Julie Andrews

The hills are alive with lots of books!

Simeon's Gift

Travel the world with Simeon as he ventures to find inspiration for his music. He leaves his beloved because he feels unworthy of her love to experience the world around him. Along his adventure he hears music everywhere he goes. However, the more he sees the more small he feels and he eventually sails home empty handed and disappointed. On his journey home on a small canoe, he meets a colorful bird, a pink-and-golden fish and a beautiful fawn. Simeon helps each one of them and one-by-one they continue to follow him on his journey home. He is encouraged by their company and inspired by the music each creature creates. When he arrives back at his village, his beloved joyfully greets him and is extremely pleased with the companions he has brought back. Simeon is suddenly overwhelmed with a song from his heart. His one song leads to many more as well as fame throughout the land and he lives a long happily ever after with the wise knowledge he acquired along the way; "that a true and brave heart can find a way, if it will only trust in all the wonders under God's canopy."

Classroom Connection: Simeon's tale of adventure would be a wonderful read aloud because it is quite a complex picture book. It is a beautiful story that has a great moral at the end of the story. This would also be a great story to have students act out to understand. It was also made into a stage play that would a great parallel to the story. Tying in music would be an easy way to integrate among the subjects.

Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies

Julie Andrews' has collaborated with her daughter to pick out some of her favorite poems and songs. Some are written by classics, some taken from her family and some written by her and her daughter. She divided the book into nine sections and each one has a personal introduction by Julie Andrews. The book also came with a CD in which Julie Andrews and her daughter read a selection of the poems.

Classroom Connection: Poetry is a literature genre that needs to be studied in many grades and this book offers a wonderful selection of diverse poems. Also knowing the author and having personal connections could motivate students to want to read. These poems could also be used in all of the areas of the balanced literacy instruction model and vary in length so would vary in time.


The Very Fairy Princess

Geraldine is the VERY fairy princess and she knows it deep down in her heart! We follow her through her day at home and at school, as she explains how a princess should act and behave. She proves to the audience that she really is a fairy princess no matter what anyone else says; she feels it inside!

Classroom connection: This book would be wonderful for a classroom read aloud to let every student in the class know they are special and have their own "sparkle!" It would also be good for independent reading or to take home to share with parents.

Meet Geraldine! THE VERY FAIRY PRINCESS by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton

The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart

Geraldine is back again and her favorite holiday is here, Valentines Day! As a fairy princess she loves this holiday because it invokes lots of glitter and sparkle and she gets to make homemade cards for everyone! She makes cards for her family and entire class and puts them all in one of her father's folders. On Valentines' Day she hands out all of her cards for her family; they each match their personality. When she gets to school she discovers that she grabbed the wrong folder and only has a stack of her father's papers instead of her valentines. She thinks that her day is ruined but then comes up with an idea! Before everyone else passes out their valentines, Geraldine gathers up her fellow classmates and tells each one of them what she loves best about them. After she finishes, her dad comes into the classroom with her missing valentines. Gerry's dad stays for lemonade and cupcakes as they enjoy the rest of their day!

Classroom Connection: This would be a perfect read aloud book for Valentines' Day! It could also be used for independent reading like the rest of the series. It would also be a fun way to introduce students to a unconventional Valentines day where they tell each other their Valentines and what they love about each other instead of making the homemade cards or buying cards.

Dumpy At School

A little boy named Charlie awakens for his first day of school while outside his dump truck, Dumpy gets ready for his first day on the job at a construction site. Both are very nervous and insecure about how the day will go. After a rough day, where they are both overwhelmed by others, the school bus breaks down while trying to take the rest of of the kids home. Charlie and Dumpy come up with the idea to pile the kids in the back of the dump truck to get the kids home. They save the day and Charlie makes new friends and is assured that school will be fun!

Classroom connection: This book would be great to read aloud during the first week of school to try and assuage students anxieties. It also opens up discussion topics such as making new friends and including others as well as problem solving! I think it could also be used to talk about onomatopoeia because lots of sounds are used to describe Dumpy's day.

Julie Andrews

Dame Julie Andrews is an icon in the entertainment business, best known by many for roles in The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins as well as her amazing singing voice. She started writing children's books in the late eighties and continues to do so. She has coauthored over twenty children' s books with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, including many New York Time bestsellers such as The Very Fairy Princess and Dumpy the Dump Truck series. Julie Andrews and her daughter are head of the "Julie Andrews Collection" which is a publishing program dedicated to high quality children's books that "nurture the imagination and celebrate a sense of wonder."