Wind, Water, Ice. K.

Ring, Susan. Wind, Water, Ice. K. 1999.

This book covers the basics of geology and land formation—canyons, beaches, glaciers and lakes, mountains and volcanoes, caves, and deserts. Index at the back.

TAGS: Nonfiction, geology, earth, glacier, Michigan, grand canyon, beach, volcano, desert, k

Commander Toad and the Intergalactic Spy. K.

Yolen, Jane. Commander Toad and the Intergalactic Spy. K. 1986.

Commander Toad and his loyal crew of amphibians must rescue his cousin, the famous spy Tip Toad, from a spy training planet—if they can figure out which spy is really Tip Toad! The goofy spies and their funny schemes and scenarios are quite funny, but many of the pop-culture puns are very dated (Laugh-In, anyone?) and will go far over heads.

TAGS: Fiction, science fiction, outer space, aliens, spies, commander toad, puns, funny, k

Dinosaur Fun Facts. F.

INFO: Keller, Ellen. Dinosaur Fun Facts. F. 1997.

DESC: This easy-to-read introduction to dinosaur life is an interesting starting point for early readers. The full-page illustrations literally act out the one sentence that graces each page. Students will definitely struggle with “real” dinosaur names, given here in full (e.g. “heterodontosaurus”) – these moments may be good opportunities to practice breaking unknown words down into chunks.

TAGS: dinosaurs, non-fiction, ancient reptiles, museums, easy readers, easy reads, K

The Gingerbread Man. K.

INFO: Smith, Annette. The Gingerbread Man. K. 1997.

DESC: Yet another classic-fables-retold-as-levelled-reading, with-a-play-at-the-end! This book is fantastic for resistant readers: it pairs the familiar plotline of the Gingerbread Man fable with dynamic, often quite funny illustrations; and the surprise and joy of the moment when the clever fox outfoxes the witty, rebellious Gingerbread Man (much to the shock of the Old Man and Woman) genuinely keeps kids engaged. As with the other fable-and-play books, these are wonderful transitions from shorter, less complicated leveled readers since they have a number of sentences on each page; but the character development and plotline are so simple and familiar that they build confidence with each turn of the page.

TAGS: fables, plays, gingerbread man, easy readers, easy reads, K?, fiction, fox stories, trickster tales

The Animal Band. K?

INFO: Smith, Annette. The Animal Band. K?. 1998.

DESC: Another of the classic animal fables retold in simple leveled language, with a play at the end! Children may be quite familiar with the “Brementown Singers” tale, which makes this easy-to-read leveled story a great and wordier transition from the earlier reading levels. The repetitive plotline (each animal leaves its home because it has become too old to do its appointed job) and interesting “lesson” helps carry readers along – and it leaves lots of room for good discussion. Although the characters aren’t too well developed and seem interchangeable (typical fable), The Animal Band is a fantastic introduction to setting, plot, and theme – and especially setting, since the world in which the story is set (rural; largely reliant on animal labor, &c.) is so different from our own.

TAGS: fables, Aesop’s fables, animal band, animals, farm, farming, rural, singing, adventure, play, K, fiction

Inside Caves. K.

INFO: Gibson, Bryless. Inside Caves. K. 2006.

DESC: A fascinating survey of the wide world of caves and cavings – with surprisingly detailed and ample text for a level “K” read. Recommended for the high-flying reader. Some students may get bored after a few pages – encourage them that this book guides them through not only underground caves, but caves under ice and under the sea! This text easily lends itself to a host of writing activities: comparing and contrasting different caves, making a “main idea/detail” box with one detail about each type of cave, &c. Also noteworthy is that this book details caving safety and rescue missions. Includes text features like an index and diagrams, and helpful critical thinking, vocab, and before/during/after questions for teachers.

TAGS: caves, geology, caving, the earth, non-fiction, underwater, ice, ocean, science, K

Heny and Mudge and the Happy Cat. K.

INFO: Rylant, Cynthia. Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat. K. 1990.

DESC: This memorable book about about Henry, his big dog Mudge, and the “stewed prunes” stray cat that appears on their porch one day has many sunny lessons about friendship, family, and “doing the right thing”! Surprise ending that is sure to delight!

TAGS: henry and mudge, henry, cats, stray cats, adopting cats, lost cats, neighborhoods, friendship, compassion, nurturing, adoption, chapter, fiction

The Ox-Cart Man. K.

INFO: Hall, Donald. The Ox-Cart Man. K. 1979.

DESC: This gorgeous, fable-like book by noted American poet Donald Hall is deceptively simple – it’s got a repetitive word-structure and cyclic plot familiar to many early levelled books, but it’s also chock-full of early American vocabulary (c. 1800) and homesteading concepts that will likely be new and very challenging to early readers. Ideal as a read-aloud or exploration piece – not as a benchmarking tool or measure of independent reading. Still well-worth the effort – this portrait of early American life and the simplicity, thriftiness and sustainability of the Ox-Cart Man’s family is a classic for a reason! Seems more like an N or an O.

DESC: This book details a year in the life of the Ox-Cart Man. He starts by planting and growing things, then selling his goods at the market and then coming back to his farm to start the process all over again.

TAGS: homesteading, farm life, history, early america, market, autumn, harvest, poetry, donald hall, k, finland, richard avenue, journey, finland k, richard avenue k

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