Monday, February 28, 2011

Booktalk: Birds by Kevin Henkes [Birds;1]

Booktalker’s note: bring some stuffed birds for this one. Pre-bookmark the page, ‘Once I saw seven birds on the telephone wire…’

Did you ever think about all the birds in your world? Some are big, some are little. Some are colorful, and some blend right in to trees. Some make a lot of noise, and some are very quiet. You have to have very sharp eyes to catch everything that birds do. [Open to page, ‘Once I saw seven birds on the telephone wire…’ and read it aloud to the children. Pause, and turn to and read next page, …they were gone.’] Think about that, in less than the blink of an eye, those birds vanished. There is something magical about birds. If you want to learn more about the beauty of the birds around you, check out Birds by Kevin Henkes.

Birds by Kevin Henkes. Unpaged. Greenwillow Books: 2009. Booktalk to pre-k, kindergarten, 1st.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Booktalk: Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken [Kate DiCamillo;4]

You know the expression, “There’s no place like home?” Well, Louise the chicken does not exactly believe that expression. She longs for adventure. Home, after all, is BORING. She wants to experience life on the sea, so she joined a sailing ship. [Show page with pirates.] Something really, really bad happened. Her sailing ship got hijacked by PIRATES. And let me tell you one thing about pirates. They love nothing more than a delicious, juicy, roasted chicken. So, Louise the chicken is probably thinking that home is a good place right now. But I can’t tell you how or if Louise got out of that one. I can tell you this, though. Louise has always been fond of adventure, and what could more adventurous than joining a circus? And what could be crazier than a chicken who is high-wire walker? With a loose lion just waiting below? Will Louise ever learn? Or will she be eaten before it’s too late? Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo.

Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo. Unpaged. 2008: Joanna Cotler Books. Booktalk to 2nd-4th.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Booktalk: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane [Kate DiCamillo; 3]

[Hide the book cover.] Abilene LOVED Edward. She loved him with all her heart and soul. [Now show cover.] Edward is _not_ a person. He's a beautiful china rabbit, made out of the finest porcelain china. And Abilene was the little girl who owned and loved him.

But there were two problems. The first was this: Edward doesn't really love anyone or anything, even though he's smart and capable of love. The second problem happened on a ship. As you know from stories, bad things can happen on the sea. Abilene was taking a cruise with her parents, and she was taking excellent care of Edward. Sadly, though, two boys grabbed Edward and started throwing him around. Edward went overboard. He sank like a log, deep into the depths of the sea. Months passed. He had lots of time to think. He felt very, very alone. You could even say he missed Abilene. Sometimes the sea spits out its treasures, though. An old fisherman named Lawrence found him, and Edward's adventures started back up again. But I want you to remember the most important fact: Abilene loved Edward. And the love had finally lodged itself into Edward's formerly cold heart. The title is your first clue: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. 228 pages. Candlewick, 2006. Booktalk to intermediate grades [3rd-6th].

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Booktalk: The Magician's Elephant [Kate DiCamillo; 2]

[Show cover]. The magician messed up. I mean, this magician really, really blew it. You know how magicians can make a bouquet of flowers appear out of nowhere? Well, this magician intended to produce a bouquet of lilies, but instead he inadvertently conjured up an elephant who fell from the sky, landed on a lady in the audience, and broke both her legs, crippling her. Huge, huge mistake! The magician ended up in jail. But the elephant didn't disappear on anything. The elephant is real, and he meets with a sad fate: he ends up chained up in a room in a rich lady's house, all alone. There's a young boy, Peter, who is all alone, too, in this story. Peter is not literally chained up, but he's chained up in other ways. An old soldier, who is not Peter's father, owns Peter. Peter is sort of a lonely young servant. And one day he disobeys his master and goes to a fortuneteller. The fortuneteller tells Peter something which could change his whole life --- and, not to give anything away --- could change the life of this poor, lonely elephant. Can a huge mistake result in something wonderful? The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo.

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. 201 p. Candlewick, 2009. Booktalk to intermediate grades [3rd-5th] and to middle school.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Booktalk: Bink & Gollie [Kate DiCamillo; 1]

Kate DiCamillo is one of my favorite children’s authors. In her latest book, Bink & Gollie, you can see how different Bink [using the book’s cover, point to Bink, the short blonde] and Gollie [tall, brunette] are. Like most friends, they have their differences. Bink loves crazy, wildly colored socks. Gollie does not. Bink likes taking her pet fish, Fred, to the movies. Gollie does not. Gollie longs to go on long journeys in the mountains without a snack. Bink does not: not at least, without a snack. But in spite of their differences, you can tell they’re super loyal best friends to one another. One more reason to read this book: you have to check out their tree house. These two best friends have the coolest tree house ever! Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo.

Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo. 81 p. Candlewick Press, 2010. Booktalk to younger elementary [K-3].

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Booktalk: The Well by Mildred D. Taylor [Generosity; 3]

For the sake of this story, I want you to pretend that you live on a farm in the American South. Imagine that your family gets all your water from a well on your land, but the other families around you have wells that are now running dry. You’d share your water, right? Well, of course you would. In this story, The Well, David is a young African American boy who lives in Mississippi in the early 1900s. He and his family own their own land, but because they are black, there are still segregation laws in effect which hurt them, and there’s a lot of racism and discrimination towards African Americans. There’s one family who really hates David and his family: The Simms. Papa has warned David and his brothers to stay out of the way of the Simms, who are really mean and very racist. David’s family has been generously sharing their well water with everyone, but the Simms want to bring them down anyways. At one point, Hammer, David’s brother, hits one of the Simms boys and knocks him out cold. Mr. Simms wants revenge. In spite of their generosity, David’s family is now very vulnerable. Will they lose their hard-won land? The Well by Mildred D. Taylor.

The Well by Mildred D. Taylor. New York: Dial, 1995. 92 p. Booktalk to intermediate grades [3rd-6th], middle school.