The Baby Sister

The Baby Sister

DePaolo, T. (1996). The Baby Sister. New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s sons.

The Baby Sister is about a young boy named Tommy, who finds out his mother is having a baby girl. He is excited and can’t wait, he pictures her with a red ribbon in her hair. His mother ends up having the baby and has to stay in the hospital but when she comes home he finally meets his baby sister with a red ribbon in her hair.

General Fiction


Readers who are going to have a new baby sister or brother; Readers who enjoy being the big sister or brother.

Rate:4; I thought this book was adorable. I loved how instead the book was based on the little boy being anxious on finally being able to be a big brother, and not the typical of not liking the idea of someone taking their place.

Question: By looking at the cover of the book how can you tell if the boy enjoys his little sister or not?

Reading strategy: Graphic Organizer

B: The students will form a map with boxes that have setting, characters, problem, and events 1,2,3. They form answers to all the boxes from after reading The Baby Sister.

C: This will help with comprehension of the story, help with following the sequence of events in a story, cause-effect, and problem-solution.


Bill and Pete

Bill and Pete

DePaolo, T. (1978). Bill and Pete. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.

This book is about Bill, the crocodile, and Pete, his “toothbrush” bird friend who become Bills best friend. They even go to school together where Pete helps Bill with his school work. One day Bill and Pete go to the Nile river to play and Bill gets captured by ‘The bad guy” who is a crocodile hunter. Pete ends up saving him and scaring “The bad guy” away.

General Fiction


Readers who like to learn about animal specifically crocodiles; Readers who like adventurous funny stories; Readers who are against people killing crocodiles.

Rate:3; I think it was a good book, I enjoyed how it gives off the message about how horrible it is to kill crocodiles. I also liked how with doing that it was able to show humor.

Question: Why do you think the story is called Bill and Pete?

Reading strategy: Character Map

B: The children would write the characters Bill and Pete’s name on top of two different boxes on a piece of paper. Then they would write information they learned about Bill and Pete in its specific box. Once thats done the student will draw arrows coming from each box towards the next box and write words or phrases that explain how that character feels about the other.

C)Using the character map helps the teacher be able to determine whether or not the students are comprehending the relationships between characters. With this book it will help with see the difference in the relationship between Bill and Pete and the relationship between Bill and “The Bad Guy.”


Pancakes For Breakfast

Bibliography Information: DePaola, T. (1978). Pancakes for breakfast. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Short annotation: This is the story of a woman and her quest to make pancakes for her breakfast.

The Genre: Wordless picture book, Realistic fiction

Grade level: All ages

Readers who will like this book: Readers of all ages will enjoy reading this cute and funny story.

Personal response and rating: I would give this book a 5; I loved the pictures and the wonderful message that it sends to readers that they should never give up.

Question: What ingredients are needed to make pancakes?





The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

Bibliography Information: DePaola, T. (1988). The legend of the Indian paintbrush. New York: Putnam & Grosset Group.

Short annotation: The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush is about a boy named Little Gopher and is the story of how he painted the sunset.

The Genre: Picture book, Folktale

Grade level: Preschool to Third grade

Readers who will like this book: Readers who like this are young children who want to grow up to be a painter; parents and educators who want to expose their children/students to some form of Native American culture.

Personal response and rating: I would give this book a 3.5; I liked how the story was based around the plant called the “Indian Paintbrush.” I was unsure how accurate this story is to Native American culture and story telling.

Question: What does the word legend mean?


The Legend of the Poinsettia

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

Short annotation: This is a story about Lucida, whose mother was asked to make a blanket for the Baby Jesus. When Lucida’s mother becomes ill, Lucida does everything she can to make sure that the church’s Baby Jesus has a gift of a blanket for Christmas

The Genre: Folktale, Picture book

Grade level: Preschool to Second grade

Readers who will like this book: A few readers who will like it are children who like Christmas stories; parents and educators looking for a different type of Christmas story.

Personal response and rating: I would give this book a 4.5; I loved how detailed all the pictures where, the story line and how the story ends. The only thing I was a little worried about is how accurate the story is to Mexican culture when it comes to how the culture celebrates Christmas.

Question: What holidays are celebrated during the month of December?





The Baby Sister

DePaola, T. (19991996). The baby sister. New York: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.

Tommy is excited because his mom is having a baby. He wants a sister with a red bow in her hair. He does have some problems being friendly with his Nana Fall-River, though.

Genre: Picturebook, Autobiography

Grades: Pre-K- 3rd

Audience: Parents, Teachers, Students

I would give this book a five. I love Tomie dePaula has an author and illustrator, however I especially enjoy The Baby Sister because it is a good book for young children to see and hear, especially before they get a new sibling.

Who here has little siblings? Were you ever excited about having them?


How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms?

Yolen, J. (2004). How do dinosaurs clean their rooms?. New York, NY: Blue Sky Press.

This humorous “how to” tale on making a mess and cleaning up afterward provides children with a fun, exciting take on a typically not-so-fun activity.

Genre: Fantasy picturebook

Grade level: PreK-2nd

Readers who would like this book: Children who like fantasy, children who do not like to clean their rooms, children who like humorous books, children who like dinosaurs.

Rating and response: 5; This simple, yet wildly hilarious boardbook teaches young children a valuable process through humor and wit. The magical illustrations included in this book provide new readers with an accessible reference point for what and what not to do when cleaning up after themselves, and might also help young readers decode the text on the pages. I love the simple rhyming that Yolen uses in the text to help children , especially new readers, throughout the process of reading the book. I would recommend this book to any young reader, and also those who need a bit of help in the cleaning department!

Question: How do you think dinosaurs clean their rooms? Think of one way that dinosaurs might do this, and be ready to share with the class.

Reading Strategy: “All About…” Books (Tompkins, pgs. 1-3)

This reading strategy involves students making their own books based on a familiar topic. The book includes four to five pages and has a short, one to two sentence text per page with illustrations backing the content of the text. With the help of the teacher, students learn to edit these books and eventually share them in the author’s chair.

After reading How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? I thought it would be a great idea to have students make their own books about cleaning their own rooms! Because the organization of the books made in this strategy is simple and because only one piece of information is displayed on each page, students would be able to practice their writing and content area skills without becoming overwhelmed. The books could be completed relatively quickly but would help students practice how to write stories in logical order. This strategy is also very adaptable and can be easily changed to differentiate instuction in the primary grades!


The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery From History

Yolen, J., & Stemple, H. E. Y. (2002). The mary celeste: An unsolved mystery from history. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

This book tells the tale of a ship named the Mary Celeste that was found abandoned in 1872- the ship’s crew, captain, passengers, etc. were all completely missing. Through storytelling, as well as many important clues given in separate sections by Yolen about ship terminology, vocabulary, information about the captain and crew, etc., children are encouraged to explore the mystery themselves and come up with their own explanations!

Genre: Historical fiction

Grade level: 3rd-5th

Readers who would like this book: Children who enjoy mysteries, children who like history, children who enjoy problem solving.

Rating and response: 5; The uniqueness and great execution of detail in this book secured my rating as “5 stars!” This text encourages students to use their critical thinking skills through various forms of information presentation such as maps, definitions, timelines, narrative, and even word lists! I have no doubt that this book would make history seem fun and exciting to all students, and could be a great “springboard” text for the introduction of simple research. I think that this text makes history, a sometimes complicated subject, seem accessible to students, and because of that I would definitely recommend this mysterious book!

Question: Take a moment to look at the title and cover illustrations of this book. What do you think the mystery of the Mary Celeste is? Make a prediction about what you think the mystery will be!


Owl Moon

Title: Owl Moon

Bibliographic Information: Yolen, J. (1988). Owl moon. New York: Scholastic Inc.

Annotation: On one late wintery night a young girl went on an owling walk with her Pa. They walked along ways, Pa called back and forth with an owl until they spotted it landing on a branch.

Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Grade Level: 1st – 4th Grade

Readers who will like this book: Readers who like going on nature walks, enjoy the winter, and show interest in owls will appreciate this book.

Personal Rating/Response:  I rate this book a 4 because, it is very well illustrated, entertaining, and interesting. I was glad that they finally got to see an owl and this book demonstrates the importance of bonding between a child and an adult.

A question I will ask before the reading: Have you ever been owling before?


The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History

Title: The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History

Bibliographic Information: Yolen, J., Stemple, H. E. Y., & Roth, R. (2002). The Mary Celeste: An unsolved mystery from history. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Annotation: The Mary Celeste is an abandoned ship that was found in 1872, with no sign of a captain or crew. This story is laid out by a young girl who wants to become a detective. The narrator provides the reader with clues and possible events about this unsolved mystery.

Genre: Nonfiction/Historical fiction

Grade Level: 1st – 6th Grade

Readers who will like this book: Readers who enjoy reading about history, love mysteries, and show interest in sailors will enjoy this book.

Personal Rating/Response: I rate this book a 4, because it definitely keeps the reader intrigued. It is beneficial that this book is based on a true story and is historical. I think it would be a book that needed a good amount of time for discussion inside a classroom, because it is so detailed and it would be interesting to hear everyone’s viewpoint on what they think might have happened to the Mary Celeste.

A question I will ask before the reading: Do you know of any unsolved mysteries?

Reading Strategy:

For this book I would use the Anticipation Guides (Tompkins, p.7) reading strategy. Anticipation guides help the students activate background knowledge. As a teacher I would put together a list of statements about this book that the students could discuss them before reading. Some examples would be; information on what an unsolved mystery is and the history behind Mary Celeste. I would need more examples on topics students can disagree with. Before reading this book we would discuss these statements in detail and share our thoughts. This strategy would work really well for this book, because is sets a purpose for why we are reading this book, helps the students focus on the big ideas, and introduces them to a new detailed topic.