Title: The Story of Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp Author: Barbara de Wilde, Carol Devine Carson and Peter B Willberg Illustrator: W. Heath Robinson
Publisher: New York; Alfred A. Knopf
Genre: Traditional Literature Level: Upper Number of pages: 98 Pub. Date: 1993
Aladdin is a young man who has grown up in a poor family. An African magician tricks him into going into a cave to get a magic lamp. But he traps Aladdin in the cave with the lamp and assumes him dead. Aladdin escapes with the help of a genie. Eventually, Aladdin decides he wants to marry the princess, he uses the genie’s magical powers to get the money and gifts necessary to win over her father and eventually the two are married. The African magician hears about this and is furious and plots to get the lamp and the princess for himself. At first successful, Aladdin eventually tricks the magician and gets back his wife and land. The magicians’ brother hears about this and plans to revenge his brother. Luckily the genie is able to warn Aladdin and he discovers the man before any harm is done.
This story tells the tale of Aladdin’s struggle to overcome poverty and win his love. Although there is no one mentor both Aladdin’s mother and the genie from the lamp serve as mentors to help Aladdin over come his problems. Finally through out the whole story Aladdin is very brave and never gives up on his goals.
This story is nothing like the Disney version of Aladdin. I don’t know why I’m surprised, I know Disney takes liberties with their movies but I other than a genie in a lamp there are almost no similarities. First of all, this story takes place in China while the Disney version takes place in the Middle East. Next many of the characters are different between the two stories with only Aladdin, the sultan, the princess and the genie even coming close. Oh and there is no flying carpet. Finally this story covers a significantly larger period of time that the Disney movie. Sometimes you wonder how they could even be called the same thing.
After: Students will watch Aladdin and compare it to the book.
Title: Johnny Appleseed Author: Reeve Lindbergh Illustrator: Kathy Jakobsen
Publisher: Boston; Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Traditional Literature Level: Intermediate Number of pages: 29 Pub. Date: 1990
This is the classic story of Johnny Appleseed told through poems. It is told in the point of view of a woman whose family was visited by Johnny Appleseed during her youth. She tells of Johnny’s journey across the US to plant apple seeds.
The story of Johnny Appleseed is a tall tale. Although he was a real man, his deeds are often stretched way beyond what he actually did. The interesting thing about Johnny Appleseed is that he was a real person and actually did plant apple seeds. In this version though, Johnny doesn’t break and walks constantly planting apple seeds. This would be impossible. This is what makes this story a tall tale.
I was interested about the real Johnny Appleseed so I did some research:
Johnny Appleseed, was born John Chapman in September of 1774. He really did plant seeds across America but what isn’t known is that he owned land in many of the states he planted seeds and made orchards. However, he did not plant all the apples like many people often claim.
Before: Have students each make their own apple tree and make an apple orchard in the classroom.
Title: Water, Water Author: Eloise Greenfield Illustrator: Jan Spivey Gilchrist
Publisher: New York; Harper Festival
Genre: Books for Infants and Toddlers Level: Beginner Number of pages: 19 Pub. Date: 1999
This simple book follows a young boy as he sees water in his everyday life. The young boy is seen with his family. In the end the young boy drinks the water showing that water is good to drink.
This book uses short sentences that are easy to read. This book uses sight words including: my, see, and the. Also the pictures show exactly what the text is talking about. There is only one sentence on each page. Another cool thing about this book is that the pages are thick and easy for small hands with little fine motor movement to turn.
I think this would be a good book for children who live in an area with lots of water because it would put names to the water they see everyday. This book is also good for children who aren’t exposed to water because it shows them a part of the world they are unfamiliar with. Also I like that the main character in this book is African American. This makes the book more multicultural.
After: Talk about where the child sees water in their everyday life.
Title: Animal Action ABC Author: Karen Pandell and Art Wolfe Photographer: Nancy Sheehan
Publisher: New York; Dutton Books
Genre: Books for Infants and Toddlers Level: Upper Number of pages: 37 Pub. Date: 1996
The book talks about the different movements an animal makes using the ABCs. Each letter gets its own movement. Each action has a small rhyme to go with it. Also there is a picture of a young child doing the movement and a picture of an animal doing the same movement.
This is an ABC book perfect for school aged children. It uses different fonts making the letters look different than they normally would. Also the book has a theme of animal movements that begin with different letters of the alphabet. The best part of this book though is that the students can move along with the book learning the action for themselves.
I love the movement exercises that go along with this book. It will be very useful for students that have been in their seats for a long time to get up and move while still learning their ABCs and animals. This is especially important in the high stress-testing environment of today’s schools. Many schools are getting rid of recess and PE time so students need a chance to move around and get the wiggles out.
During: Do the actions along with the book!
Title: Mansa Musa Author: Khephra Burns Illustrator: Leo and Diane Dillon
Publisher: San Diego; Gulliver Books Harcourt Inc.
Genre: Historical Fiction Level: Intermediate/Upper Number of pages: 51 Pub. Date: 2001
This is the story of Kankan Musa a young Malian boy who is kidnapped and brought across the savannah. There he is bought and freed by Tariq al-Aya who shows him how to survive in the desert and helps Kankan on his rode to discover himself. After many years journeying, Kankan comes across a city buried in the sand and discovers the truth about his ancestry. He returns to his homeland to find his brother is Mansa, the leader, of the great Mali nation. Eventually Kankan replaces his brother and becomes Mansa Musa.
This book is a historical period piece that follows Kankan as he travels around Africa during the early 14th century. The reader learns about the customs, civilizations and people of the time. This book is based on research and the main character actually lived but the author makes much of the story.
When I read this book, I read it out loud to my roommate. I then asked her a few simple questions about her opinion of the book.
- What was your favorite part of the book?
Where he goes into the underground palace and discovers himself.
- What was the main idea of the story?
- If you could change one thing about the story what would it be? Why?
I feel like it’s the combination of a storybook and a chapter book. But it was too long to really enjoy the beautiful illustrations.
I agree with her answers.
During: Have students research the facts behind this book using the resources in suggested in the back of the book.
Title: ABC Author: John Burningham Illustrator: John Burningham Publisher: New York; Crown Publishers, Inc.
Genre: Books for Infants and Toddlers Level: Beginner Number of pages: 52 Pub. Date: 1964
This is a book of the ABC’s. Each letter has two pages. On one page is the letter, both capital and lower case, and a word associated with that letter. An example of this would be Aa apple. On the second page is a picture of the associated item.
This is a wonderful ABC book and fulfills all the requirements to make a good letter book. Each letter is clearly displayed in both capital and lower case. Underneath it also easy to read is the word associated with the letter. The next page has a full illustration of the associated object. The type is also all large making it easy for young children to point to each letter.
I enjoyed the coloring of this book. The type being white on a colored background helped the letters to stand out. It also reminds me of chalk on a chalk board, something that students will need to learn how to do.
During: Have child point to the letter on the page and ask them “What letter is that?”
Title: The M&M’s Counting Book Author: Barbara Barbieri McGrath Illustrator:
Publisher: Watertown; Charlesbridge Publishing
Genre: Books for Infants and Toddlers Level: Beginner/ Intermediate Number of pages: 29 Pub. Date: 1994
This book uses a package of M&M to teach students to count up to six, then twelve. Once at twelve it shows how to group up M&Ms into different numbers. Next it show how to make different shapes with the M&Ms. Finally it shows how to subtract, by eating, till you get down to 0.
This book is adorable and could be used for many different ages of children. Very young students could read only to learn to count to six. Each part of the book could be added on until they got to the end. Many skills could be learned from this book, which would benefit children in math later on. The only real problem I have with this book is that it is out dated and M&M doesn’t make tan M&M’s in a normal package any more. A newer version of this book using blue M&Ms instead would be awesome.
As a student the best thing ever is when a teacher decided to do an activity that used food, particularly chocolate. This book allows teachers to read it allowed and bring the candy coated manipulatives to class. What could be better?
During: Students will use M&Ms to do the activity with the book.
Title: Architecture Animals Author: Michael J. Crosbie and Steve Rosenthal Photographer:
Publisher: Singapore; The Preservation Press
Genre: Books for Infants and Toddlers Level: Beginner Number of pages: 24 Pub. Date: 1995
This book shows pictures of different animals found in architecture around the world. Each picture is accompanied by the name of the animal in large colored text. Underneath this is a short poem about the sculpture.
This book is made of board making it a good choice for young children because it will hold up better than paper. Also the animals’ name is in color drawing the attention of a very young reader. Finally this book could be used with the child once they got older because of the short poems that accompany the animals’ name.
This book takes animals and puts them in stone. I can’t decide if I like this idea or not. It may confuse young children because that is not what the animal looks like in real life. At the same time, the statue animals give the baby something new so it may hold their attention longer. I feel like overall this book teaches babies what to look for to find different animals.
During: This would be a good picture to read out loud to a baby.
Title: Living Color Author: Steve Jenkins Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Publisher: Boston; Houghton Mifflin
Genre: Information Books Level: Intermediate Number of pages: 31 Pub. Date: 2007
This book tells about what the different coloration of animals means. It splits up into red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple and pink. After this there are a couple of pages giving information about each animal featured in the book.
This book does a wonderful job of making information easy to find for students. Each section is broken down by color, then if the student wants more about a specific animal the charts in the back of the book are also color coated. Also the name of the animal is bolded in the paragraph about it so it is easy to find. The book also gives suggestions for further reading at the very end, which would be helpful if a student was particularly interested.
I enjoyed the way Jenkins chose to sort through the animals. By putting them by color it gives students a different way to look at animals that they normally wouldn’t. If there is one thin I would change it would be that the animals would be put in ROYGBIV order so that this book could be used to teach about that as well.
After: This book would be a wonderful introduction book to talk about camouflage.
Title: Marsupials Author: Nic Bishop Photographer: Nic Bishop
Publisher: New York; Scholastic Inc.
Genre: Information Books Level: Intermediate Number of pages: 48 Pub. Date: 2009
This book discusses all the different types of marsupials there are in the world. Wonderful pictures taken by Nic on his trip to Australia accompany the information he provides. A couple of pages are dedicated to each of the animals.
This book highlights the important information along with five key words. The key words are defined in the back of the book under the index. The index helps readers to find any specifics they may want to read about. All of this information should be accurate considering Nic Bishop has a PhD in biological sciences.
This book is cool, but the coolest part about it is that Bishop took the pictures himself. This shows the dedication he has both to the animals and to the creation of this book. Taking pictures of animals is hard, they move quickly and never face the camera when you want. The fact he spent 6 months working on this book is impressive.
Before: Have students take pictures of pets or animals they see around and have them compare their work to Nic Bishops’.