This Week @ the Library (11/28 - 12/2)

With only 3 weeks in between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, we'll be reading snow stories in kindergarten to get us reading for that cold, wet stuff. We'll start with one of my favorites - a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jan Brett's The Three Snow Bears. Since most students know the Goldilocks version, we'll begin the library lesson with an oral retell by students, then read Brett's tale, and if time, we'll compare the two. Oh, the illustrations in this book (in all her books!) are just fantastic!

First and second grade students have been reading nominees for the 2012 Monarch Award, a Readers' Choice Award for K-3 students in Illinois. Next on our list is Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Look at the cover of the book - is it a duck? Or is it a rabbit? We try to figure it out in this story, but I won't give away the ending! I'll be using the SmartBoard with this book and borrowing a Notebook lesson from Librarian Tonya Ellis of East Elementary in the Jefferson City Public Schools. We librarians love to share. :)

It's time for our Fables unit in third grade! Today was our first day learning about fables - short stories that teach lessons through a moral. We read selections from Michael Hague's Aesop's Fables. Since the writing is concise but a bit advanced, I asked students to retell the stories using their own words and then tell me what they thought the moral of the story was. We read classics like "The Hare and the Tortoise," "The Lion and the Mouse," and "The Fox and the Grapes." Students enjoyed these quick stories so much that they asked for more fables next week!

From now until Winter Break, fourth grade students will be studying the poet Jack Prelutsky. This week, we'll read aloud from his collection called My Dog May Be a Genius and explore his website on the SmartBoard. If we have time, I've pulled all of his books that we own at the King School Library (over 20!), and I'll let students explore his works on their own.

This week, a children's librarian (hi Lynn!) from the Urbana Free Library will be visiting us at King to present booktalks to our fifth grade students. We always look forward to hearing from our local librarians! :)


The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss (2011, Random House) is a collection of seven short stories that were originally published in magazines from 1950 to 1951. They are published together in this one anthology with an introduction by Charles D. Cohen, a renowned Seuss scholar.

I'm thrilled to have this new Seuss collection in the library and can already think of ways to use some of these stories with students!

"The Bippolo Seed" is the classic story of a magical seed able to grant wishes. McKluck the duck wishes for something modest, a week's worth of food, but a cat comes by and persuades him to wish for something more. The two get carried away with their greed and end up losing the seed. And the moral of the story is...

"The Rabbit, the Bear, and the Zinniga-Zanniga" is a fantastic trickster tale! A bear is about to gobble up a rabbit when the rabbit gets the clever idea to count the bear's eyelashes and warn him that he's going to die because he has an uneven number of lashes on each side. What to do? Why, the bear must climb up the Zinniga-Zanniga tree to sniff the growing powers of the flowers - while the rabbit runs away!

"Gustav, the Goldfish" tells the tale of a little boy who doesn't follow directions. He feeds his new goldfish, Gustav, a whole box of food instead of the pinch he was instructed. And Gustav grows big as a whale! Oh, how will he ever survive?

"Tadd and Todd" is about a set of identical twins who are always described as two peas in a pod. No one can tell them apart, and Tadd is fed up with being confused with his brother. So, Tadd dyed his hair (and Todd copied him), then changed his outfit and added all sorts of ridiculous accessories to distinguish himself from his twin. But of course, Todd was making the same changes, and in the end, they were both okay with being two peas in a pod.

"Steak for Supper" is an odd little story about a boy who grumbles to himself on his walk home that he has steak for supper every Saturday night. His father has warned him not to talk when he walks because you never know who might be listening. An Ikka overhears the boy and starts following him because he'd like some steak too, and he spreads the word to others. Pretty soon there's a whole crowd following the boy home expecting steak for supper, only to find that tonight they're having stew instead. And the boy has learned his lesson. But is this a lesson to be learned? Hmm, I just don't know.

"The Strange Shirt Spot" reminds of What Happened to Marion's Book?, and I think I just may use it when talking about book care in the library, even though it has nothing to do with a book. A boy has been playing in the dirt and gets a spot on his shirt - he does everything he can to clean the spot, but the spot jumps from one thing to another and ends up right back where it started. What do you think his mother said when she saw it?

"The Great Hungry McBride" is a sort of inspirational story I could see using with students who have no idea what they want to be when they grow up - the kind who don't really think about the future or have any dreams at all. Henry McBride has SO many dreams that he doesn't want to just have one job when he grows up, but instead he'll have five. Reminds me of Oh, the Places You'll Go!

For more about The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories, go:


Family Reading Night!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
(Excerpt from Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss)

You are INVITED!
What?     Family Reading Night
Where?   King School
When?    Thursday, November 17 from 6:00 - 7:30

Will reading take you into the depths of the jungle or hurl you into a blizzard? Will you fly to the moon or travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving? Come to Family Reading Night this Thursday to find out! You'll travel to new places with the exciting stories teachers will be reading! 

After our readers have finished reading in their rooms, join us in the gym for a final celebration! We'll be performing Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go!, having a raffle, giving away books to every student, and providing a healthy fruit treat to end the night. Hope to see you there! 

Want to know what I'll be reading at Family Reading Night? Here's a sneak peak :)


New picture books!

Oh, how I love walking into the library on a relaxing Friday afternoon and finding a big, white box full of new books just waiting for me behind my desk. I'm like a kid in a candy store! No, a toy store! A video game store! I tear the box open and slowly take out each book, remembering why I bought each one and savoring the feeling of their cool, shiny covers in my hands. I really, really love new books. And I love sharing them too. As teachers walk in the door, getting ready for our meeting, I introduce them to our new lovelies. This book is perfect for you! Come and look! NEW BOOKS! You'll love them! Students will get their chance to check out these new books on Monday, but I thought I'd share some of them here first...

Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack and the Beanstalk by Nina Crews
published 2011 by Henry Holt & Co

I love this Jack story because of the illustrations. They're photographs! Crews has used a photo-collage style to tell this story, and I love how modern it makes the tale feel. I also like the twist at the end - no one dies, thankfully, and the giants have a happy ending.

The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece
The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece by Anthony Manna and Soula Mitakidou, illustrated by Giselle Potter
published 2011 by Schwartz & Wade

Cinderella stories are very popular at the King School Library. We have so many cultures represented in our Cinderella collection, but I don't recall a Grecian one. This story is indeed very Greek - I love the explanation of why this girl is an orphan even though her father is alive (it's a Greek thing) and the fact that the prince is found not hosting a silly ball but instead attending church on Sundays. A very nice retelling of a familiar tale.

Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed
Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed by Eileen Christelow
published 2011 by Clarion Books

Christelow writes a variety of Five Little Monkeys stories, but this one is obviously my favorite. These monkeys just can't get to bed because their books are so interesting that they want to read them all. After four books, Mama says it's time for bed - Lights out! Sweet Dreams! No more reading in bed! is her rhyme once she finds that the monkeys have disobeyed her and are reading in bed. First, it's a sad story that makes them sob, then a scary ghost story, and finally a funny story that has them giggling gleefully. At the end, when they're finally worn out and ready to fall asleep, they hear laughing and crying from the other room. I think you can guess what the monkeys will find... 

Big, Bigger, Biggest!Big, Bigger, Biggest by Nancy Coffelt
published 2009 by Henry Holt & Co

You may, like me, think this book is about size comparison, but you would be mostly incorrect. Although there are big, bigger, biggest-like comparisons of animals on each page, what's more are the adjectives used to describe these animals. For example, a snail says, "I'm slowest! I'm sluggish. I'm lethargic. I'm lackadaisical!" Ooh! What vocabulary! Use this book with older students to improve the adjectives in their writing, or use it with younger students to introduce them to new vocabulary. No matter the age group, it's definitely a book to be shared! 

Mudkin (Carolrhoda Picture Books)Mudkin by Stephen Gammell 
published 2011 by Carolrhoda Books

When I think about this book, I get a little giddy inside. It makes me smile until my cheeks hurt. I love the whimsical watercolor illustrations - they make me starry-eyed and swoony. And the story itself is not so bad either. Okay, it's wonderful. A little girl ventures outside after a day of rain to play in the mud. There she meets Mudkin (the creature on the cover), who thinks she looks like a queen and should in fact be his queen. The two travel to her kingdom, complete with a castle and subjects. While there is very little text in this book, the illustrations tell the story quite well. And when there is text, we can only read what the little girl has to say because Mudkin's responses are written in mud scribble. Oh, what a perfect opportunity to teach inference skills! Love it! 

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