||Nancy's picks for the best picture books &
poetry of Winter 1999-2000 and ideas for using them in
the classroom. Compiled by Nancy Polette © 1999.
Tuesday, February 19, 2002
- Andersen, Hans Christian. THE
LITTLE MATCH GIRL. Retold and illustrated by
Jerry Pinkney. Phyllis Fogelman Books
(Penguin Putnam) 1999 (Gr 2-4)
- A child plucked straight
from America's 20th century melting pot
is forced by her father to walk the
frigid city streets selling matches and
flowers. She is ignored by the passersby
and begins to light matches to keep warm.
The light of each match reveals a
wondrous holiday sight until the match
burns out. Finally the child sees the
face of her beloved grandmother who takes
the child far above the earth where there
is no more cold or hunger. A haunting
classic, beautifully illustrated.
Read about Andersen's life. What was it
in his life that led him to write such
- Bemelmens, Ludwig and John
Bemelmens Marciano. MADELINE
Arthur A. Lennie Books. Scholastic, 1999.
- Madeline and the twelve
little girls fly to Texas to inspect
property left to her by her
great-great-grandpapa. They see cattle,
oil wells and the world's largest
department store where Madeline gets
lost.The girls want to stay in Texas but
great-great-grandpapa's will says that
until Madeline is 21 she must go to
school. This first tale is followed by
three other stories and a Bemelman's
Using the word, HOLIDAY, encourage
children to record their own holiday
memories as an acrostic poem.
- Blake, Robert J. YUDONSI. Philomel Books, 1999. (Gr 2-4)
- An arrogant Native
American boy paints and carves his name
everywhere he goes, from school to the
trees of the forest to the canyon walls.
The villagers are alarmed, for it is
dangerous to anger the canyons. As the
boy tries to paint his name high up on
the canyon walls, a huge storm floods the
village and the people seek refuge in the
cave where Yusi has found shelter. He
listens to each person thank the gods for
shelter and food and begins to understand
that each must contribute to the society
in which he lives.
Brainstorm all the ways children can keep
the earth a better place to live for
- Cutler, Jane. THE
CELLO OF MR.O. Illustrated by Greg Couch.
Dutton, 1999 (Gr 2-4)
- In a warn torn city people
try to survive with no heat and little
food. When a relief truck is blown up,
desperation sets in. It is then that
elderly Mr. O sets his chair in the town
square and regardless of bombs and
bullets, plays glorious melodies on his
cello. Through his music a little girl
learns that courage can sustain the soul
just as bread sustains the body.
Read the story up to the point where Mr.
O's cello is destroyed. Discuss, what
else could this elderly man do to
continue to instill courage in the hearts
of the people?
- Irving, Washington. RIP VAN
Illustrated by Will Moses. Philomel, 1999
- Here is a newly
illustrated edition of Irving's classic
tale of Rip who slept for twenty years
and awoke to find his village and country
very much changed.
Assign small groups of children to
research the changes in their school,
city, state and country in the past
twenty years. Interviews with local
citizens would be helpful here.
- Littlestar, Amy. TREE OF
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Philomel,
1999 (GR 2-4)
- Florrie's daddy had been
an actor before the Depression hit and
the theatre was a closed. But she and her
daddy often wished on the tree of hope
that stood just outside the theatre
entrance. Then Orson Wells came to
produce a black Macbeth, the tale of a
greedy nobleman and his greedy wife who
murder their good king Duncan in order to
become king and queen. This Harlem
Macbeth would be set in Haiti with three
conjure men from the west of Africa
taking the place of the witches. The tree
of hope wishes come true as Florrie and
her mother watch her father perform.
Based on a true incident, this is a tale
of hope and perseverance in pursuing a
Cast the play Macbeth with today's
African American actors . Who would play
Macbeth?Duncan? Lady Macbeth?
- Pulver, Robin. AXEL
Pictures by Tedd Arnold. Dial, 1999.(Gr
- There are no snow days for
Burskyville students because Axel Annie's
school bus always makes it up Tiger Hill,
giving a lift to stranded motorists along
the way. When Shifty Rhodes and the owner
of a ski resort team up to stop Annie,
she ends up rescuing them! Here is a fun
tribute to school bus drivers everywhere.
Ask students to cut out and bring to
school the biggest and most complimentary
words they can find from the newspaper to
describe their bus driver. String the
words on ribbons and present to their bus
- Root, Phyllis. GRANDMOTHER
Pictures by Beth Krommes. Houghton
Mifflin, 1999.(Gr K-6)
- All through the spring,
summer and fall, Grandmother Winter tends
her geese and gathers their feathers to
stuff in her quilt. Why? To bring
snowfall as she shakes the quilt,
snowfall as soft as feathers and bright
as a winter moon.
Children can write about spring, summer
or fall using personification. Follow
- I am (spring, summer or
fall). I dress in ________. For fun I
__________. My favorite visitors
are_______ and ________. I banquet on
__________. I am related to _________.
When I take a holiday I ___________. I am
( spring, summer, fall).
Melodye. LEOLA AND THE
1999. (Gr K-3)
- Here is an
African-American retelling of a classic
tale. Leola wanders into the forest and
encounters frightening Ol' Mister Weasel,
surprises the gentle Honeybear family and
learns an important lesson about
Prepare a chart comparing this tale with
Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
- Shakespeare, William. ROMEO
Retold by Bruce Coville. Pictures by
Dennis Nolan.Dial, 1999. (Gr 4-6)
- Two lovers from warring
families must marry in secret.
Set up a problem-solving grid. What can
13-year-old Juliet to to convince her
father to allow her to marry Romeo?
- Sturges, Philemon. THE
LITTLE RED HEN MAKES A PIZZA. Illustrated by Amy
Walrod.Dutton, 1999. (Gr PreK-2)
- Little Red Hen asks who
will lend her a pizza pan, go to the
store and get flour and mozzarella, help
her make the dough and the topping and
each time duck, dog and cat say "Not
I." But when she does all the work
and tasks who would like to help her eat
the pizza, guess what the replies are!
Use as a story pattern. "The Little
Red Hen Makes Chocolate Chip
Cookies" and/or act out the book or
the children's original scripts.
- Taback, Simms. JOSEPH
HAD A LITTLE OVERCOAT. Viking, 1999 (Gr PreK-2)
- When Joseph's overcoat got
too shabby he made it into a jacket. When
the jacket wore out to became a vest; a
scarf, a necktie, a handkerchief and a
button. When he lost the button he made a
book ( which shows you can make something
out of nothing! A good repeating pattern
book: "Joseph had a little jacket.
It got old and worn so he made a vest out
Ask the children to name their favorite
things to wear. Choose four from the list
that seem to be the most favorite. Put
the children in groups. Each group must
rank order the list from the most to the
- Twain, Mark. THE
PRINCE AND THE PAUPER. Adapted by Marianna Mayer.
Paintings by Gary A. Lippincott. Dial,
1999. (Gr 3-6)
- Edward, Prince of Wales,
longs for the freedom of a normal boy.
Tom, a poor beggar dreams of enough food
to eat. When the identical looking boys
meet they switch identities, each to
experience the other's life.
If you could switch identities with
another person for one day, who would it
be and why?