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.


Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato an Irish Folktale

Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato an Irish Folktale

DePaolo, T. ( 1992). Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato an Irish Folktale. New York, NY: Penguin Putnam Berkley Group,Inc.

This story is about a wife and her lazy husband Jamie O’Rourke. His wife gets injured so Jamie had to  find a way to provide for him and his wife. He ends up catching a leprechaun, and instead of taking his pot of gold, he traded the leprechauns freedom for a seed to grow the biggest potato.



Reader who like to read about the Irish; Readers who like leprechauns;

Rate:5; I think the story was very amusing and kept me wondering what will happen next while reading. I also enjoyed the artwork.

Question: What do you think Jamie O’Rourke will do with the big potato?

Reading Strategy: Preview-Predict-Confirm

B: Preview-Predict-Confirm is a strategy were the students will first skim through the book looking at each page. Then they will make a prediction on what words Tomie DePaola may have used without looking in the book then have them put each word on cards then sort them into categories. Then they will select three words, one they feel is common in a group, one that is unique in a group, and one interesting one. Then each group will discuss their three words and why they chose them. Then last they will read the book and while reading think of the words they predicted, then at the end confirm what words were used and what were not.

C: This strategy is good to determine what past knowledge they have and to see how well they can comprehend the pictures in the book.


Strega Nona

Strega Nona

DePaolo, T. (1975). Strega Nona. New York, NY: Children’s Publishing Division.

This story is about an old woman called Strega Nona, which means “Grandma Witch,” and her assistant Big Anthony. She has magical powers but her magic pasta pot was what interested Big Anthony. One day Strega Nona leaves without her magical pot and Big Anthony decides to show the townspeople its powers, but there are consequences.



Readers who like to read about magic; Readers who like the Strega Nona series.

Rate:5; I really enjoyed this book it showed how magic could be used for good. It also showed how to not mess with things that is not yours cause you never know what may happen.

Question: What does a witch do?

Reading Strategy: Process Drama

B: Process drama would be used after the students read Strega Nona and the students get in groups and create skits without using the book for a scripts.

C: This helps determine if the students have comprehended the book correctly. You can tell if the students understand the characters personalities in the book, also works on oral language.


The Legend of the Poinsettia

The Legend of the Poinsettia

DePaolo, T. (1994). The Legend of the Poinsettia. New York,NY: G. P. Putnam & Grosser Group.

This story is about a young girl named Lucida who is helping her mother make a cover for a gift for baby Jesus. Her mother becomes ill and has to go to the hospital, so Lucida tries to finish the cover in time but it becomes tangled. She ends up bringing weeds for baby Jesus instead which end up turning into beautiful Poinsettia’s.



Readers who like christmas; Readers who enjoy reading about different religions and their holidays;

Rate:5; The illustrations were beautiful. I like the moral of the story which was, doesn’t matter what you give as long as you give from the heart.

Question: What do you think Poinsettias are?

Reading Strategy: Internet Investigations

B: Before reading the book the teacher would ask the students what they think Poinsettias are and then have the students form questions about what they would like to know about Poinsettias. Then they would go on the internet and do research on what Poinsettias are, where they come from, and what they may represent.

C: This helps students have a better understanding of The Legend of the Poinsettia, when they do finally begin reading it.