Children Literature

Caldecott Award Winning and Caldecott Honor

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

    Author: Mac Barnett

Illustrator: Jon Klassen

The main characters in this story are Sam and Dave. They are going on a mission in the hopes to find something amazing. So they set out to dig a hole. They dig and dig and dig some more. They do not find anything at first but they are determined to not give up. After a long day of digging and a few close encounters with treasure, they boys are rewarded with the lesson of determination!

This is a unique and fun story to read aloud to a class. The pictures play an important role in this story. A few times the boys are on the verge of finding something amazing and then decide to change directions or take a break. I would like to use a read aloud with this book in my classroom to discuss the importance of using the pictures in a book to help support the text. I may try and read the book without showing the pages and make the point that the story is a lot less exciting when you don't have pictures to go along with it. Then I would reread the book and show pictures. This discussion can lead to students understanding how they can use pictures to help understand what the text is talking about.

This book would be appropriate for a Kindergarten or First grade class. Below is a video book review done by The Morning Blend that includes some questions and answers with the author and illustrator.

"Sam and Dave Dig a Hole"

A Sick Day For Amos Mcgee

Author: Philip Stead

Illustrator: Erin Stead

This book is about friendship and dedication. Amos Mcgee is a friendly zookeeper. He makes a point to visit all of the zoo animals frequently. These zoo animal friends of his come in all shapes and sizes, from an elephant to a tortoise. One day, however; Amos is too sick to go into work. To his surprise he gets many unexpected animal guests!

I really enjoyed this book. It is gentle and kind while also being funny and quirky. I would use this read aloud in a Kindergarten classroom to discuss friendship and community. This would be an appropriate book to use at the beginning of the year when we are discussing classroom expectations and classroom climate. The book makes many good points about how looks, size and shape do not matter. The zoo keeper is kind and caring to all the animals and the animals are kind in return. This could form a discussion with the class about how to treat others and how our classroom is a community that cares for each other.

Click on the link below to learn how illustrator, Erin Stead, makes the award winning pictures in this book!

Click Clack Moo

Author: Doreen Cronin

Illustrator: Betsy Lewin

In this fun story, the reader meets Farmer Brown and his cows. The interesting thing about these particular cows is that they like to type! The Farmer can not believe his eyes at first, "cows that type? Impossible!" The cows begin leaving Farmer Brown funny notes that they have typed. They request silly things like electric blankets in return for their milk. Other farm animals eventually join in on the typing and the requests and the Farmer has to work in order to keep his animals happy!

This book is appropriate for a Kindergarten class. It is a fun read and will keep the students engaged. After reading this story aloud to my class I would discuss how and why it was a fiction story and the difference between a story and an informational text. I would then go on to discuss the main topic of the story. I would then discuss the different parts of the story such as the main characters, details, settings, problems and solutions/ conclusion.

Follow this link to buy Click Clack Moo online: click here


Author and Illustrator: Leo Lionni

Frederick the field mouse is a little different than the others. While all the other field mice are busy preparing for the upcoming winter, Frederick is busy preparing something of his own. All of Frederick's brothers are unhappy with him for not doing his fair share of work. When they ask him why he isn't helping, he tells them that he is collecting words, sun rays, and colours. His siblings find this answer very odd. But when winter comes, the mice eat the food quickly and soon all of the food is gone and they become restless.

In the end the work Frederick has been doing will save the day as he helps sooth his siblings with the memories of the worm weather and beautiful blooming flowers.

This book is appropriate for a Kindergarten or First Grade classroom. It would be a good read aloud to accompany a discussion about community. I would prompt the students with questions like: what does the word community mean? What kind of communities are you a part of? How can you contribute to the communities that you are a part of? Then I would make the point that our classroom is a community. I would talk about how each person in a community has a different job and plays a different role but it is important for everyone to work hard! Just like Frederick helped in a special way!

Follow this link for a read aloud that can be played in the classroom if you do not have access to the book: here

Follow this link to watch the story come to life: here

The Noisy Paint Box

Author: Barb Rosenstock


The main character in this story is a little boy named Vasya Kandinsky. His family is very proper and polite and he is expected to act in the same way. He studies, plays piano, sits up straight and uses his manners. One day his family sends him to an art class. They expected him to paint proper things, but what happened was quite the opposite. Vasya falls in love with the sounds he hears as he mixes the colours from his paintbox. As he mixes the colours he hears the sound of an orchestra. As he grows up he continues to hear the sounds and see the colours dancing in the sky. Vasya struggles between pursuing his new found love of painting and following his proper life style.

This book is appropriate for a Kindergarten or First Grade class. This read aloud could be done along with a lesson about hobbies, following your heart and goals or doing things that make you happy. I would use this book if my class was doing a section on one of these topics. We could also discuss the perseverance that it took Vasya to follow his desire to paint. This discussion could lead into a discussion about trying new things. I would point out that Vasya would never have found the thing he loved to do if he was not willing to try new things!

The Noisy Paint Box