Tag Archives: Earth Day

Whose Shoe? by Eve Bunting

Told in rhyming text, a little mouse sets out to ask all of his animal friends if they have lost their shoe that he found in the bamboo. Elephant only wears heels to make her ankles look slim, and hippopotamus hates the mud between his toes, but hasn’t lost any of his shoes. The illustrations by Sergio Ruzzier are very cheerful and support the text well. The story is a great read aloud and will keep your children’s attention. I love the introduction of words in context such as catastrophe, dainty, pursue, and rare.

Schema: finding or losing something

Idiom: Finders Keepers Losers Weepers

Text-to-Self Connections: finding or losing something, throwing things away

Questioning: The main character, a little mouse, asks many animals in his community if the shoe he found belongs to them. Many examples of using the question mark.

Earth Day: The idea of the kangaroo throwing the shoe into the bamboo because it hurt his feet provides a great introduction to a conversation about littering, donating, re-purposing, and making good choices about how to get rid of something we don’t want. The shoe was used by the mouse as a wonderful king size bed.

Story Elements: Problem: The mouse finds a shoe and has been taught that finders keepers is not polite so he sets off to find its owner

Character Development: The main character, a mouse, has a good character in that he wants to do the right thing when he finds the lost shoe.

One Day I Went Rambling by Kelly Bennett

What a creative and thought-provoking, rhyming book for both adults and children!

As an elementary school librarian who reads books aloud to children every day, I can see this one as a book that will capture their attention because there is substance here that will connect with their prior knowledge to make this book worthy of their time. I predict that this title will be on several award lists this year. Readers are challenged to use their imaginations to repurpose and recycle objects that they own or discover on their path.

The illustrations, created by Terri Murphy, and names of the characters are multi-ethnic featuring children of all races. The expressions show joy, contentment, and pure fun as they “ramble” around the neighborhood. Even the kid who makes fun at first is motivated to join in the fun.

Schema: repurposing
Text-to-Self: Can you think of something you have re-used as a pencil container? Ever made a jewelry box from an egg carton?
Text-to-Text: Oliver by Birgitta Sif; Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
Compare and Contrast: How is each “find” similar and different from what they imagine it to be?
Mental Image: Can you imagine the “find” being what they imagine it to be?
Predicting: Try predicting what the items on the last page might be used for. There is an illustration, but no text so the reader has to use his or her imagination to infer or predict what these could be used for.
Synthesis: Can you think of other things their “finds” could be? Can you think of something you see that could be like something else? Think about the places you like to play and what you have played with there. I remember as a child playing house inside a group of Cedar trees where there was a small clearing in the middle of them. It was like nature made me my own playhouse.
Extension: Do a search on the Internet to find how people have repurposed what might be trash to some people into useful or artistic objects.

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families by Susan L. Roth

Schema: oceans, mangrove trees, fish

Text-toText: The Sea, the Storm and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire Nivola

So Far From the Sea by Eve Bunting

The author uses the pattern of “This is the house that Jack built” to build the story page by page. In smaller print, more detailed information is provided and supported by a double page collage illustration. The subject of the book, planting mangrove trees near oceans that border dry, foliage free soil, is a project that Dr. Gordon H. Sato conceived after his studies as a biologist.  This book shows how the mangrove tree can help people as well as fish.   The Manzanar Project

Author’s purpose: Are you informed or persuaded after reading this one? I feel like I was both, but definitely persuaded to share this Manzanar Project.

Arthur Turns Green by Mark Brown

Schema: Earth Day, conservation

Text to text connection: 10 Things I  Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh

D.W., a preschooler, is concerned because she infers that the project Arthur is working on at school is making his hands, and those of her father, and Arthur’s  friend, Buster, turn green. The reader will conclude that it is the paint they are using by carefully looking at the pictures in the book. This is a great story to teach inference to young readers. Once again, with an eagle eye, the reader will find the names, Tolan, Tucker, Isabella, and Skye, Brown’s sons and grandchildren, scattered through the illustrations. This book would be great to pair with a nonfiction book for Earth Day in April.

Inference: D.W. infers the reason that Arthur’s hands are green.

Cause and Effect: Because Arthur is using green paint, the effect is his hands are stained green.


The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry

Schema: islands, conservation, ecosystems, biomes

Text-to-text connection: The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

Author’s Purpose: persuade readers not to cut down the Mangrove tangles

Cause and Effect: Because the propagule falls off the mangrove tree, the effect is that a new mangrove tangle begins. 

Drawing Conclusions: The fisherman drew the conclusion that he should not cut down the mangrove tangle to make a shrimp farm because of what the other fisherman told him.  He was persuaded to leave the tangle alone.

Point of View: The story is told from the point of view of the animals that inhabit the tangle.

Synthesis: The reader will synthesize that there are certain things that keep the balance of nature.

The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward

Schema: trees

Personification: The point of view is from the tree.  The tree’s voice is heard through a rhyming text about a tree from its roots to its branches.

Author’s Purpose: The simple text provides the reader with the basic information about how a tree grows, what lives in it, and what lives below it.  The youngest reader will know more about trees after reading this book.

Reader’s Theater: The rhyming couplets read by young children dressed as tree inhabitants would be a wonderful production!

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino

Schema: flippers on the cover connect with swimming, title mentions sea

Author’s purpose: to share real information about sea scientist, Jacques Cousteau.

Metaphor: Cousteau’s quote on the first page makes a mental image of the sea a casting spell over him and holding him with “its net of wonder.”   The sea is like a net in that it can capture you.

Cause and Effect: Because doctors told Jacques Cousteau to swim to build up his strength, the effect was that he started swimming and found that he loved the ocean.

Text-to-Self Connections:

Have you ever taken something apart to see how it works?  I had lots of response about this from my second graders such as helping parents repair things such as cars and motorcycles or taking electronic toys apart.

Car Accidents-many kids have been in one

Things that Change your life forever: Jacques had the goggles that changed his life.  Students shared things such as art, being baptized, having surgery, losing a loved one, having a new sibling, going to a certain school, pets dying, learning to play soccer, reading a book from a dog’s point of view, and technology.

Sometimes something changes our lives forever and we don’t realize it until later, but Jacques says he knew that very day when he used the goggles for the first time.

Characterization:  Use the Describing Wheel to list the traits of  Jacques Cousteau: inventor, scientist, explorer, humanitarian, writer, and film maker.

Drawing Conclusions: Jacques Cousteau was curious.  What text evidence supports this conclusion?  tinkering with gadgets, trying ways to make a snorkel tube, inventing the aqua lung, taking the camera apart, testing his hypothesis about living under the sea, inventing the saucer and sea flea

See the Jacques-Yves Cousteau website.

Sky by Ariane Dewey and Twister by Darleen Bailey Beard

Schema:  clouds, things that we see in the sky, different types of precipitation

Text-to-Text Connections: Both books are about weather and the sky.

The rhymes in Sky will make a connections from nursery rhymes.

Text-to-Self Connections: Some kids will have seen a double rainbow, snow, fireworks, and tornadoes.

Sequencing: Notice in Sky that there is a sequence that leads to the storm, then following the storm the birds come back out again.  Use a Sequencing Chart as you read that begins with the empty sky and continues on the storm and then the birds and butterflies.  Sequence the changes in the sky in Twister and see if there are similarities in how each storm begins.

Compare and Contrast: What is real and what is imaginary on the pages that show things in the sky.  The first double page shows things like kites, airplanes, and balloons, and in contrast, the second set shows dragons, flying saucers, and UFO’s.  There may have to be a third category for Santa Claus and angels since some of us will have knowledge that they do exist.

In Twister, compare and contrast the yard scene before and after the twister hits.

Cause and Effect: Because humans burn chemicals that create carbon residue in the air, the effect is that the air has smog and smoke in it.

POV: In Twister, we hear the story from the POV of  Lucille, the girl.

Inference: Why do you infer that that Lucille starts asking Natt about his scars while they are waiting out the storm in the cellar?

Drawing Conclusions: What text evidence can you find that supports the conclusion that the kids and their mother were very compassionate toward Mr. Lyle?

Alliteration: the sound the porch swing makes and the sound of the thunder crashing.

Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker

Schema: wild birds

Read the note at the back of the book so the students can understand the problem better before you begin the book.

Text-to-self connections: doing a project with a sibling, feeling sorry for the birds, seeing problems that wild birds cause

What city animals help keep the balance of nature in our area?  Some insects and birds eat mosquitoes, coyotes eat rats, and ladybugs eat aphids that harm our roses

Text-to-Text Connection: Trout Are Made of Trees by April Pulley Sayre

Organizational Strategies: the cycle of the story begins and ends with Ming-Li as a wise one about  farming.

Mental Images: “Scratching at her thoughts like a monkey.”

Cause and Effect: Because the sparrows were eating the grain from the fields, the effect is that the rulers want to scare the sparrows away.

Because Ming-Li felt so much empathy for the sparrows, the effect is that she rescued some of them.

Because the food chain is broken with the absence of the birds, the effect is that the locust, worms,  weevil, and grasshopper  population grew and devoured the crops even more than the sparrows did.

Voice: Ming-Li’s voice is the strongest one in the book.

POV:  The story is told from Ming-Li’s POV.

Author’s purpose: Historical fiction is a way to teach history in a way that readers can relate in a personal way to the events of the period in history.  The characters make the story more passionate.

On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole

On Meadowview StreetSchema: cleaning up the backyard, enjoying a park

Sequencing: Sequence the order of the progress of changing the yard from a yard to a nature preserve.

A young girl, Caroline, moves to a new home where Caroline begins making the backyard into a nature preserve.  She starts with only one wild flower, then builds a pond, birdhouses, and plants a big tree.

Cause and Effect:  This story could be used to illustrate cause and effect in relation to Caroline’s wanting to save one flower and ending up with a nature preserve and influencing her neighbors to do the same.

At the end of the book illustrations of meadow animals and insects are illustrated and labeled in full color.  This is a great book for Earth Day or Spring.