Thursday, July 27, 2017

Don't Go To School by Máire Zepf + A Giveaway!!

Don't Go To School 
by Máire Zepf
Illustrated by Tarsila Krüse
August 2017
Sterling Children's Books
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Benno is really excited about his first day at school. But there’s one problem: MOMMY! 
A laugh-out-loud twist on a familiar theme.

What can a little bear do when he’s all ready for his first day of school—but his mother isn’t? “DON”T GO TO SCHOOL!” she wails. “STAY HERE WITH ME!” Mommy sulks, she’s shy, she even throws a tantrum. Can Benno convince her that everything’s okay? He comes up with an ingenious idea to help her adjust—one that many a mom and dad will recognize. This humorous story will reassure and delight nervous children, while parents feeling a little sad to see their babies grow up and march off to school will empathize with Mom!

My Thoughts
There are many books about the anxieties of starting school for the first time, but this is the first book I have read where it is the parent who is anxious and doesn't want her child to start school. Author Máire Zepf uses hilarious juxtaposition and turns the tables describing what, I am sure, some parents might feel as their little ones begin school. "New things are scary sometimes, Mommy..." little Benno says to his mother to help calm her fears. He practically drags her to school to meet the teacher and she is nervous because she doesn't know many of the other parents. 
In the end, Benno convinces his mom that everything will be fine and gives her a pocket full of kisses. 
The text font and illustrations are simple with endearing characters on every page. The colors are somewhat muted and dark with some patterning mixed in which I liked very much.

I really enjoyed this take on a "starting school" book and think many kids and parents will enjoy its humor as they engage in discussions about starting school. 

I would like to thank Sterling for hosting a giveaway of Don't Go to School. Enter in the rafflecopter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nonfiction Wednesday-Can an Aardvark Bark? by Melissa Stewart and Steve Jenkins

My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website.

Can an Aardvark Bark? by Melissa Stewart and Steve Jenkins
Published June 2017
Beach Lane Books
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
From award-winning author Melissa Stewart and Caldecott honoree Steve Jenkins comes a noisy nonfiction exploration of the many sounds animals make.

Can an aardvark bark? No, but it can grunt. Lots of other animals grunt too…
Barks, grunts, squeals—animals make all kinds of sounds to communicate and express themselves. With a growling salamander and a whining porcupine, bellowing giraffes and laughing gorillas, this boisterous book is chock-full of fun and interesting facts and is sure to be a favorite of even the youngest animal enthusiasts.

My Thoughts
Talk about a dream team?! Nonfiction royalty, Melissa Stewart and Steve Jenkins, have teamed up to bring us this wonderful book about animal sounds and there is so much to love about it! 

I love the cover with its little ants marching along the bottom. If you open the book up, you can see the front and back of the aardvark. 

I love the repetitive pattern: Can a giraffe laugh? No, but it can bellow. Lots of other animals bellow too. This structure gives the book a nice flow and helps readers to know what is coming.

I love the facts. Readers learn about different animal sounds presented in just a few sentences. Did you know that a baby beaver whines to let its mother know that it is hungry? 

I love the illustrations. Steve Jenkins is a genius, plain and simple. 
Image from Simon and Schuster Website. 

I would highly recommend Can and Aardvark Bark for any classroom or school library. With its simple, yet informative text and engaging illustrations, it will appeal to a wide age-range. 

But, don't take my word for it, watch this adorable book trailer created by kids! 

See what others have to say about this book:
Publishers Weekly
Kid lit Reviews

Read more about the making of the trailer and info about the book at Mr. Schu's site

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Spotlight On: Claymates by Dev Petty

by Dev Petty
Illustrated by Lauren Eldridge
Published June, 2017
Little Brown Books for Young Readers
40 Pages
Obtained from public library

Goodreads Summary
Meet the claymates: two balls of clay that can become anything--even best friends! 

What can you do with two blobs of clay? Create something amazing! But don't leave them alone for too long. Things might get a little crazy
In this photographic friendship adventure, the claymates squish, smash, and sculpt themselves into the funniest shapes imaginable. But can they fix a giant mess before they're caught in the act? 

Quick Thoughts
Oh my word! This book is so creative and so much FUN! These two balls of clay discover that they can be anything they want to be and in the process they become friends. I would highly recommend Claymates for grades Pre-K-4. 

Kids will love it and adults will love rereading it. Just make sure to have some clay ready so they can create "something wonderful". 

Check out this great book trailer!

See what others have to say about this book:
Mr. Schu-Watch. Connect. Read
Publishers Weekly

Monday, July 24, 2017

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 24, 2017

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

I was lucky to take this stack of books with me on a brief road trip. 

I also read this gem. So good!

What are you reading friends? 

Monday, July 17, 2017

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 17, 2017

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Here are some books I have enjoyed this week. Click on the cover for more info. 

Sweet and sad, but mostly sweet. Prek-2

I will review this excellent middle grade adventure story near its release date in November.

LOVED this one! Great for fans of The Goldfish Boy. 

Get this one. Trust me.

Currently Reading

Listening to...

Continuing to read and participate in #cyberpd2017
Here are my posts if you care to read them.

What are you reading friends? 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

#CyberPD2017 Week Two

     This summer I am participating in my second #CyberPD session. This virtual book club is organized and facilitated by educators, Cathy MereLaura Komos and Michelle Nero. This summer, we are reading and discussing Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading by the incomparable Vicki Vinton. 

This week we read chapters 5 and 6 in section two of Vinton's book. Both chapters gave a glimpse into how a problem-based reading session might unfold. Although, both chapters were thought-provoking, chapter 5 spoke to me a bit more.

File Under Duh, Why Didn't I think of That?
Right from the beginning, Vinton was blowing my teacher mind by suggesting things that, until now, seemed counterintuitive. She suggests instead of activating background knowledge or preteaching tricky vocabulary in a text, have the students read the text and underline the words they DO know instead of those they do not know. This, she says, "...builds their confidence, sense of agency and identity as readers." (58). 

I Do This, But I Didn't Know I Did This
Feedback strategy: Noticing and naming. As I read this section (pgs 73-74) I was pleased to find that this might be something I actually do, but didn't realize I was doing it and didn't have a name for it. Now I have filed it away to definitely have available in my questioning/feedback toolbox. The idea is simple, notice what students are doing to attempt to solve problems and name what they did. There is a nice list on page 74. 

Quote Worthy
"While the ability to argue with evidence is certainly an important skill, we might better serve our students as readers if we think of that as a by-product, not the real purpose of reading." Unfortunately text-dependent questions and "proving" accuracy by quoting the text has become the goal in may classrooms thanks to the Common Core's emphasis on it. 

Steer the Ship
I absolutely LOVE the "Steering the Ship" charts where Vinton summarizes the essence of the chapter. I have each one marked with a sticky flag and feel like they would be great to revisit for reminders and inspiration. 

I-we-you has been a hallmark of my instruction for some time. I love it when my thinking is "disrupted" to coin a phrase from Beers and Probst. Why not let them grapple first and then decide if/when/how to help?

Monday, July 10, 2017

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 10, 2017

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Here are some books I have enjoyed this week. Click on the cover for more info. 

Terrific nonfiction biography. Grades 3+

An important book to add to your library. Grades 3+

I am always interested in books where a person is born with an innate gift. Grades 2-5

Fun concept book about things that are round. PK-2

Really adorable early chapter book. Grades 1-3

This one was not a favorite, but some gn fans will enjoy it. 
Grades 3-5

Middle grade. See my review here

A new historical fiction novel set during the Holocaust with a fantasy twist. Upper middle grades.

What are you reading friends?