Friday, October 30, 2009

Well, I have spent the hours since I blogging last working on the article on booktalking and I am a bit saddened by the lack of support I see in the data from HS teachers for booktalking. Most of them did enjoy listening to the booktalks and do see booktalking as an effective reading incentive activity but only a couple of them actually said they might try it themselves. I hope my YA lit students are proactive and go out there and train more booktalkers at the schools they become school librarians in. At UHCL we made YA lit a required course of alternative licensure students getting secondary certification and what a great group of students they were to teach. I loved seeing these guys start out with their arms crossed and "yeah-right!" looks on their face to emailing me after they had classrooms of their own to tell me how they were booktalking in their classrooms. I loved it!
And, since I was a bit frustrated after I finished the rough draft of the article I started going through picture books as I knew there was no way I could stay grumpy if I read picture books. :-)

With Halloween tomorrow I had to read a book about owls. My all time favorite owl book is Jane Yolen's Owl Moon It is both the rhythmic text and the wonderful snowy night illustrations by John Schoenherr that makes this the most wonderful father and daughter story for those of us who grew up in cold country where we were so bundled up that we could hardly walk, but would have walked through the snow as long as needed to spend time with our fathers. This may be set it New England, but it may as well have been the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where I grew up where the Great Horned Owl hoot can also be heard in the dead of the night.

I have found a new beloved title in Jennifer A. Ericsson's Whoo Goes There? illustrated by Bert Kitchen. As with Owl Moon B&N indicates ages 4-8 for this book but I am a lot older than that and this one stays with me! I will share it with lots of folks, old and young, but I won't give my copy to anyone. The illustrations are so beautiful I thought of buying another copy so I could frame some of them. The predictable text is an absolute delight - Owl is listening and watching for his evening meal. He is hoping for a mouse but it turns out to be a slinking Siamese cat - not a fit dinner for Owl. Something moving under the brush - perhaps a squirrel for dinner but it is a skunk - Owl didn't want skunk for his dinner. And so the evening goes as Owl predicts what the sound might mean but he is wrong each time and the man scares him away and little mouse can find his evening meal. A wonderful title for teaching little ones about the various animals who search for food at night as well as prediction skills. A must have for every primary school collection and public library. What a great storytime book to support the science curriculum or just as a fun Autumn read.

I really did want to like it, but Tim Hopgood's Wow! Said the Owl is not going to be on my recommended. list. I have real problems with books that are meant to teach colors and they are not clearly the color indicated. The pink looks lavender to me and the orange ranges from almost red to gold. When teaching little ones colors we need to have very true colors and these are not. The indigo looks black and the red looks orange and I just ended up being frustrated. I will not share this one with my grandchildren as they will as confused as I am by how these colors came about.

And, since I was feeling grumpy I just had to add The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by Andrew Joyner my reading pile because the grumpy bear on the front reflected how I was feeling. But, soon I was laughing out loud at all of the animals running for fear of the Terrible PLOP! The rabbits were dining on chocolate cake and carrots by the lake when they heard the Terrible PLOP! And off they went, just like Henny Penny and her fear of the sky falling, in fear of the Terrible PLOP! The rhyming text is as delightful as the illustrations. "Up jump the rabbits ' Hop, hop, hop! They shout to each other, "Run! Don't stop! We must get away From the Terrible PLOP!" Bear is not happy about having his time in the sun being interrupted so he grabs the slowest little bunny by the ears and insists he sees where the terrible PLOP! happened. So, there they are at the lake, the apple swaying in the breeze when it happens again. The little bunny knows what caused the Terrible PLOP! but Bear is on the run in abject fear. It is hilarious and a great companion to other books that address the "sky is falling" wherever it happens to be!

Okay - that's it for the night. We are watching the news and there is a Thriller Parade downtown tonight. Guess it is a big deal but we haven't gone down there yet.