Category Archives: Reviews

Goat’s Coat by Tom Percival

Schema: sharing

Text-to-Self: seeing others who need your help, deciding how to help others

Characterization: This is an excellent text to discuss empathy and compassion with young readers. Goat is very generous and shows empathy to the other animals that he meets along his walk.

Text-to-Text: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Cause and Effect: Because the goat gave his coat to the animals that he could help, the effect is that he is without a coat. Because the goat helped others, the effect is that he has many caring friends.

Rhyming text captures young listeners interest. The large and detailed illustrations are very easy to share with a group. All of the animals’ expressions are delightful. I think this is a wonderful book to share with young readers to illustrate how to be caring to others.

Easter Bunny Read Alouds

 
Looking for entertaining Easter bunny stories? Here are three that can be enjoyed by children ages 3 and up. The Littlest Bunny series by Lily Jacobs is a rhyming story in which the Easter Bunny visits landmarks around the United States to hide eggs. The series begins the same in all of them but in each one of the individual titles featuring a particular state or city, the Easter Bunny hides eggs in well-known landmarks for that particular place.

In Anna and the Chocolate Easter Bunny by Kathleen Amant, a brother and a sister hunt for eggs. When the younger brother drops and breaks the chocolate bunny, Anna is very upset, but when the mother decides to melt the pieces to make cocoa, the siblings are once again happy. This is a great book to talk about problem solving.

In Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter by Wendi Silvano, Turkey is disguising himself to get in on the kids egg hunt. He fails many times, but finally gets a prize at the end. The book is very funny and will entertain young readers.

El Perro con Sombrero meets Los Gatos con Gelatos: A Bilingual Doggy Tale by Derek Taylor Kent

Schema: Working on homework, forgetting homework at home, playing with dog, taking care of pets, responsibilities

Text-to-Self: doing homework, playing with pets

Predicting: After events in the story, the reader is asked, “What would Pepe do?” This engages the reader throughout the story.

Characterization: Talk about Pepe’s traits. He puts others before himself as he stops to help the little bird and the dog. He has confidence and determination as he tries to climb a tree. He’s smart and creative in the way he gets the soccer players to come to the car. He’s brave in the way he fights to get the homework away from the cat.

Cause and Effect: Because Pepe helped rescue the dog, the effect is the dog chases the gang of cats away.

The illustrations are lively and animated and will capture the interest of young readers and listeners.
The text is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. The pages are slick and thick and the binding is better than trade.

Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Schema: What do people say to those who talk and yell often? Can being loud be a good thing? Think of someone who is loud.

Text-to-Self Connection: Can you think of a time when you’ve been told to quiet down?

Text-to-Text Connection: Where the Wild Things Are by Tomie DePaola

First, second, and third graders will identify with and laugh throughout this tall tale about a little boy who is too loud at school, at the movies, while fishing, and even at the town fair until a tornado approaches. Holler is able to yell the tornado into another direction.

Synthesis: Can you think of another situation where being loud would be an asset?

How Tall was a T. Rex? by Alison Limentani

Schema: large animals, think of the largest animal the reader has ever seen, and giraffes

Text-to-Self Connections: Can you think of other books that contain facts? Can you think of fiction books about dinosaurs? This one is a nonfiction one.

This book is all about measurement by comparison. The measurements are based on the skeletons that were discovered of Sue, Thomas, and Stan, real dinosaurs. Baseballs are compared with the eyes, bananas with teeth, and other familiar animals for other comparisons. Students will have a good idea of the size of a T Rex after reading this informative book.

Hoot Owl Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor

Schema: Costumes, camouflage, owls, books where characters are disguised

Text-to-Self-Connections: being sneaky, owls

Text-to-Text Connections: Twig by Aura Parker

Predicting: Repetitive phrases will entertain young readers. “It doesn’t work,” is repeated after each attempt by the owl.

This is a humorous and entertaining book for readers of all ages, but young primary students will love the suspense and repetition the most. The illustrations by Jean Jullien are animated will hold the attention of the youngest of readers.

Compare and Contrast: Find a nonfiction book about owls and pair it with this one for a discussion about what a real owl versus Hoot Owl would do.

Hooray for Books! by Brian Won

Schema: Think about your favorite book. What would you do if you couldn’t find it? Where would you look? Could you have let someone else read it?

Text-to-Self Connections: Favorite book, loaning books to friends, books you would not loan

Synthesis: What would be your pet’s favorite book? Why would your pet like it? What book would you feel sad about if you lost it? What makes the title of Turtle’s favorite book, Friends,  important to the story?

Text-to-Text Connections: Check out all the other books mentioned in the book. The titles and authors are listed on the end papers.

This is such a perfect book for preschool and primary read alouds. Simple illustrations, simple story, and lovely animals.

Star Passage: Honor and Mercy by Clark Rich Burbidge

Middle readers looking for a series about time travel adventure will enjoy the third book in the series, Honor and Mercy. I would suggest the first two books in the series be read to fully appreciate the evil “trackers” who want to destroy the earth.

Check out this link to read more about the series.

The readers quickly gets pulled into the story as one of the main characters is skateboarding and is seriously injured. The story follows his rehab and introduces him to characters in the first two books who time travel and fight the trackers.

Themes of Christianity and history make this an interesting read as the characters try to do what is good to help the world in the past and the present.

Max Goes to Jupiter: A Science Adventure with Max the Dog by Jeffrey Bennett

Schema: space, rockets, explorers

Text-to-Self Connections: Studying the solar system

While looking for a good intermediate level read for 5th and 6th graders or a realistic fiction read aloud for 2nd and 3rd grade, I found this book about Max, a dog, who goes into an exploration of Jupiter and its moons. The story is for the younger and the “big kid” fact boxes share nonfiction information that will capture the interest of older young learners.

The captivating full color illustrations on glossy, large pages enhance the enjoyment of reading and sharing this book.

The series, Big Kid Science books aspire to educate, make connections with readers’ lives, and inspire further learning. Check out the website that accompanies the book.

School Tales by Sharon Myrick

Schema: high school, rite of passage, making decisions

Text-to-Self Connections: making hard choices, learning tolerance

Themes: learning to think for one’s self, rites of passage, respect for all people

Point of View: The book is divided into different sections to hear the main characters thoughts. The reader can see the maturing and growth of the students as the novel progresses.

Book Talk: The novel focuses on a group of very mature high school teens who decide they want to learn through deep discussions and project based learning. They convince their parents to allow them leave a private high school for the local college faculty’s kids and transfer to a local public school where the principal and teachers are open to their ideas to change the world. All of the characters are very intelligent. There’s a mystery involving a death, an older girl-younger boy sexual relationship, friendships, parent-child communication struggles, drug dealers, and other topics that would intrigue teen readers.

The author leans to the liberal side in the dialogue about world issues. Throughout the story the students tackle big food companies over farming  food co-ops. They have discussions about how colleges use different types of testing for admission, values about religion versus extremist, political leadership, how people treat and view immigrants, freedom, young love, bi-racial identification, gender identity, bullying, learning to listen and communicate effectively, and “living a life worth living.” 

The seniors decide to snap their fingers instead of clapping when they approve of something the teachers or principal says bringing back the memories of the very beatnik sixties.  The characters in this book are way cool.

Students age 16+ would enjoy the book. This might be the book to turn a nonreader into a reader if they run across this title and start reading it. It’s a good read and captures the interest of the reader quickly.