Welcome, Readers!

The contest Save the Picture Book has ended. Telling people about funny, informative, beautiful, or generally awesome picture books continues. I also share middle grade books, book apps, and educational apps that my kids and I like.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Kid Reviews: Winter Books IV

My three sons and I have read lots of picture books featuring sports MVPs. The Sunflower Elementary 5th grade may just be the MVP of saving the picture book. They've participated several months in a row and always do a great job reviewing the books. Here are a few winter picture book reviews from Mrs. Secrest's 5th grade class.

Paige reviewed Thomas' Snowsuit by Robert Munsch, ill. by Michael Martchenko. She liked "that a little kid wouldn't put his snowsuit on and the adults ended up wearing the wrong clothes." Here is her excellent drawing:

Brayden reviewed Thomas' Snowsuit as well. He does a great job depicting a very frustrated Thomas.

Delaney reviewed Axle Annie by Robin Pulver, ill. by Tedd Arnold. She liked that "even though Shifty tries to make Annie not make it up the hill, she still lets them on the bus." I love her drawing of Shifty!

Great job, 5th graders!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: 1+1=5 and Other Unlikely Additions

1+1=5 and Other Unlikely Additions, by David LaRochelle, ill. by Brenda Sexton (Sterling, 2010.)

Can you think of why 1+1 would = 5? Using clues from the previous page, kids guess why 1+1 equals various unusual sums. The answer is explained at the page turn.

This is a fun book that incorporates addition...and algebra! When you think about it, the two ones really represent x and y. I did this with my family; we were able to guess "sum," not all. As we got into the mindset of looking for clues on the page to solve the equation, we got better at it. This would be a fun book to read with your class, and then come up with equations of your own.

On his Web site, www.davidlarochelle.net, the author offers a teaching guide describing ways of doing this. It also includes printable activities such as The Secret Life of Numbers, in which kids turn numbers into drawings.

So, why does 1+1=5? You'll have to read the book to find out!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review: Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots

Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots, by Rebecca Janni, ill. by Lynne Avril (Penguin, 2011.)

Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots, the sequel to Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse, finds the narrator staring out her window at the glitter girls, the sisters across the street who dress up fancy and dance. When they don't want to go ridin' with her (on bikes,) she devises a new plan: a barn dance. When they prove to be less than enthusiastic, Nellie Sue wants to give up. But a cowgirl NEVER gives up, and amen to that.

What I love about these books is, a. she calls her bicycle "Beauty, the two-wheeled horse Mama and Daddy got me for my birthday," and b. just the narrator's overall voice. Also her earnestness. Have I ever said how much I love earnest characters? You will root for Nellie Sue as she plans the barn dance(in her garage) and waits...and waits for the guests.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kids Review Winter Books II

First, congratulations to the ALA award winners announced earlier today: http://ala.org/news/pr?id=9108 The list includes lots of beautiful picture books!

Speaking of picture books (that is what this blog is all about) Ms. McDaniel's fifth grade class beautifully reviewed some winter titles.

Evyn said that her winter book would be about when she and her brother made igloos and a stray dog played with them. Sounds like a magical winter scene! Here are her drawings of Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner, ill. by Mark Buehner, and Axle Annie, by Robin Pulver, ill. by Ted Arnold:

Antwuan enjoyed Axle Annie's mantra, but wished the school bus could fly, to ease the journey up Tiger Mountain. He drew Axle Annie and Snowmen at Christmas, as well.

Savannah loved the snowdogs in Snowmen at Christmas, but only wished there were more.

In Snowmen at Christmas, Gabe enjoyed "when the snowman was handing out snowcones because they're technically eating themselves." He drew that scene:

Great job fifth graders! Perhaps there will be a Caldecott in your future!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kids Review Winter Books

Runners up in December's contest were Ms. Oakley's, Ms. McDaniel's, and Mrs. Secrest's 5th grade classes of Sunflower Elementary in Paola, Kan.

First up is Ms. Oakley's class.

Claire reviewed Axle Annie by Robin Pulver, ill. by Tedd Arnold. Kids were asked what book they would write about a snowy memory. She would write a book about sledding with her siblings called Down the Hill We Go!

Abi also reviewed Axle Annie. She said that she like best "that Axle Annie NEVER gave up." I loved the neon yellow of her school bus but it wouldn't show up on the scanned image. Must be a ghost color!

Heaven reviewed Winter is the Warmest Season, by Lauren Stringer. Her book would be about the day her mother jumped on her bed and yelled, "It's Christmas." It would be called The Opposite Christmas. Sounds like a really good idea for a funny book!

Abi also reviewed Snowmen at Christmas, by Caralyn Buehner, ill. by Mark Buehner. She said she liked that there was a dog on every page.

Great job, Ms. Oakley's class!

Next week, more kid reviews and some reviews of our January books.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kid Reviews: Snowmen All Year

The December winner of Save the Picture Book! is Mrs. Jocelyn Rowan and her students at Gladden Elementary in Belton, Mo. They reviewed Snowmen All Year by Caralyn Buehner, ill. by Mark Buehner.

They are a small group of students, so I can share all of their fantastic drawings. With the unseasonably warm January here in Kansas City and elsewhere, we might actually see snowmen do these things this winter!

Charity drew a snowman flying a kite.

Emily's snowman is floating in a pool.

Bonzie depicts a snowman jumping off the diving board.

Dylan's and Riley's snowmen are swimming.

And Paisley's is celebrating his birthday!

Great job, Gladden students! You've won some December picture books.

Stay tuned for more kid reviews later this week.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January: Save the School Friends! (and the Picture Book)

This month's list, the last in the year-long event, is about school and friendship. There are math, grammar, 100th day of school, show-and-tell, friendship, and being yourself books. This is the perfect end to a contest which so many teachers have shared with their students. These friends have saved the picture book!

While Save the Picture Book! as a monthly contest is coming to an end, it will continue in an abbreviated form. Stay tuned! Also, this blog will continue to feature picture books and picture book resources.

So...let's get saving the school friends! (and the picture book.)