Saturday, April 25, 2009
It is difficult for me to write this particular blog entry. I have just come to realize that my time in this class is almost up. I have really enjoyed my time in this class. Our discussion after we have read books has been very productive and encourages one to talk the time to evaluate what we have read and why we are drawn to certain books.
I find myself taking extra time when picking out books for not only my daughters to read but myself as well. I no longer just grab books off of the shelf. I like to take the time and flip through books. I am now looking at children's literature through the eyes of a future teacher instead of just a parent. Books that I may have shied away from in the past because of their subject matter are now ones I take extra time and review. I have discovered new genres that in the past I would not have even given a second glance too (Captain Underpants for example).
When looking at books for purchase I find myself wondering how I may make that book work or utilized in my future classroom. I believe that this is the intention of this course. As far as the blogging goes, I fully intend on keeping up on my blog as I start to work through my practicum courses. I feel compelled to express my opinions on children's literature. I have already found that this blog makes me more critical of the books I choose to read. I can only hope that any followers of this blog feel that I have helped them look at children's literature a little more closely than just the picture on the cover. Thanks for a great time.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Molly and her Dad by Jan Ormerod; Illustrated by Carol Thompson (Roaring Book Press, 2008)
I hate to admit it but the only thing I liked about this book was the illustrations. I was really hoping from the title that this book would be about a stay-at-home Dad watching over his daughter. NOT AT ALL!!!
Molly lives with her mother and has not seen her Dad since she was a baby. She often dreams of what he would be like. What does he do for a living? Am I anything like him? All very valid questions that she deserves the answers too. However, she is constantly lying and making up stories of what her father is like to please her friends at school. Miraculously one day, Molly's mother has to go out of town for a week and, viola! her Dad shows up to take care of her. Why on God's green earth would her mother allow for this to happen. This man has never shown an ounce of interest in your child and now you are allowing him to spend a whole week with her? Seems a little far fetched if you ask me. The book is filled with all sorts of warm and fuzzies as Molly and her Dad start to see just how alike they are. But low and behold and the end of the week her Dad is on the first plane out of town. This message worries me a little.
I infer from this book that Molly ends their week together longing for a closer relationship to her father and he decides to leave. Way to get her hopes up. Now I have not not recommended a lot of books this semester but this is one I would caution using. You must really know your students and their family situation before you read this book in your classroom.
Intended audience: Preschool through Grade 2
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Max's Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells ( Dial Books, 1989)
There really is not much to say about this book except that it is a good beginner reader book. The text is simple and the illustrations are cute. The story lacks proper punctuation and does not use quotation marks when the characters are speaking to each other.
I really do not know what else to say about this book except it will serve beginning readers well trying to implement reading strategies that they are learning. I guess in that sense it would also be able to be used when introducing the editing process in the writer's workshop.
Intended audience: Kindergarten through 2nd
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish; Illustrated by Fritz Siebel ( Harper Collins, 1963)
Oh Amelia, you really are not the sharpest tool in the shed. I have to admit that until right now I have never read a book about Amelia Bedelia. During the course of this semester I have heard numerous stories of how students love this series. OK, my curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to know what was so great about this book. I am still wanting to know what is so great about this book.
So I understand that Amelia is a maid and makes several mistakes. An ordinary person would have been fired if they would have made all of these mistakes. But yet, since she can make an amazing pie, she gets to remain. Come on, how unrealistic is that? Don't we want to show our students that it is hard work and attention to detail that makes one successful, and not how well you can bake a pie? Don't get me wrong, I understand how the humor plays into everything, but it just seems a bit unrealistic.
With that said, I would not keep this series away from my library just for the pure fact that they are hilarious. Amelia obviously was raised to take things literally but that is part of the fun of this series. Amelia, I may not agree with the way you do things, but you make me want more just to see if you ever manage to get fired.
Intended audience: Kindergarten through 6th.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Today I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me in my mailbox. My mother sent me a copy of a book that she used to read to me all of the time when I was a little girl. I used to just enjoy the book for the cute little bunnies and never really paid much attention to the actual text.
This afternoon I sat down and read the story with my youngest daughter. WOW! It is amazing how a story can change in your mind and be nothing like you remember 30 years ago. My daughter was just like me, she loved the little bunnies. I on the other hand saw this story as being the story of the ultimate working mother. The Country Bunny grew up idolizing the 5 Easter Bunnies. Never in her wildest dreams did she believe she would ever get the opportunity to become one herself. When one of the bunnies is "forced" to retire the "Grand Bunny" calls all of the bunnies together to choose the newest Easter Bunny. The Country Bunny was not consider until she was able to prove that she was wise, kind and swift. The "Grand Bunny" even rewarded (or I say tested) her by giving her the hardest location to deliver to. She not only delivered the egg but she proved herself to be brave. She was rewarded with the Golden Shoes that would allow her to jump anywhere.
The Country Bunny is an inspiring story for all generations. Now that I have revisited this story I see it in a whole new perspective. I am able to see this book as a mother. The Country Bunny wanted to do the best for her family and make them proud. By proving herself to the "Grand Bunny" she was able to achieve her ultimate goal. I guess you could say that this book is a testament to the importance of hard work.
Intended audience: ALL
In 1974 there was a street performer in New York who lived for a challenge. This gentleman thought there was no greater challenge then to walk between the Twin Towers (also known as the World Trade Towers). This book is all about the true story of what happened that day - I won't ruin it for you, that is the fun of this book.
What I really like about this book is the way the illustrations tell the story. This text could just as easily be a wordless book. The illustrations are so detailed and show the story from several viewpoints. This book could also be used to introduce the fall of the twin towers on 9/11 by getting students to see that we need to honor the memories of the towers and those who lost their lives instead of the tragedy that occurred. I know that this book helped me remember the stories I had heard of Philippe Petit and his tightrope walk and not the loss of a dear friend.
Intended audience: Kindergarten to 2nd
Spot and Whistle are poodles who like doing everything together. They live near a pond and enjoy running around it and playing fetch near it. They are very competitive and sometimes Spot is faster and sometimes Whistle is. Every time they go swimming Whistle swims the length of the pond, but Spot does something quite strange—he pretends to swim while remaining in one place so that he can jump out just before Whistle completes his return lap. Spot always wins this way by being the first out of the pond. One day, however, while the two are playing fetch, they have to dive into the water to retrieve the stick in the middle of the pond. Spot cannot pull his famous trick and has to swim with all his might to fetch the stick. From then on, Spot does not pull his funny trick but enjoys swimming in the pond beside Whistle.
This is an adorable story of competition and friendship. If you can say that you and your best friend are not somewhat competitive I would argue that you are lying. I know my best friend and I were always competing with our grades and at sports. It may not be seen as competition due to the closeness of our relationship but we will both admit that we are. This story can also serve as a "cheaters never prosper" lesson as well.
My only reservations about this book are the fact that the dogs are depicted as a black and a white poodle who are always competing. Some may have problems with this viewpoint. I don't but it is just something to think about.
Intended audience: Preschool to 2nd