Last week my school held its spring book fair. I have loved book fairs for as long as I can remember. All those new books, beckoning, begging to be picked up and read. This year I found some real treasures.
Three Hens and a Peacock (Peachtree, 2011) by Lester Laminack and illustrated by Henry Cole, was the first to catch my eye. This is the story of an interloper in the hen house and how he upsets the routines of life on Tuckers’ farm. By the end, life is back to normal, and the everyone has learned a lesson about not trying to change who they are.
This book reminded me of Just Plain Fancy (Bantam Books, 1990), by Patricia Polacco. Polacco’s story is set on an Amish farm, where the unexpected guest arrives in the form of an egg. Two little girls have the responsibility for caring for the hens, and when they find the unusual egg, they add it to one of the nests in the hen house. Imagine their surprise when they realize that this bird is no hen!
Pairing these books would be a good way to address CCSS Anchor Standard 9: “Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.” This work begins in Kindergarten by having children “compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories” with prompting and support.
Actually, all of the books I found at the book fair could be used to meet this standard. How Do You Hug a Porcupine? (Simon & Schuster, 2011) by Laurie Isop and illustrated by Gwen Millward, answers this very prickly question. The boy who wants to attempt this, shown scratching his head on the cover, tries several very creative ways to protect himself from the porcupine’s quills. This book is a perfect mentor text for young writers. They could come up with their own solutions to this problem, or they could pose a similar question to answer.
This book initially got my attention because several of my students had just finished reading The Hug, by Sharon Fear. This book is part of the Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention series and is published by Heinemann. There are several stories about the main character, Moosling, in this series. Moosling is a loveable moose who gets himself into one predicament after another. In The Hug, Little Pins needs a hug so his good friend Moosling figures out how to give him one.
Speaking of moose, Kelly Bingham’s Z is for Moose (Greenwillow, 2012) has gotten all kinds of good press, but somehow I hadn’t read it yet. Hilariously illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, this book is a must-read. The book trailer is just as funny as the book.
I would pair this book with Q is for Duck: An Alphabet Guessing Game (Clarion Books, 2005) by Mary Elting & Michael Folsom with pictures by Jack Kent, for more mixed up alphabet fun.
What treasures did you find at the book fair this year?
Be sure to visit Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts to find out what others are reading today.