Learning

Book Review: The Pink Umbrella

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Our weather has been all over the place lately. Today, we are at a high of +8! Last week we had temperatures as low as -43 with the windchill. I’ll take the warmer weather, and a break from the snow! In lieu of all the snowy weather we usually have, we have been getting lots of rain. When picking out a book to read, The Pink Umbrella by Amelie Callot and Genevieve Godbout seemed fitting!

Publisher’s Summary

 

Review

The Pink Umbrella  is a great story to share with kids. Beautifully written and illustrated, this text will lead to conversations about the importance of finding the beauty and joy even in the darkest of days.

Classroom Connections

This text would be great for primary, junior or intermediate audiences. During your read aloud, the following questions could be used to support student comprehension and to get kids thinking within, beyond and about the text. The Fountas and Pinnell Prompting Guide 2 is a great tool to help develop rich questions.

Before Reading

What do you think this story is going to be about? What makes you think that?

What do you notice about the colours in the cover? Do different colours make you feel different?

During Reading

How do you think Adele is feeling by looking at the illustration on this page? How do you know?

Have you had a similar experience to Adele’s? Do you like the rain?

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What does the author mean when she writes “She can’t help it, she loses her spirit.”

Have you ever had a similar experience to Adele’s?

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How do you think Adele is feeling now? What makes you think that?

Do you have a prediction about who might be leaving her these gifts? What evidence from the text do you have that supports your prediction?

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After Reading

What did this book make you think of?

Did this book make you think about your life in a different way?

What admirable qualities do the characters in the story have?

 

Happy reading!

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Book Reviews

24 Books to Share with Kids this December

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It is hard to believe that it is December! We have already had our small town Christmas Parade, and our tree has been up for a week! We are definitely feeling the spirit of the season.

I love the idea of different types of advent calendars. I am a huge fan of the David’s Tea Advent, as I am a lover of teas! For my students in the past, I have created a Christmas Book Advent, where I wrap up enough Christmas stories to open one per day until the last day of school before the Christmas holidays. It is a fun way to introduce your read aloud for the day, and kids love the idea of unwrapping a “present.” I will do this at home this year for my daughter and can’t wait to see her reactions! Check out my list below for the 24 books I’ll be wrapping up!

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24.  When the Snow Falls by Linda Booth Sweeney

Publisher’s Summary:

With sparkling flakes calling from outside, this sister and brother bundle up for an outdoor adventure with Grandma. In the hushed woods, they see and hear wildlife thriving under a new blanket of snow.  In the bustle of town, they help their grateful Grandpa dig out. Then, it’s time to get sledding!

Snowy scenes capture the beauty of freshly fallen snow, and the lyrical verse delights in the magic of playing in the snow and the warm comfort of family.
Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 12.13.56 PM.png23. Merry Christmas, Peanut! 

Publisher’s Summary:

Peanut is going over the river and through the woods to his grandmother’s house for Christmas, but getting there is a food-filled adventure for this little nut! First he gets stuck in a traffic jam (make that a traffic jelly), then the bridge is closed so he has to take a (gravy) boat across the river, where he gets lost in a forest of (cookies shaped like) Christmas trees! But while the delays dismay his friends and family, Peanut embraces his role as the Merry Christmas Nut to cheer them up.

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-12-01-04-pm.png22. Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman and Liza Woodruff

Publisher’s Summary:

In the land of the midnight sun, all the animals are having fun speeding down the hill on Caribou’s sled. But as they go faster and faster, Seal, Hare, Walrus, and the others all fall off…until just Caribou’s left, only and lonely. Now, a reindeer likes flying-but never alone, so…one through ten, all leap on again

 
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21. Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer

Publisher’s Summary:

Olivia is getting into the Christmas spirit. There are presents to wrap, ornaments to hang on the tree, snowpigs to build… But what mischief and mayhem will she get up to this time?

 

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-1-21-00-pm.png20. The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold 

Publisher’s Summary:

Santa has a problem. This kid? Harold? Santa doesn’t think he’s real. He WANTS to believe in Harold–after all, Harold is one of the most magical parts of Christmas. Getting Harold’s letters, eating the cookies he leaves out, feeding his carrots to the reindeer… what would Christmas be without that? But Santa’s just not sure. Some of his friends are telling him they think Harold’s not real. And the Harold that sat on his knee last Christmas looked AWFULLY different. Santa comes up with a plan to find out once and for all if Harold really exists… with hilarious consequences.
Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 11.58.06 AM.png19. The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza by David Shannon

Publisher’s Summary:

This year, the Merriweather family is really going to celebrate Christmas.Instead of simply trimming their tree and hanging a holly on the door, the Merriweathers decide to decorate their whole house. And decorate they do, with colored lights, candy canes, giant snowmen, and a fifty-foot Santa…and soon the family’s Christmas extravaganza is the talk of the town!

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-11-55-03-am.png 18. The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett

Publisher’s Summary:

Remember how the Gingerbread Boy is eaten by the fox? Well, not this Gingerbread Baby in a delicious twist to a favorite old tale.

It all begins when Matti opens the oven too soon and out jumps a cheeky little Gingerbread Bay. He leads Matti’s mother and father, the dog and the cat. And a whole colorful cast of characters on a rollicking chase through the village and into the forest, staying just out of reach, daring them to catch him along the way.

But Matti’s not with them. He’s at home in the borders making what turns out to be a gingerbread house into which the Gingerbread Baby runs. Only Matti knows he is safely inside. And readers will too when they look under the lift-the-flap gingerbread house at the end of the story, and there he is!
Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 12.10.58 PM17.  Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Power of Giving: A Christmas Story by Howard Binkow and Susan F. Cornelison

Publisher’s Summary:

Howard learns to be grateful for what he has and to value non-material things. At Christmas time, he learns the true spirit of the holidays and finds happiness by giving instead of getting.

 

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-1-19-01-pm.png16. A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas by Helaine Becker and Werner Zimmermann

Publisher’s Summary:

Christmas, as only Canadians can celebrate! Where else do Mounties frolic, squirrels enjoy a fine game of curling, and hockey players mark the season as lords-a-leaping?

This hilarious, tongue-in-cheek re-setting of the popular Christmas carol is the perfect gift for Canadians new and old, young and young-at-heart.
Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 1.25.58 PM.png15. Omar on Ice by Maryann Kovalski

Publisher’s Summary:

Omar loves drawing pictures and wishes he could be as good at it as his classmate Elsie. But his teacher, Ms. Fudge, can never figure out what Omar’s pictures are- no matter how hard she tries.

When the whole class goes ice skating, however, Omar’s true talent emerges. He shows Elsie how he can glide and whirl and spin.

After all, it’s easy when you don’t worry and just have fun. And the whole class discovers with Omar that there is more than one way to draw pictures.

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-12-15-55-pm.png14. Merry Christmas, Squirrels! by Nancy Rose

Publisher’s Summary:

Most squirrels spend their winter days hiding acorns in the snow. Not Mr. Peanuts. He loves Christmas and he’s very excited when Cousin Squirrel invites him to spend Christmas at his place. After a busy day building snowmen, sledding, snowshoeing, and roasting chestnuts, Mr. Peanuts and Cousin Squirrel settle in to wait for Santa … Christmas is so much better when you have a friend to spend it with.
Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 12.18.09 PM.png13. Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas by Melanie Watts

Publisher’s Summary:

‘Tis the season for worrying, planning, decorating, wrapping, entertaining, carolling and, worst of all, fruitcake! Scaredy Squirrel returns with a quirky safety guide filled with practical tips and nutty step-by-step instructions to help readers prepare for a perfect Christmas. A fun-filled guide sure to appeal to all the Scaredies out there!

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-1-25-09-pm.png12. Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

Publisher’s Summary:

Bear’s friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas! So they wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. Bear stays up–by discovering that giving is one of the best Christmas presents!
Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 12.17.05 PM11. It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon

Publisher’s Summary:

If you love Christmas, you’ll understand why David is so excited this time of the year. Santa Claus is coming soon, and David’s made a very long list so Santa will know exactly what to bring. Meanwhile, David’s busy trying to peek at his Christmas presents, snitch holiday cookies, and grab the highest candy cane on the tree. How can anyone be calm when Christmas is right around the corner?

 

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-12-07-02-pm.png10. Dashing Through the Snow: A Canadian Jingle Bells by Helaine Becker and Werner Zimmermann

Publisher’s Summary:

When Sasquatch upsets Santa’s sleigh, everyone gets the wrong presents. But that doesn’t stop them from having a great time!

Join in the merriment and mayhem as a wild (and familiar) cast of Canadian characters take over the Christmas holidays once again.

With the same jolly rhymes and infectious energy that made A Porcupine in a Pine Tree an instant classic, this Canadian twist on “Jingle Bells” is the must-have, must-give book for the holidays.

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-1-22-26-pm.png9. The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold  by Maureen Fergus and Cale Atkinson

Publisher’s Summary:

Santa has a problem. This kid? Harold? Santa doesn’t think he’s real. He WANTS to believe in Harold–after all, Harold is one of the most magical parts of Christmas. Getting Harold’s letters, eating the cookies he leaves out, feeding his carrots to the reindeer… what would Christmas be without that? But Santa’s just not sure. Some of his friends are telling him they think Harold’s not real. And the Harold that sat on his knee last Christmas looked AWFULLY different. Santa comes up with a plan to find out once and for all if Harold really exists… with hilarious consequences.
Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 12.10.03 PM.png8. When the Moon Comes by Paul Harbridge 

Publisher’s Summary:

In this atmospheric story, a group of kids play hockey on a frozen lake by moonlight. At once nostalgic and timely, this is a gorgeous book that will speak to readers young and old.

 

 

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-12-15-08-pm.png7. The Mitten by Jan Brett

Publisher’s Summary: 

When Nicki drops his white mitten in the snow, he goes on without realizing that it is missing.

One by one, woodland animals find it and crawl in; first, a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger and others, each one larger than the last. Finally, a big brown bear is followed in by a tiny brown mouse and what happens next makes for a wonderfully funny climax.

As the story of the animals in the mitten unfolds, the reader can see Nicki in the borders of each page, walking through the woods unaware of what is going on.
Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 1.24.10 PM.png6. Elf in the House by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Adam Record

Publisher’s Summary:

Follow a child on a most magical night as she looks for the source of the sound that woke her up. In a lively, cumulative story full of page-turn reveals, all is not what it seems. While the little girl searches the house, she encounters some unexpected new friends. But the biggest surprise is sure to come last!

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-1-26-51-pm.png5. A Christmas for Bear by Bonnie Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton

Publisher’s Summary:

Bear’s minimalist holiday celebration has an eager Mouse feeling a bit anxious in this humorous and heartwarming story about the unlikely, lovable pair.
Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 1.21.45 PM.png4. Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol

Publisher’s Summary:

Join Porcupine and his familiar Canadian character friends as they decorate for Christmas! That means loons donning skates, polar bears cozy in slippers and Sled Dogs chasing around the room! All the while, the beavers are busy building a secret surprise . . . what could it be?

This hilarious, tongue-in-cheek re-setting of the popular Christmas carol will have the whole family singing this holiday season!

 

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-12-05-11-pm.png3. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg 

Publisher’s Summary: 

A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole . . .

Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish.
Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 1.23.17 PM.png2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Publisher’s Summary:

No holiday season is complete without the Grinch, Max, Cindy-Lou, and all the residents of Who-ville, in this heartwarming story about the effects of the Christmas spirit on even the smallest and coldest of hearts. Like mistletoe, candy canes, and caroling, the Grinch is a mainstay of the holidays, and his story is the perfect gift for young and old.

 

screen-shot-2017-11-30-at-11-59-49-am.png1. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore

Publisher’s Summary:

A retelling of a classic Christmas poem, eight tiny reindeer, St. Nick and all, offers enchanting illustrations by an acclaimed illustrator that brings the action to life.

 

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Book Reviews

Book Review: When the Snow Falls

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We just recently had our very first snowfall that is here to stay. A blustery Saturday called for curling up with a great book and drinking some hot chocolate. I have pulled out all of my holiday book bins, and have been going through them with my daughter. When the Snow Falls by Linda Booth Sweeney seemed entirely fitting for this day!

Publisher’s Summary

A snow-day journey with Grandma highlights all of the beauty, magic, and fun of winter.

With sparkling flakes calling from outside, this sister and brother bundle up for an outdoor adventure with Grandma. In the hushed woods, they see and hear wildlife thriving under a new blanket of snow.  In the bustle of town, they help their grateful Grandpa dig out. Then, it’s time to get sledding!

Snowy scenes capture the beauty of freshly fallen snow, and the lyrical verse delights in the magic of playing in the snow and the warm comfort of family.

Review

A wondrous story about the beauty of snow. Told through rhythmic verse, this story explores winter through our senses. A great read to use when teaching descriptive writing or the reading strategy of visualizing.

Classroom Connections

This text would be great for primary and junior audiences. During your read aloud, the following questions could be used to support student comprehension and to get kids thinking within, beyond and about the text. The Fountas and Pinnell Prompting Guide 2 is a great tool to help develop rich questions.

Before Reading

What do you think this story is going to be about? What makes you think that?

What does the title remind you of?

During Reading

Before showing the pictures, have students close their eyes and ask them what they see after you read each page. When you’ve heard from a few students, share the illustration. Were there similarities? Differences? How does visualizing the story in our minds help us to become better readers?

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How is the author using words to describe winter to the reader?

Do you have a connection to the winter descriptions she provides?

What does the author mean when she writes “Fox curls, Rabbits hide?”

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After Reading

What was this story about?

What was your favourite page? How come?

What page might you add to this story?

Classroom Extensions

There are so many things you could do with this text! Students could be invited to create another page for the story using rhyme and descriptive writing. If enough students were interested, you could even make a class book to share with others.

You might also use this story to support a student inquiry on hibernation. We often see hibernation stories about bears, but this text suggests the winter routines of foxes and rabbits as well. This might spark some interest in your young readers! Your students might ask, “Do foxes and rabbits hibernate?” This would lead to a great inquiry!

You might also place this text near a sensory bin, where materials such as snow (real or fake), trees, branches, animals and people are placed. Here, the focus would be on oral language skills and the retelling of the story through play.

Happy reading!

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My Learning Journey

Using Open Arrays to Model Student Thinking

Whenever I am working with teachers, my go-to resource to begin with is The Guide to Effective Instruction. This series does an amazing job of giving you content knowledge on a topic as well as practical lessons and ideas for the classroom. In a previous post, I talked about the importance of math discourse. Getting kids to talk about math is key. In the Guide to Effective Instruction (Vol. 3, p. 8), it is stated that:

Communication of mathematical ideas is an essential process in learning mathematics. Throughout the learning activities, students have opportunities to express mathematical ideas and understandings orally, visually, and in writing. Often, students are asked to work in pairs or in small groups, thereby providing learning situations in which students talk about the mathematics that they are doing, share mathematical ideas, and ask clarifying questions of their classmates. These oral experiences help students to organize their thinking before they are asked to communicate their ideas in written

Communication is one of seven math processes that preface our Ontario Math Curriculum. Kids engage in these processes when they are learning new mathematical skills and knowledge. One thing that we can do to support children in math talk is to help model their thinking.

Recently, I ran a Lunch & Learn on multiplication. I used the Guide to Effective Instruction as my “expert other.” We discussed that in primary grades, students begin to explore multiplication by creating equal groups with concrete materials. They may count the groups one-to-one and once students have had more practice, they may then progress to using more sophisticated methods of counting such as skip counting. In junior grades, the focus moves to helping students build a conceptual understanding of multiplication using tools and representations. We spent our time talking about the ways we progressively teach children to understand multiplication.

Concrete

Students may begin to explore multiplication by using concrete materials such as counters and base 10 materials.

Pictorial

After students have significant practice using concrete materials, we move our teaching towards more pictorial tools and representations such as the number line. Using a number line, students can demonstrate jumps of equal groups, and later, can use an open number line to help them model multiplication with larger numbers. This tool helps them to build on their understanding of the mathematics concept of unitizing.

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Arrays are also an amazing tool that can be used to help model student thinking. Students may initially build arrays using concrete materials such as tiles or base 10 blocks, then move to pictorial representation using paper grids. Later, teachers may model student thinking using arrays.

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Abstract

Students are able to solve the question mentally in their head or can use an algorithm successfully.

We built upon our understanding of arrays using Jo Boaler’s video. In this video, she models how to use arrays to model student thinking during a number talk.

Here are some examples of the student thinking we modeled in the classroom, and some student work where they were asked to explain their thinking using an array. A great visual to add to number talks!

 

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Book Reviews

Book Review: How to Make Friends With a Ghost

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How to Make Friends With a Ghost by Rebecca Green is a book you definitely want to explore! I love how its “How-To” style makes this engaging and heart-warming story come to life. A great book to use to inspire writing with kids! Even though it would be popular to read in October as Halloween approaches, it can also be a story that is revisited again and again throughout the year for elements of writing.

Publisher’s Summary

What do you do when you meet a ghost? One: Provide the ghost with some of its favorite snacks, like mud tarts and earwax truffles. Two: Tell your ghost bedtime stories (ghosts love to be read to). Three: Make sure no one mistakes your ghost for whipped cream or a marshmallow when you aren’t looking! If you follow these few simple steps and the rest of the essential tips in How to Make Friends with a Ghost, you’ll see how a ghost friend will lovingly grow up and grow old with you. 

A whimsical story about ghost care, Rebecca Green’s debut picture book is a perfect combination of offbeat humor, quirky and sweet illustrations, and the timeless theme of friendship.

Review

How to Make Friends With a Ghost by Rebecca Green is a lighthearted read full of joy, humour and the meaning of friendship. This fun how-to guide is overflowing with information on befriending a ghost. The text features in this story (chapter titles, subheadings, labels) combined with the unique artwork and colour scheme truly send it over the top!

Classroom Connections

This text would be great for primary and junior audiences. During your read aloud, the following questions could be used to support student comprehension and to get kids thinking within, beyond and about the text. The Fountas and Pinnell Prompting Guide 2 is a great tool to help develop rich questions.

Before Reading

What do you think this story is going to be about?

What do you think we will learn from this story? Why do you think that?

During Reading

Kids will want you to pour over these pages as often as you can. Here are a few questions to ask while reading, but don’t forget to encourage their questions too!

Why might the author have shown the recipe for one of the ghost’s favourite recipes?

What is so special about the ingredients?

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Why might someone confuse a ghost with a tissue?

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You might need to have the conversation here with your students about what a record player is! If you have access to a record player, it would be awesome to bring one into your classroom to play for your students! You can often find them thrift shopping!

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What text features are being used throughout the story? What might be the purpose behind these text features?

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After Reading

Did this story remind you of another book? Film?

What is the message of the book? How effective is the author in conveying this message? Why?

Are different points of view considered? What would the story be like if it were told from a different perspective?

Extension Activities

This book would be awesome to inspire kids to make their own how-to manuals! The possibilities are endless! I would definitely be setting up a provocation in my classroom using this book. You could place this at a table, along with some other “how-to” books, pencils, markers, and paper and see what your students come up with!

Emily Arrow is an artist that creates kidlit tunes: songs inspired by books! She has created one for this book, which you can watch here. A great song to sing with your kids!

Happy reading!

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Maurice the Unbeastly

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I love a good picture book that is packed full of awesome vocabulary. Kids books are such a great way to expand a child’s vocabulary by exposing them to words they may have never heard before. There is something beautiful about the way Maurice the Unbeastly by Amy Dixon and Karl James Mountford is written. With every turn of the page, you will have an amazing opportunity to dive into conversations around the chosen words in the text. You can order it here!

Publisher’s Summary

Beasts roar! Beasts destroy! But not Maurice.
This frightfully unbeastly tale about staying true to yourself is for everyone who’s just a little bit different.
 
With his melodious voice, fondness for kale, and unfailing politeness, Maurice isn’t quite like other beasts. So his concerned Mama and Papa send their ridiculously photogenic beastie to the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts to learn how to behave badly. Will Maurice master growling, scowling, snarling, and howling? Or will he prove that being different is a good thing after all?

Review

Maurice the Unbeastly will instantly steal your heart! An endearing story about a beast who seemingly fails to live up to others’ expectations. At once charming and beautiful, you will want to add this awesome read to your library. My most favourite thing about this book? The amazing vocabulary! What a wonderful learning tool for kids of all ages.

Classroom Connections

This text would be great for primary, junior and intermediate audiences. During your read aloud, the following questions could be used to support student comprehension and to get kids thinking within, beyond and about the text. The Fountas and Pinnell Prompting Guide 2 is a great tool to help develop rich questions.

Before Reading

What do you think this story is going to be about?

What clues do the title and illustrations provide?

During Reading

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How do you feel about Maurice? Why do you feel that way?

What values does Maurice stand for?

What do you think Maurice might be feeling in this picture?

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What do you think the word “gargantuan” might mean? Why do you think that? What other word could the author have used? Why might the author have decided to use “gargantuan”?

After Reading

How does this story compare to another book that you’ve read?

What was the writer’s message?

What is this story really about?

What did you learn?

Extension Activities

This book could easily be placed at your writer’s area to spark interest in rich vocabulary. You could also use the text to spark a word study!

Happy reading!

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Book Reviews

Books to Share with Kids this October

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I love fall – it is my most favourite season. Apple cider, comfort food and sitting in front of the fire is what I am all about these days! I have been curling up with some great books lately, and sharing some amazing ones with kids as well! Check out the titles below as you embrace October!

How To Make Friends With A Ghost by Rebecca Green

IMG_1362.jpgPublisher’s Summary

What do you do when you meet a ghost? One: Provide the ghost with some of its favorite snacks, like mud tarts and earwax truffles. Two: Tell your ghost bedtime stories (ghosts love to be read to). Three: Make sure no one mistakes your ghost for whipped cream or a marshmallow when you aren’t looking! If you follow these few simple steps and the rest of the essential tips in How to Make Friends with a Ghost, you’ll see how a ghost friend will lovingly grow up and grow old with you.

A whimsical story about ghost care, Rebecca Green’s debut picture book is a perfect combination of offbeat humor, quirky and sweet illustrations, and the timeless theme of friendship.

Review

This creative how-to guide will captivate any reader! The amazing text features like subheadings, diagrams and footnotes add a unique flare to this book. Placing this text at a writing centre would be a great way to inspire kids to write their very own how-to guides!

The Night Garden by Polly Horvath

IMG_0640.jpgPublisher’s Summary

From Newbery Honor–and National Book Award–winning author Polly Horvath, a magical middle grade novel that features a garden that grants wishes.

It is World War II and Franny Whitekraft lives with her parents, Sina and Old Tom, on a farm on Vancouver Island. Their peaceful life is interrupted when their neighbor, Crying Alice, begs Sina to watch her children while she goes to visit her husband at the military base where he is stationed because she suspects he’s up to no good. Soon after the children move in, letters start to arrive from their father and they don’t understand what they mean until it is too late to stop him from doing something that threatens to change their whole lives. Can the ancient, forbidden night garden that supposedly grants everyone one wish help? And if it does, at what cost?

Review

A great tale to engage your junior readers! I love the connections to Canada, and the history connections you can make throughout the novel. A suspenseful tale that will have your listeners hanging on to the last word.

The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz

IMG_1382.jpgPublisher’s Summary

In time for Thanksgiving, a wacky twist on The Ugly Duckling.

The Ugly Pumpkin has waited all through October for someone to take him home, but no one wants him. He doesn’t look like other pumpkins. So the lonely Ugly Pumpkin leaves the patch in search of a place where he’ll fit in. By the time Thanksgiving arrives, he discovers the truth about who he is–but it’s not what he expected!

Review

What a funny and surprising story! I have shared this book with both adults and kids, all of which get a laugh out of this great twist on the classic The Ugly Duckling. Sure to make kids question, you must read this tale! Also available in board book format (pictured) making it a hit with our youngest readers!

Under-the-Bed Fred by Linda Bailey and Colin Jack

IMG_0648.jpgPublisher’s Summary

From the team who brought you If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur comes a laugh-out-loud early chapter book about befriending the monster under the bed.

There’s a monster under Leo’s bed making a ruckus every night. When Leo needs to go to the bathroom, he leaps from the bed to the door — careful not to put his feet on the floor within the monster’s reach. But one night Leo gets tired of being scared and boldly calls out to the monster to see if they can’t just work something out. Surprisingly, the monster listens, and Leo finds out that even enormous monsters have fears! Leo and his monster, Fred, team up to face their fears, each with his own unique strengths. Over the course of five easy-to-read chapters, their friendship blooms as they face everything from bullies to bedbugs. A funny and endearing tale of two very different and unlikely friends, in the tradition of Bink and Gollie and Frog and Toad.

Review

A great book to read aloud to kids, or to have your early reader read with support. A story many kids can relate to, making this tale a great one to help with overcoming certain nighttime worries.

The Painting by Charis Cotter

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Publisher’s Summary

A haunting, beautiful middle-grade novel about fractured relationships, loss, ghosts, friendship and art.

Annie and her mother don’t see eye to eye. When Annie finds a painting of a lonely lighthouse in their home, she is immediately drawn to it–and her mother wishes it would stay banished in the attic. To her, art has no interest, but Annie loves drawing and painting.

When Annie’s mother slips into a coma following a car accident, strange things begin to happen to Annie. She finds herself falling into the painting and meeting Claire, a girl her own age living at the lighthouse. Claire’s mother Maisie is the artist behind the painting, and like Annie, Claire’s relationship with her mother is fraught. Annie thinks she can help them find their way back to each other, and in so doing, help mend her relationship with her own mother.

But who IS Claire? Why can Annie travel through the painting? And can Annie help her mother wake up from her coma?

The Painting is a touching, evocative story with a hint of mystery and suspense to keep readers hooked.

Review

I couldn’t put this book down! I love how the author has infused eastern Canada essence throughout the story. A great tale that merges past and present, leaving the reading wondering, questioning and ultimately hooked.

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler

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The witch has grown the biggest pumpkin ever, and now she wants to make herself a pumpkin pie for Halloween. But the pumpkin is so big she can’t get it off the vine.
It’s so big the ghost can’t move it, either. Neither can the vampire, nor the mummy. It looks as if there’ll be no pumpkin pie for Halloween, until along comes the bat with an idea to save the day.
How can the tiny bat succeed where bigger and strong spooky creatures have failed? You’ll be surprised!

Review

I love revisiting this Halloween favourite every year! Over 20 years old, this awesome tale still delivers smiles and laughs from kids of all ages. My most favourite part? How the words can easily become a song! Check out the youtube link here to listen! An awesome book to infuse drama into your literacy program! It would also be great to add to your listening station!

Scaredy-Cat, Splat! by Rob Scotton

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It’s Halloween, and Splat is determined to be the scariest cat in the class. Unfortunately he’s just too much of a scaredy-cat. He’s afraid of a little spider, and everyone says his costume looks more silly than scary. And when Mrs. Wimpydimple tells a ghost story in the dark, Splat gets so frightened that he tips over his jack-o’-lantern. But when the lights go back on, the entire class is scared silly by a small, black, furry creature with a big pumpkin head. Whooooo can it be?

Review

One of my favourite read alouds for primary students. A great way to talk to kids about Halloween! A funny story that leaves kids laughing!

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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