Love, Mouserella

  • Title: Love, Mouserella
  • Author: David Ezra Stein
  • Illustrator: David Ezra Stein
  • Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers
  • Publication year: 2011
  • Brief Summary: From Amazon-“Mouserella misses her grandmouse, so she writes her a letter. At first she can’t think of anything to say, but once she starts, the news begins to flow – she found a cat whisker at the zoo, she taught her ladybug to fetch, she made shadow puppets with Dadmouse during a blackout – and just like that, the events of the past few days come to vivid life in her letter, as does her love for Grandmouse.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – I found this idea on a blog dedicated to David Ezra Stein that suggests using this book to help children discover letter writing and pen pals, and gives an activity of writing a letter. I know this can be argued on both sides, is this still a useful skill in this digital world or not? I say knowing how to write a letter, and address an envelope are still useful skills that children should know.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it – I did like that this book was in a landscape orientation to make it feel more like a letter. I also appreciated that the text was done as in a child’s hand.

Swimmy

  • Title: Swimmy
  • Author: Leo Lionni
  • Illustrator: Leo Lionni
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Publication year: 1963
  • Brief Summary: From Scholastic
  • -“Deep in the sea lives a happy school of fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – This would be a great book to use to teach children the importance of teamwork and additionally, for using creative ways to problem solve. I think this book could be used for young children upwards to 1st grade.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –The illustrations in this book do a great job of marrying the text. Additionally, there is a lot of color, and because of the sort of watercolor lines and blotches, gives the illusion of movement for our little fish protagonist. One of my favorite illustrations is of the seaweed forest rising before our protagonist.

Go, Dog. Go!

  • Title: Go, Dog. Go!
  • Author: P.D. Eastman
  • Illustrator: P.D. Eastman
  • Publisher: Beginner Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
  • Publication year: 1961
  • Brief Summary: From Barnes & Noble-“Whether by foot, boat, car, or unicycle, P. D. Eastman’s lovable dogs demonstrate the many ways one can travel…”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – I think it is important to specify that P.D. Eastman’s books were only edited by Dr. Seuss and not done by him or in conjunction with P.D. Eastman. I think there is quite a bit that can be used in this book for young children. Firstly, children are learning basic colors and can identify colors in this book. Additionally, young children learn directions and this is a book that can help enforce that.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. – Another sort of absurdist story but the colorful, full of action illustrations I think would keep a child’s interest. One illustration I found the most involved is of the two-page spread of all the dogs finally in bed for the night. There is a lot of detail in that one illustration.

Are You My Mother?

  • Title: Are You My Mother?
  • Author: P.D. Eastman
  • Illustrator: P.D. Eastman
  • Publisher: Beginner Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
  • Publication year: 1960
  • Brief Summary: From Penguin Random House-“When a mother bird’s egg starts to jump, she hurries off to make sure she has something for her little one to eat. But as soon as she’s gone, out pops the baby bird. He immediately sets off to find his mother, but not knowing what she looks like makes it a challenge. The little hatchling is determined to find his mother, even after meeting a kitten, a hen, a dog, and a Snort.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – I did find a teacher activity blog post on Autism Adventures for this book. Additionally, I found this article from Paths to Literacy that talks about activities to use in conjunction with this book for children with multiple disabilities.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. – One thing that makes this book unique is the way that the baby bird reiterates which animals are not his mother and every time he moves on to another animal that he asks he repeats which ones were not his mother. I feel like this would be helpful for building memory and recall for young children.

Corduroy

  • Title: Corduroy
  • Author: Don Freeman
  • Illustrator: Don Freeman
  • Publisher: Puffin Books
  • Publication year: 1968
  • Brief Summary: From Amazon-“This story of a small teddy bear waiting on a department store shelf for a child’s friendship has appealed to young readers generation after generation.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – I found this very informative article from The Prindle Institute for Ethics on how educators can use Corduroy as a discussion point to talk about materialism, friendship and belonging.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. –I vividly remember reading this book as a child and it brought back a lot of memories re-reading it now as an adult. Much like Lisa, the little girl who purchases Corduroy, I had a stuffed animal that meant the world to me. I think most children can identify with that. Freeman’s images in calming blues and greens really envelope the reader in comfort.

Harry The Dirty Dog

  • Title: Harry The Dirty Dog
  • Author: Gene Zion
  • Illustrator: Margaret Bloy Graham
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication year: 1956
  • Brief Summary: From Barnes & Noble-“This funny picture book about the strong-willed dog who really doesn’t want a bath stands the test of time.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –Not sure that there is really any way to use this book for a curriculum need. In fact, I would wonder if this book would be weeded because of the year of publication. However, if not it another animal/pet book that would appeal to young children but I would recommend this one for pre-school.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. –This book falls in line with a lot of other animal centered books, however I would rather go with My Lucky Day than this book. The illustrations, while classically well-done, all feature white only characters. It is not until Zion and Graham’s 1965 team up, Harry By The Sea that there are African American families present (even though they are only in the background).

Milo’s Hat Trick

  • Title: Milo’s Hat Trick
  • Author: Jon Agee
  • Illustrator: Jon Agee
  • Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House
  • Publication year: 2017
  • Brief Summary: From Penguin Random House-“Milo the Magnificent is the world’s least magnificent magician. He can’t even pull a rabbit out of his hat! When Mr. Popovich gives him one more chance, Milo knows he has no choice: he has to go out and catch a rabbit for his act. Instead, he catches a bear. And the bear promises to help! Into the hat he dives. Milo rides the train home, sure his act will go off perfectly tonight. But when he arrives in his dressing room, he discovers that he left his hat—and the bear!—on the train. Meanwhile, across town, a man in a restaurant has a very familiar hat . . . Can Milo get his hat back in time for his act?”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – How about a book about friendship? Even if your friend is a bear. I think this is another great book for kindergarteners and they will get a kick out of the absurd in this book. This one I think is particularly suited for a read-aloud in a public or school library.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. –The banter between Bear and Milo is worth it. There is an easy flowing dialogue between the two which really makes this picture book unique. Not only does this absurdist story feature the wacky looking Milo but the illustrations where Milo and Bear are speaking while Bear stays in the hat truly had me laughing (and I think children would find these scenes hilarious too).

My Lucky Day

  • Title: My Lucky Day
  • Author: Keiko Kasza
  • Illustrator: Keiko Kasza
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication year: 2003
  • Brief Summary: From Penguin Random House-“When a delicious-looking piglet knocks on Mr. Fox’s door “accidentally,” the fox can hardly believe his good luck. It’s not every day that dinner just shows up on your doorstep. It must be his lucky day! Or is? Before Mr. Fox can say grace, the piglet has manipulated him into giving him a fabulously tasty meal, the full spa treatment (with bath and massage), and . . . freedom.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – Much as I said in I Want My Hat Back, an ironic tale such as this one is useful for a child to learn different aspects of humor.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it.– I don’t know that I particularly thought that Kasza’s illustrations were breathtaking. However, the soft colored illustrations rendered in gouache paint make even the most terrifying scenes in this book (such as the fox putting the nicely prepared pig nearly in the oven) light-hearted and even comedic.