Sunday, December 6, 2009


By Patricia MacLachlan

This is probably my second favorite book by Patricia MacLachlan. Throughout her books I get a sense that she views her pets as great companions who have very human like qualities. This book definitely portrays that, as a dog and a cat of a family discover the new born baby, Bittle. At first they do not like her and are afraid to be around her. With time, and after she shares her food with both of them, they realize that they in fact love Bittle. They are then very protective of her. I think this is a very true story in that pets react very similarly to a new baby in the family. I also think that the author probably did not make this story up completely because during the A/P/I study I could tell that she uses real life experiences for her books. The illustrations were very cute and appropriate for the story; Bittle a little girl with a few tufts of hair and a dress on, a large dog named Julia, and a curious cat named Nigel. Overall, a very cute story!

Drip! Drop! How Water Gets to Your Tap

By Barbara Seuling

This was a book I used for my text set on water. This book addresses a common question of just how we are able to get clean water but simply turning a nob. The illustrations help explain the rather complex system of taking water from a resevoir, through many filters, to the mixing basin, to the water treatement plant, and into water mains in the city. The water cycle is also briefly discussed. I think that this book is a good resource to have as it is non-fiction but includes illustrations instead of pictures and has large text so students are not so overwhelmed with information.

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth

By Rochelle Strauss

This book is one of the first that I chose for my text set. This is probably the first book I have blogged about this is non-fiction. It has very beautiful illustrations throughout. The text is set up almost like a graphic novel; there are short paragraphs all around the page. The opening statement on the first page titled "One Well" sends a very powerful message to readers--that all of the water on the Earth is connected so everyone around the world should be responsible for taking good care of it. It breaks down where the water on earth is located (in the atmosphere, underground, oceans, lakes, etc). The web that I created for my text set follows along with this perfectly. It is a great book that encompasses many of the functions of water and the pictures are very vibrant and beautiful!

How To Cross a Pond: Poems About Water

By Marilyn Singer

This is a book of poems that I used in my text set on water. I had mostly picture books in my text set and this book takes a slightly different perspective of water. The poems are about the sounds water make, how water can "talk", and how it can dance as if to perform an "underwater ballet". There is a poem about the water from a fire hydrant that is titled "City River". I did not realize that fire hydrants could be used as a water source in the summer(other than for fires) in large cities--because I grew up in the suburbs on a quiet street. I thought the poem about the moon's gravitational pull would be a good poem to read aloud to get a discussion started on what the gravitational pull of the moon does to the oceans. The last two poems, "What Water Can Be" and "Meandering" would be fun poems to sort of 'breathe life into' like we did in our reading and responding class. Those poems would be fun to play around with and would make it a lot more interactive.

Mama One, Mama Two

By Patricia MacLachlan

This was such a sad book! From the title of this book I thought it was going to be about two mothers raising a little girl, but instead it was about a biological mother and a foster mother. From the text I inferred that the little girl's biological mother, mama one, has depression. A social worker was notified and took the little girl to a foster mother while her biological mother went through therapy at a hospital. While at her foster mother's house, the little girl asks mama two to tell the story of how the little girl came to have two mothers. The little girl is happy and seems to feel at home with both mothers, so the story could also be viewed as a positive outlook on foster homes. I think that this book would be a valuable piece of literature to have in the classroom because it goes against the norm or the typical nuclear family that is often portrayed in children's books.

A/P/I Study

I did my Author/Poet/Illustrator Study on Patricia MacLachlan. I was a little overwhelmed at first with the long list we had to choose from for this project. Finally I went to the Curriculum Lab, randomly selected this author, and looked up books she had written that were available. Before doing so, I had never heard of Patricia Maclachlan but I did remember reading Sarah, Plain and Tall when I was younger. She is now one of my favorite authors! Through her literature, I have come to find that we have a lot of the same interests. Her stories often include dogs, beautiful landscapes, and family(all the things I love!). Not to mention she has a daughter named Emily that she writes about in the very cute story The Sick Day. Also now that her daughter is older and has a family of her own, they write books together. I think that Patricia Maclachlan has a great gift for finding the beauty in man's best friend, the everyday experiences that families have, and the calm countryside landscape.

Final Reflection

Over the course of the semester I feel that I have learned quite a bit about children's literature. I have read a lot of great books that I would love to add to my collection for my future classroom library. I felt that a lot of the controversial books that I read and that we read as a class were actually very good books and definitely had something to offer for kids. Like we discussed in class, when controversial books are banned, it is as if we are trying to silence issues, many times issues that students are experiencing. The message banning certain books sends is that certain lifestyles, divorce, etc. are not okay because they are not normal. Before this class I did not realize how important literature can be; for some students it is a way to relate to others and not feel like an outsider or a misfit. I have read over fifty picture books through the semester, for this course and many others, and have found many similar qualities. I believe that what makes a good piece of literature is unique and creative illustrations, has a good story line that keeps the reader interested, allows students to connect/reflect on their own lives, and has a multicultural perspective. The best thing that I will take away from this class is the confidence to pick out and recommend children's literature to students, parents, or other teachers when I become a teacher myself!