Wednesday, March 21, 2018

You Wouldn't Want to Work on the Great Wall of China! by Jacqueline Morley illustrated by David Antram*

Defenses You'd Rather Not Build
I read this aloud to my boys to support our study of Ancient China and the Qin Dynasty.
We learned a lot about this time period this book and were able to make connections with this book to our textbook and other books we are reading.
Very thorough and interesting! 
Perfect for reluctant readers and learners.
*Highly recommended.
-Borrowed from the library.

Poetrees by Douglas Florian*

I read aloud these poems to my boys each morning for a week or so.
The first poem is appropriately about a seed. The other poems celebrate unique trees and parts of trees.  A clever "glossatree" shares more information about the subject of each poem.  Another creative aspect to the book is how the reader holds it-vertical-like a tree!
We thoroughly enjoyed this book!
*Highly recommend.
-I own this book.

Image result for poetrees by douglas florian

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Story of Silk by Richard Sobol (traveling photographer)

From Worm Spit to Woven Scarves
Mr. Sobol traveled to Thailand to document the production of silk.
My boys and I enjoyed studying the photographs of the process and reading the captions.  We skimmed some of the main content to help us understand the entire production.
Very fascinating!  We read this book together to support our study of Ancient China.
-Borrowed from the library.

The War with Grandpa by Robert Kimmel Smith

I read this aloud to my boys because I read somewhere it was going to be made into a movie and in theaters this spring.  Apparently its production has been postponed.
Peter writes this narrative story for his teacher, sharing how he went to war with his grandfather when he came to live with them.  So the tone and sentence structure exhibits a fifth grader. 
Peter's parents give his room to grandfather and Peter now must stay in the guest room on the third floor.  He hates it there.   So he declares war on his grandfather to convince him to give back his room.
We all thought the book was funny, but we did not like how Peter treated his grandfather and thought about his grandfather some of the time.  It was apparent that he loved his grandfather but sometimes his behavior and thoughts were disrespectful.   We really did not like his friends and their negative influence.
This book provided a lot of opportunity for discussion which I enjoyed. 
Points to discuss/warnings: negative influence of friends; disrespect; swearing-no swear words are written(he is writing this for his teacher so he could not include them!). But, he inserted nonsense words to represent them.  One entire chapter is devoted to how his friends were swearing in reaction to his situation.  He also mentions in one chapter how he said "a couple of words he should not use".  Frequent use of "stupid" and "dumb".

Since a fifth grade boy is writing this, I would not read this book aloud to model superb writing.  The author, however, did an excellent job writing in a manner of a fifth grader!
This book is what I call a "hi-lo" book.  The reading level is low, but will appeal to older elementary students.  Perfect for older struggling readers.
Mentor text: voice

Monday, March 19, 2018

What Makes a Monster? by Jess Keating illustrated by David DeGrand*

The World of Weird Animals
Discovering the World's Scariest Creatures
My eight year old does not normally choose to read nonfiction, but he choose to read this book to himself and really enjoyed it!
Seventeen creatures (including humans) are featured in this book. On the left hand side of the two page spread is a statement of warning and a photo of the creature.  Then on the right hand side is a short paragraph about it and also a statistics fact column.
The layout is reader friendly and appealing.
*Highly recommend.
-Borrowed from the library.

Image result for what makes a monster by jess keating

Mulan by Li Jian*

A Story in English and Chinese
The narrative poem, Mulan, is shared via beautiful paintings and simple text for younger readers.
Mulan was as skilled at martial arts, riding horses and shooting arrows as any boy so when her elderly father is drafted into the army, she disguises herself as a man and serves in his place.
The story relates her service (not in detail) and her joyous homecoming.
My eight year old and I read this aloud together to support our study of Ancient China.
*Highly recommend.
-Borrowed from the library.
This author has painted and written more Chinese tales but unfortunately our library system only has 2 more of his works. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Little Pear by Eleanor Frances Lattimore

In the early 1900's Little Pear explores his China village and beyond.  Although he is mischievous and finds trouble often, he is an endearing character to whom many children will relate.  Lovely little illustrations are scattered throughout the book.
I read this book in one sitting and promptly gave it to my eight year old to read.  He is enjoying it tremendously!
-Borrowed from the library.