Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners

October 9, 2017

Laurie Keller (author/illustrator) invites readers to remember the importance of manners. Based on the Golden Rule, the characters dialogue about what manners mean in Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners. Mr. Rabbit wants his new neighbors, the Otters, to be Friendly, Polite with please and thank you, and excuse me. Of course, everyone should be Honest too. Kind, Considerate, Play Fair, Cooperate, Share all make their appearances as well.Do Unto Otters: Book About Manners | Main photo (Cover)

The reader gets swooped into an auditorium of play. Laurie Keller’s illustrations are whimsically rich setting the stage for deeper understanding. Words are embedded in the background to enhance the meaning of each manner. Off-side scenes are an additional reference to each manner shared.

Savorings for reading and writing for Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners:

  • Great text to use for Voice Inflection and Reader’s Theater
  • Models character mental conflict – reader views the thinking bubbles
  • Use of the Colon
  • Ellipses – slows down character thinking – “How would I …  … like otters …  … to treat me?”
  • Asides – (hmmm… maybe not the treats)
  • Example of a Thank You Note
  • Magic of 3 – Series of examples for each manner is listed in 3 groups
  • Contractions – I’d, you’d, wouldn’t
  • Bantering between two characters
  • Reflection
  • Metacognition – thinking about his thinking
  • Word Pictures
  • Setting
  • Scenes / Exploding the Moment

PES Life-line book (November)


Vocabulary Fun

July 15, 2011

The layout of the book is unique. On the dedication page, the extra credit assignment is explained. The students are to write sentences using three words from each letter section. The words are to explain something about the student. You will find Page’s sentences on the side-borders of each page.

In Miss Alaineus A Vocabulary Disaster by Debra Frasier, Page misses school the day the vocabulary list has been given out. When a friend shares her list over the phone, Page misunderstands the word miscellaneous to be Miss Alaineus. Her mistake, although embarrassing and humorous, creates a fun character for the Vocabulary Parade.

The illustrations were created with markers, lined paper, and general school supplies Debra found in her fifth grade daughter’s desk. Cute. Kids will connect with this attribute.  Intermingled in the text are numberous vocabulary words, emphasized in italics.

“And I knew: to apprehend with certainty, that my mistake was still alive and well, and nothing like gold.”

Savorings for reading and in writing for Miss Alaineus: a Vocabulary Disaster:

  • Every day happening – school assignment
  • Cause and Effect
  • Vocabulary and word choice
  • Character Thinking
  • Colon – used in several ways
  • Learning from Mistakes

Teaching a Slug to Read?

July 13, 2011

I featured this book at the AllWrite!!! Summer Institute in June. What a fun title! I love the way a list of how to do somethings was integrated with speech-bubble interjections and narrative. David Slonim hooked me with his illustrations. This book is a great example of a “How To” book. Older kids could use it as an example to create a book for younger student on a subject they know a lot about. You could use this publishing technique for an All About Unit of Study.

In How to Teach a Slug to Read by Susan Pearson,a slug wants to learn to read. A young boy shares with him and his mother the steps to reading, from making sure the slug can see the pictures and words to stretching out sounds. The author and illustrator use well-known books and create books with a slug as the them in the background illustrations and poems. For example, instead of the book The Cat in the Hat, they have The Slug in the Hat.

The book demonstrates how children should ask questions about their reading, including vocabulary or unknown words.

“What’s a tuffet?”

A tuffet is a low seat.”

Savorings for reading and in writing for How to Teach a Slug to Read:

  • Interjection
  • Speech bubbles
  • Persistence – reading takes time to learn
  • Vocabulary
  • List book – how to learn to do something
  • Book jacket – mentions Susan spends lots of time in her garden – probably where an idea came from

Warsaw Community Public Library new book (2011)

A Lost Colonial Colony?

November 21, 2009

Roanoke: The Lost Colony--An Unsolved Mystery from HistoryI’m amazed by the Roanoke Colony Mystery.  I must have been sleeping during history class, because I’ve learned of Roanoke in recent years.  Jane Yolen writes eloquently.  She collaborates with her daughter, Heidi, in creating a children’s book on the known history surrounding the Roanoke Colony.  The five most popular theories are shared in the conclusion.  The book is called Roanoke The Lost Colony:  An Unsolved Mystery From History.

The authors begin the book iwth a young girl, who wants to be a detective.  She collects the information in her notebook.  The story of Roanoke is shared in a narrative nonfiction format.  Factual clues are written on a notebook inlaid in the illustration.  vocabulary words are sprinkled on the text’s off sides.  History comes alive.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Roanoke the Lost Colony:

  • Background knowledge – formation of our country; Native Americans and early colonists
  • Notebooks – collecting information during reading
  • Vocabulary – defined and in the context
  • Synthesize – what happened?  Draw your own conclusions.

(3rd grade book)