Tag Archives: David Shannon

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading – Christmas Classics (part 2)

IMWAYR

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:  Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

Last week, I shared some of my old favorites from my Christmas collection.  This week, I’m excited to share some “holiday versions” of some of my favorite characters and stories.

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It’s Christmas, David! – David Shannon.   David Shannon wrote a book when he was five using the only two words he knew how to spell:  “no” and “David”.  When his mother passed along his keepsake box when he was an adult, he discovered the book… and the rest, as they say,  is history!  In this holiday version of the popular “David” series, we follow David as he snitches Christmas cookies and peeks in closets, and as usual, has trouble staying out of trouble!  A delightful, funny read-aloud with lots of possibilities for “making connections”.

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Christmas Cookies – Bite Size Holiday Lessons – Amy Krouse Rosenthal   I adore anything that Amy Krouse Rosenthal writes.  I loved her original Cookies: Bite Sized Lessons so was thrilled when this book came out in time for the holidays a few years ago.  In these books, Rosenthal cleverly uses the analogy of making and eating cookies to define and illustrate important concepts such as respect, trustworthiness, patience, politeness, loyalty, etc.  The book reads a little like a dictionary – each page sharing a new word and example.  In the Christmas Cookies version, she includes holiday-related words like joy, patience, believe, celebrate, peace and tradition.  One of the things I love about Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s books is how simple they are – and this one is a perfect example – she  incorporates larger words that indirectly teaches children the meaning through the text.  This book is a perfect Christmas read-aloud in a classroom and would also make a wonderful holiday gift!  Adorable illustrations!

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The Christmas Quiet Book – Deborah Underwood   How many different kinds of quiet leading up to Christmas are there?  How about – “Searching for presents quiet,” “Getting caught quiet”, “Hoping for a snow day quiet” and the “shattered ornament quiet“.   I made connections to every page!   I loved the original The Loud Book and The Quiet Book so again, was excited to see the Christmas version.  The illustrations in this book are adorable – soft, gentle and quiet.  LOVE this book!

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Snowmen at Night – Carolyn and Mark Buehner  In this delightful follow-up to Snowmen at Night, we follow snowman on a Christmas adventure while the rest of the world is sleeping.  The illustrations are magical – every time I read the book I see something new!  A wonderful, fun read that would lead to great art and writing activities

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Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas – Melanie Watt   Christmas would not be complete without Scaredy Squirrel!  My students have grown to love his insecurities, his worries, his cheesy grin and all his fears.  This holiday safety guide is filled with practical tips and step by step instructions to help readers prepare for a perfect Christmas, Scaredy style! From making Christmas crafts to dressing “holiday style” to choosing the perfect tree – this witty, laugh out loud book will delight Scaredy fans everywhere!  I love using these books to teach students about text features – labels, maps, fact boxes!  Have your students create a “Scaredy Squirrel” version of instructions for their favorite holiday activity!

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Carl’s Christmas – Alexander Day   The “Carl” books were, for me, my first real experience with the wordless picture book genre.  The original Good Dog, Carl book was published in 1996.  The premise of the books is a Rottweiler named Carl who is left in charge of the baby while the parents go out.  Sounds ridiculous, I know, but somehow, it works.  Day’s illustrations require no words – they tell the story seamlessly.  In this book, Carl and baby prepare for Christmas, go shopping, do some Christmas baking and have a reindeer encounter!  My boys LOVED Carl books when they were younger.  If you have never read a Carl book – you are missing something special!

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Pete the Cat Saves Christmas – James Dean and Eric Litwin   Pete the Cat is cool!  He’s groovy!  He’s charming!  And in this book, he is saving Christmas by helping Santa, who has a bad cold and needs help delivering presents.  I love Pete – he is a character on the opposite end of the worry scale from Scaredy Squirrel and serves as a great role model for younger kids.   This book is a parody of Twas’ the Night Before Christmas and includes the classic free song download.  (the song isn’t my favorite but my students always want to sing along with Pete!)  This book is an uplifting message of “giving it your all” that is an important one to share with children.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas – Karen Wilson.   Bear’s friends wake him up from his hibernation to include him in the Christmas preparations.  Bear does and when his friends all fall asleep – he stays up to give his friends a special Christmas surprise.  I am not a huge fan of rhyming texts as I often feel that they are forced.  Karen Wilson manages to create rhyme in such a natural way that you don’t even notice it rhymes!  The story flows in a lovely, lyrical tempo that makes it such an enjoyable read-aloud.  I enjoyed many of her previous books featuring Bear – and this one includes the giving spirit of Christmas as well as friendship.

Well… there you have it!  Some favorite stories and characters  “dressed in holiday style”!  What are your favorite “holiday versions” of familiar stories?

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Filed under Connect, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Picture Book

Summer Reading – Day 31! It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

IMWAYR

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: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

It’s always a bit dangerous for me when I find myself surrounded by new picture books because I want to buy them all!  This past week, Surrey Kidsbooks came to one of my workshops and “set up shop” in the school gym!  As always, Maggie had new books set aside to show me and I’m excited to share them now.

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On the top of Maggie’s “A MUST for teachers” list this fall, and now on the top of mine, is Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale.  This book is themed around self regulation, a topic of growing interest in education thanks to the insightful work of Canadian educator  Stuart Shanker and others. In this book, we meet Clark – a shark with a very BIG personality.  Clark LOVES everything but sometimes his boisterous enthusiasm gets in the way of his friendships.  His teacher, Mrs. Inkydink, helps him to devise a strategy of making up simple rhymes to calm down and “stay cool”.   An excellent book to share with children – entertaining as well as an important message.

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The Very Inappropriate Word by Jim Tobin is a celebration of words.  I loved this book for so many reasons – it’s funny, has great illustrations and a wonderful subtle message about using appropriate language.  The best part for me is the fact that it’s also written for those, like me, who love words.  The boy in this book loves words – big words, interesting words, hard words.  Things go a little sideways for him when he learns a word that is inappropriate and tries using it.   I love words and I love this book!

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What Are You Doing? by Elisa Amado is a celebration of reading.  On his way to school, a young boy notices many different people reading.  “What are you doing?”  he asks, to which each responds with another reason for reading.  One person is reading instructions to fix their bike, another is reading a story, while another is reading a guidebook.  Later in the day, he borrows his own book from school to read.  The simple text is a reminder to all of us about the pleasures and purposes for reading.

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The Man with the Violin by Canadian writer Kathy Stinson is based on the true story of renowned American violinist Joshua Bell who gave a free concert one day in a Washington, D.C. subway station.  Thousands of commuters rushed by but only seven stopped to listen.  Dylan, the fictional character in the story, is one of the seven who did stop, although his mother did not want him to.  He is mesmerized by the beautiful sound of the music and the song plays in his head all day.  The illustrations are beautiful and the writing floats and dances like music.  This book is a celebration of music and a great reminder to take the time to appreciate beauty that surrounds us.  An interesting account of the real event is provided at the back.  This was such an interesting story and one that I can see would be the starting point for some excellent class discussions.  I can’t wait to share this with my students.  LOVE it!  81IKKWK3r0L._AA1500_[1]

Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler is another beautifully illustrated book that celebrates the cycle of seeds and seasons.  Miss Maple collects and cares for lost seeds, carefully searching for a place for them to grow when the time is right for them to find their roots.  I felt like I was walking through a garden when I read this book. A perfect book to launch a science unit on plants or seeds.

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In this witty book Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds, a group of misunderstood carnivores, tired of being made fun of by their plant-eating enemies, form a support group in their attempt to become more politically correct.  Their first plan is to think of converting to plant-eating but that plan does not go well because Wolf can’t find a berry bush without a bunny in it!  (hilarious!)  This book is meant to be read out loud – it is so funny.  Small children may not understand the humor but the bold, punch-line, slap-stick delivery would certainly be appreciated by older students.

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David Shannon latest book  Bugs in My Hair!   is a humorous look at head lice.  Let’s face it – most teachers have had the unwelcome experience of a lice outbreak in their classrooms.  This book deals with this situation in an informative and light-hearted way that would make children feel less embarrassed about this unpleasant experience.  A great book to have on hand – just in case you get a case!

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A Mountain of Friends by Kirsten Schoene is a heartwarming story of a penguin who has a dream to fly.  His friends work together to help him achieve this seemingly impossible goal.  The illustrations are beautiful and children will love how the book needs to be turned from landscape to portrait to view the “mountain” of friends.  A great book to teach children about working together to help others.

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The Road to Afghanistan by Linda Granfield is a moving book honoring those committed Canadian soldiers who fought in this war and experienced things none of us really can understand.  This is a reflective book about the successes and challenges of war and gives us a glimpse of Afghan people, culture and land to help us connect.  It is definitely a book I will add to my Remembrance Day collection, particularly given the Canadian focus.

Well, it’s been a great week of new books!  I’d love to hear about what you’ve been reading!

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Filed under Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Science, Social Responsibility

Summer Reading – Day 15! Less is More!

Today’s theme is STUFF!  And the fact that many of us have too much of it.  These three books will likely invite many connections from some of our students and all three have the same important message about what is most valuable.

11119532[2]     Stuff,  by Margie Palatini, is about a bunny named Edward.  Edward has far too much STUFF.  His house is full and his friends no longer want to come over because Edward is more interested in his stuff than them.  Eventually, his friends come to his rescue and help him sort, organize, donate and encourage him to keep only the STUFF that is important.  This book is humorous but the message it shares would stimulate some good discussions about materialism and what is most valuable.

0-439-49029-4     Too Many Toys by David Shannon tells a similar tale.  I made a lot of connections to this book!  (character’s name is  Spencer -my son’s name – and stepping barefoot on Lego pieces!)  Spencer’s mom eventually gives him a box to fill with toys to “give away”.  Easier said than done!  Spencer is faced with the challenge of choices – which toys are most important to him?  I am a huge David Shannon fan – he always manages to capture moments that so many of us can connect to and his illustrations are hilarious.  Another great book to share with the message that more toys does not make more fun!

12993697[1]      More – by I.C. Springman takes a more of sophisticated look at materialism that I recommend for grades 3 and up.  Through stunning illustrations and very little text, this book invites the question – when is MORE more than enough?  Magpie’s collection, that starts with one marble, gets out of hand as he begins filling his nest with more and more bits and pieces.  Eventually the weight of all his stuff results in the tree collapsing.  His mice friends try to help him realize that he simply has more than he needs.    In this material world we live in, where many children want more and more “shiny stuff”, it is a good reminder of when it is time to say “enough”.  This book  has very few words but a strong message – a perfect combination for practicing “INFERING”!

 Live simply so others can simply liveMahatma Gandhi  (I love this quote and it seems rather fitting to include it here)

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