It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers
It’s hard to believe that November is almost over and in a few hours, the countdown to Christmas will begin! It has been wonderful celebrating picture books this month with you and I hope that you have been inspired to use some of these wonderful books to enhance your lessons and bring some picture book joy to your students! Here are some of the books I’ve featured on my Facebook page this month plus a few extras!
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Class – Justin Roberts
I know a book is going to be great when the word “transform” is written in the last line: “And now the world could transform and a change could be made by the smallest girl in the smallest grade.” This is a wonderful story about Sally, who, despite her small size, notices things going on around her – hurtful things. An inspiring story about making a difference and standing up for change – no matter what size you are! Vibrant pencil-crayon illustrations and rhyming text. A perfect primary read-aloud! Love!
If You Give a Mouse an iPhone – Ann Droyd
Getting sucked into screen time is certainly a topic we can all connect to! This is a hilarious spin on the classic series by Laura Numeroff. A boy gives Applesauce, the mouse, an iPhone to keep him quiet for 10 minutes. Of course, Applesauce wants the phone for much longer and ends up missing out on the fun activities surrounding him. If you are a parent trying to explain to their children why they should NOT get an IPhone – this might help your cause! Great illustrations, great fun! A great companion to Anne Droyd’s “Goodnight Ipad” (similar spin on Goodnight Moon)
Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3nVxt6_lAc
The Storm Whale – Benji Davies
This beautifully illustrated book invites readers to infer both from the carefully sel…ected words and stunning artwork. The story is about a Noi, a young boy who discovers a whale on the beach after a storm. His father is a busy fisherman (and is a great hugger) and, despite their 6 cats, Noi is often alone. He decides to take the whale home and hide it in his bathtub. There is a tenderness to this quiet tale of loneliness, family and friendship. Will make a wonderful book to practice questioning and inferring.
Blizzard – John Rocco
This book is based on John Rocco’s childhood experience duing the now infamous blizzard of 1978, which brought 53 inches of snow to his town in Rhode Island. Brief text and dynamic illustrations: the wonder of a winter storm told through the eyes of young boy. I LOVED John’s Rocco’s book Blackout (2012 Caldecott Honoree) about a family’s experience one summer during a power outage. I think I may love this one just a little bit more.
Louise Loves Art – Kelly Light
This is a book that celebrates creativity, imagination and the challenges and joys of having a younger sibling! Louise loves art – when she is not drawing, she is thinking about what she is going to draw next. One day, she is preparing her latest masterpiece for the “Gallery du Fridge”, when her younger brother wants to join in but has a slightly different plan for her painting! I liked the way the text told Louise’s story and the illustrations told her brother’s. The illustrations are bright and lively and I liked how Louise modeled self control when her brother clearly ruined her special art. This would be a perfect “connect” book!
Waiting is Not Easy – Mo Willems
Love this latest in the Elephant and Piggy series by the great Mo Willems. This one deals with the challenges of having to wait for something! Poor Elephant is not having an easy time waiting for a special surprise that Piggy has in store for him. This would be a perfect book to practice making connections with your primary class – especially with the Christmas season coming up… Who doesn’t have a hard time waiting for Christmas to arrive?
The Hockey Sweater – 30 Anniversary Edition by Roch Carrier
With the passing of Pat Quinn, one of the most beloved faces of Canadian hockey this month, it seemed fitting to post a book celebrating this great sport. The Hockey Sweater is a true classic Canadian book and this year they have re-issued it as an “anniversary edition” (30 years!) Same classic story but filled with extra materials, still photos from the animated movie and best of all, quotes from celebrities who have read and loved the book. The story centers around a boy living in a small town in Quebec, his hockey hero #9 Maurice Richard, and the famous rivalry between the Montreal Canadians and the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is a story of hockey, family, community, heroes, passion and dreaming big. This book would make a perfect Christmas present for the special hockey players in your life. (All three of mine have their own copy!) LOVE this book.
What We See When We Read – Peter Mendelsund
Visualizing, or “making metal pictures” when you read is a strategy I have spent years teaching students about. In this fascinating book, graphic and book jacket designer Peter Mendelsund explores how we are better able to understand the act of reading through visualizing. In a “scrapbook” approach, a collage of short text, pictures, sketches and concepts he creates a visually interesting and thought-provoking look at the process of reading. Lively, quirky and thought provoking. This is a quick read (I read it cover to cover on the Victoria ferry) and reinforced the very foundation of what I know to be true: “The reader writes the story” (Annie Proulx)
The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie – Chris Van Allsburg
It is actually painful for me to admit this – but I did not really like this book. I love everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that Chris Van Allsburg has EVER written. I was SO excited seeing this new release on display in my favorite book store, but after reading it, I was left feeling so very disappointed. Sweetie Pie is a pet hamster who longs to be free and run wild with other wild creatures. We follow Sweetie from the pet store to the owner’s house and finally to the classroom when he becomes the class pet. Over Christmas, one of the students takes Sweetie Pie home – and forgets about him! I felt as if this whole book was about the abuse of this poor animal and about selfish children who didn’t care about him or anything! I could not see myself reading it to my class as I don’t think there would be anything positive to discuss. I am often teased by friends and colleagues that I “love every book” I read. This book, sadly, I did not even like!
Hooray – this is my 100th Post! Thanks for stopping by today! Please leave me a message and let me know which book caught your eye!