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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets
Authors: Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth
Illustrator: Ekua Holmes
Published March 14th, 2017 by Candlewick Press

Summary: Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award–winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.

A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Honoree offer a glorious, lyrical ode to poets who have sparked a sense of wonder.

Review: This anthology is beautiful. Alexander, Colderley, and Wentworth beautifully pay homage to each poet. Their tribute poems are impeccably written and not only do the poems follow the style of the poet but also teach us about the lives of the poet. And Holmes’s artwork pushes the book to another level. I also adored the diversity of the poets, as well as the types of poems, chosen.

And Out of Wonder can definitely be a perfect mentor text for a poetry unit, and I can definitely see it being paired with Love That Dog to expand what Creech started.

Teaching Guide with Prereading Activities, Discussion Questions, and Classroom Extensions (by teacher Mary Lee Hahn): 

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Love That Dog and Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech; Poetry by any of the poets honored in the book: Naomi Shihab Nye, Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Bashō, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Walter Dean Myers, Emily Dickinson, Terrance Hayes, Billy Collins, Pablo Neruda, Judith Wright, Mary Oliver, Cwendolyn Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, William Carlos Williams, Okot p’Bitek, Chief Dan George, Rumi, or Maya Angelou

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NFPB2016

Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

o-is-for-orca 123-moose

O is for Orca
1-2-3 Moose
Author: Andrea Helman
Photographer: Art Wolfe
Published February 23rd, 2016 by Little Bigfoot

O is for Orca Summary: O is for orca and P is for puffin! With beautiful photographs by acclaimed nature photographer Art Wolfe, this book brings the alphabet to life for toddlers through colorful animals and landscapes. Wildlife in the book includes auklets, bears, coyotes, deer, eagles, lynx, salmon, urchins, and more. 

1-2-3 Moose Summary: 1 wolf, 2 moose, 3 cougars, and more! Award-winning nature photographer Art Wolfe’s engaging photos of animals introduce young children to wildlife while also teaching them numbers and how to count in this colorful and educational board book.

Kellee’s Review: Too often books for toddlers talk down to them and are too simplistic. I really love books that are real and teach toddlers in a way that respects the intelligent human beings they are. These books teach the reader about so much of the Northeast US wildlife while also working on ABCs and counting. I really enjoyed how not only does it say “O is for Orca,” but the author also describes the nature photographs that accompany the letter/number (ex. “Swimming by mama’s side is where orca calves love to be.”) And speaking of the photographs, they are beautiful! Wolfe is a very talented nature photographer whose eye brings the nature to us.

Ricki’s Review: These beautiful photography in these two board books will inspire kids to want to learn their letters and numbers. Admittedly, I don’t know a whole lot about the Pacific Northwest (I am a New Englander), so I had a lot of fun learning about this location and its wildlife as my son and I read these two books together. The words rolled off of my tongue, and I particularly loved all of the alliteration!I am so glad that these books are being offered in the board book format because the photography and bright, colorful animals will engage even the youngest readers.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: While teaching the ABCs or counting 1-12, these books give a perfect tie in to science. These would be a perfect cross-curricular text to incorporate in early childhood classrooms and preschools. Students could also make their own ABC and 123 books by taking photographs or drawing nature from their state.

Flagged Passages: 

o-is-for-orca-spread 123-moose-spread

Read This If You Love: ABC or counting books, books about nature 

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**Thank you to Sasquatch Books for providing copies for review!!**

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Dump Truck Duck

Dump Truck Duck
Author: Megan E. Bryant;  Illustrator: Jo de Ruiter
Published: May 1, 2016 by Albert Whitman & Company

Goodreads Summary: Dump Truck Duck honks and zooms and steers his dump truck all through the day, helping the other hardworking ducks build a new park. With adorable illustrations and playful rhyming text, Dump Truck Duck is certain to become a new read-aloud favorite!

Ricki’s Review: My son has so much fun reading this picture book. I am of the mindset that there can never be too many vehicle-themed picture books. As the mother of a child who reads dozens of truck picture books a day, I love the variety. On top of it all, this playful, fun picture book makes us giggle! The rhymes work well, and the story line is very amusing. The book is quite clever, and we really enjoy reading it together. It is sure to be a favorite amongst little readers. I want my own Dump Truck Duck stuffed animal!

Kellee’s Review: Trent is so picky about his picture books. He owns so many books, but he has a set few books that he reads over and over again. It is really hard for a book to make its way into his book rotation, but Dump Truck Duck did. He even made me bring it to breakfast with us, and we had to read it while we waited for our food. I think what really sucks the little readers in are the combination of a favorite animal (everyone loves to quack!) and construction vehicles. Take this winning combination and add in fun illustrations and great rhyme, and you get a well-loved picture book! 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: We imagine that this book would be very inspirational, writing-wise, for students. After reading this story, teachers might ask students to create their own animal-themed story. They should try to stray from ducks and trucks. Perhaps, they could work as an entire class to create their own rhyming story. The teacher could then submit the story for publication!

Discussion Questions: How does the author use rhyme to capture your attention?; How does the rhythm/pacing enhance your reading?; What other animals would make great, funny truck drivers?; In what ways is the author creative with her craft? How might you use this in your own writing?; What literary devices does the author use?

Flagged Passage: 

DumpTruckDuck_INT2-3

Read This If You Loved: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, Demolition by Sally Sutton, Little Blue Truck by Alice Shertle, Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres

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**Thank you to Megan for providing copies for review!**

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Perfect Percival Priggs

The Perfect Percival Priggs
Author: Julie-Anne Graham
Published: May 26, 2015 by Running Press

Goodreads Summary: Percival Priggs seems to be the perfect child. His parents are perfect, his grandparents are perfect, and even his pets are perfect. Percy’s shelf is packed with gleaming trophies. But with all the practice and preparation needed for his competitions, Percy never has a free moment.

Percy worries that his parents will not love him if he does not smile his prize-winning smile and perform perfectly in every competition. But after his rocket experiment turns into an imperfect mess, Mr. and Mrs. Priggs reveal their own funny imperfections and show Percy they are proud of him exactly as he is.

The message of reassurance and acceptance in The Perfect Percival Priggs is timely in our age of helicopter parenting, overscheduling, and increased testing standards for young children. But it is debut author Julie-Anne Graham’s fresh art style that truly sets the book apart. A former fashion designer with a love of textiles, Graham has built on each page a collage of textured patterns and drawn characters, adding humor and a world of detail to the Priggs’ home and story.

Ricki’s Review: I loved the layered textures of this book. The wide-eyed illustrations will draw readers in and allow them to pay close attention to the important lessons of this story. Many kids battle with inner desires for perfection, and Percival Priggs is no exception. He struggles to be just as perfect as his perfect family, and it weighs on him. He comes to learn that perhaps perfection isn’t all that important.

Kellee’s Review: I loved the unique illustrations of this one. They are eye-catching and are just quirky enough. I also think this is a perfect read aloud for all levels because of its theme. It is definitely going in my read aloud pile for home and school. It has a fun story, but has a much deeper message. I think so many of us face the pressure of being perfect and having a discussion with kids about this pressure and the unrealistic aspect of it would really help with anxiety they may be feeling. I also love the message of family.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This text would offer meaningful classroom discussions about the fallacies of perfection. Students might share times they made mistakes, and this would allow them to understand that we are all human. They might analyze perfection as it is portrayed in society and the media. Additionally, teachers might use this book as a mentor text to teach alliteration in writing.

Discussion Questions: How does Percival’s family react to his worries about perfection?; Can a person be truly perfect?; Why do people have the desire to be perfect?; Share with a partner some of the ways you are an imperfect person and why this might just be okay.

We Flagged: 

Percival Spread

Read This If You Loved: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires; You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang; Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea; Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae; The Invisible Boy by Tracy Ludwig; The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

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**Thank you to Running Press for providing copies for review!**

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Captain Underpants series
Author: Dav Pilkey
#1: Adventures of Captain Underpants published September 1st, 1997 by Scholastic, Inc.
#11: Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 published August 26th, 2014 by Scholastic Inc.

Goodreads Summary #1: Pilkey plays with words and pictures, providing great entertainment. The story is immediately engaging – two fourth-grade boys who write comic books and love to pull pranks find themselves in big trouble. Mean Mr. Krupp, their principal, videotapes George and Harold setting up their stunts and threatens to expose them. The boys’ luck changes when they send for a 3-D Hypno-Ring and hypnotize Krupp, turning him into Captain Underpants, their own superhero creation.

Goodreads Summary #11: When the Incredible Robo-Plunger defeated the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, George and Harold thought their toilet troubles were over. Unfortunately, their porcelain problems were only beginning . . . Just when you thought it was safe to flush . . . The Turbo Toilet 2000 strikes back! The carnivorous commode known for devouring everything in its path has built up a real appetite . . . for REVENGE! Join Captain Underpants for another epic showdown of Wedgie Power vs. Potty Power as our tighty-whitey-wearing superhero GOES TO ELEVEN!

My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Ever since I started teaching I have had Captain Underpants fans in my classroom. Readers (especially boys though, like all books, it is not exclusive) love these books. When I started teaching intensive reading, my students loved that I read so much but were astonished that I had never read a Captain Underpants book. So, during the summer of 2012, I read the entire series that was out at the time.  And suprsingly, I am happy I did. I enjoyed the books so much, and I found many different ways that I could use in the series in classroom. As I read I not only enjoyed the stories (well most of them; the booger one was quite gross), but I kept notes on different ways each book could be a mentor text.  I know that students already love the books so I would love to be able to use them in the classroom. I think that part of what makes Pilkey’s humor work is that he never talks down to his reader. The humor is intelligent and witty, and he makes sure to have his books be as entertaining as possible to keep the reader’s attention.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Some of my favorite things that are addressed in the series are spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and puns. The spelling is not directly addressed; however, Harold and George misspell a lot of words and it would be good to use to talk about phonics and spelling.  Also, each book begins with an anagram which is great word play.  The grammar is sporadic only showing up in some books, but the vocabulary is in all of them.  Some vocabulary I found was billowing, narratively convenient, fizzled, improbability, jubilant, mock, scurried, and merciless and that is just in book 3! Also the puns in each book are really quite clever (check out p. 34 in #11 and any of the flip-o-ramas to see what I mean). Each book also has some great alliteration (#11, p. 29, 27, 208)- each title alone has alliteration in them. There are also allusions and onomatopoeias!

Additionally, I love the set up of the novels. They are a great mix of novel, graphic novel, comics, and picture books. It is a great transition between picture books and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I especially like the flip-o-ramas. They are unique to the Captain Underpants books and I think it puts a great interactive and kinesthetic feel to the books.

One thing I do not understand is why these books are challenged. Yes, they have some potty humor. Yes, the adults aren’t the best representation of teachers. Yes, it is silly. But they are harmless and actually have some really great qualities to them.

Discussion Questions: In the first Captain Underpants, Harold and George brainstorm a superhero including his name and then create a comic based on their superhero. With a partner, brainstorm a name for a superhero and then complete a story to go along with your superhero. To expand it even more, complete a comic for your superhero.; In #11 novel, time travel plays a large part of in the plot. What event could you go back in time to try to change?; In some of the Captain Underpants books, there are grammar, convention, and spelling mistakes. Why do you think Dav Pilkey makes the choice to use incorrect grammar? What mistakes idd you find?; In #11, Harold and George end up being cloned (kind of). What would you do if there were two of you?

We Flagged (#11): 

Read These If You Loved: Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce, Charlie Joe Jackson series by Tommy Greenwald, The Adventures of Ook & Gluk and Super Diaper Baby series by Dav Pilkey, Lunch Lady series by Jarrett Krosoczka, Frankie Pickle series by Eric Wight, Knights of the Lunch Table series by Frank Cammuso 

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NF PB 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

firefly

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems
Selected by: Paul B. Janeczko
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Published March 11, 2014 by Candlewick Press

Goodreads Summary: Celebrated poet and anthologist Paul B. Janeczko pairs with Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet for a collection of short poems to sample and savor. 

It only takes a few words, if they’re the right words, to create a strong image. Whether listened to in the comfort of a cozy lap or read independently, the thirty-six very short poems in this collection remind readers young and old that a few perfect words and pictures can make the world glow. Selected by acclaimed poet Paul B. Janeczko and gorgeously illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poemsinvites children to sample poems throughout the four seasons

My Review: Paul B. Janeczko did a wonderful job choosing poems that represent each season beautifully from amazing poets such as Sandburg, Williams, Hughes, and Fletcher, then add Melissa Sweet’s mixed media illustrations that engulf the page in color, and you have a perfect poetry anthology for any age.  There isn’t much more to say about this book, but that it is something every person should see.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: What can you not do with this book?! It has every type of poem imaginable that can be used in so many different situations. Need an example of a type of figurative language? You’ll find it in here. Need an example of a rhyme scheme? Yep, in here. Need to talk about rhythm? This’ll do. Want to introduce poetry? Have examples of poems for mentor texts? Allow students to draw how they interpret different poems and come back together and share? All can be done with this. And all with short, non-overwhelming, yet amazing poems.

Discussion Questions: What poems would you have chosen for the different seasons?; Which poem is your favorite?; How do you picture ______?

We Flagged: 

Read This If You Loved: Any poetry.

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**Thank you to Rachel at Candlewick for providing a copy for review**

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NF PB 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

weeds find a way

Weeds Find a Way
Author: Cindy Jenson-Elliot
Illustrator: Carolyn Fisher
Published: February 4, 2014 by Beach Lane Books

Goodreads Summary: Weeds are wonderful! Persistent, exuberant…these plants have personalities, and this nonfiction picture book puts them on colorful display!

From bright yellow dandelions popping through cracks in sidewalks to purple loosestrife growing rampant along roadways, weeds offer unexpected splashes of color and life to the least likely of places. With lovely language and a sly sense of humor, this beautiful picture book celebrates the tenacious temperaments of these pesky plants and is sure to have little ones chanting, “Way to go, weeds!”

Ricki’s Review: The illustrations! The illustrations! I was mesmerized by the gorgeous artwork in this text. As I read it aloud to my son and husband, I was oohing and aahing at the bright, luscious colors. It made me want to go outdoors and lay among the weeds. If it wasn’t the dead of the winter, I would pull my son outside and read the book to him in our garden. There are beautiful passages of figurative language–alliteration that reads like a song, and readers will be sucked into the sprawling passages that evoke lovely images. The book turns readers’ assumptions on their heads. The words and images show that we can find beauty in, of all things, weeds. While I learned much about weeds and found the informational passages at the end (about different types of weeds) to be quite informative, I found the idea of weeds to be symbolic, too.

Kellee’s Review: I was blown away with how fascinating the author made something that we walk by every day and ignore. The text itself is quite lyrical and has the amazing illustrations with it; however, I found the goodies in the research in the afterword.  It was very interesting for me to learn that these plants, which we treat like pests, are actually so very useful. I second much of what Ricki says about the figurative language. I love seeing these elements being used in a nonfiction book! Overall, this is a nonfiction book that should be shared with kids and will definitely start some major discussions.

Teachers’ Tool for Navigation: Teachers will find multiple opportunities with this text. They can use it to teach different types of figurative language, or they might ask students to explore weeds in a more symbolic way. We love the idea of using nonfiction at such a young age, and we wonder if teachers might try literature circles with this text. While it is marketed for ages 4-8, it could be used for different purposes with a variety of age groups. The informational passages at the end might allow teachers to help students research about different types of plants. We also love the illustrations so much that we would love to have kids take the pictures and write their own stories to match the images. It would show that nonfiction can be accessible and fun.

Interior illus from WEEDS FIND A WAY_Copyright � 2014 by Carolyn Fisher

Discussion Questions: Why do weeds get a bad reputation? What else might we compare weeds to? Are there other things in the world that are unfairly loathed?; How does the author use figurative language to draw the reader in?; What makes a plant a weed?; Some of the plants shared at the end of the book are useful (for foods, medication, etc.); however, we still treat them as weeds. Why do we have this perspective of these plants?

We Flagged: “Weeds find  way to stay, reaching deep with a  grip so strong, the stem always breaks first, leaving the living roots behind to sprout again; or pinching into pieces the minute you try to tug them out, spreading into a spray of plant parts that find new spots to take root” (p. 21-22).

Read This If You Loved: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins

Cindy Jenson-Elliott photo

About the Author: Cindy Jenson-Elliott is the author of fourteen books of nonfiction and hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines and educational publishers. She is a teacher and environmental educator with an MA in education and a passion for connecting children with nature. In her free time, she enjoys swimming in the ocean and spending time outdoors in San Diego, where she lives and gardens with her family of four humans and three Buff Orpington chickens. Visit her at CindyJensonElliott.com.

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 Check out all the stops on the WEEDS FIND A WAY blog tour!

Mon, Feb 24
Growing with Science
Tues, Feb 25
As They Grow Up
Wed, Feb 26
Kid Lit Frenzy
Thurs, Feb 27
Sharpread
Fri, Feb 28
Children’s Book Review
Mon, Mar 3
Let’s Go Chipper!
Tues, Mar 4
Just a Little Creativity
Wed, Mar 5
Unleashing Readers
Thurs, Mar 6
5 Minutes for Books
Fri, Mar 7
Archimedes Notebook

 

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**Thank you to Barbara Fisch at Blue Slip Media for providing us with copies for review**

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