Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beautiful Writing Is Punful

This week's READ-4-LUCK pick is Martina the Beautiful Cockroach by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Michael Austin.
"In this humorous retelling of a Cuban folktale, a cockroach interviews her suitors to decide whom to marry."
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Year: 2007
Word Count: 1020
Book Level: 3.1

Children love the animals: cockroach, rooster, pig, lizard, mouse. [Disclaimer (hee-hee): This is the second book I've chosen recently for READ-4-LUCK that has cockroaches in it. I promise I don't have roaches in my home, or a secret love for them. Although, Martina IS beautiful.] Does anyone know "who" is the one marrying (performing the ceremony) Martina to her chosen suitor? My kids say it's a praying mantis. I said maybe a grasshopper. Son said maybe it was Martina's dad? Any guesses?

PARENTS:  The illustrations are WONDERFUL! I hope my books will be illustrated this beautifully some day. Full of awesome puns, too. My seven year old is learning the art of puns.

 Great for teaching a lesson on puns, whether for reading OR writing. Also has a great character development component to it about acceptance, kindness, and understanding. Also great to include in a folktale unit.

Did I mention I love puns? What a great retelling of a Cuban folktale! The author of this book is one of my favorites. Carmen Agra Deedy also wrote Library Dragon, which I LOVE, and 14 Cows for America, which is very touching.

Keep on keepin' on...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Roller Coaster Writers

This week's READ-4-LUCK pick is Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee.
"Twelve people set aside their fears and ride a roller coaster, including one who has never done so before."
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
Year: 2003
Word Count: 238
Book Level: 1.8

 This is definitely a book for picture looking. The people's faces are a hoot! SO much fun to read and LOOK at! We've read it several times.

PARENTS:  Easy book to spark conversation. So much fun to talk about people's feelings. I'm telling you, you won't get tired of reading this one.

 A great book for a writing lesson. Or even a reading lesson. Do a picture walk. Talk about what you think will happen next. Have your students write about something they did for the first time.

WRITERS:  A great book with very low word count. If you aim for the same, study this one. Read it slowly, see what phrases strike you, and pay attention to pacing and page turns. You could even write about something YOU did for the first time. Who cares if it's never published, when you write, you are honing your craft.

What's your favorite roller coaster? (Mine is the one at Ghost Town in Maggie Valley, NC. When I rode it, there were no lines and I did it 4-5 times in a row. Laughed the whole time!)


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