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

How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly?

April 3, 2011

How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly? by Robin Page: Book CoverI keep thinking:  “Why is the book intriguing?” I think it’s because the quick-bit informational layout just wets my appetite.

The information is unique. I want to learn more. At the end, each animal is featured with an extending paragraph of facts.  It’s just enough to satisfy for the moment yet also invites the reader to do more research on their own. Steven Jenkins and Robin Page use a question and answer structure to talk to their reader in How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly?

Each section begins with a question about the animal illustrated. The next page gives a quick synopsis of each. Extending information about each icon is provided in the back of the book

Savorings for reading and in writing for How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly?:

  • Big question on each page
  • Informational
  • Predicate – verb, article modifier and noun – hatch an egg
  • Illustrations give answers – small creature – reptiles, birds, fish, animals, insects
  • Creative way to write an All About Book

Being a Pig is Nice

March 30, 2011

Finally a book about manners in Being a Pig is Nice: a Child’s-Eye View of MannersBeing a Pig Is Nice by Sally Lloyd-Jones: Book CoverA little girl is reminded of her manners by her mother.  She begins thinking about a pig.  Clean is not necessary for a pig.  As the little girl day dreams of being muddy, she also is reminded of an opposite point of view – pigs smell!

Sally Lloyd-Jones uses the imagination of a little girl to teach manners.  The little girl then thinks of other animals and the way they eat.  Do they have good manners? animals like an elephant, a snail, a monkey, or owl.  In the end, a monster appears and has the worst manners of them all.  Dan Krall’s illustrations are just as fun as the young lady’s imagination.

The book is a delight and will tickle your students’ funny bones.  The book will teach children manners in a psychological backward way.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Being a Pig is Nice:

  • Speech bubbles
  • Point of View
  • Question/Answer structure
  • Vocabulary – inconsiderate, dawdle, atrocious
  • Voice – “Ooooh… you’re in trouble…
  • Descriptive of the animals

Hello, Hello!

March 2, 2010

Hello, Hello!As I was looking around in a first grade classroom today, my eye spotted the book, Hello, Hello! by Miriam Schlein.  The gentle faces of the lions intrigued me.  I love finding new books and this one is a keeper.  Children love animals and have so many questions about them.  Miriam Schlein shared information about the animals through a question and answer text structure.  It’s a great mentor text to show your students who are interested in nonfiction.  Miriam narrows her focus from an all-about nonfiction book, that many of our children like to write, to just about their greetings.  Fascinating!

Daniel Kirk’s illustrations are delightful.  He uses a two page spread to capture the animal characters.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Hello, Hello!:

  • Voice
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Question/Answer text structure
  • Comparison
  • Ellipses
  • Possessive nouns

Winter Lullaby

November 14, 2008

Barbara Seuling shares the transition from fall to winter in the book Winter Lullaby.  The book’s structure is set as a question/ answer style.  Greg Newbold illustrates the simple text with such vivid illustrations. 

They almost look like photos.  Winter Lullaby

I love the way that nonfiction information is presented to the reader by asking the reader to think.  “When the breeze blows the petals off the flowers, where do the bees go?”  Upon turning the page, the reader is answered: “Inside their hives till spring arrives.”  I love the choice of words that bring to live nature’s science:  “When white frost creeps across the country meadow…”

Savorings for reading and in writing for Winter Lullaby:

  • Questions
  • Dependent clauses
  • Prepositional phrases – “across the sky
  • Time passage – fall to winter seasons
  • Science – hibernation, seasonal changes