The Bear and The Piano

November 18, 2018

Delightful story, The Bear and The Piano by David Litchfield! I am drawn to the beauty of the setting, the internal conflict, the story. I have been savoring this book over several days. The words linger. The dream lingers. The question of acceptance, friendship, and love lingers with me. You just need to read it and fall in love with the bear, his music, and the family waiting for him.

The Power of 3 is used often as a craft in this text.

He missed the forrest. He missed his old friends. He missed his home.”

No piano, no bears, no anything.”

View the reading of The Bear and the Piano (5.5 minutes).


Savorings for reading and writing for The Bear and The Piano:

  • One day
  • Adverbs – shyly, eventually
  • Onomatopoeia – Plonk!
  • Power of 3 – several forms
  • Frienship
  • Teaching ideas – click on this link

Is There a Dog In This Book?

April 7, 2018

Fun. Creative. Interactive. Viviane Schwarz engages her readers by interacting with the characters in Is There a Dog in This Book? I just love how the characters chit-chat with you: “Oh, hello! You opened our book!” Andre’ sniffs and wonders if someone else is in their book. The hide-and-seek game begins between the cats and the dog. The reader engages in the hunt by lifting flaps in the book, seeking and adding to the story.

Author/ illustrator, Viviane Schwarz, shares her story about writing books in this 8-minute video. I love how she wants to inspire children to draw and write, creating their own books.

On this YouTube clip, the author reads her story to you. I think the kids will enjoy hearing her read this delightful tale. View her blog for more behind the scenes tidbits of her work. You will be introduced to other books by Viviane Schwarz.

Savorings for Is There a Dog in This Book?

  • Voice
  • Second Person Narrative – interaction with the characters
  • Power of 3
  • Speech bubbles
  • Character Description / change
  • Everyday Happening – children can relate to the topic; create stories using their pets
  • Setting – helps young children see the importance of the setting

Coral Reefs

March 13, 2018

Jason Chin is interweaves the reader into his narrative nonfiction, Coral Reefs. As the characters move into the setting of the coral reefs, so do you.

  • Building Background KnowledgeScience: Food chains, vocabulary
    • Builds curiosity to research and learn more
  • Settingthe young girl is whisked away from the library into a magical place
    • Even the ending leads you into another story
  • Illustrations captures the mind of the reader
    • Teaches visualization
    • Connecting to the science text of facts through a narrative-like feel
  • Close Readingweb
    • Read and reread to understand how nature works together, predator and prey, environment and adaptations, partnerships
  • Author’s Notewhere he gathered his ideas
    • Importance of research
    • Persuading the reader to take action to help coral reefs

Red-Eyed Tree Frog

January 28, 2012

Isn't he cute?

Reptiles and amphibians are not creatures I want as pets. My boys have always liked them, so we would read out them and observe them at the zoo. Frogs are creatures I can tolerate. No, I don’t want to touch them, but their coloring is brilliant and stunning. They are down-right cute (as long as they are behind glass). I guess that’s why I fell in love with the book,  Red-Eyed Tree Frog. It is one of my favorite touchstone texts.

Scholastic copyright 1999

The shortened text is packed with rich writerly craft. Joy Cowley introduces the red-eyed tree frog to children in a connecting way. She focuses on the way the creature needs food, just like humans. She invites children to interact with the text by asking key questions. In the back of the book, Joy features two pages of information to deepen the curiosity of the young biologists.

Nic Bishop exquisite photos will hook your children. He allows the reader to meet the frog up close and personal. His photos of the frog waking, jumping, and finally eating are focused and intimate. The book will be well sought after by all your young readers.

Savorings for reading and writing for Red-Eyed Tree Frog:

  • Compare/Contrast
  • Setting lead
  • Interjection
  • Compound subject
  • Pronoun usage
  • Varied Sentences
  • Alliteration
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Ellipse
  • Sequential
  • Bookend ending

Stick the Frog

October 5, 2011

A frog named Stick is very independent minded for a young creature. He informs his mom he likes to do things by himself. And the adventure begins in Stick.

Steve Breen ignites excitement from one scene to the next. Stick tries to snatch a fly from the sky with his tongue. As he does, a dragon-fly passes by and his tongue gets stuck. Stick is carried away, carried away through the Louisiana Bayou.

Each cartoon frame show the frog zooming pass near misses of alligator snaps and frog-leg-lovin cook. He sails into a city and gets carried by balloons. Finally, Stick is homesick. Finally, he asks for help to return home.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Stick:

  • Setting
  • Wordless book – zeros in on the adventure
  • Tension – children need to learn to add tension to their pieces. By focusing on the pictures, they can create a joint shared writing experience and practice tension.
  • Prediction
  • Map of bays/tip of Louisiana
  • Community building – learning to ask for help

Bear’s First Christmas

December 8, 2009

I love bear cubs.  They look so cute and cuddly.  I wish I could pick one up and just hold it for a while, with it’s mother away of course. the illustrator, Jim LaMarche, drew me to this book.  I love his colored pencil drawings.  One of my favorite books is The Raft.  Another favorite is A Story for Bear.

Robert Kinerk shares a poetic narrative about a young bear hibernating from the snow.  With our first sprinkling snow today, I was reminded of the introductory setting.

“It started to snow, and a bear, very young, Bear's First Christmas

caught two or three flakes on the tip of his tongue.

The coming snow could mean only one thing.

It meant that the bear had to sleep until spring.”

He’s enchanted with a mysterious sound in the book Bear’s First Christmas.  He starts to follow it through the deep snow.  On his journey, Bear helps some forest friends – a crow, a moose, and a pheasant family.   They all follow the sound to a home filled with singing, “a wonderful growing inside.”

I think the tale will leave the children wondering a bit.  You can bring in science discussion with hibernation, changing of seasons, and animal behaviors.  You can also discuss fact versus fiction.  The richness of  the language will be a delight for each child.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Bear’s First Christmas:

  • Vocabulary – trek, lair, ember
  • Contractions – who’d, she’d
  • Possessive – the bird’s home
  • Wonderings – what is the mysterious sound?  Why is the tree important?
  • Setting
  • Companionship – acts of kindness
  • Hyphen vs. Dash – well-hidden; stared — at the tree!

The Sandman

August 18, 2009

Ralph Fletcher newest children’s picture book is titled, The Sandman.  He takes a child reader on a fantastical magical tale.  A little man named Tor has difficulty sleeping.  He happens upon a dragon’s scale, which he takes home and begins to file.  The dust sprinkles on him causing him to sleep.  Upon waking, he’s delighted with his finding.

The SandmanI love the way Tor doesn’t just selfishly keep the potion for himself; he thinks of other children who might need help sleeping too.  What a great avenue into discussing the topic of sharing and caring for others – especially in the classroom community.  Since he uses the scale dust, Tor must find the dragon and collect more.  Risk-taking is weaved into the story.  Ralph’s word painting will have the children on the edge of their seat, visualizing the movie being read.

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Sandman:

  • Setting Change – “At first all was quiet.  But then he felt a change in the air.  A sudden gust of hot wind made his throat dry.  He heard the terrible flapping of wings.”
  • Talks to the Reader (voice) – “Now you know how the Sandman lives.  Suddenly your eyes fell so heavy….”
  • Beautiful Language
  • Predicting – Tor goes on several adventures