Monday, February 28, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Animal Eyes

Animal Eyes
written by Beth Fielding
(Early Light Books) 2011
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Check out Nonfiction Monday at Rasco from RIF

Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. - Henry David Thoreau

Animal Eyes is an inviting exploration of the eyes of the animal kingdom. Author Beth Fielding starts the book by talking about human eyes. Did you realize that birds and insects do not have the gift of peripheral vision like humans have? Birds have to move their heads to see side to side while insects have to move their whole bodies. Throughout the book, we gain insight into the unique qualities of the eyes of different animals. A colossal squid has an eye bigger than a Frisbee. A frog's eyes move down into its skull and push food down to its stomach. Birds see more colors than humans and those colors are brighter. This book is full of weird and wonderful facts like these. The spectacular photographs will provoke students to ask questions and seek to do further research. Another particularly cool feature of Animal Eyes are the Test It Out experiments which prompt readers to try different tasks related to their eyes. There is also a fun quiz in the back where readers view unlabeled photographs of animal eyes and try to guess to which animal the eyes belong. Animal Eyes is the latest in a series of excellent animal books from Early Light Books that feature different body parts. Other books are Animal Tongues, Animal Tails, and Animal Ears.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

EleMath: Math Wiki

EleMath is a wiki devoted to providing math resources to elementary school teachers. Check out the sidebar where you will find plenty of information to help inform your teaching of math. There are links to sites that feature virtual manipulatives that would be helpful if you have a computer station in your class or a SmartBoard for whole class demonstration. If you work in one of the 48 states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards, you should click on this link for resources to help you prepare for this transition.
Thanks to Drew Polly of UNCC for creating this wiki and for the work he is doing to help math teachers in North Carolina.

If you like the image above, check out the Math Images Project at the Math Forum. This particular image is a hyperbolic tiling created by Jos Leys at Mathematical Imagery.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Little Wolf's Song

Little Wolf's Song
written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
(Boxer Books) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library

Little Wolf cannot find his howl. All he can produce is a squeak. His brothers and sisters howl in sweet harmony with his parents, but Little Wolf is unable to join. The siblings are not kind by teasing him with the name of "Squeaky". Mom and Dad reassure him by saying that his howl will come in time. One day while chasing snowflakes, Little Wolf wanders away until he becomes lost. Darkness approaches and a beautiful full moon rises in the sky. This inspires Little Wolf to do something he has never done before.

Little Wolf's Song runs in the same vein as books like the classic Leo the Late Bloomer where the main character takes longer than expected to accomplish something. These books are such a help in early grades where students are trying so many new things and some students develop faster than others. I also appreciate the encouragement provided by Little Wolf's parents. This book would be a good mentor text for teaching problem/solution and beginning/middle/end. As an "after reading" activity, you could have a discussion with students about things they have struggled with (riding a bike, tying shoes) and how they finally succeeded.

Other reviews of Little Wolf's Song:
Publisher's Weekly

Below is a link to an article from HowStuffWorks titled "Do Wolves Really Howl At the Moon?" Video is included with the article:

Conger, Cristen.  "Do wolves really howl at the moon?"  28 July 2008.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://animals.howstuffworks.com/mammals/wolves-howling-at-moon.htm>  24 February 2011.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wild Baby Animals: Arctic Fox Pups

Wild Baby Animals: Arctic Fox Pups
written by Ruth Owen
(Bearport Publishing) 2011
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

 If you are teaching nonfiction text features to primary students, Arctic Fox Pups would be a superb choice for helping to introduce glossaries, indexes, inserts, labels, and maps. The subject, arctic foxes, is an engaging one since most students will not have a lot of background knowledge with this animal. Eye-catching photographs show the fox maturing into their adult stage. Students will learn how having white fur and fur on the bottom of their feet helps this fox survive in its Arctic surroundings. There are also short articles about the arctic fox's habitat, feeding habits, and other aspects of their life as pups. I really like the size (6" x 7") of this book as well. It fits nicely into the hands of a late kindergarten-early first grade student who would be ready to read it independently or with a little scaffolding. I think an older reluctant reader who is beginning to learn about researching might be able to use this book as well. If you want your student to learn research skills, you don't want the content of the book to become a stumbling block. Arctic Fox Pups would also be a good vehicle for introducing graphic organizers such as a Venn diagram or a circle map. This book is one of a series of books on wild baby animals. Other baby animals in the series include polar bears, squirrels, beavers, skunks, lions, raccoons, and tigers.

For a look inside this book, click on this link.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two New Anna Hibiscus Books

Good Luck Anna Hibiscus!; Have Fun Anna Hibiscus!
written by Atinuke; illustrated by Lauren Tobias
(Kane Miller) 2011; Publication on March 1, 2011
Source: Review copies provided by the publisher

Anna Hibiscus is back in two new books (at least new to the U.S.) and the stories are just as charming as in the first two books. In Good Luck Anna Hibiscus!, Anna and her large extended family are preparing to send her on a visit to Granny Canada so Anna can visit her mother's homeland. Cold and wintry Canada is very different from tropical Africa, so Anna's family has a lot to do to get her ready. Each of the four sequential stories in the book contain lessons learned through the lens of a loving African family. In Have Fun Anna Hibiscus!, Anna goes to Canada to visit her grandmother and learns new life lessons in a different culture. Spending time with Granny Canada and her dog Qimmiq gives Anna an expanded perspective on life and a new appreciation for both Canada and Africa.

The Anna Hibiscus series of short chapter books have been some of the most satisfying books that I have read recently. Rich characters and settings abound in these stories. Anna is a winning protagonist who is not perfect, but always seeking to do good. Her family, in Africa and Canada, are loving, warm people who are funny and opinionated. You will want to read both of these books so you can compare the two cultures and observe the changes in Anna's thinking. The conflict between the old and the modern will make for interesting discussion with your students. These books would also be great mentor texts for how setting affects the plot of a story.

Other reviews of Anna Hibiscus:
Great Kid Books

Monday, February 21, 2011

What's For Dinner? - Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World

What's for Dinner?: Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World
written by Katherine B. Hauth; illustrated by David Clark
(Charlesbridge) 2011
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Check out Nonfiction Monday at Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian

         Blink of an Eye
         Butterfly flits by
hungry mouth of leaping trout
  quick raccoon hooks lunch

Combine information about animal eating habits with delightfully droll illustrations and set it to different forms of poetry and you get What's for Dinner?. This book is not for the faint of heart, which makes it perfect for older elementary and middle school students. With titles like Four Ways to Catch a Seal and Road Toad Restaurant, you have an unvarnished look at the animal world through a humorous point of view.

If your students are researching food webs, put this book in their hands or share some of the poems during a read aloud. There are several different kinds of poetry featured in the book, like the haiku above, and author Katherine B. Hauth has included superb back matter that explains the relationships emphasized in each of the 29 poems. High level vocabulary, with terms like symbiosis, mutualism, and commensalism, are also highlighted and clarified. What's for Dinner? will be a valuable cross-curricular addition to your classroom library.

Other reviews of What's for Dinner?:
Writing With a Broken Tusk
NY Journal of Books

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Choice Literacy: Teaching Themes With Keywords

I subscribe to The Big Fresh Newsletter, which is produced by Choice Literacy. It is sent out weekly and full of helpful articles by some of our leading practitioners in literacy. If you want to improve your craft in teaching reading, I highly recommend you subscribe. I particularly wanted to highlight an article in this week's newsletter. It's called Teaching Themes With Keywords and was written by Aimee Buckner. This is a terrific article (and a quick read!) that you can begin using on Monday.

A big thanks to Brenda Power, who is the editor of Choice Literacy. She mentioned the Kidlitosphere in this week's newsletter.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Socksquatch

Socksquatch
written and illustrated by Frank W. Dormer
(Henry Holt and Co.) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library

Socksquatch the monster has cold feet. Literally. He is missing a sock and it is upsetting him. So he visits his friends in search of a sock. Wayne the Werewolf is not much help. He has fur and no need for socks. Square headed Frank produces a sock, but it is much too big and causes our frustrated hero to fall and wail quite loudly. This catches the attention of Martin the Mummy, who doesn't need socks, but does have the solution right in his hands.

We read Socksquatch in class this morning and my students laughed with delight. They enjoyed hearing about how the monsters stretched out their words (S-O-O-O-C-K) just like we have been working on in reader's and writer's workshop. The shortened syntax (Got Sock?) of the dialogue is very monster-like. The longest sentence in the book is three words. My class also liked generating predictions as to how Socksquatch's problem would be solved. Socksquatch is a clever and fun short read that your class will appreciate.

Other reviews of Socksquatch:
CYNSATIONS
Madigan Reads
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Where is Tippy Toes?

Where is Tippy Toes?
written and illustrated by Betsy Lewin
(Atheneum Books for Younger Readers) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library

 Tippy Toes the cat has a full day. The mouse needs to be annoyed, followed by an escape from the squirting of the garden hose. A nap in an open dresser drawer gives our frolicking feline the energy to tippy toe in a blueberry pie. Why he would do this is a mystery, but the greater riddle is what happens at night. Where does Tippy Toes go and what does he do? Only one person knows and they're not telling. 

Where is Tippy Toes? is a pleasant picture book with colorfully sweet illustrations and cut pages that reveal the answers to several mysteries. I think it would make a nice companion to Where is Catkin?. You could draw a Venn diagram and compare both books. This book, with its rhymes, would also work well for a shared reading experience. Another possible extension activity would be to have students explain, from Tippy Toes's point of view, why he tiptoed through the blueberry pie. You could cut a large circle from blue bulletin board paper (in the shape of a blueberry pie) and have a shared writing activity or have students write independently.

Other reviews of Where is Tippy Toes?:
Kids Lit

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

13 Words

13 Words
written by Lemony Snicket; illustrated by Maira Kalman
(HarperCollins Publishers) 2010
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

 A despondent bird eats cake with her friend, the dog. While the bird is busy, the dog goes to town in a convertible driven by a well dressed goat. To help cheer up his avian friend, the dog goes to buy a hat at a haberdashery with a scarlet door. Did I mention the store was run by a baby? The baby remarks that the hats purchased by the dog have panache and his bird friend indeed likes her hat. To put a neat bow on the afternoon, a mezzo-soprano stops by and there is more cake and singing.

13 Words is an odd book with lots of cake and hats and that is a big part of the charm. Sometimes you crave something different and this picture book fits the bill. As Dawn Little points out in her review, it's also a smart book in that vocabulary both common (bird, dog, busy) and uncommon (convertible, despondent, haberdashery, mezz-soprano) are intertwined with context clues to help the reader acquire new vocabulary. My twist on using this book in the classroom would be for students to rewrite this story using their own 13 words or create categories for students to choose from for the 13 words. For example, you could have categories for dessert, transportation, clothing, people, birds, adjectives,etc. You might write about a morose armadillo eating key lime pie or a downcast chickadee munching on petit fours. In the same vein, you could use 13 Words as an introduction to using a thesaurus and/or learning about synonyms.

Need a giggle? Click on the link below and enjoy the funny book trailer voiced by Mr. Snicket.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Will.i.am and kindergarten

After morning work, our class gathers together on the carpet for circle time. It is helpful to have a song play that signals students to put away their morning work and come to the carpet. Our student teacher found this song from Sesame Street that features Black Eyed Peas front-man Will.i.am. The clip is embedded below. Our students love singing What I Am every morning. I will warn you that it is extremely infectious.





Monday, February 14, 2011

Nonfiction Monday - Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas

Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas
written by Jeanette Larson and Adrienne Yorinks; illustrated by Adrienne Yorinks
(Charlesbridge) 2011
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Check out Nonfiction Monday at Wrapped in Foil

Like the authors, I am fascinated by the tiny iridescent warrior known as the hummingbird. I remember one sundown at a lake in South Carolina spent watching a hummingbird defend its territory of a bush and a feeder. You could hear the wings buzzing and see the darting missile going in and out of the bush. I also remember my own feeder and being buzzed by the king of that castle. Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas is a unique tribute to these beloved birds. Each section consists of a facts section accompanied by a piece of folklore from a native culture in the Americas. For example, there is an article about hummingbird predators where the authors tell about how animals such as hawks, roadrunners, snakes, freshwater bass (yikes!), and even dragonflies are a threat to these birds. Following this is an Aztec legend that explains how Aztec warriors were transformed into hummingbirds when they died on the battlefield. In addition, Adrienne Yorinks's quilt illustrations are stunning. You enjoy the brilliant colors, but the textures pull you in for repeated viewings as well.

I love books like this that can be used in so many ways. For language arts, you can teach pourquoi tales which are folklore explanations of how something came into being. If you have students create animal research reports, there are plenty of facts in this text for students to learn. The excellent back matter is a great source for teaching how to use text features such as glossaries, indexes, and resource lists. I suspect that when I look back on 2011, Hummingbirds will stand as one of my favorite nonfiction books of the year.

Author interviews:
I Read Banned Books

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Mini Page Archive

The Mini Page is a "four-page weekly newspaper feature directed to kids but of interest to readers of all ages." Creator and Editor Betty Debnam has donated her complete archive from 1969 to 2007 and financial support to allow the University of North Carolina Library to create an online archive.

This is an excellent resource for teaching nonfiction. I will be setting up a link on the right for future use.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Exploring the Civil Rights Movement at Teach With Picture Books

Keith at Teach With Picture Books has a great post on exploring the Civil Rights Movement with Picture Books. He highlights excellent books and provides several resources for teaching this subject. Click on the link and check it out.

Clemente!

Clemente!
written by Willie Perdomo; illustrated by Bryan Collier
(Henry Holt) 2010
Source: Orange County Public Library

I was just starting to become a baseball fan when Roberto Clemente died in a tragic airplane crash on New Year's Eve of 1972. I remember that adult fans spoke of him with reverence and awe and it is in that same spirit that Willie Perdomo writes this picture book biography. Clemente could do it all. He hit for power (240 home runs), average (.317 and 3,000 hits), and had a howitzer for an arm. He was a man of courage on and off the field. Clemente became a major league player at a time when not everyone was ready for diversity in the lineup. Perdomo writes a lovely yet bittersweet phrase when he talks about not forgetting Clemente's "last sacrifice fly." Roberto was on a plane with supplies for earthquake victims in Nicaragua when it crashed into the ocean. A life that ended too soon will continue to be remembered with texts like Clemente!

The rhythm of this text is amazing. Perdomo plays with language like a masterful pitcher plays hitters with a curveball. You don't know when the ball will drop with a curve and you don't know when this text will drop into rhyme. The author follows a list of statistics with these lines "... and a statue in the Hall of Fame- Roberto Clemente was born to play the game." If you are working on biographies, find a sports minded kid and put this book in their hands. In a time where baseball is recovering from the steroid era, read about a real hero from its past.

Other reviews of Clemente!:
HappyNappyBookseller
Kiss the Book

Go to You Tube and type Roberto Clemente in the search engine to find video of one of the baseball greats.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pelly and Mr. Harrison Visit the Moon

Pelly and Mr. Harrison Visit the Moon
written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward
(Kane Miller) 2011    Publication date: March 1, 2011
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Right before bedtime as she is brushing her teeth, Pelly sees something different in her bathroom. A rocket engine is connected to the end of the clawfoot bathtub. When Pelly steps into the tub, a steering wheel and two helmets crop up. Pelly asks her dog, Mr. Harrison (what a cool name for a dog!), where he would like to go. The dog doesn't hesitate and begins barking at the moon. As they explore the moon, a little alien greets them and takes our two space explorers to her house. The mom alien is making tasty moon pies and shares with the earthly visitors. Later, Pelly and Mr. Harrison's new friend shows them some of the best parts of living on the moon. Gravity leaping, star catching, and making s'moons by roasting marshmallows near the sun. Shortly afterwords, Pelly and Mr. Harrison head back to Earth and dream about their adventure. Meanwhile, the little alien notices "something peculiar" about her bathtub.

When I first started reading Pelly and Mr. Harrison to my kindergarten class, they immediately wanted to talk about how this was a work of fiction. This led to a discussion of the aspects of the book that made it fiction and what things were real. They also enjoyed making connections with the different activities, like making s'mores, of Pelly and the alien. Since this book has an open ending, it could be a jumping off point for a fun writing assignment. My prompt would be, "What will Pelly do with the alien when she travels to Earth?". The illustrations are pencil drawings with typed labels and a graph paper background which really appealed to my students. Pelly and Mr. Harrison Visit the Moon is a fun trip into space.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred

The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
written by Samantha R. Vamos; illustrated by Rafael Lopez
(Charlesbridge) 2011
Source: A review copy was provided by the publisher

The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred is a jubilant tale written like the classic nursery rhyme "The House That Jack Built." Each page builds upon the last which makes this great read aloud material for younger readers. In the story, a community works together to make arroz con leche (rice pudding) and the process starts with the campesina (farm maiden) finding a cazuela (pot). Next the cabra (goat) churns the mantequilla (butter) to make the crema (cream) and soon other animals and people are joining in to help make the dish that will be shared in a merry celebration.

It is appropriate that there is a recipe for arroz con leche in the back matter since so many ingredients come together to create this spirited bilingual story. Rafael Lopez's vivacious illustrations full of brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges could be considered the spice in this treat. Children will want to look at them again and again. Another wonderful component of this dish are the words in Spanish. Each ingredient is introduced in English and then the Spanish word appears in the next round of the story. There is also a glossary in the back of the book. In our school, the Spanish teacher comes to our classes for a weekly lesson and I recognized several of the words mentioned in the book. Since children enjoy playing with words, you have a virtual language toy chest in front of you. The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred would be an excellent shared reading experience in kindergarten and first grade. I would also introduce it to your Spanish teacher who would greatly appreciate this resource. Rice pudding is a favorite dessert of mine, so I can't wait to try the recipe in the back matter.

Author Samantha R. Vamos is giving away an autographed copy of this book, so check out her website linked above. Click below to see the book trailer.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

What Does the President Look Like?

What Does the President Look Like?
written by Jane Hampton Cook; illustrated by Adam Ziskie
(Kane Miller) 2011
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher; Publication date: February 21st

Check out Nonfiction Monday at Wild About Nature

 What Does the President Look Like? is a fascinating look at the history of visual media in the United States. Each segment of the book focuses on a president and a prominent piece of visual media of that time period. For example, George Washington and paintings are paired together in the beginning of the book. There is time line information about Gilbert Stuart's portrait of President Washington and brief narratives as well. Other visual media featured include political cartoons, campaign posters, photographs, stereographs, silent and talking movies, television, web pages, and digital cameras. Each piece of media is presented through the lens of how it was used by the presidents. Author Jane Hampton Cook, who served in the White House, also explains how several of these formats work.

You could have rich discussions after reading aloud this book. With the beginning of the 2012 presidential campaign not that far away, this would be an excellent resource to help explain specifically to children why visual media is an important factor in how our leaders are elected and generally how this medium affects our lives. This could lead to discussions and research on the role of advertising in society. I would also like to use this book to prompt students to tackle the question of whether looks really do matter in our culture. History can be an interesting subject when you have terrific books such as What Does the President Look Like?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Trucker

The Trucker
written and illustrated by Barbara Samuels
(Farrar Straus Giroux) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library

Since he was a toddler, Leo has loved trucks. He drives convoys on his mother's legs while she tries to read the newspaper. An attachment to a purple truck pours ketchup and maple syrup (though not at the same time). After reading his truck book for the umpteenth time, Mama decides it's time for a walk. As they walk through the neighborhood, Mama notices flowers and balloons while Leo only has an eye for anything truck related. They stop at a pet store located next to a toy store with a fire truck in the window. When Mama has a surprise for Leo the next day, he is certain that the fire truck is in the bag. What he finds is a big orange cat. Leo is mystified as to what he is going to do with a cat in his trucker world. As it happens, the cat provides the biggest surprise of all.

Young children can obsess about trucks, cars, princesses, dinosaurs, superheroes, etc. My oldest daughter went through an alligator/crocodile phase where we had several stuffed crocs and books about them. Leo is no different, which makes The Trucker a good book for making connections. I also like how it is a book about a kid using his imagination. This should be encouraged in young children whenever possible. Another engaging aspect of this book are the details in the illustrations. There are hidden touches that make you smile.
The Trucker is a pleasant read aloud that will generate plenty of conversations among students about toys and pets.

Other reviews of The Trucker:
Warren County Public Library Kid's Book Blog
Kids Lit

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Call for a New Alphabet

A Call for a New Alphabet
written and illustrated by Jef Czekaj
(Charlesbridge) 2011
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

The letter X is vexed by a perceived lack of respect. He is tired of being at the rear of the alphabet line and always being pictured with an x ray and a xylophone. X takes to a soapbox and proposes a new alphabet. He provokes the letter community by asking Q if she is weary of being paired with U. An appeal is made to I and E to rethink their relationship with C. Chaos abounds until wise E reads from the Alphabet Constitution, which calls for a vote to determine if a new alphabet is needed. The night before the momentous election, X has difficulty sleeping but eventually drifts off to sleep where he finds in his dreams that perhaps it isn't so bad to be an X.

The English language can be a tricky proposition for anyone trying to read, speak, or write it. With A Call for a New Alphabet, author Jef Czekaj has put a humorous twist on some of the nuances of this language. If Mad magazine was asked to explain grammar and spelling to elementary students, this book would be what they produced. Letter X even has an Alfred E. Neumanesque grin on the cover of the book. It is also a lesson on appreciating what you have. X, after discussions with several of his fellow letters, realizes that his lot in life is not so bad.

This is a great book to use in starting a word study unit at the beginning of the year. It would be a fun way to explain to students why you spend time learning about how language works. 

Check out the hip book trailer by clicking below.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Seasons

Seasons
written and illustrated by Anne Crausaz
(Kane Miller) 2011 - March 1st publication
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Seasons is a vibrant French import that features a rosy-cheeked little girl guiding the reader through different attributes of the four seasons. For example, in summer, "new smells are growing in the vegetable garden: tomato and basil, verbena and mint." Author and illustrator Anne Crausaz uses digital pictures to help set the mood for each season. The artwork and text easily take you back to earlier years and places where you have experienced particular sensations connected to a season. When I see the young girl in a blackberry patch, I think back to picking blackberries as a child and the joy of eating blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. The springtime illustrations make me think of beautiful flowering trees like the dogwood. In class today I read to my students about Leo Lionni's Frederick who gathers the colors and the words of the seasons to help his mouse family make it through the harsh winter. Seasons is my Frederick at the moment, giving me wonderful memories of each of the four seasons. 

If you teach a unit on change, this book would be a superb addition to your collection. We're currently talking to our students about using "sparkle" words to create better visuals in our writing. Seasons would be a helpful resource in your teaching if you are trying to do this. Instruction to young children about similes could also be boosted by an examination of this text and illustrations.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond

One Smart Cookie
written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer
(Harper Collins) 2010
Source: Orange County Public Library

One Smart Cookie is a series of life lessons with a cookie theme. Each lesson starts with a single word, in bold print, followed by an example/definition. Several of the words are opposites. For example, arrogant and humble appear on opposing pages: Arrogant means, "Why is she acting like her cookies are so much better than everyone else's?" Humble means she doesn't go around talking about how great her cookies are; she just quietly does her thing. These morsels of advice are accompanied by adorable illustrations of children and animals making cookies. My favorite illustration shows a cat downing a bottle of milk and a dog eating the chocolate chips.

One Smart Cookie is a book I plan on using in my classroom at the beginning of next year. When you are trying to build a community and a culture in August/September, resources like this are invaluable. This book is also a great way to teach young children big words with big meanings. In an interview on YouTube (click below to view), author Amy Krouse Rosenthal talks about how she believes very young children are quite capable of learning large words. I couldn't agree more. I see a bulletin board in my future titled "Very Smart Cookies." This sweet treat of a book is a definite keeper.