The list author says: "Today picture books are not just for little kids, nor are they all simple tales. Picture books run the gamut from early easy readers, to sophisticated and complex adult themed reflections. Keeping this in mind, this list is a start towards identifying picture books that can augment a teacher's lesson plans. Each review details relevant content areas, themes and suggested activities for instruction.
For full review and planning input for each title, click on my reviews page."
"A Reshaping of TolstoyÂs Short Story Themes: decisions, friendship Content areas: Excellent read aloud for elementary school students. Reading- prediction, Writing- using a writers concept to create a new story, ArtÂ visual expression, Guidance- kindness, respect Muth has a unique way of bringing an odd assortment of creatures together to tell a tale."
"A Quest for THE Truth Themes: diversity, community, culture, quest for truth Content areas: Language Art- (upper elementary) Â teacher read aloud and discussion activities, genre studies (fable), Social Studies- community, ArtÂ color, shadow, Guidance- acceptance, diversity A wise old turtle knows the complete truth. Unfortunately, the creatures of the world do not."
"A Flavor of Buddhist & Taoist Literature Themes: friendship, community, perspective, differences, forgiveness Content areas: Early Reading to upper elementary, Art Â visual expression, Guidance- perspective/forgiveness ÂZen ShortsÂ introduces Slillwater the giant panda, who becomes the wise supportive neighbor of three siblings, Michael, Abby, and Karl."
"More Stillwater Lessons Themes: friendship, community, perspective, connections, forgiveness Content areas: Early reading to upper elementary, Writing- metaphor, haiku, ArtÂ visual expression, Guidance- perspective/forgiveness Filled with word play, and metaphor that challenge upper elementary students to find meaning beyond the first reading."
"Rhymes Like Dr. Seuss Themes: family, celebrating differences, learning from mistakes Content areas: Excellent read aloud for K-2 students. Reading- prediction, Writing/language- rhyming verse, Guidance- Learning from mistakes, acceptance, differences, adoption A fun lyrical tale about a stork who gets whacked by a hot-air balloon and ends up getting his baby animal delivers all mixed-up."
"Great Lessons for Kids & Adults Themes: friendship, choices, problem-solving Content areas: Language: rhyme, quotations, questions, Guidance: making choices, being a good friend Great 1st Â 3rd grade read aloud to discuss tattling behavior. Perfect for first few days of school. Fun illustrations. Easy to learn tattletale rules that provide kids with a guideline on when itÂs important to tell."
"Themes: friendship (reaching out), problem-solving Content areas: Language: description, upgraded verbs, endings (ly, ing, ed). Guidance: Different friendships.Beautifully illustrated story of a young bear intrigued by a woman who is staying the summer in a cabin in the woods, and reads all day. A sensitive story rich in language and visuals. Excellent for Âfinish the storyÂ extension activities."
"Great story to kickoff the study of famous Americans, citizenship, friendship, and goal setting. Mashing together the words Brontosaurus and Ballerina produces nothing but wacky fun in HoweÂs I have a dream story. Despite the obvious obstacles of size, Brontorina must also overcome perceptions of what is acceptable, or likely as she pursues her dream to be a ballerina."
"Superb read aloud for elementary school students. Great to teach predictions, cause and effect, and alternate endings. Starting with an excellent twist on the classic Santa struggle to get all the toys delivered on time, to intriguing illustrations with hidden snowmen guardians, rounding off with Santa sibling trickery, and happy endings. This yule tale delivers."
"Themes: imagination, friendship, perspective Content areas: Language: visual expression, point of view, rethinking. Art: perspective Deceptively simple story, packed with mini-lessons. Great way to introduce imagination and point of view prior to poetry studies for both reading and writing activities."
"Beautifully illustrated ABC book about all things Canada. Each lettered page delves into and illuminates the richness of Canadian history, and culture. Written in a rhyming lyrical form that elementary school age students' will enjoy. Each page has a side bar with additional information written in a straightforward and succinct manner."
"Themes: Honesty, Character Content: quotations in writing, synonyms, Civil War Through succinct yet vivid descriptions of key events in LincolnÂs life, LincolnÂs strength of character & core values are revealed. LincolnÂs own words are matched perfectly with bold yet sensitive illustrations, providing an immediacy & connection to LincolnÂs life. Excellent reference materials provided."
"Heartwarming Tale of Friendship Zookeeper Amos McGee loves his daily routines, and looks at the small tasks of life with pleasure. At the zoo his routine includes meeting with his special animal friends and spending time doing just exactly what they enjoy doing and are especially good at. Caldecott Medal winner."
"The story takes the classic story elements of the original & twists them through the eyes of the Wolf. According to the Wolf everything that happens is just a series of misunderstandings. ScieszkaÂs play on the old story, is updated with great excuses argued by the wolf. Content: media/journalism, point of view."
"This is a great read aloud for elementary age students to teach a variety of lessons. Concepts such as what makes a reputation, cultural and individual perspectives, villains and heroes, and story prediction."
"What a gem for language arts instruction! This creative literary "mashup" of the classic fairy-tales of the ÂThe Gingerbread ManÂ, ÂThree PigsÂ, and ÂHansel and GretelÂ is filled with wordplay, idioms, and dual meanings. The Bad Boys actually do huff, and puff, and even blow; but itÂs in a whole different context that leaves the audience laughing with glee."
"The wolf tells his side of the story giving the reader a new perspective, and invariably gets everyone making comparisons (Venn diagrams come to mind) to the original. Changing up the perspective on a classic story is a great way to get children involved and talking about books."
"Children absolutely love twists on the old fairy tales, and there are now many versions that provide new perspectives, and teaching moments to these classics. Students can make comparisons, delve into the study of perception, and point of view. Great for K-2 age students."
"This is fun to read aloud, and brings out an automatic read along response from those (lower elementary) listening. Great cause and affect teachable moments, with a twist here and there to make it surprising. The bright, funny illustrations punctuate the whimsical action, and will undoubtedly bring plenty a gasp and laugh throughout."
"Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner Themes: friendship, caring Content areas: early reading -repetitive language, writing Â punctuation, Art Â expression Quick teacher/parent read aloud or early reader. For older primary students (2nd) this humorous tale is perfect for quick draw responses. Adults will crack-up too!"
"Why Not? Themes: differences, self-esteem, peer-pressure, acceptance Content areas: Early Reading, Writing Â punctuation, Art Â visual expression, Guidance- acceptance Quick teacher/parent read aloud or early reader. Great for prediction exercises. Funny spoof on what young kids say when they hear the word ÂnakedÂ; only for these characters itÂs ÂdressedÂ."
"This is a perfect K-2 read aloud book that works well when studying life cycles. Students will be drawn into the story thinking itÂs just a simple tadpole to frog tale; and they will laugh out loud when Alphonse turns out to be a more mythical beast than first believed. Lessons: life cycles, mythology, irony."
"LobelÂs fables use outstanding visual and descriptive language that kids 2nd grade on up will learn from. Teachers will especially enjoy using these tales for read aloud, skills development, and role-play. The moral of this story is that great opportunities often come in small packages."
"Themes: Respect, Responsibility, Friendship Content areas: Reading: making connections for comprehension; Guidance: friendship dangers, character pillars. Authentic storyline with situations that open up multiple avenues to discuss the disingenuous behavior of the chronic apologizer."
"Perfect for writing instruction when teaching small moment techniques, expressive wording and word placement. This is a simple story of unexpected fun and joy all told through author/illustrator Lita Judge's heartwarming pictures and perfectly selected words of sound."