Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Some New Children's Book Picks

There's something about being able to put a children's book in your hands, flip through it's pages enjoying the illustrations and discovering a great new story that's just flat out nice.   Around back to school time, I was sad when I didn't discover any great back to school books to take back to my classroom.  But I wasn't disappointed last week when I visited my local Barnes & Noble bookstore.  I found a whole lot of inspiration and made a very long wish list.  However, I restrained myself and only walked out with three new books and here they are.

The first is The Monster's Monster by Patrick McDonnell.  I found this one looking through all the Halloween books.  I'm not really big into Halloween so I like the fact that it isn't a scary book even though it's about monsters.  Basically there are three little creatures that are endlessly debating about which one of them is the scariest monster.  Finally, they put their heads together to create the scariest monster ever.  He comes out looking like Frankenstein but he happens to be a very grateful monster and that changes the atmosphere completely.  One of my favorite aspects of the book is that the change in atmosphere is reflected in the illustrations which go from being dark and gloomy in the beginning to sunny and bright at the end.  I think it would be a great book to use at the beginning of the year to talk about using good manners and being polite.  I also think that it has lots of potential for use in my Writer's Workshop.
The next book is called Mousetronaut and it is written by the astronaut Mark Kelly.  This is a partially true story about a mouse that embraces space and ends up saving the day in the space shuttle.  What I love about this book is that Mark got the idea for his story on one of his missions where there was one little mouse out of eighteen that didn't cling to the mesh during the mission but instead floated effortlessly around the cage.  This book would be great to use during a study of space.  But it would also be a great mentor text in Writer's Workshop when talking about where authors get their ideas from. 
The last book I purchased is It's All About ME-ow by Hudson Talbott.  This book is written from the perspective of an older and wiser cat giving advice to kittens and preparing them for a life of charming their humans.  It has a little bit of history, some great diagrams and advice and a whole lot of humour.  It would be a great mentor text for how to or process writing and for writing from a perspective other than your own.  If you wanted to encourage your writers to include things like diagrams and captions this would also be a great example after which they could model their writing.

These books make me anxious for a new little crop of writers!


  1. Oh Beth, You are just so great at being a teacher! Your future crop of writers and I are working hard, but we have SO FAR to go. Right now most of us have just enough English vocabulary and writing skills to create a very basic story about a vegetable that can walk and go places. That seems to be the hot topic right now. Some have really creative pictures, we just have to work on the skill of putting words with them. I'll probably be emailing you soon about what in the world we should be doing next in Writing!

    1. Kara, I know that my future crop of writers are in great hands! :) Don't worry these first months are a bit of wasteland in terms of great writing...it's just lots of training in independence and using what you know. I'm happy to answer any questions but I'm confident you are doing an amazing job. :)


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