Someone for Mr. Sussman

Title: Someone for Mr. Sussman


Bibliography: Polacco, P. (2008). Someone for Mr. Sussman. New York: Philomel Books


Annotation: Someone for Mr. Sussman is the tale of Bubble’s the matchmaker. She has found a match for everyone in the neighborhood, everyone but herself and Mr. Sussman, for he is just too picky! This extremely goofy tales ends happily when Bubbles and Mr. Sussman realize that what they want is right in front of them!


Genre: Realistic Fiction


Grade Level: 2-4


Readers who will like this book: Any reader interested in romantic comedies will thoroughly enjoy the tale of Bubble’s the matchmaker and the picky Mr. Sussman.  


Personal Response and rating: 5; This is a fabulously goofy love story that reminds us that it is never too late to find love. This has become an instant favorite.


Question: What is a matchmaker? What is the goal of a matchmaker? 


The Lemonade Club

Title: The Lemonade Club


Bibliography: Polacco, P. (2007). The Lemonade Club. New York: Philomel Books


Annotation: This is a beautiful story highlighting the friendship of Marilyn and Traci and their process of learning that when life gives you lemons; make lemonade and applying it to life itself as they deal with Marilyn’s diagnosis of leukemia.


Genre: Realistic Fiction


Grade Level: 3-5


Readers who will like this book: Anyone who is intrigued by the gifts and beauty of friendship is sure to enjoy this tale of Marilyn and Traci.


Personal Response and rating: 5; Polacco takes an important life lesson, making the best of not-so-great situations, and makes it relatable to her young readers. I absolutely loved this story; her writing and illustrations evoke moving emotions.


Question: What kind of attitude do you think is most effective when you are dealing with someone difficult? Why?


Some Birthday!

Title: Some Birthday!

Bibliography: Polacco, P. (1991). Some Birthday!. New York: Simon & Schuster

Annotation: Some Birthday! is the story of a young girl that is convinced that everyone forgot her birthday. When her father suggests that they go to the scariest place she has ever heard of, the home of the Clay Pit Bottoms Monster, she is sure that she is going to have the worst birthday ever. Through the imagination of her father, it turns out to be some birthday.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Grade Level: K-3

Readers who will like this book: Anyone who has ever felt like everyone has forgotten will love this book! It is extremely relatable and fun.

Personal Response and rating: 4; This fun yet silly adventure of a young girl’s birthday that takes a turn for the better has a satisfying ending but is not one of my favorites.

Question: Have you ever felt like everyone forgot about your birthday? What happened?

Reading Strategy:

a.) Open-Mind Portraits

b.) An ‘open-mind portrait’ is a great way to assess a student’s understanding of characters within a story. Here, students choose a main character and draw them. Then, they have what are called ‘thinking pages’ where they draw what they think the character is feeling during particular parts of the story.

c.) This reading strategy pairs well with Some Birthday! because the main character experiences many emotions throughout the story.


For the Love of Autumn

Title: For the Love of Autumn

Bibliography:  Polacco, P. (2008). For the Love of Autumn. New York: Philomel Books

Annotation: For the Love of Autumn is about a corky schoolteacher, Miss Parks, who has a soft spot for her new kitten, Autumn. One day Autumn ran away, Miss Parks, with the help of her students, look everywhere for the kitten but they come up empty-handed. One day, Autumn returns and it is apparent that someone has been caring for her. Again, with the help of her students, Miss Parks unravels the mystery, which ultimately leads her to love.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Grade Level: 1-3

Readers who will like this book: This book will definitely appeal to teachers as well as those that enjoy a plausible love story, straying from fairytale to reality.

Personal Response and rating: 5; This is an absolutely delightful love story. As a future teacher this book definitely hits a soft spot and I can only hope that one day I have such a close and meaningful relationship with my students. Also, who doesn’t love an adorable kitten?

Question: Has something good ever come out of something that was seemingly bad? Explain. (Provide an example that does not give away the plot of the story.)

Reading Strategy:

a.) Plot Profiles

b.) A ‘plot profile’ is a great tool to assess comprehension of a story, it is a graph where the x-axis is time (chapter, page, etc.) and the y-axis represents the mood of the plot from low to high.

c.) A ‘plot profile’ is a great way for students to trace Miss Park’s mood throughout the story, noting the positive things she is experiencing (loving her new teaching job) and the negative things she is experience (her kitten running away).


Pink and Say

Title: Pink and Say

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

Annotation: Pink and Say is the tale of two unlikely friends during the Civil War, brought together by injury that caused them to be left behind by the Union Army. In hopes of protecting Pink’s mom, who had been nursing them back to health, from the Confederate Army the boys decide it is best to head back to their outfits. They bravely face many obstacles while building a wonderful relationship.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Grade Level: 4-5

Readers who will like this book: As this book services as a primary source of the Civil War, readers interested in the history of our nation may be inclined to pick up this book. In addition to that, it touches on race and friendship.

Personal Response and rating: 5; I thought this was an extremely moving story that allows readers to feel the emotion that accompanies the topics covered. It is a beautiful story of friendship and how it triumphs even in the most difficult times.

Question: What do you know about the Civil War?

Reading Strategy:

a.) ‘K-W-L Charts’

b.) This reading strategy helps students identify what they already know about the topic, what they want to learn and then what they learn after the lesson.

c.) This is an appropriate reading strategy for Pink and Say because the theme surrounds the Civil War, which is an important event to note as a part of our Nation’s history