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Publishing: Greenwillow, New York, 1982.
Description: A set of silly poems with even sillier drawings. Kids will laugh, but Prelutsky’s command of language will be fun for parents to enjoy as well if they choose to read it out loud.
Programming: This is a great book to show that poetry can be fun, and not boring. Students might learn rhyme scheme from some of the shorter, more straight-forward poems. Other poems might require some discussion, such as the one about the frog and the toad, that might lead into other subjects, such as biology. (What is the difference between a frog and a toad? etc). Because of the range of subjects covered in the poems, the possibilities might be only limited by imagination.
Publishing: Chronicle, San Francisco, 2008.
Description: The inside cover says it best when it categorizes this book as a “zany collection of verse.” Loosely themed around things that are records (longest, tallest, greatest, shortest, etc), these poems are based on actual events and records. Students will enjoy the short, rhythmic pieces, probably moreso if read out loud. The illustrations compliment the humor nicely.
Programming: This would obviously be great for a poetry unit, but also great for student who are interested in world records. It could be read alongside the Guinness Book of World Records, and might be tied into the 100th day of school or some study of achievements in history.
Publishing: Philomel, New York, 1997.
Description: A little boy turns around in the restaurant of Enzo’s Garden to look at a bee that has landed on a tree. In doing so, he drops a book that trips a waiter and sets off a string of terrible events that eventually lead to the fire department being called. The rhyming, repetitive text will be
Programming: Because each event is set in motion by the previous one, this would be a good story to teach cause and effect. This post (http://www.proteacher.org/a/156446_RE%3A+Cause+and+Effect+Project.html) suggests having students review the events in this story and then having them write their own cause and effect stories.
Here are some student examples: http://www.mrsgoldsclass.com/Archive/domino.htm
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
Publishing: Viking, New York, 1992
Awards: Caldecott Honor
Description: This book is hilarious. Even the cover and endpapers buck traditional storytelling, and I was laughing from the moment I opened it until the moment I closed it. Scieszka and Smith have created several anti-fairy-tales that are extremely entertaining to read. They utilize every aspect of the book, from font size and placement to the end papers and title page to continue their theme. Even the author’s bios on the end flap are humorous. I only feel sad that I did not read this book sooner. This will definitely go on my top 100.
Programming: This would be good to read after reading some of the traditional tales, such as Jack and Beanstalk and the ugly duckling. Have students compare how the versions are different. I’m still brainstorming other programming ideas…suggestions welcome…
Publishing: Balzer & Bray, New York, 2013
Description: Two cats trick an overly-prideful cheetah by allowing him to “win” all of the small races that each have prizes to slow him down, such as block shoes and a crown that falls over his eyes. When they run the big race, the two little cats come in first. But when they see the disappointment on Cheetah’s face, they tell him he won anyway and give him their medals.
Programming: This is a great book to teach younger students about taking turns and everyone having special talents. It also shows that sometimes friendship is about making the other person feel good about themselves. Students might each make medals and exchange them with a friend-as long as each person gets one.
Publishing: Little, Brown & Company, New York, 2007
Description: A chick explores the wonders of his new socks, showing off all of the things they can do, or that he thinks they can help him do.
Programming: Because this chick is excited about a new item, students might discuss how they feel when they get something new, especially things they wear. Other than that I’m out for ideas for curriculum connections.
Publishing: Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2003
Description: Farmer Fred isn’t sad, but he is serious. His farm animals are tired of never seeing him laugh or even laughing themselves and they go to extreme measures to try to make that happen. In the end, it happens in a way they were not expecting. The illustrations have fairly mellow colors to mimic the attitude of Farmer Fred and the expressions on the animals faces are pretty funny.
Programming: This book would be great to teach students that they have to appreciate what they have before it’s gone, but also that when something is wrong you have to communicate about it. Maybe there could be some discussions or role-playing surrounding this book.