Rummanah Aasi
  I haven't reviewed picture books in a couple of months. I must fix that! Today I'll be reviewing Chicken Big by Keith Graves, The Gingerbread Man Loose  in the School by Laura Murray, and The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barbara Rosenstock.

Description: On a teeny little farm, in an itty-bitty coop, a very small hen laid a big, giant egg. And out of this egg came one big, humongous . . . something. "It's big!" clucked the little rooster. "It's enormous!" clucked the small chicken. "It's an elephant!" peeped the smallest chicken. "Run for your lives!" they cried. No matter how they try, these clueless chickens can't make sense of the gigantic new member of their family until he saves the day.

Review: As you could probably tell from the title and the description of the book, Chicken Big is a hilarious spin on the classic Chicken Little story. The book features a band of not-so-bright chickens who are confused by the presence of a giant chicken who just wants to be part of the gang. 
When this enormous chicken is born the others can not understand that the newly chick is really a chicken! They manage to call all the chick everything but a chicken after coming to some ridiculous conclusion as if the sky is falling or leaking, but luckily the large chicken manages to save the day by convincing them that it’s really just an acorn and that it’s just rain. The small chickens still don’t think he’s a chicken, until the day that the humongous chick rescues all the eggs from the hungry fox. Only a chicken could be so smart, kind, warm, and brave!
  The illustrations and layout of this book are similar to that of a graphic novel, with lots of speech bubbles and multiple panels per page. The text is suited for preschoolers and up who are familiar with the original Chicken Little story. I think the young readers would get a kick out of the humor and the crazy band of chickens.  Make sure to read the front and back of the cover, as well as the title page for more chicken-y humor. 
Curriculum Connection: This would work great in a unit where students are introduced to synonyms in language arts class. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades K-3

If you like this book try: The King of Little Things by Bil Lepp,  Letting go by Janet Morgan Stoeke

Description: When a class leaves for recess, their just-baked Gingerbread Man is left behind. But he's a smart cookie and heads out to find them. He'll run, slide, skip, and (after a mishap with a soccer ball) limp as fast as he can because: "I can catch them! I'm their Gingerbread Man!"
With help from the gym teacher, the nurse, the art teacher and even the principal, the Gingerbread Man does find his class, and he's assured they'll never leave him behind again.
Review: This is a fun story about a gingerbread man who gets left behind and then searches all over the school (with some bumps along the way) for his class. The rhyming narrative is entertaining, but it doesn't always work and sometimes reads awkward. I was also not a big fan of the illustrations, they looked too juvenile but that might be the appeal for the younger readers. The story is presented in a graphic novel-style format, with lots of cartoonish frames and dialogue bubbles.
 I think this story would be great during the first week of school where kids are trying to become familiar with the school's geography. I can totally see teachers going to different parts of the school and finding 'notes' as to where the lost gingerbread man could be by making trips to the gym, library, and other rooms along the way back to their own classroom trying to find the lost gingerbread man. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades K-1

If you like this book try: The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck by Laura MurrayMy first day of school by P.K. Hallinan

Description: In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt joined naturalist John Muir on a trip to Yosemite. Camping by themselves in the uncharted woods, the two men saw sights and held discussions that would ultimately lead to the establishment of our National Parks.

Review: Based on a true story of Roosevelt’s and Muir’s fateful camping trip, The Camping Trip That Changed America is a fun peek into a less often told history of the national park and how they came to be. I learned a lot from this book. 
Told in an engaging voice, the author chooses to introduce the two famous men as they were to their families, nicknames and all. Though they are unlike in so many ways, they both share a passion for the outdoors and outspoken about their beliefs, so it is fun to see them paired together, swapping stories, getting away from the normal busy day and take time to be with nature. 
 The author chooses vignettes from the camping trip and the tour of Yosemite that will inspire young readers today just as it did the President and provides a nice author’s note, quotes from the men, and further reading since this brief glimpse is sure to inspire further research. The illustrations have so much energy, making the characters and the story leap off the page. While simple, they pair well with the breezy text and capture the essence of Yosemite.

Curriculum Connection: Science and History

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 2-4.

If you like this book try: All the water in the world by George Ella Lyon, All the world by Liz Garton Scanlon
2 Responses
  1. Some great choices and I know I'm recommending these books to some cousins. :)

  2. Candace Says:

    The Camping Trip one definitely sounds like one I might like myself. I think my kids would really like the chicken one and probably the Gingerbread one as well, they sound fun!

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