Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Picture Book Review: A Dress for Me

Today's book, A Dress for Me by Sue Fliess and illustrated by Mike Laughead

ISBN-13: 9780761461487
  • Publisher: Amazon Childrens Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/20/2012
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
Book Description from Amazon:

Should we shop now? I say, Yes! Mom says I can choose a dress! Hippo is looking for a new dress There are so many choices! Dresses with beads and fringe, dresses with shiny sequins, dresses with stripes and checkers, and more! Watch me as I try them all! Will Hippo find the perfect dress? Sue Fliess's rhyming text and Mike Laughead's adorable digital illustrations bring to life Hippo's exciting day at the mall.

Click here and visit Sue's website

Why I liked this book:
I was delighted when Sue ask me if I would read her book " Dress for Me" to my class. The moment I opened the pages and began to read, I knew I was going to love this book... it rhymed! And what girl doesn't like shopping. I actually used this book in a writing lesson. I found not only did the kids love the story but I could use it as a teaching tool. My writing lesson on adjectives and descriptive words was a hit. My favorite line is

Satin, strapless, for the prom. "Too grown-up for you," says Mom.

I had to explain what a prom was and that made all of the girls laugh! There is nothing better than the laughter of children.

Critique from Room 101

The girls loved this book. Even though it's suggested age is 4-7 my 8 and 9 year made such a connection to finding the perfect dress. At my school the students do not wear uniforms so don't you know that all my little divas come dressed from head to toe. I ask my class to write a few words  to Sue about what they liked about her book and this is what they had to say:

Dear Mrs. Fliess,
Thank you for giving Mrs. Velasquez books to read to us. Please can you make a snickerdoodle book?~Alexis.

Dear Mrs. Sue,
I like the book, "A Dress for Me" because I like books that are made up. You made the hippo with hair and clothes. I like how you put rhyming words in it. It is so cool. I love this book a lot. I am in second grade~ Ti'liyah.

Dear Mrs. Sue,
I like the story called "A Dress for Me." It made me think of when my friend had the perfect dress. It has straps and pink and purple flowers. So she tried it on and it was just right.~ Rickia

My students enjoyed this book. They asked if it was going to be put in the box that says" Mrs. Velasquez's favorites. They know if I put it in the box they can read it over and over too!  And it was. So the girls from room 101 give it a two thumbs up.

I do have to mention that I also read "Tons of Trucks" to my class. You will have to come back next Thursday and see what the critics from Room 101 have to say about it.

Sue has written many others books so please make sure to stop by her web page and take a look around.

Monday, January 21, 2013


It has been 6 months since I have posted a book review. I took a leave of absence to get my health back on track.  I am so excited to say that I have lost 40 pounds! I have rebooted and feel amazing. For those of you that have missed my book reviews I am back! 2013 will be a great year. Make sure you stop by Thursday for my latest picture book review.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Read to me challenge book 10 : First Day Jitters

Today's review is First Day Jitters    By author: Julie Danneberg    Illustrated by: Judy Love
ISBN: 978-1-58089-054-0    Ages: 5-9

Synopsis:( Taken from Charlesbridge)
Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school. She doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending.

Fun, energetic illustrations brighten page after page with the busy antics surrounding Sarah Jane. First Day Jitters is an enchanting story that is sure to be treasured by anyone who has every anticipated a first day of school. 
"I'm not going," said Sarah, and pulled the covers over her head. "of course you're going honey,"  said Mr. Hartwell, as he walked over to the window and snapped the shade.

Why I like this book:
This picture book is  a must for every teacher. I read it every year on the first day of school. I love how Julie Danneberg tells this delightful story from the perspective of the teacher. When I bought this book I knew that the character was nervous about the first day of school but I had no idea until the end that the character who did not want to go to school was the TEACHER!  She imagines the worst but at the end she realizes it was not so bad. I loved how this book explores the feelings that children may feel about going to a school for the first time or maybe moving to a new school and not knowing anyone.  This book allowed for great conversation about feelings the first day of school brings out in all of us ... even teachers.

Critique from 502:
First of all, Judy Love did a fantastic job creating the book's cover. The cat on head made them laugh and I hadn't even read the book yet. They loved the interaction between the cat and the dog .As the story unfolds, her hilarious illustrations captures the imagination that is going on in Sarah's head. My second graders were so surprised by the ending.  The look on their faces when they found out that Sarah was the teacher was priceless. Wow! This book got a "Will you read it again?" and a clap. When my class claps this is a sign that they loved the book. So critics from 502 give this book a thumbs up! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Read to me challenge 9: Hop! Plop!

A couple of months back I won the book Me Want Pet by Tammi Sauer after visiting Corey Rosen Schwartz's blog. A month later Corey sent me her own book, HOP! PLOP! So I am paying it forward and sharing her book with you. Enjoy!!

Why I liked this book:
Corey didn't know it, but her book came during a time I was having an observation done by my principal. I had chosen to do a Math lesson on balanced equations using a balanced scale. I love to sneak in a  reading a book whenever I can, with that said, I couldn't find a book. Then HOP! PLOP! arrived.  I read the book, yes during my math observation, focusing on the beginning of the book. The kids immediately made real world math connections. The important theme of the book is friendship but it was a great read aloud for my Math lesson.  And I have to say my principal loved it!!!!!

Critique from 502:
First of all, my class loved the characters. The first thing they noticed was the title. Ok, when 8 year olds say," Look Mrs. Velasquez those are vivid verbs, I was beaming just a little bit. For some reason they had thought that Elephants are afraid of mice... and could never be friend. They loved the fact that they had to work together to overcome challenges. The book is simple but the theme of Friendship is HUGE! I ask my students, "whats was your favorite part of the book."  They replied, "when Elephant uses his trunk as a slide for Mouse, he was showing compassion."  My second graders are so insightful! HOP! PLOP! gets a thumbs up all around.

P.S. The very next day my students were using vivid verbs in their writing... thanks Corey!

Corey also has a new blog co- hosted with Tiffany Strelitz Haber called Meter Maids. If rhyming is your passion, even if you are not good at it... like me, please be sure to stop by.   LOOK for her new book coming out soon SEPT. 2012!! The Three Ninja Pigs

Happy reading and writing!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Read to me challenge #8 :Me Want Pet

Wow! It feels good to be back on track with my Read to me challenge book #8.  My picture book this week is Me Want Pet by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Bob Shea.

Synoposis: Taken from the book jacket
Cave Boy had lots of things. Rocks. Sticks. A club. But no pet. Will Cave Boy ever find a pet the whole family can agree on!
Cave Boy gave Wooly a  hug. 
"Me wish you could stay, pal."
Then Cave Boy tried again.
He searched high and low until...
a saber-toothed tiger!
Cave Boy and Toothy raced home.
Me want pet!"
"Achoo-ga!" sneezed Papa.
"Make me sneeze! No can stay."

Why I liked this book:
This adorable funny book was a gift to me by the gracious Corey Rosen Schwartz. At first I read the title and thought to myself, this is book will probably not  make the cut with my class but I will give it a try. What is that old saying? Don't judge a book by it's cover...oh so true! haha. The story line is so simple but the dialogue is hilarious. Truly a funny book that will tickle your funny bone and sure to make you laugh!

Stacy Velasquez
I passed this book on to my daughter Stacy Velasquez to share with her 2nd grade class. They loved it as well. So today's critique comes from some of her students.

Critique from Calhoon Magnet School
Delaynie writes:
" I like this book because it was funny when he talked like a baby. A text-to-self-connection that I made was when my sister wants something she will talks like the cave boy, me want pet, no can stay, make me sick!  My favorite part was when the granny said,"he no potty trained he no stay!"

Anthony writes:
"This book is about a little cave boy that has everything he needs but what he really wants is a pet. He tries a mammoth, too big. He tries a sabertooth tiger-makes dad sneeze, a dodo bird-not potty trained.
But when a stampede hurts his family the pets come to the rescue. He doesn't have one, he has three. I like this book because the kid gets what he wants. This book made me feel funny because when I was a trying to find out what pet I was going to get I was always told no but I finally got a dog."

And the whole class chanted," that's the way  uh huh...uh huh, we like it uh huh! "  ! This book gets double thumbs up from Calhoon Magnet  2nd graders!

Please stop by Corey Rosen Schwartz blog


Happy reading and writing :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Read to Me Challenge book 6- Too Many Toys

For this week's book is Too Many Toys  written and illustrated by David Shannon

Too Many Toys

ISBN: 978-0-439-49029-0 HC      Ages 4 and up

Synopsis: Spencer has too many toys. His mother has had enough and tries to get Spencer to  rid of some of his toys.  The Problem is, he loves them all! Spencer has to pick which  toys stay and which ones go. What will he do?
Lesson Plans for this book:activities for Too Many Toys
Click on this link Too Many Toys and hear David Shannon read his very own story! Thank you Scholastic !                                                        

Why I love this book: First of all, this story reminds me of my life when my three children were younger. Toys everywhere! I was SO the mom in this story. This book brought back happy memories of my children I had almost forgotten. This book is very funny. This week my little ones have been SAT testing. I wanted to read them a book that would make them laugh and lighten the mood of the week. It definitely made them laugh...heck it made me laugh. As always David's illustrations made me linger over every page- not wanting to miss anything. I think the ending is cute.

Critique from Room 502:
My students loved, loved this book.  They connected with Spencer immediately. They loved that Spencer had toys spilling out everywhere.  They thought it was funny when the grown ups almost had mishaps because of the mountain of toys left everywhere.  You could hear echos of " I have that toy, Me too!" "My room looks just like that too! ( Yikes! Now I know what their desks are a mess )And my mom and dad make me get rid of my toys too! The pictures made them tickled. Especially the ones of Mom! Kids love it when parents and grown ups make mistakes or have accidents. The box at the end was a big hit too. The kids from Room 502 rate this book a two thumbs up.

Happy reading and writing!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Challenge Alert

This year I have taken on many new challenges. I have set new personal and professional goals.  Even though my blog has only be up since October, I want it to reflect more about  becoming a better writer and not just book reviews. Oh yes, for those of you who enjoy reading about my 2nd graders,  I will continue to let the critics from Room 502 give you their thoughts  on my Thursday book reviews. With that said, I have a Challenge Alert:

Here is the Challenge: I would like you to give me suggestions for a new blog title. Enter your blog title suggestion as a comment by April 1.  If your Blog title wins...

the winner will receive and a Barnes and Noble gift card.  Good Luck and thanks for the help!