I Found a Kitty! by Troy Cummings; illustrated by Troy Cummings. 2020. Published by Random House Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: Arfy is having a great time playing and sniffing outside when he comes across a homeless kitten in a drainpipe. He writes several letters to those in the neighbor he believes will be able to give Scamper a good home. Each time, they write back to Arfy after Scamper has been there for a small time but without success. Finally, Arfy finds Scamper the perfect home.
Comments: This would be a book to read when introducing letter writing for young readers.
Suggestions are in the back for ways readers can help a homeless pet.
When My Brother Gets Home by Tom Lichtenheld; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. 2020. Pencil, watercolor and colored pencil on Mi-Teintes paper. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers.
Brief summary: A preschooler excitedly shares all of the wonderful adventures and playing she and her brother will do once he returns from school.
Comments: Super sweet book about a little girl waiting to play with her older brother. If only they could always stay like that…
Nesting by Henry Cole; illustrated by Henry Cole. 2020. Micron pens and acrylic paints. Published by Katherine Tegen Books.
Brief summary: Young readers learn about two robins making a nest in an apple tree. The mother robin lays four eggs and keeps them warm until they hatch. Now, both robins must take turns feeding their babies despite a storm and a snake. When the hatchlings have grown and have feathers, they leave the nest, learn to feed themselves, and grow fat for the winter months.
Comments: Robin blue end pages. Illustrations are done with black pen and blue acrylics.
This book would go well with the spring unit of study.
Author’s Note in the back with more robin facts.
The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver by Gene Barretta; illustrated by Frank Morrison. 2020. Oil on illustration board. Published by Katherine Tegen Books.
Brief summary: This narrative biography begins in 1874 with a young ten year old George Carver watering his plants in his secret Missourian garden. Through George’s love of botany and nature around him, he learns of the benefits of those plants and shares this knowledge with others. He attends Iowa Agricultural College. Booker T. Washington hires George to teach the people about agriculture. He began experimenting with new crops to replace cotton, because that crop was destroying the land. He discovers peanuts do well in the South. Carver travels and educates people about how to farm better and the many beneficial uses of peanuts.
Comments: Wow! I had no idea that there are 300 uses for peanuts. The book did not list any of those, so I’ll have to do some research. Maybe that would be a good topic for students to research and share.
Timeline, bibliography, and further reading sections are in the back.
Beautiful and inspirational illustrations. The cover caught my eye.
The Great Eggscape! by Jory John; illustrated by Pete Oswald(interior illustrations by Saba Joshaghani based on the artwork of Pete Oswald). 2020. Pencil sketches scanned and painted in Adobe Photoshop. Published by HarperCollins.
Brief summary: Shel, the egg, wonders where all of the other eggs go inside the store on the weekends while he enjoys hanging out in the carton reading in peace and solitude. The great eggscapes are usually short with everyone returning by lunch. Concerned that no one has returned yet, Shel decides to leave the carton and search for his friends that he finds camouflaged to look like various items in the store. Shel realizes he may like to play with others from time to time as well as being by himself.
Comments: I LOVE these hilarious books with duo John and Oswald! Great sense of humor and puns.
This is a clever wink to Easter eggs in regards to how the eggs are all decked out in various colors and decorations and are hidden(and found) in the store similar to an Easter egg hunt.
I’ll never look at my carton of eggs in the refrigerator quite the same.
Note: Stickers are included with this book that a younger reader could use to decorate Easter eggs.
Almost Time by Gary D. Schmidt & Elizabeth Stickney; illustrated by G. Brian Karas. 2020. Pencil and digital color. Published by Clarion Books.
Brief summary: Ethan asks his father if it is sap running time yet after sitting down to eat pancakes that have applesauce instead of maple syrup. The week after, Ethan’s dad makes him corn bread but still no syrup. He keeps asking his father when it will be time. Each Sunday, Ethan gets another answer. The days finally warm up with more sunlight. It’s maple syrup season! Ethan helps his father boil the syrup and pour the thickened liquid into bottles. Pancakes with syrup at last.
Comments: Young readers can relate to looking forward to having pancakes with syrup for breakfast but keep getting everything else instead.
I would include this book in the how things are made unit.
The maple syrup season is when the days are around 40* and the nights are below freezing which are usually between mid February to mid March.
The Sad Little Fact by Jonah Winter; illustrated by Pete Oswald. 2019. Digitally illustrated using gouache watercolor textures. Published by Schwartz and Wade.
Brief summary: A sad little fact is laughed at and ridiculed. The Authorities(with a capital “A”) demand that the sad little fact admits that it is NOT a fact. It refuses to lie which angers the Authorities, so they throw it into a locked box buried in the ground with other facts. While underground, the Authorities create a factory of lies calling them facts. These lies pretending to be facts cause the skies to darken. The fact finders come along demanding to know where the facts are buried. The fact finders start to dig and find the box of true facts. They release them, and the facts chase away the darkness of the world.
Comments: What a great parable to share before teaching media literacy! For all ages, including adults.
I cheered for the fact finders!
The little facts are cute fuzzy circles with large eyes and skinny stick arms and legs.
Source: Open Society Foundation at :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1eZ3Wyn-ZI
Three Ways to Trap a Leprechaun by Tara Lazar; illustrated by Vivienne To. 2020. Published by Harper.
Brief summary: Claire’s younger brother, Sam, does not believe in leprechauns. She decides to make a trap and capture one to show her brother. She plans and builds the first trap. Foiled. Finn, the leprechaun, leaves her a note. Finn is determined to make a better trap. Sprung. Another note by Finn. Will the trap Claire and Sam build together work this time?
Comments: Instructions of how to build a leprechaun trap are in the back. Wouldn’t it be a fun maker-space activity for students to build traps?
Oh, No! Look What the Cat Dragged In by Joy H. Davidson; illustrated by Jenny Cooper. 2020. Published by Salariya.
Brief summary: Two grandchildren wake each day of the week to find Grandma’s black cat bringing in various things through the cat door causing all sorts of chaos.
Comments: This is a fun read-aloud with hilarious rhyming situations and large colorful illustrations.
What to Do with a String by Jane Yolen; illustrated by C.F. Payne. 2019. Published by Creative Editions.
Brief summary: A young girl uses her imagination and finds many uses of a string in some realistic and imaginary ways.
Comments: Told in verse and with rhyming words. Two page layouts. This would go well with introducing a maker space with string.
Sequel to What to Do with a Box(2016).