Whetzel 1 Teaching Children to Write – Recommended Book Bibliography *This bibliography was created to fulfill an assignment for Dr. Trupe’s Teaching Writing course at Bridgewater College. The idea of the bibliography and some of the identified techniques are borrowed from Wondrous Words by Katie Wood Ray. Bryan, Ashley. Beautiful Blackbird. New York: Atheneum, 2003. “Black is beautiful,” so the other birds want some black coloring like Blackbird. This folktale from Zambia uses energetic text and color collages to describe how Blackbird shared some of his outer beauty with his fellow birds. The songs of the birds move the reader through the story. The book uses repetition and onomatopoeia to paint scenes of vibrant motion, which is emphasized when read aloud. Bunting, Eve. Smoky Night. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994. In Smoky Night, text and pictures intertwine to create a first-hand account of a boy’s unsettling experience during the Los Angeles riots. Bunting uses the eyewitness account to direct the story and to paint the story’s landscape, rather than providing a separate narrative of clearly-defined descriptions. The images behind the text, made of scrap paper and highlighting items from the text, support the reader’s experience and expectations, and it incorporates the background as part of the story. Burleigh, Robert. Hoops. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1997. Burleigh describes the game of basketball in his poetry, Hoops. The story appeals to all of the senses in its different approaches to describing basketball: the reader sees, smells, feels, and hears the game. His unconventional sentences match the pace of the game, making the reader a participant instead of an observer. The short verses and fragmented phrases pull the readers’ attention to the emotion of the words, rather than the words themselves. The book, read as a whole story, conveys a feeling greater than its parts. Burningham, John. Cloudland. New York: Crown, 1996. When Albert falls off a cliff, the children in the clouds save him and take him into the clouds to live. Cloudland is a fantasy adventure, explaining what it means to “have your head in the clouds.” Burningham creates a childhood world through powerful nonsense words, popular euphemisms, and vivid imagery. At points, he uses print type to emphasis content. The illustrations using photographic backgrounds complement the story and add a weightless quality to the story. Whetzel 2 Burns, Marilyn. The Greedy Triangle. New York: Scholastic, 1994. Triangle has many functions and undergoes many transformations in Burn’s concept book about shapes. The book contains multiple examples of the shapes it discusses. When discussing where shapes appear, the author uses lists to emphasize the multitude of examples. The book follows a repeating pattern in plot, with the “shape shifter” indicating a change. Burns also uses self-directed text effectively to explain the main character’s motivations. Collier, Bryan. Uptown. New York: Henry Holt, 2000. Come take a tour of Harlem in Bryan Collier’s book Uptown. He uses a repeated sentence pattern – metaphors – to show uptown Harlem through the eyes of a little boy. Print designed to show meaning gives extra depth to the text. The collage illustrations with their bright colors draw the reader’s eyes and perfectly accompany the story; although, the descriptive language and similes paint vivid pictures by themselves. Cronin, Doreen. Duck for President. New York: Scholastic, 2004. There’s a new candidate on the political horizon: Duck! The book parodies the democratic process and highlights the moral that the grass always seems greener on the other side. Cronin uses repeating sentence patterns in her descriptions of the various jobs that Duck works - general farm work to the presidency – emphasizing different tasks but the dirty work involved. She uses print to accentuate the text in ballots, billboards, and signs making the illustrations part of the story. In the end, Duck does what every ex-president does: he writes an autobiography. Cuyler, Margery. The Biggest, Best Snowman. New York: Scholastic, 1998. Little Nell wants to do BIG things, but her family tells her she is too little. However that does not stop her from building the biggest snowman. Cuyler uses print to accentuate how big the world can look to a small child. She also uses and uses and uses “and” frequently during action passages to convey the feeling of continuous activity. Repeating sentence patterns in the dialogue and during the building of the snowman make the story easy to follow. Dewey, Ariane. The Sky. New York: Green Tiger, 1993. Who knew how much the sky could hold? In Sky, Dewey makes the reader look at the sky as holding endless possibilities. The illustrations and print layout are essential for the flavor of the story. The story starts simply with an empty sky; then there is a crescendo of activity after a few pages, which tapers off a few pages toward the end. Lots of nouns and unusual verbs create the greatest impact in the text, and Dewey’s excessive use of commas makes the reader take note of the multitude of stuff that is above them. Whetzel 3 Fletcher, Ralph. Twilight Comes Twice. New York: Clarion, 1997. Twilight Comes Twice is the story of the “crack [that] opens between night and day” at dawn and dusk. Throughout the book, the author uses familiar sights and experiences to convey the light at different times of day. The sentences are spread out into short verses giving the text a poetry feel, without having to use rhyme. Other than periods to end sentences, punctuation is scarce making the text fluid and matching the meaning of the text. Fraustino, Lisa Rowe. The Hickory Chair. New York: Arthur A. Levine, 2001. Louis is his grandmother’s “favorite youngest grandchild.” When she passes away, she leaves something to each family member. But they must find hidden notes to learn what that something is. Louis with his “blind sight” uses his sense of smell and touch, as well as his memories of his grandmother, to find everyone’s note except his own. Fraustino’s text is sensitive and sentimental: she tends to use long sentences with varied punctuation to paint pictures that address sight, sound, smell, and touch. She styles her dialogue to provide a window showing the emotions of the characters. Gerstein, Mordicai. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Brookfield, CT: Roaring, 2003. A recounting of the extraordinary tight walk between the twin towers of the NYC Trade centers of Philippe Petit in 1976. The book includes math concepts such as height and circumference; as well as a sensitive approach to a dramatic historical event. The scenes are described in strong action verbs, as the author tells the story from inception to repercussions. Gonzales, Lucia M. The Bossy Gallito. New York: Scholastic, 1994. A bossy little rooster dirties his beak on the way to his uncle’s wedding. In this continuous folktale, the rooster has to convince the grass to clean his beak. The story contains lots of repetition in content and in sentence structure, as in the tradition of continuous folktales. The sentences are either very short or broken into smaller verses. This makes the story move along quickly, and it aids in the ease of reading. Whetzel 4 Greene, Rhonda Gowler. This Is the Teacher. New York: Scholastic, 2004. This is the story of an extremely eventful day! The teacher is knocked over, the ants and the hamster escape their cages, and the janitor has to clean up several huge messes! The sentence structure patterns and repetition keeps the story moving at a quick pace, however he introduces new text in a rhyming scheme. The onomatopoeia adds humor and imagery to the story. “Eek – There’s that hamster…!” Harter, Debbie. The Animal Boogie. Cambridge, MA: Barefoot, 2000. The Animal Boogie introduces animals of the Indian jungle. It uses onomatopoeia to describe motion; however, it is the rhythm of the words that seems to make the story like a song. The author follows a specific meter, so the reader feels the words as he or she reads them. The book also celebrates diversity in its illustrations as it features not only different animals, but also children of different ethic and racial background and abilities. Henkes, Kevin. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. New York: Greenwillow, 2006. Lilly loves school, and she loves her new purple purse that plays music when opened. So she has a hard time containing her excitement to share. When Lilly does not wait until recess or show-and-tell time, Lilly finds trouble. Henkes adds lots of whimsical details to the story, so the reader pictures himself or herself in a similar situation. The movement between dialogue and text is seamless: the dialogue is so natural, the reader can hear it. The book also formats the print to add to the meaning of the text, such as Lilly’s comical illustration of her teacher. Henkes also includes sage motto for anyone having a bad day: “Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better.” Hurd, Thacher. Santa Mouse and the Ratdeer. New York: Scholastic, 1998. Santa Mouse is having a rough Christmas Eve in this comical satire. However, some thoughtfulness by Rosie helps Santa Mouse and the ratdeer continue their holiday traditions. Hurd puts a twist on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by adding technical difficulties with the sleigh and six crabby ratdeer. Thought bubbles above the ratdeers’ and Santa Mouse’s head give the reader a peek into the mood of the characters. Whetzel 5 Inkpen, Mick. Nothing. New York: Orchard, 1995. Nothing is left behind when his family moves, and he is now on a quest to find himself. Who is he? Inkpen incorporates questions into his text to directly include the reader in the search for answers and to build expectations of the story. The story is full of complex sentences dealing with description, but the majority of the dialogue is simple and straightforward. Johnson, D. B. Henry Hikes to Fitchburg. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Henry and his friend compete to see who can make it to Fitchburg first. The separate journeys of the two bears are told in great detail, providing lots of opportunities for money, comparison, and timeline activities. The story is structured in a “he did, but he did” format that clearly lays out the experience of each bear. Jenkins, Steve. Biggest, Strongest, Fastest. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995. Biggest, Strongest, Fastest highlights the biggest and best, smallest and fastest of animals. Each page includes one fact prominently and a collage illustrations of the animals. In smaller print are less important facts that support the main point of each page. Juster, Norton. The Hello, Goodbye Window. New York: Michael Di Capua, 2005. There is a special window at Nonna’s and Poppy’s house that is really an opening to all things fun and imaginative! Inside the window are funny faces, games, and safety – all the things that make a child warm and fuzzy: outside are stars, dinosaurs, and adventure! The author splashes “and” and “or” all over the text, creating a story with endless possibilities. Dialogue is sprinkled in, giving the text a fun, irreverent feel. Marcellino, Fred. I, Crocodile. New York: Michael Di Capua, 1999. I, Crocodile is the story of one crocodile’s life experiences from Egypt to Paris. However, in all the excitement, the crocodile has one main concern: where his next meal is. The constant attention to his appetite creates a hilarious contrast to his surroundings. In addition to the story’s ironic elements and expressive illustrations, the first person narrative really makes this story fun and engages the reader. Whetzel 6 Mollel, Tololwa M. Shadow Dance. New York: Clarion, 1998. Set in Africa, Salome saves a crocodile only to have it turn on her. When Salome calls the crocodile ungrateful, he polls the nearby animals for a reason not to eat a little girl. It is up to Salome to find a way to save herself. The story reads like a folk tale with all the attention to plot. The text contains some elements of personification and is an excellent example of the use of “and” within a story. The dialogue between the characters flows smoothly, and it uses repeated sentence patterns to help the reader anticipate the story. Scieszka, Jon. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! By A. Wolf. New York: Viking, 1989. This spoof tells the popular folk tale “The Three Little Pigs” from the wolf’s side. Alexander T. Wolf explains that he was just looking for a cup of sugar when he visited the pigs’ houses one by one. He had a nasty cold, so when he sneezed the pigs’ houses just blew over. A. Wolf insists the traditional story is just a result of sensational journalism. Scieszka’s story follows the repeated structure of the original tale yet adds humor through new details. His sentence fragments, for offhand comments, and onomatopoeia make this story a mandatory read aloud. The illustrator, Lane Smith, weaves the text into her illustrations making them part of the story. Shields, Carol Diggory. Lucky Pennies and Hot Chocolate. New York: Dutton, 2000. Someone’s looking forward to a visit from his favorite person. This story, told in the first-person, talks all about his favorite things to do. The unexpected ending will bring a smile to the reader’s face! In some parts it shows the print matching or highlighting the text. It also uses sentence fragments and neologisms (made-up words), making the story seem as if the character was talking directly to the reader. Strete, Craig Kee. The Lost Boy and the Monster. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1999. The Lost Boy makes friend with a rattlesnake and a scorpion through his kindness. In return they help him escape from Old Foot Eater. Strete uses many long complex sentences, but it is written so well that when it is read aloud, the reader seems to be telling the story – not as if it comes from the book. She expertly melds two adjective combinations in her descriptions and uses “and” instead of commas to create suspense in areas referencing the monster and rope trap. Whetzel 7 Yolen, Jane. How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? New York: Blue Sky, 2000. In a poem like story, this book tells us how dinosaurs go to bed when their parents come to turn out the light. A great multi-cultural book, it features a different dinosaur and different parents (of differing race and sex) on each page. The rhyme scheme from page to page makes the text blend well. Yolen uses questions within her text to move the story along and create a natural progression throughout the story.