Sticky and Slimy. L.

Ash Sullivan, Eric. Sticky and Slimy. L. 2007.

This nonfiction book tells all about animals (and a plant) that are sticky (sundews, spiders, geckos, squid) and slimy (hagfish and squid).  It explains in what way they’re sticky or slimy, how this adaptation works, and why it’s useful for them to have!  This is an entertaining nonfiction book about weird animals that will easily keep readers around L interested.

Nonfiction, bugs, geckos, lizards, squid, gross, wild animals, adaptation, evolution, l

Chomp! A Book About Sharks. L.

Berger, Melvin. Chomp! A Book About Sharks. L. 1999.

This book tells all about different shark species, a shark’s life-cycle, how sharks feed, and how sharks swim and live.  Popular above (and even below) its difficulty level, due to the great cover, exciting subject matter and cool photos of sharks.  Most of the vocabulary is straightforward and non-technical, so this can be a good introduction to more complex non-fiction writing as well.

TAGS: finland, finland-l, l, level L, non-fiction, sharks, animal facts, fish, oceans

Officer Buckle and Gloria. L.

INFO: Rathman, Peggy. Officer Buckle and Gloria. L. 1995.

DESC: Nobody pays attention to Officer Buckle’s safety speeches until his new police dog, Gloria, starts acting out his tips when he can’t see—until he finds out and thinks she’s stolen the spotlight. Kids like picking out the funny details in the drawings. Caldecott winner!

TAGS: fiction, Caldecott, school, safety, dog, police, funny, humorous details, L

The Bailey City Monsters: Vampire Trouble. L.

INFO:  Thorton Jones, Marcia and Dadey, Debbie.  The Bailey City Monsters: Vampire Trouble.  L.  1998.

DESC: The weird adult populace of Bailey City is rendered yet stranger with the arrival of Hauntly family of Hauntly Manor Inn, in particular Madame Hauntly, who cheers on the kids at soccer games but nevertheless sleeps in the dirt and bears fangs. 

TAGS:  Highland Park, Chapter book, Mystery, Monsters, Sports, Fantasy, l, level l, highland park-l, lima, fiction, chapter

A Dog’s Best Friend. L.

INFO: Thompson, Gary. A Dog’s Best Friend. L. 1998.

DESC: A somewhat disturbing choice for a level L, A Dog’s Best Friend chronicles the life of “Niles,” a very spoiled and downright mean Schnauzer, as a new dog (a much less fancy basset hound, at that) moves into his owner’s ritzy condominum. The vindictive elements of Niles’ personality are a bit much; but some kids might get a kick out of discussing Niles’ personality, and the nasty trick he plays on newcomer (the unfortunately-named Crumbley). Eventually, the book turns around: Niles and Crumbley start to become friends, and Niles accepts that Crumbley, even though he’s not as polished or fancy as Niles himself, might not be so dumb after all.

TAGS: acceptance, understanding, new friends, changes, being nice, kindness, dogs, dog stories, fiction, L

Leo the Late Bloomer. L.

INFO: Kraus, Robert. Leo the Late Bloomer. L. 1971.

DESC: Leo follows the adventures of the family of Leo, a “late blooming” young tiger who just can’t seem to do anything right. He can’t draw, write, speak, eat neatly, or take care of himself – which really seems to bother his older brother (our narrator), and, especially, his father, who basically spies on him throughout the book, in search of evidence of Leo’s “blooming.” Eventually, at the end, Leo does “bloom.” This book, because of its vague and esoteric plotline, seemed to leave most kiddos very confused, even if they could handle the very simple language. The notion of “late bloomers,” I think, is just culturally outmoded these days. It also doesn’t help that the book is illustrated in fairly terrifying Henri Rousseau-style watercolors, throughout. Not recommended for use with our students, unless someone refuses to read about anything but tigers!

TAGS: tigers, really weird books, growing up, “blooming,” finland, finland-l, level l, lima

Bear’s Diet. L.

INFO: Smith, Annette. Bear’s Diet. L. 1999

DESC: Matthew can’t figure out why his dog, Bear, won’t lose any weight after he puts Bear on a diet. Finally, Matthew decides to follow Bear around to get to the bottom of the problem

TAGS: dogs, pets, surprise ending, L, Richard Avenue, mystery, animals, fiction, Level L, Lima

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

Town Mouse and Country Mouse. L.

INFO: Smith, Annette. Town Mouse and Country Mouse. L. 1998.

DESC: This book is a traditional retelling of the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, in a popular format for mid-level readers with an interactive play version at the end. The details included in the book can help students do more exploration of the main idea and theme in their writings and discussion. Watch out for the creepy masks in the back, though!

TAGS: fables, town mouse, country mouse, comparing lives, landscapes, animals, L