Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Snow Show-new picture book to help illustrate Water Cycle January 12, 2009

I was very excited to find The Snow Show by Carolyn Fisher during my last trip to CTC. I’m always on the look-out for a book that can help illustrate a scientific process. All the books I’ve  found in the past that help illustrate the water cycle have been focused on rain as the precipitation.51t4cbo29cl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou01_This one focuses on snow and is presented in the fun format of a cooking show, a format that most kids are familiar with due to the Food Network and cable television.  Often the part dust plays in the formation of a cloud is overlooked a picture book about weather or the water cycle, but not this one. There are also some great illustrations about the different crystals of snow (I didn’t know they were named!).

My only disappointment was on p. 10 (although that’s a rough guess because there aren’t any page numbers).  Here’s the section I had a problem with which I didn’t find until I was reading it aloud to my children. It’s just a small corner illustration so it was easy to miss when I skimmed it in the book store. 

“Water vapor is an invisible gas, like a fart is an invisible gas. (But water vapor doesn’t smell bad.)”

Now why did the author go ahead and ruin a great scientific read-aloud with that? I’m all for freedom of speech, but I would selectively cover that part up with my hand while reading it aloud, and skip it. It was an unnecessary addition that actually took away from the book.

Overall The Snow Show is a good book in a new type of format that I think kids will really enjoy. Just decide how you are going to handle the bathroom humor before reading it aloud to a group.

 

Mentor Texts: Author Loreen Leedy October 5, 2008

Crazy Like a Fox: A Simile Story by Loreen Leedy is the newest book by this very fun author. I first became familiar with Leedy while using her book Postcards from Pluto as a mentor text (way back before I even knew what they were) for writing our own postcards and books about the planets when that was part of my science curriculum.  Since then I have had the opportunity to meet her at the now defunct The Ohio State University Children’s Literature Conference (boy I miss that opportunity to see so many great authors) and she has now written around thirty books.

While I have been unable to continue using Postcards from Pluto in science, it is still a great mentor for that type of short, fictional/nonfictional writing.

 I also am a big fan of Leedy’s Penny books, Mapping Penny’s World and Measuring Penny.Both texts fit into the current fourth grade curriculum-measurement, map skills, and are also great read alouds. 

The newest Leedy book, Crazy Like a Fox, starts with a great, child friendly explanation of what a simile is. In Ohio this is always a tested topic, and also one that can be difficult for teachers to help students have a working understanding of, especially as they need to also know idiom, metaphor, etc.

The story progresses as the main characters Rufus and Babette chase after each other until they run into a surprise party for Babette. Each page includes not just the similes that described what Rufus and Babette are doing, but also has little asides as other minor characters comment on Rufus and Babette, all spoken in similes. The book also includes a nice section at the end about creating your own simile story that teachers will find helpful and students will have fun participating. 

If you are trying to teach similes, idioms and metaphors, check out Punished by David Lubar. This short little chapter book is a great read-aloud and chronicles a boy’s attempt to earn back his ability to speak without it all coming out as puns.