Thursday, November 25, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
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.
Monday, November 8, 2010
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!