Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Picture Book-a-Day: Week 3

It's been another great week in our library for picture books. Kiddos are checking out picture books like crazy, logging their titles on our google form, and filling in paper log sheets as well.  We'll celebrate our "PB Challenge" as a whole elementary school on November 30th!

Here are picture books for the themes last week from the Picture Book Month calendar. Each day also links to Page-in-Training for more titles on each theme.

Nov. 16 - Bedtime

Grandfather Twilight, written and illustrated by Barbara Berger

A magical story about the rise of the moon: Grandfather Twilight draws a single pearl off an endless string and it grows in his hand as he walks to the shore. He lifts it into the sky and night begins. A beautiful peaceful story illustrated with calming pastel shades to match the mood. 

Nov. 17 - Jungle

Jumanji, written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
When brother and sister are home alone, they find a board game that looks like the typical "bored" game, but when they start to play they realize that everything that happens in the game happens in their living room as well!  Lions, monkeys, monsoons, what a mess!  Readers love the adventure, the sense of urgency to finish the game, and the fun twist at the end.  Good for showing dramatic irony!

Nov. 18 - School

The Junkyard Wonders, written and illustrated by Patricia Polocco

A genius teacher works with a group of marginalized students and creates pure magic: they find their tribes, their voice, and the confidence to go forth in the world knowing THEY MATTER. Each is a genius in his or her own way, and a note from the author shows us just how far their teacher's belief in them went: they reached for the stars and got there.

Illustrated in Polocco's signature pencil and watercolors, this longer personal narrative suits grades 3 and up.

Nov. 19 - Farm

Farmer Duck, written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Poor duck has the bad luck to live on a farm with a lazy farmer. The lazy farmer makes duck do all of the work, calling out to check on him all day long: "How goes the work?" and duck answers, "Quack!" every time. 

This oft-repeated exchange gives me a chance to show variety in vocal expression and students love to anticipate it. The watercolor illustrations move the story forward, showing exactly what chores the duck must accomplish. Eventually, duck gets fed up with doing all of the work so cow, sheep, and hen come to his aid with a plan to get rid of the farmer. A simple fun story that engages young children.

The Little Match Girl, by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

A young girl forced to work on Christmas Eve sells matches to make a bit of money for her family. Dreadfully cold, lonely, and unable to make any sales, she slumps into a corner on the street and lights a match to warm herself. Unable face the cold again, she lights another match and then another, each one comforting her with visions of warmth and love.

This is a profoundly sad story, best for grade 2 and older. It's wonderful for showing inference. There are several versions, but I like Pinkney's watercolor illustrations the best.

Nov. 21 - Monkeys

The Hatseller and the Monkeys, retold and illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite 

This West African folktale will be familiar to those who know the classic Caps for Sale. But this longer version includes African phrases and songs and lively wood block illustrations in earthy tones. It would make a great companion story for compare/contrast of cultures (African/European) and plot.

Nov. 22 - Travel ~ World

How I Learned Geography, written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz 

A boy and his family flee their war-torn home in Poland and live in poverty with little food. When the father brings home a map instead of bread, the boy can't imagine forgiving him, but the map ends up being a conduit to daydreams that take him out of his miserable existence and into the magical world of foreign lands. Although his travels happen in his imagination, we feel the power of "seeing" other places.

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