Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sarah, Plain and Tall


Sarah, Plain and Tall
by Patricia MacLachlan

This book was about a girl named Anna, her brother Caleb, and their father who live on a farm. Their mother died the day she gave birth to Caleb. Now that the kids are older they miss their mother even more. Jacob, their father, puts an ad in the newspaper for a wife. He gets a letter from a woman named Sarah who lives by the sea in Maine. Sarah comes and stays with them and Anna, Caleb, and Jacob all love her instantly. Sarah is very tough and headstrong and likes to do things her own way. Anna and Caleb worry everyday that she will go back home to Maine because she misses the sea. One day Sarah goes to town, and Anna and Caleb don't think she will come back home. However, at dusk they see her wagon pull up and she is back from town and she brought them presents. She agrees to the wedding with Jacob and becomes their new mother. I would use this book in the classroom to teach my kids about family diversity. Many kids can relate to having only one parent, or their parent getting remarried and they get a new mom or dad. This book will inform them about single parent families and let them know they are not the only one in that situation.

Twister on Tuesday

(realistic fiction)

Twister on Tuesday
by Mary Pope Osborne

This book is part of a series called the Magic Tree House series. In this book a brother and sister named Jack and Annie go to the tree house they found a long time ago. It is a magical tree house filled with books and you get to travel to the setting of the book. The owner of the tree house needs them to get four pieces of writing to save the tree house. They need something you can follow, something you can send, something you can learn, and something you can lend. In this book, they are looking for something they can learn. Jack and Annie start to read a book in the tree house called "Life on the Prairie" and they find themselves in Kansas during pioneer times. They roam around and find a school house. They attend school for a while, then Miss Neely has them copy a quote onto their slate. Jack discovers that this is the piece of writing that is something to learn. Jack and Annie leave school to go back home, but on their way back to the tree house a Twister comes. They run back to the school house to save Miss Neely and  the rest of the class. After the Twister is over, Jeb, the bully, is nicer to Jack and Annie. Jack and Annie head back to the tree house, go home, and prepare for their next journey. I would use this book in my classroom to teach about tornados. Throughout the book it is cool because it has little facts about tornados. This is useful because it is still a fun, interesting story for kids to read, but it has factual information thrown into it as well. 



by Seymour Simon

This is an educational book about that tells you everything you need to know about hurricanes. It talks about what hurricanes are, where their name comes from, how they are formed, and where they occur. The book also talks about their size, speed, names, and effects. Pictures are included in the book to show the reader what a hurricane looks like on a weather map. It points out the eye of the hurricane and the bands of thunderstorms. Specific hurricane events are discussed to teach the reader about the dangerous outcomes of hurricanes. The book displays the categories of hurricanes and the criteria for each category. I would use this book in my classroom during a weather unit to teach my students about hurricanes. Especially since we live on the east coast and many hurricanes happen here it is important for everyone to be informed about them. This book is perfect for teaching my students about hurricanes because it includes every detail and fact about hurricanes and has interesting pictures and diagrams to supplement the reading.

Joan of Arc


Joan of Arc: Heroine of France
by Ann Tompert and illustrated by Michael Garland

Wordle describing Joan of Arc:

Wordle: Untitled

I would use this book in the classroom to teach about history. Joan of Arc is a famous leader, and I can read this book to my students so that they can picture her adventures more clearly.

Thank you, Sarah


Thank you, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving
by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Story Pyramid

Sarah Hale
Dedicated, Ambitious
1800's, Civil War, Slavery
No one wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving
  Asked Politicans to nationalize Thanksgiving
Some states made Thanksgiving a holiday
All her letters were denied by Presidents
Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863

I would use this book in the classroom by reading it to my kids around Thanksgiving. Most kids already know about the history of Thanksgiving, but I didn't even know about Sarah Hale until I read this book. So I think this will broaden their knowledge about Thanksgiving and it is an interesting story that supports the holiday.

Beauty and the Beast


Beauty and the Beast
by Adele Geras and illustrated by Louise Brierley

In this book, a wealthy man has three daughters who are all beautiful. The youngest one, Belle, is the sweetest and most beautiful, and she never complains. The father is a merchant, and one day all of his ships at sea sink except for one. They have lost a lot of money, so the father goes to port to get his last remaining ship and money. Before he sets off, he asks his daughters what gifts they would like him to bring back. The oldest asks for a diamond, the middle asks for a pearl, and Belle asks for her father to return home safely. But she says if she must ask for a present, she would like a red rose. The merchant is not able to find a red rose in a shop so he decides to look for one along the road. He gets lost, and winds up at a mansion. He goes inside, but cannot find anyone. The mansion is enchanted and mysteriously cooks him a meal, gives him a bath, and washes his clothes. As he is leaving he sees a rose garden outside the mansion so he goes and picks a rose for Belle. At that moment he hears a loud roar and a beast appears. It is the beast that lives at the mansion and he calls father selfish for stealing from him after all the hospitality he has given him. He tells the father he must go home and send him one of his daughters on their own will and they must stay with him forever, or else the father must come back and be punished. Belle goes happily for her father and stays with the beast. She is very scared of him at first and misses her family but she becomes used to the mansion and starts to enjoy it. The beast asks her to marry him everyday but Belle always says no. One day she finds out her father is sick and asks the beast to let her go home to him. The beast allows her to go, and asks her to please come back to him. Belle stays with her father for a few weeks and misses the beast while she is away. One night she looks in her magic mirror and sees that the beast is dying in the rose garden. She hurries back to the beast and finds him unconcscious in the rose garden. She cries over him and tells him she loves him. The beast wakes back up, but as a handsome young man. He tells Belle of the curse a bad fairy put on him, that he would be a beast until a woman agreed to marry him. They end up getting married and live happily ever after. I would use this in the classroom when I was reading other fairy tales to the students. Also, to teach the students about how you cannot judge someone based on their looks. 

The Hare and the Tortoise


The Hare and the Tortoise
by Helen Ward

This book is the traditional story of the Hare and the Tortoise. The Hare trips over the Tortoise and falls into a thorny bush so he gets angry at the Tortoise and calls him slow and stupid. The Tortoise is more polite and instead of insulting the Hare, he challenges the Hare to a race. The Hare laughs because he can't believe the Tortoise thinks he is faster than him. On the day of the race, the race begins and the Hare shoots off ahead of th Tortoise. The Tortoise is way behind, but is moving at a steady pace. The Hare gets lost in a forest and is tired so he decides to take a nap since the Tortoise is so far behind. When he wakes up he is in a garden so he decides he will have some lunch too. The Hare thinks he has all the time in the world and that the Tortoise could never beat him. While he is eating, he hears cheering, so he runs to the finish line and gets there just in time to see the Tortoise crossing the finish line ahead of him. The Hare, unable to stop, runs into another thorny bush. This time he just keeps his mouth shut because he has learned his lesson. Using this book in the classroom would be excellent to read to younger kids because of the morals behind it. This story teaches you not to brag, not to insult others, and not to be arrogant. Most younger kids think they are the best at everything and will often fall into this trap. This book teaches them to be wise and always do their best, instead of thinking they will always win or be better than someone else.