Friday, October 27, 2006

Around the House the Fox Chased the Mouse & Alphabet Explosion

A cheater post today, I spent some time doing book reviews for the blog at work, and am going to post them here as well; Around the House the Fox Chased the Mouse: A Prepositional Tale, and Alphabet Explosion: Search and Count from Alien to Zebra. Yesterday my web page work fitting a Library Thing book widget on the resource center web site. It works beautifully, I chose to have the most recent book viewed on the widget and now every time I update a new book in my newly created library, it automatically displays the new title first. I am once again infatuated with using Library Thing.

Around the House the Fox Chased the Mouse, written by Rick Walton and illustrated by Jim Bradshaw:A rousing chase between fox and mouse, enhanced by colorful, cartoon like illustrations, teaches students simple prepositions. Throughout the story each page portrays a preposition and accompanying illustration ingeniously support the phrase. Text is simple and effective with the preposition highlighted with a bold, colorful font. Students will enjoy the comical reactions of observing farm animals and the double page spread for the word “until” is priceless! A surprise twist at the end tops off this story and begs rereading. This book could be just for fun, but is a nice classroom introduction to prepositions for young children and a possible refresher for older students.

The illustrations quite simply make this book and the ending begs for a sequal to be written detailing more adventures of fox and mouse. The link to more information on Jim Bradshaw go to his blog. There are additional pictures from the book available there on his post My 2nd book is here.

Alphabet Explosion: Search and Count from Alien to Zebra, written and illustrated by John Nickle: Not just another alphabet book, this captivating title combines the alphabet with a visual treasure hunt. Each page features a single letter, a collection of things beginning with that letter, and a numerical clue. For example, “S” has 47 items pictured including a snake, snail, squirrel in a show on skis, and a sheep wearing socks. Acrylic and spray paint illustrations range from lush representations of animals to simple pen and ink drawings, all clean and crisp making the items easy to find. Instructions and tips are present at the beginning of the book and a book ending answer key provides relief with explanations of each page. This would be a great rainy day activity for the whole class; some of the more difficult pages may require a collaborative effort.

Now is the time to admit just how much time we spent this morning pouring over this book with paper and pencil trying to find all of the things. I was a bit stymied with the "Impala" for letter "I" and had a student say she thought "E" should have one more because the elephant appears to be "elevated." Brainstorming with another student we thought it would be a cool beginning of the day or after recess activity. Put the book on an elmo and let the whole class particpate. All in all, both of these books were a great edition to the juvenile collection.

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