Tag Archives: Books

Barbara in the Bookstore


Last night, a friend and I decided to go to a bookstore to look for picture books for our Interactive Read Alouds. This always is a dangerous proposition for bibliophiles, even at a store that only charges half price and gives a teacher discount! Like Alice in Wonderland, it is easy to fall down the proverbial “rabbit hole” of buying books…

“How far did I fall?” you ask.

Happily, I set a one hour limit for our excursion, and, because, in a bookstore, I tend to feel like I’m shopping at a jumbled garage sale, I only left with two carefully selected books. I was well under budget, too. (Alas, my friend fell further than me…her wallet was emptied more than mine.)

“And…tell me what you bought,” you add.

Books for IRA

I bought one brilliant twist on a fable, Hare and Tortoise, by Alison Murray. I think my first grade students will enjoy the humorous rendition of this classic. Such playful word choices such as “…she trundles…she tootles…she tiptoes…” and clever scientific references like “The Tortoise-Slow and steadicus” and “The Hare-Leapus swifticus” make this book delightful. The colorful illustrations will charm the reader as well. I can’t wait to read it to my students to see their reaction. I’m expecting lots of laughter!

The second book I bought is Lost in the Woods, by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick, a fantasy book (where animals talk) that teaches how newborn fawns, who are born without scent, spend the first 2 weeks of life without their mothers. The animals of the woods try to help the fawn because they think she is lost. The exquisite photographs enhance the story by showing the beautiful woods in which the fawn lives. Hopefully, this gorgeous book will engage the listeners and teach about the life of a fawn and other forest creatures. My plan is to incorporate this book to support our informational writing unit.

P.S. I have $35 more dollars to spend on Amazon! More book information to follow.

The Little Engine That Could


The classic children’s book, The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, has been a favorite of mine through the years.  This book was first published in 1930 and has been a friend to generations of children.  So many times was our family copy read to our 6 children that it is literally falling apart.  It still sits proudly on the bookcase wearing its tattered pages as a badge of honor.  

Not only have my own children learned the lessons of hard work and optimism from the Little Blue Engine, my students have, too.  Sometimes, I read it at the beginning of the year as a way to set the tone for our classroom: we all can try, and when we try, we can learn and get better.  Sometimes, I read it on “Read Across America” Day. I like to pair it with another family favorite, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, by DuBose Heyward.  This classic, published in 1939, also teaches children about being kind and helpful and hardworking.  Even my fifth-grade students sat at my feet and listened to some of “my favorites”-as I explained to them.  

Since The Little Engine That Could is so well-known, I doubt I have to remind you of the famous phrase that the Little Blue Engine kept repeating as he worked and worked and worked to get up the mountain and over to the “good little boys and girls”  who needed the “good things to eat” and “toys to play with.”  I think I can!  I think I can! I think I can!  the unlikely hero repeated.

Well, on one of those early and beautiful days this spring, when the breeze begs you to open the car windows as you putt along, my window was indeed wound down.  I was driving up Pine Street, a steep hill in our neighborhood.  A man on a bicycle caught my eye. Standing up, his foot bore down on the pedal with his full body weight.  Even so, the bike struggled to maintain forward progress.  Adding to his load was a bright yellow, two-wheeled child carrier that trailed along behind the bike.  This dad, huffing and puffing, was giving his little son, a boy of about 3 or 4 years old,  an early spring ride!  The youngster’s tow head, happy smile on his face, peeked over the top of the carrier, and then, to my great surprise, a merry sing-songy voice floated on the breeze, “Think I can!  Think I can!  Think I can…”                                                                                                                                                                                  

  A laugh bubbled out of my mouth.  Apparently, another generation of children is learning the value of hard work and optimism!