Monday, February 8, 2010

Picture book of the week: 100th Day Worries

February 22nd is an exciting day for kindergarten and first-grade students: the 100th day of school. Many classes bring in collections of 100 things--stickers, Cheerios,or cotton balls.   This is supposed to be a fun activity for the children and a celebration of the school year.  But for Jessica, the  main character in Margery Cuyler's 100th Day Worries, this day is a source of worry for Jessica.  If this sounds familiar to you, we met Jessica during fire prevention week in Stop, Drop, and Roll.

Jessica can't decide what to bring to school.  She agonizes and waits until the very last day to assemble her collection.  This story lends itself nicely to making predictions of what Jessica will bring, as well as counting by ones, tens, and twenties.  So if you are looking to celebrate our 100th day and sneak a little math in, too, check this out!

Book of the week: Bird Lake Moon

This post has been a long time coming. One of our staff members recommended Kevin Henke's chapter book Bird Lake Moon months ago. I trusted her, checked it out, and started reading it. I just couldn't get into it. One of the main characters, Mitch, is upset over his parents' divorce. He spends a lot of time hiding under his neighbor's porch, wishing that he and his mother could move into that house.

I found this to be totally contrived. My parents got divorced, and I didn't spend any time hiding under any porches. I found Mitch's behavior to be totally unrealistic and it just turned me off. So I abandoned the book to the stack next to my bed.

This week, I am teaching fifth grade classes at Yates about writing book reviews. The class did Bird Lake Moon as a read-aloud, so I decided to read them the reviews. I got so hooked by the reviews, I picked up the book and finished it, and I loved it. I just needed to see that Mitch's character would grow and evolve.

This book has mystery and humor and will appeal to children who come from divorced families. It will also lead to discussions about doing the right thing, even if it isn't the easy thing.