Dust from the Book Fairy

Archive for September 2008

The Day Leo Said “I Hate You!”
Robie H. Harris • Illustrated by Molly Bang
September 2008 •
Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers

I’ve been reading this book to my kindergarten through second grade library classes this week, and it has been a definite hit. An applause-after-the-story, read-it-again-now hit. It rates a 5/5 just on the students’ reactions. They are held rapt by Bang’s imaginative illustrations, which are a combination of drawing and Photoshopped objects, like the broccoli exploding around Mommy in one spread. They loved the crazy things Leo does and gets fussed at for, like squirting toothpaste down the toilet. The particularly observant ones have noticed that Leo’s stuffed dog and dinosaur react to his emotions by looking worried when he’s worried, etc. This book provoked a lot of conversation from the kids; I stopped just before Mommy’s reaction to Leo telling her “I Hate You!” and asked them what they thought.. Some of them were sure he was in BIG TROUBLE, and others admitted to doing something similar themselves. We talked a little about how angry words can hurt feelings, and especially about how it’s hard to take them back. The story ends with forgiveness and making amends, which relieved the students. Some of my teachers got to see it during Family Reading Night, and my behavior-assistance teacher decided to order her own copy, because it would be a great lead-in to talk about the hurtful power of words and the process of making amends with her students.

—posted as a comment at The Picnic Basket book review blog–


Okay, this is a bit political, which I thought I’d try to stay away from here, but I couldn’t help it. NYC Educator is on my feed reader, and a recent entry had this very interesting graph from the Washington Post. If this is accurate, McCain’s tax cuts are almost entirely for the wealthy. The lower income brackets, who ostensibly need the most help, get the smallest tax breaks under McCain’s plan. That doesn’t seem fair to me. Obama’s plan will probably anger the wealthy, but it looks like the majority (60% of taxpayers) will be better off under his tax plan. You can click the picture to see the whole article, with a bigger graph.

I think Obama’s plan looks way better for me personally, and way more “fair” for most people. My definition of fair–shared often enough with my students that they can recite it:

“Fair is not everyone getting the same. Fair is everyone getting what they NEED.”

This week we’ve been reading Maybe a Bear Ate It! by Robie Harris with my little ones. (K & 1st). It is such a fun book, told just as much through the pictures as the minimal text. A little purple and green monster is reading HIS BOOK in bed. Then it disappears. He can’t live without it, and starts imagining all sorts of ridiculous things that might’ve happened to it. . .

“Maybe a bear ate it! . . . Maybe a elephant fell asleep on it!”

Then he starts hunting all over his house for it. . in the sink, in a shopping bag, even in the dryer! My observant children were edging off their seats, saying, “It was under his bed! It was under his bed!”

After reading it through once, we flipped back through it to talk about taking care of library books, and places to look when you can’t find your book

“Should you sit on your book like the elephant?” “NO!”

“How many of you have found something you thought you lost under your bed? (Lots of sharing time here. . .the best one was a little boy who found his puppy under his bed).

It’s definitely on my most recommended list, especially for librarians. . it’s a good lead-in to a book care lesson without feeling too didactic.

She’s celebrating her 10,000th hit by giving away one of the books she’s reviewed and liked this year to somebody who comments on her blog post here by Saturday.  So you might want to go check that out!  She does neat reviews of books.  I loved the review of The Hunger Games. It made me want to go get it RIGHT THEN.  (I literally started looking for my keys to get in the car and head to the library/bookstore).  So disappointed to realize it’ wasn’t out yet. Sigh. It’s out SOON but I am not a patient person.

Also Posted at The Picnic Basket.
This book is a definite winner.  I read it to all the second graders at my school, and it makes a great read-aloud.   When Judy Moody visited the art class and called it the “Naked Lady class,” she had them rolling with laughter.  The story moves quickly, and it’s full of humor that the kids loved.  Almost all of them know someone going to college, and it made for great real-life connections for them. Every single Judy Moody title in our library has stayed checked out ever since.  I’ve been recommending it to students who love Junie B. Jones by Park and Clementine by Pennypacker.

Judy Moody Goes to College

Judy Moody Goes to College

As a teacher, I thought it would be a great novel to build a curricular theme around—you could work in math by talking about the topics Judy Moody discusses with her tutor, art through the art class Judy attends in the story, and even some environmental science topics.  You might even take a field trip to a local college and see how it compares to the one Judy Moody visits in the story.