Read! Read! Read! by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater

Read! Read! Read!

Read! Read! Read! by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater; illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke. 2017. Created in Adobe Photoshop. Published by Word Song: An Imprint of Highlights.

Brief summary: Twenty-three rhyming poems sharing the various ways and places we read in our lives.

Comments: Loved this book!  The poetry has rhythm and rhyme. Some are short; some are longer. The author wrote a poem each of the many things we read in our every day lives: a magazine, a birthday card,  a cereal box, sports page, road signs and so on. The illustrations fill the pages with several two page spreads.

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The Missing Letters: A Dreidel Story by Renee Londner


The Missing Letters

The Missing Letters: A Dreidel Story by Renee Londner; illustrated by Iryna Bodnaruk. 2017. Published by Kar-Ben Publishing.

Brief summary: The dreidel maker’s shop is closed. The Nuns, Heys, and Shins  gather together whispering and complaining about how the Gimels have it better. Each one tells what happens when the player gets them during the spin. They jealously explain when the player lands on the gimel, the player could take all of the pot. Everyone always cheers for the gimels. They decide to hide all the gimels so they cannot be added to the dreidels. The shop keeper comes in the next moring and is puzzled by the missing gimels. He explains the history of the dreidel to his apprentice as they search. The two look for the gimels all day and have to go home without finding them. At night, the Nuns, Heys, and Shins come out after hearing the shopkeeper’s history of the dreidel. The letters realize that they are all important and take the gimels out of their hiding spots so the dreidel maker and his apprentice can finish making the dreidels the next morning.

Comments: This is a cute and fun way to explain the dreidel game and its importance during Hanukkah. The Dreidel Game is explained on the back page.

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Wet by Carey Sookocheff


Wet by Carey Sookocheff; illustrated by Carey Sookocheff. 2017. Published by Henry Holt & Co.

Brief summary: A young boy shares the many ways to get wet. He first explores the various degrees of wetness at the pool as he gets just his feet wet, halfway in the pool wet, and all the way wet while swimming.  He shares how some objects get wet like the bench in the park  with a new coat of paint. He talks about how sometimes it is fun to get wet like splashing or when it is not fun getting wet  when he cries.

Comments: This is a simple but clever book of explaining the different types of wet. I never really thought of wet like this before reading the book.

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Princess and the Peas by Rachel Himes

Princess and the Peas

Princes and the Peas by Rachel Himes; illustrated by Rachel Himes. 2017. Acrylic, pencil, watercolor, collage, ink. Published by Charlesbridge

Brief summary: Ma Sally cooks the best black-eyed peas in South Carolina. She says anyone can marry her son if the woman can cook as well as she. John wants to decide on who he will marry. She ignores that. Ma Sally decides to spread gossip that her son is ready to marry and for any interested women to come to her house that Sunday. Three women show up but do not like that Ma Sally wants them to cook. A fourth arrives later named Princess who says she heard there was a competition and would like to try. She cooks black-eyed peas well enough that the mother approves. Princess is not so sure if she wants John though and challenges him to wash the pots and pans. Will they marry?

Comments: This is a  Princess and the Pea variant that takes place in the 1950s.  There is an author’s note and a black-eyed peas recipe in the back of the book. There are several  double-paged illustrations. I feel like I really want to try those black-eyed peas they are cooking.

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Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds

Happy Dreamer

Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. 2017. Digital illustrations with pastels; hand-lettered text. Published by Orchard Books

Brief summary: A young student tells how he dreams even when the world tells him to be still. He explains how he is a loud dreamer and a quiet dreamer and can dream wherever and whenever.

Comments: There is a two page fold out with all the ways to dream. This looks like another hit for Peter H. Reynolds. The illustrations are soft and smooth with pastels. The students and teachers love The Dot and Ish at my school. I can’t wait to read this one to them.

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Caring for Your Lion by Tammi Sauer

Caring For Your Lion

Caring for Your Lion by Tammi Sauer; illustrated by Troy Cummings. 2017. Artworks was created digitally.  Published by Sterling Children’s Books.

Brief summary: A boy has been waiting for almost a month for his new kitty to arrive. He has all of the pet supplies ready. The pet delivery truck arrives with a giant wooden crate with a note on it. “Congratulations on your new lion! We know you ordered a kitten, but we ran out of those.” There is an instruction sheet of ludicrous fourteen steps to follow.

Comments: Be sure to look the front end pages where the story begins. Troy Cummings’ hilarious 50s/60s cartoon style brings the story alive with one humorous step to the next. I would use this book as a writing exercise. Students could think of a wild animal that they would receive in the mail and what steps they would need to take to care for it. Drawings could be included.

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Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus

Blue Sky White Stars

Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus; illustrated by Kadir Nelson. 2017. Oils. Published by Dial Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: This patriotic poem celebrates the beauty and symbolism  of the American flag with illustrations of the country’s people, land, and history.

Comments: This would be a nice book to share for Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, or Flag Day.  The poem is short. The illustrations are full-paged and capture the face of the hopes many of the immigrants seek. Several of the people are working together for the same dreams and goals in their lives.  This would be a good exercise for students to share what they think those dreams could be.

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Second Grade Holdout by Audrey Vernick

Second Grade Holdout

Second Grade Holdout by Audrey Vernick; illustrated by Matthew Cordell. 2017. Pen and ink with watercolor. Published by Clarion Books.

Brief summary: A boy going into second grade remembers all of the wonderful things he did and accomplished in first grade. He worries that second grade will have difficult tasks, and he may not be the good student his dad wants him to be.  He decides he’ll just stay in Ms. Morgan’s first grade class and comes up with all the reasons why that will be a good idea. He agonizes about going to second grade after hearing that second grade is much harder than first grade.  After realizing that his best friend’s sisters are kidding about what second grade is like, he and his buddy go to school.

Comments: Students will find the boy’s reasons of not going to second grade humorous.  I like how he is able to figure out that his best friend’s older sisters are kidding and teasing them about being worried about going into second grade. They actually help him realize that it is going to be okay knowing that not all of the rumors are not true about second grade.

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(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library)

Tinyville Town: Time for School! by Brian Biggs

Tinyville Town Time for school

Tinyville Town: Time for School! by Brian Biggs; illustrated Brian Bigss. 2017. Colored pencil and India ink, colored in Photoshop. Published by Abrams Appleseed.

Brief summary: It is the first day of school in Tinyville Town and everyone in the community gets ready. Students arrive to school and are helped to find their new classroom. The entire day from beginning and to ending is shared with readers when students get to know each other in the classroom to lunch to recess to going home.

Comments: I like how this book goes through the entire first day of school including the preparation before school begins. All of the various community helpers in the community are involved.

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(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library).

How to Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan

How to get your teacher ready

How to Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan; illustrated by Lee Wildish. 2017. Published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Brief summary: The children give advice and suggestions of how their teacher can succeed throughout the school year from the first day of school, 100th day, to saying goodbye at the end of the year. This funny role reversal story will delight readers as they relate to all of the school events that occur  in a year.

Comments: This is the latest of the How to series by Jean Reagan. I love the exaggerated whimsical big head illustrations.

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(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library).