12.32 from
Possible themes/ Topics related to the text set/curriculum connection
Development Level-4-8
Synopsis- Best friends come in all shapes and sizes!
After retiring from the circus, Tarra became the first resident of the Elephant Sanctuary in
Tennessee. When other elephants moved in and developed close friendships, only Tarra
remained independent until the day she met a stray mixed-breed dog named Bella.
It was love at first sight as this unlikely duo became inseparable. They ate together, slept
together, and even understood each other's language. And when Bella suffered a severe
spinal injury, Tarra stayed by her side and was there for her until Bella regained her
g. Literary Qualities- The authors story is written as, straightforward text and her
empathy-building photos warmly present an indelible image of this unlikely friendship."
(from School Library Journal from At Publishers
Weekly expresses this book as having the, most endearing pictures, which range from
snapshot like to skillfully framed images; also notable are photographs that underscore
the dramatic difference in the animals sizes. An endnote gives additional information
about the sanctuary and its mission.
h. Personal Response-This was a beautiful book about an uncommon relationship. Showing
that any two animals can get along and love was inspiring. I would include this book as
an example of friendship but also as learning opportunity for the appreciation of abused
and rescued animals. I love this book and will be purchasing for myself!

Invincible Louisa-C. Meigs

Meigs, C. (1995). Invincible Louisa. New York: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre-Childrens Biography
Award-Newberry Award
256 pages, $7.19 from
Possible themes/ Topics related to the text set/curriculum connection
Development Level-9-12
Synopsis- Biography tracing the fascinating life of Louisa May Alcott from her happy
childhood in Pennsylvania and Boston to her success as a writer of such classics as Little
g. Literary Qualities-As a fan of Louisa May Alcott this biography is listed as a , graceful,
well-written account of Louisa's productive, hardworking life, the author does a good job
of showing us how Louisa's family and economic problems helped to influence her most
famous work, Little Women, and many of her other works for children and adults.
Besides presenting the facts of her life, the author weaves in many evocative descriptions
of Louisa's environment and feelings, thus creating a biography that seems more
interesting and appealing than a more factual, unadorned work. An index and chronology
also are included. 1995
h. Personal Response-This book would make a great companion to a study of Alcotts work.
I could see the use of this as an author report. The book was easy to read and explained
many details of Alcotts work. The author Meigs follows the biography outline, How
Biographies Work from out text including that they should, create a main character
about whom children care and want to learn more. This book does that and parts that I
read did a nice job of encouraging readers to read more of Louisa May Alcott, I did by
listening to Little Women on CD.