Picture Book

Book Review: When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers

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petWhen a Pet Dies
Written by Fred Rogers 
Photographs by Jim Judkis 
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons 1988 
Genre/Topics: Realistic, Death, Pets
Ages: 3-6, 32 pages
Death is a hard time period for all individuals, especially children who may have difficulties understanding exactly what death means. The first death experience a child may have is when a dear pet dies in their family. When a Pet Dies begins slowly and discusses how pets are part of the family and take great care. The book explains that sometimes their pet gets sick and needs a pet doctor or veterinarian. However, sometimes their pet is too old, sick, or injured for anyone to cure. Many people may gently explain to children that death is going to sleep for a long time, but When a Pet Dies explains that when a pet dies it isn’t alive so it can’t wake up. The book explains how people handle death differently. It’s okay to feel upset, cry, or desire to be alone. The important thing is to remember that there are loved ones who care about how you feel about losing your pet. When a Pet Dies finishes that with time you will no longer feel sad and you’ll feel happy again thinking about the good times with  your pet. When a Pet Dies doesn’t talk down to children, instead it handles a difficult subject in a comfortable and understanding way. Fred Rogers understands children, which is clearly seen if you watched Mr. Rogers. When a Pet Dies never goes into detail about what occurs after death or anything religious. That can be discussed within your family. I recommend When a Pet Dies for both a pet and individual death. 

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Here’s my family’s dog, George, who recently passed away.

 
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Book Review: I Haiku You by Betsy Snyder

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haikuI Haiku You
Written & Illustrated by Betsy Snyder
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on December 26, 2012
Genre/Topics: Poetry, Haiku, Love Expressions
Ages:4-6. 32 pages

A haiku is a Japanese poem divided into three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. I Haiku You is a cute book that expresses different loves written in the form of haiku. The book isn’t exactly a story, instead it’s things, situations, and people who show happiness. I Haiku You has simple haiku poems and messages that children can understand. Haiku poems range from butterflies, bike rides, summer treats, friendship, snow angels, and even s’mores.

I found myself counting the syllables on my fingers the entire time I read I Haiku You. I think this a delightful book to introduce haiku poems to young children. The book doesn’t even have to be used for poetry alone, since the cheerful messages are sure to make you smile. The illustrations are also cute and really show the haiku’s theme. Take this book’s inspiration and create your own haiku today!

 Haiku History & Information:

A haiku poem consists of three lines, with the first and last line having 5 moras, and the middle line having 7. A mora is a sound unit, much like a syllable, but is not identical to it. Since the moras do not translate well into English, it has been adapted and syllables are used as moras.

Haiku started out as a popular activity during the 9th to 12th centuries in Japan called “tanka.” It was a progressive poem, where one person would write the first three lines with a 5-7-5 structure, and the next person would add to it a section with a 7-7 structure. The chain would continue in this fashion. So if you wanted some old examples of haiku poems, you could read the first verse of a “tanka” from the 9th century.

The first verse was called a “hokku” and set the mood for the rest of the verses.  Sometimes there were hundreds of verses and authors of the “hokku” were often admired for their skill. In the 19th century, the “hokku” took on a life of its own and began to be written and read as an individual poem. The word “haiku” is derived from “hokku.”

The three masters of “hokku” from the 17th century were Matsuo, Issa, and Buson.  Their work is still the model of haiku writing today. They were poets who wandered the countryside, experiencing life and observing nature, and spent years perfecting their craft.

Example of Basho Matsuo Haiku from 1600s:

An old silent pond…

A frog jumps into the pond,

splash! Silence again.

Example of Kobayashi Issa Haiku from late 1700s & early 1800s:

Everything I touch

with tenderness, alas,

pricks like a bramble.

Example of Yosa Buson Haiku from late 1700s:

A summer river being crossed

how pleasing

with sandals in my hands!

Informtation obtained from Your Dictionary Haiku Poems

Book Review: I Pledge Allegiance

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I Pledge Allegiance
Written by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Published by Candlewick on June 3, 2004
Ages: 4+, 40 pages
Genre/Topics: Patriotism, Pledge of Allegiance, U.S. History

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Many students begin the day reciting The Pledge of Allegiance. What exactly does it mean when we proudly salute the flag? When did it begin? Has the Pledge changed since it started? These questions and more are explained in I Pledge Allegiance.

I Pledge Allegiance isn’t exactly a story, instead the entire Pledge is ‘spoken’ on the pages. The book breaks it down and explains what words mean. Only a few words are on a page with an explanation, such as pledge, allegiance, flag, republic, nation, God, liberty, and justice. These are big concepts for children to grasp. There is additional information about the Pledge throughout the book. The book explains the flag’s colors, what to do when saying the Pledge, brief Pledge history, and even a colorful map of the United States of America.

I really enjoyed I Pledge Allegiance. As a teacher, I proudly state the Pledge every morning. Some students don’t show respect when saying the Pledge, so I think this book will explain what it means. The illustrations are unique, because they appear like construction paper and watercolors. I Pledge Allegiance does a great job showing how all are represented under the flag, since the people are all colors from yellow to blue. I highly recommend I Pledge Allegiance, so children can understand what the Pledge means and how to be respectful.

Facts about The Pledge of Allegiance:

  • In 1892, Francis Bellamy wrote it as a poem for children. It was published in the children’s magazine, The Youth’s Companion.
  • It wasn’t intended to be spoken daily, instead it was written to celebrate Columbus Day.
  • The Pledge used a military style salute, similar to the Nazi salute. In 1942, the U.S. Flag Code changed the salute to be a hand over the heart.
  • In 1954, President Eisenhower asked Congress to add ‘under God’.

Original Pledge:

I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands – one Nation indivisible – with liberty and justice for all.

 

 

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday: Museum Trip by Barbara Lehman

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Museum Trip
Illustrated by Barbara Lehman
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 22, 2006
Ages 4+, 32 pages
Genre/Topics: Wordless, Museum, Field Trip, Imagination

A museum holds many interesting things from paintings, artifacts, and sculptures. A young boy is on a field trip to a museum and everything is fine, until he stops to tie his shoe. He now lost his group and wanders alone. He discovers a room with maze-like drawings. When he takes a closer look he finds that he is physically inside the maze. He now explores maze after maze. When he finishes navigating through all the mazes, he exits the room. Finally, the boy catches up with his classmates on the museum trip. His field trip experience is quite different from others.

The Museum Trip is a simple wordless book and not too much imagination is needed. The book is fun, because each maze is on a page. The reader can ‘help’ the boy find the center and exit the maze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet S. Wong

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apple pieApple Pie 4th of July
Written by Janet S. Wong
Illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 1, 2006
Ages: 4-7, 40 pages
Genre/Topics: 4th of July, Immigrant Families

A Chinese American girl is unhappy as she sits inside her parent’s market while 4th of July festivities take place outside. Her parents are busy making chow mein and sweet & sour pork, but the girl states that nobody wants Chinese food on the 4th of July. Her father replies that fireworks are Chinese. The day continues as she hears a parade she’d like to attend. A few customers wander inside for soda and ice cream, but nobody buys the Chinese food. The girl doesn’t think her parents understand American things, even though her mother loves apple pie and her father has lived here as a boy. Finally, evening arrives and customers enter to buy Chinese food for dinner. When the market closes, the family watches the Chinese fireworks while eating ‘American’ apple pie.

Apple Pie 4th of July is a great children’s book to highlight different sides of what it means to be American. The United States is referred to the ‘melting pot’ or ‘tossed salad’, so there’s no formula of what exactly makes an American. The girl learns that she can be proud of her heritage while enjoying stereotyped ‘American’ apple pie. The illustrations and plot are simple for young ages to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday: Journey by Aaron Becker

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journeyJourney
Illustrated by Aaron Becker
Published August 6, 2013 by Candlewick Press
40 pages, 7+
Genre/Subject: Wordless, Imagination, Travel
Awards: Caldecott Honor Book 2014
 
Journey tells the story of what can happen with a red marker and an imagination. A girl desires an adventure when she asks each family member to fly a kite, play ball, and ride a scooter. Everyone says no, so she’s bored again in her room until she notices the red marker. She draws a red door and heads out on a journey. Her red marker creates a boat, balloon, and even a flying carpet through her journey. Hopefully, her red marker helps bring her journey home.
 
I thought Journey was a delightful and colorful wordless book. There are small details you notice the second time reading. Journey can be enjoyed by all ages, but older ages can take full advantage of asking what will happen next on her journey. Children can write about what they would do if given a magic marker to take them anywhere. Journey is a fun book that will have your imagination to new places.
 

 
 

Wordless Wednesday: Wave by Suzy Lee

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wave
Wave
Illustrated by Suzy Lee
Published April 16, 2008 by Chronicle Books
40 pages, 3+
Genre/Subject: Wordless, Beach
New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book 2008

 Wave is the story of a young girl’s day at the beach. The girl appears with a flock of seagulls and at first she is hesitant to go into the water. The girl and seagulls are in charcoal grey on one page and the ocean waves are blue watercolors on the adjacent page. Soon the charcoal and watercolor combine as the young girl has fun in the ocean. Finally, one huge wave causes the girl to get swept away onto the shore. She leaves the beach in a blue dress as a part of the ocean always stays with her.

I thought Wave had a simple storyline, but the drawings add depth. I love how her day begins boring and grey then splashes of blue are upon her as she plays in the ocean. Wave is a good wordless picture book for younger ages, since the plot is simple. All ages will enjoy the illustrations and colors.

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