I'm trying to get ready to teach fourth grade, so I have been reading lots of novels this summer (and no, I'm definitely not saying that I'm not going to use picture books in fourth grade!). The last couple of days, however, I have spent some time in bookstores (it's almost football season, you know, and there are lot of pre-football meetings and practices!) and have gotten the chance to read a bunch of great new picture books. Here are some mini-reviews:
SHOULD I SHARE MY ICE CREAM? by Mo Willems
Originally, I went into Tattered Cover because I wanted to look at the latest installment in Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books. I love, love, love this series! In this book, Gerald buys an ice cream cone. He feels like he should share it with Piggie, but he really doesn't want to…
Mary Lee reviewed this at Year of Reading today, then I happened to see it on the shelf in the book store. It's a picture book, done graphic novel style, with 24 nursery rhymes hidden within the pictures. I think it would be PERFECT for a strategy study on activating schema/background knowledge. If you don't know the nursery rhymes, you won't be able to find them, nor will you get all of the humor. I think this would make for a really interesting discussion with intermediate grade kids.
Any time I seem something with Amy Krouse Rosenthal's name on it, I know I will love it, and this one is no exception. The 26 letters have just been invented, and the king issues a challenge for his subjects to decide on their order. Al Pha bets himself that he can figure out the problem, and sure enough, he does. Rosenthal's usual quirky humor shows up again and again (you can probably figure out why P ended up where it did). I think kids of all ages are going to love this one.
CHICKEN BUTT'S BACK by Erica S. Perl
Kids love a good butt book and when CHICKEN BUTT came out, I think I read it about five hundred times. I'm sure this one, full of word play about butts and underwear and lots of other naughtiness is going to be just as big a hit. I can't wait to share this one with kids.
Mrs. Finnemore is headed for the grocery store with a whole brood of ferret kids, including Edwin. The trip is full of misadventures- Mrs. F leaves her pocket book on top of the car, for starters. The only one who seems to notice any of the mishaps is Edwin, but he still speaks in "baby language" (Figbutton noo noo POCKY BOOKY froppin ROOF= your purse is on the roof) and nobody understands him. As they walk into the store, she says, "Now don't let me forget the sugar for Edwin's birthday cake." You can probably guess who remembers the sugar…
FARMYARD BEAT- Lindsey Craig and Marc Brown
Franki reviewed this a couple of days ago. She thought it would be a great book for shared reading, and I totally agree! I also loved the collage illustrations and the fact that the farmer was female.
A little dachshund has a cushy life- a granny that knits him sweaters, a warm bed by the fire, a full food dish, etc. One day he gets a little bored and decides he will head for the wild side. At first he loves his new life with the wolves, then things get to be a little too much, and he heads home to Granny, who promptly knits him a brand new sweater. Jeff Crosby's illustrations, with Wiener Wolf hanging out with the wolf pack are really funny, but interestingly my eyes kept wanting to go back to his beautiful paintings of the wolves.
THE WORLD CHAMPION OF STAYING AWAKE- Sean Taylor and Jimmy Liao
Stella's dad tells her it's time for bed but her stuffed animal friends just aren't ready to go to sleep. Stella takes the animals on different adventures-- and one by one, they fall asleep. Each adventure has its own little poem (maybe they are even supposed to be songs?) that goes along with it. Finally all of the animals are asleep and it's Stella's turn. A sweet, going to sleep story…
When I taught first grade, ROSIE'S WALK was one of the first books most kids learned to read. My six year old readers loved the simple text, but even more, they loved tracing Rosie's journey across the barnyard. ALONG A LONG ROAD is a ROSIE'S WALK kind of book, except that it doesn't feature a chicken, instead, the main character is a bicyclist, making his way around town. The illustrations are all shades of turquoise, red, black, and white, but the bicyclist's road is a kind of a shiny gold. I picture kids running their finger over that road again and again and again. This one is going to be a winner with the little guys, but I can also see older kids enjoying it.