Born in the Wild

June 27, 2017

Image result for born in the wild by lita judgeBaby animals are adorable. Cuddly. Cute. Mama animals love and protect their young, nuzzling them to move, licking them with kisses. Kids will “awww” when they see the mama/child couple throughout the book, Born in the Wild.

Using a repetitive structured text, Lita Judge breaks the book into sections. Instead of a traditional subtitle, a sentence topic announces the proceeding two-page spread with its corresponding three animals.

The baby is part of a family.

The baby needs to be caressed and groomed.

The baby grows strong through play.

See the video book review by TTPM

Savorings for reading and in writing for Born in the Wild:

  • Additional Facts – in the back, each animal is expounded upon (a great way to show students how to include any extra facts into their piece)
  • Repeating Structure – one-line sentence followed by three animal explanations
  • Font Manipulation – highlighted names are colored text
  • Glossary – additional websites
  • Connection – to field trips, science research

Curious Critters

June 25, 2014

Tammy Shultz and I present our top book picks of the year. I always have a difficult time narrowing my choices; there are many books to choose from. We do not necessarily choose the newest books (Donalyn Miller keeps me updated). We choose books that have appealed to our kids this past year. Curious Critter is a book I loved. It’s funny and the kids react to the creatures talking to them. I had it on my slide show when I reviewed last year’s books; I realized Tammy had shared it as her book last year. Makes sense. Great book!

Curious Critters is a nonfiction text with voice! I was drawn to the captivating descriptions and features of the creatures. David FitzSimmons illustrated the photographs on a white background, emphasizing the details of the critters. A website features the critters. Click here to see what’s new.

His second book, Curious Critters Vol. 2, is available. When you click on the title, the link will allow you to preview a few pages. Fascinating!

View the YouTube video (1:20 second) book trailer. Your students will be intrigued!

Savorings for reading and in writing for Curious Critters:

  • Point of View – the critter talks to the reader
  • Voice – The goldfish says, “Let’s play a game: I’ll flip my fins and swim around in this aquarium, and you throw in some food. Sound good? Great?”
  • Humor –
  • Allitoration – decorating daisies
  • Transitions – one creature will connect to the next


Why Are Animals Purple?

November 4, 2013

Fall is here with all its brilliant colors. I’m amazed at the reds, yellows, oranges mixed with the changing greens and browns. Purple is not a color I often see here in Indiana, although I suspect it shows its shade as well. With the focus on colors, the book, Why Are Animals Purple?, intrigued me. This book is one of several in a series of animal colors by Melissa Stewart.

Purple animals? I thought. I am not sure if I have seen any animal dressed in purple until I turned to the first featured animal – Purple Martins. My dad had one in our yard and taught me about these helpful birds. Do you know they eat 1000 mosquitos daily? Around lake areas, these bird hotels sprinkle the skyline.

Eleven other animals are featured in her book. Key vocabulary, such as predators and attract, are in bold print, repeated distinctly throughout the entries. The photographs zoom in features and allow the reader to be up close and personal. Children will be drawn to this book and learn how color camoflages and defends each in nature.

A 2 minute Youtube video about how Melissa Stewart got her ideas from nature for two of her books.

Savorings in reading and for writing for Why Are Animals Purple?:

  • Vocabulary
  • Thematic Map – at the back of the book, a map represents where each animal can be found
  • Question Lead
  • Personifies the Color Message – It says, “Stay away. This is my home.”
  • Links to websites and other book references for further research

SOLSC: Kindergarten Snippets

March 16, 2012

Kindergarten – just the word makes me cock my head a little and smile.  Most of the time, they are cute, fun, and so energetic. There are moments though that my kindergarten teachers could be bald. You know what I mean?

My favorite part about kindergarteners is their matter-of-fact expressions. Here are two that I heard today. 🙂

One bright five-year-old, who has great phonetic spelling, said today, “I know how to spell my friend, Jacob’s, name.”

His teacher smiled and said, “How?”

“Jakup. Jake – up.”  🙂


Another little boy, Tyler, can be very particular. When his mind is made up, he is right. (Do you have any of those kind of kids?)

During small group reading instruction, the teacher was introducing the word LIKES.

“See, Tyler. You already know this word, like,” she said covering up the letter S with her finger. “The letter S is added to make another word, LIKES.”

The little boy looked at the word, crossed his arms, and made a face. “What are they doing putting an S on the word LIKE? It’s LIKE, not that other word.”

His teacher nodded and replied,”Yes, it is LIKE, but in some sentences, like the ones were are reading today, it’s appropriate to read the word LIKES to make the sentence make sense.”

Tyler eyed her and said, “Nope. Not going to do it. You need to just kick that S off my word LIKE.” He proceeded to read the entire book leaving off the S. His teacher tried several times to interject the word LIKES, but Tyler was not going to believe it.

I wonder what Tyler is going to do when he reads the word LIKING.

Bones: Skeletons

February 6, 2012

Skeletons. Cool, my sons would say. They have always been intrigued with the bony structures. Steve Jenkins had the curious young anatomist in mind when he wrote Bones: Skeletons and How They Work.

NY Scholastic Press, 2010

Bones are illustrated in their actual size. The pages contain a variety of large to small complete skeletons. Most skeletons are of animals or reptiles. Other pages show individual bones like a human finger bone. I find it unique he compares some sizes with a human. For example, arms and feet of a human are shown in scale to animals like a gray whale and fruit bat. Kids will be able to connect with this book and understand the shapes and sizes of creatures.

Steve Jenkins has three fold-out sections. One python skeleton winds around showing its many pairs of ribs. Another compares a human skull to several animals like a Mouse Lemur. The third fold out shows the 206 human bones individually, laid next to each other in rows. Then, open the next pages and the bones have been assembled to create the human skeleton.

Kathryn Bohnhoff and Emily Poe created an author study video. Although slightly lengthy (9 min.), the video introduces the author’s biography and several of his books. They also show thumbnail sketches for his books found on Steve’s website. I think your kids will enjoy it. I learned a lot.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Bones: Skeletons and How They Work:

  • Compare/ contrast – types of bones, sizes
  • Question/Answer structure
  • informational – for each section
  • Subtitles – eye-catching “Got Your Back”, “The Long and Short of It“,
  • Back – additional facts

PES new book

Animals at this Moment

October 10, 2011

Jim Arnosky invites his readers to imagine what animals are doing around the world in his book, At this Very Moment. On back en papers, Jim shares with the reader some of his thoughts on the featured animals. His love for nature resonates. He explains where each animal is located in the wild from his observations.

Whenever I think of them [animals], I am transported momentarily to their part of the world. And I  become aware again that my life is happening simultaneously to theirs.”

Jim invites readers to imagine what animals are doing throughout the day. His text has a gentle rhyme that creates daydreams. His illustrations illuminate the beautiful surroundings and brings you near o them as they stare at you from their habitat. The text is simple enough for young children to understand and leave with an appreciation for wildlife. Older students will reflect on his word choice and learn new facts.

Savorings for reading and in writing for At this Very Moment:

  • Magic of 3
  • Visualization – “pretend you’re hearing lions
  • Repeating Line – “all at this very moment
  • Compare/Contrast – animals doing an activity in two parts of the world
  • Parallel Structure – what an animal is doing at the same time we are doing something

Who Will Plant a Tree?

July 23, 2011

Twelve different animals are featured, from dolphins to monkeys, fish to ants.  Each animal is a carrier of seeds, transporting the seed to another area. Who Will Plant a Tree?  is a great example for a science connection dealing with plant growth with a simple text.  Students of all ages will be able to understand how a tiny seed can grow into a beautiful tree. Jerry Pallotta features a teacher sharing with her students how to plant trees. Tom Leonard uniquely illustrates the plant taking root and phases of growth on each two page layout.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Who Will Plant a Tree?:

  • Magic of 3 – each scene shares the carrier, how the seed is dispersed and the type of tree planted.
  • Interjections – What fun!
  • Compound sentences
  • Science connection
  • Repeated structure