Boy + Bot

February 25, 2018

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino,  is a delightful tale of friendship. These two become friends despite their differences. They engage in fun activities, have compassion for each other, and work out problems. The tone of the book invites readers to think about characteristics of a friend, how to overlook differences, and possibly try something new. For some extension activities, visit RIF.

To hear the entire book, view on the YouTube link.

Savorings for Boy + Bot:

  • Synonyms
  • Varied sentence length
  • Sequence of events
  • Past tense verbs – /ed/
  • Parallel structure
  • Comparison – man vs. machine
  • Wonderings – Was the boy imagining a friendship with his toy robot? Notice the illustrated toys in his bedroom.
  • Friendship
  • Compassion

I Need My Monster/ Hey, That’s My Monster!

February 18, 2018

Amanda Noll has created two awesome fun reads. In I Need My Monster, Ethan wonders how he will sleep without his monster. Substitute monsters arrive, but they don’t have all of the traits that Gabe, his monster, has. Hey, That’s My Monster, Ethan has a bigger dilemma – his sister won’t go to sleep and his monster plans to camp out in her room. Emma doesn’t seem to be rattled by the visiting monsters. She giggles. She plays. She is not sleeping. Howard McWilliam brings the monsters to life in a fun, not scary, delightful tale of childhood bedtimes.

View the book trailer:

Storyline graciously reads both books. Click on the title to show your students. I Need My Monster. Hey, That’s My Monster.

Savorings for both books:

  • Kid perspective
  • Vivid verbs
  • Power of 3
  • Story tension
  • Siblings
  • Every day happening

Superhero School

November 7, 2013

Superheros have been the theme lately. Our family loves the movies and are anxious for the new ones to come out. Our staff retreat this past August was titled: “I Teach…What’s Your Super Power?” Searching for books to match our theme was a fun challenge. One book,  Superhero School by Aaron Reynolds, hooked me in for an adventurous peril.  Andy Rash, author of Are You a Horse?, details a comic-book hero setting full of action that will ignite your students’ interest.

A boy read for sure as kids are the superheroes … of math. Yes, math. Leonard heads to school expecting to learn how to do incredible feats of saving. Instead, his teacher, Mr. Blue Tornado, has them learning multiplication, division, and fractions. Annoyed and a bit distracted with his own desires, Leonard learns a great lesson in using math within everyday experiences (everyday for a superhero that is). The savvy craft in this book will keep your kids’ attention and you all will enjoy the surprise ending.

I love the “kid talk” in this piece:

But then it hit Leonard like a giant mutant octopus.

A short YouTube video (less than 2 minutes) gives you a glimpse of Aaron. It’s not the best sound quality, but I still liked “meeting” the author.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Superhero School:

  • Repeating sentence structure
  • Magic of 3
  • Kid language – “...cooties had to be considered.”
  • Narrative with Math Connection
  • Vivid Verbs – revved up, recalculated

A Rainy Day Book

April 11, 2013

Hello, It’s spring!

I’m loving the spring green I am seeing on my drives. Sunshine and warm temps jump started the week. It was wonderful. And now rain. Rain and thunderstorms and cold temps. It’s spring and the green will need the moisture. I just want warm temps again.

The rain made me think of a book I read called My Side of the Car by Kate Feiffer.

A little girl is heading to the zoo with her dad. The sunny day has changed to the reality of rain. Dad informs his daughter sitting in the back seat that they can’t go. Yet, the daughter looks outside her window and announces that there is no rain on her side. Her perception is illustrated splendidly as she visualizes others going to the zoo too. Father continues driving and comments about the continual precipitation.

The inspiration for the book is shared through a conversation between daughter, Kate, and father, Jules. I love the debate-able voices. It reminds me of my kids when they were little.

Rainy day sunshine,

Mary Helen

Savorings for reading and in writing for My Side of the Car:

  • Everyday happening – rain, conversation with parent, car ride
  • Perspective – reality vs. imaginative
  • One day story – excellent text to illustrate conversation with action
  • Anticipation of the event – feelings of the character
  • Illustrations – reminds me of child-like drawings