Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Read Across America Week: Author Visit Recap!

In celebration of Read Across America Week (this week), sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA), I was invited to read at Valley View Elementary yesterday.

It was a blast! I don't think I've ever met as many young, aspiring writers in one place!

I was also AMAZED at how attentive and enthusiastic the kids were, especially since my author visit took place during the last two hours of the school day! Kudos to you, kids. I'll be first in line someday when your books come out.

One of my favorite photos from the day. The kids are learning all about action rhymes, and how many writers get started writing for magazines while they work on books or wait for their books to come out.

And yes, it was crazy hat day at Valley View in case you were wondering.
I absolutely love school visits. And I can visit virtually, too. TEACHERS: Check out my website page on school visits. I'm fun, affordable (see my note on how to get me to come for FREE), and flexible! Pick me! Pick me!

Friday, February 22, 2013

WHAT IF YOU HAD ANIMAL TEETH? by Sandra Markle - Perfect Picture Book Friday

We've got a front-tooth-less cutie pie in our household, so I ordered up a book that I thought might be fun and educational. Turns out it was even better than I thought!

So, I chose it for today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick:


Title:  What if You Had Animal Teeth?
Author: Sandra Markle
Illustrator: Howard McWilliam
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc., 2013
Ages: 4-8
Genre: Picture Book (nonfiction)
Themes/Topics: Teeth/Losing teeth, Animals, Humor, Nonfiction

Opening Page: (technically the first animal-comparison page)  "If you had beaver teeth, your front teeth would never stop growing. So you could gnaw through all the tough stuff you like, day after day, for all of your life. [The illustration is a kid chewing up his Math book—which my daughter thought was hilarious].

Synopsis: If animal teeth grew in place of the teeth you just lost, which animal's teeth would you choose?

Why I chose this book: My daughter's attention was completely captivated the entire time. It is a great book for reluctant readers. The text is just the right amount, and Sandra Markle has chosen the most interesting facts to include. Howard McWilliam's illustrations are quirky and eye-catching. There are so many little things in each illustration to notice and laugh about! I highly recommend it for anyone with a Kindergarten through second-grader who is going through the tooth-losing process.

Author Sandra Markle's blog:

Illustrator Howard McWilliam's website:

An Animal Teeth ThinkQuest site for kids:

BBC site on Animal Teeth:

All about Human Kids' Teeth at Kids Health:

1. Cut out the shapes of different incisors or front teeth, shaped like those from the book or resources above. Tape them to your top lip (or wherever they should go) and take photos with a digital camera, iPad, or computer. Then go look at them!

2. After reading the book, have each child choose which animal teeth they would want and write one to three sentences explaining why. They can also draw a picture to accompany their writing.

3. Have a taste test! Arrange soft, hard, crunchy, and a variety of textured and shaped foods and then have kids observe which teeth they use to bite, rip, crunch, or chew.

Thanks for stopping by! If you want to see other Perfect Picture Book Friday titles, head on over to Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

I, for one, am going outside. It's another SNOW DAY here in Wisconsin!!! YAYAYAYA!

Friday, February 15, 2013

GREEN by Laura Vaccaro Seeger – Perfect Picture Book Friday

It's Perfect Picture Book Friday!

For the last however-many weeks, I've been surrounded by white. Snowy, icy, slip-slidey weather. (My blogging fingers have been as frozen as my driveway. I know.)

Beautiful as it is to see the sun shining on fresh blankets of snow and through the arm-sized icicles hanging from the eaves trough of my Wisconsin home today, I'd sure like to see some green right about now.

Therefore I give you today's Perfect Picture Book:

by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Title:  Green
Author: Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Illustrator: Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Publisher: Neal Porter Books (Roaring Brook Press), 2012
Themes/Topics: Environment, Color, Rhyme

Opening Page:  Forest Green

Synopsis:  It's really an explanation of the many shades and kinds of green—literal and figurative. The book is less than 50 words, but comes full circle with a storybook ending.


Mix shades of yellow, blue, black, white paint to make many shades of green (see link above)
Make a list of other things that are green
Make a list of ways to be "green"
Make a similar style poem/book, but using a different color

Why I chose this book: Well, not only did it earn a Caldecott Honor, but it's just one of those simple books that is so well done, you have to read it again and again. The paintings are stunning and my children say, "Wait! Don't turn the page yet!" which is exactly opposite of some books, where they're in a hurry to reach the end. It's a book that can be read to a two-year-old but a seven-year-old will still love it. That's not easy to accomplish. Plus, it's just a gosh-darn beautiful book. My favorite: "wacky green!"

Comments welcomed! If you're not familiar with PPBF, check out Susanna Leonard Hill's amazing resource here.
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