Tag Archives: John Burningham

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – A Seal, a lion, a picnic and a name!

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

A trip to my favorite children’s bookstore this week, Vancouver Kidsbooks, resulted in the discovery a few new treasures that I’m excited to share with you!

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

Elizabeth – Queen of the Sea – Lynne Cox

This is the amazing true story of Elizabeth, an elephant seal, who decides she wants to live in the warm Avon River near the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.  At first, it is delightful novelty to have a seal living in the river, especially when she takes to sun bathing in the middle of the flat, warm road!  But with the dangers of passing cars, the people decide to keep her safe and Elizabeth is towed out to sea.  But somehow, Elizabeth makes her way back to the river.  Each time she is carried farther and farther away, she comes back.  (making a connection to “The Cat Came Back” song right about now!)   The soft pen and ink watercolor illustrations by Brian Floca are lovely and the writing includes wonderful imagery that I would certainly use as an anchor book for writing:  “Moving up the soft shore like a giant inchworm”  (can you say simile?)  I loved how there was factual information about elephant seals gently woven into the text. Background information and a photo of the “real Elizabeth” at the back of the book.  A delightful book!

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The Change Your Name Store – Leanne Shirtliffe

Themes of respecting differences, global awareness, multiculturalism along a great spunky character make this book a must read for all primary teachers!  Wilma Lee Wu does not like her name. So she marches into the Change Your Name Store where she meets the outrageous owner Zeena McFouz.  Zeena soon convinces Wilma to try on new names in the magical store. Each time Wilma selects a new name, she is transported to the country from which the name originates. Isn’t that the greatest premise for a picture book?  (I wish I had thought of it!) The illustrations are delightful and the text is written in simple rhyme.  A GREAT read aloud, perfect for making connections to names, a link to social studies (I am already planning a lesson to plot Wilma’s journey on a world map with my students!) and wonderful addition to your multicultural collection!

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Picnic – John Burningham

I am a John Burningham fan.  I love his simple, sparse text and his pen and ink watercolor illustrations.  In this latest book, a boy and girl prepare for a picnic.  On their way to find their picnic spot, they meet various animals and invite them to join the picnic.  A uninvited bull interrupts and disrupts their picnic and there is a bit of a chase scene!  Eventually, exhausted, they go home to bed!  As the story unfolds, the reader is asked to spot lost items on the page.  The items are easy to find but add an interactive feature for younger readers.  Classic Burningham!

The Lion and the Bird

The Lion and the Bird – Marianne Dubuc

Sigh.  This is a beautiful, sweet and moving story.  A lion finds a wounded bird and brings it home to care for it.  When spring comes, the bird flies away to join his flock.  Lion is lost.  Bird returns to spend winter with lion.  Sigh again.  This book is a  treasure.   It is a story of friendship told in a very honest and simple way.  I loved the sparse text (one sentence per page)  that leaves room for a lot of thinking.  I loved the illustrations and the sweetness of the friendship that develops between these two unlikely creatures.  I felt a quiet calmness when I finished.  I wanted to hug it.  (I think I did)

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Pom and Pim – Lena and Olof Landstroem

OK – I’m a sucker for a cute cover – and this one definitely meets my criteria for cuteness!  The story reminded me a lot of  Michael Foreman’s”Fortunately – Unfortunately”.  Pom finds some money and buys an ice cream (that’s good) but eats too much and gets a tummy ache (that’s bad).  There is very little text and the illustrations are quite unique – lots of white space so you can focus on the action and Pom’s delightful expressions on each page.  This would be a great anchor book to read to an early primary class and then have them create their own mini version of the “That’s good – That’s bad” pattern.   This book is translated from Swedish – and I wish they had included a translation of exactly what type of toy Pim is!  A cute blob with arms and legs and I want one!
Thanks for stopping by!  I’d love to know which book caught your eye!

 

 

 

 
 

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Filed under Connect, Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Mapping, New Books, Picture Book, Read-Aloud, Social Responsibility

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading – Christmas Classics (part 1)

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.

Today was the official start to the holiday season – December 1st.  A day when the excitement and anticipation of Christmas I felt as a child still lingers inside my heart and my home.  So today I happily went into to the basement storage and began to pull out the Christmas tubs –  the lights, the living room decorations, the Christmas mugs and plates, the wrap, the wreath, the Christmas cookie cutters, the advent calendars. It smelt like cinnamon and pine needles.  But my favorite tub of all is the tub that stores my Christmas books – my yuletide treasures.  These are the books that have been read through hundreds of times to my boys while they were growing up and to my students over the years.   I opened up the tub and greeted my books like old friends.  The collection has grown over the years but each book holds a special memory for me.  These books have brought me so much joy and are a gentle reminder that the only thing I ever really want for Christmas is my family, my dog and a good book.

This week I will be sharing my favorite old  Christmas “classics” … (next week some of my more recent favorites!)

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Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? – by Jan Brett (2002)   In her classic detailed Nordic style, Jan Brett tells a delightful tale of a young boy from Finland and his ice bear who help to scare away a group of trolls who are coming to gobble up a Christmas feast.  This book is a wonderful read-aloud, great for predicting and questioning.   My son would laugh every time I got to the line “Have a bit of sausage, kitty!”  These trolls certainly won’t be knocking again next Christmas!

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The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher – Robert Kraus (author of Leo the Late Bloomer)  This book was first published in 1969 and was one of my favorites when I was younger.  I sadly did not keep a copy of the book but was thrilled to see it re-issued.  This book is such a fun read-aloud.  Great rhyming patterns which sound rather “Grinch” like at times.  While the villagers are sleeping, the Cookie Sprinkler Snitcher comes and steals all the cookie sprinkles so the mothers cannot decorate their Christmas cookies in the morning!  Lots of great connections for those of us who love to decorate those Christmas cookies!

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Little Robin’s Christmas – by Jan Fearnly (first published 1998)  This book was first published under the title “Little Robin Red Vest” so I was a bit surprised to learn the title had been changed.  But regardless of the title – it is a sweet story of a generous robin who has a vest for every day of the week.  But leading up to Christmas, he gives away each one of his vests to different chilly friends who need something to keep warm. By the time Christmas arrives, poor Robin has no vest and begins to freeze on the rooftop… when a surprise visitor delivers a special gift.  I love this book – it is a tender story with a message of sharing and kindness.

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Harvey Slumfenberger’s Christmas Present – John Burningham   (first published 1993)  After arriving home early Christmas morning, a tired Santa discovers he has one present left in his sack – a present for Harvey Slumfenberger.  Santa knows this is the only present Harvey will get on Christmas morning, so he sets back out to deliver it.  Since his reindeer are already asleep, Santa sets out on foot.  He travels by foot, ski, helicopter, horse – everything he can do to deliver this present.  I adore this book – I adore the determination of Santa.  I adore John Burningham’s soft watercolor illustrations.  I adore the fact that we never find out just what the present was that Santa travelled so far to give to Harvey  The book ends with the line “I wonder what it was?” –  which has invited many wonderful discussions amongst my students over the years.  (My favorite answer is when someone says ” I think it was a book”! ( sigh! )

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Little Tree – e.e. Cummings (first published 1958)  “Little tree  little silent Christmas tree   you are so little   you are more like a flower  who found you in the green forest   and were you very sorry to come away”   This book is an illustrated version of e.e. cumming’s beautiful Christmas poem about a brother and a sister who find a tree in the streets and bring it home.  While they are walking home with it, they speak to the tree, asking it questions and comforting it.  This is a favorite of mine – the illustrations are soft and calming and the tenderness in which the children care for the tree is heartfelt.

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The Snowman – Raymond Briggs (published – 1978)  Long before “graphic novels” had made their debut, Raymond Briggs brought us this classic wordless picture book which is written in the style of a graphic novel.  This charming story depicts a young boy’s adventure with a snowman who comes to life one night in his dreams.  The book has been turned into a Christmas “wordless” cartoon set to music that is apparently as classic in the UK is as the Grinch is in North America.  This story is magical, whimsical, delightful.  I have a The Snowman stuffy that plays the music from the movie – that’s how much I love this book.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss. (first published in 1957 – and still going strong!)   No list of Christmas classics would be complete without the Grinch.  Every Who down in Whoville has memorized this amazing story of the true meaning of Christmas.  And in an age of outrageous consumerism – it’s a good one to revisit and remind ourselves that what is most important at Christmas is not an upgraded bamboozle or cardinker – but being “heart to heart and hand in hand” with those we love.  I read this story every year.  I watch the TV show every year.   I never will I tire of it.

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The Polar Express – Chris VanAlsburg  (1986 Caldecott winner) This book is a holiday tradition in our house, as I’m sure it is in many homes.  Every year, before my boys go to bed on Christmas eve, I read it aloud.  They are teenagers now, but still sit quietly on either side of me and listen to the magical words and savor the extraordinary illustrations.  After reading the last page, I take out a small bell from my pocket and ring it – making sure that we can all still hear the sweet sound.  I am all grown up but I can still hear the sound of the bell.  Can you?

What Christmas classics do you love to read at this time of year?

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