Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp

Share

NF PB 2013

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!

mona

Who Stole Mona Lisa?
Author: Ruthie Knapp
Illustrated by: Jill McElmurry
Published by September 1st, 2010 by Bloombury USA Childrens

Goodreads Summary: She has a legendary smile, and millions come to see her every day. Some say she is the most famous painting in the world. Who is she? Why, the Mona Lisa, of course! But did you know that she was once stolen from her wall at the Louvre? Who took her? Why? Where was she hidden? How was she found? Someone call the police!

Narrated by the lady of the enigmatic smile herself—and brought to life with gorgeous paintings that take the reader from da Vinci’s renaissance right up to the present day—this is a stylishly whimsical account of the glorious, wonderful, sometimes dangerous life of the best recognized painting of all time. Discover the secrets behind her mysterious smile, and hear for yourself the amazing true story of her kidnapping.

Review: How fascinating! First, let me tell you a little bit about my background. My father has a BA in Art History and an MFA in Museumology. These studies led him to become an executive director of art museums (he is currently directing the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, TN) thus impacting my life greatly. My entire childhood has been surrounded by the arts (my mother is a photographer as well). This has made art history something that I am very interested in which then made this book so fascinating for me and I believe it will be incredibly fascinating for all readers.

Mona Lisa is probably the most famous painting of all time, but many, including me, do not know her history. She is more of a mystery that we all are enthralled with than a piece of artwork that is talked about in history class; however, Ruthie Knapp’s book shows us that Mona Lisa’s history is a lot more interesting than we probably thought. And what I think makes this book one that will draw in all sorts of readers is the way she tells the story. The story is told from Mona Lisa’s point of view which makes it more of a caper, mystery type story instead of just informational nonfiction.

Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: As soon as I read this book, I saw how I could use it in the classroom. Seeing things from different points of view and perspectives is something that, as a teacher, I am always trying to help my students achieve. This book, since it is told from Mona Lisa’s point of view, is a perfect example of seeing a situation from a different point of view. After reading Who Stole Mona Lisa? I would start a discussion on how others in the story might have viewed the situation. How would the director of the Louvre have told the story differently? How about Vincenzo Perugia? Parisians? All of these people would have viewed the loss of Mona Lisa differently. These thoughts then could be transferred to anything. Maybe have students choose a historical event and think about it from a different person’s point of view: Babe Ruth’s huge “called” home run from the pitchers point of view, atomic bombings of Japan from a Japanese citizen’s point of view, an event in a book from a different character’s point of view, etc. The options are infinite.

Discussion Questions: How would the director of the Louvre have told the story differently? How about Vincenzo Perugia? Parisians?; Look up other stolen pieces of art. What happened to them?

We Flagged: “Leonardo da Vinci is the artist who painted me. It took him four years! Leonardo loved me. He looked at me while he ate past. He would not travel without me. He said I was his masterpiece. I was famous because Leonardo was famous. Fans jammed his studio to watch him paint.” (p. 10-11)

“The man with the mustache loved me too. He said I reminded him of someone special. He looked at me at every meal: over apples, eggs, and trout; cake and prunes and piglet snout. He looked at me on rainy days, on snowy days, and during summer squalls. He looked at me when he bathed. He looked at me when he shaved. He looked at me for TWO years. I was tired of the man with the mustache. I missed my wall. I missed people staring. I missed children looking sideways and upside down. (p. 24-25)

Read This If You Loved: Nonfiction books about Leonardo da Vinci or Mona Lisa, any books told from inanimate objects’ points of view, Seen Art?  by Jon Sciezska, Capture the Flag by Kate Messner, Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall

Signature

Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets by Kathleen Krull

Share

NF PB 2013

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!\

henson

Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets
Author: Kathleen Krull
Paintings by: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Published August 23rd, 2011 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: Sesame Street and The Muppet Show introduced Jim Henson’s Muppets to the world, making Kermit the Frog, Oscar the Grouch, and Big Bird household names. But even as a child in rural Mississippi, listening to the radio and putting on comedy shows for his family, Jim recognized the power of laughter to bring people together. On Sesame Street, Jim’s Muppets transformed children’s television by making learning fun for kids everywhere. A visionary, Jim always believed that puppets could reach a wider audience. In 1976, he proved it, drawing millions of family viewers to The Muppet Show. With his feature film The Dark Crystal and his Star Wars characters—including Yoda—Jim continued to push the boundaries of what was possible in puppetry until his death in 1990 at the age of 53.

Kathleen Krull, recipient of the Children’s Book Guild 2011 Non-fiction Award and many other accolades, once again does what she does so well—illuminating the life of an important figure in history, art, and culture with her informative but approachable writing style.

Review: I love Jim Henson. I remember when he passed away and I was devastated. I thought that Sesame Street was dead too, but Jim Henson’s influence is stronger than death. He has continued to live through his show, characters, and legacy. Kathleen Krull does an amazing job of sharing with the reader what made Jim Henson who he was and how he became (I believe) the most influential person when it came to children and children’s entertainment in the 20th century.

Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: Jim’s story is a great story to tell children, because like many successful creative persons, he was passionate and went for what he enjoyed, was good at, and was his passion. Jim also will be someone that many students will connect with as he was quiet, smart, not athletic, in school plays, a reader, a story teller, and fascinated with TV.  There are more students like Jim than unlike him and they need to hear about those like them who were successful.

This book would also be a great way to incorporate the CCSS’s diverse media and formats by showing clips of Jim Henson’s work as they are discussed in the book. For example, Jim got his very own TV show when he was in college, Sam and Friends, and clips of this show are on You Tube.

Discussion Questions: How has television changed since Jim Henson got his first TV?; How did not listening to what others thought influence Jim Henson’s decisions in life? If he listened to others, what would be different?

We Flagged: “Puppets struck some people as babyish, but Jim really wanted to go on TV. Now! He checked out books from the library and joined his high school’s puppet club as a way to learn how to make them.” (p. 16)

“He practiced for hours in front of a mirror, trying to get his puppets’ movements and expressions just right, voicing silly and witty thoughts he normally kept to himself.” (p. 18)

Read This If You Loved: Before You Leap by Kermit the Frog, Who Was Jim Henson? by Joan Holub, On A Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino, Lost Boy: The Story of the Man Who Created Peter Pan by Jane Yolen, Sandy’s Circus: A Story about Alexander Calder by Tanya Lee Stone

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall

Signature

Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming

Share

6399414

Imogene’s Last Stand
Author: Candace Fleming
Illustrator: Nancy Carpenter
Published October 13th, 2009 by Schwartz & Wade

Goodreads Summary: Meet Imogene, a plucky heroine with a passion for history.

As a baby, Imogene’s first words were “Four score and seven years ago.” In preschool, she fingerpainted a map of the Oregon Trail. So it’s not surprising that when the mayor wants to tear down the long-neglected Liddleton Historical Society to make room for a shoelace factory, Imogene is desperate to convince the town how important its history is. But even though she rides through the streets in her Paul Revere costume shouting, “The bulldozers are coming, the bulldozers are coming!” the townspeople won’t budge. What’s a history-loving kid to do?

Filled with quotes from history’s biggest players—not to mention mini-bios on the endpapers—and lots of humor, here’s the perfect book for budding historians.

Review: Imogene is awesome! Her whole life she has loved history and has promoted history. History is her passion. When she finds out that the Liddleville Historical Center is up for demolition, she does everything in her power to save the history center. This, in a nutshell, is what makes her awesome: she is intelligent, passionate, and willing to stand up for her passion. Because of this, and the history allusions throughout the book, make this such an excellent book to use in classrooms. Imogene is such a great role model for any child.

The history aspects of this book were done so cleverly. Throughout Imogene’s story, she uses famous historical quotes to express how she feels at certain points. For example, when she was trying to get others to stop the bulldozing of the historical center dressed in her Paul Revere costume, she rode around Main Street (on her stick horse) yelling, “The bulldozers are coming! The bulldozers are coming!” These clever quotes are throughout the book. Then in the back and front end sheets Imogene’s historical tidbits are shared explaining all of the quotes.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: Like I said in the review, this book is a great for promoting history, intelligence, and passion. Like many of the amazing picture books I’ve been reading lately, it also promotes inquiry because it makes history interesting and fun.

Discussion Questions: What is a historical landmark in your city? Find out about what made it a landmark.; Imogene is passionate about history. What are you passionate about? Share the essentials of your passion.

We Flagged: “Imogene loved history. When she was a baby, her first words were “Four score and seven years ago.” As a preschooler, she finger-painted an accurate map of the Oregon Trail. And as a kindergartner, she used her show-and-tell time to give a series of lectures on important woman in history.” (p. 6)

To see a preview of the illustrations, visit Amazon’s “Look Inside” for Imogene’s Last Stand.

Read This If You Loved: Abe Lincoln’s Dream and John, Paul, George, & Ben by Lane Smith, Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama,  Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman, Nonfiction books about the historical figures mentioned

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

Signature

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne

Share

NF PB 2013

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!

on a beam

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein
Author: Jennifer Berne
Illustrator: Vladimir Radunsky
Published April 23rd, 2013 by Chronicle Books

Summary: Albert wasn’t like other children. He didn’t speak; he thought. He didn’t play with others; he was fascinated with everything around him. But it is all of this curiosity that led to his revolutionary ideas.

Review: I love how this book focuses on how Albert’s creativity is one of the keys to what made him the amazing scientist that he is. Also, as a teacher of struggling and gifted students, I love the focus on how he didn’t do well in school. It shows how just because a student is different or a disturbance or thinks differently doesn’t mean that they aren’t intelligent. The book definitely promotes wonderings, thinking, and imagination!

I also loved learning about the fun side of Einstein and how he likes to not wear socks, he liked to eat ice cream cones, and overall he just did what he want to have time to think.

Finally, the Author’s Note puts all of Einstein’s theories together so that the reader also gets this information.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This book is perfect for a read aloud to promote creativity and intelligence. It also has a direct connection to science since it is about Albert Einstein. It would be a great discussion starter for an elementary classroom and is also a great jumping off point for discussing the basic Einstein theories.

Discussion Questions: After knowing about Albert’s experiences in school, what would you go back and tell Albert’s teachers? What does his experience and then who he became tell us about behavior, students, and teachers?; Albert said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” What parts of this book supports this quote?

We Flagged: “Albert started asking questions. Questions at home. Questions at school. So many questions taht some of his teachers told him he was a disruption to his class. They said he would never amount to anything unless he learned to behave like the other students. But Albert didn’t want to be like other students. He wanted to discover the hidden mysteries in the world.” (p. 14-15)

To see a preview of the illustrations, visit Amazon’s “Look Inside” for On a Beam of Light.

Read This If You Loved: Odd Boy Out by Don Brown, Who Was Albert Einstein? by Jess M. Brallier, Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell, Jim Henson by Kathleen Krull, A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall

Signature

Brave Girl by Michelle Markel

Share

NF PB 2013

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!

brave

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909
Author: Michelle Markel
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Published January 22nd, 2013 by Balzer + Bray

Summary: Clara and her family immigrated to New York. They were searching for the American dream. When her father could not find a job, Clara quit school and became a garment worker to support her family. The conditions at her factory were appalling: low wages, unfair rules, and locks on the door. After discussions between the workers, Clara helps urge the girls to fight for their rights.

Review: I am sucker for this biographical picture book for two reasons: 1) I had not known about the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 before and I love learning about new historical moments. I know that it interested me (as I know it would for kids), because after I read the additional information about the garment industry I was on the internet searching for more information. 2) Clara is such a great example of girl power! AND she is a historical figure that shows girls (and boys) that girls can stand up for themselves when they are not being treated well (in real life). I love that she overcame so much to not only stand up for her rights, but also to get an education and take care of her family. What an amazing person to learn about.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: The main way that I would use this book is as a read aloud. It will definitely cause a great discussion and may push students to do further research. It would also be a perfect read aloud for a unit on women’s rights, immigration, overcoming obstacles, girl power, labor laws, or the early 1900s to help make connections to history. 

Discussion Questions: Do you think that Clara continuing her education helped her in being able to fight for her labor rights?; Clara made a tough decision between continuing school during the day or working. Do you agree or disagree with her decision? Why or why not? How did her decision affect her life?; What caused the garment workers to strike?

We Flagged: “But Clara is uncrushable. She wants to read, she wants to learn! At the end of her shift, though her eyes hurt from straining in the gaslight and her back hurts from hunching over the sewing machine, she walks to the library. She fills her empty stomach with a single glass of milk and goes to school at night. When she gets home in the late evening, she sleeps only a few hours before rising again.” (p. 12-13)

To see a preview of the illustrations, visit Amazon’s “Look Inside” for Brave Girl.

Read This If You Loved: Here Comes the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey, The Price of Freedom by Dennis Brindell Fradin, Boycott Blues by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Annie and Helen by Deborah Hopkinson

Recommended for: 

readaloudbuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

Who is a female historical figure who shows as much girl power as Clara that you believe should be talked about more?

Signature

Building Our House by Jonathan Bean

Share

building

Building Our House
Author and Illustrator: Jonathan Bean
Published January 8th, 2013 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Summary: Based on Jonathan Bean’s childhood experience, Building Our House follows a family who moves to a piece of land and builds their own home over the course of many years.

My Review: What an amazing story! It is even more amazing because it is based off of the author’s true childhood events. In the book, we follow the family from living in a trailer surrounded by bare land to living in their dream home. Though the summary seems so simple, it is much more than just watching a family build a home. It is about being determined, resilient, hardworking, a strong family, and patient. I also see it drawing in readers who are curious by building and tools. Finally, to make this story even better, the illustrations are so intricate and colorful which will also draw in readers (and has gotten it on Mock Caldecott lists).

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: The story is told in a very sequential way and would be a great introduction or resource for teaching sequence. Then, I noticed as reading, that often there is more going on in the illustrations then is stated in the words. It would be a great activity to reinforce sequence to tell the other story to the story- the story told in the illustrations.

Discussion Questions: What character traits must the Mom and Dad have to work this long/hard on their dream home?; Put the main events in sequential order.; When was a time that your family came together to do something?

We Flagged: “Our crew works until the sun sets and the frame stands strong in the middle of the field. Mom makes places for everyone to sit around a fire. We eat and talk and play until the stars shine and the owls call.” (p. 24)

Read This If You Loved: Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton, Mitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand

Recommended For: 

closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

The building of his childhood home is a memory that has lasted for Jonathan Bean. If you were going to write a book about a moment or memory from your childhood, what would it be?

Signature

Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems by Jack Prelutsky

Share

NF PB 2013

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!

 

stardines

Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems
Author: Jack Prelutsky
Illustrator: Carin Berger
Published February 26th, 2013 by Greenwillow Books

Summary: Jack Prelutsky combines inanimate objects with animals to give us a new collection of fun poetry that is accompanied by Carin Berger’s amazing fine artwork.

My Review: I love the concept behind this book. It is set up like an informational nonfiction book with each poem being presented like a specimen. Carin Berger’s artwork is full of found objects that were photographed to add to the nonfiction feeling of each poem.   And, of course, Prelutsky adds a sense of humor to each poem as that is what he does.

The creatures that Prelutsky came up with are so clever – SOBCATS who are sad cats, JOLLYFISH who are happy jellyfish, TATTLESNAKE are snakes that won’t stop tattling, and GLOOSE are a bird that keep sticking to everything. And these are just four examples of sixteen in the book.

I cannot review this book without talking about the artwork. I originally chose this book because I saw it on a Mock Caldecott list and I can definitely see why. Carin Berger illustrates this novel with beautiful pieces of artwork. As stated on the copyright page: “The miniature dioramas in this book are assemblages created using a combination of cut paper, found ephemera, vintage engravings (which were scanned, manipulated in Photoshop, and then printed out), beeswax, wire, thread, and wood. Once each piece was made, it was then photographed digitally to prepare the full-color art.” What a fantastic process to discuss with students and it definitely added an essential aspect to the book.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: Each poem is its own discussion starter. First, to separate the title creatures into the two words that were combined and looking at what the animals is and what the word is that it was combined with. For example: “Chormorants” is a combination of CORMORANT and CHORES. Then I’d look through the poem and find where the animal is represented and where the combined word plays a role. And on top of that, each poem can be looked at as a poem and look for poetic elements within it.  Each poem is a stand-alone, well done poem that is sure to start a conversation.

Discussion Questions: Which poem is your favorite? Why?; Combine an animal with a word and write a poem about this new creature.; How do you think Berger’s artwork added to the book? How would cartoon illustrations have made the book different?

We Flagged: Every poem is a gem, but this is my favorite-

“PLANDAS sit around all day,
Planning what to do.
Their plans amount to nothing,
For they never see them through.
They plan to run a marathon
Or take a railroad trip.
They plan to cross the ocean
On a wooden sailing ship.
***
They plan to learn to roller-skate,
To juggle, and to fence.
They plan to go to clown school
And cavort in circus tents.
They plan to play the saxophone
And form their own brass bands. . . .
But PLANDAS never do these things –
They just keep making plans.” (p. 21)

Read This If You Loved: Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant by Jack Prelutsky, My Teacher Likes to Say by Denise Brennan-Nelson,  Lemonade by Bob Raczka

Recommended For:

closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

Signature