Thursday, October 21, 2010

Camille Saint-Saens' The Carnival of the Animals

Our committee has been known to look for poetry that is accompanied by a CD. For a different spin, this poetry has been written to accompany a work of classical music, "Carnival of the Animals" by Camille Saint-Saens. A CD of the musical recording is included.

Here is a review from A Year of Reading blog:

Poetry + Music = Fun

Camille Saint-Saëns’s The Carnival of the Animals
new verses by Jack Prelutsky
illustrated by Mary GrandPré
includes CD of music and verses
Alfred A. Knopf, 2010

This music, long used to introduce children to classical music, does not need poems to suggest the animals each piece describes with sound.

These poems, written by the first U.S. Children's Poet Laureate, do not need musical accompaniment to help their rhythms and rhymes suggest the animals they describe -- the lumbering elephants, the flitting birds, the obnoxious donkeys, the slow and ancient tortoises.

But this music and these poems together, make the music more fun to listen to and the poems more fun to hear and say. What a great way to introduce children to the sounds of language along with the sounds of the orchestra.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pink Me Up

Now for another picture book recommendation:

Pink Me Up by Charise Mericle Harper could be a good choice for preschoolers. While the book has a pink-loving female protagonist, it also shows creativity and good problem solving skills as the little girl helps figure out how to "pink up" her father.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Guinea Dog by Patrick Jennings

It made me very happy to finally read a book that is PERFECT for Joliet Reads.

That book is Guinea Dog, by Patrick Jennings. It is the story of a boy who desperately wants a dog and winds up with a guinea pig who ACTS like a dog. This is a guinea pig who comes when called, fetches, wags its tail and even plays dead. It is very possibly the coolest guinea pig ever.

Did I mention that Guinea Dog is less than 200 pages long?


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn

I was alarmed by the jacket flap for Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn. It sounded way too scary to be a read aloud for the fourth and fifth grade classes. But it's not, and I recommend it as a Joliet Reads choice.

There were scary moments, but I think kids in fourth and fifth grade could handle them. One reservation is that one of the bad guys, Silas, punched his ex-wife and child. However, it had been established that Silas was a really bad person who had spent time in jail. In addition, all of the villains were arrested so will face consequences, which should meet students' need for justice.

Picture Books!!!

My newest recommendations are Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don't) by Barbara Bottner, My Garden by Kevin Henkes, Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord, April and Esme, Tooth Fairies by Bob Graham and Mr. Elephanter by Lark Pien.

I like them all, but think the small scale of the illustrations in Mr. Elephanter might make it a better choice for one-on-one reading than large groups.