Monthly Archives: January 2012


In “My Daddy and MeNewbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli creates a heartwarming portrayal of a father-son relationship. By using dogs to personify the human characters, Spinelli tells a story that transcends all barriers, even species!

“I cant wait for my daddy to come home from work. There are so many things to do!”

The flappy-eared pup waits in anticipation for his daddy to come home from work.

Whether its cookie time, playing magic, or planting tomatoes in the garden it is clear that spending time together is their favorite time of the day.

Even when Daddy is too tired from work he is never too tired to sing pup a lullaby before bed.

The illustrations by Seymour Chwast are simple, almost childlike, yet captivating. The bright colors and varying patterns keep kids engaged and artfully depict the actions described by the text.

One aspect of this book that teachers and parents will enjoy is the simple language and storyline that many kids will be able to read aloud themselves. The story is told from the first person point of view of the little pup, and therefore encourages the reader to relate to the characters.

This book is sure to please with its simple tribute to dads everywhere.

Happy reading!

Monica & Hilary

–This blog post is dedicated to our dads! 

My Daddy and Me

Gracie Graves and the Kids from Room 402


By Betty and Michael Paraskevas

“Anna May Johnson sat in the back.

                                                  She didn’t need a reason to give a kid a whack.

                   She never did her homework. She never raised her hand.

                    Anna May Johnson played the tuba in the band.”


Did you attend KindergartenHave you ever had a teacher who puts up with mischief and trouble on a daily basis? I think we all have!!!

The Paraskevas mother-and-son team provides us with witty rhyming couplets and humorous illustrations about each of the children in Gracie’s classroom. Children are sure to relate to and fall in love with the students in the classroom: the naughty ones, the nerdy ones, the pretty ones, and the athletic ones. 

The children’s book was so popular that it became a television show around 10 years ago and still airs today… in multiple countries and languages! You can have a look at the show’s catchy theme song below:

Check out this write-up from Amazon!

Gracie Graves remembers the name of every kid she’s taught in thirty years. And she’s certainly not likely to forget the fourteen boys and fourteen girls who inhabit her classroom now. How could she, with kids like Joey Tuna, who ate sixteen Twinkies at the Halloween party, with disastrous results? Or Tillie Ferillo, who stuffed a pussy willow up her nose? Or Freddie Fay, who emptied the school with a noxious brew he mixed up for show-and-tell?

Michael Paraskevas’s lively portraits are the perfect complement to Betty Paraskevas’s delightfully silly poems in this hilarious slice of school life from the celebrated mother-and-son team that created Junior Kroll and The Ferocious Beast.”

Still not convinced?! Listen to what my 7 year-old sister has to say about Gracie Graves and the Kids from Room 402:

“This book is my favorite because it makes me laugh a lot. I like how all of the poems about the kids rhyme and the book also has very funny drawings.”

The book is sure to entertain young children and their parents alike, and children will almost definitely choose a favorite character and memorize many of the poems!

Happy Reading!


Officer Buckle and Gloria: By Peggy Rathmann


Safety Tip #1: Keep your shoelaces tied.

Safety Tip #77: NEVER stand on a swivel chair.

Safety Tip #101: Always stick with your buddy!

Do any of these sound familiar? Well, if they do Officer Buckle has probably come to your school!

Office Buckle is know for his boring safety demonstrations that he performs at all the schools in the town of Napville. He, however, gets a new partner in crime that quickly becomes a new friend. Gloria soon becomes the star of Officer Buckle’s safety demonstration and adds excitement to his tiresome list of rules.

Does Gloria outshine her human counterpart?  

Find out what teamwork is all about in this Caldecott winner! 

Happy Reading- Laney and Kiara

Green Eggs and Ham


Green Eggs and Ham

By Dr. Seuss

Come and read this classic rhyme,
You’re sure to have a splendid time!

Sam-I-Am just wanted to share,
A little snack with his friend right there →

But his friend was stubborn you see,
And kept exclaiming, “let me be!”

He would not try the Green Eggs and Ham,
That did not stop persistent SamIAm.

His friend would not eat them here nor there,
He would not eat them anywhere.

SamIAm asked with all his might,
until his friend finally took a bite.

To find out what he has to say,
Go grab this book! Hip hip hurray!


This story is perfect for beginning readers. They will fall in love as Dr. Seuss transports them into his world of rhymes. With the Who’s, children will enjoy the sing-song style and classic illustrations of Green Eggs and Ham!

-Laurie & Erin

Me, Frida


Me, Frida by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner David Diaz is a beautiful piece of children’s literature describing the life of a young Frida Kahlo.  The biographical story is accompanied by exquisite illustrations that bring the story to life.

Novesky tells the story of Kahlo and her artist husband Diego Rivera’s journey from Mexico to San Francisco.  Initially, Kahlo feels lost and alone in a strange big city.  Eventually, though, she recognizes the beauty of her new home and finds the strength to emerge from her husband’s shadow and become a distinguished artist in her own right.

The paintings in the story were done in acrylic, charcoal and varnish on primed linen, giving them a unique textured appearance.


One aspect of the story that teachers will enjoy is the incorporation of Spanish words within the text.  Students will be able to learn about various parts of Mexican culture through the references in the story.

“’Quiet, querida,’ cooed Diego.  He loved his beloved’s singing, but there was work to be done.”



We loved reading this story and elementary students and teachers will too!!!

Dan and Emily

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  by Bill Martin, Jr. is a classic picture book and story-time favorite. It is packed with vibranillustrations made from tissue-paper collages by Eric Carle. Eric Carle is a distinguished illustrator, infamous for painting tissue paper with acrylic paint to construct collages. You’ll have to read the book to see more of his fabulous illustrations!

For more information about how he creates his pictures, view a tutorial:

Each animal sees and introduces the next animal in the book, whether it is

the redbird, the purple cat, or the yellow duck.

The steady tempo, repeating pattern, and rhyming of

 “me” and “see”, inspires children to sing along:

Purple cat, purple cat, What do you see?”

“I see a white dog looking at me.”

Near the end, Martin veers away from the pattern.

Rather than meet more animals, there are children!

This addresses an audience of children, personally prompting them to recall each animal in the story, one after the next.

 (This makes it a FANTASTIC read-aloud book!)

“Children, children, What do you see?”

It is wonderful for children who are learning how to read because they will be exposed to phrases used consistently throughout the book, and they will start to recognize them page after page. It will even help children identify animals and COLORS!

Click here for a reading by Bill Martin, Jr.:

enjoy! 🙂


A Ball for Daisy


At 7:45 this morning, the 2012 Randolph Caldecott Medal was awarded to none other than (drumroll  please)…Chris Raschka for A Ball for Daisy.  The award is given to the artist of an exceptionally illustrated children’s book each year, and this one takes the cake for 2012!  This wordless picture book beautifully tells a story about Daisy the dog who loses her favorite ball to a much BIGGER dog.  It’s a story of the loss of something special but in the end gaining something NEW and uNeXpEcTeD.

Raschka is already well known among children’s literature enthusiasts.  In 1993, Raschka’s book Yo! Yes? was a Caldecott honor book and in 2006, Hello, Goodbye Window won the Caldecott Medal.  A Ball for Daisy parallels his previous success and is filled with artistic qualities that are characteristic of Raschka’s work. The book is filled with Raschka’s swirling and impressionistic style which adds to the meaning of the story about love and lossCongrats to Chris Raschka on another award winning picture book!



-Brandon and Lucy





Oh, the Places You’ll Go!


The Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, The Places You’ll Go, is a famous children’s book that is often used and referenced during important landmarks in life. This book is so special because it approaches very adult themes in simple language that any child can understand.It’s about a time in ones life where new beginnings are about to occur and the future is unknown.It discusses topics of making new choices– good and bad and going through stages of depression or “slumps” in life.Although realistic, it presents a positive view of what the future may hold. The story warns readers that they will run into confusion, but find a good answer. They will have to be patient and wait, but they will have fun. They will be scared, but they will be confident. At times they will win, but at times they will lose.The story reveals that life is about ups and downs. Disappointment is a part of life, but success and happiness will follow. This book should be read at home and at school. It teaches important life lessons and should be read aloud to all ages. This is a book adults should read frequently and live by. It is filled with inspirational and honest quotes!

“Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.”

“And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)”

Click here for a Reading of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by John Lithgow

Happy Reading!

Lauren & Sage

Help Me, Mr. Mutt!


Have you ever wondered what dogs would say if they could talk? How about if they could write!? Help Me, Mr. Mutt! is a book that translates barks and howls into letters, written by dogs, to Mr. Mutt, who has a wealth of knowledge and experience which comes across in his responses.

The book begins with a letter to Mr. Mutt from “Famished in Florida,” another dog who is worried about his weight. He asks, “Do I look fat?” and goes on to explain how he believes his owners are starving him! They only give him dry dog food, but give the fat cat fancy food! Mr. Mutt is very sympathetic in his response, as he explains the dog food pyramid.

Mr. Mutt offers all kinds of helpful tips and advice for dogs who are having trouble being….dogs. He explains to “Famished” that he can find food all kinds of places. These include in the garbage and under the baby’s highchair! As a final piece of advice, he reminds “Famished” to finish off his meal with a cool drink of water…from the toilet. Mr. Mutt finishes the letter with a post script, explaining that cats are spoiled rotten and it’s never fair.

The book is full of letters from dogs of all kinds with a wide range of problems, who desperately need Mr. Mutts advice. One dog’s owners don’t want to play with him, while another dog is constantly getting dressed up!

As would be expected in a book about dogs, “The Queen,” a cat, writes letters that appear throughout in an attempt to set Mr. Mutt straight about how the world of household pets should be. She may even have her way…you’ll have to read the book to find out!

Help Me, Mr. Mutt! is written and illustrated by sisters, Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel. A fun read for children of all ages, the illustrations draw in younger readers with their whimsical humor while the letters to Mr. Mutt entice older children and adults.

-Happy Reading!

Lynsie & Kaitlin