Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Picture Books & 3rd Graders....

Well hello there! If there are still any readers of our blog then, SURPRISE! I'm posting something! I know, you thought this day may never come again, but IT HAS! You see, I need the minds of the picture book community to help me answer a question...

It all started when I meeting with the teacher who's classroom I am taking over next year. (OH, that's right, I'm teaching kindergarten next year!! Small announcement, big deal! I CANNOT WAIT!!!)
Anyway, the other teacher is moving to 3rd grade and he wasn't gonna take his Pete the Cat border because he thought 3rd graders might be too old for Pete the Cat...?

So, then I go into this whole spiel about how no one is too old for Pete the Cat and picture books completely have a place in 3rd grade and just because other teachers aren't doing that in our school doesn't mean he should think 3rd graders are beyond it and lots of picture book content is to meaty and wordy for younger kids anyway and....and...and, you get the drift. Poor guy, I'm sure I scared the wits out of him.

So, after the rant ended, he commented that maybe he's just out of touch a bit since he's been in kindy. Which got me to thinking, maybe I'm out of touch too.

Am I? 

Did I steer him off course?

Are kids gonna laugh in his face when he pulls out a picture book in 3rd grade?

Personally, and maybe it's because I suffer from picture book delirium, I think what I said is true. Picture books do have a place in 3rd grade. Off the top of my head...


I mean most of Chris Van Allsburg's stuff would work. Also, how about Patricia Polacco? And then think about tall tales, legends, and (hello!) all sorts of fairy tales and fractured fairy tales!! Plus, what about all the complete awesomeness that is picture book non-fiction?? That cannot be over just because kids are headed toward double digits...can it?

Have I gone mad, or do you agree with me? Please let me know so I can either (a) apologize to my colleague or (b) hook him up with a fantastic book list for next year!



Monday, February 22, 2016

Life-Size Zoo

You know I've found an outstanding book to share when I show up out of the blue for the first time in over six months on the blog.  Well… I did (and I found it at a thrift store for $1.00, I just tell you that part to make you super jealous).  Life-Size Zoo: From Tiny Rodents to Gigantic Elephants, An Actual-Size Animal Encyclopedia by Teruyuki Komiya, published in 2008.  (And when I went to get the link, I found out there are several other similar books by the same author!  Score!)

It's such a cool book!  Life size pictures means life size pictures!  It's filled with all kinds of fun and hilarious facts (like those ones about tigers pictured above).  All kinds of animals are featured including fold out pages for the really big ones (like elephant and rhino).  

I'm a total sucker for excellent non-fiction (always have been).  This is excellent non-fiction!  Find yourself a copy.  You won't regret it!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Anybody out there?? Wanna join me for StoryBots?

Well hello blogland! Long time no see!! Is anyone still wanting to read this? We kind of dropped off the face of the internet there for a few months (and possibly again after this post…because we are SUPER on the ball!)

Anyway, this fall found both Robyn and I back in the classroom. She is running a preschool (luckiest person on EARTH!! ) and I spent the first quarter of the school year in 1st grade creating a new generation of Mo Willems' addicts!! I do what I can for TEAM MO!

But, I am terribly sorry to report that you  never got to hear about all the cool stuff we've been doing!  I mean, the number of fantastic books I have read since I last posted…really it's such a shame!

I did learn about something fun and wonderful though from Cuteness' teacher-- how about I tell you about it right now??

Have ya heard about StoryBots? It's these adorable singing robots! I've watched a handful of the youtube videos in Cuteness' classroom, the one below being my MOST FAVORITE!! I seriously sing the chorus every time one of my kids gets mad now! So cute and catchy!!

Since Cuteness is also a fan (HA! these animated videos aren't just for parents, kids like them too!! Oh boy…) I downloaded the learning videos app for her! (It's free!) Oh my gosh she has gotten A LOT of mileage out of that thing!! Her personal fave?  It's this little gem. Planets that rap-- you can't go wrong with that people.

But besides planets and emotions, the bots are into singing about shapes, letters, numbers, DINOSAURS!! There are even classic children songs with a roboty twist!  There's something for everyone--seriously, they have a software engineer song! (I'm telling you, something for everyone!) And apparently there are more apps and games and a whole StoryBot universe of things that I didn't even know about…Yay!

Happy StoryBot-ing! 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Birdie's First Day of School

Oh my gosh! Guess what I saw at Target the other day??

How did I not know about this book? My kiddo is about to have her first day of school and she LOVES Birdie!

Like most kiddos, Birdie is a little nervous about starting school. People have told her all these good and weird and a little bit scary-ish things (that her teacher is a werewolf?? WHO WOULD DO THAT??)

But never fear,  of course it all turns out all right! And of course there is a lot of delightful art (which I sadly have very few pictures of!) And of course her teacher IS NOT a werewolf, he just has a beard!

Listen, I would have snatched this book up in a second and brought it home to read to Cuteness, but guess what? In the book, Birdie has a locket with pictures of her mom and Monster (her dog). Well, Cuteness happens to be very easily persuaded by literature-- especially if it involves jewelry. So, I'm thinking I better not read it to her until I have a locket for her as well…guess I should work on that.

Oh, and speaking of back to school, once upon a time we put together a list of some school-ish picture books we enjoy. Check them out here.  (And! Speaking of what I saw at Target the other day, this book is now out too!! Can't wait to read it!!)

Happy reading! 
(And if you're in my boat, happy locket shopping.)

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Letter from the Teacher

I realize that many of you are already in the full swing of school, but we haven't started yet around here.  But, we have been getting a few little whiffs of schoolishness here and there. You know, the supplies are all out in stores, bus routes are being sent to our mailbox, and letters have been coming in the mail from the new teachers.

Cuteness has been somewhat trepidatious about what her teacher will be like because-- HE'S A BOY?!? Being that she is a 5 year old girl, boys are not really her cup of tea.  Thankfully her teacher sent THE COOLEST letter to all the kids with lots of pictures and funny stuff and (best idea ever coming after these parentheses) some of his favorite books and app recommendations!  GENIUS!  The guys is speaking the kids' language with app ideas, right?

I'm super excited because the book list he sent was full of Mo Willems, Jon Klassen, and David Shannon! I have a good feeling Cuteness in gonna have a fantastic year, don't you?  Anyway, one book her teacher seems really excited about is….

Have any of you guys read this??  It's by JOHN ROCCO! Remember how much I was swooning about him in this post? Well, apparently Super Hairo is about a kid who thinks his super powers come from his awesome hair-- the longer it gets the stronger he gets!! AND, apparently there's some sort of villain (I'm guessing the barber of doom!) and yeah, I don't know what happens but I'm gonna be running straight to the library of this one! How about you?

Happy school starting friends! I hope you all have just the best year yet! And stay tuned, maybe next time I'll post about a book I've actually read…