Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Three Pigs by David Wiesner

Book Review- The Three Pigs by David Wiesner

a.      Bibliography
Wiesner, David. 2001. The Three Pigs. New York, New York: Clarion Books. ISBN 0618007016
b.      Plot Summary
Everyone knows the classic tale of the three pigs. The story begins familiarly enough, with the pigs building their homes with the usual materials. Things start to change when the first pig gets blown right out of the story after the wolf’s huffing and puffing, “Hey! He blew me out of the story!” The pig rescues his brothers before the wolf can eat them, and they begin an adventure into the realm of classic tales. Along their trip, the pigs meet the cat and the fiddle and a dragon. These new friends accompany them back to their own story, where the wolf is still trying to huff and puff his way into the brick house. Unfortunately for the wolf, the dragon startles him away, and the pigs and their new friends settle into soup for dinner, “Come inside, everyone. Soup’s on!”
c.       Critical Analysis
In this adaptation of the classic story, Wiesner begins with the plot simple enough, but it quickly changes into something brand new to fans of The Three Pigs. The integrity of early retellings is altered, but the reader can appreciate the exploration of the story. The freshness of the story continues with the illustrations. Wiesner brings interesting dialogue bubbles, text excerpts, and cascading words down the pages of his retelling.
d.      Review Excerpts
·         Caldecott Medal Winner in 2002
·         Starred review on Amazon.com “…crafty humor and skewed perspectives..”
·         Starred review on Publisher’s Weekly “…brilliant use of white space and perspective…”

e.      Connections
·         This story would be a great way to teach comparison/contrasting different versions of the Three Pigs.
o   How did the pigs differ?
o   Did the wolf eat the pigs? Escape?
o   How did the reteller portray the houses?
·         Other versions of The Three Pigs:
o   The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
o   The Three Little Pigs by Marie-Louise Gay

Friday, September 14, 2012

Goodnight Moon by M.W. Brown

Book Review- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

A.    Bibliography
Wise Brown, Margaret. 1947. Goodnight Moon. Ill by Clement Hurd. New York, New York: Harper Collins ISBN 0064430170
B.     Plot Summary
Goodnight Moon is a classic rhyming poem featuring a bunny rabbit saying goodnight to all the familiar objects in his room. The story begins with a description of all the objects that reside in the bunny’s room, including: a toy house, clocks, kittens, and a mouse.  As bedtime approaches, the rabbit begins saying goodnight to each object. The story ends with our main character saying goodnight to the final objects, “Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.”
C.    Critical Analysis
As a bedtime story, Goodnight Moon is the perfect way to lull a child to sleep. The text is very soothing and rhythmic- with enough identifiable objects that children can easily participate in the reading.
The illustrator, Clement Hurd, does a fabulous job portraying the room. The entire story takes place in the “great green room,” and so, it is fitting that there is a varied amount of detail for each of the pages that feature the room. Rereading this book several times will reveal details in the illustrations that may have been missed from initial readings. For instance, subtle light changes show the shift in time as bedtime approaches. Also, the young mouse is found somewhere on the pages featuring the green room.  Also, paying attention to the old woman sitting in the chair, the reader will see that there is progression of her knitting process. These subtle details fit nicely into the bold colors of the room, and it makes for an interesting, soothing bedtime story.  

D.    Review Excerpts

·         “Top 100 Picture Books” from 2012 School Library Journal
·         Sold more than 4 million copies since publication

E.     Connections

·         Students can sequence the events found in this story
·         Compare and contrast bunny’s bedtime routine to child’s own bedtime routine
·         This text is great for shared reading because of the identifiable objects and rhythmic tone

Monday, September 10, 2012

Picture Book- A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

Book Review- A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

A.    Bibliography
Raschka, Chris. 2011. A Ball for Daisy. New York, New York: Schwartz and Wade Books. ISBN 9780375858611
B.     Plot Summary
Daisy is a fun-loving dog with a special toy- a shiny, chewy, red ball. Not only is her toy a playmate, Daisy sleeps with the ball next to her! One day, the ball accompanies Daisy to the park. All is great until another dog begins to play with her beloved toy. The ball is destroyed, just like Daisy’s heart. Daisy is inconsolable until the next trip to the park, when the same dog that destroyed her red ball, brought her a blue, replacement ball. The story ends with Daisy napping contently alongside the blue ball on the couch.
C.    Critical Analysis
The underlying theme of love and loss is portrayed beautifully in Rashka’s wordless picture book. Daisy goes through what all children go through at least once in their lives- the loss of a well-loved possession. Daisy’s feelings for her ball are portrayed without the need for words. Through Raschka’s illustrations, the reader can see Daisy’s excitement and adulation for her red ball. Equally, the feelings are clearly evident when the ball is destroyed by a playmate.
Chris Raschka uses impressionistic style illustrations to portray the story of Daisy and her ball. The colors are light, with natural blends that easily show the reader the time of day, season, and weather. The swirling images are eye-catching, without being over-whelming.
D.    Review Excerpts

·         2012 Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner
·         Starred review in School Library Journal, 2011 “Raschka’s genius lies in capturing the essence of situations that are deeply felt by children.”
·         Starred review in Kirkus Reviews Rarely, perhaps never, has so steep an emotional arc been drawn with such utter, winning simplicity.”

E.     Connections
·         Write and illustrate a narrative composition about a student’s own memory of the loss of something important to them.
·         Using shared writing, teachers and students can write their own words to accompany the illustrations.
·         For English Language Learners, this is a great way for students to feel included in the story. ELLs can create their own wordless picture book to portray a story that is important to them.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Picture Book- The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems

 The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems

a.      Bibliography

Willems, Mo. 2008. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy. New York, New York: Hyperion Books for Children. ISBN 1423109600

b.      Plot Summary

Mo Willem’s Pigeon mirrors many children’s desire: a puppy. Pigeon promises to care for it and love it, “…I’ll water it once a month.” He begs and pleads for so long that a puppy appears. However, once Pigeon sees the puppy, he is not sure if he wants it any longer, “It’s huge!” In the end, Pigeon sets his heart on a different animal, a walrus.

c.       Critical Analysis

Willem’s story is very appropriate to the age he is targeting, 2-6. Children at this age can relate to the desire for a puppy and the necessity that it deserves. The plot moves perfectly with a conflict and resolution- although, the children will be wondering if Pigeon ever gets the walrus.

The text and illustration blend smoothly with one another. In fact, the illustrations add so much to the story. They can be described as simple, but powerful. Set in a pastel palette, most pages only have a picture of Pigeon expressing his feelings by body language. Until, we get closer to the climax of meeting the puppy, then the illustrations get fast-paced, just like Pigeon’s thinking. Willems uses speech bubbles for all of Pigeon’s dialogue. The emotions of Pigeon can be seen by the enlargement or minimization of the bubbles.  

d.      Review Excerpts

·         Starred review in School Library Journal  “…expressive illustrations and engaging text”

·         Starred review in Booklist “…kids will reach the end wondering what Pigeon will want next.”

e.      Connections and Classroom Activities

·         You could lead a discussion about a time the child got something he wanted that was not quite what he expected.

·         Author study of other Mo Willems’ books with Pigeon as main character. Look at Pigeon’s emotions, desires, and body language. Are there any similarities or differences?