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)