Found Alphabet

Shindler, R., Graniczewski, W., Andrzejewska, A., & Ragno, A. (2005). Found alphabet. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

This book features different objects and animals made out of materials found in an old house.

Genre: Picturebook, Alphabet Book

Grades: K-4th

Audience: Parents, Teachers, Students

I would give this book a two. I didn’t really like the artwork in the book and each object was not very creative. An example of this is A is for Airplane. Not as creative as some other words I have seen.

Can anyone tell me what it means to recycle?


Ashanti to Zulu

Musgrove, M., Dillon, L., & Dillon, D. (19801976). Ashanti to Zulu: African traditions. New York: Pied Piper.

This alphabet book dives into different African cultures and customs.

Genre: Picturebook, Informational Text, Alphabet Book

Grades: 4th-5th

Audience: Parents, Teachers, Students

I would give this book a three. Though I loved the illustrations, the concepts of the book were not explained all that well and had other words that were new embedded in each explanation

What do you know about Africa?.


Q is for Duck

Elting, M., & Folsom, M. (1980). Q is for duck: an alphabet guessing game. New York: Houghton Mifflin/Clarion Books.

This book is a fun alphabet book that uses letters and words to confuse and engage students. A is for Zoo because a zoo has animals.

Genre: Picturebook, Alphabet Book, Concept Book

Grades: K-4th

Audience: Parents, Teachers, Students

I would give this book a five. I loved the comedic illustrations and the whimsy of the book. Though it may confuse younger children, I believe that this book fosters critical thinking skills that are needed in learning and teaching.

Does the word “duck” actually start with the letter “Q”? Why do you think the author believes “duck” begins with “Q”?


A is for Abigail

Cheney, L. V., & Glasser, R. (2003). A is for Abigail: an almanac of amazing American women. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

This is an alphabet book that talks about the lives of many American women in great detail.

Genre: picturebook, alphabet book, informational text

Grades: 4th-6th

Audience: Parents, teachers, students, tour guides

I would give this book a three. I did like the realistic illustrations, however I believe the women chosen for the book could have been better chosen. The women who were chosen were strong influences on American culture.

Does anyone know who Abigail Adams is?


Yo! Yes?

Raschka, C. (2007). Yo! Yes?. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.

This 34-word picturebook describes the story of two boys who meet and become friends through simple conversation.

Grade level: PreK-2nd

Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Readers who would like this: Children who are just beginning to read, children entering into a new situation, children who enjoy the dialogue based aspect of books such as comics.

Rating and response: 5; This nearly wordless book showcases a simple, understandable, yet powerful depiction of friendship. By being nearly wordless, the illustrations become all that more important to the overall aura of the book; I think that the illustrations in the book  are heartwarming and reflect the diversity that is present in today’s world. I love how this book showcases the fact that friendship is not a one way street, and that it both simplifies and complicates the idea of friendship at the same time. This is such a creative book, and I still cannot get over the fact that the story is told in only 34 words!

Question: What are some ways in which people make friends?


Owen and Mzee

Hatkoff, I., Hatkoff, C., & Kahumbu, P. (2006). Owen & Mzee: A true story of remarkable friendship. New York, NY: Turtle Pond Publications LLC.

This is a true story about how a baby hippo stranded due to a tsunami ends up away from his “family” and into an animal sanctuary where he befriends a 130 year old giant turtle.

Genre: Nonfiction

Grade level:K-5th

Readers who would like this: Children who like animals, children who enjoy nonfiction, children who enjoy stories that depict unlikely or unique tales.

Response and rating:4; I love this book because I think it does two wonderful things. The first is that the book teaches readers that friendship knows no bounds- the differences that separate us are not stronger than those that unite us. Second, the book teaches children the value of friendship at a time of hardship or need, which can truly be a lifesaving message. The photography in the book was great as well, however I think this book is a little bit too text-heavy for some younger readers who might thoroughly enjoy the story otherwise.

Question:When I say the word “friendship” out loud, what image comes to mind? What does friendship look like?


A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Stead, P. C. (2010). A sick day for amos mcgee. New York, NY: Roaring Book Press.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a story that shows that friendships can come in all shapes and sizes. Amos McGee, a regular visitor to the zoo, stays home extremely sick one day and misses his regular visit. His friends at the zoo miss his dearly, and decide collectively to go help their friend in need.

Genre:Animal fantasy

Grade level: PreK-2nd

Readers who would like this: Children who like the zoo, children who enjoy animal fantasy, children who enjoy unique illustrations

Rating and response: 5; I think that this book is fantastic for teaching children about friendship because it shows that friendship is about support and caring. It shows that friendship, as a concept, has much more depth than many may think, as is much more complex than just meeting and being friends. The illustrations in this text, coupled with the text itself, do a fantastic job of implicitly teaching about the deeper qualities of friendship that come to play when someone is in need, especially through the emotions of the characters in the book. This book is one of my favorites to date!

Question:What are some ways in which you might help a friend who is in need?


How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends?

Yolen, J., & Teague, M. (2006). How do dinosaurs play with their friends?. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.

This book explicitly instructs children on how to be a good, competent friend through the use of rhyme and fun exciting characters;dinosaurs of course!

Genre:Animal Fantasy

Grade level: PreK-1st

Readers who would like this: Children who like dinosaurs, children who enjoy instructional text, children who enjoy rhyming text.

Rating and response: 5; This book bases itself on the most basic aspects of friendship. I think this text would be great for children who are beginning school or a new situation who might not yet have the proper social skills to cooperatively make and engage with friends. As a new-found super fan of Yolen, I couldn’t help but fall in love with her “How Do Dinosaurs” books; they are witty, creative, and the illustrations are equally fun!

Question: What are some manners that are important to use when playing with friends? Why?

Reading Strategy: Guided Reading

Guided Reading is a strategy in which students develop fluency and comprehension. During this strategy, students read a familiar text to themselves in a small group setting with others of their similar Lexile/reading level.. The teacher is present during this activity, and may signal to students that he/she wants to hear the students (one at a time) read aloud by placing a hand in front of the student. The student would then whisper read to the teacher to give the teacher an idea of how well the student is coming along with their development of fluency and comprehension in regards to the text.

I think this strategy would work well for How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends because of the utilization of rhyme and pattern to convey the book’s message. Students would be able to practice fluency with ease through the use of the rhyming text, and this would also help teachers identify the level of fluency and comprehension that the student is achieving during the activity. The text is also short, which might help beginning readers keep track of the plot/events in the story-again relating back to comprehension!


Good-bye, Sheepie

Title: Good-bye, Sheepie

Bibliographic information: Burleigh, R. (2010). Good-bye, Sheepie. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Corporation

Brief annotation: This book is about a little boy who loses his best friend – his dog. he and his father have to say good-bye but his father tells him that he can see Sheepie whenever he wants in memories.

Grade: 1st – 3rd grade

Genre: Realistic picture book

Readers who will like this: Children who have dealt with the loss of a pet will like this book.

Rating: 4 – This book was very good. I just recently lost my dog and i think that this book covers the topic very well. When ever you miss a pet, and even a person, you can keep them alive in your memories.

Question: If you have, or have had, a pet, what is your favorite memory with them?


Samantha Jane’s Missing Smile

Title: Samantha Jane’s Missing Smile

Bibliographic information: Kaplow, J. & Pincus, D. (2007). Samantha Jane’s Missing Smile. Washington, D.C.: Magination Press

Brief annotation: This book deals with the loss of a parent. Sarah Jane always loved to smile but after she loses her dad, her smile disappears.

Genre: Realistic picture book

Grade: 2nd – 4th

Readers who will like this: Readers who are dealing with the loss of a parent will like this book.

Rating: 4 – I really enjoyed this book because I thought that it showed many great ways that we continue to see the people we have lost even after they are gone.

Question: Have you ever lost someone close to you? How did you feel?