Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade

9780547199450_3by Melissa Sweet, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (2011).

Summary: The true story of Tony Sarg, the marionette man that “quite simply, never grew up.” With ingenuity, he created the first large balloons that flew over New York City during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Mixed media collage, bright colors and fascinating details make this book simply amazing to behold.

Uses: Wonderful book for art teachers to use to describe the ingenuity used by a dedicated artist. I also love the mixed media illustration and art — could be used as an example in art class.

Awards: Robert Sibert Medal, NCTE Orbis Pictus

Borrowed this book from the Knoxville Public Library.



Me-Janeby Patrick McDonnell, Little Brown & Co. (2011).

Summary: This is a beautifully illustrated book by Patrick McDonnell (creator of the MUTTS cartoon). Me…Jane tells the life story of Dr. Jane Goodall and how she became so fascinated with chimpanzees. Did you know she had a childhood stuffed monkey friend named Jubilee?

Uses: A wonderful book for the youngest kids to be introduced to non-fiction biographies. Also could introduce a lesson on Chimpanzees or Africa.

Awards: Caldecott Honor Book, Charlotte Zolotow Award Winner,  Horn Book Fanfare Book, NYT Best Illustrated, NYT Notable A New York Times Notable Children’s Book,  Kirkus Reviews Best Book, CCBC 2012 Children’s Choices Book, Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Book.

Borrowed this book from the Knoxville Public Library.


Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

MoonshotBookSmallby Brian Floca, Richard Jackson Books for Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2009).

Summary: The story of Apollo 11 for the new generation. Beautiful, soft watercolor illustrations and easy to understand language make it a real pleasure to read.  Extra resources for true astronaut fans.

Uses: I would read this book on the anniversary of the moon landing. Also a great one to give to children that are interested in the moon or want to be an astronaut.

Awards: Sibert Honor, NYT Best, Society of Illustrators Silver medal, ALA Notable, Kirkus Best Books, School Library Journal Best Books, Horn Book Fanfare, Smithsonian Notable, Cybil Award Finalist

Borrowed this book from the Knoxville Public Library.

Tikki Tikki Tembo

imagesretold by Arlene Mosel, illustrated by Blair Lent, Henry Holt & Co., (1968).

Summary: A boy named “Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo” (which means “the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world) falls into the well. Because his name is so long, it took a long time for his brother, Chang, to tell others that he had fallen into the well (too many words to get out quickly and he would run out of breath). Because of this incident, Chinese mothers decided it is wise to give little, short, names instead.

Uses: Folktales unit. Also would be interesting to use as handwriting practice (write your name out and compare it on the handout to the long name of Tikki Tikki tembo!)

Awards: Boston Globe Horn Book Award, Starred review by Kirkus, American Library Association Notable Children’s Books

Read this book at the Knoxville Public Library.

A Child’s Calendar

51QEXSAXMYL._SY300_Poems by John Updike, Illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, Holiday House (1999). (1965 poem copyright).

Summary: A poem and illustration for each month, January through December. Each poem describes things children do during each month.

Uses: Poetry unit, would be wonderful to open each new month in the library by posting a poem on the 1st of each month and reading it aloud.

Awards: 2000 Caldecott Honor.

Read this book in the Knoxville Public Library.

Bubble Trouble

bubble-troubleby Margaret Mahy & Polly Dunbar, Clarion Books (2008).

Summary: Baby flies away in a bubble and must be rescued! Lots of tongue twisters in this novel. For example (read this out loud): “In a garden folly, Tybal and his jolly mother Sybil, sat and played a game of Scrabble, shouting shirlly as they scored. But they both began to babble and to scrobble with the Scrabble as the baby in the bubble bibble-bobbled by the board.”

Uses: Great example of what a tongue twister is! Also have students come up with other ideas of how the could have caught the baby in the bubble, encourage creativity!

Awards: Horn Book Award 2009.

Read in the Knoxville Public Library.


June 29, 1999

book-june_29_1999by David Wiesner, Clarion Books (1992).

Summary: If you loved Tuesday by David Wiesner, you’ll love June 29, 1999.  In May, a schoolgirl launches vegtable seedlings into the sky on weather balloons to study “the effects of extraterrestrial conditions on vegetable growth and development.” A month later, all over the country, the skies fill with giant vegetables. But Holly notices something: these are not the vegetables she sent up into space. Read the book to find out how the hot-air balloon size peppers, Mount Rushmore-sized potatoes and island-sized peas got to Earth!

Uses: A great read-aloud, would also be a fun introduction to get kids excited about doing science experiments, or a way to introduce a unit on vegetable growing.

Awards: Kirkus starred book review, School Library Journal Best Books, ALSC Notable Children’s Books, Horn Book Fanfare, Golden Duck Award for Excellence in Children’s Science Fiction Literature.

Read this book in the Knoxville Public Library.