Book review: Charlotte’s Web

Author: E.B. White
Illustrator: Garth Williams

It’s ironic that I chose this book as one of my favorite children’s books, being that the heroine is the very thing I fear the most – a spider! And yet Charlotte has become a cherished friend over the years, more so with each reading of this endearing story.

As a first grade teacher, I gathered my students on the carpet after recess each afternoon and for weeks read this book aloud to them.  We sectioned off our room to make room for our (gallon milk cartons painted pink) “pigs,” and hung “spiders” from the ceiling. Why? Having grown up in Iowa, around farms, pigs, haylofts, and county fairs, I yearned for my students to gain an insight into this totally new world.  By the time we had finished the book, most of the kids were wanting pigs for pets. Wilbur had certainly become more than just “SOME PIG”  to them.  Even Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, learns about friendship. It is the story of the magic of childhood on a farm, of Fern, the little girl who understands the language between the animals.

Will Charlotte’s clever plan to save Wilbur’s life work? Let’s just say both the book and the ending are “TERRIFIC!”

 

Mary Byrne Kline

A Nest is Noisy!

Our next theme is for the birds – literally!

Birds & Feathers

We begin with our focus book, A Nest is Noisy by one of our favorite author/illustrator teams when it comes to informational books.  Each page is brimming with pure visual delight which will prompt exactly the conversations you want your child to have about the amazing world God has created.  Climb into the world of birds and their nests and (learn) enjoy!

PS Do you have a story about a bird or nest from your childhood?  If so – then you are all set for your next H2L adventure!

From the Publisher
“Fans will rejoice at the first sight of A Nest Is Noisy,” promises School Library Journal, and they’re right. From the award-winning creators of An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, A Rock Is Lively, and A Beetle Is Shy comes this gorgeous and informative look at the fascinating world of nests, from those of tiny bee hummingbirds to those of orangutans high in the rainforest canopy. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap.

Download this TeacherGuide , a gift from the author & illustrator, and file it away to use next year with one of their award-winning books.

 

Casey at the Bat

Author:  Ernest Lawrence Thayer

9781929766000_p0_v1_s260x420What better way to wrap up our monthly theme on baseball than with the classic poem which symbolizes America’s favorite pastime – baseball.   And there is no better way to enjoy this tongue-in-cheek melodrama than to “ham it up” with a few of your favorite little baseball fans and perform a reader’s theater.  I can almost hear those excited little fans now…

Fan #1 – Then from the gladdened multitude went up a joyous yell.

Fan #2 – It rumbled in the mountaintops, it rattled in the dell.

Fan #3 – It struck upon the hillside and rebounded on the flat – 

Fan #1 – For Casey,

Fan #2 – mighty Casey,

Fan #3 – was advancing to the bat.

Put on your baseball caps, switch parts around and put on a show for your friends and neighbors! Reading this poem together will bring enjoyment, laughter, and the realization that reading aloud can be a learning experience while providing a lot of fun! So, let’s get started.

It looked extremely  rocky for the Mudville nine that day…

Mary Byrne Kline
CONTACT

The Story of Ferdinand

As I begin packing my suitcase for an 8 day road trip through Spain, I thought I’d revisit an old favorite whose setting is my destination: The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.


I remember being introduced to this book (one of the bestselling children’s books of all time) when I was in college – in my Children’s Lit class.    I don’t remember the details of WHY I fell in love – but I know WHO stole my heart…Ferdinand.  His joy and contentment captivated me.   He made me smile.   As a result of a series of events (a bee sting) he is chosen for the full fights in Mardrid.  Why?  Because he is the “biggest, fastest, roughest bull” of all!

The day of the bullfight is incredible, with flying flags, bands playing, and lovely ladies with flowers in their hair. The parade into the bullring includes the Banderilleros, the Picadores, the Matador and then comes the bull.

Ferdinand is a dear story that will have appeal simply for its humor and for its happy ending.

There are those who considered The Story of Ferdinand to have a political agenda since it was published in September of 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. However it was actually written in October of 1935 and Leaf and his family always denied any political intentions. According to Munro Leaf, “it’s ‘a happy-ending story about being yourself.’ ”
(Source: School Library Journal)

Asking questions and extending learning while reading a children’s book is an art form.  The best teacher (mom/dad) slips in a question without disrupting the flow of the story while keeping the story momentum flowing.

Some questions to consider:

  1. How is Ferdinand different from all the other little bulls?
  2. Why do you think Ferdinand’s mother began to worry?
  3. Why did the men choose Ferdinand?
  4. In a bull fight, what do you think are the jobs of the Banderilleros, the Picadores, and the Matador?
  5. Do you think there is a life lesson in this story?  ExplainBut better than letting my canned questions drive you – let your child’s curiosity drive your conversation.  Now, back to packing…

CLICK HERE for a comprehensive Lesson Plan.

Don’t miss Mary Kline’s read aloud in FirefliesGLOW!   Coming soon.

Click here for learning & craft ideas to go along with this delightful book.  Pinterest

This book is worth a $2.oo investment…