Monthly Archives: February 2012

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

I’m writing this post on Thursday afternoon-tonight we will finally have our Night of Mystery! The kids wore their glow in the dark shirts to school today, and they are so excited about literacy night. I wrote a story for the principal to read at the end of the evening with a surprise ending. I really hope the students enjoy it! ūüôā

My Perfect Picture Book Selection this week is Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, written and illustrated by Brian Floca. It was published by Atheneum Books in 2009. This book is suitable for any age, but the reading and interest level is around third grade.

High above there is the Moon, cold and quiet, no air, no life, but glowing in the sky. Here below there are three men who close themselves in special clothes, who-click-lock hands in heavy gloves, who-click-lock heads in large round helmets. It is summer here in Florida, hot, and near the sea.¬† But now these men are dressed for colder, stranger places. They walk with stiff and awkward steps in suits not made for Earth. They have studies and practiced and trained, and said good-bye to family and froends. If all goes well, they will be gone for one week, gone where no one has been.”

Lesson Link:

Summary, awards, comprehension questions, and curricular activites

Why I like this book: Moonshot is beautifully illustrated and well-written. It is non-fiction, but it read much like a story. Michael Collins, Command Module Pilit for Apollo 11 said, “Reading Moonshot gave me the feeling I was back in space.” What an amazing compliment to the author/illustrator! Moonshot is also a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book. This award is given each year to distinguished informational books in the United States. My favorite page in the books is a two page spread of the rocket lifting off. “The rocket is released! It rises foot by foot, it rises pound by pound.” I really like the way Floca uses onomatopeia to create imagery in the story for young readers. His recreation of the events leading up to the launch and after are very real to life. The reader feels the excitement that the people sitting in front of their televisions felt that July day in 1969 when they listened to the sounds from outer space for the first time. At the end, there is a detailed expository piece about the history behind Apollo 11. This is one of the most excellent books about Apollo 11 for children that I have¬† read.

Do YOU Have a Hat?

Hooray for Perfect Picture Book Friday sponsored by the lovely Susanna Leonard Hill!

Title: Do YOU Have a Hat?

Written by Eileen Spinelli and Illustrated by Geraldo Valerio

2004 by Simon and Schuster

Suitable for: ages 3+

Themes: hats, historical figures, rhyme

“Do YOU have a hat? Something fuzzy, warm, and red, to keep the snowflakes off your head? Or maybe floppy-brimmed and blue, when summer sun shines down on you? ¬†Do YOU have a hat?”¬† Next the author and illustrator introduce all sorts of famous people in history who wore memorable hats-some more famous than others. Did you know that Francisco de Goya wore a hat with candles on the brim? (Do you know who Francisco de Goya is? ¬†I readily admit I did not. ¬†I had to Google him!)

Link: Wild Geese Guides  This site provides a great lesson plan to accompany the story + curricular links!

Why I like this book: I like this book for several reasons. ¬†First of all, I like hats. Secondly, Eileen Spinelli is one of THE most amazing authors for young children. I love the rhythm and rhyme in the story and the bright whimsical illustrations. Children are introduced to great historical figures like Carmen Miranda and Walt Whitman within a comprehensible context. My favorite line is, “Isabelle of Bavaria had a hat, a cone-shaped hat so very high it poked a gargoyle in the eye.” ¬†This book is hysterical and educational!

A Big Thanks!!

A huge THANK YOU!! to two of my picture book blogging buddies:

Beth Stilborn and Joanna Marple!

Joanna¬†gave me the Liebster Blog Award, and Beth¬†gave me the Kreativ Blogger Award! I feel quite honored to have been recognized by these two ladies whom I admire a great deal.¬†I learn something new each time I read their posts. Their writing is thoughtful and authentic. I feel we are becoming great friends even though we live thousands of miles apart! I am blessed to have met Beth and Joanna and all of the lovely people who are part of PiBoIdMo, Perfect Picture Book Friday, and 12×12.

I’m not sure how this works…I think I am supposed to list five things about myself for the Liebster Award¬†and ten for the Kreativ Blogger Award… Hmmmm…I’ll be good to come up with ten!

1. I was adopted at birth, and I couldn’t have asked for better parents. I am blessed.

2. I am left-handed.¬† I am always surprised when people say, “Oh, you’re left-handed!” like it is something unusual…

3. I danced on a drill team in high school. I could practically kick my nose! (Wish I was still that flexible)

4. When I was a little girl I could not pronounce the letter “F.” On my fourth birthday my uncle asked me how old I was and I replied, “Well, I can’t say door, so I guess I’ll have to be dive!” (Heard that one for many, many years!! ūüôā )

5. I met my husband at my best friend’s wedding!

6. I can Texas two-step and jitterbug like mad ūüôā

7. My favorite musical is Camelot.  When I was little we listened to that 8-track over and over again in the car. My mother took me to see the live performance in Houston several years ago and it took my breath away.

8. My favorite place on Earth is Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle. When I am there I feel at peace.

9. I can snowboard but not snow ski.

10.¬†I once entered a mosh pit at a Metallica concert. I don’t recommend it.

So there you have it folks! A few things that make me unique!

I would like to¬†recognize¬†the following¬†ladies who have faithfully followed my blog since its inception. I always look forward to and appreciate their thoughtful comments! I hereby bestow on you both the Liebster and the Kreativ Blogger Awards! How’s that for breaking all the rules?!!

Susanna Leonard Hill 

Stacy Jensen 

Catherine Johnson

Patricia Tilton 

Cat Skidoo

Happy Happy Friday!

Here’s my pick for this Friday’s Perfect Picture Book. Be sure to check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture book page for lots and lots of perfect picture book links!

Title: Cat Skiddo

Written by Bethany Roberts and illustrated by R.W. Alley

2004 Henry Holt & Company

Suitable for ages:  0-6

“Kittens in the window-one cat, two, jumping down for… CAT SKIDOO! Pit-pat, pit-pat, across the floor.¬† Mew! Mew! Out the door!” These kitty cats are into everything! They tumble and they run, they scurry and they scritch-scratch up the elm tree. They pounce, bounce and jump. Uh-oh, here comes the dog!

Links: Bethany Roberts has an entire kids’ page on her website dedicated to her cat Shasta. Children can read cat riddles, play kitty concentration or kitty cat tic-tac-toe. I’m pretty sure Bethany Roberts LOVES cats! ¬†¬†

Why I like this book: Well, the obvious reason is that I LOVE cats, too! I have never been without a cat. My mother tells me that when I was just a year old or so I tried sitting on our cat Puff, because she looked like a comfy pillow. Puff, of course, did not comply! I love the quirkiness of cats and their ability to crawl, climb, or scoot their way into all kinds of spaces. The cats in Cat Skidoo remind me of my cat Dakota who still acts like a kitten even though he is about nine years old. The rhyming lines in the book flow with ease and  repetition makes the book great for emerging readers. The book is also full of great sound words.