Schema: best friends being apart for summer vacation
Two doggie best friends who do everything together are separated when Jinx and his family go on a week long summer vacation. Trixie uses her imagination to entertain herself until Jinx gets back home by reading, eating, trying to play with a spider, a mouse, some ants, bees, and a snake but none can take the place of Jinx. Rhyming text and colorful illustrations will keep students interested.
Compare and Contrast what Danitra does while her best friend is on vacation.
Text to text connection: Danitra Brown Leaves Town by Nikki Grimes
Text-to-Text: Ugly Duckling
Drawing Conclusions: Guji Guji draws the conclusion that he would rather live with those who love him than the crocodiles who want to eat the ducks.
Compare and Contrast: The Ugly Duckling
Synthesis: Rewrite the ending of the Ugly Duckling as if the swans wanted to harm the ducks that raised her.
Schema: Cooking together
Text-to-Self Connections: family dinners, lots of people getting together to pitch in and help cook; cooperation with one another
Text-to-Text Connections: This is the House that Jack Built.
Compare and Contrast with The Little Red Hen. In this story all of the animals want to cooperate and help.
Synthesis: Create a unique story with events that culminate in a final product. Example: Bringing canned goods to school to contribute to a food bank; describing a group project with a shared outcome.
The author mixes English with Spanish in every sentence with most of the nouns being in Spanish. A glossary at the end defines all of the Spanish words.
Schema: bedtime toys, losing a favorite toy
Text-to-text Connections: In both this story and Knufflebunny, the main characters have lost a favorite toy.
Text-to-text Connections: Found by Salina Yoon features a bear who finds a lost stuffed bunny. This book also teaches compassion as the bear sadly gives the bunny to the moose, it’s owner. Moose feels compassion for the bear and decides the bunny needs to be with someone who would love it like he did when he was younger.
The illustration of the little boy looks very similar to Maurice Sendak’s Max from Where the Wild Things Are.
Drawing Conclusions: After reading the book and looking at the illustrations of the book the boy is reading, his stuffed toys, and the animals he meets as he hunts for his rabbit, do you conclude that he was using his imagination about going into the forest?
Summarize: The beginning, middle, and end of the story.
Compare and Contrast: with other books where a toy is lost, with other books where the character is using his imagination such as Where the Wild Things Are.
Schema: subways, barrier reefs
Text-to-Self Connections: being afraid
Personification: The subway is personified and shares her feelings of fear about being discarded, but when she realizes she has a new purpose with all the fishes she is happy.
Compare and Contrast: The ocean floor is dark like the subway tunnels, but different because the subway tunnel is not under water.
What an interesting story told from the point of view of an historical subway car and man made barrier reefs. After being repaired as much as possible, the subway is deconstructed and transported to the ocean floor. The author includes a note about other man made reefs and how they help the ocean and people who fish nearby. The author includes a note about man made barrier reefs.
Schema: School rules; parents worrying
Text-to-Self: new teachers, new school, new grade
Compare and Contrast: Good manners and bad manners
Synthesis: It is better to be good.
This book is such a wonderful read to begin the school year. Ralph Raccoon’s parents are not happy with his good manners. He is sent to school to learn how to be bad. All of the Bandit school rules are the opposite of what teachers usually expect. Ralph can not be bad, but by being kind and helpful, he gathers all the goods in his school scavenger hunt and sets a great example for his classmates.
Schema: The original story of the three little pigs
Compare and Contrast: the original story with the modern one
Personification: the robot
Characterize the robot and the wolf in the original story
The story of the Three Little Pigs meets the space age in this new twist on the original story. The three aliens all find homes in space, one on a rover, one on a satellite, and the third one on Mars where he builds a sturdy house. The planets are illustrated in order from the sun so a reader could gain some reinforcement of space learning as the book is read. This would be a support for a compare and contrast unit. The illustrations are colorful and add humor to the story.
Schema: telling the truth, not being believed, make believe
Text-to-text: The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Heavy paper for the pages, simple illustrations, and straightforward text combine to create a book young children, especially boys, will enjoy. Tim tells the truth about the unbelievable things that happen in his house and yard, but his parents do not believe him. He then lies and says it was him that did the things, but also gets punished, by having to rake leaves, even though he is innocent. Finally he thinks to write a letter and invite the culprits to his home for a party. His parents make all of them rake, then they have a party. It would be fun to compare with The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Young children will be entertained and enlightened by young Tim.
Compare and Contrast: The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Drawing Conclusions: The parents draw the conclusion that the boy is being dishonest.
Point of View: The story is told from Tim’s POV.
Schema: fairy tales, element of magic
Genre: traditional literature
Predicting: Predict what young Sam will do when the man comes back with the request to make his wife young again
Character Motivation: What motivates young Sam to charge the man for what the hired hand did? What motivates him to change at the end?
Compare and Contrast young Sam and old Sam:
Characterization of young Sam: He damaged the saw blades because he didn’t clean the logs first concluding that he is lazy; he cuts the boards unevenly concluding that he is careless; he refuses to sweep the shop concluding that he is again lazy and disrespectful toward his father; he is dishonest and arrogant as he “puts on airs” when he is in charge.
Characterization of old Sam: hardworking and kind
Internal consistency of young Sam’s character: What types of things would you see young Sam doing in the future?
Big Idea or Theme: Work hard and treat people well or trouble will find you.
What evidence supports the conclusion that young Sam learned a lesson?
Schema: foxes, sheep, not following directions, forgetting where you leave books
Text-to-Text Connections: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig has similar illustrations of the animals. The Teeny Tiny Woman also has a talking bone in the story.
Personification: The bone takes on human characteristics and feelings.
Compare and Contrast with Chris Van Allsburg’s The Widow’s Broom. How are the bone and the broom alike?
How did the bone help Pearl and her family?
How did the broom help the widow?
Characterization: List the fox’s characteristics. Hungry when he describes Pearl, cruel when he talks about eating the bone,