Category Archives: book reviews

Fly Guy

Fly Guy is one of our favorite book characters. Sometimes we see him in our room and we even have seen him in the lunch room in our food!

Fry Guy

Fly guy


Click on the image below to hear Hi! Fly Guy.


Wednesday – Remembering Mr. T.

After two lovely snow days, we are ready to get back on track with our book reviews.  Even though our school’s Diversity Week is over, we have more literature to explore, discuss, and write about.

Amy Tan‘s Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat was first a book!  Many people just know it as the PBS Kids show, Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat.  This was a story I read to my children when they were about 2 and 4 years old.  We had an old Siamese cat named Mr. T. , so we knew what characters Siamese cats could be!  Sagwa is curious… what ‘child’  isn’t?

Mr. C reading to Mr. T

I think this story can connect with everyone who remembers those times when you just got into a little bit of trouble over something that wasn’t entirely your fault.

Play this tangram game with the characters from the PBS Kids show, Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat.

Sagwa tangram game

Amy Tan, Elizabeth Howard, and Ezra Jack Keats later!

The Asian-American author Amy Tan is one of my favorites to read as an adult.  I own all the books she has written.  It was not hard for me to decide to buy her children’s books when they came out.  We just finished The Moon Lady, which is adapted from her novel, The Joy Luck Club.

It has great illustrations and a storyline that made us think of The Story of Ping (a class favorite).

We also read Aunt  Flossie’s  Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) by African-American author Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard.

Patrick reports: I like the book called Aunt Flossie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes Later).   I like Aunt Flossie’s hats and I like the part when they do a parade.  The dog saved the hat out of the water.  Then they went to the restaurant to get crab cakes.  I like crab cakes.

We also read Ezra Jack Keats’ Apt. 3.  Only eight more books in the “We must read these!” Diversity basket.  There is not enough time to gather and read-aloud all the great books.

We investigated things that had motion on the playground.   We were looking for circular, curved, straight, or back and forth motions.  The wordle shows what we found and reported.

Tuesday’s Diversity book review

Today’s read-aloud comes from African-American author, Melodye Benson Rosales.  She is also the illustrator of the Addy books from the American Girl series.  That certainly put her in high esteem with the first graders.  Many of them have heard of Addy and the American Girl dolls.

Leola and the Honeybears is an African-American retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  The retelling is warm with southern language (I know, because I’m from Louisiana), reminiscent of Ms. Rosales’ great-grandmother from Mississippi.  The pictures are fabulously rich with details.  You’ll enjoy this book.

Ariel reports:

I picked this book because I thought that it was like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  I liked the part when the weasel came and scared Leola.   The weasel had a mustache.  The Papa Bear was black and the Mama Bear was peach.  The Baby Bear was yellow-brownish.   I like the part when Leola’s grandmama told her not to talk to strangers.

Click here for a Goldilocks puzzle!

Goldilocks Puzzle from JigZone

Monday with the Wonderful Ones

thanks to fontplaydotcom on flickr

Our book reviews today feature two African American authors.  Auna will write her review of Brown Angels An Album of Pictures and Verse.

Auna reports: Beautiful pages!   I love it.  It is a cute book.  Walter Dean Myers made it.  He found lots of pictures that are old.  He searched probably for a long time until he found more of them.  They were pretty cute pictures and the whole class liked them.  Some of them are babies.

Drake is commenting today on Carousel by Donald Crews.  This book has a simple text, but very powerful pictures.  The students could recall being on a merry-go-round or carousel and getting dizzy!    We have read several Donald Crews books to add to our Diversity Rocks! Challenge poster.

Drake reports: I thought Carousel was a cool book.  I liked the part where it went really fast.

Thursday’s book reviews and our first voicethread!

Who needs to add more to this student book review?  Excellent reporting by Dalton:

The Gift of the Sacred Dog is a Native American book.  It is by Paul Goble.  It is about some Indians that have no more food and a boy went to the sun and asked it if it would give them more food.  It gave them the sacred dogs.  It said to take good care of them and they will get you more food.  The Gift of the Sacred Dog is a good book from Dalton.

Here is our Famous Americans voice thread.  We hope you’ll enjoy it!

Wonderful Ones on Wednesday!

Today we have two student reporters sharing their Diversity Rocks! picks.  Abby chose The Empress and the Silkworm, by Lily Toy Hong.  It is a Chinese folktale about how the silkworm was discovered.  Belle chose the Native American tale called Star Boy.

Abby writes: I like the pictures and I like when the lades took tea and took the cocoons and dipped them in.  I really liked the silk robe the ladies made.

Belle reports: I like it because it was pretty.  It had a little girl and she went up to the sky with the sun and the moon.

We are working on our voice thread about famous Americans.  We should be finished tomorrow, so come back and hear what we have to say about these great people!

Here is a Lookybook by another Native American author.  Enjoy the wonderful words and pictures.

The 100th day of school!

Today Lewis chose a book by African American author, Marie Bradby.  It is the childhood story of Booker T. Washington.  He was born as a slave in Virginia and more than anything else, he wanted to learn to read.

Lewis reports:  I like More Than Anything Else.  I liked it because he wanted to read.  The part about the salt mine was sad because he had to walk in salt.  That would hurt.  The man who could read the newspaper helped him learn to read.

We celebrated the 100th day of school by building, counting, stamping, and writing 100 things.  Here is a slide show of our afternoon.

Diversity Rocks! update

Yesterday’s diversity book was Sukey and the Mermaid.  Jordan is reporting about her choice.  Jacob N. chose The Good Luck Cat.  It is written by a Native American author.  We think that The Good Luck Cat could have really happened.  We also think that Sukey and the Mermaid is make-believe.  We have a slide show showing our Diversity Rocks! challenge poster and a few other happenings around the classroom.

Jacob N. reports: I chose The Good Luck Cat.  It was sad because of the cat’s tail getting hurt. And then the cat ran away. That is my favorite part in the book.  The name is The Good Luck Cat.

Jordan reports: Sukey and the Mermaid was good.  I liked it.  I liked the part when Sukey met the mermaid.

Happy Cold Thursday!

We had another Native American author pick today.  Heather chose Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back A Native American Year of Moons by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London.  Joseph Bruchac is a Native American storyteller.  An example of his storytelling can be seen below on the video.  Enjoy!

Heather reports:  Turtles have thirteen scales and goes slow.  This book had a story for each scale.

It’s snowing again, Wonderful Ones!

Our Diversity Rocks! Challenge is going well.  We have had six students choose books by authors of diversity, we’ve listened to them read aloud in class, and that student has written the review on our blog.  Way to go Wonderful Ones!  Today’s African American author pick (by Austin) was The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton and illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon.

Austin reports:  I thought that The Girl Who Spun Gold was a good book.  I liked the gold and the girl who spun all that gold.  Everything was gold!  The girl filled up 2 rooms with gold.  The story had lots and lots of gold and there was a greedy king and a mad queen and some kids.  It was a fun to listen to and at the end the king and the queen lived happily ever after, the end.

It’s Groundhog Day, Wonderful Ones!

We had our first Native American book choice in our Diversity Rocks! Challenge, The Mud Pony by Caron Lee Cohan.  This book was chosen by MacKenzie.  I think she picked it because she has horses and really likes them.

We also graphed our prediction about the groundhog’s shadow on the smartboard.  We visited several fun blogs today, had comments from readers from many places, and wrote back to several.  Have a look at Gail Gibbons’ informational text on Groundhog Day.

MacKenzie reports:  The Mud Pony was an interesting book.  I really really enjoyed it.  It was a good book.  When the boy was little his parents left him.  He started to notice it and went to the river and grabbed some mud and started to make the mud pony.  The mud pony came to life and he helped the boy.  The boy became a chief and the mud pony went back to Mother Nature.

Hi, Wonderful Ones!

Charli reports:  I picked The Other Side. I thought that The Other Side would be good and it was good!  A part of it was that the black girl made friends with a white . You should read this book.

Jacqueline Woodson has a very nice web site.  I hope you’ll visit it.  Our students very quickly placed the setting as in the time of young Martin Luther King, Jr.  We used an inference clue on the last page… we really thought that the fence that was going to be knocked down was the separation of blacks and whites.  The kids were glad to be able to say that MLK, Jr. helped to “knock this old fence down”.

We also read Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney.  This caused us to drum during reading, drum during math, well, you get the idea.  That was alright with me.  In fact, I started it!  Do you like musical books?  Tell us which ones are your favorites!  Here’s another cool percussion book from our Lookybook friends!

It’s a Wonderful Wednesday!

Jacob D. reports:  We read Shortcut. The reason I picked Shortcut is because we didn’t read it yet and because I like it.  I knew that they wouldn’t get killed by the train!  I get stuck by briars all the time.

Jacob chose Shortcut, but today I chose Bigmama’s.  Both autobiographical books are by Donald Crews, one of my favorite African American authors.  You just have to read Bigmama’s before Shortcut.  It details the setting in which Shortcut takes place.  I love the details of Bigmama’s yard.  It brings back memories of my grandfather’s old home place in Alto, La.  We had barnyard animals to explore, but there was the worm bed, the pond, the summer house, the barn, the pasture, and so much else to occupy our Sunday afternoons.  Wow, this book conjures up so many good memories of that place!    Thanks for the trip Donald Crews!

farm at Alto, Louisiana

my grandfather’s farm in Alto, Louisiana

Happy Chinese New Year!

It’s Chinese New Year!  We looked at sparklers, a Chinese dragon tissue box, little wooden dolls, Chinese paper cut-outs, incense, and chop sticks.  We found out that most of us were born in the year of the horse or the year of the snake.  Heather was the only one that was born in the year of the dragon.

For our Diversity Rocks! Challenge, We wanted to read some books by Asian American authors, so we read Crow Boy by Taro Yashima. We also read Lion Dancer by Kate Waters and Madeline Slovenz-Low to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Zan reports:  I picked Crow Boy because I thought it would be a good book. I liked the paintings too. There was some Chinese writing in it.

Hello Wonderful Ones!

Our class has accepted the Diversity Rocks! challenge.  We decided to read and try to post our progress daily.

Ariel reports: We read two books by African American authors today.

Kayden reports: I picked The Leaving Morning by Angela Johnson because I thought it was going to be a good book.

Charli reports: I thought that Cloudy Day Sunny Day by Donald Crews was going to be a good book.  It was a good book!

We saw our science experiment had a code to embed in our blog and the students were excited about giving that a try… so here is our look at solids and liquids and changing the state of matter.  As of now, the game won’t load all the way, but this is what it looks like.  A link for the game follows: Solids and liquids.