Willems, Mo. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. New York: Hyperion for Children, 2003.
Brief summary: Pigeon really, really, really wants to drive the bus. He tries all his tricks to get the reader to give in to his plea.
Classroom uses: Creative thinking-ask children to imagine what would have happened if we had let the pigeon drive the bus. They can write their own imagined ending. Personal narrative writing: ask “what do you do when your parents say no?” Ask older classes to write an essay about a time they talked their parents into something. Predicting outcomes: at the end of the book, when Pigeon sees a big red tractor trailer, he says “hey…” Ask children to predict what will happen next.
Awards: 2003 Caldecott Honor book
Borrowed this book from the Knox County library
Smith, Jeff. Little Mouse Gets Ready: A Toon Book. New York: Toon, 2009.
Brief summary: The story follows Little Mouse as he gets dressed to go on an adventure to the barn. The thought bubbles follow him as he gives children helpful tips for putting on their own underwear such as “check the tag, that’s the back” and how to button their shirt, “line the buttons up to the holes.” Older kids will love the ending: Little Mouse’s Mama chides him “mice DON’T wear clothes!” and clothes come popping off Little Mouse in all directions and he scurries away.
Classroom ideas: Wonderful fit for a preschool storytime in a public library setting. The theme of storytime could be “getting ourselves dressed” and I would bring out a felt board with a little boy. The children would be instructed to “walk me through” putting clothes on the boy: “What should we put on first? Where does his hat go? On his feet?”
Awards: 2010 Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor book
Borrowed book from the Knoxville Public Library
Willems, Mo. We Are in a Book! New York, NY: Hyperion, 2010.
Brief Summary: Gerald and Piggie discover the joy of being read. But what will happen when the book ends?
Classroom uses: Discuss how the illustrations are used to show feeling, mood and tone of the book. How does the illustrator show that Piggie is excited? Go over parts of a book and the jobs that are behind each one (author/illustrator, publisher, for example).
Awards: 2011 Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor book
Book borrowed from the Knoxville Public Library
Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. [New York]: Harper & Row, 1963.
Brief summary: Max is wild and is sent to his room by his mother. His bedroom becomes a mysterious habitat and he sails away to the land where the “Wild Things” are. He is crowned King of the Wild Things, but he decides he will return home. When he gets home, his supper is waiting for him and it is still warm.
Classroom ideas: Feeling identification: Max is punished for “making mischief.” Discuss with children what Max’s response is and his punishment. Talk about other reactions and ways that Max could have expressed himself. Make a list of things people do when they feel excited and when they feel sad. Are they opposites? Identify the “Wild Things:” The Wild Things seem to have parts of all kinds of different animals. Have students identify which animal parts they see in the “Wild Things” (a parrot’s head and a crocodile body, for instance).
Awards: 1964 Caldecott Award
Part of my home collection.
Tresselt, Alvin, and Roger Duvoisin. Hide and Seek Fog. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1965.
Brief summary: A “20 year fog” disheartens the grown-ups in a seaside village, but the children love to play hide-and-seek in it. The fog “tip-toes past the windows and across the porch” and covers the whole town! As soon as it moves in, it’s gone.
Classroom uses: Nature: explain fog as a phenomena of nature. Explain why fog is likely to be accompanied by rain. Percentages: Compare the weather forecasts for several days–if the forecast states there’s a 20% chance of fog on Tuesday and a 90% chance on Friday, ask students which day it is more likely/less likely to be foggy.
Awards: 1966 Honor Book
Book was borrowed from the Knoxville Public Library
Tresselt, Alvin, and Roger Duvoisin (illustrator) White Snow, Bright Snow. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1947.
Brief summary: The postman, farmer and policeman and his wife can feel it coming. The children are excited. The snow falls and the town is covered. Eventually the snow gives way to Spring.
Classroom uses: Art: the book is drawn with only 5 different colors (red, yellow, green, brown and black). Give children these colors and white pompoms for snow and ask them to recreate a scene in the book.
Awards: 1948 Caldecott Medal
Borrowed from the Knoxville Public Library
Henkes, Kevin. Owen. New York: Greenwillow, 1993. Print.
Brief summary: Owen loves his yellow blanket, Fuzzy. Fuzzy goes where Owen goes, much to the dismay of nosy neighbor Mrs. Tweezers. Despite her best interference, Mrs. Tweezers can’t break Owen’s habit of keeping Fuzzy with him all the time. When Owen is a big boy learns that Fuzzy cannot go with him to school, Owen’s mother has the perfect solution.
Classroom ideas: Ask children if they have ever had a “lovey” and if they do to draw a picture of it and write down 5 adjectives that described how they felt about it. Comprehension and character development skills: ask children to draw Owen at the top of the page and then write 3 sentences about him.
Awards: 1994 Caldecott Honor book
Borrowed this book from the Knoxville Public Library