Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Tooth written by Avi Slodovnick and Manon Gauthier is a new addition to the picture book market. It was Published September 1st, 2010 but was first released in Canada a year earlier. The story follows a young girl with a tooth ache on her journey to the dentist’s office. On her way she spots a homeless man on the street. "She wanted to take a closer look, but her mother held her hand tightly." The dentist removes the little girls tooth and gives it to her in an envelop. As the little girl and her mother walk past the homeless man again, the little girl slips out of her mothers grip and give the homeless man her tooth so he can get the tooth fairy money.

I appreciate the plot of the story and love how it tries to portray empathy and charity. However I felt that the story was a bit too heavy and scattered. I wasn’t quite sure what the book was about until the very last page. I did enjoy the unique illustrations created with pencil and color pencil. The people were given distinct characteristics which matched the descriptive language well. It felt like the exaggerated features are what children might see when they remember faces. The illustrations also helped in understanding the story and what it means to be homeless. I think this might evoke interesting conversations out of children depending on their experiences with homeless people. However before introducing the book I would suggest discussing the issue and letting children know what the book is about . The publisher recommends this book for children ages 4-8

Happy Reading!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Shark vs Train

Shark vs Train, written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, is an ingeniously creative book that readers of all ages will love. The story is a series of clever competitions between "The Terror of the Ocean," a shark and "The King of the Tracks," the train. And the combatants don't just fight in some boring boxing match, but in many more exciting and strange competitions. Check out this book trailer I created to see some of these.

As you can see, this book is not just hilarious, but exciting too. And it is more than these. Barton and Lichtenheld made sure that every aspect of the book worked together to create the sense of excitement portrayed in the book. For starters, before even getting to the book, the dust jacket gives information about both the shark and the train that gets the reader for what sounds like the fight of the century. The back of the book contains stats for both, just like in a real fight. It tells their favorite colors, blood red and coal black, their disposition, ornery and cantankerous, and even their pet peeves, egocentric trains and smug sharks. It also contains a quote from both the shark and the train that tells the reader who they are and that their ready to fight. Even before getting to the book, the reader knows the characters and is ready for the fight of the century.

From the title page to the end of the book, the shark and train are competing. Each page contains at most a line of text with an illustration (like the one shown) of the shark and the train battling. The text does not devote much time to characterization, but by the time the reader has read through the dust jacket and looked at an illustration or two, the reader already knows the characters. Instead, the text briefly describes the particular competition, such as "trick-or-treating." The text also does not comment on the winner of each match. This would be disappointing if not for the fantastic illustrations that clearly let the reader know who wins.

This is one of those rare books where every single aspect of the book, from the dust jacket to the text to the illustrations and everything in between has been carefully chosen to create the overall sense of excitement in the book. The only thing missing is for the reader to pick up the book and answer one important question: "Who will you root for?"

Happy Reading,


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wonderful Books from The Past: STELLALUNA

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon is a wonderful picture book about a young bat who becomes separated from her mother because of an owl attack. This young bat, Stellaluna, finds herself in a nest of birds. At first, she cannot help but have bat-like behaviors but she soon adapts to her new home and family and becomes accepted. She even becomes very good friends with the three little birds. One night, by chance, Stellaluna is reunited with her real mother. Her mother teaches her how to behave like a bat again. However, she does not forget about her three little bird friends and takes them on a flying adventure at night!

This classic is a must have for all families. It can teach children to learn to adapt to new environments. This book also demonstrates acceptance of dissimilarities and variation. It shows how friends and even family will accept each other even if there are differences. Janell Cannon beautifully creates a story about a young bat growing up while teaching children a little science lesson on bats and birds.

Cannon’s illustrations in this book are wonderfully created through a mixture of acrylic paints and color pencils. Her artwork in this book really enhances the emotions of Stellaluna that are described through the text. The text and the illustrations work in conjunction with each other to really heighten the reader’s experience. The deep blue color that Cannon uses in the background of the pages really makes the characters in the book stand out. The realistic and colorful illustrations truly add to this humorous idea of a bat living with a family of birds. The cover of the book is of Stellaluna trying to hang on to the tree branch like a bird with a confused look on her face. This picture will surely capture the reader's eye because of the peculiar situation. In the end of the book, there are two pages filled with different facts about bats for those readers that are just fascinated with the behaviors and characteristics of bats.

This book is recommended for children ages 4 to 8 years old. This book can be a read aloud for younger children or older children can read this book by themselves. Whether it is being read out loud or read independently this book with surely be loved by all children and adults!

Happy Reading!

-Betty :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Odd Egg

This book is, without question, one of the most precious children's books that I have seen published as of late. From the playful characters to the soft, enchanting illustrations, the essence of childhood has finally been captured on paper. Author and illustrator Emily Gravett, has such a distinct style to both her witty writing and unique illustrations that before even flipping back the cover, I knew I was in for a treat.

Readers are welcomed into the characters' community as we meet each of the members. Although all birds, they range from being a chicken, to being an owl, to being a flamingo, and more. We learn that each of these birds has laid an egg which they are eagerly awaiting to hatch. Duck, on the other hand, has no egg to speak of. What to do, what to do! By beautifully manipulating the size and space on the page, Gravett introduces perhaps the most important character of the book: Duck's egg. Duck has found an enormous, green spotted egg to raise.

We watch the eggs of all the other birds hatch on an interactive page that allows the child to flip over a series of flaps, revealing the different baby birds as they meet their mother one at a time. Still, there is no movement to speak of from Duck's egg.

Will the other birds be right after all?

Or will it hatch?

And what will it be?

One picture says it all, and has children in hysterical fits of laughter as the story comes to a close.

The Odd Egg will prove to be the perfect book to bring children between the ages of 2-5 crawling up into your lap time and time again, ready to turn the pages with you, giggling with glee over their knowledge of what the following pages hold.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fabulous Books Published in 2010: Thumb Love

Thumb Love written and illustrated by Elise Primavera is a story about a girl named Lulu who has a bad habit. Lulu loves to suck her thumb. She loves to suck her thumb everyday and everywhere she goes. Many people around Lulu do not understand why she still sucks her thumb. Her parents, grandmother, and other family members all comment on how she is too old to be sucking her thumb. She is even made fun of by other kids because of her thumb sucking. Lulu sees no problem with it until one night she has a bad dream about the consequences of thumb sucking. The next morning Lulu declares that she will stop sucking her thumb even though her thumb protested this idea. Lulu comes up with a 12-step program that anyone who is trying to stop sucking there thumb can follow. Her program also includes many tricks that you can try to dissuade you from sucking your thumb. The main thing that Lulu stresses in her program is that it is not easy to quit and you will sometimes fail, but the important thing is to keep on trying.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Books from the Past - Miss Nelson is Missing

Viola Swamp, the strict and mean teacher who “meant business” and loaded students with homework, lives in infamy as the type of teacher students fear. Although Miss Nelson is Missing was published in 1977, it has remained a timeless classic to generations of school children and a cautionary tale about what happens when students misbehave. Author Harry Allard and illustrator by James Marshall have written spin-offs titled Miss Nelson Is Back and Miss Nelson Has a Field Day and a DVD version can also be found online.

In the original story, Miss Nelson had difficulty getting the students to behave or respect her in class, so one day she sends a substitute named Miss Viola Swamp. Miss Swamp is tough on the children and it gets so miserable that they eventually meet with a detective, Detective McSmogg, to get help finding her. Detective McSmogg declares, “I think Miss Nelson is missing.” The children hypothesize what happened to Miss Nelson and generate ideas like being eaten by a shark or traveling to the moon. When Miss Nelson finally returns, the students are ecstatic to see her and from then on are well behaved and appreciative. One of the final pictures shows Miss Nelson giggling to her self and part of Miss Swamp’s characteristic black dress and wig are visible in her closet.

This story is fun for children because they get to imagine what having a teacher like Miss

Swamp would be like. For some students, the reality of Miss Swamp comes alive when they receive a visit from Miss Swamp in person! This yearly tradition takes place in Paige’s grandmother’s classroom when her mom dresses like Viola Swamp and comes to class to interact with the children. It is definitely a fun way to get the children involved with the literature.

The book is recommended for age 4-8; however, it is a timeless story that can be revisited at any age. In fact, when Dr. Neely brought it out in class we got very excited and shouts of “I loved that book!” and “awww” could be heard throughout the classroom. As a future teacher, I especially hold it close to my heart. So to all the “Miss Nelsons” out there, thank you for your guidance and wisdom, may your classes always remember Viola Swamp and appreciate you.

Happy Reading!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Marvelous Picture Books

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems is a picture book about a little girl, Trixie, who goes on an adventure with her daddy down the block, through the park, past the school, and finally into the Laundromat. Trixie has a blast helping her daddy out in the Laundromat. As they walk back home, she realizes something terrible has happened. She no longer has Knuffle Bunny in her arms! As Trixie begins to make all sorts of sounds and noises to try to convey to her daddy the tragedy that has just occurred, her father is just absolutely clueless. They arrive home and immediately Trixie’s mother asks where Knuffle Bunny is. They run back to the Laundromat to find him and in that moment of joy, Trixie shouts her first words, KNUFFLE BUNNY!!

This picture book is not just any ordinary picture book. Mo Willems has artfully pieced together real-life photographs with his original cartoon drawings. The illustrations in this book include hand-drawn sketches and digital photographs of Brooklyn, New York. The photographs have a sepia tone and they provide the background to Mo Willems’s hand drawn ink characters, Knuffle Bunny, Trixie, and her parents. The brightly colored characters offer a visually appealing contrast to the gray scale pictures in the background. The distinction between the realistic background and the cartoon-like drawings really helps capture readers’ attention. Mo Willems also strategically uses a pale green color for all the pages behind the photographs and text which presents another contrast to the photographs. The text, photographs, and ink drawings really work together to tie the whole book together. The book cover is also beautifully made. You can see a realistic photograph in the background and the hand drawn pictures of Trixie and Knuffle Bunny are in vibrant colors. The cartoon drawings are especially shiny and smooth. It really makes the hand drawn illustrations stand out. The book jacket is in a dark green color and it gives a short summary of the book and tells us a little bit about Mo Willems and his other books. The page before the title page shows photographs of how Trixie came to be with a picture of her parents getting married and then a picture of her as a little baby and soon the adventure begins with the title page and Trixie hugging Knuffle Bunny.

This unique picture book is written for children ages 2-5. However, children and adults of all ages can most certainly enjoy this book. This book is definitely appropriate for young children. There is not a lot of text and it is a very simple but amazingly fun read with different nonsense sounds. Children of all ages would enjoy reading this book! This book is also the first of three Knuffle Bunny books. Mo Willems has written two new books since the first one: Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity and Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion. Be sure to check these out as well!



Marvelous Picture Books: "The Quiet Book"

The Quiet Book written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska, is a wonderful new picture book published this year for children ages 3-6. This book illustrates the many different types of quiet that children experience. Liwska illustrates these experiences through the use of animals including bears, rabbits, porcupines, mice, owls, moose and wombats in different situations where they are quiet. These types of quiet include "making a wish quiet," and "best friends don't need to talk quiet," presenting situations that children experience in their own lives.
Liwska has drawn the animals as though they are a child's favorite stuffed animal, so soft and gentle that you want to take them right out of the book. She uses color pencil and then digitally enhances the images to give them this soft quality.
This book is very appropriate for young children, addressing some of the difficult issues of being quiet, and showing the many times when it is okay to be quiet. The illustrations are beautifully done and extend the text by adding visual information about the different types of quiet in a way that is very calm and gentle with soft colors.
Deborah Underwood includes very little text, just one line per page as seen in the image on the left. These single lines accompanying the illustrations provide readers with repetition of the different kinds of quiet, all having similar sentence structures and simple illustrations. This repetition along with the gentle treatment of the animals is a very appealing quality for young children. Additionally, the book is very small, adding to the quiet and calm nature of the story. This is a great book for children to curl up to and hold close to them in their laps as they learn about the many different types of quiet they can experience in the world.
This is a wonderful book for read alouds, especially when trying to set a calm mood, as bedtime story, or an individual read for students who need some quiet time.

Happy Quiet Reading!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wonderful Books from the Past: The Velveteen Rabbit

Margery William's The Velveteen Rabbit is a timeless tale of the magic in toys. This classic tale begins with the Velveteen Rabbit appearing in the Boy's stocking for Christmas. The Velveteen Rabbit is soon forgotten by the Boy until one night when his old china dog that he usually sleeps with can't be found. The Velveteen Rabbit captures the heart of the Boy and become his inseparable companion. The Velveteen Rabbit had learned from the Skin Horse that toys can become Real through the love of a child. The Boy loves the child so much that the velveteen rabbit becomes what he thinks is Real. One day, the Boy catches the Scarlett Fever and must remain in bed for many days. The Velveteen Rabbit, being the faithful companion that he is, stays with the Boy through the duration of his sickness. Once the Boy is well, his doctor orders the Rabbit to be disposed of because he contained Scarlett Fever germs. The Velveteen Rabbit feels extremely lonely after he had been tossed aside with the other old toys. He begins to cry Real tears. The first tear that falls on the ground causes a magical flower to begin to grow. From this flower comes the most beautiful fairy the velveteen rabbit had ever seen. This fairy uses her magic to transform the Velveteen Rabbit into a Real rabbit that has hind legs and can jump with the other Real rabbits. The Velveteen Rabbit is overjoyed by this transformation. A couple months later, the Velveteen Rabbit is in the woods with a fellow rabbit and sees the Boy. The Boy is reminded of his beloved toy from before his sickness. The Boy will never know that this rabbit is actually his old friend.

Sometimes it's hard to pinpoint what exactly makes you fall in love with a book. Was it the beautiful illustrations? Was it the plot twist? Was it the character development? Was it the vivid imagery? I think, for The Velveteen Rabbit, it was theme of a child's love for their favorite toy. Growing up, it seems like everyone has that one favorite toy they can't leave home without. For me, my "velveteen rabbit" was my big stuffed animal Eyeore. Because of his size, eyeore could not travel with me many places. But, Eyeore and I had tons of fun around the house. I especially loved his velcro tail that I could detach and reattach.

The Velveteen Rabbit pulls at the heartstrings of all the readers it encounters. The Boy's love for the Rabbit can also be seen in both young and old children--even those children who have reached the ripe age of 99. The magic of the toy room draws children into a whole new world full of talking toys and beautiful fairies. All readers can experience the joy of this beautifully written, classic work of children's literature.

Because of its ability to reach a wide variety of readers, The Velveteen Rabbit has often been used in many classrooms as a teaching tool. Some teachers like to use this book as a tool for assessing reading comprehension. Others utilize the book as a starting point for writing activities. For more ideas, click here.

The Velveteen Rabbit was one of my favorite books as a child and still is today. I highly encourage everyone to invest in this classic tale so that younger generations will have the opportunity to experience the magic and love of the Velveteen Rabbit.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Marvelous Picture Books: Flotsam

Flotsam is a beautifully illustrated picture book by David Wiesner. I was a little apprehensive about reading this book. I knew Professor Neely had mentioned it in class as a Caldecott Award Winner and it was also noted in our text book, so I figured I should probably take a look at it. The reason I was apprehensive about reading this book was because it has no words. What kind of book doesn't have words? I now have the answer: Flotsam.

Flotsam begins with a young boy examining some typical land animals you would find at the beach. While playing with a crab, a huge wave comes and knocks the young boy over. When the waves recede, the young boy notices an antique camera lying on the sand. It is a Melville underwater camera. The boy brings the camera to his parents and then to the life guard, but no one knows to whom it belongs. The young boy takes out the film and runs it over to the One-Hour Photo shop to develop the pictures. And he waits, and waits, and waits. Finally he gets the pictures and runs back to the beach. The young boy is amazed by what he sees in the photographs. There is a toy fish swimming in the ocean with real fish that look exactly alike. There is a mother octopus reading a book to baby octopi and some fish while sitting on a chair in the ocean. There are sea turtles with tiny villages on their backs, aliens underwater next to sea horses, and giant star fish with islands on their backs. The most intriguing photo is of a girl holding a picture of a boy holding a picture of a girl holding a picture of more people holding more pictures. Being the smart boy that he is, the young boy grabs his microscope to use the different magnifications to see all the way to the end: a black and white photo of a boy dressed in early-1900s clothing on the beach. The boy decides then to take a picture of himself holding the continuous photograph, but falls short of completing this task when a large wave comes up to splash him from behind and scatter all the photographs. The young boy then decides to throw the camera back into the ocean. The camera travels, with the help of the sea creatures, to another beach where a little girl finds it.

As you can see from my summary, Flotsam tells a wonderful story without using any words at all. I am thoroughly impressed with Wiesner's ability to create a fluid and intriguing story by just using pictures. Wiesner varies between double-page illustrations and smaller illustrations combined on one page, similar to that of a comic book. When Wiesner wants to tell the reader of the action the young boy is taking, he puts a sequence of illustrations together to show the action on one page. For example, the reader can see the boy going to the photography shop and waiting for the pictures all on one page as opposed to dragging that scene out page, by page, by page. Wiesner also puts the illustrations of the photographs from the underwater camera on a black background so the reader knows that these are different from the other illustrations in the story. The size, length, and shape of the illustration boxes are all different which keeps the reader engaged.

The illustrations are done in a style that makes them very realistic, even though the illustrations are of some nonrealistic scenarios. The illustrations make you believe that these ridiculous scenarios of giant star fish walking around with islands on their back are actually real.
What a beautiful and imaginative book this is for all ages!

If you are looking for a picture book with no words, this is your book. If you are looking for something that takes your breath away, this is your book. If you are looking for something that makes you say "whoa" approximately ten times throughout the course of reading, this is your book. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fabulous Books Published in 2010: The Odious Ogre

The Odious Ogre written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer marks the return of the duo that brought us the tale of The Phantom Tollbooth. With the tale of The Odious Ogre, they do not disappoint their readers. The story is about an Ogre whose reputation precedes him throughout nearby towns. Everyone is terribly frightened of the Ogre for good reasons. When he enters towns and villages, he terrorizes the place and feasts on the population. The people run and hide in hopes of escaping the terrible Ogre, but usually most are not successful. He finds it easy to find dinner and to frighten the people. In fact, the Ogre feels unstoppable because everyone is scared of him and no one tries to stop him. It is all just too easy for him. However, one day, he comes across a small cottage removed from the rest of the town. There he runs into a young woman who has no idea about the Ogre’s reputation. So the young woman is kind to the Ogre, and soon he is wondering if he is really all that unstoppable.

Norton Juster does a great job of telling this story in a fun way that kids will enjoy. This story is written in a fun and clever way that will be sure to grab children’s attention. The language of the book is wonderful and really keeps the story flowing. This is a wonderful read aloud book where the words easily roll off of your tongue. Juster’s use of descriptive language is just wonderful. I loved the combination of words Juster uses to describe the Ogre, and the way he describes the people’s perception of the Ogre is also impeccably done in my opinion. Sometimes you just can’t help but find yourself smile while reading this book. Juster does use some words that many young children will have no idea of what they mean, but it just offers children a great opportunity to expand their vocabulary. The message of the book is also a good one for children. This book shows you that kindness can go a long way, which is an important lesson for kids to learn.

The illustrations in this book are amazing. Jules Feiffer does a great job of illustrating just how hideous and disgusting the Ogre is. He also does a good job of scaling the illustrations. From the illustrations, you can really get a sense of how big the Ogre is. I especially, like the pages where you cannot see the entirety of the Ogre, but only his bottom half because that is just how gigantic he is. Feiffer’s watercolor illustrations really do a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. The illustrations are really eye catching and you just can’t help but to stop and look at them. The layout of the book is also done very well. The text and the illustrations are integrated very well with one another. I also really liked how in some of the pages there was the incorporation of word bubbles in the illustrations.

Overall, I thought that this book was amazing. Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer both did a wonderful job of bringing the story to life. Both the language and the illustrations of the story are fantastic. I would highly recommend this book to others because it is a fun read aloud that both children and adults would really enjoy.

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wonderful Books From the Past: Cowboy and Octopus

Cowboy and Octopus is an endearing tale of a not-so-likely friendship between a stereotypical cowboy and a rather intelligent octopus. Cowboy meets Octopus during a chance encounter at what Cowboy thinks is a broken seesaw. Octopus shows Cowboy how to use the seesaw correctly, thus leading to the decision to become friends:

"So Cowboy and Octopus shake hands...and shake hands, and shake hands, and shake hands, and shake hands, and shake hands, and shake hands, and shake hands."

With their new friendship intact, Cowboy and Octopus go around and participate in typical friend activities. For example, Octopus asks Cowboy to help him build a toy boat, and later Cowboy surprises Octopus with a homemade meal of Cowboy's favorite food. Cowboy also offers Octopus advice on his Halloween costume and, later on, his hat. Octopus attempts to share a knock-knock joke with Cowboy, but the punch line goes terribly awry. Of course, that in and of itself, is enough to laugh about.

The artwork in this book exemplifies the truly unique style that can be found in many of Scieszka and Smith's books. They use a collage medium that encompasses many different pictures, ranging from real photographs to comic book images. There are very eclectic headings on each page that begins a new friendship adventure that resembles a cross between a very attractive scrapbook and a ransom letter.

The wonderful thing about Scieszka and Smith's work is that it's different. There are not a lot of books out there that capture the amazing intertwining of witty writing and one-of-a-kind illustrations. This book would be a great tool for providing children with examples of how different books can be. Scieszka and Smith really know how to push the envelope in the children's literature world. And after listening to Scieszka at the Southern Festival of Books, I wouldn't expect anything less.

Check out Jon Scieszka's website for more laughs.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Marvelous Picture Book: Don't Make Me Laugh

Don't Make Me Laugh, written and illustrated by James Stevenson, is a light-hearted book filled with humor. Mr. Frimdimpny, a bossy crocodile who never smiles, speaks directly to the reader and lays down several rules to keep in mind while reading the book. "Are you LISTENING?," he asks. No laughing or smiling are allowed during the reading of the book, and if those rules are broken, Mr. Frimdimpny requires the reader to go back to the beginning. As Mr. Frimdimpny introduces the reader to Pierre the waiter, Fendently the elephant with a cold, and a hippo who works in a china shop, he continues to speak to the reader as indicated by bold text. Three very silly stories are told that will surely have children and adults laughing (and breaking the crocodile's number one rule!) This innovative, interactive style of writing will engage children in the text and get them excited about reading.

The ink and water color illustrations are cartoon-esque and pop on the stark white pages. Shocking colors, like the bright green shade of Mr. Frimdimpny, make the book look appealing and exciting.

Children will love reading this book and feeling like a part of the story. Each character speaks to the readers directly and ask them not to do something. This comical picture book is unique and fun to read.

Happy Reading!


Friday, October 22, 2010


The Night Fairy an exciting junior novel written by Newbery Medal Winner, Laura Amy Schlitz is an exciting novel that takes you into the world of a tiny, spunky night fairy named Flory. This bewitching tale begins when Flory, not yet used to her wings, gets them crunched off by a bat! Flory is forced to brave the big, scary, world alone without her wings or another night fairy like her. This book puts the reader directly into the story with Flory while she overcomes the many difficulties in her miniature life!

I definitely enjoyed reading this novel, and know I would have loved it even more if I was a little younger. I believe that it is a story that mostly girls would enjoy over boys because the main character is a female fairy, but there is definitely enough adventure to suit a boy just fine! To test this theory, I asked my nine year old sister, Jessica, who is currently in fourth grade to read this book and
tell me how she felt about it.

Here's her response:

The Night Fairy was a very interesting book. In my opinion I thought it had a weak beginning storyline. However, it managed to become an amazing, detailed and sparkled junior novel. I thought Flory was an intriguing character because of her ability to become stronger. She was brave, honest, powerful, and understanding. With those four features she had to face challenges that other Night Fairies don’t ordinarily have to because of her broken wings. My favorite part of the book was the solution of saving the bluebird & her babies. I also enjoyed when the bat came along, she was very kind and gave Flory the characteristic of forgiveness. As I said before I loved this book and would be proud to say it was AMAZING!!! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to enjoy this book. As my final statement I will say THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

....I think she enjoyed it! This is a great read aloud for any age and an enjoyable junior novel for readers age 7-11!



a special thanks to my brilliant little sister, Jessica D'Agostino

to learn more, click here!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This hilarious picture book, written and illustrated by Nina Laden in 1994, tells the tale of a boy who becomes suspicious of what his dog does at night and decides to follow him. He is shocked as he watches his dog, decked out in a tux, hop into a limo speed away to a swanky downtown nightclub for dogs! The clever story and comical details about the secret life of a seemingly boring pet are exciting and unique.

While the brightly colored pastel illustrations chock full of witty detailing are wonderful, my favorite characteristic of the book is the playful aspect of the text itself. Several words on each page are creatively printed in an artistic way, like the phrase "roll over" printed upside down or the word "eats" depicted with bite marks on it. This provides great opportunities for young children to interact with the book, as they may be able to help "read" along or make connections between the text and illustrations. Stronger readers will be able to appreciate the humor and creativity of the text and will love to look at this book.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8, The Night I Followed the Dog is a book that will entertain both children AND adults. I loved revisiting this childhood favorite of mine!

For more information about Nina Laden and her other works in children's literature, visit www.ninaladen.com.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Marvelous Picture Books! Cookies: Bite-Sized Life Lessons

Cookies: Bite-Sized Life Lessons is a splendid book Remove Formatting from selectionwritten by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Illustrated by Jane Dyer. The content of the book teaches children manners and respect. While the book sends a great message, the whimsical illustrations are what capture the reader’s attention. The pastel watercolor illustrations have a softness to them that is inviting and endearing. I love how animals are portrayed as humans and intertwined with the young children in the story. The illustrations enhance the meaning of each lesson and clearly demonstrate what the author is trying to get across.

The layout of the text is integral to the charm of the book. Lessons which have steps to understanding the meaning were paired with a small picture to show what the lesson looks like. Text on full picture pages seamlessly interacts with the illustration and do not take away from the quality of the artwork. The cookies make this book enticing for children and parents or teachers who get to read it!

Jane Dyer has illustrated the entire series of cookie books written by Amy Rosenthal. Her work can also be admired in Time For Bed by Mem Fox as well as Goodnight Goodnight Sleepyhead by Ruth Krauss.

Happy Reading!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weekend Wonderings

In my humble opinion, the students of Peabody's ENED 2100 class have done one spectacular job in the first less-than-two months of the BLOG!

Neely's News has been tweeted about by Vanderbilt Twitterers. Former students have sent me e-mails telling me how they are enjoying the BLOG and several have even left comments. And one former student has even suggested that we need to expand what we are doing.

Since you were all once undergrads, you know that for a professor to spring some new assignment on students at mid-semester is despised. So, I shall refrain from that! Rather, I'll start my own

                                             Weekend Wonderings 

postings. Each weekend (probably on Saturday nights, as that is still the dullest and slowest time of my week), I will post a short piece inviting requests for what future posts might be of use.

For example, Amber Parks wrote me this week with this comment and question: "I have enjoyed reading students' reviews and recommendations of great children's books. Where/how do I post my request for them to keep an eye out for books that deal with big moral themes such as courage, determination, believing in yourself, etc.?"

So, when we all return from our Fall Break (i.e., long weekend), I will ask the class to look for books to review that relate to Amber's request.
Whether you are a practicum student, student teacher, excellent classroom teacher of Preschoolers through Sixth graders, consultant, parent, blogger, whatever.....
please leave comments that will help us all keep you all informed!  

Happy Reading, Ann