Saturday, July 27, 2013

Princesses and Pirates: Alphabet Favorites

When I first started reading Twenty-Six Princesses by Dave Horowitz to first graders, I noticed it inevitably ended up in a student's book bin afterwards.  It was one of those alphabet books that the kids (girls in this case) would come back to after read aloud and sit with to reread and soak in all the bright pictures and personalities of the princesses.  So when I spotted Twenty-Six Pirates An Alphabet Book, I had to have it.  I know the boys will love the pirate theme and it is as engaging as his princess book.  The frogs who are interact with the princesses in the first book are back playing with the pirates.  These rhyming and colorful texts are perfect for primary kiddos.  And, love that it is an alphabet book with a series feel. More to think about with my first graders.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Authors like Mo Willems

I am always trying to find authors who write funny, supportive and clever texts for our youngest readers.  Many times I find that what I am looking for are stories that mimic the work of Mo Willems. You know books with a couple characters that make you laugh about everyday happenings. Books with a dialogue between the two that even our youngest kiddos can read because the author uses speech bubbles. These types of texts really help our kids learn to read and LOVE to read.  This spring a came across a couple that I am adding to my classroom.

The first is called Max and Milo Go to Sleep! by Heather and Ethan Long.  Max and Milo are brothers headed to bed but while Max is exhausted, Milo will try everything to fall asleep.  While needing lots of help along the way, Milo thinks nothing of interrupting Max's ability to drift off easily.  And by the end, well, I am sure you can guess who needs help falling asleep. I checked and there is another in the series out in December called Max and Milo The Mixed Up Message.

The second is Frog and Fly Six Slurpy Stories by Jeff Mack. Check out the trailer to get a feel for this for just one of the funny stories in the book:

Jeff Mack also wrote a book called Good News Bad News that my students love. Looks like I may need a few more baskets in a few weeks when I start to set up for next year!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blastoff to the Secret Side of the Moon! by Scott Nickel and Jess Bradley

Graphic novels are always a hit for kids in first grade because of all the picture support. This series by Comics Land was new to me and I picked up Blastoff to the Secret Side of the Moon a few days ago. Aaron is surprised when he sees a spaceship next door. He doesn't hesitate to jump in and then blasts off to the moon for top secret Area 52. His adventures lead him to new worlds and new friends.

I think it will be perfect for primary readers for a few reasons.  It is a very supportive text for early graphic novel fans.  You meet the characters on the cover of book so kids can begin wondering and thinking even before opening the first page.  The setting and timing changes are stated on the top of the pages where Aaron, the main character, travels or when the story moves. And there are fun features (how to draw page and find the alien hunt) at the back of the book to keep kids thinking.
It will be a great addition the the graphic novel basket this year.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck by Laura Murray

I was so happy when I saw The Gingerbread Man Loose in the Fire Truck at the bookstore!!! My kids loved the first book, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, and I know they will be anxious to know there is yet another book about this spicy little gingerbread man.

I think we all go through a little doubt when reading a second in a series...will it live up to the first? I felt like this one did and I think the kids will love it too.  After joining his class on a field trip to the fire station the little gingerbread man dodges the station dalmatian and ends up exploring the station and joins a rescue of which the fire men are appreciative.  This little guy is clever and bold!  I am happy to add it to my series basket of picture book characters that kids love.

You can visit Laura Murray's website to check out the book trailer to The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School.   I love Mike Lowery's illustrations and his work as well, I own another of his books: Ribbit Rabbit because of the vowel play within the text (I use for a reread in word study) and the real relationship between frog and rabbit.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bella's Rules by Elissa Haden Guest

What are your family's rules? We have a few that I am adamant kinder than necessary, keep your room picked up and please no food in the family room (I hate stains on the carpet).  I think everyone has rules that are particularly important to each of us. And others that we let go of or get tired of reminding the family about because they just don't stick! Well, in this story you will meet Bella, who knows the family rules by heart but likes her own better!

Bella's parents help her understand why her rules don't work after she challenges her sitter. And later Bella begins to understand even more deeply the need for rules when she is gifted a new puppy. The ending helps us understand that rules are important but we all slip away from them sometime.

I can't wait to use this book in the classroom when we begin to talk about how we will take care of one another each day. It will allow us to have a real conversation about how we all mess up sometimes, then fix and forgive.  It will also give us an opportunity to talk deeper about why we have rules in place.

I love Abigail Halpin's illustrations. And, I realized that Elissa Haden Guest is the author of the Iris and Walter series (great for 1st and 2nd grade readers).  It is a great addition to picture books I am thinking about for the beginning of next year!