||Nancy's picks for the best picture books &
poetry of Summer 1999 and ideas for using them in the
classroom. Compiled by Nancy Polette © 1999.
Tuesday, February 19, 2002
- Brown, Ruth. MAD
SUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. Dutton, 1999
- Here is a book of visual
oxymorons where two cats, back to back,
stare at each other and snow falls in
midsummer. The artist creates a world
where nothing is quite as it seems.
- Activity: Have a contest.
Who can collect the most oxymorons?
Example: Giant Shrimp!
- Edwards, Pamela Duncan. THE
WACKY WEDDING. Hyperion, 1999
- When a pair of adoring
ants are married, the cake collapses,
fruit flattens the groom and the bride
blunders into a puddle. A funny
alliterative alphabet book.
- Activity: Describe
something funny that happened to you
using as many words as you can that begin
with the first letter of your name.
- Kvasnosky, Laura. ZELDA
AND IVY AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR. Candlewick Press, 1999
- Three funny and thought
provoking stories of the fox sisters and
the boy next door who turns a twosome
into a sometimes antagonistic threesome.
- Activity: Name as many
things as you can that come in threes.
Sort the things you name into two groups:
good threes and not so good threes
- Leopold, Niki. ONCE I
- A celebration of change!
"Once I was an alphabet, now I am a
book. I used to be a pine cone, now I am
- Activity: Think of
something that changes from one form to
- Write about it using this
- Look at the _________ that
grew from a _______.
- Slowly, slowly from a
- In the _______ it grew and
- Look at the _______.
- It's looking at you.
- Lum, Kate. WHAT!
CRIED GRANNY. Dial, 1999
- How can a boy go to bed
when the bed is missing? A resourceful
granny does some fast and clever problem
- Activity: Propose a series
of questions and let the students
brainstorm answers. What if your
toothbrush was missing? How could you
brush your teeth? Suppose there were no
glasses? How could you get a drink? etc..
- Mazer, Anne. THE
- When two children crack
their mother's favorite plate, they call
the Fixits not knowing that more than a
plate will be cracked before the Fixets
- Activity:Use at least four
of these items in an excuse the children
will give their mother as to why the
plate was cracked: a firecracker, an
alarm clock, a rabbit, a long rope, six
pennies, a teacup, an injured cat, a
- Schwartz, David. IF YOU
HOPPED LIKE A FROG. Scholastic, 1999.
- With scientific facts to
back his claims the author says "If
you hopped like a frog you could jump
from home plate to first base in one
mighty leap. If you were as strong as an
ant you could lift a car."
- Activity: Check the animal
facts in the back of the book. Do the
math and see if the author is right.
- Example: A three inch frog
can hop 20 times its body length. An ant
can lift fifty times its own weight.A
snake can eat something twice as wide as
its head. A shrew eats three times its
own weight daily. A flea can jump 70
times its own height. If you had these
abilities, what could you do?
- Siegelson, Kim. IN THE
TIME OF THE DRUMS. Hyperion, 1999
- When a slave ship carrying
Africans docks at Teakettle Creek,
sending out the beat of drums, and a roar
coming from the Africans inside the ship,
the beat calls to Grandmother Twi, urging
her to seek freedom. But the only place
freedom lies is in the murky waters of
the Creek. A powerful tale of the horrors
of slavery dramatically illustrated by
- Skorpen, Liesel. WE WERE
TIRED OF LIVING IN A HOUSE. Putnam, 1999.
- Three children try living
in a tree, a pond, a cave and a seashore
but each time something causes them to
move. "We liked our tree. There was
always a breeze in the afternoon that
rippled through out roof. Above in a
branch lived a speckled bird who sang all
day for the sake of a song, and our roof
in the autumn turned scarlet and gold. We
liked our tree Until we tumbled out"
- So we packed _____ and
_____ and _____ and moved to
- Beautifully descriptive
language and a good repeating pattern.
- Activity: Where else might
the children try to live? What would be
the good things about living there? What
might happen to cause them to leave?
Write about their next home following the
- Spence, Rob and Amy. CLICKETY
- A cumulative tale of a
little black train going down the track,
clickety clack, clickety clack. At each
new stop the train gets more crowded and
- Activity:Before reading
the story ending, let children guess why
two small mice are the most troublesome
passengers of all.