Monday, April 7, 2014

It's Monday! Here's What I'm Reading...

Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsburg at Unleashing Readers cohost It's Monday! What are You Reading weekly on their blogs.   To see what others are reading and recommending each Monday, or to participate, be sure to head over to these blogs.

I am sure that most kindergarten teachers reading this blog will already know Howard B. Wigglebottom, but I happily met him last week. Our kindergarten teachers have been asking for more resources for their citizenship unit that they teach in social studies. Howard Wigglebottom is a lovable rabbit who I came across when i was searching for literature that teaches about courage, friendship, empathy, and respect. Our library had Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen, written by Howard Binkow and illustrated by Susan Cornelison, so this was the first one I read. I laughed out loud. The pictures are hilarious, offering many opportunities for inferences and discussions, but, more importantly, the messages were crystal clear and developmentally appropriate for young children, as well as some of the older sets because of the humor. Howard Binkow also includes questions for discussions and websites for additional information about listening.  In our citizenship unit, we emphasize traits of citizenship and I have placed an order for some of Howard's other books, including Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Courage and Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Monkey on his Back--a Tale About Telling the Truth. 

Thanks to many of my IMWAYR for the recommendation of Manfish by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Eric Puybaret.  Manfish  is the inspiring story of Jacques Cousteau and it is a wonderful mentor text for informational writing. For example, when Jennifer Berne describes Cousteau's first experience of seeing the underwater world with a pair of goggles, she writes, "Beneath the water, her was surrounded by silvery green forests of sea plants and fish he had never seen before. Everything was silent and shimmering. It was a whole new world." The story continues with beautiful images of the underwater world and ends with a charge to readers to discover, care for, and love the worlds that he explored.  Don't miss this book as it is an incredible example of a beautifully written biography.

I am savoring A Snicker of Magic  by Natalie Lloyd, as I have been reading this one out loud with my sixth-grade daughter, Cecily. It's taking a great deal of self-restraint on my part to not read ahead and find out all of the wonderful inter-connectedness and mysteries of the characters, but NCAA basketball has been incredibly distracting for us here in Connecticut.

Happy reading, and GO UCONN!


  1. Well, I even laughed with the name "Wigglebottom". I know the young ones will love those books, Melanie. And I loved Manfish, grew up watching Cousteau, & loved what he brought to tv! Still not read A Snicker of Magic, but feel as if I'd better soon with all the gushing going on! Thanks & have a terrific week!

  2. Oh yes, Howard B Wigglebottom! The one about bullies is my favourite. Have you read Too Tall Houses? It is a great title about compromise and dealing with each other. I love it. Loved Manfish - it sparked our reading about all things ocean! It is a gorgeous book.

  3. We have Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen, but I didn't realize there were so many other books about him. I would have found it very hard not to skip ahead in A Snicker of Magic, but I'd also have loved to read it with my kids. Go Huskies!

  4. Hi there Melanie, Howard Wigglebottom sounds like a title that I should have included in my multicultural text-set. I have yet to find Manfish, but it does look very beautiful. Thanks for sharing these lovely picturebooks.