Monday, October 26, 2009

The Little Old Lady Who (Said She) Was Not Afraid of Anything

Fear is a part of life. How we face our fears (or don't face our fears) determines whether we live life fully or live on the fringe of life. We learn to start dealing with our fears as children.

What do young children fear? They often fear separating from parents to attend preschool. They might be afraid of the dark, or of flying insects. Because they engage in magical thinking, they are able to embrace the notion of Santa Claus or The Tooth Fairy. Magical thinking has a dark side, however, allowing children to believe that monsters inhabit the world with us.

Fairy tales often present sinister scenarios, bringing childhood fears to life. One of the reasons fairy tales have been popular for hundreds of years is that they allow children to safely explore their fears and in the end, witness the triumph of "good" over "evil."

I love fairy tales. I loved them as a child and I love them as an adult. As an adult, however, I have a problem with the preponderance of female villains and victims. The villain usually takes the form of an evil stepmother or wicked witch. The victim is usually a beautiful but personally powerless princess who ultimately needs rescuing.

This week all three classes are reading and discussing The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything written by Linda Williams and illustrated by Megan Lloyd. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything is a wonderful modern-day fairy tale with a strong female protagonist who faces her fears and solves her own problem.

Don't be fooled by the titled. (The children weren't.) The LOL was most definitely afraid, but she kept her cool and took command of the situation. The book provides enough tension to push the preschool thrill button, but never crosses over to truly scary. Its enormously satisfying conclusion leaves the reader smiling, and just a bit more personally powerful than he or she was at the beginning of the story.

To read more about this subject, check out Mentor Monday -- Horror: How Much Is Too Much? posted on October 26th over at The Write Sisters, the blog on writing for children.

CPG Kids Respond (Added CPG in on 10.29.09)

Aria: The little old lady just went out to get seeds and pumpkins. The shoes go CLOMP, CLOMP. She said, "I'm not afraid of you, Shoes!" She saw pants and she go, "I not afraid of you, Pants!" She run away and then a shirt did CLOMP, CLOMP. And the gloves go CLAP. The pumpkin smiled and the pumpkin go CLOMP. Then she run away. She was staying home and the door knock. She said, "What do you want, you things?" He want to scare her. And she said, "Go scare the crows." He turn into a scarecrow and all the crows fly away.

Teagan: She said, "I'm not afraid of you, Shoes." The scary pumpkin face went, WOOO! WOOO!  She saw that scary pumpkin face and she run away real fast. The shoes go CLOMP, CLOMP. She said, "What do you want?"

Ryan: She was hot 'cause she was red. [The LOL was rather red-faced in the illustrations.) She said, "I'm going to pick some blueberries." She heard footsteps. CLOMP, CLOMP, CLOMP. She said, "AAAH! I'm not afraid of you!" And she runned in her house, and said, "Oh, okay. You can stay with me. I'm not ascared of you! Okay!" And they put it all on like a scarecrow.

Brady D.:  She going go outside and walk. But it keep getting darker and darker. CLOMP, CLOMP. The pants said, WIGGLE, WIGGLE.  A shirt said, SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE. A hat said CLOMP, CLOMP, CLOMP. A gloves said CLAP, CLAP, CLAP. And a pumpkin said BOO, BOO! She was running really fast.  Then she was sitting down. Then she open the door and then, "I'm not scared of you!" Then, "You can be a scarecrow." Then they scared all the crows. The end!

J.J.: I like the whole book when she went for a walk, and the little old lady wasn't afraid of anything. And the clippity, cloppity shoes didn't scare her. And the pants chased her and she bumped into a shirt, and gloves, and hat and a pumpkin. And then they came in and they tried to scare her and when she looked out the window was a scarecrow. I liked that!

Aiden R.: It was about a little lady. She heard a noise -- shoes!  The shirt was in the way. She said, "I'm not afraid of you!" The scary pumpkin did BOOO! [Flipped to final illustration.] It's a scarecrow!

Aidan C.: The little old lady got scared by a pumpkin. She went in her house and somebody came knocking. She whispered something in his ear, "You can't scare me!" She woked up and then there was a scarecrow.

Lindsey liked the story!

Alec didn't feel like talking about books today.

EK Kids Respond

Brooke B.:  I liked it when the old lady saw the big spooky pumpkin face that went, BOO! BOO! I liked it when she was running inside her cottage. I liked it when she heard the KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK on her door and then she opened it and she saw one clomping pair of shoes, one shirt go SHAKE, SHAKE, one pair of pants go WIGGLE, WIGGLE. And I liked it when one tall black hat went NOD, NOD, and I liked it when the pumpkin head went BOO! BOO!  And then I liked it when the little old lady whispered into the pumpkin's ear and said, "You can be a scarecrow!"

Daniel: The little old lady who was not afraid of anything I think was afraid of the pumpkin. I know what she whispered in the pumpkin's ear. "Go out in the garden and be a scarecrow!" I think that's what she whispered. And I also think he's ruining the garden with his feet. And I also think the crows are going because of him.

Dev: I like that part with the little shirt there.

Allison: The lady's walking out her cottage. She hears the shoes clomping. She says, "I'm not afraid of you!"

Keegan:  There's no such thing as all of the dancing shoes, the pants, the shirt, everything. Even the pumpkin. It's all made up. Even the pants don't do whatever they do. Shake, wiggle. Even that thing that says, BOO! They wanted to scare her, but I don't know why. I think they just wanted to scare her for fun. She was not scared of anything. Nothing scares me. Not even a giant pumpkin.

Brady:  A little old lady was running away from the shoes and the pants. She was sitting in her rocking chair in the cottage and they knocked at the door. They said they're there to scare her. She said, "I'm not scared of you." The little old lady whispered in the pumpkin's ear to go outside and be a scarecrow. He was a scarecrow.

Brooke N.: She wasn't afraid of anything. She heard CLAP, CLAP and she heard WIGGLE, WIGGLE. She's running away to her college [cottage]. She's looking behind her chair because she heard a knock on her door. She saw everything that was following her. Everything was trying to get in her house. She looked out the window and she saw a scarecrow. They made a scarecrow.

Hayden: The little old girl was not afraid of anything. She hear some shoes clomping in behind her. And she look behind her and she saw a pair of shoes. She just keep walking back to her house. She saw a pair of pants, but she didn't be afraid of the shoes or the pants. She almost kick the pants out of her way. When she kick them away they backed up and ran to the lady. And she saw a pair of a big white shirt and it might can't fit on her because she already have a dress. And the pants and the shoes follow her all the way to the shirt. And the pants and the shoes were jump into the shirt because they were afraid of the gloves because they go CLAP, CLAP, CLAP and hurt all of their ears. And look!  I see a hat! And the hat's behind the gloves 'cause he didn't know he'd been hiding a pair of gloves. The shoes and the pants and the shirt and the gloves and the hat and the girl have a parade all the way back to her house. A pumpkin going to fall out of the tree and go in the lady's way. And the shoes and the gloves and the shirt and the pants and the pumpkin face knock her over onto the floor. So when she falls all the nuts and leaves [in her basket] fall down to the floor. The lady hear a knock on the door and she thought, "Should I answer the door?" And the lady said, "No, I can't." She answered the door and there been shoes, and a shirt and a pumpkin head and gloves and a hat.  So she whisper something to the pumpkin's ear. She said, "Make a scarecrow!" So a lady look out her window and she saw all the clothes fall off the scarecrow. And you know what else happens? The scarecrow falled down 'cause he's leaning.

Leah:  She was running 'cause she was scared 'cause she didn't want all these to scare her. Then she was scared of the pumpkin 'cause he said, BOO! BOO! She was running in her cottage. Somebody knocked on the door. She speaked in the pumpkin's ear, "Go make a scarecrow."  The next morning she woke up and she saw a scarecrow. And it scared all the crows away.

Bella:  I like when they were all like running behind the lady. I like when she saw the hat and gloves. I like the scary pumpkin. We got a lot of pumpkins on our step. 'Cause we got a garden and one got aten by the worms. My mom squished them, though. They ate our tomatoes, too, did you know that? [Turns attention back to the story.] I like when she was rocking. Then she heard a knock on the door. All the pants and the gloves and the shoes and the pumpkin and the shirt were at the door. I like when he turns into a scarecrow.

Sophie:  The little old lady was not scared of anything. It was the shoes and the pants and the shirt and the gloves and the hat and the pumpkin -- they were all following her. And when she got in the cottage she heard a knock and she opened the door and she whispered to the pumpkin to be a scarecrow.

Annalee: She went out. She found shoes. She's running away from them because the pumpkin's saying, BOO! She locked the door. She opened the door. She's whispering in the pumpkin's ear. The pumpkin made it into a scarecrow.

Arthur:  This is my favorite part. The scarecrow was scaring all the crows away, but I like all of it.

John:  The little old lady came upon some gloves that went CLAP, CLAP and a hat that said NOD, NOD. The little old lady was going at a fast pace to her house because she was scared. I think the scariest part was when the pumpkin was, BOO! BOO! She whispered into the pumpkin's ear and said, "You should go outside and scare the crows away." I like it that there was a scary pumpkin face that scared all the crows away.

PK Kids Respond

Emelyn: I like she being scared of the WOOO pumpkin. I like she said, "Get out of the way, Clomp Shoes!"

Emmett: [Looking at final scarecrow illustration.] See the post-ez that go all the way up here? The scarecrow just built its own things.

Brady L.: The lady bumped into a shirt. She bumped into two gloves and a hat. All these followed her. The scary pumpkin said, BOO! The lady runned as fast as she can. Then she rocked in her rocking chair. And she heard a knock on her door. And then she put her arms like this [akimbo] and she said, "I'm not scared of you!" And then the pumpkin said, BOO! The lady whispered and telled him a secret to go outside and be a scary scarecrow.

Eva: A little lady was scared because she was scared of the pants and the pumpkin face. I like this part because she was scared like this, "Aaaah! Aaaah!" and she ran away. She heard two knocks on the door. She answered it, "I'm not scared! I mean business!" And she whispered to the pumpkin, "If you can't scare me, go outside and scare the crows!" And she looked out her window and there's the scarecrow.

Summer: The shoes were following her. The pants wiggled in front of her. She said, "I'm not afraid of you!" There was a shirt in front of her, and then she said, "I'm not afraid of you!" Then she saw gloves and a hat, and then she said, "I'm not afraid of you!" She saw a pumpkin that was a head and then she put her hand on her hat and runned home. Someone knocked on the door and then she was going to open the door, and then she opened the door. She saw shoes, pumpkin, gloves, a shirt and pants. They wanted to scare her. She said, "I'm not afraid of you!" Then she told the pumpkin to scare the crows away. She saw the pumpkin out in the garden.

Acadia: They can't walk without people. [The shoes, pants, etc.] That's so silly! The pumpkin said, BOOOO! BOOOO! and that scared her. She runned and runned. Where did that come from? [The pumpkin in the tree.] I don't know where that comed from.

Kaitlyn: Two big shoes thumped. She said, "I'm not afraid of you!" They were following her. Then she saw one pants RATTLE, RATTLE. She bumped into a shirt and she said, "I'm not afraid of you!" She saw two gloves CLAP, CLAP, CLAP and a hat. And then they followed her back home. Look it! There's the pumpkin! She saw the pumpkin up in the tree. WOOOO! WOOOO!  She went home. There was pants on the other side [standing on her doorstep] that she saw already and the pumpkin. She told the pumpkin to scare the crows away and not scare me.

Camryn: The little old lady wasn't afraid of anything. She heard shoes TAPPING, TAPPING, TAPPING. Something was in her way. Then WIGGLE, WIGGLE, WIGGLE.  Then SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE. Then the hat said, NO, NO, NO [nod, nod, nod]. And then the pumpkin said WOOO! WOOO! And then she scrammed home! Like the pretend monsters scram at my house. And then she rocked in her chair by the fire. Then her hands were on hips and she unlocked the door and all the things came home with her. She whispered, "Make a scarecrow."

Mack: The little old lady that wasn't afraid of anything said she wasn't afraid of anything. She walked away from the cottage and then she saw some shoes that walked all by theirselves. And then pants, and then a shirt, and then she started go home and then she saw a humongous pumpkin that went BOOO! and that scared me. And then they all did their stuff together and they totally scared her out. And then she ran in her cottage and then the knock and then she opened it and then that thing that moved by itself came in and then it turned into a scarecrow and scared all the crows away and then the end.

Mikayla: Those guys [shirt, shoes, etc.] were trying to get her because they like her. She's sad 'cause they following her.

Katherine:  She heard everything -- the shoes, the pants, the shirt, the gloves and the hat. She was going home and they were all following her. The pumpkin said, BOOO!  She ran! She rocked in her rocking chair, sitting by the fire. She hears a KNOCK, KNOCK on the door. They all come out. She whispers in the pumpkin's ear then he's a a scarecrow.

Christel: It was about pumpkin scary. Shoes came and they went CLOMP, CLOMP. And the little old lady said, "Get out of my way." And then a pair of pants came, and she said, "Get out of my way, pair of pants." And then a shirt came and said WIGGLE, WIGGLE. And she said, "Get out of my way, you pair of shirt!" And then she saw a pair of gloves and a hat, and they went CLAP, CLAP and NOD, NOD. And then they followed her. And then a pumpkin came and said, BOOO! BOOO! And then everything came and she went, "Aaaaaaah!" And then she ran, ran, ran until she got home inside her house. She rocked and she rocked and she rocked and she rocked. And then this was my favorite part. Everything she saw when she was on her adventure are in her home. She said, "Go outside and scare the crows!" She looks kind of freaked. And then this part, I thinked this was her shirt on her bed and she's using it as a pillow. And this part, he was happy to scare the crows.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Teeny Tiny Blog Entry

CPG kids respond to The Teeny Tiny Ghost by Kay Winters and Lynn Munsinger.

Ryan: He looked like a Grandma. He was like, "Aaaah! Who's that? I look like a Grandma myself!" He looked like a scary monster, too.

Brady D.: A little guy was trying to get scared from the bad guys. The ghost scared himself when his friends were trying to go in the door to scare him.

Aidan C.: The other ghosts were trying to scare him. He puffed and puffed and puffed and then he said, "Do not come in the place!" It was just his ghost friends. They were dressed up.

Maeve:  It was just his friends, it wasn't a witch. They dressed up as Halloweens. They flew up to the trees. There was a clown on the tree.

Aria:  He was scared of his friends. He was in there [the grandfather clock] 'cause he was hiding. The teacher give him a hug. They were flying in the sky.

J.J.: I like the kitties. I like the ghosts and his scary OOOOOs. I like the whole story.

Aiden R.: Ghosts went to school. He scared hisself.

Olivia: Rat-tat-tat! [At the door.] The ghost friends trick-or-treat.

Teagan: His friends are knocking at the door. He didn't know it was his friends. He feeled scared. He turns into a big ghost, and he WOOOOOED and he WOOOOED and he WOOOOED! And everyone cheered for him. They gave him a big costume.

Bob liked the sailor ghost the best of all.

Lindsey liked the fairy princess ghost the best of all.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ready . . . Set . . . Write!

Today is The National Day on Writing, and blogging at The Picture Book Project is the perfect way for my 4 and 5-year old students to participate. We'll be discussing Littlebat's Halloween Story written by New Hampshire author Diane Mayr and illustrated by Gideon Kendall.

Littlebat and his mother live in a small colony in the attic of a country library. He discovers a small hole in the attic floor, which allows him to peek in on storytime. He can't see the pictures, and wants desperately to fly down for a closer look. Quite by accident, Littlebat drops in on storytime, and panic ensues. When he escapes into the attic, his mother tells a shaken Littlebat that he must wait for "changes" before he can go safely into the library for storytime.

See if you can figure out what those changes might be from reading the children's comments.

EK Reponses

Daniel: He should listen to his mom. She said, "Don't get too close to see the pictures." He went like that -- ZOOM! The kids yelled and everyone was afraid. On the bug pictures, I didn't know that bats eat the same thing as frogs. I think that I didn't know that.

Keegan: That's cool -- they can hang upside down. I like the fact that they can hang upside down. It's weird. Bats can fly, and we can't, 'cause they have wings. They were scared that the bat was going to hurt them. I would be pretty brave. I would try to catch it. I'm pretty fast. I bet I would be faster than a bat.

Hayden: It's about fly away and everybody was scared of it and the teacher flapped it with a book. And then a kid went under the table. Littlebat been scared and the mother been happy and say, "It's okay, Baby."

Brooke B.: I liked it when Littlebat poked his head through the hole in the ceiling at the library. He thought he should go look and see what was happening. I liked it when he fell through the hole at the library and everyone was scared. And then his mother said, "You shouldn't do that." I liked it when he was acting to be a paper bat.

Brooke N.:  A bat popped out of the hole. He wanted to listen to the library. He thought the butterfly was a moth, and it was weird, and he freaked out. And the library was trying to die him with a library book. And then he saw his mommy.

Brady K.: I liked all of it. I liked this page because there's a bat. They're trying to kill it.

Leah:  It was funny when the children screamed of the bat. It looks all creepy, that page. All the bugs look all dark. And do you know what was the funniest one? I thought the frog was a crocodile!

Sophie: The kids were scared of the little bat. The teacher waved her book and tried to shoo the bat away. The kids were yelling and one kid was hiding. Littlebat was worried and scared.

John: Littlebat wanted to see the stories up close. He couldn't because people might hurt him. Littlebat's mother was worried that he would get hurt. She said don't go down in there. I thought that page was exciting because he was flying around in the library. The librarian just swooped her book at him. The kids were yelling and screaming. If a bat came in my house I would open the door and let it out the garage. I like this page because it had all of the costumes. My favorite one is the guy with the mask.

Bella: I liked it when he was sticking his head out to see the pictures of it. I like when they were all running 'cause they were afraid of the bat. I think the bat was scared of them. The mom [bat] said, "Don't go so close."

Annalee:  I liked it when he was asleep. I liked it when he sleeps in there with his mama. The mama's putting her wings around him.

Arthur: My really favorite part is the changes was there. The kids saw the little bat and they thought he was a decoration. But my really favorite part was all of it.

Allison:  I like the bat flying in the air. The kid's putting her hands up to her ears 'cause of Littlebat. He wanted to see the pictures.

PK Responses

Eva:  I like the baby bat because he didn't get smacked by the book. I liked when they were dressed up. That's a dinosaur. This is a witch.

Camryn: He falled and he landed right in the room. They yelled and the lady almost smacked him. That was funny. I love it when the bats hang upside down. The lady thought it was a decoration.

Mack:  My favorite was this girl on the table. The bat was scaring the children. He [the bat] feeled worried. He got safe with his mom. It was Halloween and the kids thought the bat was a decoration. I think this girl  [the librarian] thought it was a decoration, too. At the end he [the bat] was reading a book.

Emelyn: The bat's right there and they got surprised. She's going to get hurt. [A frightened girl standing on a table.] She's going to fall on this book and get her head hurt.

Katherine: I like this one because I like the decorations. The kids are reading. The bat wants to see the pictures. I like the page when he was hanging down like a decoration.

Kaitlyn: [Looking at an illustration of Littlebat peeking through the hole in the ceiling.] I didn't know necks could stick out that far. He started falling from the book. The bat fell and he would get hurt from the book if it swinged at him. He'd get a ginormous book boo-boo on his belly.

Acadia:  The changes came and baby bat comed out and listened very quietly.

Christel:  It looks like he was falling through the hole. And I liked it when he fell down. That was funny. Those books were supposed to be on the bookshelf.  And that guy was looking up at the bat. He looks kind of scared. And it was really funny when the boy with the book on his head.They were scared of the bat 'cause they didn't like him. They're trying to hide. She's trying to smack him. [Flips to night pond illustration] I didn't know what that was. Oh! It's a night caterpillar. Cool! I liked the moon's look. And I liked that right there. [I asked what "that" was.] I have no idea! [Told her it was a moth.] Oh! [Flips to another illustration.] I liked the fireworks and there were 2 bats hanging outside.

Brady L.:  I like this page because the bat was falling down and the kids were going crazy. She's [the librarian] screaming.

Mikayla: That girl [the librarian] whacked that bat. They're sad because she doesn't like the bat.

Summer:  That one [Littlebat] fell in. They screamed. 

Emmett was very busy creating pattern block patterns and didn't feel like talking about the book today.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Watch our for those fish, Old Bear!

Children in EK, PK and CPG read Old Bear by Kevin Henkes this week. When the reader meets Old Bear he is settling into his winter hibernation. Henkes takes the reader through the four seasons using the bear's hibernation dreams as his vehicle. The fantasy/dream illustrations were especially appealing to the kids. I was intrigued by the children's interpretations that the dream cub feared the fish. The bear is depicted clinging to a tree and looking over his shoulder at the fish in the river. He, obviously, is stationary and the fish are moving in his direction. The fish all have their heads out of the water and appear to be looking at the bear. The bear's mouth is hidden by his shoulder, leaving the reader to put his or her own spin on the bear's emotional state. The kids are seeing the bear as victim and the fish as aggressors, which I find fascinating.

CPG Responses (added in on Friday, October 16, 2009)

Aidan C.: He's sleeping in a croke [crocus]. When he was sleeping then he woke up and he ate honey.

Ryan: I like where he was eating the blueberries because it has to be rain. I see a little bit of rain. He ate blueberries from the ground. I see blueberries that he ate. He's like, "Oh! It's raining blueberries. I'm going to eat them because I like them!" I see a flower up in the sky. I think it's a cloud flower. And he said, "Hey! I want that bear!" This page was red, orange and brown. And the bear's climbing the tree because he doesn't want to get catched by the fish and aten by the fish and to bite him on his bum. He'd go, "Owwww!"

Brady: He is eating the blueberries because he's eating blueberries and the flowers are coming back. He is climbing on a tree because the fish is trying to get him. It's my favorite. And winter is coming because the snow is coming back and it's cold. And the sun is on still. And in winter he sleeps and sleeps. And it comes back [spring] and no snow comes.

Olivia:  He's sleeping in the flower. [Turns to front end papers and points.] The brown end papers. [Flips to back end papers.] I want to see the purple.

Alec: He dreamed about berries. It's raining berries. He's putting them in his mouth.

J.J.: I liked it when he was dreaming that he was in a giant crocus. I liked it when it was raining blueberries, too, and he was catching them. I liked it because he sees the rainbow fish and he might jump in and eat one. He might catch one right in his claws.

Aiden R.:  He was sleeping. He was sleeping in the flower. It's raining blueberries. He's sticking his tongue out. He's trying to eat the blueberries. He's trying to climb up that tree because he's trying to find some food. I think he's trying to look for some doodleberries. They're purple.

Aria:  He's dreaming that it was summer. He's sleeping, sleeping a lot. He's eating the blueberries in the clouds. I think the fish going to eat him. He's going to get away from the fish. [Flips to winter dream scene.] I like this part. I like this white part -- it's snow. I like snowflakes. I like to stick my tongue out to get them. My hands get cold in the snow. My dog's only scared of bears. Maggie have sharp teeth.

Maeve: I like the sleeping. I liked it when he sleeped in the flower. I liked when he ate blueberries in the waterfall. He's trying to get the fish. He's going to fall into the water.

Linsdey: He's sleeping. He's in the tree.

EK Responses

Allison: It was snowing. The bear was dreaming. There he's in the flower. It's raining blueberries. I like blueberries.

Leah: He slept through winter. He wished that he was a little bear. He dreamed of the raining was blueberries. And he wished that everything was orange and yellow. And he like to climb up trees. Bears are very good climbers up trees. They sleep through winter and when they wake up in the morning they walk around and think, "Oh! This is summer!"

Brooke N.: They sleep in the winter. He's sleeping in the flower and he wish he was a little bear.

Brady: He dreamed. He was dreaming that he was a cub again. It rained blueberries. He was a polite bear 'cause he covered his mouth when he yawned.

Annalee: I like that one [illustration] because I like snow. He's sleeping in a flower. It's raining blueberries. He's trying to eat them.

Sophie: I liked when the cub was sleeping in the flower. It was so cute! And he was eating blueberries out of the sky. And the sun was a daisy! It was so funny! And I like the colors of the fish and the bear thinks the fish are trying to eat him because look it!  He [dream cub] just hopped [onto the tree]!

John:  I liked that there were raining blueberries in the sky. And I like when at the last part when it was spring again and it was very nice and stuff because some of the trees had leaves that were going down. And I liked it when he's just smelling everything. And I like when he blinked and sticked his head out. That's all.

Arthur [Talked mainly about his own personal bears, placing them right in the story.]: My bears are hibernating. One is Heavy Bear, but it's not the one I'm talking about. I call my black one Black Bear. I really like this bear [Old Bear] because both of all my bears at home are hibernating. And all mine animals are sleeping in flowers and trees. That's what their first dream that they dreamed about. Then they dreamed that blueberries were raining. And then they dreamed about all the fish were out and all my bears could catch the fish. And then they dreamed about it was snowing. Then they slept. And then they yawned and then they opened their eyes and then it was walking and then it dreamed about purple was everywhere. And then they dreamed about there was flowers everywhere. That's all I want to tell you about.

Hayden: I like that one. Winter and fall is come together and he make a lovely pillow in his den. He thinking of dreams and the winter blowing the leaves in his den. He think he is sleeping in the big flower and he pretends it's spring. Then he think a rain is blueberries and he going to eat them all up and he get a tummyache. Butterflies are going to find a lovely place and they're going to get blueberry juice all over them. And he's going to think of a fish dream. The bear is afraid to go in the water because he don't want to be eaten up by the fish. He's climbing the tree 'cause he wanna be safe. He think of dreams and he sitting in the snow and he really wants to catch snowflakes on his tongue. And he thinking of he really love the sun in his eyes. He making a big yawn because he wake up so nice and early in his den. And when he wakes up he didn't remember anything anymore.

Brooke B.: I liked it when he was dreaming that he was a cub and it was spring. I liked it when Old Bear was dreaming that it was raining blueberries. I liked it when he was dreaming that it was fall again and the fish were rainbow colored. I liked it when he was dreaming that it was winter again. I liked it when he was dreaming when it was winter and he said the stars were all colored. I liked it when he woke up and it was spring again.

Dev: I like the front part. Snow and leafs are falling down on him.

Daniel: It was silly when it rained blueberries! The bear was that big [referring to the dream cub sleeping in a crocus] and if a person stepped on it it would be squashed into maple syrup. That would be funny. I like that yellow fish a lot. If I was that big and the bear was really that big and I didn't see it I would probably step on it. Imagine a bear eating it's own head! [Comment made while viewing an illustration consisting of 4 different views of the sleeping bear's head.] It would be funny. This [back]end paper's purple and this [front] end paper's brown.

Keegan: I like this page. I like the fact that the flowers are beautiful. And that looks some kind of like a dandelion. And it's weird.  He's sleeping in a plant. It's weird. It's raining blueberries.

Bella:  I like when he was winter and it was all the color in the sky. I like all the colors on this page, like the green and the yellow. Like the grass is green over here. I like the purple and the yellow and the big crocus he was sleeping in. Note: When we discovered that Bella's dress was almost a perfect match for Old Bears' back end papers, we just had to take a picture for the blog.

PK Responses

Christel:  I liked all the blueberries and I liked the sun. It was pretty funny. The butterflies were my favorite animal. And I loved the bear inside the flower. I liked the little stars and the snow all over the trees. And I think he was watching the sun go down.

Brady L.: A bear was dreaming about he was a little cub. And he was dreaming about snow and the rain was blueberries. And all the leaves changed and the fish turned colors. And the stars turned colors.  And then he yawned and then he waked up. And then he opened his eyes. And then he was going look for food. [Old Bear was actually a gift from Brady L. last year! Thanks again, Brady L.]

Camryn:  He's falling asleep. He's dreaming, too. I love that page when he was a little cub! It's so cute. He's sleeping in a little flower, and he's so funny. I love that. It was raining blueberries! He was freaking out! Everything was orange and brown and every color. Yellow. There was stars and snow.

Acadia:  I like those a lot [colorful stars] because it matches my green and purple leaves on my dress. [Flips to illustration in which Old Bear awakens in spring.] He blinked and blinked and blinked.

Emelyn: I like him yawning and putting his paw on his mouth. That's what I do when I wake up. [Flips to an illustration with the dream cub sleeping in a crocus. Points to the cub and laughs.] Bear in a flower!!

Eva:  He was dreaming he was a little cub sleeping in a flower. I like the blueberries because he wished he was a tiny cub licking the blueberries and eating them. The fish are swimming around the ocean and he was climbing the tree. He was funny!

Summer: He's sleeping in a flower. They're raining blueberries. The fish are colored.

Kaitlyn: He was digging a lot. He was soft sleeping. And then he was dreaming about flowers and being a cub. It was raining blueberries. And he was dreaming the sun being a sunflower. And the leaves were butterflies. And then he was dreaming about the colors and like about rainbows. He doesn't go out of his house. And he sleeped and sleeped and sleeped and sleeped. And then he yawned and yawned. And he woke up. And then  it was real. His dream was real. And he's walking away to get food. He went out the book on the front. [Illustration on the dedication page depicts the back half of Old Bear. He looks like he's walking out of the book.]

Mikayla: He was sleeping in a flower. Then it was raining blueberries. He stick his tongue out. He's going to catch the blueberries. He's gonna eat it. Fishies going to get that little bear. I'm not afraid of fishies. I got a Super Hero cape. [Flips to another illustration.] It's a winter day. Bears don't run in the snow. They just sit there. He put his paw on his mouth because he's tired. Then he sticked his head out. It was a rainy day.

Emmett:  He's sleeping right now. He keeps sleeping then he sleeps in the flower. And it's raining blueberries. He's trying to get them in his mouth.

Katherine and Mack are still not feeling well and did not attend school this week. Feel better, girls!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Last Week in Review

Firefighters and cats and dogs.  Oh, my!

Last week we started a 2-week unit on fire safety in EK and PK, and we'll be reading many fire-themed books. On Monday the EK children read I Am Fire written by Jean Marzollo and illustrated by Judith Moffat. Some of the children responded below.

EK Responses

Sophie: I liked this book. I already knew before we talked about Stop, Drop, and Roll because I already learned about it. I really want to be a fireman and I really went to see a fire truck and did the hose and I went in the fire truck.

Brooke N.: I liked it. They were doing a fire drill at school. [Flips to another illustration.] Someone saw a fire over where the leaves. [Flips to another illustration.] She went out without her shoes because [the house] was on fire.

Hayden:  I liked it. A girl and a puppy went outside and helped the brother get away from the fire.

Daniel:  I know the words Stop, Drop, and Roll and I know on this page if the door is all blocked by fire and the windows weren't blocked you can go out the windows. And on this page I didn't know that leafs could go on fire. And I know if there's a fire you should go on your hands and knees. And I think he [boy in an illustration] was really big so he shouldn't play with matches, he would know you shouldn't play with matches, or you shouldn't play with cigarettes.  And I know that you put a marshmallow on your stick when you're roasting marshmallows.  And I know that there's only three words -- nine, one, one. At home we have a wood and screen attached to the wood to keep us away from the fireplace. And I have seen fireworks on TV and when I was upstairs and Mom was reading a story in my bed I heard them. [Turns his attention to another illustration.] The puppy is too close to the grill and the girl is right next to the mom. I liked it except the fact it made me remember on the computer it was a video like Land Before Time, but it wasn't one it was a one where he could spit out fire and he could also eat it. I didn't like it because it made me think that I was eating it without being trained.

Brooke B.:  I liked it when the dad was reading a bedtime story to the kid. And I liked it when a boy blew out the candles. And I liked it when they were watching the fireworks together. I liked it when they practiced the fire drill. I liked it when they did a fire drill at school. I liked it when the kid told a grown-up when she saw a pile of leaves burning. I liked it when a boy crawled under the smoke. I liked it when that boy dropped, stopped and rolled. I liked it when they went camping and roasted marshmallows. I liked it when the girl called 9-1-1.

Dev: I liked that part. [Kids having a fire drill at school.]

[On Monday the EK kids also reread THE STORY OF FERDINAND written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson.]

The PK children still needed to vote for their favorite animal, dog or cat. On Monday the PK children read two books: Clifford's Tricks written and illustrated by Norman Bridwell, and Caldecott Honor Book Green Eyes written and illustrated by A. Birnbaum. They voted, and the vote tallied up at 8 for dogs and 5 for cats.

Christel:  I liked the Clifford book best. I liked it 'cause Clifford rolled over the truck and when he went WOOF loud. The girl fell in the water. It was a good thing the dog saved the girl. And I liked it when Clifford was the best dog ever. And Clifford really is a good dog. Well, sometimes he doesn't do the right things we want him to do 'cause sometimes he's naughty.

Camryn liked Clifford's Tricks:  I liked Clifford. She [a girl walking on the railing of a bridge] fell in the water because she was doing something dangerous. Her foots were up there [on the bridge railing] then her head was upside down [as she fell from the bridge]. Her dog tried to save her but he couldn't because he wasn't big. Clifford saved them.

Emelyn liked Green Eyes: I liked this kitty book. I like he slipping down the box. [Flips to another illustration.] All the animals thought he was a little lion in the jungle.

Emmett liked Green Eyes:  He's like a tiger.

Eva liked Green Eyes:  Because he has green eyes and he could climb out of his small box. I liked when he was in the grass like a baby lion.

Katherine liked Clifford's Tricks: I liked the Clifford one because Clifford and the other dog saved the little girl.

Kaitlyn liked Clifford's Tricks:  Her dog was a little less smarter. The girl with the yellow dress. But Clifford -- no. Not that smart. He didn't know anything. And he barked so loud people were arguing. He rolled over on the police car. [Flips to last illustration.] And then they both hugged them. [Emily Elizabeth and her new friend hugged their dogs.]

Acadia liked Clifford's Tricks:  Because Clifford saved them.  I like them because they like them. [Emily  Elizabeth and her new friend both like their dogs.]

Mack liked Green Eyes: I like the kitty best because her name was Green Eyes because she was a kitty. When she was [getting bigger] her box was getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.

Mikayla liked Clifford's Tricks:  That book silly.

Summer liked Clifford's Tricks best.

CPG Kids Read for the Record

Thursday, October 8th was Jumpstart's Read for the Record day, and children across the country read Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Even though we read this book early in September, we reread it in CPG in order to participate in this important event. On Friday, we read Little House, Little Town by Scott Beck.

Ryan spoke about The Very Hungry Caterpillar:  I like this picture because he eats one apple on this day, and two pears on the other day, and three . . . What are these again? [Me: plums] 'Cause he ate the plums and he ate the strawberries and he ate the five oranges but he was still hungry. So he ate the chocolate and the ice cream and the pickle and the cheese and one slice of salami and a lollipop, and pie, and a sausage, and a cupcake and the watermelon then he had a bellyache. 'Cause he ate those leaves but I don't know why he cut the holes out to pretend he ate them. Then he was a big fat caterpillar then he was a butterfly and that's it.

Aidan C. spoke about  The Very Hungry Caterpillar:  Part of it was when he was in a egg. Part of it was when he popped out. When he ate all the things he had a stomachache. When he feeled better he ate part of a leaf.

Alec talked about Little House, Little Town:  He didn't have a helmet. She's scared of the dog. They're climbing up the tree. She ate an ice cream. He's [a dog] trying to pull the chain.

Olivia spoke about Little House, Little Town: The baby had a different face. [We had commented that the baby looked like he had a grown-up face.] [Turns to an illustration of boys riding bikes.] Riding bikes! They didn't have a helmet. [Flips to another page.] She's getting ice cream.

Arthur talked about Little House, Little Town: [Looking at title page.] My favorite is that part because the baby looks like he has a man's face. I think this is the end because the baby is standing up and saying, "Hey!" [Flips to another page.] I like this page because there was a dog in the page and ice cream. [Flips to another page.] But my really favorite page is when they leave their bike out. [Flips to another page.] No. My REALLY favorite page is that there was a lot of buildings.

J.J. spoke about The Very Hungry Caterpillar: I like that part because it's funny because the egg -- it looks like a rock! And I like this when he ate through these, and again, and again, and again, and again, and AGAIN!  I like the WHOLE book!

John talked about Little House, Little Town: I liked about it that it has when all of the guys were riding on bikes. And I liked that when the grocer was trying to make a tower with these cans. And I liked that the girl was going to get ice cream. And I liked that they put on the sprinkler. And I liked when the girl was finishing her ice cream cone. And I like when it was all quiet in the church and everything and it showed the church and everything. And that's it.

Bob wanted to talk about You Can Name 100 Trucks by Randy Chewning, a book he pulled off the shelf and "read" on his own. Bob points to a building on fire and says, "Fire!" Points again and says: "School bus.  Fire truck."

Teagan didn't feel like talking about books this week.

NOTE:  We had 5 children absent in CPG on both Thursday and Friday this week.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Apparently Cats Rule.

Yesterday the CPG children read Circle Dogs written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Today they read Caldecott Honor book Green Eyes written and illustrated by A. Birnbaum, and then voted for their favorite animal. The election results were as follows: 4 votes for dogs and 6 votes for cats.

Brady and Ryan discussed the books together.

Brady: Circle Dogs was my favorite because them were circley. I love the black one.

Ryan:  I like the black one, too. And I do like that one, too. [Green Eyes]

Brady: Cat one for me, too, because it has green eyes.

Ryan: Mine's because I like that one, too. [Green Eyes] I like green.

Brady: I do to. Green's my favorite.

Ryan: Hey! I thought you like purple.

Ryan: I do. And green, too.

The rest of the children discussed the book individually with me.

Aria:  I liked Green Eyes. He was a little cat. I like the chickens. I like the end pages -- grass, sun, winter, fall.

J.J.: I liked it because the Circle Dogs were sleeping in a circley way. [Flips to another illustration.]  Digging! I liked that part, too. I liked the story.

Maeve:  I liked Green Eyes because he jumped out of the box. He's trying to get the mouse, but it wasn't a mouse. It was a leaf. He jumped and tried to get it, but he was thinking about it. He was sleeping near the radiator because the snow was going to fall on him and he'd get cold.

Olivia: [Olivia liked Circle Dogs best.] They smell bones. They wake up the people.

Aiden R.: [Aiden liked Circle Dogs best, too.] It turned into a circle. They digged in the yard. They were licking people.

Lindsey: [Lindsey picked Circle Dogs as her favorite book, and the orange dog as her favorite character.]

Aidan C.:  [Aidan liked Green Eyes best.] She climbed in the box. She run around the tree. She was watching the man walk the cows. [Milk the cows.]

[Teagan didn't feel like talking about books today, and the rest of the children were absent from school.]

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Check This Out

I also contribute to The Write Sisters' blog, and posted a Mentor Monday post on September 28th entitled Know Your Reader. I included an excerpt from The Picture Book Project and recommended that the authors reading The Write Sisters visit The Picture Book Project to research their picture book audience. I think you might find some of the comments from a few children's authors interesting.