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review 2017-06-27 07:37
Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners
Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners - Laurie Keller

I bought this book for the bookshelf I set aside for my nieces when they visit; as the childless aunt with a lot of cats, it felt fitting that a book about manners should occupy that shelf; even though my husband technically saves me from the "Cranky Spinster Cat Lady" title, it still feels like a stereotype worth having some fun with.  ;-)

 

Do Unto Otters is hilarious.  It was so funny, in fact, that I immediately handed it to MT and told him he had to read it.  It's central theme is the Golden Rule, and the main characters are a rabbit and a family of otters.  It's beautifully illustrated and the real laugh-out-loud moments are the small drawings interspersed throughout the pages that illustrate examples of each facet to the golden rule (i.e. saying 'please' or 'excuse me').  Teaching readers how to say those courtesies in different languages (including Pig Latin - Ha!) is a distinctly nice touch.

 

This is a definite must have for any child's shelf, and one that makes learning courteousness a whole lot of fun.

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review 2017-04-08 03:18
Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf
Mind Your Manners B.B. Wolf[MIND YOUR MANNERS BB WOLF][Hardcover] - JudySierra

Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf is an interesting, funny story about a wolf named B.B. Wolf who gets invited to a tea by a librarian; his friend gives him advice on how to mind his manners at the tea, telling him to smile and to not bite anyone. This story has other fictional characters such as Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs, who B.B. tries his best to make a great impression on.

 

I loved reading this story. Children would really enjoy it because it is funny, has good advice on manners, and has other characters they are already familiar with. This book would be great to read in a first grade classroom with a number of other books about a "big bad wolf", having the students compare and contrast the wolves and other characters in the stories. They can also have a creative writing activity where they write a story about a "big bad wolf".

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review 2017-04-06 23:02
Don't Judge a Book by its Cover
The Little Bit Scary People by Emily Jenkins (2008-09-23) - Emily Jenkins

This book goes through the events of the protagonist finding "little bit scary people" but then stating "but I bet..." and then saying something positive about them. It teaches not to judge a book by its cover. I would honestly read this book to any grade- even high schoolers. There are so many different activities you could do with this book, most of them teaching students soft skills and manners. But I believe you can take this book to a whole other level. You can incorporate this into a science lesson by having students predict what is going to happen and then recording what actually happens. Another idea would be to read this book as an introduction to a new lesson or study in E/LA. I have seen on pinterest where teachers will wrap a book in paper so that students can't see the title. That is then the book they have to read for that particular study. It would also be a great way to split students up into book club books. Or, if you want to teach critical thinking, students can be given those mathematical optical illusions where something appears one way but is actually another. This would help segue into a geometry lesson. I would probably use this book as a fun introduction to another lesson, but you could do a writing prompt if you wanted to focus solely on this book. 

 

A.R. Reading Level: 3.8

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review 2017-04-06 22:47
So Many Opportunities!
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman

When my children's lit professor assigned this book, I was not thrilled. I don't want to read a book about a boy who was raised by ghosts. That sort of story doesn't appeal to me at all, but I found myself staying up until 1am trying to finish it. This is a well written story about a boy whose parents are killed when he is a baby and then he ends up getting raised by ghosts, a vampire, and a werewolf. Despite the spooky theme of the book, it actually teaches extremely good lessons. Bod, the protagonist, grows up and becomes his own throughout the story. He learns how to read and write by tracing/rubbing letters on gravestones, he learns about history by the dead people who lived through it, but most importantly, he yearns to learn more. What Bod really wants to do is read and learn as much as he can. This book shows how important education is in a totally different way than most people imagine. I would use The Graveyard Book with upper elementary- no younger than 5th grade- for many reasons. When teaching this book in the classroom, there are obvious lessons you can teach such as figurative language, references, writing styles, etc. But there is so much content that can go beyond that. You could use this to teach about European history (or any history for that matter), early American history, the human body (science), geography, and many others.

If I were teaching this, one of the activities I would do would be to have the students pick out a prefabricated name and birth/death date out of separate piles. I would then have the students do heavy research on that time period (I could give a location if necessary such as the US). They would then write a fictional story about their character and give the character an inscription on a headstone that they would draw. 

 

Lexile: 820L

Grade Equivalent: 5.4

 

Wonderful website I found full of The Graveyard Book resources:

https://sites.google.com/site/theghoulgate/home

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review 2017-04-04 22:09
The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners - 'Stan Berenstain', 'Jan Berenstain'

This book is all about the Bear Family who forgot their manners one afternoon. Mama bear created a family politeness plan and made everyone follow along. They realized things went better when everyone minded their manners. This would be great for the middle of the year "blues" or just one day when the class needed to be reminded to use their manners. A class politeness plan would be great to follow this activity up with. I would use this for third grade. It is leveled 620 L.

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