Genre- Informational/Bios

Title: The Magic School Bus at the Waterworksmagic-school-bus

Author: Joanna Cole

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.

Date: 1986

Age Level: Primary(K-2)

Summary: “When Ms. Frizzle, the strangest teacher in school, takes her class on a field trip to the waterworks, everyone ends up experiencing the water prification system from the inside.”

Strengths: This book gives great information to students about the water cycle in a fun way. The pictures are great and the personality of the characters makes the story fun. I like how at the beginning of the story it captures the readers attention about Ms. Frizzle being strange. It makes you want to keep reading to see what this teacher has up her sleeve. I also like at the end of the book it gives a review of the steps of the water cycle and how water gets to our homes. At the end of the book it explains the things that are not real in the book for the “Serious Students” to read.

Concerns: The only thing I feel might be a problem about this book is it may be too difficult for students to read on their own. There is too much going on on the pages of this book. I think it might be too much for them to keep track of.

Classroom Use: The book would be a great book to start a lesson on the water cycle or to review the water cycle. Students seem to be really interested in the magic school bus.

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Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 5:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Informational/Bios

Title:  Sunken Treasuresunken-treasure

Author: Gail Gibbons

Publisher: Thomas Y. Crowell

Date: 1988

Age Level: Elementary (3-4) or Upper (5-6)

Summary: “Describes the many years long search for the treasure that went down with the Atocha, a Spanish galleon sunk off Florida in a hurrican in 1622.”

Strengths: Gibbons does a great job of telling the story of how treasure is found in a fun easy way for students. There is so much information in this book and after reading it I didn’t feel overwhelmed from all the information because it was really easy to undertand. I liked that the book was broken down into sections: The Sinking, The Search, The Find, etc.

Concerns: My only dislike was that the text is all over the place. I think it might make it difficult for readers to know where to go next. I think I would have liked it if the text was in a certain location making it easier to read.

Classroom Use: This book would be great to use during a social studies unit on ship wrecks. I think it is just interesting to look at even at my age. The teacher could come up with a “shipwreck” of her own in the classroom. she could provide students with a map and some information to find the treasure and the steps they take after they find the treasure according to this book. It would be neat if the teacher could make it like a virtual field trip on the computer.

Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 5:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Informational/Bios

Title: We Rode the Orphan Trainsorphan-trains

Author: Andrea Warren

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company

Date: 2001

Age Level: Upper (5-6) or even beyond into high school grades

Summary: Andrea Warren tells the stories of people who rode on the Orphan Trains that took orphans by trains to different states in the nation to find them families between 1854 and 1929.

Strengths: I was really interested in this book. It tells personal accounts of train riders that are very informative and emotional. I love the old pictures displayed every couple pages. I think it is a great source for students interested in this topic and Warren has many more informational books.

Concerns: I think that some parts of this book are for older grades beyond elementary school. In one part Warren talks about some of the kids being emotional, verbally, and sexually abused. This might be too hard for younger students to understand and they may be too young for teachers to discuss with them. Some of the stories are happy, but many of them are sad. For example, the two brothers that set out to find their mother. They found her and she didn’t seem interested in them. Some students may think this is really depressing, too depressing for them to read and maybe even scary.

Classroom Use: This would be great to use in the classroom during a social studies unit. The teacher could choose a couple chapters to read to the students, so they could get a picture of how it was from people who were actually on the trains. It would also be good to use for students that had a paper and project to do this on Orphan Trains.

Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 5:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Informational/Bio

Title: Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendshipowen-and-mzee

Author: Isabella Hatoff, Craig Hatoff, and Dr. Paula Kahumbu

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Date: 2006

Age Level: All Age Levels

Summary: A stranded Hippo is saved by people and taken to Haller Park to live. The hippo, Owen, lost his mother so he has to stay in the park or he won’t be able to survive. When Owen first gets there he befriends Mzee, an Aldabra tortoise. They develope a strong bond with each other and become very close friends.

Strengths: The pictures in this book are absolutely amazing. I love them all. I love the story itself. It is so interesting and it just makes you want to know more about these two very special animals.  I want to go visit these animals. I love that the book was inspired by a six year old. I think it would really reach out to many students.

Concerns: I personally didn’t like the style of writing in the book. I know the book was inspired by a six year old. The writing sounded like it was written by a six year old and that bothered me. I just didn’t think some parts flowed well.

Classroom Use: I think this is a great book to have in the classroom and even read to students. I think it would be very beneficial to point out the fact that this book was inspired by a six year old. I think that if students know that it will make them want to write stories and know that there stories matter.

Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 5:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Informational/Bios

trees-of-kenyaTitle: Planting the Trees of Kenya

Author: Claire A. Nivola

Publisher: Frances Foster Books

Date: 2008

Age Level: Primary (K-2), Elementary (3-4), or Upper (5-6)

Summary: Wangari Maathai returns to Kenya after being away for 5 yrs. at college and finds that the landscape is completely different. The people of Kenya are suffering because there is no water, trees, or food. Wangari Maathai teaches the people to plant trees and gardens to help themselves instead of waiting on the government.

Strengths: I really enjoyed the illustrations in this book. They are very eye catching and go along with the text very well. This book really shows people how one person can make a difference. I enjoyed the story and I really liked Maathai stepped up and made the people help themselves instead of waiting for the government. I love the courage this one women had to even go to inmates and prisons to talk about what needs to be done, especially being a woman.

Concerns: The only thing I didn’t completely understand was how the fig tree was so sacred and than after five years the people of Kenya are cutting this sacred tree down. If they would have left their fig trees alone then they might not have been in the situation they were in or atleast not as bad.

Classroom Use: This would be great to be used in a history class. It is a great book to read to students especially maybe around Earth Day. It is great to show students that they can make a difference. I think it would be great to also turn students on to Wangari Maathi for independent research papers or projects.

Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm  Leave a Comment