Paul Bunyan. M.

INFO: Byrd, Robert. Paul Bunyan. M. 1998.

DESC: This charming rendition of the (invented? who knew!) folk-tale of Paul Bunyan is a must for capturing difficult-to-impress readers. The outlandishness of Paul’s feats make this book a fresh take on a familiar tale – and the suspense of turning the page to see what gigantic, huge things Paul will take on next help scaffold readers. Paul Bunyan has surprisingly little text-per-page for a level M book – it reads more like a K or an L, making it a good transition piece for readers ready to take on more complicated vocabulary and non-repetitive, unique plotlines and themes.

TAGS: folktales, tall tales, lumberjacks, paul bunyan, ridiculous feats, blue oxen, adventures, M, easy reader, easy read, fiction, fable

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Spinning a Web. ?

INFO:  Trumbauer, Lisa. Spinning a Web. ?. 1996.

DESC: Solid, straightforward easy-reading non-fiction about spiders. Great for those kids who just want to learn, learn, learn about insects, and who might put up a fuss with more serial, plot-driven fiction books. Covers all basic elements of spider life, from web-spinning to body parts. Most popularly, the book also details some unusual spiders – trap-door spiders, jumping spiders, and water spiders. It ends with a Charlotte’s Web-style peek at the spider life cycle and the march of the spider-y generations!

TAGS: easy read, easy reader, non-fiction, spiders, science, insects, facts, bug facts, spinning webs, all kinds of spiders

Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind. J.

INFO: Rylant, Cynthia. Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind. J. 1993.

DESC: This is the classic “springtime” Henry and Mudge! Henry and Mudge encouter everything from the gusty “wild wind” to terrifying thunderstorms – and, with a little bit of creativity, and some patience, they come through it all alright! As with other books in the Henry and Mudge series, the language is comfortable and familiar, without being sing-song-y, boring, or repetitive; and Rylant introduces choice “challenge words” and phrases (like Henry’s dad’s hilarious declaration about the “enemy couch”) that inspire students to think outside-of-the-box about what they already know!

TAGS: henry and mudge, cynthia rylant, easy reader, easy read, full-color illustrations, pictures, fiction, boy and dog stories, pets, travelling, storms, thunderstorms, fear, springtime, blackouts, power outages, rainbows, J, fiction

Henry and Mudge and the Bedtime Thumps. J.

INFO: Rylant, Cynthia. Henry and Mudge and the Bedtime Thumps. J. 1991.

DESC: Another adorable and charming number in Cynthia Rylant’s Henry and Mudge repertoire. “Bedtime Thumps” is a great read for anyone just emerging from leveled readers – its short, funny, and narratively linked chapters and lush (especially in this installment!) watercolor illustrations make for a striking, wondrous reading experience. Not to mention that both Henry and Mudge are as loveable and believable as they are funny! In this book, Henry’s family goes to visit Henry’s grandmother waaaay out in the country. Her house is tiny – and cluttered. Poor, gigantic Mudge knocks over everything in sight – until he finally gets sentenced to staying outside. What will Henry do without his best companion? How will Henry protect Mudge, if Mudge gets scared? And just what might happen if it’s Henry who’s needing Mudge for company and comfort in this strange new rural environment?

TAGS: easy reader, easy read, full-color illustrations, pictures, fiction, henry and mudge, cynthia rylant, boy and dog stories, dogs, pets, travelling, visiting relatives, strange new places, grandparents, trouble, scared at night

Sly Fox and the Little Red Hen. L.

INFO: Giles, Jenny. Sly Fox and Little Red Hen. L?. 1998.

DESC: A good classic ballad with an easy-to-follow (and surprisingly delightful) plot that many children will already know from other folktales and fox/”trickster” tales in their classes. This book is one of the popular “fables” leveled reader series, and includes a play (with photos of children from New Zealand in terrifying masks) in the back. Since this story is in the style of a leveled reading book, but is a higher level read, it’s a comfortable and non-intimidating alternative to the more mature chapter books (Arthur, Marvin Redpost, Horrible Harry) that begin to crop up in these levels. Good for character motivation and plot sequencing, too!

TAGS: animals, fables, Aesop’s fables, fox, fox stories, trickster tales, folktales, folklore, easy read, easy readers, non-intimidating, short, fiction, L

Teddy Bears Cure a Cold. K?

INFO: Gretz, Susanna. Teddy Bears Cure a Cold. K?. 1984.

DESC: This book is one of the more believable, complex and endearing of the early readers. Students will identify with William-the-Bear’s well-intentioned “fake” cold, and the love, compassion, tissues and soup that his bear housemates bestow on him – and they’ll squeal along with the drama that ensues when he starts to miss out on a whole lot of teddy bear Fun! It’s also fun to speculate about the weird multi-bear cooperative housing, and to look at all the bear’s neat fur colors and funky accoutrements. (And who is Great Uncle Jerome?!)

TAGS: illness, sickness, friendship, family, colds, curing colds, nasty tricks, snow, easy read