Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Poky Little Puppy

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Lowrey, Janette Sebring. 1942. THE POKEY LITTLE PUPPY. Ill. Gustaf Tenggren. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375841385

Plot Summary:
The story of The Poky Little Puppy tells of five adventurous sibling puppies who are determined to see the wide, wide, world outside of their fence. As the four puppies reach the top of a hill, they discover that one poky puppy is not with them.  They begin to look for him and find that the poky puppy has poked around and discovered a smell, rice pudding! The four pups all race home, eager to devour the delicious rice pudding, only to find that their mom has discovered the hole under the fence.  The pups are punished, sent to bed without any rice pudding. Later, the poky puppy comes home, after the others are in bed. The poky pup is rewarded for his pokiness, as he, alone, devours the delightful dessert that his siblings did not get to eat. The next day, the naughty pups, again, dig out to see the world. This time the smell of yummy rice pudding brings the puppies running home, again, without the poky puppy, who has been distracted. Later, when the poky puppy returns he is, again, rewarded for poking around and coming in late. He eats the creamy chocolate custard left untouched by his siblings. The third day the pups discover a sign that mom placed by the fence, "Don't ever ever dig holes under this fence!" And still, the pups dig out. For a third time, the poky puppy falls behind, this time smelling sweet strawberry shortcake. The brothers go racing home and, for a third time, are punished for digging out.  This time, however, the pups wait until mom has gone to sleep and refill the hole. When mom wakes to discover what the pups have done, she rewards them with the strawberry shortcake. This time, when the poky pup sneaks in after bedtime, he finds himself outwitted by his brothers.  He goes off to bed feeling sorry for himself.

Critical Analysis:
Lowrey paints a picture of relatable characters through the use of personification.  The pups exhibit characteristics of humans by speaking, reading and even participating in deviant behaviors, such as breaking their mother’s rules.
The illustrations are beautifully done, aiding in pushing the plot forward, as they are located in just the right places under paragraphs. The illustrations reveal the pups’ energy, and focus the reader, as the pictures are cropped in haloed shapes.
Emergent readers, who might be eager to explore their own world, will easily relate to the inquisitive pups. The repetitive text allows for the learning of words and phrases, as well as counting.
Although the book was written in 1942, it remains a timeless classic.  The lesson it presents is clear and the characters loveable. Grandparents, parents and children will love this memorable story for generations to come!

Review Excerpt(s):
  • This classic story of naughty puppies and their backyard adventures—complete with fuzzy caterpillars, musical flowers, crickets and frogs and all topped off with dessert—is sure to be a favorite yet again. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)            Kirkus Review
  • This classic  “First published in 1942, The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey, illus. by Gustaf Tenggren, stars a curious canine who just can't keep up with the pack.” –Publisher’s Weekly

~This is a great book to teach about consequences and also cause and effect.
~This is a great book to teach about sequence of events.
~Other books that would be great to teach about consequences and cause and effect:
1.    Three Little Kittens
2.    The Little Red Hen


Dooby Dooby Moo

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Cronin, Doreen. 2006. Ill. by Betsy Lewin. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 9780689845079

Farmer Brown knows that his animals require him to keep a close eye on their every move and they do not disappoint in Cronin’s book, a sequel to Click, Clack, Moo, Dooby Dooby Moo. As Farmer Brown opens up his newspaper and discovers a portion of the paper missing, he knows that they are, in deed, up to something! Duck has removed a portion of the paper that announces a talent show, boasting the first place reward, a trampoline. As the animals sneak in practice for the talent show, Farmer Brown remains unaware of what they are up to, but watchful! The day comes when the animals are loaded up for the fair and have their chance in the contest.  Will they take first place and win the trampoline?  Will Farmer Brown finally discover what his animals have been up to? Laugh along as you read to find out!

Critical Analysis:
The story is laugh out loud, and the pictures complement the story, creating humor and tension as the reader wonders if the animals’ antics will be discovered by Farmer Brown. Cronin’s and Lewins’ style through onomatopoeia, such as “Dooby, dooby, moo…the cows snore.” and use of large text font and placement are undeniably theirs, and add to the story’s humor. The illustrations add crucial details, which add to the story, such as seeing Farmer Brown face as he watches in disguise.

Review Excerpt(s):

·      “Great fun. (Picture book. 3-7)
~Kirkus Review

·      “Fans will hope for many more to come from this dynamic duo. Ages 3-7).
~Publisher’s Weekly


~Enjoy other titles by Cronin and Lewin:
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
Giggle, Giggle, Quack
Duck For President

-Use with older children as a mentor text for literary language (onomatopoeia).
-Use with students who are strengthening their fluency skills as a Reader’s Theatre text.

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend



Santat, Dan. 2014. Ill. by Dan Santat. New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN: 9780316199988

On an island far, far, away, an imaginary friend is created.  He joins others who wait patiently for a child to imagine them.  Well, not all of them wait patiently.  One creature watches, time after time, as others leave the island.  He decides that he will wait no longer and sets off for the real world, in search of his friend.

Critical Analysis:
The character, finally earning his name, Beekle, has a strong sense of self and a unique way of seeing the world.  He is determined and brave as he travels through places that he fins strange in the real world. Beekle sees this real world as strange because it is from a child’s imaginative perspective, such as no children eating cake and everyone needing naptime.

The illustrations complement the story and are appropriate in their mood. Times when Beekle is facing scary things, the illustrations are dark and playful settings are bright and colorful. The perspective of Beekle, small amongst the feet and legs of Adults without heads showing, illustrate what the world looks like and feels like to someone that small.  Such a perspective would match a young child hearing this story and be automatically relatable.  

Review Excerpt(s):

·      “We should all be grateful that Santat, with his brilliant use of color and humor, was here to bring Beekle to life.”
~The Huffington Post

·      “A terrific addition to any library."
~School Library Journal 


~Other books by this author:
The Three Ninja Pigs
~Other books with imaginary friends:
·      Jessica by Kevin Henkes
·      Emma Kate by Patricia Polacco
·      Dotty by Erica Perl

Awards & Recognitions:
~2015 Caldecott Medal

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