Where’s My TRUCK?

July 2, 2014

I enjoy children’s books. Some books are okay. Some books are great and some books are ones I will hang on to. Where’s my T-R-U-C-K? by Karen Beaumont is a gold mine. David Catrow’s illustrations caught my eye. His fun, unique colored drawings brings out the child-like fun. He draws the character emotions of the boy brilliantly, making me feel like I am right in the room. On the title page, the kick the little boy has just given the toys immediately makes you go, “Uh-oh. Somebody is NOT happy.”

I read this book during summer school to my kindergarten kids. They loved it. The figity boys were hanging on each page wondering what was going to happen next. The conflict in the book is an everyday happening. Kids relate to losing things. (I do. How many times have you misplaced your keys or phone?) Frustration wells up when looking for your lost item. Nothing else will appease.

The parents and siblings try to subdue him, but to no avail. The beginning starts:

Shhh!” I hear my parents say.

“Tommy’s not himself today. He’s lost his T*R*U*C*K!”

When reading the book, the kids would spell the word in a whisper voice or in a more intense tone depending on the character speaking. The kids loved being involved in the story. Each connected with a story of their own.

David Catrow uses the dog to be telling a parrallel story. Notice the items the dog is taking in each scene. After reading the book, I showed the kids the illustrations again. We enjoyed rereading the book again.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Where’s My TRUCK?:

  • Everyday Happening
  • Foreshadowing – watch the dog
  • Connect with the word family “uck”
  • Verbs and Nouns – a great way to teach younger (and older) children to identify the parts of speech
  • Voice


Santa’s Stuck

December 7, 2011

Children welcome Santa with their plates full of cookies and other goodies. Santa is nearing the end of his Christmas Eve venture Santa's Stuck by Rhonda Greene: Book Coverand is lured to have one more tasty treat. As he relaxes in a comfy chair, Santa’s one dessert treat leads to another. Rhonda Gowler Greene use of vivid verbs and rhyme creates a fun read your children will be delighted with.

Henry Cole draws the reader’s attention to specifics in the scenes – Santa’s belly, a button popping off, the reindeer waiting above. In each wide angled scene, another view is shared with a zoomed-in-circle overlay.

With too many treats eaten, Santa’s attempt to leave is stopped – he’s stuck in the chimney. Each animal comes to the rescue – the reindeer, a dog, a mother cat and six kittens, and finally a mouse. With the use of teamwork, they push and pull Santa out.

Savorings for reading and writing for Santa’s Stuck:

  • Voice – a question to the reader the author answers with you: “One more cookie? Couldn’t hurt.
  • Vivid Verbs – nestled, gathers, shrugs, entices
  • Rhyming Text
  • Stair-step structure – one more thing is added to the prior scene
  • Sound effects – onomatopoeia but also the font adds to show effort “No -o -o -o luck

Big Dreams

August 8, 2011

Franklin loves the moon. He wants to go to the moon. He gazes and imagines what fun it would be when his quiet room is interrupted by an engineer coming through. Three separate modes of transportation are built through Franklin’s room – a railroad, a runway, then a canal. After all the noise has died down, he drifts into a magical night.

In Franklin’s Big Dreams, David Teague  uses a repeating structure. As you move from one scene to the next, your students will begin to predict what is happening with Franklin. Why is the plane going through the room? Who are the people on the train? Is Franklin actually dreaming during this time?

Boris Kulikov‘s illustrations foreshadow the events of the evening. Franklin’s room is decorated with a stem, engine, an airplane, and a ship. I noticed the steam engine was smoking on this toy track after the live train had moved through his room. This peaked my interest into what other foreshadowing illustrations were interwoven throughout the story.  You can view the illustrations on David Teague’s website.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Franklin’s Big Dreams:

  • Foreshadowing
  • Everyday happening – daydreaming while looking at the moon
  • Vocabulary – perturbed, miffed
  • Repeating Structure
  • Transitions

Testing the Ice

January 31, 2011

My daughter Eliz is celebrating her 14th birthday today.  We had a fun weekend going to the mall, dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant, and movie with a friend.  Elizabeth shares her birthday with a special person – Happy Birthday Sam!

Eliz and Sam share their birthday with a historical figure who I greatly admire – Jackie Robinson.  Jackie not only was a great baseball player.  He displayed true character of courage under fire.  When I think of my sons playing baseball, I want them to have the same determination and focus that Jackie had.

In years past, I have posted other books about Jackie Robinson.  This year, I found another book written by Sharon Robinson, his daughter, and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.  Kadir has the most distinct, stunning paintings for his illustrations, vivid and bold.  I love them.

Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson: Book CoverTesting the Ice A True Story about Jackie Robinson is a story told through his daughter’s eyes.  It’s story about courage outside the ball park.  It’s a story about Jackie facing a fear for his family.

Jackie Robinson bought a home in the country with a river that brought lots of enjoyment to the family.  Even though his children would do their best to coax him to come out and swim, Jackie never did.  He was afraid of the water.  This story takes place in the winter after a hard freeze.  The children want to go ice skating and beg their father to let them go.  Jackie gives in, but first he ventures out onto the lake to check to see if it is safe.  As Jackie is walking out their, his daughter realizes the courage her father is showing to them.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Testing the Ice: a True Story About Jackie Robinson:

  • Memoir – lessons learned told through the daughter’s point of view
  • Character Thinking –  Mr. Rickey asked Jackie some tough question about playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Jackie shares his thinking, decision-making.
  • Foreshadowing – throughout the book, Sharon shares how Jackie would never go into the water.  The reader understands that Jackie cannot swim.
  • Magic of 3 – “out the sliding glass doors, down the back stairs and down the hall
  • Character building – courage

Thea’s Tree

November 21, 2008

Alison Jackson creates a twist in her book, Thea’s Tree.  A young girl, Thea, is asked to do a scientific project for four weeks, making observations along the way.  The story transpires through a series of letters between Thea, her teacher, and other experts as she hypothesizes about her tree.  Alison Jacksonthrows in humor with clues, keeping the reader wondering and interested as to what tree has sprouted.

This account is written through letters – first to her teacher and then to specialists.  Thea is diligent in making frequent observations, even drawing her findings.  As an objective scientist, Thea measures, ponders clues, and speculates on her findings in her letters.  A purple seed is planted, and what seems ordinary, becomes very quizzical.  Thea speculates it to be a “purple African rubber plant” to a “giant redwood.”

As a fun read aloud, this book helps to build background knowledge in scientific observation.  Alison Jackson throws in humor with the clues, keeping the reader wondering and interested.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Thea’s Tree:

  • Letter writing – each closing is unique; colon in the greeting
  • Alliteration – expert names with their jobs:  “Zoe Zimmerman Zoologist
  • Occupations – curator, botanist, orchestra director
  • Foreshadowing/predictions – sounds, objects from above
  • Scientific observation – measuring, factual description, speculation
  • Hybrid text – interweaves a fairy tale with in the illustrations and clues;letter writing, narrative, science theme