Monday, August 29, 2011

First Garden: The White House Garden and How it Grew by Robbin Gourley

First Lady Michelle Obama is concerned about improving the health of American people, especially the children.  Early in the Obama presidency, Mrs. Obama proposed a kitchen garden on the White House lawn which would encourage Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables.  This beautifully illustrated book by Robbin Gourley begins with a fascinating section on how past presidential families have used the White House lawns and gardens, from the pony and goat carts of early White House children to the fountain in which John Kennedy, Jr., liked to play. It then shows the garden in every stage, beginning with preparing the soil and planting the seeds and plants.  Mrs. Obama enlisted the participation of student gardeners from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, D. C.   These students helped to cultivate the garden and harvest the crops.  The White House kitchen staff prepared foods from the garden for the presidential family to enjoy.  Recipes and gardening tips complete the package.   (Houghton Mifflin, 2011)--Wilma Snyder

New School Year

A new school year is always exciting for children, parents, and teachers.  Try these picture books for the early days of school--Wilma Snyder.

Eddie Gets Ready for School by David Milgrim is told in funny lists and pictures.  I love how "Wash up" is pictured with the young student outfitted with goggles.  "Watch cartoons" is closely followed by "Turn off TV this instant."  "Get dressed is followed by "Really get dressed."  Cartoon art just might inspire young readers to begin their own illustrated lists  (Scholastic, 2011).

Every teacher has somewhat differing rules for the classroom.  A part of each year's school beginning is becoming familiar with the expectations of the new classroom teacher.  Back to School Rules by Laurie Friedman with illustrations by Teresa Murfin takes the approach of looking a 10 simple rules and then elaborating of what not to do.  For example, "Don't forget to use your brain," means "No hanging from the ceiling, no flying through the air, no swimming in the fish tank, no glitter in your hair."  This book is sure to stimulate thought about why teachers have so many rules (Carolrhoda/Lerner, 2011).

If you are a fan  of Louise the Big Cheese and Louise the Big Cheese and the La-Di-Da Shoes, be sure to be on the lookout for Louise the Big Cheese and the Back-to-School Smarty Pants, written by Elise Primavera with illustrations by Diane Goode.  Once Louise decides to get straight As in the new school year, she has big expectations.  She thinks she might get to skip a grade or even be promoted to college soon.  However, her new teacher, Mrs. Pearl, does not award As unless they are earned and Louise has trouble doing her best.  Louise learns some important lessons about schoolwork and grades.  This picture book will offer the opportunity for discussion about grades and their meaning (Simon and Schuster, 2011).

A fun read-aloud is Pirates Go to School, written by Corinne Demas and illustrated by John Manders.  When pirates and their parrots go to school, they bring a whole new attitude to the classroom.  Kids can live vicariously through the out-of-bounds behavior of the pirates.  They also see the consequences of such outrageous antics (Orchard/Scholastic, 2011)