Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jack Prelutsky (1940-present)

"As soon As Fred Goes To Bed"
"Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face"
"Last Night I Dreamed Of Chickens"

                             Jack was born in Brooklyn, New York and is considered an American poet. He went to New York public schools and later went to High School of Music and Art and Hunter College as well. Believe it or not, Jack wore many hats in his day such as bus boy, furniture mover, folk singer and more. He wrote more than 30 collections of poems. I read many poems from him thus far, but I only chose to speak of three. They are humorous in every way and I believe most children would enjoy this man's work. (Adapted from famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/jack-prelutsky/poems)
                              Let me start off by explaining what Poetry is. It is the expression of ideas and feelings through a rhythmical composition of imaginative and beautiful words selected for their sonorous effects according to the definition that was given to us in class.

As Soon As Fred Gets Out Of Bed
                               Jack Prelutsky has a humorous way about him to I am sure most children. The first poem I will speak of talks about a very funny subject to most kids, underwear. I never knew of a kid who didn't laugh out loud to the word "underwear" in my life. The first poem I wanted to share has a sing song quality to it that is about a boy named Fred who wears his underwear over his head basically. It's short and simple, and gives you an image perfectly of this little boy named Fred and how silly he looks with his underwear upon his head. This poem includes rhythm and sound patterns like the definition that was given to us in class. My silly  class would absolutely love this poem. This was apparent to me after the first line! The lines flow like a song almost and by that quality alone, Fred and his underwear become pure laughter once imagined how silly he looks wearing it all day like this.

 Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face
                         Well, like the last poem about Fred and his laughable place where he puts his underwear, this poem also made me have a good laugh. I can't imagine a child not going into hysterical laughter.
                          This poem is light and funny, plus it is also considered to have "sense imagery" as in the definition of "poetry" says. Jack does a terrific job making the younger reader laugh, while putting a touch of sense imagery and a rhythmical pattern in between too! All this particular poem is telling us is that it would be quite weird and silly at the same time to have your nose other than on your face where it belongs. Jack proceeds to explain the many funny and wrong reasons for a nose to be other than where it is suppose to be. For example, he gives a graphic description and "smelly" reasoning for what would happen if your nose was in between your toes. I can picture my giddy class now just bursting into laughter at that line of this entertaining poem. Another funny line that Jack throws in there is how ones brain would rattle if your nose was on your ear and decided to sneeze. "Within your ear, your nose would be catastrophe, for when you were obliged to sneeze, your brain would rattle from the breeze".

Last Night I Dreamed Of Chickens
                        This was one of the last poems I read, of course like the other two prior, filled with a rhythmical pattern of humor.
                        The title says it all. A boy dreaming of chickens pecking everywhere and causing havoc. The fun surprise at the end of course was when he awoke, there were eggs on his head! Again making me laugh, I really appreciate good sing song  sounding poem. These chickens were on his head, pillow, hair and everywhere else. No wonder why the dream was so life like, it was a feared reality of this poor boy. This is all done in good clean fun, nothing to be scared of just pure laughing till it hurts humor.
                         I must admit, I never heard of Jack Prelutsky and when I asked for more info about this blog, I was so happy I was suggested towards this man's great works. I guess only you yourself know the little personalities that are in your classroom, and for me, my class, though very smart, can get very goofy. There are some poets out there that I may skip over for my class to read for they have not have an interest in. This would ruin my circle time and lesson to boot a poem like Jack Prelutsky's would work perfectly in my room because I get my student's humor. His work like I said is short, to the point, and have sense imagery in some with a rhythmical tone to it as well. His work is easy for a younger child to understand.
                          I wish I can blog about more of Jack Prelutsky's poems, but I only chose these particular three to blog about. It really only took one of his poems for me to decide I was into his work and I was hooked. Hey, I'm giggly myself so if I can read it and smile, then I know my class would love him and his work.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Abuela" by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Elisa Kleven

"Abuela" by Arthur Dorros
Illustrated by Elisa Kleven
Isbn 0-14-0.56225-7

                                I absolutely love the book "Abuela" by Arthur Dorros. I consider this to be one of the best children's multicultural books around. The book is in English and has certain Spanish words or phrases that teach a child to read and learn some Spanish words as well.
                                "Abuela" is a wonderful story of a child named "Rosalba", and her grandmother "Abuela", who take an imaginary ride around the city. As they take this magical ride, and make many stops along the way, the book goes on to describe certain words in Spanish that Rosalba and Abuela came across on that day. Certain phrases and words such as "Buenos Dias", which means "Good morning", and "Me gusta", which mean "I like", are just two of many Spanish words or phrases that are used in this book on Rosalba's adventure. What makes this book so thrilling for children is the way Rosalba has a very vibrant imagination as you can see at the very beginning, where she all of a sudden she gets the idea to fly through the city with her grandmother, all from watching the birds fly around in the park.
                               I think this book, along with I'm sure many multicultural books, depending on how they are written, is an important tool to have in the classroom. I find that a child that is brought up bilingual, benefits more in the long run because of the multicultural society we live in today. I find my class finds it fascinating when we celebrate multicultural month, and the books in my library are changed to that theme. The amused looks on their faces are adorable when they try to pronounce the English words in Spanish. Obviously with the help of my assistant, together we watch their reactions to each other as they make the sounds with their mouths and tongues. Books like "Abuela" are a great tool and remind me a certain popular cartoon "Dora the Explorer" in a way. The show and book teach a lesson in language. Like the show, this book I certainly recommend to a class, because right after the Spanish word or phrase is said, the book immediately follows the word in English so the child knows exactly what it means. In this case "Abuela"  is obviously a Spanish teaching book, however I know there are other educating multicultural and language books as well.
                              ''Abuela" also takes you to a part of the book where the author really touches upon the Spanish culture a bit. There is a part of the book that the author is very clever and describes the land where Abuela grew up. Arthur Dorros explains the different fruits in Spanish, including "mangos", "bananas" and "papayas". Rosalba also mentions that Abuela loves The Statue Of Liberty because it would remind her of when she first came to this country.
                               Another feature in this book that I love are the illustrations by Elisa Kleven. The pictures on every page match the Spanish culture perfectly. The vivid colors really give you a glimpse of this colorful culture in every way. Even the outfits that both Rosalba and Abuela are wearing are the vivacious dresses that Spanish girls and women wear in their Spanish culture.
                                This book really touches upon almost every aspect of the Spanish culture. From translation of words, to the colors, to the foods described and clothing.  "Abuela" is the book to read teaching us about this fascinating, yet colorful culture.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"My First Winnie the Pooh Be Patient, Pooh" By Kathleen W. Zoehfeld, Illustrated By Robbin Cuddy

"My First Winnie The Pooh Be Patient, Pooh" By Kathleen W. Zoehfeld, Illustrated By Robbin Cuddy
Copyright 2000 By Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Isbn 0-439-30966--2

                              Who doesn't love the classic Winnie the Pooh stories? I have loved anything Disney and Winnie the Pooh read to me when I was a child, and in turn love reading these books to my classes. There is something about Winnie the Pooh that warms your heart at any age. For as long as I can remember, these stories are usually about adventures in the day in the life Pooh looking for his honey or Pooh and pals getting into mischief. This fictitious bear always makes us laugh and smile that without a doubt and leaves me with a warm heart by the end of each story.
                             There have been various stories about Pooh, or Pooh and friends that have touched out hearts. Many authors and illustrators have created and recreated stories around Winnie the Pooh since around the early 1920's.
                             The book I chose to discuss is "My First Winnie the Pooh Be Patient, Pooh" By Kathleen Zoehfeld, Illustrated By Robbin Cuddy. This book is a perfect example of modern fantasy because of it's fictitious characters that come to life that obviously do not happen in real life. The characters include Winnie the Pooh, who is  a talking bear, Rabbit, who is a talking rabbit, Piglet, who is a talking pig, Roo, who is a talking kangaroo, and Christopher Robbin, who is the only human character in this story. These characters except for Christopher are all animals that speak. The story is about Winnie the Pooh who is anxiously awaiting his birthday party that his friends are throwing for him. All day after every meal, he asks if it's time for his party, and the party isn't until dinner time. Pooh tries hard not to think about it too much, but it's so hard for poor Pooh to think about anything else. His friends in the meantime try to distract Pooh all day with other things, such as Christopher Robbin trying to distract Pooh by reading a book. Before Pooh knows it, it is dinner time so is the party that his pals helped decorate for! There was cake, gifts, balloons, and party hats, all what Pooh had imagined and even more so.
                              I love the way Kathleen W. Zoehfeld portrays Pooh in this book, and the valuable lesson a child can learn which is patience. Kathleen does a wonderful job showing this fictitious character try to find patience within himself for what he wants so bad to come, which is his birthday party. In most Winnie the Pooh books, we often learn lessons in each one. Kathleen W. Zoehfeld has written many Winnie the Pooh books and Robbin Cuddy illustrating them, including just to name a couple, "Don't Talk To Strangers Pooh", and "Pooh's First Day of School".
                              I love to read this as one of the first time Winnie the Pooh reads in my own class. I find that fictitious characters such as Pooh, grab a young child's attention better than a book without mystical creatures or characters in it would. I am a big advocate for books that obviously teach a valuable lesson to young children starting out in the reading world. As a child gets older, they tend to let go of such characters, but reminisce and realize there are no talking bears, pigs, kangaroos and so on. I feel it is important for modern fantasy to exist because it grabs the attention of a child the way that only these books could. It's a break from reality and a child's imagination is a powerful one that can be endless. Sometimes children need that break of reality to just be a kid.
                             The illustrations in all Pooh books including Kathleen W.Zoehfeld, illustrations by Robbin Cuddy are characters that come to life. They are bright, cheerful and almost cartoon/life-like as I like to put it, because they are neatly drawn and clearly come across to children of what is actually happening on each page.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"If You Take A Mouse To School" by Laura Numeroff

"If You Take A Mouse To School" by Laura Numeroff
Illustrated by Felicia Bond
Published 2002
ISBN 0-439-44260-5

                                 "If You Take A Mouse To School" by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond is one of many in a series of "mouse books" that are written and illustrated in such a way, it allows the children to complete the sentences on each page. It also makes the kids predict what will happen next. This is a great example in my opinion of a "pattern book". Laura Numeroff does an excellent job making children understand the pattern that will follow each of the mouse's activities in his day at school with this little boy.
                                The story starts out asking the question "If you take a mouse to school, he'll ask you for your lunch box". Then the question that follows asks the child to predict what would happen once you give him your lunch box. By the picture that follows, the answer is that he will want a sandwich. As this little mouse follows this boy around on his journey throughout that day at school, the book illustrates and explains clearly that this mouse is very mischievous character who gets himself in some trouble because he literally jumps from one thing to another during his day with the little boy.
                                Another example of "pattern" in this wonderful picture book is the fact that the illustrations alone by Felicia Bond, clearly could guide children to what will happen next, even if they can't quite predict it as you are reading the story to them. This book may not rhyme or have a "sing-song" quality to it, but it has it's own melody to your ear as you can guess what could possibly happen now to this mouse and little boy just by also looking at the pictures.
                                 Another example I wanted to point out was when the mouse uses up all the pencils as he seems to be writing his own book, and when he is done, I usually ask my class at this point in my own classroom "what do you think class the mouse will do after he is done writing?" I will then show them the picture of the mouse reading the book he wrote to the class as my students say the words out loud.
                                  My class of pre-k students love the Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond books. The books are easy enough for my class to know what will happen next whether it be with a mouse like this series, a pig or a moose like the other books she wrote. I get such a kick out of my students as they laugh so hard when they see each picture. The bright and colorful illustrations make it fun and easy for my kids to figure out the story as the book goes on. I usually create a bulletin board of an actual mouse made out of construction paper. The kids usually, depending on the book in the series I decide to read them, make whatever object the book refers to a lot. For example, if I were reading "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie", the kids would make their own cookies out of whatever materials I give them.
                                  I enjoy the Laura Numeroff  books and Felicia Bond's illustrations greatly, and recommend these series books because they are both educational and entertaining pattern children's books. Sometimes as a teacher, I think with these particular readings, you can make your class finish their own predictions to the story. They can help be little coauthors as they create the following page of the story book.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Knuffle Bunny" by Mo Willems

"Knuffle Bunny": A Cautionary Tale
Illustrated and Written by Mo Willems (Hyperion Books for children)
Published 2003
Calecott Metal Winner 2005
                     "Knuffle Bunny" is such a great story in which I am sure most of us can relate to as a child. This book is about a little girl named Trixie who goes on a neighborhood walk with her dad and brings her favorite stuffed animal/ bunny with her on the days adventure. They come across several different places that day, but the laundromat was the final destination on this days adventure with dad around the neighborhood.
                      This was obviously Trixie's favorite toy that went everywhere with her and barely left her side. Unfortunately, this was the day that Trixie would loose her precious attachment to her in which she then throws the biggest fit of pure panic!
                      It was upon her arrival at home where Trixie's parents discover the bunny was missing. Her dad wasn't sure at first why Trixie was throwing a temper tantrum, but mom knew immediately as what the problem was as soon as the door opened. She realized "Knuffle Bunny" was lost! Here was Trixie all this time trying to explain to dad in her baby talk what was wrong, but the only thing coming out of her mouth were screams of desperation.
                      At last retracing their steps, dad and Trixie found little "Knuffle Bunny" back at the laundromat. No sooner there was Trixie with a smile on her face once again as bunny was back in her arms. Ironically "Knuffle Bunny" was Trixie's first words.
                    "Knuffle Bunny" brought back many childhood memories for me as I too had a security blanket/ stuffed animal that I was attached to that made me as happy as Trixie. I had a pound puppy that I brought everywhere with me, including to bed. I remember I wouldn't and couldn't sleep without this puupy named "puppy" or "coco".
                        The connection to this stuffed animal that I remember as clear as day, that really attached me to this object was that I received it from my parents for a Valentine's Day gift. My brother, sister and I all got different ones on this day. I recall being so happy to get a gift other than your average chocolates on Valentine's day, or at least my Valentine's Day's.
                          Being I was and still am so close to my parents, the gift of this stuffed pup made me attached to the object even more so because it was given to me out of love from mom and dad. It would comfort me in the dark, and having it close by made me feel relaxed. It was almost as if because it was touched with my parents love, I felt I had to keep this stuffed pup close to my heart. This object, I will shamelessly admit stood with me throughout adulthood and still is in eyes view to this day. I may not sleep with "puppy" anymore, but at a glance it still melts my heart.

                           Many times I have come close to loosing "puppy" like Trixie lost "Knuffle Bunny", and my heart sank like hers did. Sheer panic would rush to me and perhaps I did shed a tear or two, maybe even a temper tantrum like little Trixie did as well. But unlike Trixie, my "lost" spots where "puppy" would be found would be  hamper or twisted in my own sheets!
                          I thought that the story of "Knuffle Bunny" is a joyous one at best. I am sure most of us can relate on some level to this book in that most of us had a "security blanket" or "stuffed toy" that we were attached to and lost.Hopefully your stories of attachments to things as a child ended as a happy one, as mine and Trixie's did in that our toys were found! I think the book shows that it is ok to be attached to something that makes us feel safe. A child sometimes needs that reassurance to get through the day. As a child grows, I'm sure the object now becomes a memory that will live in our hearts always, that may be left behind physically, but stays with us in out hearts and minds forever.