Saturday, January 31, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Ode to a Commode

Ode to a Commode concrete poems by Brian Cleary book coverOde to a Commode: Concrete Poems
by Brian P. Cleary
illustrated by Andy Rowland
Millbrook (Aug. 1, 2014)


Is that a bird? a plane? No, it's a poem! Concrete poems are shaped like their subjects. They can look like objects, animals, or even people. Brian P. Cleary explains how concrete poems work--and creates some wild wordplay.

Why You'll Love It:
  • Dude. It has a toilet on the cover. Can you say reluctant reader attraction?
  • The book not only models high-interest concrete poems, but also gives readers a how-to tutorial and a starter list of subjects at the beginning of the book.
  •  Teachers will find this book to be a well-received mentor text during poetry units.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 1-4.
Shape poetry of a snowman with tophat

What Else You Should Read:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett book cover Jon Klassen picture bookSam and Dave Dig a Hole
by Mac Barnett; illustrations by Jon Klassen
Candlewick (Oct. 14, 2014)
Picture Book


“We won’t stop digging until we find something spectacular,” Dave says to Sam. They dig their hole deeper—and even sideways—but they keep just missing what they’re looking for.

Why You'll Love It:
  •  There is a clever play between words and picture in which readers are in on a joke to which the characters are oblivious.
  • Klassen’s cross-section illustrations give readers a mole’s-eye view of the underground proceedings, extending the spare text with visual humor.
  • Barnett’s well-chosen words and plentiful white space support readers.
Who Should Read It:

Great for PreK-1st grade...and here's the book trailer:

What Else You Should Read:

Saturday, January 17, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Creature Features

Creature Features by Steve Jenkins book cover nonfiction scienceCreatures Features: Twenty Five Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do
by Steve Jenkins
Houghton Mifflin
Narrative Nonfiction


Text and illustrations examine unusual animal facial features and how they help the animals survive.

Why You'll Love It:
  •  The kids at my school LOVE Steve Jenkins. Seriously. I can't keep his books on the shelves. They love the collage illustrations and all the funky facts in each of Jenkins' books. 
  •  The Q & A-style interview with 25 unique animals offer up their personal insights and lend themselves to so many teachable moments as a mentor text.
  • The short text responses make this book a quick read aloud that keeps kiddos engaged.
Who Should Read It:

Great for K-grade 3...and here's a discussion & activity guide with Common Core alignment.

pufferfish illustration Steve Jenkins

What Else You Should Read:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Blizzard

Blizzard by John Rocco book coverBlizzard
by John Rocco
Disney-Hyperion (October 30, 2014)
Picture Book


Author John Rocco presents a story of New England's blizzard of 1978, based on his own childhood experience.

Why You'll Love It:
  •  Rocco's artwork is center stage here -- a double gatefold shows the extent of the detours John takes to gather grocery orders from his housebound neighbors and make his way to the store.
  • The white negative space around some of his images effectively portrays the vastness of the snowstorm in a minimalist way.
  • The kid is the hero! What a great message for our readers.
Who Should Read It:

Great for Grades K-2...and here's the book trailer.

What Else You Should Read:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Shh! We Have A Plan

Shh! We have a plan by Chris Haughton book coverShh! We Have a Plan!
by Chris Haughton
Candlewick (Sep. 9, 2014)
Picture Book


Four friends stalk a bird through the forest. The smallest one waves and says hello. “SHH! We have a plan!” say the other three. But will their plan actually work?

Why You'll Love It:
  • Chris Haughton limits the palette of his retro-looking illustrations to shades of blue, with the exception of the orange and magenta bird. Flitting from page to page, the bird is as eye-catching to the reader as it is to the friends chasing it.
  • Children will relate to the smallest of the four friends. While his larger peers want to capture the bird, he wants to befriend it. His approach eventually proves the right one, attracting multitudes of birds in a pay-off of explosive color.
  • A great choice for read alouds, with plenty of possibilities for funny voices and dramatic pauses.
Who Should Read It:

Perfect for PreK-grade 2...and here's the book trailer:

What Else You Should Read:
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