Friday, December 3, 2010

In the words of the Von Trapp children . . .

Actually they're the words of Rodgers and Hammerstein, but no matter. The point is, this is my last post at The Picture Book Project. There are only so many hours in the day, and , in the words of Johnny Mercer, "something's gotta give." That something is The Picture Book Project. I'm going to leave the blog up, but after today there'll be no more active posting. I hope you've enjoyed it!

Early last month, the children read and discussed several books by Don and Audrey Wood. I promised to let you know how the Woods fared in EK and PK Top Book voting. The children read King Bidgood's in the Bathtub, The Napping House, and The Little Mouse, the Red, Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. The EK kids also read Heckedy Peg, Piggies and Quick as a Cricket. As you can see, The Little Mouse wiped out the competition in PK.

The EK kids had two rounds of voting. Heckedy Peg won in the first round, which meant it went on to compete in the second round.

Heckedy Peg proves that you just can't beat a good old-fashioned-type of fairy tale. It won the second round to become Top Book of the week in EK.

We'll continue to vote for Top Book each week, and the children will even blog about books from time to time, but I'll be writing about that over at the new Hogarth Country Day School website. In the meantime, here's the last Picture Book Project blogging done by a few of the EK and PK kids a couple of weeks ago. They talked about their favorite Don and Audrey Wood books.

Katherine: (Bidgood was her favorite.) I liked the part when they had to go fishing in the bathtub. This was my favorite because I liked all the water.

Skyler: (Bidgood was her favorite.) It was funny when they ate all the food in the bathtub. The king told the boy to clean up all the food in the bathtub. He [the boy] didn't like it. And he [the boy] didn't like the steam. I want to talk about a different book now. It said, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! It was a funny part. And this is a funny part because he's going to pick up a big, giant strawberry. We have strawberries at home! We have strawberry drinks. You have to blend it with strawberries inside. And we make banana drinks at home. It was funny when he was picking the strawberry up, because he was pointing his nose up. That was funny.

Summer: (The Big Hungry Bear was her favorite.) It was about the mouse. He thought the bear was trying to eat the strawberry. He was trying to get the strawberry. He wrapped it with the thing [chains]. He put glasses and nose and a mustache and put the strawberry on a seat, and he did the same thing.

Emelyn: (The Big Hungry Bear was her favorite.) I like it when the mouse putted it in chains 'cause he didn't want the bear to eat it. And I like the other one where he cut it in half so they could share. He shared it with the bear. I want to look at another one. This one [Heckedy Peg] I liked, too. They let the witch in 'cause they gave the witch pipes. She was going to give them a pot of gold. She turned them into food.  I liked the cheese . . . I liked all the things the witch was going to eat. I liked this part. The mommy knows which one wants what. I like this one, too. The mom turned them back into kids. That's what I like.

Eva: (Heckey Peg was her favorite.) A witch came to their house and said, "Let me in! Let me in!" And they wouldn't let her in because their mother said that strangers are not allowed in the house. And then the witch said, "Burn some fire on the twigs to light my pipe." And then they said, "Our mother won't let us touch fire." And then she said, "If you do what I say, then I'll give you this." And then they looked in a bag full of gold and she said, "If you let me in I'll let you have this gold." They let her in, and they burned the fire and lit her pipe, and then she turned them into food. And then she took them to her house. And then the mother arrived and then she called her kids, but they weren't there. So she went all the places the witch went, and up to her house, and then she went to her house and the witch wouldn't let her in because her shoes were too dirty and her socks were too dirty and then her feet were too dirty. And then she said she would cut off her feet but she just hid them under her dress. And then the witch let her in the house and she found all her childs were food and then she know what they wanted and she pointed to all the food and it turned back into their childs. See! I think that's the witch, but it looks more like a man. Oh, it is the witch! And then she ran, and the witch fell off the bridge.

Olivia: (Bidgood was her favorite.) The king wanted to go into the bathtub. The little boy brought the water upstairs and then they [the king and the knight] played in the bathtub. The knight wanted to have a fight. They wanted to have a battle. Then the boy cleaned it all out. Then they ate in the tub. They really did eat in the tub. They made food lambs and food birds and a food swan. Then the boy took it all out. Then they fished in the tub. They fished in the tub after all. See? And then, you know what happened next? The boy cleaned the fish all out and the lily pads. Then they danced in the tub. Dit-ta-dit-ta-dit-too-doo! Then, look at his face because he took the plug out! Then he had to go all out again. The end!

Lindsey: (Big Hungry Bear was her favorite.)The bear will eat the strawberry so the mouse ate it. The bear will run and run and get it because the bear will eat it.

Alexis:(Big Hungry Bear was her favorite.) The big mouse and the strawberry. The mouse runs on the bear. The bear was growling and then the mouse was scared. The mouse was running with the strawberry. Then he shared it in pieces.

Anna: (Big Hungry Bear was her favorite.) The bear run away from the mouse. When it's all tangled up [the strawberry is in chains] he has a key. He hid from his strawberry. He cut a knife from a strawberry. He cut it and eat it and all share it. The candles is blow out and he ran away from the bear.

Luke: (Big Hungry Bear was his favorite.) The bear wants to eat the strawberry. The bear really has sharp claws. The bear was eating the strawberry. The bear ate the mouse. The bear ate the ice cream. I like spider webs. [NOTE: The bear didn't eat the mouse. Don and Audrey Wood's stuff isn't that dark!]

Saturday, November 13, 2010

And the winners are . . .

We have three Top Book election results to share from last week. The EK children, who are studying the effects of cold weather on animals as well as the number 3, read Old Bear by Kevin Henkes, Don't Wake Up the Bear written by Marjorie Dennis Murray and illustrated by Patricia Wittmann, and The Triplets by Barbara Seuling. (Can you guess which book goes with which unit of study? I bet you can!)

If you remember the elections from the first week of November, Old Bear was the winner with the PK kids. Not so this week with the EK kids. It was a tight race between The Triplets and Don't Wake Up the Bear, but Don't Wake Up the Bear garnered 7 votes to 6 votes for The Triplets. Old Bear might as well have stayed in bed that day, receiving only 1 vote.

The PK children  have also been studying the effects of cold weather on animals, the letter P, and the effects being a Bossy Boots has on play situations. (3 and 4-year olds can sometimes be a tad bossy with each other.) We read Bear Snores On written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman, Dinofours: I'm the Boss written by Steve Metzger and illustrated by Hans Wilhem, and Pigsty by Mark Teague. (Can you guess which book goes with which unit of study? I bet you can!)

Steve Metzger was bossy at the ballot box, winning with 7 votes to Teague's 4 and Wilson's 2. I was a bit surprised, if the truth be known. The kids loved all three books, especially Wilson's. They were SO invested in the bear not waking up, and even "read" the repeating refrain without any prodding from me: "BUT THE BEAR SNORES ON!" (You have to shout it if you're 4-years old.) I was stumped when it only received two votes. Possibly, the voting was too far removed from the reading. I'll have to look back and see how Monday books fare on Wednesday voting days. Or maybe I should just move on. Who am I to question the will of the people?

Move on I will, to the results of the CPG voting. Because of the Veterans' Day holiday, we only met for one class this week. I decided to start my Don and Audrey Wood unit in CPG by reading The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear and Piggies. Don and Audrey Wood's King Bidgood's in the Bathtub is on my Top Ten Picture Book List, and I always love reading their stuff to my students. The Little Mouse is one of those magical books that speaks to nearly every preschooler who hears it. There's just enough tension to make it more than a sweet piece of fluff, and the gorgeous illustrations bring added depth to the seemingly simple storyline. I wasn't at all surprised when it won CPG Top Book this week, slamming Piggies with an 11 to 2 vote count.

The Don and Audrey Wood Readapalooza continues next week in all classes. Who will be the winner?  Will it be Quick as a Cricket? Will it be The Napping House? Will it be my personal favorite, King Bidgood's in the Bathtub? You'll find out next Friday. Or Saturday. Or maybe Sunday. I'm not sure when I'll get it posted. In any event, you'll find out!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shhhh! Don't Wake Up the Bear!

It's Friday at Hogarth, which means it's Election Day. To go with a hibernation unit we started in PK and CPG this week, children in both classes read Old Bear by Kevin Henkes and Don't Wake Up the Bear! written by Marjorie Dennis Murray and illustrated by Patricia Wittman. Don't Wake Up the Bear! has just the right amount of tension to keep preschoolers on the edges of their little seats. Let me tell you, Murray gives preschoolers as much of a thrill as Stephen King gives grown-ups. I'll let the CPG Kids speak for themselves.

Zephan: I was scared of the mouse that waked up. I was scared when the bear waked up. It chased the mice. He found something to eat. Berries.

Delaney Roache: The fox was scared of the bear. The mouse slept in the bear's ear. They said, "Don't wake up!" Somebody woke him up.

Emma: The mouse woke up the bear with a KERCHOO! He woke up and he was angry and he had to get something to eat.

Cooper: The bear waked up because all the animals were on him. He chaseded them.

Killian: The rabbit said, "Don't wake up the bear." They sleeped with him.

Samuel: The bear was sleeping and the bad wolf came in to sleep. What is that? [Me: It's a badger.] Oh, a badger. What's a badger do? Look it! Here comes a wolf! What is that? [Me: It's a fox.] It's a fox! He didn't still wake up. That mouse is in his ear. Look! He waked up! He said, ROAR! Look he's eating some berries. I loved this story. I need to read it. (Samuel leafed through the book again, reenacting the story as he went.)

Patrick: He waked up the bear. The mouse. The bear was mad. He made a mad face.

Camryn H.: A bear was sleeping. Then a hare came along and he wished he could snuggle with that bear. Then he did. Then a fox, then something else, I don't know. What is it? [Me: A badger.] Then the mouse came along. Then the hare said, "Don't wake up the bear!"

Cameron W.: The mouse sneezeded. Then they ran away.

Delaney Riley: Don't wake up the bear!

So how did the elections turn out this week at Hogarth? Don't Wake Up the Bear won CPG Top Book today with 6 votes to Old Bear's 4.

In PK, Top Book was Old Bear with 6 votes over Don't Wake Up the Bear! with 5 votes. Those were both pretty close races, if you ask me.
To go along with this week's EK lessons on letter Pp and number 3, the EK kids read The Three Pigs by David Wiesner and Pigsty by Mark Teague. The Three Pigs was elected Top Book by a 9 to 5 landslide.
Again, we had that little bit of tension with Wiesner's version. When the wolf actually ate the pig, there was an audible gasp from a few of the kids. (Not to worry, folks. The pigs ultimately emerged unscathed from the book. Literally.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Bumpy Little Squishy Squashy Dirty Pumpkin

The EK and PK children discussed The Bumpy Little Pumpkin written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Little Nell, Big Mama, Big Lizzie, and Big Sarah had a Big pumpkin patch. At Halloween, the sisters selected pumpkins to carve. When Little Nell chose a small, bumpy pumpkin, her Big sisters said it was little and ugly. They said Little Nell needed a bigger, better, nicer, smoother pumpkin. They left Little Nell in the pumpkin patch with orders to find a bigger and better pumpkin. With a little help from her animal friends (okay, it was a lot of help) Little Nell's pumpkin was transformed into a jolly, little jack-o-lantern. Of course, her sisters still weren't impressed, but that was okay. Big Mama liked it just fine, but more importantly, so did Little Nell.

Here, the EK Kids share their thoughts on The Bumpy Little Pumpkin.

Acadia: They're finding a perfect pumpkin. They were taking care of their pumpkin patch and then they were making jack-o-lanterns. She was going back and forth and back and forth and she said she liked the bumpy little pumpkin. Her sisters said, "I don't think I like that one." She was sad. Her animal friends helped her carve the pumpkin. And then the robins helped them make the face.

Katherine: I liked the part when her animal friends helped her carve the pumpkin.

Emelyn: The sisters said, "That's an ugly little bumpy pumpkin." She [Little Nell] was sad. I liked it when the friends helped the kid carve it. I liked the deer. I liked all the animals.

Summer: The pumpkin was too bumpy. The animals did the pumpkin. The moose cutted the pumpkin. The bear grabbed out all the stuff out of the pumpkin. The birds made a face for the pumpkin. She runned home. The mom hugged her.

Emmett: I like the hare because he's cute. The hare was whistling to the birds for them to carve the pumpkin.

Irena: The people said the pumpkin was ugly. She was sad. Her friends came over and they helped her make the pumpkin. She was whistling for the birds so they could help some more. They carved the eyes and the mouth and the nose. She was happy. She ran, ran, ran all the way home. They said it was a little ugly still. And then the mom thought it was fine. She gave her a kiss.

Eva: They grew a bumpy little pumpkin. They said she couldn't have it because it was too bumpy. She got sad. Her friends carved and pulled lots of stuff out of the pumpkin and carved the pumpkin. And then she brought it home. She got to keep the pumpkin.

Mackenzie: I like the animals because they were kind of cute. They turned the bumpy pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern, it was little and kind of funny. And I liked it when the birds come and carve the smiley face. It's kind of funny, too. It was sad when she starts crying because her sisters were being mean to her. In the end, the mom gave her a big, slobbery kiss.

Brady: I like this page because they found two good pumpkins. I like this page because she found a good size. It was too bumpy. I like this page because she was laying in the wheelbarrow. I had to sit in the wheelbarrow when I was like two and I had to hold two pumpkins. They were heavy. This is the last page I like because her friends helped. The moose cutted around.

Alec: The animals carved her pumpkin for her because the moms didn't do it for her.

Shea: The bear carved the pumpkin because her mom thinked she can't carve it because it's so bumpy. The deer carves the face. The crows cut the top off. And the bunny rabbit cutted the top off. She was running to the house to show her mom and sisters. The sisters said, "It still looks too bumpy!" But the mom said, "Nonsense! It's perfect!" They putted a bulb in it. One was tall, one was like a pumpkin, and one was bumpy.

Camryn: Big Lizzie and Big Sarah didn't like the bumpy because they thought it was too bumpy and too ugly. Little Nell was sad. Then the animals came. They helped Little Nell get it to be a good jack-o-lantern. Little Nell drawed a face. She took it home and Sarah and Lizzie still didn't like it. The mom liked it. The mom bended over and gave her a big, sloppy kiss.

Aiden: It was too scary, so I hid under the table! All the pages were scary. Look at the scary decorations. We have window stickers for Halloween. We have a glass pumpkin that glows up. 

Skyler:  They were going to pick a pumpkin. That's skinny. [The pumpkin.] It's really, really skinny. You know what she's getting? A bumpy one. They said it was ugly. She was sad. A bunny comed. Then a bear, then a deer because she was feeling sad. They helped her make the pumpkin. She whistled for the birdies to carve it. We made a pumpkin before! And we saw kids and we saw deers. We saw them on the street when we were driving, but we didn't run over them. One was little and one was big. [Turns her attention back to the story.] She showed them, but they said it was still ugly. She [the mom] hugged her and she was happy. Look! They have a whole bag of candy.

Here's what the PK kids had to say.

Olivia: Big Lizzie said it was too bumpy. Little Nell just cried and cried and cried and cried. Her friends the animals carved and carved and carved and carved, then she hugged it.

Bob: I like when she was doing the jack-o-lantern.

Anna: When she was picking a pumpkin, her was crying. Her cried and she drew the picture with her finger. When her picked the pumpkin, her wouldn't be sad anymore. Once her get home to the Big Mama, she brought it home and she was sleeping.

Mikayla: She picked a bumpy pumpkin but her mom [her sisters] said she can't get it. She had a tear, and more tears. She hugged the bumpy pumpkin. Her friends came and helped her. She whistled for the birds. They cut out the face. She ran inside. The sister said, "No picking it!" The mom said, "You can pick it." The mom gave her a hug.

Luke: She had tears on her face because she wants that fat pumpkin and her mother's gone. She whistled for the birds, because she wanted a pumpkin. She got a pumpkin. She runned home.

Robbie: He teared the cap off with his own antlers. The bear ripped the cap off with his long claws. He scooped out because they're going to carve the pumpkin because they're going to make a jack-o-lantern. The birds poked and poked and maked a hole for the jack-o-lantern for the face. The girl went running home. The mother comed out and said, "How did that get carved?" She said, "It came from the pumpkin patch." They made all jack-o-lanterns. Her thinked her jack-o-lantern was the best, and her thinked her jack-o-lantern was the best, and the mother said, "They're all beautiful!" And it said, "Happy Halloween!"

Autumn: She didn't know which pumpkin to pick. She wanted a bumpy little pumpkin. They [the sisters] didn't like it. They said, "Pick another pumpkin." She stayed with the little pumpkin. Her friends helped her carve the pumpkin. She ranned and bringed it home. Her sisters said, "That is still ugly and bumpy." The mom said, "I like it."

Lindsey: The animals helped the girl with the pumpkin. The girl whistled. She was calling the birds. They need to help the girl do the pumpkin face. She runned and get home. They loved it. The mom hugged the girl.

Alexis: The little girl picked the bumpy pumpkin. Her sisters said, "That looks squishy and squashy and dirty." She felt sad. The animals comed and helped her make a pumpkin. The moose helped the little girl carry it. The bear took all the seeds out. The birds made a face for her. She runned and bring it in the house. Her sisters said, "It still looks ugly!" The mom said, "It's great!" And then she hugged her mommy.

Ryan: I liked the whole thing.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We're Back!

After a longer than expected blog hiatus, we're back! Just because the kids and I haven't been blogging, it doesn't mean that we haven't been up to our eyeballs in books since starting school last month. We began this school year the same way we begin every school year by reading Bill and Eric's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (I've read Bill and Eric's books so many times I feel like we're close enough for first names. If you don't know their last names, click over to Books We've Read This Year to find out.)

There's a reason I always start with these books. They're fabulous! The simple storyline and repetitive, predictable text beg my students to participate in "reading" the story. These books are wildly popular, and many children have already read them before starting school. Even if they haven't, they are so masterfully written and illustrated, and so kid-friendly that they immediately feel familiar to these young readers. Besides, the cat is purple and the horse is blue. You aren't going to find a blue horse this side of Oz in many other places. And the teacher has glasses just like mine! In fact, if you're three or four-years old (or if you have any imagination at all) that teacher could be me, and those children staring back at her could be them.

I decided to add a new component to my literacy and math curriculums this year. Each week, the children are voting for their favorite story from among the books read that week. The voting started for EK and PK that first week of school, with the CPG kids jumping aboard the voting train the second week. Here's how things turned out for the bear books:

We went on to read several more Carle classics: The Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Quiet Cricket, and Carle's indisputable masterpiece, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (I invite you to dispute away.)

But what do the kids think about these books? Would they agree that The Very Hungry Caterpillar represents the apex of Carle's career? We'd find out at the ballot box. (It's actually a pocket chart.) It was a landslide victory in EK for the The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The Grouchy Ladybug ran a distant second, and The Very Quiet Cricket might as well have stayed home.

The PK kids bucked conventional wisdom when they voted The Grouchy Ladybug into the number one position. The Very Hungry Caterpillar didn't know what hit it, as it tied with The Very Quiet Cricket for second place. Or last place, depending on how you look at it.

The CPG kids had their own ideas about which Carle book deserves all the attention. It was a much tighter race that saw The Very Quiet Cricket win by a nose, closely followed by The Grouchy Ladybug, with The Very Hungry Caterpillar limping over the voting finishing line dead last. So much for indisputable masterpieces.

Speaking of indisputable masterpieces, the children tried their hand at cut paper art, Carle's preferred medium. Too bad Eric didn't have googly eyes for his caterpillar.

The kids will be back blogging within the next few weeks. In the meantime, I'll get the rest of the election results posted. We did a Margaret Wise Brown unit that the kids are still talking about!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Books We Read (2010-2011 Academic Year)

November Books

The Three Pigs by David Wiesner (2002 Caldecott Medal Winner) (EK)
Old Bear by Kevin Henkes (PK, CPG and EK)
Good for You! written by Catherine Lukas and illustrated by Joel Schick (Acadia's Sharing) (EK)
Playing with My Cat by Deborah Charren (Mack's Sharing) (EK)
Down by the Bay adapted and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott (Eva's Sharing) (EK)
Hooray for Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold (Eva's Sharing) (EK)
Teacher's Pet written by D. Jakobs and illustrated by Jim Talbot (Summer's Sharing) (EK)
Good Night Beach written by Adam Gamble and illustrated by Cooper Kelly (Lindsey's Sharing) (PK)
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss (Mikayla's Sharing) (PK)
Pigsty by Mark Teague (EK and PK)
Don't Wake Up the Bear written by Marjorie Dennis Murray and illustrated by Patricia Wittmann (PK, CPG and EK)
Bedtime written by Elizabeth Verdick and illustrated by Marieka Heinlen (Emma's Sharing) (CPG)
The Triplets by Barbara Seuling (EK)
Bear Snores On written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman (PK)
Dinofours: I'm the Boss written by Steve Metzger and illustrated by Hans Wilhelm (PK) 
Piggies written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood (CPG)
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear written by Don and Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood (CPG)

October Books

And the Good Brown Earth by Kathy Henderson (EK & PK) (Project Nature book)
Vera's Halloween by Vera Rosenberry (EK) (Katherine's Sharing)
Mommy? by Maurice Sendak (EK) (Eva's Sharing)
Wake Up, Lazy Bones! no author/illustrator given in this book from Waldman Publishing (EK) (Emelyn's Sharing)
The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle (EK) (Eva's Sharing)
Two Little Trains written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon (EK and PK)
Red Light, Green Light written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Leonard Weisgard (EK and PK)
The Dirty Little Boy written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Steven Salerno (EK and PK)
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley (CPG) (Emma's Sharing)
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (CPG) (1963 Caldecott Medal Winner) (Read for Jumpstart's Read for the Record)
Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats (CPG)
Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag (EK) (1928 Newbery Honor Book)
Cat's Colors by Jane Cabrera (EK)
Owl Babies written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Patrick Benson (PK)
Charlie Anderson written by Barbara Abercrombie and illustrated by Mark Graham (EK and PK)
Six-Dinner Sid by Inga Moore (EK)
Owl Moon written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr (PK) (1988 Caldecott Medal Winner)
I am Fire written by Jean Marzollo and illustrated by Judith Moffatt (EK, PK and CPG)
Drip, Drop written by Sharon Gordon and illustrated by Don Page (CPG)
Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming (EK and PK)
Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni (EK)
Cool Cat, Hot Dog by Sandy Turner (PK)
Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni (EK)
No, David! by David Shannon (CPG) (1999 Caldecott Honor Book)
Mama, Do You Love Me? written by Barbara M. Joosse and illustrated by Barbara Lavallee (CPG)
The Bumpy Little Pumpkin written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand (EK and PK)
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything written by Linda Williams and illustrated by Megan Lloyd (EK, PK and CPG)
Littlebat's Halloween Story written by Diane Mayr and illustrated by Gideon Kendall (EK, PK and CPG)

September Books

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle (EK, PK and CPG)
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle (EK, PK and CPG)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (EK, PK and CPG)
The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle (EK, PK and CPG)
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle (EK, PK and CPG)
Don't Eat the Teacher by Nick Ward (PK)
Tucker's Best School Day by Susan Winget (PK)
The Apple Pie Tree written by Zoe Hall and illustrated by Shari Halpern (EK and PK)
Apples by Gail Gibbons (EK and PK)
Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace (EK and PK)
Before the Storm written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Georgia Pugh (EK and PK)
The Runaway Bunny written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd (EK, PK and CPG)
Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd (EK, PK and CPG)
My World written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd (EK, PK and CPG)
Little Donkey Close Your Eyes written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Ashley Wolff (EK, PK and CPG)

Monday, July 19, 2010

(Gasp) Someone writed in it!

Today was Animal Day at Hogarth. Camryn shared that she is going to Boston for the Duck Tour this summer. Of course, Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings was the perfect choice for storytime. I bought my copy second-hand 30 years ago, and it is well-worn. The previous owner fancied himself an artist, and there are scribbles throughout the book, which the kids found positively scandalous. (I said "himself" because somehow Julianna figured out that the previous owner was a boy. I guess she must be right since all the other kids agreed with her.)

Our blogging has been more "off" than "on" this summer. Our last day is tomorrow, so this will be the last post by the children until we start back up after Labor Day.  
Camryn: Someone writed in it! This is my favorite because the man duckling and the mom duckling hatched their babies. I'm going on the Duck Tour. I think there's going to be ducks, and I think we're going to play games to punch the pretend ducks. I'm going on the swan boat. The swan pushed the boat.

Julianna: A daddy duck and a mama duck were looking for a place to live and then he asked about where they were going to live and stuff. The mama said, "NO! Quack! Quack!" Because there were foxes and turtles and stuff. And then they found here in Boston. Then they went to go get something to eat. Then they saw a boat and then they threw peanuts in the water to feed them. And then they followed the boat all around. And then the daddy duck almost got ran over. Hey! There's writing there! I think he drew a bird there! My favorite part was when the baby ducklings hatched.

Annalee: The mama said, "Don't go near the woods because there's wolfs that can get them!" So later they found a nice island and the mama said, "We should stay here for the night." Then they catched some fish, and they said, "There's not many things in this pond." They thought the swan was real, but it was pretend. They liked peanuts from the people. The mama duck screamed because there's a boy biking down the road. He almost ran over the ducks. They flew away and they found a place to get their babies. Then she counted her babies and they were all there. There were eight. Then the babies hatched and they learned how to swim. Then they swam in one line. Then they walked on the highway. Then the mama yelled and the babies cheeped. Then the policeman ran because there's ducklings trying to get through and he yelled, "STOP!" Because they wanted to go with their mama, they followed her. They went home. They're finally back home.

Abbie: Writing! Do you like people when they write on your books? [I said: I don't like it when people write on my books, but I still like the people.] I don't like that the people keep running over the ducks. Maybe they just saw them, and they couldn't really stop. Maybe the pedals are really loose. I liked when the ducklings hatched out. I like when Mr. Mallard is like looking at that duckling. I think he feels happy. I like when Mike came when he stopped the cars.

Emmett:  Cars are zooming by ducklings. The mama duck is not happy about it. She's mad. The policeman comes running by. He calls all the policemen to hold the traffic. They can cross the street. Make Way for Ducklings!

Teagan: I liked when these ones all hatched because I like the baby ducklings. That's all. Bye bye!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Summer Kids Talk Turkey (Vultures)

We're back! I'm teaching a small group of mixed-age kids for six weeks this summer, and will be blogging off and on with them. Today we worked on letter Vv, painted volcanoes, and read Vulture View written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. You can read what April Pulley Sayre has to say about Vulture View at her website. Sayre's nonfiction picture books for young children are among my favorites. Check her stuff out the next time you're at the library. I guarantee your kids are going to love her books. 

Annalee: I like the picture where he found some food. I liked that bear climbing a tree. I like this picture. He's sitting in a tree fluffing up his wings. I saw a baby hedgehog today when I was going to my school. It was running across the road.

Arthur:  I like this page because they are eating this animal because it's dead. It was smelly.

Teagan: I will tell you which part I love. I like this part. [Illustration of the rotting bones of an animal whose species the children debated. Their guesses ranged from buffalo to elephant. It looks to be in the cattle family to me.] Here's all the parts of this animal. I don't know what it is.

Camryn: All I know is that these animals might be extinct. The vultures fly. When it's cold, they go down, and when it's sunny they go up. They're looking for something good to eat.  They like to eat something dead. Not that snake! Not that fox, because it's alive! They want to eat this deer because they like stuff that is dead and real stinky.

John: I learned that vultures are good for the earth and they eat all the dead stuff. And when the bad stuff drops into the ground and touches all the plants and stuff, they die. So the vultures are the animal garbage people. I liked when the vulture was gliding and soaring through the air at the second page.

Olivia: I was going to talk about these guys that are skeletons. This is a ram, and that's a pig. And this deer I'm talking about because he's dead. They're going to eat it, because they like eating animals that are dead. And I like vultures that fly in the sky. I like snakes. I like foxes. I like vultures that stand on branches. I like bears. I like vultures that go in a family tree.

J.J.:  I learned about that vultures eat yucky food. I think there's a big ant on this page.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Very Good Cause

Marianne, a friend (and Hogarth parent) who works for Pearson Education recently told me about We Give Books. This year alone, the Pearson Foundation, in partnership with the Penguin Group, is planning to donate more than a million books to children who do not have books. You can drive the effort simply by reading free books on-line at We Give Books. You'll find picture books for children through age ten, with a good mix of fiction and non-fiction. There are read-aloud books, and books for older children to read independently. New books are added each month, and you'll find special seasonal offerings, as well.

How does it work? For each book you read, one book will be donated to the organization of your choice. And it doesn't cost you a penny. When you first log on, you'll be asked to register and choose your designated charity from among several literacy organizations. You can even switch up your designated charities to spread the wealth.

Did I mention it's free? (I know that I did. Three times. I just want to over-emphasize that it doesn't cost you anything to be a hero.)

Aside from contributing to the very worthy cause of child literacy, if you're a picture book author you'll be able to "research read" within your genre. If you're a parent, you can teach your child about philanthropic giving as you read with him or her. Older children can experience the joy of giving as they read books on-line on their own. Teenagers could even design a service project around We Give Books. Everybody wins, but only if you log on now, register, and start reading.

It's free, by the way.

This post originally appeared at The Write Sisters' blog on April 26, 2010.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Read It Again!!

The CPG and EK children read an out-of-print old favorite, Little Cloud, by Robert Tallon. After I finished reading it, cries for me to read it again went up from the CPG kids. I wasn't at all surprised. Over the years, Little Cloud has elicited this response over and over. What a shame that a book kids connect to so strongly has gone out of print. I'll never understand the publishing industry!

Creative Play Group Responses:

Teagan: The lightning knocked off the mountain's nose and it fell off. I liked when it knocked off the nose. See! The lightning's touching the nose. His nose fell off and he said, "Aaaaw!! My nose!!" Look it. He blowed his nose when it was off him on the grass. He was tearing [crying] because his nose fell off in the dark.

Maeve: The cloud was near the big mountain. The big mountain scared everybody. He knocked off his nose because he didn't want him to be mean. The mountain grumbled. I liked it because he knocked off his nose.

Aria:  There was no more water for the animals. I like this one. [Illustration showing Mean Mountain's nose on the ground.] His nose is all sad.

Brady D.:  It was a story about Mean Mountain and Little Cloud.  I liked when Little Cloud wanted to go to the other side of Mean Mountain. The water was drying up because there was no rain. Mean Mountain scared away the clouds. I like this part. "Blast off!" He got his nose!

Ryan:  Big Mountain was mean to the clouds and he said, "Go away!" The water went all up because of Mean Mountain. I think he drank it all, so now the tree said, "I need water." Little Cloud was going to bring his friends. Mean Mountain was mad at Little Cloud. All the clouds gathered up and Little Cloud was the leader. When they got to the mountain the lightning shot Mean Mountain's nose. And then clouds rained and filled up the water.

Lindsey:  Little Cloud rained. The nose fell off.

Alec:  I like that page because it's scary. Mean Mountain is mad.

Aidan C.:  The tree didn't have any water because it didn't rain. Little Cloud broke Mean Mountain's nose off because he was mean to him. He was going, "My nose! My nose!"  I like that part.

J.J.:  Little Cloud got all his friends and made the big mountain's nose fall off because the mountain was mean. The water was drying up and the animals were really thirsty.

Aiden R.:  The animals needs some water, and even the trees.  The water is getting all dried out. There was no rain. This is my favorite. [Illustration in which lightning streaks out from Little Cloud, knocking off Mean Mountain's nose.]  His nose just fell off! The thunder was just cracking it.

Early Kindergarten Responses

Keegan:  There was a little cloud that couldn't get over the mountain because the mountain was mean. There wasn't a lot of water for the animals and trees. I liked the part where his nose broke off. And he kind of looks funny with his nose off. I think he's supposed to be The Old Man in the Mountain, but I'm not sure. This book kind of looks old. 

Daniel:  It's about a cloud who saves a valley from the bad mountain. He always scares the rain clouds away because he looks mean and scary and throws pebbles and rocks. The valley dried up. Little Cloud got all of his friends. Little cloud struck a light of thunder and knocked off the mountain's nose and brought water to the pond so they could drink and live. The last page was the mountain crying at his broken nose.

Allison: The mountain laughed at the cloud. All of the animals didn't have water. Lightning knocked off the mountain's nose. All of the animals and the trees had water.

Brady K.:  Little Cloud found Mean Mountain. Lightning came out of Mean Mountain's nose. It fell on the ground.

Bella:  I like the Little Cloud story because he had an idea to make lots and lots of rain because he wanted to make Mean Mountain's nose fall off. The water hole wasn't filled. So Little Cloud went to talk to a tree and the tree whispered because he wanted some rain. And then Little Cloud wasn't afraid of Mean Mountain.

Annalee: The mountain broke his nose because the lightning strucked him. The tree needed the water. His leaves were falling off and the leaves were very dry. The water was going away because the sun was up.

Sophie:  Where's the nosy part? [Flips through book to find illustration of Mean Mountain's grounded nose.] Well, the mountain's nose came off and he was just looking at it, crying. And the nose melted, because I see the green. [It's actually the nose's shadow.]

Leah:  The tree was whispering to the cloud because every time the clouds went by Mean Mountain scared them away. Little Cloud and all the clouds filled up over the sea with water. They made a big cloud all together with Little Cloud in the lead, and then they went to Mean Mountain and then lightning struck from Little Cloud onto Mean Mountain's nose. His nose fell onto the ground and it was gathering all the dust up. I just saw something! You [in my blue shirt] and the [blue] end pages match!

Brooke B.:  Little Cloud went to Mean Mountain and Mean Mountain wouldn't let Little Cloud go over him, but Little Cloud went around him. The valley had no water, and the tree whispered, "Can you bring some water?" Little Cloud asked her friends if they would help her, and they did. And then Little Cloud shot a big lightning bolt at big Mean Mountain and cut off his nose. And then he let water into the valley's waterfall and Little Cloud stayed in the valley.

Hayden:  All of the clouds said, "Hey come back, Little Cloud!" He just floated away and met Mean Mountain. He was crabby. When you be crabby, that means you're mad. Everybody is so hot because there's no water to play in . The tree whispered, "Please make it rain." And Little Cloud go back over Mean Mountain, and Mean Mountain blasts him off to the stars. Little Cloud got an airplane and taked one little snooze. That's what I do when someone's going to come over to my house. And then Little Cloud said, "Hey, why you all sleeping?" The clouds said, "Shhh! We're taking a little nap." Than all of the clouds maked an arrow, and went back to Mean Mountain. And then the mountain did some thunder. All the thunder came to Little Cloud. Everybody was so happy because Little Cloud brought the rain from the ocean. Then Mean Mountain cried because all the clouds knocked his nose off. He got a big tear coming out. And then Little Cloud saved everybody's life.

John: I liked when Little Cloud struck a streak of lightning and it knocked off Mean Mountain's nose and he said, "My nose! My nose!" And he groaned.  And that's it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let's Talk About Books!

I wasn't planning to blog today, but Emelyn asked if she could talk about books with me. Of course I said, "Of course!" Emelyn and her pals decided to talk about Beaver's Lodge by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert. We are weaving the room this week,  and read Beaver's Lodge because our sculpture just might be a beaver's lodge. Or it might be a giant spider web. Or maybe it's a pirate ship.

Emelyn:  The beaver falled and he had blood. Maybe he got the blood on this pointed stick right here.

Christel:  First Beaver fell down, then he got hurt. He got pointies by those sharp sticks. Beaver's dam was all into rubble. And then Bear came and they brought him to Bear's house and then he fell asleep. I love the mouses on the pages! Squeak! Squeak! One little mouse is swinging. And then Bear and Porcupine fixed Beaver's dam. They decorated the dam. That shoe doesn't look like a shoe. It looks like a shark. There was none door! Beaver said he would chop himself in.

Arthur:  I want to talk about the end papers. Beaver is falling down and the porcupine is scared because it's going to fall down on him and the bear is going to catch him.

John:  Beaver was filling some holes in the top of his lodge. He fell down and his lodge broke and he got hurt. Beaver was sad. He was not sad because he got hurt, he was sad because his lodge broke. Hedgehog called Bear to come along and help him with all of his cuts. I liked when they were building the lodge and they had to decorate it. And I liked when the lodge was there and it was all fixed and it had Bear and Hedgehog on it. Bear was a stuffed animal, and Hedgehog was made from twigs and shells and mud. Right before that when Beaver was feeling better from all of the leaves on his cuts like Band-Aids, I liked it.

Camryn:  I liked the part when they build the new lodge. The other one fell down. That's all I want to talk about.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On the Road with Mr. Goody Wuthrie

We had a traveling theme in Early Kindergarten this morning when we read This Land is Your Land written by Woody Guthrie and illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen, and The Trucker written by Brenda Weatherby and illustrated by Mark Weatherby.

Bella [Blogged about This Land is Your Land]: I like the golden valley. It has flowers, wolves, and bulls [buffalo]. I like all the colors. I like that. [Statue of Liberty] I think I saw it on Wonder Pets. I like that [a rainbow]. I saw a rainbow before with my daddy.

Hayden [Blogged about The Trucker]: The little boy fell asleep in his room and he had a dream, except it happened. His truck got bigger, and bigger and bigger and he got into the truck. And the truck had to stop so the people could walk by. And those are so cute!  What are they? [Me:  Deer.]  Oh, I like deers! On the alphabet line, reindeer starts with "R." I like this page because he blew the tire, but he needed help putting the big tire back onto the truck. He can't do it if it's raining.

Keegan [Blogged about The Trucker]: I love the fact that trucks have been around for millions, and millions and millions of years. A lot of the old ones didn't survive, they got scrapped. The toy truck transformed into a humongous big rig. And some rigs are so huge, they're bigger than a big house and they could hold millions and millions and millions of tons!

Daniel [Blogged about The Trucker]:  He was playing with his truck, and it became bigger, and bigger, and bigger and bigger until it was big enough so he could fit in it. Some kids saw him in the truck and they did the truck signal and it meant they wanted him to blow his horn. And on the next page he drove on the highway, and then he was bored so he called on the radio. Then he saw a truck that was stuck in a hole. The storm went by and there was trouble. A tire popped and it was called bubble trouble. The tow truck came to help him and followed him a ways, and then he pulled off the road to take a nap. It was a dream! And he was with his Dad to work. His Dad was a truck driver.

John [Blogged about The Trucker]:  The truck got bigger and bigger and bigger and then BOOM! It got humongous. He first checked all the equipment, and then he went to the lumber yard. At the bus stop, the kids wanted him to honk his horn. They gave the signal and then he gave a big, BOOOOOOM! He passed a deer crossing sign. Then he needed some company so he called up someone on his radio and he said, "Anyone out there got your ears on?" Then he was going past a tow truck that drove off the side of the road, and the big truck helped him back on the road. Then the storm came and thunder and lightning went, BOOM! BANG! Then he said, "I lost a bubble!" That means he lost a tire. He needed help to put the tire back on and then the tow truck was grateful enough so he put the tire back on. And then he got happy again and he was at the lumber yard. And then it was time to get his shut-eye. It was all a dream, and then his mom and his dad put him in his seat and he went to work with his dad. He works driving a truck at the lumber yard.

Sophie [Blogged about The Trucker]My favorite part was when that guy [the tow truck driver] was stuck there. The other truck pulled him out.

Leah [Blogged about This Land is Your Land]: They thought they had a job here, and then one people had no gas because they didn't have much money. Mr. Goody Wuthrie was strolling down the highway. Me and Sophie were lying on our backs because we were pretending we were seeing the Redwood Forest. They're so tall. There he is walking. It's Mr. Woody Guthrie.

Brooke B. [Blogged about This Land is Your Land]: Mr. Woody Guthrie was walking down that ribbon of highway. I like this page because I like how they like painted the mural and how they created the playground.

Annalee [Blogged about The Trucker]:  The truck is growing bigger and bigger. He's driving it. He didn't know how to drive. There's deer right there. I saw deer in Colorado. I went with Abby. We visited my cousins.

Dev [Blogged about The Trucker]:  He was playing with his toys and the truck began to be big. He could ride it. He was talking on his radio. The rain starts to go. It was raining hard. At the end the truck went small again.

Arthur [Blogged about This Land is Your Land]:  The policeman comed, three of them, and they wanted to give them gas, but they couldn't because there was no gas there. A lot of things were damaged because some burglar or some bad guy putted some fire on it. On the next page they fixed it. I like this because they think it's a rainbow, but it's really not a rainbow. It's a brick wall painted like a rainbow. Mr. Woody Guthrie is really a singer. The fog is moving on this page.

Arthur [Blogged about The Trucker]: I want to talk about something on the end. They want some food. That's all!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Here Comes the Sun/Son! (Doo, doo, doo, doo!)

The EK kids read and discussed Gerald McDermott's 1975 Caldecott Medal Winner Arrow to the Sun. March was such a wet and dreary month here in the Northeast, we just had to celebrate this first sunny day of April by reading a book featuring the sun.  Arrow to the Sun is a perennial favorite, and this year's crop of kids enjoyed it as much as my first class back in 1980.

Hayden: When the boy tried to find his Daddy someone put an arrow to the sun and the boy gets on the arrow and then he goes to the sun and he sees his father up there. He had to go in the Kiva of Lions. And then he had to go in the sea lions [serpents]. Then he trapped the lions. Then he curled up the sea lions. And then he goes into the bees. He trapped them. And then he goes in the lightning. He got hisself rainbowy. The father sended the boy back to earth. I liked when he goes in the lions and the sea lions.

Brady:  The boy turned into an arrow to find his dad. Arrow Maker maked the boy into an arrow and shooted him up to the sun. The father said he had to go into the Kivas. They were lions, snakes, bees and lightning. His father shot him back to the earth. My favorite part was when the boy turned into the arrow.

Brooke N.: His dad said, "Kill the bad guys." The bad guys were the snakes and the bees and the lion. The boy was brave. My favorite part was when he was fighting the bees. [I ask which Kiva she would enter.] I would fight the bees.

Bella: I liked it 'cause of all the pictures. It looks really cool, and I liked it when he goes through the lava [Kivas]. My favorite was the lion. [I ask which Kiva she would enter.] I would go through the lions.

John:  It was about a boy looking for his father. He asked the bow and arrow maker to shoot him all the way to the sun. Then he met his father. The father told him he had to go in four Kivas. The Kiva of Lions, then he tamed them. The Kiva of Snakes, then he turned them into a circle. The Kiva of Bees, then he turned them into honey. The last was the Kiva of Lightning. On the last Kiva he got static shocked and formed into a color just like his father. Then his father shot that arrow right back to earth, then I think the boy was king of the earth.

Annalee:  His dad told him, "Go to the lions." He tamed them.

Leah:  I love this part. She [Arrow Maker] gave the biggest arrow that she made to him. I liked the lightning part because I liked the colors.  And then the father shot the arrow back down. He [the father] was the sun. 

Keegan: It's kind of cool because I like these people. I like the buildings because they're Indian-style and I like that because it's like a hundred years ago and I like that. It's about a boy who went up and found his father up on the sun. He got shot up there by an arrow. His clothes changed up on the sun.

Daniel: In the Lion Kiva he made the lions not be so mean. Then it was the snakes. He made them not be mean. And then bees. He made the bees not be so mean. Near the end he was in the lightning place then when he came out he was looking different. Before he was in there he lookeded black with one flower in a circle around it. After he was like black with orange and blue and green and pink all over him, just like his dad. Then he was shot on an arrow back down to earth and everyone was nice and the mom was watching down on them.

Dev: I like this page where the arrow goes to the sun.

Allison:  He was going to the lions. I like that part.

Arthur:  I like it because he tamed the lions and he tamed the snakes. And because he tamed the bees and because he tamed the lightning.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Perfect is Perfect

I found Perfect the Pig by Susan Jeschke on a visit to the Harvey-Mitchell Memorial Library last week. I read it in the aisle, and was dangerously close to making a spectacle of myself. I was nearly moved to tears! I am a VERY critical reader, so any book that can stir that level of emotion in me screams to be shared with my students.

Leah:  He lived with his mommy and his mommy didn't even know he was there. Perfect wished for wings, and one day one pig fell in the road and Perfect pushed him on his paws, and then the pig turned her into wings. And then his brothers and sisters said, "Go away with the birds!" And then the birds said, "Go away with another family!" And then a little girl spotted her and then she picked up her and then she took very good care of her. And she named her Perfect the Pig, and then she feeded her and then she drawed a lot of pictures of her. And then one day Perfect flew up to the ceiling. And Perfect didn't like waiting in line and he didn't like walking on the pavement so she carried him. And then Perfect got lost. And then a mean man, he ran home with the pig. And then he feeded him garbage. And then he trained him to fly. Then he tied him to a pipe. And then he bought a cute little costume for Perfect the Pig and he took him for a show and all the people clapped their hands. And then when the man got back he got a cage. Perfect was crying. Then the little girl looked for him, and then she saw Perfect's picture and she got a ticket and she went in there and it was Perfect! And then the judge said, "Let the pig choose." And the pig choosed the little girl and they lived happily ever after.

Hayden: I like when he had a dream he was having wings. When he got wings, these pigs said, "Get out! You can sleep where the birds are!" But the birds didn't let the flying pig in the nest.

Annalee: I like when she was looking in the sky for the flying pig. She was worried.

Bella:  Perfect's wings hurt. He couldn't fly. He's a bad guy. He put Perfect on the leash and he yells at him. Then Perfect saw the girl. He could fly again!

Brooke N.: They were getting milk from the mother so they could get strong, then the little pig went out and he got wings. And then the pig said, "Get out!" And then the birds said, "Get out of this house!" And then the lady found her when she was lost, and then she got a bath and then she went to sleep. And then she got food and she went away. She got out and then a bad guy got her away and she didn't like garbage. And then she went in the show. She was crying because she didn't know what to do. And she was in a movie, and then she saw her family. And she choosed her. And then it was a happy ending.

John: I liked when the pig could fly and flew all around and it could fly really high. And I liked when it went lower and lower and lower then higher and higher and higher.

Kaitlyn: This part was scary. That guy had a scary voice when he waked the pig up. I thinked he was going to eat him. He trapped him in a cage and he gave him garbage. He tied him around a pipe and then he dressed him up and the pig looks kind of sad. The mean guy's happy because he's evil. When she [Olive] was looking for him [Perfect], she loved him, and he loved her. Perfect was sad at the mean guy's house.

Christel: This page [where the pigs banish Perfect from the pen and the birds refuse to let him stay with them] was really mean. I didn't like this bird. It looked like a crow and it was really mean. They didn't like Perfect because they didn't want him. He was trying to get a family. That's so cool. I wish I could draw like that. Look at this grass. That's pretty grass! I like this part where the pig's flying. And I like the big submarine. You should tell the library.

Emelyn: I don't really like it when he tied him to the pipe. I thought he was going to be there forever. I thought he was going to be with the mean man forever. Perfect was sad. The man put him in a cage because he wants him to stay there. I thought he was going to be there forever.

Mack:  I want to talk about the one where he was in the cage. I thought he was going to be trapped forever. He felt like he was going to be trapped in there forever and he was crying. That made me worried.

Brady L.: He hooked  him up because he had wings.

Eva:  He [the mean man] looks like he has goblin teeth. Goblins only have two teeth. I don't like that guy. I like that cute, little pig. You know which one makes me feel happy? [Flips to illustration in which Perfect and Olive are reunited.] That one because the pig sees the lady and the lady sees the pig and then she gets to bring him home.

Katherine:  I like this page because the woman's being nice to him. She's giving him a bath in this one. Perfect is happy because he's smiling.

Arthur: My favorite page is this because the bird said, "You can't live in this!" [Closes book and points to cover illustration.] I like this because it has a bed. I just love beds.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Don't Bite the Leprechaun!

Today, in both EK and PK, we read Clever Tom and the Leprechaun, retold and illustrated by Linda Shute. A few of the PK kids wanted to blog about this story, which is a faithful retelling of the Celtic fairy tale The Field of Boliauns.

Camryn: I like that part. He's finding the leprechaun. He had gold. His name is Tom. I have a show of Tom and Jerry! Leprechaun. That's a long, long word!

Kaitlyn: Tom tried to bite that guy. [The illustration depicts Tom holding the leprechaun close to his face. This particular illustration is not the cover art. Tom has an angry expression on his face, and appears to be ready to bite the leprechaun.] He wanted the leprechaun to give him his gold.  He grabbed his shovel. He was going to start shoveling. He shoveled everywhere. He shoveled a hundred one. He was digging but he couldn't find the treasure because the little guy tricked him. He told the kids about it, and the little guy laughed. And that's the end!

Katherine:  I like this part. I like when he grabbed the leprechaun. He wanted gold.

Christel: Tom wanted the leprechaun's gold. He was peeking at the leprechaun trying to see what he was doing. Now this one's kind of crazy. [Looking at illustration showing an extreme close-up of Tom's face.] He grabbed the leprechaun. He been mean to him.

Mikayla: He wanted gold. He took it. He bite his shoe. He couldn't find the gold.

Emmett: The guy was angry at the leprechaun because he wanted his gold. The leprechaun lied and he buried his gold under one of the stalks, but he lied. It was a great story.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Each Peach Pear Plum

The Creative Play Group children read Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. This rhyming romp through story land has a hidden picture element that preschoolers just love.

J.J.: I like it when he [Tom Thumb] hides in the tree. Finding the pictures is a little hard. And I like it when I see the bears. I liked the bear part. I like the part where she [Bo Peep] was looking for the sheep and they [Jack and Jill] were tumbling down the hill. I like the whole entire thing!

Aria: The mouse was going to eat the pie. Snow White [Cinderella] was dusting. It's [Baby Bunting's basket] floating in the river. [Starts reciting.] Jack and Jill went up the hill to get a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after. The cat said, "I'm just a cat!"

Ryan: I like when the witch screamed. Look at her face! I like when Robin Hood said, "Ha, ha, ha! I'm going to get her!" I like when you could only see one leg. It was hard and easy to find the pictures. I'm smart! I like when the baby went, "Me! Me!" He was happy. I like when the baby bear thought he was the Dada, but he's not. The Dada's right there.

Brady D.: I like this part. They [Jack and Jill] fell down the hill. I like this page. [The last illustration.] They were all there.

John: I like when Robin Hood was trying to shoot the witch and the cat said, "I'm going to hold on tight!" I like when they all hided in the picture ready to get out and eat everything, and when they all jumped out they ate and ate and ate until they were too full.

Maeve: I like the wicked witch. She wanted all the stuff from her friends. He [Robin Hood] was shooting that [arrows] at the witch's broom stick.

Arthur:  I like this because they were all hiding. It's a hard time finding them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lipstick on a Fish: You Have to Love Leo

The Prekindergarten children read Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni today. I love Lionni's work. When I want to read a story about friendship or acceptance to my students, Lionni's books are always at the top of my list. Fish is Fish engaged the children with humor and suspense, and with illustrations that stretched their imaginations.  

Emelyn: I liked it when the fish is not in the water. He wanted to go see his friend Frog. He couldn't breathe. The frog throwed him back in the water.

Katherine: The fish wanted to see where the frog went and the frog throwed him back in the water when he went on land. He wanted to see what all the things were like that the frog saw. He thinked all the people they looked like they were fish and they were all riding on a cow that looked like a fish.

Camryn: I like when the fish was on land and he was upside down. He wanted to see his friend again. His friend helped him jump back into the water.

Mack:  The tadpole turned into a grown-up frog and I liked it when the fish was out of the water. He wanted to see everything in the world 'cause the frog told him. My favorite part was when he thought everything was like him.

Acadia: I like the one with all the birds because I like all the colors. They look like a fish, but with those. [Points to the gills.] I don't know why it's like a fish. I like it because all the colors are like a rainbow.

Summer [Who has been listening to Acadia.]:  Me, too!

Kaitlyn: I like when the frog was a baby. I like this [illustration] because she's wearing lipstick and she's a fish. And she's wearing clothes! The fish doesn't know what they look like. My second favorite one is where he was trying to like get out, and he couldn't breathe. In the last part the frog picked him up and put him back in the pond and he sat with his fish friend.

Christel: I like the pretty fish that look like birds. And I really like the cow because it has a funny cow/fish tail. I love that there's beautiful flowers and the mom and the beautiful birds and the beautiful butterflies.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yellow Jackets, Wind and Fire

Last week, New Hampshire experienced a windstorm that left more than 300,000 folks in the dark. Those of us without wood stoves or fireplaces were also left in the cold. I decided to read Fire Race, A Karuk Coyote Tale retold by Jonathan London and illustrated by Sylvia Long to the EK and PK children. It retells the Karuk tale of how fire came to the people. The story opens with a group of shivering animals huddling together for warmth. I couldn't help but think of the thousands of people who ended up doing much the same thing last week after the storm.

Fire Race is retold with such intense drama that you are sucked right into the story. One of my students actually covered her eyes and peeked between her fingers at the pictures depicting the evil Yellow Jacket sisters. (I've watched parts of my favorite Quentin Tarantino films that way myself!)

A few of the children wanted to blog about the story and about their storm experiences. Thankfully, there were no yellow jackets to add to the chaos that was the Great New Hampshire Windstorm of 2010.

Hayden: The animals were cold because there's been no fire. The bees had the fire. I liked when the frog got fire in his mouth, when the frog got a branch with fire on it. I liked when the bee stinged the turtle. I think the bees have been naughty.

Leah:  The animals lived in a dark wood and it was cold. And then the wolf knocked on the bee sisters' door. And then he said, "If you close your eyes, I'll make you more prettier." And then he took the fire and he ran off. And then he tripped and then the eagle caught the fire. And then the mama tiger got it. And then the fox got it and jumped up and ran off. And then the bear got it. And then the caterpillar got it. The turtle got stinged and then the frog got it. The frog ate the fire. I thinked he was going to catch on fire. He didn't. He was under the water holding his breath and the fire. And then the bee sisters gave up. And then the frog hopped out and put the fire log on the branch. And then everybody asked if they could get warm. [Windstorm discussion.] While I was driving I saw a lot of trees on the wire. And guess what! When I drived back, I saw a tree on someone's house!

Daniel: The coyotes were pretty cold and they needed to eat their food raw. I liked when he went to steal fire from the yellow jacket sisters. When their eyes were closed he took a charcoal from the fire and ran away. When the yellow jacket sisters opened their eyes they chased the fox and the eagle caught the fire. Then jaguar thought they were going to sting him, then they went after him. Then the ant got the fire, then the turtle got it and the turtle got stung and then the frog came in and swallowed it. He hopped in the water and the wasps flew around in a circle one, two, three times and flew away. And the frog hopped out and spitted out the fire. Then one of the frogs asked the old and wise one how to make fire, and then it was the end.

Brooke N.: I like when the wolf got into the bees' house. He was stealing the fire because he wanted to make himself warm. And then he was playing a joke and then he stole the fire. [Windstorm discussion.] The winds were starting to make the trees fall down. We didn't have no water when we lost power. We went to Nana's house. Daddy stayed at home because he had to go work.

John: The animals didn't know that you could make fire from bark, so they wanted to get the fire from the yellow jacket sisters. The sisters wanted the fire all to themselves. I like when the turtle's tail got stung because he went into his shell. [Windstorm discussion.] It was really, really windy, and I bet my Dad got confused when the power went out because his computer went out. The power went out when the TV was on.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Good Book is Timeless

The Creative Play Group kids talked about a book published 75 years ago. Ask Mr. Bear by Marjorie Flack is every bit as appealing to the 2010 child as it was to the 1932 child.

Aiden R.: My favorite animal was the hen because I liked the hen.

J.J.: The little boy needed a present for his mama. He asked all the animals if they would give him something for his mama's birthday party. My favorite animal was the cow.

Lindsey: It's his mama's birthday. I like the chicken one. A cow! Moooo! A hugging bear. [Looking at illustration of the boy giving his mother a bear hug.] He's so silly.

Olivia: He wants to give something to his mom. The hen said to give an egg to his mother. [I ask what he gives his mother.] Maybe a big bear hug.

Arthur: This is my first favorite page because it has a chicken. The chicken said, "Could I give you some eggs?" And then the little boy said, "My mom already has eggs." And then they gathered along and then they saw a goose. The goose said, "Could I give you some feathers to give you a pillow?" And the boy said, "I already have a pillow." And then they gathered along again, and then they found a goat. And the goat said, "Could I give you cheese and milk?" And the little boy said, "We already have cheese and milk." And then they gathered along again, and then they found a sheep. And the sheep said, "Could I give you some fur?" And then they gathered along again, and then they met the cow. And then the kid said, "Do you have anything for my mom for Valentine's Day?" "Yes, I do," the cow said. And then the cow said, "You should go to the bear." And then one person gathered along and it was the kid, and then he was running. And then he finally got to the woods and saw him, and then the kid said, "Do you have anything for my Valentine?" "No, but I could show you what I could give you for Valentine's." And then he whispered in his ear. And then his mom guessed all of those things that they wanted to give them, and it was a bear hug.

Carter: Carter didn't really like the book much. [I'm sure he wouldn't have liked it much as a 1932 child, either.] He said, "Nothing happened." He did like the boy, though.

Alec: Here's the bear and here's the little boy. I don't know what his [the little boy's] name is. He was a friendly bear.

Aidan C.: I like the part where the little boy said to his mother, "I got something to show you." It was the part where he gave her a hug.

Aria:  He's sad because he don't have anything for his mother's birthday. He saw a chicken. He runned with the chicken with him. Then they saw the goose. He saw a goat. And he saw a sheep. And they saw the cow. And then he ran up the hill. Then he saw the bear. I like the bear! And the bear whispered in his ear and said, "Give your mama a great bear hug."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lions and tigers and boats. Oh, my!

The CPG children read and discussed Toy Boat by Randall de Seve and Loren Long. As you read through their comments, you'll see the children were delightfully scared by the boat's misadventures. It's obvious that de Seve and Long have written the perfect "thriller" for the preschool set. They've given their readers just the right scare factor, with the happy resolution coming soon enough to diffuse the tension.

Aria: I like this part in the tub. I like the boy and the boat. I like this part, but he let go of the boat. The boat got lost. I like this part, 'cause he said, "Boat! Boat!" I like this part 'cause it's pretty scary. The weather blowed it away. I like this part, cause he [the big boat] said, "Move!" He's sad 'cause he misses his boy.

Alec: The [tub toy] shark looks happy. The boy's in the tub with his boat. [Flips to illustration of a speedboat with flames and teeth painted on its sides.] It's scary! Those are bad boats! [Flips to illustration in which the boy and boat are reunited.] That boy said, "Boat!" The end.

Teagan: [Flipping to illustration of a speedboat with flames and teeth painted on its sides.] I'm going to the shark one. The boat shark. It maked me freak out. The speedboat's yell did. When he said the thing. ["Move along!"]

John: I liked the picture with the speedboat. The speedboat had flames and some teeth and lots of yellow on it and a white cover on the top. The speedboat zoomed by and kicked up a lot of water and the speedboat went really, really fast. The toy boat got wet. The speedboat screamed, "Get out of my way!"

Maeve: [Flips to illustration of a speedboat with flames and teeth painted on its sides.] I like when the scary boat was shooting by. The boat's scary. My favorite part was the teeth.

Aidan C.: The toy boat escaped from the boy. I like the part when it was scary. The part when it was dark. The toy boat got lost and he couldn't find his friend. They were together in the end.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I wish I was in this book.

This week the EK kids are blogging about alphabet mystery written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by her son Bruce Wood. And, yes, I meant to write the title all in lower case letters because that's the way it appears on the cover.

Hayden: When the Big "M" said he was going to eat the little letters he was going to put them in his soup. He was yelling at the letters. I like when Little "x" flew on the pencil and got to the castle.

Brooke N.: Crooked "I" said, "If you wake up 'M' he's going to throw you in the soup!" It was funny. And then the flewed off and then they goed in the castle.

Sophie: I liked the end because it had a birthday cake. It said, "I love you Mom."

Bella: Little "x" floated away on one of the pencils. He ran away because nobody wanted to work with him. And then all the other little letters took one pencil and they floated into the night sky. They goed right here. That's a castle, and there's the pencil Little "x" took parked. Crooked "I" was so crooked because he crooked hisself by hisself.  Maybe. Big "M" had paint and beads on him. He was a little bit naughty, but then he started crying because he missed his Mommy. Look it. That's Big "M's" shadow. He made the little alphabet shake because he wanted to make them alphabet soup and they were sad because they were going to miss their mommy. And then the Big "M" misseded his Mommy, too. See? Now he's crying because he misses his Mommy. The big tears are falling on the little alphabet. And look it. They're all picking things for all their moms. My favorite was the beads. They flied off, and Crooked "I" and Big "M" flied off on a pencil with all the other little letters. They made a birthday cake and then they put kisses on the cake. It was little "x."

John: All the letters were sleeping in their beds, but little "x" wasn't because he drove in one of the pencil cars to a castle. He left because the kid who had the whole alphabet didn't use him. And there's something funny about when they went out the window -- "z" was in front and "a" wasn't in front. They went backwards not forwards. And there was a castle with lots of different color flags. And little "b" was the bravest and said, "We're looking for little "x." And Crooked "I" said, "Come in, but don't awake The Master!" And when the Big "M" said, "I'll cook you in the alphabet soup," the letters shivered. Little "x" told him M also stands for mother. Big "M" cried because he hasn't give his mother a present in so long. Big "M" told them they could each pick one present for the kid's mother. My favorite present was the "j" jack-in-the-box.

Arthur: The best part was when all the letters picked out things. My favorite was the "t" because it had a Teddy Bear. I like the pictures. I think the artist used crayons to draw the pictures. I like to draw stuffed animals and animals. I like Star Wars and one more thing. Actually two more. I like to draw cars and I like to draw Super Heroes. 

Annalee: I like when the "x" flied away. I like this picture. He's (little "x") singing a lullaby to the big "M." He's kind of mean. He was going to put the little letters in the soup. The little letters were shaky.

Leah: I really like the abcs in it. I think the artist made the letters so beautiful because he used colorful ink. And I love that they took home the "I" and the "M" 'cause they love them 'cause the "M" was going to make them into alphabet soup but then they made him into nice and then he was getting to put on the cake. It said, "I love you Mom." It was so cool that they took off on the pencil. It was so beautiful on the ground. I wish I was in this book.

Monday, February 1, 2010

You say goodbye, and I say hello.

This past weekend I went to Kindling Words (KW) in Vermont. KW is a retreat for published children's authors, illustrators and editors. Because so many folks want to attend, the retreat spots are awarded in a lottery.

The Picture Book Project actually came up in conversation over the weekend. A couple of the attending authors are regular Picture Book Project readers, and they had a few suggestions. (After scolding me for being such a blog-slacker last month.) They suggested if I keep each post to just a few kids, it will be easier for the reader to follow, and for me to manage.

As you read on, you'll see I took their advice. Each blog entry will include contributions from only a few of the children. I'll keep track of who has blogged, and encourage all of the children to blog at least once each month.

Today the PK kids read the 2006 Caldecott Medal Winner The Hello, Goodbye Window written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka. Chris Raschka was at KW this year, leading the illustrator thread. It was a complete kick to sit in on two of his illustrator sessions, and I couldn't wait to get back to school to read this book to the children.

Acadia:  [Looking at the dinosaur-in-the-window illustration.] It's not real! They're extinct! I don't know why she saw the head of a dinosaur in the window. I don't know why she saw the pizza and the queen. How come did she see these in the Hello, Goodbye window? [I ask, Were they really there?] Noooo! She was just pretending they were there. I like to pretend I'm a Princess Fairy.

Christel:  I liked that the Poppa was squirting the hose at the little boy. The little boy liked it. I liked that the Mommy and Daddy were going to work. I like that the Grandma has curly hair. I like that there's so many stars up in the sky so-o-o-o-o big. It's kind of cool how the artist did the circles in the sky. I like that she said the cat was a tiger. If I was there, I would just walk near the tiger. I want to show the Grandma that it's just a kitty. I like that he took a nap. I wish they were making so fun things and being noisy.

Camryn: I like it when the medal [Caldecott medal on cover] is gold. I like blond, pink, silver, purple and gold. I like that the end papers look like mustard. I like the very big house. I liked it when the Grandma said don't touch anything under the sink because it's chemicals. I liked when the Grandma thinked it was a tiger but it was a kitty. I call my grandmother my Grammy.

Eva: I liked the part when she stayed over at her Grammy's. I like when the Grandfather was chasing the little girl with the hose. He was being tricky and he was having fun.

Arthur: They were saying goodbye to their parents. Sometimes I stand on a chair and wave goodbye to Mommy and Daddy and blow them hugs and kisses.

John:  Sometimes when my Mom goes to work, I go to my Mom's work at her daycare. If we get there early, we get to go to her desk and we get to color whatever we bring. When it's time for Mommy to work, we go into the daycare. There's toys. At lunch, Mommy meets up with us and we have lunch then she goes back to work and we go play. And then after we go play, it's the end of work and we go home. The book made me think of it.

Interested in learning a bit about Chris Raschka and his work process? Check out this video.