Officer Buckle and Gloria

Rathmann, P. (1995). Officer buckle and gloria. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Gloria the new police dog LOVES to show off fun tricks when Officer Buckle gives his safety presentations, almost as much as Officer Buckle likes presenting the safety tips themselves! When Officer Buckle finds out that the excitement about his presentations is due to Gloria, his spirits become dampened and he no longer wants to continue on with his job. In the end, true friendship prevails and Officer Buckle and Gloria turn out to be the most wanted duo around!

Genre:Fiction Picturebook

Grade level: K-3rd

Readers who would like this: Children who want to become police officers, children who like dogs, children who enjoy the theme of friendship.

Rating and Response: 5; I absolutely adore this book. The emotion and feeling conveyed through the illustration alone is enough to completely capture a reader’s heart! The relationship between Officer Buckle and Gloria also exemplifies some of the more complex notions of friendship, and I think the books “problem” is solved in a way that models a sort of realistic friendship issue. I also did my fourth book kit on this book, and there are an endless amount of activities and fun projects to do that can be very useful to the classroom! Overall, I totally loved it!

Question: Have you ever gotten into an argument with a friend? How were you and the friend able to solve the problem?



The Polar Express

This book was received The Caldecott Medal in 1985.

Bibliographic: Allsburg, C. (1985). The Polar Express. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co..

Short Annotation: This is a story of a boy, who goes on a magical train ride to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.  

The Genre: Fiction, Picture book

Readers who will like this book: Readers of all ages will enjoy reading this book.

Personal response and rating: I would give this book a 5; I loved how this story was heart warming and shows children and adults that you can never be to old to believe in Santa Claus. I also fell in love with the illustrations.

Question: Where would you go, if you had a magical train that could take you anywhere you wished to go?


Mirette on the High Wire

Title: Mirette on the High Wire

Bibliography: McCully, Emily. (1993). Mirette on the High Wire. New York: Puffin.

Short Annotation: A young girl named Mirette living in France becomes fascinated by a man named Bellini, who can walk clotheslines!

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-3

Readers who will like this book: Children who are adventurous

Personal response and rating: I LOVED this book. I thought it was very unique and had lovely illustrations. Rating: 5

Question: Does anyone like to be adventurous? What kind of things do you do that are adventurous?


Blueberries For Sal – 1948 Caldecott Winner

Title: Blueberries for Sal

Bibliographic Information: McCloskey. R. (1948). Bluberries for sal. New York: Puffin Books.

Annotation: Before the winter, Sal’s family cans pails of berries. One day, Little Sal joins her mother to go help pick berries on Blueberry Hill. On Blueberry Hill they run into Little Bear and his Mom. They end up getting separated, but eventually make it home safely.

Genre: Fiction Picturebook

Grade level: 1st – 4th Grade

Readers who will like this book: Readers who like reading adventurous stories will enjoy this book.

Personal response/rating: I rate this book a 5, because it keeps the reader engaged. Sal is an interesting character and as a reader you want to know what will happen to Sal. It is an oldie, but a goodie!

Question I would ask before the reading: Is there a certain food you stock up on before the winter?



Bibliographic Information: Newberry, C.T. (1938). Barkis. New York and London: Harper and Brothers Publishers

Short Annotation: It was James’s birthday and after opening his gifts and having cake, it was time for bed. Then all of a sudden a loud beep came from the outside. It was his uncle and he brought James a puppy. His sister, however, thought he should share it with her, but he refused. Then one day, Barkis disappeared and was nowhere to be found.

Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction.

Grade level: First through third grade.

Audience: Young children would enjoy this book.

Personal response and rating: I give this book a rating of seven. This book is about being able to share your things with your siblings, even if you don’t want to. It also teaches young children about responsibility and being able to watch after a pet, even if it’s not yours.

Question: Do you have a pet at home?


Make Way for Ducklings

McCloskey, R. (1941). Make way for ducklings. New York: Viking Press.

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are searching for a good place to live where they can raise their ducklings. However, it takes them a long time to find a place. When the ducklings are born, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard decide to move to a new home.

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Picturebook, Talking Animal book

Grades: K-6

Audience: Teachers, Parents, Students, other caregivers

I would give this book a four. I loved the story, the characters and the illustrations. I would have loved to see a little more color in the illustrations, however.

What kind of habitat do ducks live in?


Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale

Bibliographic Information: McDermott, G. (1974). Arrow to the sun: A Pueblo Indian tale. New York, NY: The Viking Press, Inc.

Brief Annotation: A young man undergoes the trials of a hero quest as he searches for his father and proves himself to be the son of the Sun.

Genre: Folktale

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Readers who like folktales and mythology; readers who like stories about Native American culture; readers who like stories with adventure.

Rating/Response: 3; I am desperately trying to read books that I am totally unfamiliar with both the author and the book itself. I thought I had succeeded with Arrow to the sun, only to discover that the author also wrote Anansi. I feel that I can’t judge this book too harshly because it was written in the mid-seventies. The illustrations, while both evocative of some types of Native American art and utilizing a brilliant color scheme, were also very obviously from their era. Additionally, I did a small amount of research that made me nervous about presenting this book as an accurate representation of Native American culture. However, the story of the unwed girl giving birth to the son of a god (or the God) is common across many cultures, and this might be an interesting book to include in a series that featured such stories.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What stories do you know about heroes? What are some things those stories have in common?