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.