Pink and Say

Title: Pink and Say

Bibliographic information: Polacco, P. (1994). Pink and Say. New York: Philomel Books.

Brief annotation: Pink and Say are unlikely friends who were fighting in the same war. Pink saves Say after he was shot and takes him to his mother until he is better. They become very close but are torn apart.

Grade:4th – 5th grade

Genre: Contemporary realistic fiction

Readers who will like this: This book would be good for students learning about the civil war or for anyone that likes reading about history.

Rating: 4 – I really enjoyed this book. It showed a different side to a war that everyone knows about. Two regiments that would not normally work together, became friends.

Question: What do you know about the civil war? What were the two sides fighting? Who made up these two sides?


Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato

DePaola, T. (19971992). Jamie O’Rourke and the big potato: an Irish folktale. New York, NY: Paperstar.

Jamie O’Rourke is a lazy man who leaves his wife to do all the work. One day she gets sick and Jamie finds his way to growing a giant potato.

Genre: Folktale, Picturebook

Grades: K-3rd

Audience: Parents, Teachers, Students

I would give this book a three. Though the story is fun, I don’t really like the moral of the story that you don’t have to work to get what you want or what you need. You can be lazy and still get everything.

What do you eat made out of potatoes?


Strega Nona’s Gift

DePaola, T. (2011). Strega Nona’s gift. New York: Nancy Paulsen Books.

There are many feast days that are celebrated in the village Strega Nona and Big Anthony live in. One is Epiphany, where all the townspeople cook good foods for their animals, and Strega Nona is no different. She leaves Big Anthony to feed the animals, but instead Big Anthony eats the food himself!

Genre: Fable, Picturebook

Grades: K-3rd

Audience: Parents, Teachers, Students

I would give this book a five. Tomie DePaola gives life to two fantastic characters and plays around with how much fun they can be.

What kinds of food do dogs and cats eat? Birds? Goats?


The Legend of the Poinsettia

DePaola, T. (1994). The legend of the poinsettia. New York: Putnam.

This is about a little Mexican girl preparing for the Christmas celebration the church has every year. When her mom becomes ill, she is afraid she will have nothing to bring the baby Jesus and goes out to find her own gift.

Genre: Picturebook, fable

Grades: 1st-4th

Audience: Parents, Teachers, Students

I would give this book a four. I loved the story, however in a public school I would feel tentative to teach this book because of the religious overtones in the book.

Does anyone know what a Poinsettia is?


Pancakes for Breakfast

DePaola, T. (19911978). Pancakes for breakfast. New York: Scholastic.

An unmarried woman wakes up one morning and decides to make pancakes.

Genre: Wordless picturebook, Historical fiction

Grades: K-3rd

Audience: Parents, Teachers, Students

I would give this book a four. Through personal preference, I am not usually a fan of wordless picturebooks, however, I love how many teaching ideas can be brought up by this book and how many activities could be done with it. Tomie DePaola’s artwork is amazing as always.

Have you ever made pancakes for breakfast? Has it been microwave pancakes or real ones?


Strega Nona

Bibliography Information: DePaola, T. (1975). Strega Nona: an original tale. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks.

Short annotation: This is the story of woman named Strega Nona’s and the adventure her magic pasta pot had, while she was out of town.

The Genre: Picture book, Fiction

Grade level: All ages

Readers who will like this book: Some readers who will like this book are children looking for a funny bedtime story; parents and educators wanting to teach student/children that there are consequences to their actions.

Personal response and rating: I would give this book a 5; I liked all the details in the images and that familiar characters can be found in other Tomie dePaola books.

Question: What would you do, if you have a magic pasta pot?



The Baby Sister

Bibliography Information: DePaola, T. (1996). The baby sister. New York: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.

Short annotation: The Baby Sister is a story about a boy named Tommy. Tommy’s mother was pregnant with a baby girl who tommy could not wait to meet.

The Genre: Autobiography, Picture Book

Grade level: Preschool to second

Readers who will like this book: A few readers that will enjoy this book are parents wanting to show there children that everything will be alright when a new brother or sister is brought into the family.

Personal response and rating: I would give this book a 5; I liked that the story line was very accurate to how most families handle having a newborn being welcomed into the family.  I also liked how the whole family was there to see Maureen for the first time.

Question: What changes tend to happens when a new baby is brought into a family.