Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm Not by Pam Smallcomb (2011)

     I just bought this book a couple of weeks ago. I had seen it a few times before but I judged this book by its cover, which is really cute but I  thought that this book probably didn't have much to it. I was wrong. This is one of my new favorite books about friendship.
     The narrator, a girl alligator(or maybe a crocodile?), begins the book by introducing her outgoing, energetic and talented friend Evelyn.She describes that Evelyn is a lot of things: a circus performer, Antarctic explorer, snappy dresser... but she is not any of those of things. The book goes in a different direction when the narrator realizes that she is good at things that Evelyn is not good at, like spelling, karate and making cookies, but Evelyn points out that what makes the narrator really special is that she is a true-blue friend!
     The illustrations are very familiar to the illustrations done by James Marshall for the George and Martha books. They are clever and some are accompanied by little word bubbles that are sure to make you laugh! For instance in the picture below Evelyn is telling the narrator, while painting her scales,  "YOU ARE SCRUMPTIOUS IN PINK!". (What a vivacious little girl she is!)
     This book is a great read aloud for an elementary class. I'm Not is a perfect introduction to a discussion on friendship and individuality. Students can discuss what makes a "true-blue" friend and that friendship is not a competition, but instead, it is a combination of traits, some similar and some different.
     This is Pam Smallcomb's first venture into the picture book world, I am definitely looking forward to her future endeavors.
     P.S. I did a little research and she will be coming out with a second picture book in September of 2011 about a boy and his alien pen pal, Clunk.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mo Willems

I thought it would be fit to start with my favorite children's book author, Mo Willems.

     Have you been to Sesame Street? Mo Willems has. He worked as the writer and animator for Sesame Street for nine years. During this time he won six Emmy awards for his writing. Mo Willems didn't stop earning awards there. He has been awarded Caldecott Honor Awards for a few of my favorite books: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity. His Elephant and Piggie books have also won a few Theodor Seuss Geisel Awards. Well enough bragging, I just wanted to make the point that he is not only my favorite author!

     As you can see on my picture book list, I have many Mo Willems books. Although I would love to finish my collection of his books completely. I want to talk about a few and hopefully persuade you to check out some of his fabulous books! 

My little Knuffle Bunny stuffed animal :)

 Knuffle Bunny

     Lets start with Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, a contemporary realistic picture book. It is about a little girl named Trixie who loses her prized possession, a stuffed rabbit, named Knuffle Bunny. Note: the rabbit's name is said "Kuh-nuffle Bunny" not "Nuffle Bunny" like it should be pronounced. My children's literature teacher who has met Mo Willems told our class that, also on page 11 of Knuffle Bunny Too Trixie is arguing with a classmate about the right pronunciation of her bunny's name. Sorry to go off on a rant about this but I have heard it mispronounced too many times in the school setting. Anyways, the illustrations (also done by Willems) in this book as well as the other two Knuffle Bunny books are very unique and eye catching. The characters are cartoon-like characters in color and they are presented against a black and white photographed background.  Mo Willems also puts certain items in color, such as the laundry basket and the laundry. This makes those items really stand out, which gives the reader a sense of the important items in the story (helpful for pointing out important details to young readers). The characters and objects that are in color convey a mood full of energy and emotion. When Trixie realized that she doesn’t have her Knuffle Bunny on the way home from the Laundromat, she throws a fit. Her father is embarrassed and irritated, and his expressions show it. Meanwhile, Trixie is talking, baby talk. Her father doesn’t understand what she wants until he arrives home and the Trixie's mother asks where Knuffle Bunny is. At this point, they run back to the Laundromat and find Knuffle Bunny. Trixie is so happy that she says her first word, Knuffle Bunny!. Mo Willems really captures the livelihood of a young girl who loves something dearly. Readers can recognize the feelings that Trixie has when she lost her Knuffle Bunny as similar to theirs when they lose something that is important to them. I recently did an activity with this book in my Teaching Language Arts class. We used book bits to retell the story. My professor copied many pages from the book and as a class we had to try to arrange the story events using the illustrations. It was a really fun activity that can be done in any grade level with any picture book.

  The Pigeon Series 

     Mo Willems went in a very different direction with the Pigeon series. This series of books are fanciful fiction. These stories include a talking pigeon that has human emotions and problems. The illustrations are simple. Willems uses thick lined drawings against a blank background . When the Pigeon gets irritated, the reader knows it. 

     In Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! the Pigeon's eyes turn red as he screams "LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!!!". His feathers fly everywhere, and the reader can't help but laugh. The simple drawing of the Pigeon on a bare background really makes the reader concentrate on the words that this humorous pigeon is saying. In this series of books, Mo Willems does something very special. He makes the reader part of the book dialogue. For instance, in Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! the bus driver asks the reader at the beginning of the book to watch things for him while he is gone. He also wants us to remember not to let the Pigeon drive the bus. Throughout this story, the Pigeon is begging the reader to let him drive the bus. This book gets the reader involved in such a great way. The reader wants to yell back at this comical pigeon. The Pigeon is very convincing and realistically amusing. 

     In Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! the Pigeon is trying to convince the reader to let him stay up late. After all the begging, the Pigeon gets quite tired and fall asleep. This is another very witty book by Mo Willems. This book also has the same kind of page where the Pigeon sort of freaks out and yells “I’M NOT TIRED!”. 

     Another great book in the Pigeon series is The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!. This time the Pigeon is trying to persuade the reader to buy him a puppy, his dream pet. In the end of the story the Pigeon realizes that a puppy may not really be his dream pet, even after all the arguing with the reader. A puppy is too much work. Many of our students may experience the same thing after getting a pet that they thought they wanted.

     All of the books in this series really relate to children. These books are so much fun; they make the reader a part of the story. The Pigeon character acts a lot like a young child when they want something. All of the persuading, convincing, and yelling seem very familiar to how I have observed children (students) acting. The theme in these books is creativity and problem solving. The Pigeon will do and say whatever is necessary to get what he wants!  

For a good laugh please read some of Mo Willems' books, not only to your students but also to yourself! 

Teaching Book List (lesson ideas, inspiration)

Adler- The Paidea Proposal
Ainsworth & Nettles- Bears: A Developmental Unit for Preschool and Kindergarten
Billstein- A Problem Solving Approach to Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers (10th Edition)
Brown- The Kindergarten Calendar 
Cain (editor)- September Monthly Activities
Cain (editor)- October Monthly Activities 
Cain (editor)-November Monthly Activities
Chambers- Children, reading and talk: Tell me
Charner, Murphy, & Clark (edited by)- The Giant Encyclopedia of Lesson Plans For Children 3 to 6
Christensen- Reading, Writing, and Rising Up 
Clark- The Excellent 11: Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children
Dewey- Experience and Education
Farnham-Diggory- Schooling 
Finkel & Seberg- Circle Time: Sing-Alongs & Fingerplays 
Fisher- Inside the Classroom: Teaching Kindergarten and First Grade
Fletcher- A Writer's Notebook 
Fletcher- What a Writer Needs
Flower- Problem Solving Strategies for Writing 
Haas & Haas- Read it aloud: A Parent's Guide to Sharing Books with Young Children 
Herberholz- Artworks for Elementary Teachers: Developing Artistic and Perceptual Awareness 
Howe (edited by)- First Year Teacher: Wit and Wisdom from Teachers Who've Been There 
Hume & Barrs- Maths on Display(creative activities for the teaching of maths to children aged 5 to 8) 
Joy- Shortcuts for Teaching Writing 
Ladson- Billings- The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children
Landau- The Art of Classroom Management
Lieberman- ABC Order (Worksheets, games, lessons, bulletin boards) 
MacDonald- We Learn All About Community Helpers 
MacDonald- We Learn All About Fall
MacDonald- We Learn All About Winter
McTighe & Wiggins- Understanding by Design (2nd Edition)
McTighe & Wiggins- Understanding by Design (2nd Edition) Workbook
Moore, Morgan, & Evans- Fun With The Alphabet
Murphy (managing editor)- The Mailbox Superbook: Everything for a Successful Year (Kindergarten)
Musial- Foundations of Meaningful Assessment 
Onofrey- Paste Pot: Phonics (consonant clusters & digraphs) 
Ormrod- Educational Psychology (7th Edition) 
Plato- Euthyphro, Apology, Crito 
Schiller & Phipps- The Complete Daily Curriculum for Early Childhood 
Scholastic (published by)- 500+ Fabulous Month-by-Month Teaching Ideas
Scholastic (published by)- Report Writing
Scholastic (published by)- Writing Prompts
Smith- Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes
Spivak- Special Times: Easy Mini Readers (9 easy assemble books, follow up sheets and art projects) 
Staron- A Teacher Named Experience
Tompkins- Literacy for the 21st Century: A Balanced Approach 
Warren- 1 2 3 Reading and Writing 
Weber (edited by)- Waiting for Superman

Chapter Book List (by author)

Anderson- Speak
Blume- Freckle Juice 
Brashares- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Brown- Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventures: The Mount Rushmore Calamity  
Brown- Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventures:  The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery
Brown- Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventures: The Japanese Ninja Surprise
Brown- Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventures: The Intrepid Canadian Expedition
Brown- Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventures: The Amazing Mexican Secret
Brown- Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventures: The African Safari Discovery
Cleary- Dear Mr. Henshaw (John Newberry Medal)
Dahl- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2 copies)
Dahl- Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (2 copies)
Dahl- Fantastic Mr. Fox
Dahl- George's Marvelous Medicine
Dahl- James and the Giant Peach (2 copies)
Dahl- Matilda (2 copies)
Dahl- The BFG
Dahl- The Twits
Dahl- The Witches
Ellis- The Breadwinner
Ellis- The Heaven Shop
Griffin- The Ghost Sitter 
Honenberger- Catcher, Caught
Klein- Ready, Freddy! Don't Sit on My Lunch
Klein- Ready, Freddy! Homework Hassles
Klein- Ready, Freddy! The King of Show-and-Tell
Klein- Ready, Freddy! Touth Trouble
Kline- Horrible Harry and the Green Slime
Kline- Horrible Harry and the Kickball Wedding
Kline- Horrible Harry and the Locked Closet
Kline- Horrible Harry and the Purple People
Kline- Horrible Harry's Secret
McCarthy- Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism
Mortenson- Three Cups of Tea (The Young Reader's Edition) 
Park- Junie B., First Grader: (at last)
Park- Junie B., First Grader: Boss of Lunch 
Park- Junie B., First Grader: Cheater Pants
Park- Junie B., First Grader: Dumb Bunny
Park- Junie B., First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May.)
Park- Junie B., First Grader: Toothless Wonder
Park- Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth 
Park- Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl
Park- Junie B. Jones Is a Beauty Shop Guy
Park- Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed
Park- Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren
Silverstein- Where the Sidewalk Ends
Silverstein- A Light in the Attic
Spinelli- Loser
Thaler- Black Lagoon Adventures: St. Patrick's Day From the Black Lagoon 
Whelan- Friends
White- Charlotte's Web
White- The Trumpet of the Swan
White- Stuart Little

Picture Book List (by author)

Total: 185
Andreae-Giraffes Can't Dance
Ahlberg- The Jolly Postman or Other People's Letters
Aliki- My Five Senses (Big Book) 
Allard- Miss Nelson Has A Field Day
Allard- Miss Nelson is Missing
Anderson- The Emperor's New Clothes
Baker- LMNO peas 
Bang- When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry...(Caldecott Honor Book)(Charlotte Zolotow Award)
Banyai- Zoom 
Barrett- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Barrett- Pickles to Pittsburgh:The Sequel to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Barroux- Extraordinary Pets
Bedford- Mole's in Love
Bemelmans- Madeline (Caldecott Honor Book)
Berenstain- The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food
Berenstain- The Berenstain Bears' Seashore Treasure
Brett- Gingerbread Friends
Brett- Snowy Treasury
Brett-The Night Before Christmas
Brett-The Mitten
Brett- The 3 Little Dassies
Bridwell- Clifford's ABC
Bridwell- Clifford's Birthday Party
Bridwell- Clifford's First Day of School 
Bridwell- Clifford's Thanksgiving Visit
Bridwell- Clifford The Big Red Dog 
Brown-Buried Treasure: Sharing 
Brown- Children Make Terrible Pets
Brown- Author Flips!: Teamwork 
Brown- Author's in Charge: Being Responsible 
Brown- Author Loses His Patience 
Brown- Author's TV Trouble
Brown- Manners Matter: Being Polite 
Bullas- Have a Cool Yule
Capucilli- Inside a House That is Haunted 
Carle- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Carle- The Mixed-Up Chameleon
Carle- The Foolish Tortoise
Carle- The Grouchy Ladybug
Carlson- Henry's 100 Days of Kindergarten
Cech (retold by)- Jack and the Beanstalk
Christelow- Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (also have audio book on tape)
Coco(adapted by)- Walt Disney's Pinocchio
Colandro- There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves 
Cook- Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches 
Cronin- Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack: An Alphabetical Adventure
Davis-Kindergarten Rocks! 
dePaola- Strega Nona
Diesen- The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark 
Dewdney- Llama Llama Holiday Drama
Dewdney- Llama Llama Mad at Mama
Dewdney- Llama Llama Misses Mama
Dewdney- Llama Llama Red Pajama
Disney- A Christmas Carol: The Movie Storybook
Disney- The Jungle Book 
Disney|Pixar- Ratatouille (Read-Aloud Storybook) 
Disney|Pixar- Toy Story
Disney|Pixar- Toy Story 2
Einhorn (adapted by)- Olivia Claus 
Emberly- Go Away, Big Green Monster! 
Falconer- Olivia (Caldecott Honor Book)
Falconer- Olivia Saves the Circus
Ferguson- Tea for Ruby
Freeman- A Pocket for Corduroy
Freeman- Corduroy Lost and Found
Galdone-The Gingerbread Man
Galdone- The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Galdone- The Three Little Pigs 
Gifford- Party Animals
Henkes- Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse 
Hoberman- Very Short Mother Goose Tales to Read Together 
Jane- A Vampire Is Coming To Dinner
Johnson- The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon
Kann- Purplicious
Keats- The Snowy Day
Killen- Not Me!
Kroll- The Biggest Apple Ever 
Leaf- The Story of Ferdinand <Big Book> 
Lee- Wave
Lehman- Adventures at Walnut Grove
Lehman- I Double Dare You!
Lobel- Frog and Toad Together (Caldecott Honor Book)
Lord- The Giant Jam Sandwich (also have audio book on tape)
Lyon- The Pirate of Kindergarten (Schneider Family Book Award)
Maccarone- Miss Lina's Ballerinas
MacHale- The Monster Princess
Marshall- Goldilocks and The Three Bears
Martin Jr.& Archambault- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Martin Jr & Carle- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (with CD audio book) 
Martin Jr.& Sampson- Chicka Chicka 1 2 3
Marzoolo (riddles by)- I Spy An Apple 
Mayer- Little Critter: Going to the Firehouse
McGrath- The m&m's Counting Book 
McKee- Elmer 
Merberg & Bober- Sunday With Seurat
Mortenson & Roth- Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg & Three Cups of Tea 
Munro- EcoMazes: 12 Earth Adventures
Nash- The Adventures of Isabel
Noll- I Need My Monster 
Numeroff- If You Give a Cat a Cupcake
Numeroff- If You Give A Mouse a Cookie
Numeroff- If You Take a Mouse to the Movies: A Special Christmas Edition
Pace- A Teacher for Bear
Pallotta- The Butterfly Counting Book 
Pattou- Mrs. Spitzer's Garden
Pfister- Rainbow Fish & Friends: The Copycat Fish 
Pfister- The Rainbow Fish 
Pinczes- One Hundred Hungry Ants
Pinkney- The Lion and the Mouse
Pinkney- Three Little Kittens
Potter- The Tale of Peter Rabbit
O' Connor-Fancy Nancy
O' Connor-Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique
O'Connor- Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas
O' Connor- Fancy Nancy Storybook Medley
Odanaka- A Crazy Day at the Critter Cafe
Orloff- I Wanna Iguana 
Palatini- Moosetoe
Pfister- The Rainbow Fish
Retold- There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
Reynolds- Ish
Reynolds- The Dot
Sauer- Chicken Dance 
Schachner- Skippy Jon Jones <Big Book>
Schachner- Skippy Jon Jones: Lost in Spice 
Schmid- A Pet For Petunia 
Schoberle-Thank You, Angelica: The Rugrats Book of Manners
Scieszka & Smith- Science Verse 
Scieszka & Smith- The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs
Scieszka & Smith- The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (Caldecott Honor Book)
Sedaka- Waking Up Is Hard To Do 
Seeger- First the Egg ( Caldecott Honor Book) (Theodor Geisel Honor Book) 
Sendak Chicken Soup With Rice
Sendak- Where the Wild Things Are
Seuss- The Foot Book
Seuss- The Lorax
Seuss- There's a Wocket in my Pocket
Seuss- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Shannon- A Bad Case of Stripes 
Shannon- It's Christmas, David!
Shannon- No, David! (Caldecott Honor Book)
Shea- Big Plans 
Slate- Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten
Slate- Miss Bindergarten Celebrated the Last Day of Kindergarten
Slate- Miss Bindergarten Has a Wild Day in Kindergarten
Slater(adapted by)-Walt Disney's Lady and the Tramp
Smallcomb- Earth To Clunk 
Smallcomb- I'm Not
Smith- It's a Book
Stead- A Sick Day for Amos McGee (The Caldecott Medal) (NY Times Best Illustrated Children's Book Award)
Stein- Interrupting Chicken (Caldecott Honor Book)
Thaler- A Hippopotamus Ate the Teacher 
Thompson- Eloise
Thompson- Mouse Loves School 
Viorst- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Viorst- Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday (2 copies)
Werner- Alphabeasties and other Amazing Types
Wiesner- The Three Pigs (The Caldecott Medal)
Wiesner- Art & Max
Wild- Fox
Wiley- The Leaves on the Trees 
Willems- Amanda & Her Alligator 
Willems- Cat the Cat, Who Is That?
Willems- City Dog, Country Frog
Willems- Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (Caldecott Honor Book)
Willems- Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!
Willems- Edwina
Willems- Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Caldecott Honor Book)
Willems- Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity (Caldecott Honor Book)
Willems- Knuffle Bunny Free- An Unexpected Diversion
Willems- Leonardo the Terrible Monster 
Willems- Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed 
Willems- The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!
Willems- The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!
Willems- There Is a Bird on Your Head! (Theodor Seuss Geisel Award)
Willems- What's Your Sound, Hound the Hound
Williams- The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything
Wilson- Bear Feels Sick
Wilson- Bear Snores On
Wright(illustrated by)- The Real Mother Goose
Yolen & Stemple- Not All Princesses Dress in Pink 
Yolen- How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? 
Yolen- How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? 
Zelinsky- Rumpelstiltskin
Zoehfeld- Be Patient, Pooh