Sunday, November 18, 2012

Picture Book Month: Book talks #2

Happy Picture Book Month, week 2! 
These picture books tie into each day's theme last week. Each day's post about the importance of picture books is linked as well.

Nov 9: Music

Ben's Trumpet, by Rachel Isadora
Ben sits out on the fire escape at his apartment listening to jazz coming from a nearby club. He watches the men practice after school and imagines himself as part of the band, with a trumpet belting out notes and part of the scene. Black and white illustrations capture the energy of 1920's Harlem with realistic portraits of the musicians contrasted with abstract patterns representing their music. This would pair well with the novel Bud, Not Buddy.

Nov 10: Creativity

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg
This nearly wordless book presents 14 story starters - pictorial mysteries that spark the imagination. They were left behind by a fictional writer, Harris Burdick, who promised to return with the full manuscripts later but never did. The dramatic opening statement makes a good entry into discussion of real versus pretend for older elementary students, and the whole volume invites creative thinking from all ages.

Nov 11: Elephants

Elephants Aloft, by Kate Appelt, illustrated by Keith Baker

What a cool concept: a nearly wordless book that teaches prepositions. Double-page spreads show two elephants on a hot-air balloon journey to visit their aunt. As they travel, each adventure is labeled with a preposition. For example, they splash "under" a waterfall and "above" a city. Richly colored illustrations make the magic.

This would have uses across the elementary grade levels for teaching basic "position" words to youngsters or for creating prepositional phrases with grades 3 and up

Nov 12: Planes, Trains, Automobiles

Freight Train, by Donald Crews
Simple concept beautifully realized, we learn the names of different cars on a freight train and each is a different color of the rainbow. When the train moves, the colors blur together to create a sense of the train's speed. We watch it travel through tunnels, into cities, along trestles. Its graphic style appeals to preschool and up.

Nov 13: ABC, 123

One Rainy Day, by Valeri Gorbachev
Pig tries to explain to his friend (or father?) how he got soaking wet on the way home, and, as he tells his tale, we begin to realize that he has a wild and crazy imagination. His excuse is that there was no room for him under the tree because an increasing number of animals arrived and crowded him out. It's a counting book, too. I like the way the pig's imaginary tale is illustrated on part of the page, while Pig and Goat are shown in "real life" below. A pull-out page shows just how jam-packed it got under the tree. A funny surprise ending adds an extra punch.

Nov 14: Reading

The Wednesday Surprise, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Donald Carrick
A girl and her grandmother meet every week to plan a special surprise for Father's birthday.  The reader will have a fun surprise too, since the gift is among the most beautiful we could imagine.

Nov 15: Nature

Redwoods, by Jason Chin
Factual and fun! A boy discovers a book about Redwoods and quickly becomes immersed in the wonder of these giants in nature. Information is written in a natural "text-to-self" style, giving students quick references to put it in context. This would be a good read aloud to model such strategies. Realistic painted illustrations complete the vision of a boy totally immersed in his newly acquired knowledge.

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