Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Picture Book Party #s 16-12

All right, all right! Happy weekend! We only have a few books to go on our list of Top 100 Picture Books – we’re almost done!!!  By the by – how is everything going?  Are your little friends everything you’d hoped they’d be? Are you deep into your most favorite read alludes? You have to let me know if any of these made the cut!

All right, September means no one has time for my ramblings…so on with the list!  #16 is a total classic. It’s the Caldecott Award winning Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.  Yet another text that I used frequently in my classroom, but always felt that I could have used better.  I worked hard to make sure my read alouds felt purposeful, you know what I mean?  And I just felt like this one didn’t quite hit the mark…and I knew it was me.

Owl Moon

Enough of my ramblings…

If you haven’t read it before, Owl Moon is about a boy who goes owling with his father in the woods.  They wait quietly, walking deeper and deeper into the woods.  His father makes owl calls and finally, one answers back.  They catch a glimpse of the owl in their flashlight before the it flies away.  The father and son have shared an important moment, one that you can feel is some sort of right of passage in this family.

I mean, the language in this book is absolutely beautiful.  I did use it during our poetry study to talk about how to create a strong mental image…the shadows, the quiet, the anticipation are all describe fabulously by Yolen.  I have also used this text during units on winter and family, although I felt like those readings were slightly less successful.  My first grade friends never really dug this one, but I think second, third and maybe even fourth graders would enjoy and appreciate it more.  The illustrations in this text are also gorgeous – especially the one with the owl.

#15 is one of my favorite books of all time…FAVE!  I love the story, I love the characters, I love the illustrations, I love the author!  Any guesses?  It’s another Kevin Henkes book – Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse!!!  This Lilly is just one of the coolest female characters around – at least in my opinion.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

I love Lilly.  Love her.  Love her spunk, love her boots, love her attitude about school.  In a nutshell, Lilly gets some fabulous glasses, a great new purse and bunch of quarters and is dying to show them to all her friends at school.  She just can’t wait until share time and whips them out, distracting her friends and getting her precious possessions taken away by the teacher.  Lilly always loved her teacher, but now she is angry.  She writes a nasty note (complete with nasty picture) and sticks it in her teacher’s bag! (Can you imagine?)  At the end of the day, Lilly’s teacher gives her things back along with a special snack to take home.  Needless to say, Lilly feels like crap.  She writes her teacher a lovely apology, gets her family to help her make some special snacks and…all is forgiven.

Have I already told you that I love this book?  LOVE!  I used this one every year at the beginning of the year (to establish read aloud routines), when we studied strong female characters (you know we did) and as part of our Kevin Henkes author study (Connections across texts much?).  Downright fabulous on a stick.

Ack!  What a fabulous piece of the list we’ve got on our hands this morning!  At #14 is a book I discovered a little late, but loved to pieces!  It’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka.  Talk about hilarious and imaginative!

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

#13 brings a nice twist to today’s books…a bit of a classic edge, if you will.  Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey (remember Make Way for Ducklings?) is another book that I had in my library, liked but never felt like I used very well in my classroom.

Blueberries for Sal (Live Oak Readalong)(Book + CD)

And last but not least this morning, is a book that I give every single friend of mine when ever they have a baby.  You KNOW Mini Mimi has a copy on her overflowing bookshelf! I think this book is fabulous for all friends, young and old!  It’s Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann.

Good Night, Gorilla

The only text in this book is made up of the zookeeper saying good night to all the animals as he locks up the zoo for the evening. What he DOESN’T see is the super cute little gorilla sneaking his keys off his pants!  The little gorilla then proceeds to let out all the other animals who all follow the zoo keeper home.  The zookeeper’s wife says good night to the zookeeper and all the animals answer her back.  She opens her eyes to see the gorilla, and then walks all the animals back to the zoo.  What SHE doesn’t see is that fabulous little gorilla has taken the keys once again…

I am really digging these texts with very few words!  I think they are fabulous opportunities for oral story telling practice with picture support or possibly inspiration for sharedvwriting with the small fries.

Guess what today is? It’s Mini Mimi’s first official trip to Barnsey!!! I know! A very big day….I only hope she loves books as much as crazy Barnsey-loving mother does.

Have wonderful weekends, my dear readers!


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  • LOVE Owl Moon. And I'm all about the story tapes, and this one is AWESOME!

    I'm with you on Lily's Purple Plastic Purse. A personal fave.

    September 19, 2010 at 4:03 am
  • Actually it's a girl in OWL MOON. (Only place it says so is on the flap copy of the hardcover, but also at my website. The dedication is to my daughter because it's HER story.)

    Illustrator John (Jack) Schoenherr always said, "I gave her a pink parka!" to which I always replied, "It's red, Jack."

    –Jane Yolen

    September 19, 2010 at 4:03 am
  • I always laugh to myself when you do a post about books, and every single one you talk about is a MAJOR favorite of mine. I LOVE all four of these!

    September 19, 2010 at 4:03 am
  • First, Jane Yolen commented on my blog! Dying.

    Second, thank you so much for the correction! I think I love your story even more now that I know it's a girl.

    Third, did I mention that Jane Yolen commented on my blog?

    September 19, 2010 at 4:06 am
  • I love Owl Moon also. Our district recently created some Units of Study in writing using mentor texts and this is one of them for the 2nd grade unit. I piloted it with a group of 4th grade friends the year we started it and they LOVED the imagery and the words, especially because we read through it really slow and just let it sink in. It's one of my very favorites now as well.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:38 am
  • I love The Real Story of The Three Little Pigs, brilliant message. Preschool kids always seem to love Goodnight Gorilla and Owl Moon. And..Jane Yolen commented on your blog! 🙂

    September 20, 2010 at 2:38 am
  • I love Scieszka. Have you read the one about what happens after the proncess kisses the frog? You could do a whole unit on the after the fairy tale theme. Have you read "Goldilocks Returns" by Lisa Campell Ernst?

    September 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  • Great books reviews. I did a compare/contrast lesson with The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! during the spring and the book was a huge hit! The students loved the pictures and the funny, inventive story.

    September 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm
  • Okay, just as excited as you are that JANE YOLEN commented.
    (And I knew it was a girl.)
    My daughter came home from preschool today and said they were "doing" blueberries today: they tasted them, painted with them..yet somehow did not read "Blueberries for Sal." Hmmmm…

    September 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm
  • Thanks for your great post and the useful information. I started reading aloud to my twins when they were two and am constantly on the look for book recommendations to choose quality material to read aloud with them.

    They loved Blueberries for Sal, and Goodnight Gorilla – but the rest we haven't yet read.

    I'll probably try Owl Moon next from your list.

    Read Aloud Dad

    September 26, 2010 at 9:26 pm

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