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Written & Illustrated by Timothy Young
They’re Coming! They’re Coming! They’re Coming! Who’s coming? When are they coming? How are they coming? Where are they coming? To find the answers, follow the “monster” type characters that shamble across the countryside on each double-page: a zombie, a werewolf, a witch and a bat, a mummy, and even the headless horseman. A luminous moon provides just sufficient light to silhouette each “monster.” Yellow green eyes stare from the monsters helping create a creepy mood. . The illustrations are digitally created and printed on heavy high gloss paper.
A rich selection of eerie adjectives describes each ghoul followed by the phrase, “They’re coming!’ That phrase will quickly be repeated by the children in a story hour setting.
The book is similar to the old story joke “The Viper is Coming,” in which the viper turns out to be the “vindow vasher.” Here the surprise ending involves a party.
Kids and adults like to be scared just a little bit; we also like a bit of tension in a story. They’re Coming meets both requirements. Currently the entertainment media’s interest and promotion of monsters, paranormal, spooky, walking dead, etc. have touched even preschool and primary age children. This title fulfills that interest and need.
This book is appropriate for inclusion in a Halloween story hour even though Halloween is not mentioned. However, once the secret about who is coming and where they’re going, is out, the book may not be as effective in a story hour. The title is also appropriate for schools that don’t celebrate Halloween, but the kids still enjoy a spooky story. Share the old rhyme “I’m Not Scared of Monsters” (I’m not scared of monsters, No monsters ever scared me, For I know that all monsters are only make believe) in that story hour.
Author/illustrator Timothy Young has had a long career in a variety of artistic endeavors from animation to sculpting, from toy design to book illustration and design.
Written by Marianne Berkes
Illustrated by Jill Durbin
It is a rare gem for parents and teachers of elementary students to find a book
that is entertaining, educational, and fun but Over in a River fits the bill. Second grade level readers will enjoy the rhyming text while younger children will enjoy the counting activity in each stanza. Second graders can manage the text independently but the lively picture book will be a great group story for a science lesson in the first or second grade classroom or read aloud to younger children.
Included in the wonderful rhyming story are fun filled facts about each species and
their natural habitats. The illustrations are engaging and fun for students of all ages while the text is filled with facts about nature, animals and animal babies. Second grade readers will have so much fun reading, counting, and playing I spy with the colorful illustrations they will not realize how much they are learning along the way.
The author also includes several extra pages of activities and lesson ideas for second grade teachers and parents. There is information about rivers, animals, and habitats but there is so much more. Also included are activities that incorporate music, singing, and dance for second grade readers. The illustrator chimes in with many ideas about drawing animals and how to make collages. All of these fabulous ideas will appeal to second grade readers and enhance any lessons brought to the classroom increasing both second grade
reading interest and comprehension.
Written & Illustrated by John Himmelman
Frogs sing when they are together, but did you know that only the male frogs sing? Second grade readers will be thrilled to find out this and other fun facts about frogs and their loud singing voices. Second grade level readers will be able to read Noisy Frog Sing-Along independently yet the book will be enjoyed by younger readers who have it read
Second grade teachers and parents will appreciate the scientific facts that will enhance lessons in the second grade classroom. The author also includes several activities that can be used to compliment lessons on frogs, nature, and the environment. More information on this book and other nature books by this author is available to parents and teachers at www.johnhimmelman.com which includes a list of books and programs on singing amphibians and insects. What second grade teacher doesn’t appreciate additional information to enhance a lesson plan?
Noisy Frog Sing-Along is more than a silly picture book about frogs making throat noises. It is a great addition to any second grade classroom or home school collection. The text is
simple, the illustrations are interesting and engaging, and the additional scientific facts make this a great book for the second grade reader.
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written & Illustrated by Timothy Young
Max vows to throw away of all his picture books, because they do nothing but cause him trouble. He read Harold and the Purple Crayon, but when he drew on the walls like Harold, his mother sent him to his room. When he wished a boat would take him away to Where the Wild Things Are, nothing happened. He woke up in his same old room with his same old picture books – the ones he now hates.
Readers will relish being in on the joke as Max complains that picture books make no sense (“Cows can’t type… and caterpillars don’t eat salami or Swiss cheese…”). And they will laugh out loud at a hilarious bit about what happens when you take Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham too seriously. As Max rants on and on, he realizes that he hates his picture books because sometimes they cause him to have strong emotions, like the time Are You My Mother? made him cry. Remembering that moment triggers something inside him to run to the trash and dig out the discarded book, and before you know it, he is lying on his floor with all his picture books around him, reading them again and again and again.
Perfect for second graders who may be advancing to early readers, Young reinforces how picture books stimulate our imaginations and stay with us long after we graduate from them. His skillful recreations of classic illustrations will have readers chanting, “I’ve read that one!” and will whet the appetite for those who haven’t.
Reading activities could easily stem from the hundreds of familiar book covers that appear within the pages.
Written & Illustrated By Elisha Cooper
While this realistic fiction picture book reads like a nonfiction book, the illustrator does admit that the train station in San Francisco picture in the book is entirely fictional.
Tickets are purchased and passengers race to catch the train. The paintings are beautiful and realistic. Any child who has ridden a train will love revisiting the experience and those who have not will be daydreaming about it until they do.
All the buttons and gauges the engineer sees and touches are in the illustration as well as the beautiful countryside that they are driving through.
True life announcements are made on the intercom system as factories, cities and other trains go whooshing on by.
All different kinds of container cars are pictured and explained, but not overly explained. Readers are still left to wonder what might be in each ones as it flies on by. Then the train is chugging through the Rocky Mountains with all of its wonderful eagles, moose and deer outside.
The overnight train has a fancy dining car and a sleeping car with fold-out seats that turn into beds for comfy sleeping while the train continues through the mountains.
Second grade readers and third grade readers will enjoy reading this book of sparse text and detailed pictures over and over as they study the pictures and feel the excitement of the trip.
Literacy skills of every kind can be practiced in this story as well as core curriculum geography by providing a map for children to mark while reading about the trains travels. It would also work extremely well in a transportation unit as a read aloud for kindergarten or first grade readers.
Written by Meg Kearney
Illustrated by E.B. Lewis
The story starts with Trouper, a stray three-legged dog running with a pack of dogs on the streets until they are all captured and loaded up in the dog catcher’s truck.
The dog in this true story was taken first to a kill shelter, then rescued by another shelter. There is no mention of the kill shelter in the children’s book. It is only in the preliminary material so can be shared with readers, but doesn’t have to be. The full color illustrations show him as he waited and waited for someone to choose him and take him home.
Children will love this story of how dogs and puppies watch for new owners to come and pick them out.
This lovely book was developed together by the award winning poet, Meg Kearney and Caldecott Honor winner, the illustrator E.B. Lewis.
Second grade readers will be able to read the short text individually and will be able to use their newly developed literacy skills of context clues, predicting outcomes, and realizing the related cause and effects.
Writtten by Leo Landry
Trick or Treat is a fun picture book for kids whether they have it read aloud or are able to read it independently. Second grade level readers should have no problem reading independently and the illustrations and the twist at the end of the story will keep them engaged and turning the page.
Teachers will appreciate this addition to the first or second grade classroom library especially during the month of October because it is such a fun Halloween book with a hint of scary without being offensive to parents or too frightening to the reader.
Trick or Treat is a wonderful example of a story that has levels of comprehension and meaning told with few words. It is not just an ordinary Halloween party story but a party with unexpected human guests. The fact that the main character was not expecting two children to appear is just one fun twist to what the author shares throughout the story.
The book offers the teacher an opportunity to ask great questions of the reader to test second grade reader comprehension and also to encourage students to write their own fun Halloween stories. The ending itself offers much room for classroom discussion because it leaves the main character in a cliff hanging predicament, a perfect time to ask the students what they would do.
From the invitation on the jacket flap to the hysterical twist at the end of the story, the story will be enjoyed by adults and the young readers who master the pages.
- Title: Trick or Treat
- Author: Leo Landry
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 2012
- ISBN: 978-0-547-24969-8
- Reviewer: Terri Forehand
Written by Carole Lexa Schaefer
Illustrated by Gaila Bernstein
Every story of friends has an annoyance. The question is how do you get around the annoying tendencies of your pals. Monkey and Elephant are good pals. They do everything together. Monkey likes shiny rocks. So does Elephant. Monkey likes to sing. So does Elephant. Monkey is tired of Elephant copying, even to the point of sneezing after she sneezes. But Elephant isn’t copying, at least not with the sneezes. Elephant is sick. Now Monkey forgets about the concerns of copying in order to take care of her friend. Monkey thinks she knows exactly what will make Elephant feel better, but Elephant is different than Monkey and needs different things. When Elephant gets better Monkey gets sick and the roles reverse. The sweet, if not unexpected ending, is that both friends celebrate their own strengths and appreciate the strengths of the other.
Monkey and Elephant Get Better is an early chapter book, written for the emerging reader and answers questions every young elementary school student faces: What is copying, or how do we make ourselves unique? How can we feel better when we’re sick? And how can we show we care about our friends when they are sick? While later books will get into more details about these questions, Schaefer does an excellent job of paring down to the core issues that puzzle these young learners. Second grade readers will enjoy reading this on their own. While it is longer than most picture books, it is illustrated with bright and informative paintings that will help with the reading comprehension of those trying to match the image to the word.
Written and Illustrated by Allen Say
Yuriko is a Japanese name that causes embarrassment to a little girl at school when her new teacher pronounces it incorrectly. She wishes she has a plain regular name and decides to change her name for a day or two. During the story, though, she finds out why her name is part of who she really is. This is a wonderful story for all children to find out more about names.
The children tease and bully her about her name and the fact that Japanese dolls all have black hair, while the hair on her doll and on her head is blonde. It is a wonderful multi-cultural story about how we can all fit in while still being different.
As a read aloud, it will strength understanding of how some families have different backgrounds from our own. It will give an opening for parents, teachers and librarians to discuss how we treat those who might have a different name or different kind of family than our own.
Second grade and third grade readers will be able to read this story independently while younger ones will need to have it read aloud. It has beautiful illustrations and an interesting parallel story line about an art project that the author uses to strengthen the idea of individualism.
The core curriculum requirements for many areas can be met using this book. It compares Japanese bridges with the Golden Gate in illustrations, the use of chopsticks, eating sushi and differences between languages with the illustration of Japanese ink painting.
Extras: This book could be used in a geography or culture class when students are studying Japan and Japanese customs. The art project about the golden gate bridge can be changed to include any important structure in any community. The illustration of the Japanese ink painting can be used to spark projects of research or painting. There are also a couple of expressions in the Japanese language to intrigue students for future exploration.