Reading, Teaching, Learning

Thursday, November 29, 2012

hello! hello!

hello! hello!

Today for Picture Book Month we didn't follow the theme (food) because I had to share this book for a different reason. I love it!  And I love it even more now that I've kid-tested it!  I wish I could have had a video facing out to my classes when I got to the page when the horse says, "Hello, Lydia."  All their eyebrows rose, and smiles (which were already there from the previous pages) got bigger, but then when I got to the part where the ostrich, gorilla, giraffe, etc. joined the horse, buffalo, and deer, I got one of the biggest reactions I've ever gotten while reading a picture book.  They loved it!  They also got the connection with Blackout by John Rocco, which I had read to introduce the Mock Caldecott Club.  I taught symbolism the last couple days, and so they even got the symbolism of the technology/family using technology being gray and Lydia and the outdoors being in color.  I used this book today to introduce repetition in their Word Play Scrapbook and what it means when authors use repetition.  They understood pretty quickly that the repetition of "Hello! Hello!" meant making connections and choosing relationships/family/outdoors/nature/etc. over technology.  Bravo, kids.  And bravo, Matthew Cordell!  Now I anxiously await my original watercolor of Lydia riding her horse that I will receive because I took Matthew up on his generous offer featured on his hilarious and entertaining blog.  I bought FOUR copies because I'm going to raffle one off in each of my four classes.  I can't wait to hear their reactions to that plan.  I haven't told them yet!  I'm going to tell them tomorrow after I read Cordell's other 2012 book, Another Brother.  I'm using that book to teach text shape and how authors use it to enhance poems and picture books.  I know my students are going to love that one, too!!!  Here are book trailers for both books:

 
 
By the way, you have one more day to take Matthew Cordell up on his amazing offer!  Look what you'll receive if you buy three copies of hello! hello!
 

 
Trust me, if you buy copies for the kids in your life (Christmas is coming up!), they will love you!
 
Thanks to Mr. Schu for turning me on to this book when I won a signed copy from him!  If you click on Mr. Schu's link, you'll see an interview with Matthew Cordell.
 

 
Goodbye, goodbye!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I LOVE PICTURE BOOKS, AUTHORS, and ILLUSTRATORS!

We're shifting our focus a bit in my classes from the evaluation of picture books for the Mock Caldecott 2013 Club to a word play unit using picture books and poetry.  I'm still going to choose as many 2012 picture books as I can so that I can continue to expose the kids to Caldecott contenders while exploring literary and word play terms.  We're completing word play scrapbooks and making poetry albums using what we learn during these weeks.  When I received a copy of Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington by Jabari Asim and illustrated by Bryan Collier in the mail yesterday, I fell in love with it.  I had to share it with my kids today, so I made it work with our unit.  This book must not be missed.  It is now one of my picks to win the Caldecott medal or Honor. 

Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington
 
 We defined symbolism and looked for the symbolism in this beautiful book.  Collier draws circles that symbolize Washington's dreams throughout the story.  The Picture Book Month theme was CLOTHING today, and amazingly enough, this fit in, also, since there is a map on Booker's shirt that Collier explains in the Illustrator's Note foreshadows his journey.  I love when things just fall into place!  It was also the perfect book to help introduce a word unit since Booker T. Washington was a lover of words and books.  I made sure I showed my students my other favorite Bryan Collier books:

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
 
My friend, Karan Witham-Walsh, uses Dave the Potter in her high school ceramics class.
 
Rosa

Here is an interview with Bryan Collier about Rosa:
 

 
Our other 2012 book today was Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole.  We were able to discuss symbolism again while "reading" this haunting but hopeful wordless book.  This was an interesting exercise for 4th graders.  Wordless books aren't easy, and it took time for them to understand everything that was going on, but once they did, symbols popped out at them: the Big Dipper, the lantern, the corn husk doll.  One student even said, "I'm thinking even the fact that it is worldless is symbolic."  Oh my!
 
Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad
 
I enjoyed this interview with Henry Cole.  I bet he was a fun teacher!  
 
 
I loved his book A Nest for Celeste!
 
 
 
 
When I reviewed Fifty Cents and a Dream yesterday on Goodreads, I said that I like my Kindle, but when books like these come along, I know that they can't be replaced.  They are masterpieces.

 



Monday, November 26, 2012

Mock Caldecott 2013 Club Day 13

It's Nonfiction Monday during Picture Book Month, and the theme is PREHISTORIC.  I chose two books that I thought would go with the theme to share with my students for our Mock Newbery 2013 Club:

A Rock Is Lively
 
 
 
I love the beautiful books in this series:  An Egg is Quiet, A Seed is Sleepy, and A Butterfly Is Patient
 
Here are comments from my 4th graders about this creative nonfiction book:

"I liked how the rocks looked real."
"I liked all the colors that were used in the rocks."
"I liked how the illustrations showed the inside of some rocks."
"I love rocks!  My brother keeps rocks in his pockets."
"I liked the detail of the rocks."
"I liked how the illustrations looked realistic."
"I love the beautiful pictures on every page."
"This book about rocks is very creative with all its colors and designs."
"I think it's amazing that the illustrator could paint such detail into those rocks."
"This book about rocks is so beautiful because of how real they look."
"Lapis Lazuli and Obsidian are in Minecraft! You can make a Nether Portal with Obsidian!"


Island: A Story of the Galápagos
 
 
The students and I found this book fascinating because of the species of animals and plants only found on the Galapagos Islands.  We learned the term "endemic," which means "unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation or other defined zone." 
 
 
This video has amazing footage of the wildlife around the Galapagos Islands.
 
Here are comments my students made about this book:
 
"I liked the pictures because they showed the volcano and how it formed the island."
"I liked all the animals and how it showed the stages of evolution."
"This nonfiction story about the Galapagos Islands is interesting how the animals adapt to their surroundings."
"I like how the author split the book into parts like a chapter book."
"I like how the author compared the stages of the islands to the stages of a human being."
"The illustrations were interesting.  I like all the animals."



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Review

I love the holidays for reading!  Here are the books I read this week and last (I had 27 people here last weekend for an annual Friends' Thanksgiving, so I did not review last Sunday):



Oh No! Not Again!: (Or How I Built a Time Machine to save History) (Or at Least My History Grade) Oh No! Not Again! by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Dan Santat

adventure, fantasy-science-fiction, gifted-girls, history, humor, mock-caldecott-2013

My students really enjoyed this funny book about a girl who builds a time machine (have fun identifying the ordinary household objects she uses) to go back in time to change history so the question she got wrong on the history test would be right. Trouble starts when the cavemen she's visiting decide to do a little time-traveling themselves. I also read the original one, Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World), to my students, and it was a toss-up to which they liked better.  A Mac Barnett could certainly win the Caldecott or Honor in 2013 with Extra Yarn and Chloe and the Lion also published in 2012!

 
 Life in the Ocean by Claire A. Nivola: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle

biography, character-motivation, character-traits, gifted-girls, mock-caldecott-2013, nature

This is the story of oceanographer Sylvia Earle, who from an early age, loved to explore the outdoors. When she was twelve, her family moved to Florida, and she discovered the Gulf of Mexico. "It was then, her mother said, that Sylvia 'lost her heart to the water.'" Beautiful illustrations and interesting facts about this amazing woman.

Infinity and Me Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska

connections, mock-caldecott-2013, picture-book, thinking-philosophy


On the night Uma got new red shoes, she couldn't wait to wear them to school. Because she was too excited to sleep, she went outside and looked up at the sky, wondering how many stars were up there - a million? A billion? INFINITY? The next day she asks people what they think about infinity and ends up thinking about it until she's overwhelmed. In spite of the existentialism in her life, she really just wants someone to notice her shoes! Finally, that's exactly what her grandma does, and the world seems a little cozier. The illustrations in this book are just beautiful. I can't wait to ask my students what they think about infinity!

 
Another BrotherAnother Brother by Matthew Cordell




brothers, family, humor, individuality, mock-caldecott-2013, picture-book, sisters


I'm an only child, but I can appreciate Davy's frustration as he goes from being an only child with undivided attention to sharing it with lots of brothers. Not only that, but they have to do everything Davy does!  Time passes, though, and just as he becomes slightly sad that his little brothers aren't mimicking him anymore, a sister comes along! As a mom, I loved the illustration of the parents looking slightly haggard when sitting in the living room after a long day, listening to Davy's complaints about his siblings.

hello! hello! hello! hello! by Matthew Cordell




animals, character-traits, humor, mock-caldecott-2013, picture-book, technology, theme, family

So excited to receive a signed copy of this gem in the mail from Mr. Schu! This book is so cute and funny, but poignant at the same time. We need to put down our technology (ironic, I know, since I'm posting this after checking Twitter and Facebook) and pay attention to the world and each other. Gotta love the spunky little girl headlining this story. Good companion to Blackout by John Rocco.

 


Delirium Book Cover
 

 

I really enjoyed this dystopian novel about love being "cured."  This story is not really original - similar themes to the Uglies series, The Giver, Matrix, etc. However, Lena and Alex will have you rooting for them, and I liked it enough to start the sequel, which is saying something. A lot of times I only read the first in a series in order to get the gist. This one makes me want to keep reading!  I'm currently listening to Pandemonium.

 
 


Nighttime Ninja
Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young

mock-caldecott-2013, picture-book, predicting, inferring, adventure


This is a cute story of a boy moving Ninja-like around the house at night to get a snack. His mother snags him before the mission is accomplished. The fun thing is when you're reading this aloud, the kids don't know that the Ninja is actually a kid until the end. Fun! The paper collage illustrations are awesome!



Mossy  Mossy by Jan Brett

animals, mock-caldecott-2013, nature, theme

Jan Brett's illustrations are beautiful. I've been a fan of hers for a long time. I started a collection of Jan Brett's books for my oldest daughter 19 years ago! This newest one does not disappoint. It's a story of an eastern box turtle who grows a gorgeous garden on her back. Much admired by a naturalist, Dr. Carolina, she is plucked out of her natural habitat and put in a glass-enclused case in her museum (much to the dismay of a male suitor turtle, Scoot). Dr. Carolina's niece, Tory, realizes Mossy is not where she should be and is sad. Before returning her to her pond, Dr. Carolina has the idea of having her portrait painted. When Mossy is returned to the wild, she and Scoot live happily ever after. This book would be a great way to teach kids to respect nature.  Good companion to another book in this review, Stephen and the Beetle.

 

To Be Sung Underwater  to be sung underwater by Tom McNeal


 I have to throw in an adult novel every now and then in my reviews. I read this one for my book club.  I haven't read adult fiction like this in a long time. It's beautifully written, compelling, and full of angst and heartbreak. I love the beginning of the summary on the front book flap: "Judith Whitman believes in the sort of love that 'picks you up in Akron, Ohio, and sets you down in Rio de Janiero.' But life took her to Los Angeles." She met Willy Blunt in Nebraska when she was seventeen, and his gray-blue (or were they blue-gray?) eyes captivated and then haunted her forever after that. Judith ends up going to Stanford for college and meeting and marrying someone else. They have a daughter, and Judith has a successful film editing career. Love has its way with her, though, and she ends up finding Willy again. When she goes to meet him, she finds out he has always loved her, just as she has always loved him. The whole thing reminds me of the song "For You" by Bruce Springsteen. It's interesting that Ann Packer wrote one of the reviews on the book jacket because this book reminds me of Dive From Clausen's Pier.  A must read!  Be prepared to be sad, though.

One Cool Friend
One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small


animals, friendship, humor, mock-caldecott-2013

This is a cute story about Elliot, who was a proper young man, and in spite of his doubts (kids, masses of noisy kids) when his father suggests Family Fun Day at the aquarium, decides to go. There he finds the penguins who remind him of himself (think tuxedos), so he asks his father for one. His father, who thinks he wants a plush penguin, gives him $20 to make the purchase. Elliot crosses over into the penguin display and selects the smallest penguin. I love the quirky father and all the ways Elliot makes his new pet comfortable. A fun twist at the end!


 

More More by I.C. Springman and illustrated by Brian Lies
inference, mock-caldecott-2013, nature, theme

This beautifully illustrated and sparsely told story is about a bird who starts out with nothing in his nest, but is given a marble by a mouse to start his own collection. He starts gathering tchotchkes and adding them to his nest. The mouse starts to get concerned when the bird keeps adding things and doesn't know quite when to stop. Unfortunately, the bird doesn't heed the mouse's final warning, "Enough!" and adds one too many items and the branch collapses. The mouse and his friends help the bird remove the excess items so that he ends up with just enough. This book makes me want to clean my basement! It would be a good companion to The Cloud Spinner with a similar theme.

Bear Despair
 



animals, character-motivation, character-traits, humor, read, wordless

This wordless book reminds me of I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat with the same slightly twisted and hilarious humor. This bear loves his teddy, so watch out when it's taken! This book is the final one in a series called Story Without Words. I haven't read the other titles, but this one makes me want to.

Step Gently Out  Step Gently Out by Helen Frost, photographs by Rick Lieder


creative-nonfiction, nature, photography, poetry, science, theme

Stunning photographs of tiny creatures accompany a poem about the magic of nature in this book. My favorite photo is of a praying mantis looking right at us with the words "A praying mantis looks at you - do you know she's there?" reminding us to notice!!

 



This is the story of the formation and evolution of the Galapagos Islands and the creatures and plants that inhabit them. Chin's paintings are outstanding, and I think a lot of kids will be fascinated by this book.

 
 Archibald FrisbyArchibald Frisby by
Michael Chesworth

gifted-character, picture-book, poetry, science

Archibald Frisby LOVES science! He ignores kids his own age and is bored at their games. His mom grows concerned, so she decides to send him to camp to see what fun is all about. Archibald has fun, but it's because he sees the science in every activity. This story is set to rhyme, and it would be a great book to kick off the year in science class. This is an older book, but it would certainly appeal to kids now!
 


 

 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mock Caldecott 2013 Club Days 11 and 12

 
On Monday, I read Here Come the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey and illustrated by Hadley Hooper because it was Nonfiction Monday and the theme for Picture Book Month was HEROES.  Learning about Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low was inspiring!
 


  
 

 
Here are comments from the kids' reviews:

"Juliette Low is an amazing leader."
"I liked how the illustrator made the Girl Scouts walk on Daisy's hat."
"How could Juliette Gordon Low travel the world, start the Girl Scouts, and have so much faith in all of them?  That took a lot of courage back then."
"Daisy was very important because she encouraged something that was not encouraged in girls."
"I like how Low's quotes were in interesting places."
"That quote (You will not have any luck unless you try hard) would make a good precept." (We had written precepts recently while reading Wonder.)
"I liked the illustrations because they had quotes in them.  They were hidden in weird places.  One was in the water, one was on a kite, and another one was on a badge."
"I liked the eyes of the animals in the woods."
"This book is good because it shows how girls should have equal rights.  It also shows how different it was 100 years ago."

 
 On Tuesday, I didn't quite follow Picture Book Month's theme because I wanted to read Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino and frankly couldn't wait any longer!
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Mr. Schu loves Boy + Bot, and I love this video of him donating a copy of the book to a library.  I also love this video because there is a Bookmobile, and I have great memories of the Bookmobile when it came to my elementary school as a kid.  I even wrote a little character sketch about those memories recently during Kate Messner's Teachers Write this summer!
 
This is an interesting interview with Dan Yaccarino about another of his books, All the Way to America:
 
 
Here are some comments from my students' reviews about Boy + Bot:
 
"I love how Bot and Boy were playing with each other at the end.  They were so happy!"
 "I liked the illustrations because they had little side characters.  Like one time they had a little lightbulb by Inventor."
"I think it's funny because Boy feeds Robot applesauce, and Bot feed Boy oil."
"I liked that they cared for each other.  This is a perfect gift for friends."
"I thought the illustrations were really cool."
"I liked how when Bot turned on, his eyes lit up."
"The friendship was great, and it was cute how Boy and Bot cared for each other."
"I liked the theme because it showed that friendship is all about taking care of each other."
"I think the theme is that even friends with differences can be friends."
"It reminds me of Auggie and Wonder because he was different and that book showed that kids with differences can still be friends." (Wonder definitely made an impact on my students!  It comes up a lot with text to text connections!"
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, November 16, 2012

Mock Caldecott Club 2013 Day 10

Today's Picture Book Month theme was FRACTURED TALES.  I chose Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems to share with my students, and I'm so glad I did!  They laughed and laughed!  They got a huge kick out of the end pages and all the rejected ideas of "Goldilocks and the...." crossed out.  There's a lot to "get" - in this retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, so sharing it with gifted fourth grade readers was perfect.  We also discussed the meaning of parody and allusion (Willems's beloved Pigeon makes several subtle appearances in the story).  They enjoyed the sarcastic/ironic humor.


Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

We watched this entertaining interview of Mo Willems:
 

Here are some comments from my students:

"I saw this as a creative picture book."
"The Norwegian flag on the bed, the little sign that had ".2 mile to trap" crossed out and replaced with "very nice house"  - little details made the story really funny."
"I liked the pictures because they had hidden pictures of Pigeon."
"I loved the front and back pages because they tell all the crossed out ideas."
"The pictures ROCK!"
"My favorite character is the random Norway dinosaur."
"I like how both the dinosaurs look alike and then the one from Norway was orange with spikes."
"So she finally put the puzzle pieces together and got out of there!"
"I really like the illustrations because they had allusions in them.  One was where Pigeon was in the cookie jar.  The other one was a portrait of Pigeon."
"I liked the picture when Goldilocks was swimming in the pudding.  It was funny."
"The thing I liked about the pictures were that they were cartoony."
"I liked trying to find Pigeon."
"It was sarcastic and funny."
"I liked Goldilocks wide eyes in the pudding."
 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mock Caldecott Club 2013 Day 9

Today's Picture Book Month theme is NATURE, so I thought I would share the beautiful book, and then it's spring by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin Stead.  We enjoyed her other book, too, Bear Has a Story to Tell, which I blogged about earlier.




And Then It's Spring

and then it's spring has already won the 2012 Boston Globe – Horn Book Honor Book.  Extra Yarn, one of our other favorites, won the main award.


Here are some of my students' comments about and then it's spring:


"I like the pictures because the animals have expressions to show the mood."
"The pictures show that the boy was in mittens and a scarf in the beginning, but just a t-shirt at the end, which shows it was getting warmer."
"The illustrations were beautiful."
"The expressions on the characters give you feelings of patience, hope, anxiety, and waiting."
"I like how the pictures have so much detail."
"I liked the illustrations because from the beginning to the end it showed the plants getting better and better. It showed the faith growing."
"I reeeeeally liked the end because it's very colorful."
"The animals were so cute."
"The illustrations have texture because of the wood grain."
"The woodblock makes the pictures POP!"
"I thought the page with the bear scratching his armpit was funny!"

We talked about "please do not stomp here - there are seeds and they are trying" makes a great metaphor for a classroom of students!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mock Caldecott 2013 Book Club Day 8

Today's Picture Book Month theme is READING. I blogged about The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce before, but it was a perfect time to share it with my classes again.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
 
 
 
I LOVE this book, and we had so much fun today discussing it. The story is full of metaphors, symbolism, whimsy, depth, and theme. This is the second time I've shared it with my students this year, and I'm so glad I did because we noticed new things - especially since we were concentrating on the illustrations and evaluating them for the Caldecott 2013 Book Club. During our discussion, one students remarked, "So much more goes into picture books than you would think!" I love that he has realized this during our study of picture books this month.
Here are some comments students wrote in their notebooks:

"Toward the end, the pictures show sadness because it's winter and dark."
"I like the pictures because they show the seasons and sometimes seasons represent happiness or sadness."
"The illustrations are good because he shows that some peple are black and white since they are unhappy, but when they get a book they turn in color which means they are happy. By the seasons he shows the stages of his life (example - winter is death)."
"I loved this book because of the use of color. When people are sad, they are gray, and when they are happy, they are in color."
"I love these illustrations. They show black and white for a lonely life and color for a full life."
"This book has such creativity in the illustrations. The outside wall of the library was made of books! I loved this book."
"I like how Mr. Joyce uses colors to show feelings and gives signs like an hour glass and seasons to tell when he will pass away."
"Soon (Morris Lessmore) goes somewhere special and leaves a legacy to a little girl."
"The circle of life!"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mock Caldecott 2013 Club Day 7



It is 123, ABC day for Picture Book Month, so it's the perfect time to share this hilarious ABC book by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, Z is for Moose.
 

Z Is for Moose
 
Book Trailer:
 
 
  My fourth graders got a good laugh at the emotional moose and his impatience-turned-outrage when his moment on stage is usurped by a mouse.  Here were there comments today:

"I love the illustrations and how Moose pops up everywhere!"
"I liked the pie part and how Moose crossed out the words with crayon."
"I loved how the pictures showed Moose crossing out the other stuff and writing 'Moose' and giving the other pictures moose antlers."
"I love how the illustrator made the moose pop out onto the rim of the page when he was mad.  I also loved his expressions."
"Moose is immature!"
"This book is very cartoon-y, but is it just a little kid's book?  No!  It is really humorous.  It's entertaining to me, and I'm ten!"
 

Monday, November 12, 2012

WONDER Parent/Student Book Club

I invited my students and their parents to a book club tonight over Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  Twenty-nine people came!  I had gotten seven copies of the book from the Cincinnati Public Library and many parents bought their own.  We also had two principals and our curriculum director read it with us.  I started by showing the YouTube video of R.J. Palacio reading the chapter "How I Came to Life."


I also showed the beginning of an interview with R.J. Palacio.

 
We broke up into two groups and discussed a list of questions I had put together - some from R.J. Palacio's websit  For Teachers and some I added.  I loved having parents chime in on the discussion, and I enjoyed extending the discussion with students that we had in our classes. 
 
Here are some pictures from the event:
 
 
Must have cookies at a book club!


 
Watching R.J. Palacio read "How I Came To Life"

 
The group!



 
Watching the interview
 

 
What a great night of readers and books!!
 
THANK YOU, R.J. Palacio, for writing such an amazing book!  CHOOSE KIND!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Review

I'm reading a lot of picture books so I can share them with my classes for Picture Book Month and our Mock Caldecott 2013 Club.  Here are the books I finished this week:

Bink and Gollie, Two for One Bink and Gollie: Two for One by Kate DiCamillo and Alisaon McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile

early-reader, friendship, humor

I laughed out loud all through this book. I read it for Mr. Sharp's and Mr. Schu's November book club , and I couldn't be more glad I did. Hilarious and endearing!


Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!
 
  Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin

character-traits, early-reader, multicultural, sisters

Cute! I read this one for John Schu's and Colby Sharp's November Twitter book club, too. Participants had fun discussing Ling and Ting's antics. My favorite chapter was "The Haircuts." Ling and Ting might be twins, but they are not exactly the same!

Red Knit Cap Girl  Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop

friendship, mock-caldecott-2013, mood-tone, nature, picture-book, problem-solution, setting

Red Knit Cap Girl wonders about everything in nature, but mostly she wonders if she could ever get close enough to the Moon to talk to her. With her constant companion, Bunny, by her side, they ask Owl for advice. He tells her she will find away. She gathers her forest friends together and decides Moon would like decorations. They make paper lanterns and hang them, but nothing but silence comes. When they problem solve by blowing out the lanterns, the Moon comes out at last. They learn that in the quiet and darkness, light will appear. I love the devotion Bunny has for Red Knit Cap Girl and the simplicity of the illustrations and story.

Laundry Day
 
Laundry Day by Maurie J. Manning

onnections, historical-fiction, mock-caldecott-2013, multicultural, picture-book, setting, social studies

I liked this story of a shoeshine boy in New York City when it was full of carts and horses. The tenements are crowded with people from many countries and cultures. He can't find anyone who wants a shine. Suddenly, a red scarf drifts down from above, and the shoeshine boy searches high and low to find where it came from. He meets an old Chinese woman, a Russian mother, an Italian organ grinder, Polish girls, a rabbi, and finally identifies the Jamaican woman whose headscarf it is. He climbs back down the tenements until he gets to the street and then we see the woman letting the scarf sail back down to land around the boy. This seems to be a stroke of good luck because he finally finds a shoe to shine. I love the cat that accompanies the shoeshine boy wherever he goes. Much of the story is told wordlessly. This book could only be done justice if read aloud with accents for each character!

The Hueys in the New SweaterThe Hueys in the New Sweater by Oliver Jeffers
individuality, mock-caldecott-2013, picture-book, theme

"The thing about the Hueys was that they were all the same...until the day one of them - Rupert was his name - knitted a nice new sweater." Funny little illustrations, and a theme of being yourself - the ending was cute. It was basically the retelling of Dr.Suess's Sneetches.

Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad
 
 
 
GORGEOUS. When I got this book in the mail after reading about it in several blogs, I knew it would become one of my most treasured picture books. I even love the texture of the book jacket and the thick pages. It's a beautifully told wordless story about a girl who discovers a runaway slave hiding in her family's barn. The girl's courage and compassion leads her to feed the stranger and help keep his secret. We never see the face of the runaway slave. We only see his eye peering out from his hiding place. He returns her gift of protection with a gift of his own for her. I love this one, and it is now one of my top choices to win the Caldecott.