Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Baseball Saved Us"

Title: Baseball Saved Us
Author: Ken Mochizuki
Illustrator: Dom Lee
Publisher: LEE & LOW BOOKS, INC, 1993
Genre: Picture book, historical fiction, multi-cultural
Age Range: 3rd grade
1993 Parents' Choice Award

Summary: A young Japanese boy recounts his time spent in a concentration camp for Japanese Americans during WWII. The boy talks about how the camp came together and built a baseball field so that they would have something to do to pass the time. The boy is not a very good player at first, but ends up hitting the winning run in the championship game. After leaving the camp, he is shunned at school. He ends up playing on the baseball team, and again hits the winning run during a game when many are screaming against him. He is finally accepted by his team.

Response: I am completely appalled by the situation the Japanese Americans were forced into by America. These citizens were simply put away because the United States was afraid of another Japanese attack. While they were fighting against Hitler in Europe, they were keeping people in camps just like he was. I find this repulsive. This is a story of hope for those who were in the camps. The baseball team gave everyone something to do instead of sitting around. The men and boys helped build it and the women were able to sCheck Spellingew uniforms. After the field was completed, the entire camp was able to forget about the war as they watched the teams play. The little boy was able to overcome his fear, not only of baseball, but of being unwanted and hated by hitting the winning run for the championship. He is able to do this twice and is accepted by his own people the first time, and his teammates the second. I feel like his experiences are comparable to Sumiko in the book Weedflower. They are both criticized and more than anything else want to be accepted by their peers. The young man in this story is able to do that through baseball. The illustrations in this book are very tattered and a bit blurry. The illustrations in the text were created by applying encaustic beeswax on paper, then scratching out images, and finally adding oil paint for color. Everything is given an orange brown tone and that is because of the dust. These camps were located in the desert and it shows just how dirty everything was. They almost seem surreal, like this was never taking place, a dream-like style. There was no set single or double page spreads, but a combination. There were often boxes that gave three different images. They allowed for snapshots of what the boy was going through. For example, when he is up to bat during the championship game, there is a close up of the guard who is always watching them, one where he is looking at the guard, and then the shot of him preparing to swing at the ball. These allow for sequential viewing, and the reader gets an idea of what the boy is going through. The text and illustrations together provide a great insight to the struggles and triumphs of Japanese Americans during WWII, and after.

Teaching Ideas: This book is a great tool to use in the classroom when discussing the discrimination of other races or WWII. I think it is important to point out the history versus the facts of the story. Having the students go online and research the Japanese internment camps and have a class discussion about them. One of my favorite sites was created by students. It is important to incorporate history and give them as much information as possible, so that they can be educated and in turn work to never let something like this happen again. Japanese Americans

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Aleutian Sparrow Free Verse Poem

changes overnight, never the fault of those who suffered
exiles in a land where they were supposed to be free
desperate for home, freedom, and their lives
sick of living like an inferior, a criminal
trapped in a war not started by those who suffered
two years of torture, sickness, and unfairness
no life to return to
where am i?
who am i?
return to a home that is no longer there
no freedom
no justice
just war.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Where I'm From

I am from oven fresh cookies, from Pillsbury and Toll House.
I am from everywhere,
(moving west and north and east throughout my life.)
I am from the roses and marigolds of my great grandmother's garden, and the red clay that stains your feet in the hot, humid summer.

I am from Sunday dinners and tender hearts,
from Tucker and Smith and Griffith.
I am from the strong-willed and outspoken.
From Help your brother! and Remember who you are!
I am from He is the way, the truth, the life. Three hours every Sunday praising His name.

I'm from Winston Salem and Pleasant View,
mashed potatoes and collard greens.
From the time my mom thought she had a fish in her boot, to the time my dad flooded his neighbor’s living room, and the time my brother and I ran away from home.

I am from the small boxes of photos under my momma’s bed,
and all the many memories I’ve made from living in six states.

I am me, and I am a child of God.

*The picture above is me, my mother, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Author: Mo Willems
Illustrator: Mo Willems
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children, 2007
Genre: Picture Book
Age Level: K-2
2008 Caldecott Honor Book

Summary: This is the second book about Trixie and Knuffle Bunny. Trixie is excited to take her bunny for show and tell, but another young girl named Sonja has one, too. The two girls argue over whose is better, and the teacher takes them away. After school they get their bunnies back, and Trixie goes home. She does her nightly routine, but in the middle of the night she wakes up and realizes that this Knuffle Bunny is not hers. She immediately wakes up her Daddy, who hesitantly calls Sonja. They meet that night, or rather early morning, and exchange bunnies. The two girls are able to become best friends.

Response: Both stories about Trixie and Knuffle Bunny are hilarious. My favorite part about these books is the media used for the illustrations. The backgrounds are black and white photographs that Mo Willems has taken in his hometown of Brooklyn. He then adds hand drawn ink sketches, and colors them digitally. It makes for such a wonderful array of colors that pop off the black and white photos. The photos are placed on a blue background, which helps one to really notice the details of the black and white photos. My favorite black and white picture is the classroom. It has everything in place, even students pictures on the walls. The photographs and the sketches blend so well together, and it adds another dimension to the book. The pictures on the pages are not simply double page spreads that cover then entire page. There are several different photographs on pages, and some even flow off the page. My favorite is when Trixie and her Daddy are walking to school. They are in the blue background of the book, approaching the black and white photograph. It is such a creative media, and very simple. Children feel like they can recreate it. I love the emphasis placed on Trixie's eyes. They get huge every time something dramatic is about to take place. Also, at night, her white eyes glow against the dark backgrounds of the pictures. I love the picture of the meeting place for her and Sonja. It is actually a photograph of the city of Paris. Trixie's room has a drawing of the Pigeon from another series of books by Mo Willems. The most famous is probably Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. The text of the story is written in big black font that allows for an easy reading for beginning readers. The dialogue is written in colored bubbles. When Trixie talks, her bubble is colored pink, showing that she is a girly girl. The facial expressions in the book lead to great characterization of each character. This book has several literary elements that are shown very simplistic, and easy for young readers to pick up on.

Teaching Ideas: Mo Willems has an amazing and interactive website that the children can get on and find coloring pages and read about the books he makes. Mo Willems Website A great thing to do is have the children watch a behind the scenes video about Mo, so the can get a sense of who he is. All About Mo I think one thing I would definitely have my kids do is make their own books using photographs that I can take and bring into school. They then can make sketches and write their own story. This book gives great lessons about sharing and making friends. Maybe it would be fun to have a show and tell, especially with younger children. Make predictions based on what the inside cover shows (two Knuffle Bunnies). Talk about characterization because the facial expressions in this book give a lot of insight into what the characters are thinking and feeling. Kids will really be able to relate to this book, and it is great to compare this one to the first.

"HENRY'S FREEDOM BOX: A True Story from the Underground Railroad"

Title: HENRY'S FREEDOM BOX: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
Author: Ellen Levine
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2007
Genre: Picture Book, Historical Fiction, Multicultural
Age Level: 1-3
2008 Caldecott Honor Book

Summary: This book tells the true story of Henry "Box" Freedom. He is sold from his mother as a young slave because his master dies. He works in a factory for his new master and meets Nancy, who becomes his wife. One day, her and his children are sold to another plantation, and Henry is very sad. He decides that he wants to run away and escape to freedom. He comes up with an idea to mail himself in a box to Philadelphia. With the help of a white man who is against slavery, he does. He goes on a journey of 350 miles and has to endure uncomfortable positions and being moved around a lot. He finally makes it to Philadelphia where he is free. He is given the nickname Henry "Box" Freedom.

Response: I absolutely love Kadir Nelson's illustrations, and that is why I was so drawn into reading this book. It tells another great story of escaping slavery. I really love how the story tells historical facts about slavery, as well as puts in the personality of Henry. For example, the book tells at the beginning that Henry does not know how old he is because slaves are not allowed to have birthdays. Kadir Nelson shows the reality and humanity through his portrayal of characters. Henry grows up and goes through a lot of emotions, including great despair when he loses his family. The illustrations are done with pencil lines layered with watercolors and oils. There is a lot of crosshatching done in the pictures, which adds a dimension of texture. The great texture shows how rough the life of slavery can be. I thought it was important to also mention the fact that a lot of the characters are almost blurry, especially those in the background. There is a lot of focus given to Henry's face and the faces of other important characters. The nature backgrounds are also very vibrant and rich in color. When comparing these illustrations to the ones in Moses it is obvious that the atmospheres of the stories are different. Harriet Tubman's story was dark, secretive and very dangerous; therefore, all the pictures are very dark until she reaches freedom. There are a few that are dark in this book, when Henry is upset, but for the most part the story is not nearly as dangerous or dark. There is one page that is different from the rest, and that is when Henry is being moved around in the box. The background of the page is white, which allows for separation of the many scenes where the men are moving him around. It allows for the colors to pop off the page a little bit more. A similarity to the Harriet Tubman story is the different styles of font used for different speakers. For the most part a block-style font is used for the omniscient narrator; however, there are a few lines of text that are italicized showing Henry's thoughts. My favorite picture is the one that is an up-close picture of his face. It is comparable to the one of Harriet Tubman in her story. These are crucial moments in each book as the main character is faced with a great decision. Henry's picture comes right before his family is sold into slavery, as he is working, trying not to think about losing them. There is a light coming in from the window that contrasts with his dark complexion. It is also a sign that even though there are dark times in the near future, he will be able to find happiness when he escapes to freedom. The Author's note at the end of the story is also a great source of information. It talks about Henry's journey being 350 miles and last 27 hours. This fact was really astounding to me because I could not imagine being cramped up for so long. It is a great way to learn historical facts about slavery and the Underground Railroad.

Teaching Ideas: This is another great book to use when teaching children about slavery. It is much more simplistic that Moses, and can be used with children who may be a bit younger. It is more upbeat, as Henry is able to easily escape to freedom in his box. I think that it would be great to discuss with children what they might do to escape freedom. Would they try to run away like Harriet, or would they rather come up with something creative like a freedom box? The lesson about honesty is also in the book. Was Henry honest in sneaking away to freedom? How would they feel if they had lost their families? There is a great site for kids to explore more about the Underground Railroad. Underground Railroad

"The Invention of Hugo Cabret"

Title: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Author: Brian Selznick
Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc 2007
Genre: Mixture of novel, picture book
Age Range: 3-6
2008 Caldecott Medal Book

Summary: The story is told about a young orphan named Hugo. He lives in the train station keeping the clocks for his uncle, who disappeared. He must do so in secrecy. He has notebooks full of drawings of robots because his father had found an automaton, but had tragically died in a fire. Hugo gets the robot and begins putting the pieces together. Meanwhile, he is introduced to a toy shop keeper and his god daughter. Hugo is caught stealing from them and must repay the man by fixing broken toys. Hugo's secret is learned by the god daughter, after he steals the key around her neck to crank the finished robot. When it is completed, the robot draws a picture from the scene of a movie. Hugo goes to the home of the shop keeper with the god daughter and reveals that her god father is in fact a famous movie maker.

Response: This book was so intense from start to finish. There was this mysterious atmosphere that was radiating off the pages, and added upon by the fact that the illustrations were so textured in black and white. Immediately you feel very protective of Hugo, even if he is a thief because you know he is alone in the world. My heart goes out to him because he lost his father to a fire, all because of a robot. No wonder the boy was obsessed with drawing in the notebook and stashing the robot in his wall cave. As soon as the shop keeper saw the notebook, I knew he was much more involved in the story than it was saying. He was entirely preoccupied with Hugo's ability to put things together, just as he later does with the robot. At first, I was annoyed with the god daughter. She was meddling and trying to get Hugo in trouble, but they were able to connect with one another, having both lost their families. I loved that the illustrations were done in pencil because it was just like the sketches drawn by Hugo in his notebooks. It was great how the concept of the automaton is real, and that they were used by magicians in the early 1900's. Also, the movies that were used in the book and even Georges Méliès are actually documented and real. The book provides twists and turns, but allows for Hugo and Georges to find their place after years of being lost.

Teaching Ideas: Hugo Cabret is a great website that provides great links and details about the making of the book. The automaton and early movies are great inventions to talk to students about.

"Jubal's Wish"

Title: Jubal’s Wish
Author: Audrey Wood
Illustrator: Don Wood
Publisher: The Blue Sky Press, 2000
Genre: Picture book
Age Range: K-3

Summary: Jubal is a toad who wants to go on a picnic with his friend Gerdy Toad or Captain Dalber Lizard, but they are both unhappy and do not want to go. Jubal wants to help them, and a wizard gives him one wish. He wishes for them to be happy. He returns to check on his friends, and they are still unhappy. He starts to cry and the rain starts falling from the sky. There is a storm, and the Captain saves Jubal and Gerdy. They all decide to have an adventure on the boat, and Jubal’s wish comes true.

Response: Audrey and Don Wood do a great job of including life lessons into their exciting and adventurous picture books. Jubal is a representation of selflessness and how one person can help brighten the day of others. The names used in this book are so unique that children could never forget them after reading the book. It incorporates the use of animals, fantasy, adventure, and a great lesson about helping others. Jubal himself learns patience because after he makes his wish he must wait a while for it to come true. In fact, he has to help make his own wish come true by helping the others with their problems. The illustrations in this book are extremely bright and bold. They are double page spreads on each page. They coincide with the text of the book. The nature scenes are full of big flowers and each page provides you with a different background. I love the picture when Jubal begins to cry, and it starts to rain. The drops are almost as large as he is, and you can see the pain and sadness on his face as he questions whether wishes really do come true. This is the turning point in the book because after this Jubal works to save the day for his friends.

Teaching Ideas: Children can learn two great lessons from this book: patience and selflessness. Even if they never experience the opportunity to get a wish granted, they can still work and help others to have a better day. Have the kids brainstorm what they would wish for if they were given one wish. Talk about patience and how sometimes it is important to be proactive and work hard to achieve your goals.

"Merry Christmas, BIG HUNGRY BEAR"

Title: Merry Christmas, BIG HUNGRY BEAR
Author: Don and Audrey Wood
Illustrator: Don Wood
Publisher: The Blue Sky Press, 2002
Genre: Picture Book
Age Range: K-2

Summary: The little mouse has his Christmas tree and presents all set out. He is told to remember the Big Hungry Bear who has nothing for Christmas. At first, he is scared and locks up all his presents. He soon changes his mind, and takes all the gifts to Hungry Bear’s cave. When he looks up, he sees a big present from the Big Hungry Bear.

Response: This is a book that is best for the young and beginning readers. For me, I did not focus so much on the holiday aspect of the book, but more about the lesson that is taught in it. This book is about sharing, especially sharing with others who we do not know or who are different. This is a very important lesson for children to learn at a young age. I know it was hard for me to understand why everyone needed to share and this book is a great story that talks about sharing. If it is used, obviously Christmas is a good time to do it. The idea of giving at Christmas is a great lesson that can be taught. It is also important to remember to include other holidays, not just Christmas. I loved the big font used for the text. It made it very easy to read, as well as pulled it away from the bright large illustrations that are in the book. Color is everywhere in this book. You see all sorts of colors popping out from under the Christmas tree. The pictures are bright with all the lights that are used in the mouse's home. The story is told as if the narrator is having a conversation with the mouse. I think this will make it easier for younger children to get interested and understand what is going on. They think that they are the ones talking to the mouse. When first asked to give presents to the bear, the mouse locks his house and presents away. He puts up tacks around the floor, as if they are some sort of defense. The mouse's facial expressions are so dramatic. His eyes get so big when he is afraid, and his smile is huge when he is happy. This shows children that it is okay to be human and be afraid at first of things that are different. But what is great about the story is that the mouse is curious enough to go and give his presents to the bear anyway. He then gets a present from the bear. This is great for children to learn. The outdoor scenes are gorgeous. The stars and clear sky, along with the snow just show how freezing cold it is out side. There is the one bright light of the mouse's lantern which is a great representation of how one person can really make a difference. I love how the mouse learns a lesson, and children will really be able to relate to this. A mouse is little, just like they are, and that he can go and stand up to a big bear is really amazing to them.

Teaching Ideas: I think this is a great way to talk about sharing with others. It can also lead into how to overcome fears. A great activity created by the authors is a page where students get to draw what the mouse received from the bear. Hungry Bear Activities This allows for creative juices to flow, and the students who are more comfortable with art and drawing will have a chance to shine. Maybe have a day where everyone brings in something they can share with the class. It could be a story, a toy, or food, whatever they want.

"The Napping House"

Title: The Napping House
Author: Audrey Wood
Illustrator: Don Wood
Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1984
Genre: Picture Book
Age Range: K-2

Summary: The cumulative story gives a few sentences, and as it continues, it repeats everything said on the pages before it. A granny, a child, a dog, a cat, a mouse, and a flea are trying to sleep. Then, the flea bites the mouse, which wakes the cat, the dog, the child, and the granny. Now there is no one asleep in the house.

Response: This is perhaps the most well-known book written by Audrey and Don Wood. It won the Caldecott Medal in 1984. I think it is most appealing because it is a cumulative story and it continues to build. Beginning readers will love it because of its repetition and predictability. The text itself is very simplistic sentences that continue to build upon each other. The text matches the illustrations in the book, which are by far the most important part. The double page spreads are created using oil on pressed boards. The illustrations capture the sleepy and quiet atmosphere of the story. The old lady in the bed is hilarious because she is longer than her bed, and the bed itself is almost curved in shape. The pictures are all done in a blue color, showing that it is dark out and raining, perfect sleeping conditions. All the characters in the book are in every picture, but as the story progresses you see them all climbing into the bed. The mouse is on the mirror, the cat in its basket, the dog under a pillow, and the young boy in the chair. The perspective from which we see the pictures changes as the characters pile on top of the bed. The colors are very rich and bright. As the story reaches the turning point, you can see out the window that the rain is starting to let up. As the rest of the story progresses, the pictures get brighter and brighter. By the time everyone is awake, you can see the bright sun coming in through the window. The last page is opposite of the first, with bright colors, beautiful weather, and a house that is awake. The great illustrations really do tell the bulk of the story.

Teaching Ideas: This book is a great way to get students involved in writing. They could write cumulative stories themselves, along with drawing the pictures. Students will enjoy that because it is a very simple method of writing. For younger students, there are great activity pages on Audrey Wood's website. There is one worksheet that students complete to find shapes inside the house. Napping House

"Elbert's Bad Word"

Title: Elbert’s Bad Word
Author: Audrey Wood
Illustrator: Audrey and Don Wood
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers 1988
Genre: Picture Book
Age Range: K-3

Summary: Elbert is attending a party and he overhears a new word being used. He keeps the word with him until his toe is smashed, and he lets the word out. It is a bad word, and his mother makes him wash his mouth out, but the word remains with him. He visits a gardener, who is also a wizard and she bakes him a cake filled with other words. When his toe is again smashed, Elbert is able to use other words, and the bad word finally leaves.

Response: This is the first book I read for my Author Study. It is one of my favorite books that Audrey and Don Wood have done together. My favorite part of the story is the bad word and how it is given life. It looks like an evil dust ball almost, and as the story progresses it gets larger and larger until Elbert finally lets the word out. It stays with him until he meets with the wizard/Gardner. The bad word makes me think of when I was little and heard bad words. After hearing "bad words" they would stay in my head until I said them, which got me into trouble when I was younger. Children can really learn from this story. They learn how to deal with bad words, and that there are a lot of other words they can use instead of the bad ones. I loved how the wizard and Elbert baked a cake that was full of other words Elbert could use. The illustrations were drawn in pencil, then colored with water colors and colored pencils. The colors are almost faded in color; they are not bright or very rich. The pictures in the book are mostly double page spreads; however they do not take up the whole page. There is a lot of white space, which allows for the colored pictures to really pop. Also, you see the white background as clean with a lot of pictures of the dirty bad word. It is a great way to show contrast throughout the book. The pictures of the party show everyone dressed in black and Elbert is dressed in bright blue. This just shows how lively and real he is which is appealing to children. My favorite picture is at the end of the book when the mallet lands on Elbert's toe. His face is scrunched up and red with pain. His hair is flying, and his body is in an awkward position. There is an outline around his body that almost makes him glow. It is just a great emotion picture, and it creates a lot of intensity so readers will turn to the next page and see what he says. The text of the story is written pretty large and very basic. It corresponds directly with what the pictures show, and that makes it easier for children to read the book.

Teaching Ideas: This book is a good book to share with children if a situation arises in the classroom where bad words are being used, or heard. I would really use this with a Kindergarten or First Grade classroom because it is such a simplistic story. This can be a great way to talk about what vocabulary is, and even introduce vocabulary words in the classroom. You could even have students write their own story that is similar to Elbert. They could write about a time they learned a lesson, such as not telling lies. Another fun activity would be taking the kids to Audrey Wood's website. Audrey Wood Here students can join the clubhouse and explore the site for more great books.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

"MOSES: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom"

Title: MOSES: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children, 2006
Genre: Picture Book, Historical Fiction, Multicultural
Grade Level: 3-5
2006 Caldecott Honor Book
2006 Coretta Scott King Award Winner

Summary: This book tells the heroic journey of Harriet Tubman, a slave in the south. The story begins as Harriet prays to the Lord for help as she wants to escape to the free north. God speaks to Harriet, and protects her as she travels on the Underground Railroad to freedom. Once she is there, she feels the need to save her family and other slaves down south. She again turns to God, who helps her to learn the way of the Underground Railroad. She then makes several trips to the south and helps her people to escape, just as Moses helped the children of Israel.

Response: Reading this story, and looking at the absolutely gorgeous illustrations took my breath away. Each page contained kept me mesmerized, and I felt like I really got to see the relationship Harriet had with the Lord. The story alone is beautiful, told just like a free-verse poem. There are different fonts that are used in the three different perspectives of the book. The first is a normal font that is used by the omniscient narrator. The second is an italicized font that is used by Harriet. The words of God are written in large capital letters, usually in a different color. These words change, sometimes wrapping themselves around Harriet, or taking the shape of the wind, as she continues on her journey to freedom. The text alone is enough to keep a reader interested; however, the illustrations take this book to another level. Each page pulls a vivid scene from Harriet's journey. Many show her at night, and the colors are so dark that it is almost hard to make out what is going on. This adds to the intensity of the story, as Harriet is trying to escape from dogs and slave hunters, to find her freedom. She had to travel at night, and the pictures show how she did this. You feel as though this is what she looked like, and this how her journey went as you see the pictures. She is humanized and you can relate to the fear and uncertainty she feels traveling alone in the dark. The illustrations are double-page spreads, and the text fits on them perfectly. The pictures are a direct representation of the text. The medium used in the pictures is oil painting. The colors are bold, rich, and many of them are dark. Slavery is a grim issue, and the illustrations depict it accurately. My favorite picture is towards the end of the book. It is simply a picture of Harriet's face, but it is inspiring. You can see every line and crease in her face. The background is a beautiful bright blue, which reminds of the bright future she has in freedom, and the great work she is doing helping others to escape. It is one of the few pictures that does not have a dark background because she is finally free and able to come out during the day. Her face is that of sheer determination as the text reads, "I am ready, Lord. Lead me." You see Harriet, not as a runaway slave, but as a hero to her people. Her courage and determination is illustrated on every page. It really puts life into perspective, as you realize that this woman knew what it meant to sacrifice her life for others. I am so grateful for books like this because it allows me to feel more grateful for the life I have been blessed with. The story is inspirational and the illustrations are breathtaking, certainly the reasons why this book received its great honors.

Teaching Ideas: This book is a great way to introduce the topic of slavery. It incorporates one of the most famous slaves, Ms. Tubman, as well as the Underground Railroad. The text uses great gospel songs that were used to inspire those enslaved to seek freedom in the north. I remember reading a novel about Harriet Tubman, and that too can still be done. I think that students will learn a lot about slavery in this short, simple picture book, and it will lead to great discussion and learning.

"What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?"

Title: What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?
Author: Robin Page
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003
Genre: Picture Book, Informational
Grade Level: K-3

2003 Caldecott Honor Book

Summary: This book gives great information about how animals use their noses, ears, tails, eyes, mouths, and feet. For example, there is a page showing the noses of five different animals. You are supposed to try and guess what each animal is. The next page shows the whole animal and explains what each of them uses their nose for. This is done for each of five body parts listed above. At the end there are even more fun facts about all the animals that are talked about in the book.

Response: This book is a great tool when studying the animal kingdom. Not only is the information accurate, but the students also getting to see very detailed pictures of each animal. I like how the text is written short and simple, and the pictures are very large. I think that the pictures are what really attract children to this book. They are made from paper collages, and are so detailed and colorful. The pages that just show the body parts have huge pictures, and students will really like to investigate them and try to guess what each of them is. This structure of the book allows for a "page turn effect" where students will look at the body parts, guess, and turn the page to find the answers. The other pages, with the entire animal are great, too. Each animal is given a background to match what its natural habitat is. For example, the alligator is shown in the water, and the monkey is hanging from a branch. The illustrations allow for the text to be written in all different ways, which adds to the fun of reading. An example of this is the page that talks about the skunk. The words come out in four lines, as if the text is the stench that a skunk puts off. The pictures do not directly match the text that is written about the animals. The art makes great use of white space. Having white backgrounds on all the pages allows for a separation of the animals. It also makes the colors come alive off the pages. My favorite section of art is the page that talks about eyes. Studying this page, the animals' eyes look real, and they are so big. The illustrations in this book make me think of the art of Eric Carle. I grew up reading those books, and absolutely loved the pictures. The illustrations are much like his, but perhaps even more detailed and more realistic. This book brings great art, a fun reading, and information which are probably why it earned a Caldecott Honor. I know that I will certainly integrate this book into my classroom.

Teaching Ideas: This book is a great way to show students different animals. It can be used in a science unit. When I was learning about animals in second grade, we would read books similar to this. After reading this book to my class, I think I will do the same thing my teacher did. She split us into different groups and each group was responsible for certain animals. One group got amphibians, another got reptiles, etc. We had to make collages of animals, and present them to the class, along with some good information about each. This book would really help students to understand the similarities and differences of animals.