School

Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches By Lisa Broadie Cook

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Back of book: Martin MacGregor is having one rotten week! First, his substitute teacher, Mrs. Payne, gives out mountains of homework. And when Martin’s dog literally eats his homework, little does he know it’s only the beginning of his troubles. Martin’s homework ends up in the washing machine, goes to preschool with his little sister, and blows onto the roof of the school. Martin just can’t catch a break! But with some creativity and a positive attitude, Martin finds his own way to turn homework into fun-and turn it in on time!

My Review: All children dislike homework and come up with many excuses as to why they can’t do it or lost it. Every teacher has a student who is like Martin and somehow cannot seem to locate his or her homework every day. I think this book has a very valuable lesson hidden in it which is to allow students to have more freedom to research things they love. I found this book to actuality line up with the idea of project based learning. Overall an excellent story with a fun ending that will keep children engaged.

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I Need My Monster By Amanda Noll

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Back of Book: One night, when Ethan checks under his bed for his monster, Gabe, he finds a note from him instead: “Gone fishing. Back in a week.” Ethan knows that without Gabe’s familiar nightly scares he doesn’t stand a chance of getting to sleep, so Ethan interviews potential substitutes to see if they’ve got the right equipment for the job—pointy teeth, sharp claws, and a long tail—but none of them proves scary enough for Ethan.

My Review: When I was told that I needed to read my students a story about Monsters under their beds I was a bit nervous. I didn’t want to make my students cry, but after reading the story I knew they would love it. Ethan doesn’t have his Monster Gabe for the evening so he sets up interviews with several other monsters in order to find a good substitute. The problem is that no monster is good enough. Ethan finds flaws in every monster until Gabe returns. The book is full of fun and allows for a lot of laughter.

Ages 5 years old and up

32 Pages

Hanukkah

Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel

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Back of book: A bear wakes to wonderful smells that leads him to the house of Bubba Brayna. Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, but at ninety-seven, she doesn’t hear or see well. When the bear arrives at her door, she believes he is her rabbi. Bubba Brayna and the bear light the menorah, play the dreidel game, and eat all the latkes. The mix-up is revealed, Bubba Brayna has a laugh about it, and everyone works together to make more latkes.

My Review:  I read this book as a part of my Christmas around the world unit. It is a fun story that explains the different aspects of Hanukkah. Bubba Brayna is a great representation of a grandma like figure who simply wants to feed people and then enjoy the fun of the evening. My students laughed at the idea of a bear coming for Hanukkah and Bubba Brayna not realizing it until the end. Great story that shows children about a different holiday other than Christmas, there is also a great recipe in the back of the book for latkes.

Ages 5 and up

32 pages

Christian

The Fruit of the Spirit is Jesus in Me By Dandi Daley Mackall

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Back of book: Introduce your child to some of the best-loved passages in the Bible. This story presents the message of the “fruit of the Spirit” Scripture (Galatians 5:22, 23).

My Review:  Dandi Daley Mackall is an excellent and her serious about favorite bible verses is one of my favorites. This story talks about the fruits of the spirit in a fun and childlike way.  Each page focuses on one of the fruits and gives an example of how the little girl in the story uses that fruit.  The illustrations are sweet and I think children will love them.

Ages 4 and up

36 pages

Birthday

Happy Birthday to You! by Marianne Richmond

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Back of book: At last a book to celebrate one’s most special day: Happy Birthday to You!
Bouncy text and whimsical watercolor paintings offer the reader numerous options for honoring his or her big day – from eating chocolate cake for breakfast to throwing a marvelous party! Tucked within the pages, too, is a tribute to what’s really worth celebrating – the person behind the birthday!
A fun read for the young and the young-at-heart, Happy Birthday to You! sums up the purpose of this momentous day: make it extraordinary because you are!

My Review: I love my birthday probably more than most adults, so I understand the excitement   that children have on their special day. This book is a sweet story that celebrates all the fun things that children may want to do on their birthdays. Things like eating cake for breakfast or having a fun party with friends. This is the kind of story that children will want to hear every year on their birthday.

Ages 4 and up

36 pages

History

Cleopatra By Diane Stanley

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Back of book:  Queen of Egypt at the age of eighteen, Cleopatra’s passion was to untie the world under Egyptian rule. Legendary leaders risked their kingdoms to win her heart, and her epic life has inspired countless tales throughout history. A timeless story of love, war, and ambition, their pictorial biography is sure to entertain and educate.

My Review:  If you have never read a story by Diane Stanley please go pick one up. She is one of the best authors at writing biography stories. The story of Cleopatra is scandalous and a huge part of Egyptian history. Stanley does a perfect amount of research about her subject matter and has a list of sources in the back of the book. This is not a book I would read to younger grades because the content matter is more grown up. This is a perfect book for writing a biography or a book report.

Ages 9 and up

48 pages

History

A Picture Book of Davy Crockett By David A. Adler

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Back of book: Davy Crockett was born on August 17, 1786 in a backwoods cabin in eastern Tennessee. At age twelve, David learned how to shoot a rifle. When he grew up, he won most of the shooting matches he entered and became a well-known storyteller. No matter where he lived, he was popular. He was elected to three terms in the House of Representatives. After being defeated in the congressional election of 1835, he was ready for new adventure. He rode to Texas, where he fought and died in the Battle of the Alamo.

My Review:  One of my units that I teach in Kindergarten is on explorers and pioneers. It can be slightly complicated teaching about historical figures to five year olds. So after some research I found the Picture Book Biographies. There are several different stories that are written on a level that all audiences can enjoy. Davy Crockett is a great look at a strong man who grew up in the rough and wild pioneer days. I used this book as the major part of my unit and the students really enjoyed it.

Ages 6 and up

32 Pages.

Thanksgiving

The Very Stuffed Turkey by Katharine Kenah

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Back of book: A Thanksgiving story featuring a large turkey with a big problem. He’s been invited to EVERYONE’S home for dinner! With five homes to visit — Horse’s, Pig’s, Sheep and Goat’s, Cow’s, and Mouse’s –Turkey knows there’ll be a ton of food to eat. But there’ll also be friends and their families who can’t wait to celebrate the holiday with Turkey! Can this very plump bird make it through every meal without bursting?

My Review: When I got this book I was looking for a fun Thanksgiving book to share with my Kindergarten class. I could tell they had heard enough about Pilgrims and Indians. I found this book and feel in love with the story. Each animal that the turkey visits has a different and fun meal that the turkey cannot say no too. At the end of the book the turkey finds a solution to being so stuffed!

Ages 5 and up

32 pages

Easter

The Biggest Easter Basket Ever By Steven Kroll

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Back of book: Lovable Clayton and Desmond are back in this Easter story. As Mouseville prepares for a gala Easter celebration on the village green, complete with a biggest Easter Basket contest, two lovable mice learn a lesson in cooperation — and fun! Town mouse Clayton and country mouse Desmond continue to teach the benefits of collaboration and friendship in another sweet story centered around this joyful holiday.

My Review: I have mentioned before in my reviews how much I love Scholastic Co books.  There are several stories about the adventures of Clayton and Desmond and each one talks about valuable lessons that all children should be learning. The mayor has announced that there will be an egg rolling contest, Easter egg hunt, and a contest to see who can create the biggest Easter basket. Clayton and Desmond are each determined to win and they prepare really big baskets, but when they check out those of their friends they realize that the others are about the same size.  Its only when they work together that they can fight to win. This was a fun read aloud to share with my students.

Ages 4 and up

32 pages

English Language Arts

Penny and the Punctuation Bee by Moira Rose Donohue

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Back of book: Elsie, and exclamation point, announces loudly that she’s sure she’ll win the school Punctuation Bee. After all, an exclamation point has won the last three years. But Penny, a period, and her friend, Quentin, a question mark, decide to practice and practice. More than anything, Penny wants to beat Elsie, who brags way too much! The bee begins and one by one, the punctuation marks drop out. Finally, as the loudspeaker announces the end of the school day, only Quentin, Penny, and Elsie remain. It looks like a three-way tie. Then Quentin asks an important question that saves the day-for Penny!

My Review:  The concept of having a punctuation bee was very intriguing to me. As a teacher I see a serious focus on spelling bees in my school but not on anything involving punctuation. I believe that is a very important thing to teach students. This book not only focuses on the importance of knowing when to use punctuation, but also how to be a good sport in completion. Penny  is kind to Elsie no matter what. I truly love this book.

Ages 6 and up

32 Pages