Keeker and the Sneaky Pony

Keeker and the Sneak Pony

By Hadley Higginson, Ill. Maja Andersen

9780811852173

Summary

Keeker has always dreamed of owning a pony; she’s read every book and took riding lessons every summer but it seemed like it would never happen. Then one day Plum cantered into her life, thanks to her mom and dad. But it wasn’t as easy as she imagined. Plum didn’t want to ride with her right away, and she wasn’t easy to pet or play with. Finally, when riding day comes, Plum pushes her luck and winds up throwing Keeker off in the woods. It takes coming to understand how to interact with the pony for Keeker to be able to gain the trust of Plum and ride her back home safely.

Quantitative Summary:

Lexile: 730L

ATOS Book Level:             4.0

Interest Level:   Lower Grades (LG K-3)

Qualitative Summary:

An easy reader book with some illustrations on most pages and large font to instill confidence in beginners. This book focuses on the thoughts of two characters, Keeker and Plum the pony, as they learn to understand each other. The language is simple and the chronology is straight forward, broken up in to small chapters. The message taken from the book is one of navigating a new friendship and learning to be patient with animals.

Curriculum Ties

Good book for girls interested in horses, especially as the book features a “Pony Facts” section at the end. It also imparts good messages about friendship and family.

Standards

MD CCSS

State Curriculum

English Gr. 3

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

TOPIC

A.

INDICATOR

  • 1. Develop comprehension skills by reading a variety of self-selected and assigned literary texts including print and non-print

OBJECTIVES

  1. Listen to critically, read, and discuss a variety of literary texts representing diverse cultures, perspectives, ethnicities, and time periods
  2. Listen to critically, read, and discuss a variety of different types of fiction and nonfiction texts

INDICATOR

  • 2. Use text features to facilitate understanding of literary texts

OBJECTIVES

  1. Identify and explain how organizational aids such as the title of the book, story, poem, or play contribute to meaning

Assessment limits:

  • In the text or a portion of the text
  1. Identify and explain how graphic aids such as pictures and illustrations, punctuation, print features contribute to meaning

Assessment limits:

  • In the text or a portion of the text
  1. Identify and explain how informational aids such as introductions and overviews, materials lists, timelines, captions,glossed words, labels, numbered steps, bulleted lists, footnoted words, pronunciation keys, transition words, end notes, works cited, other information aids encountered in informational texts contribute to meaning

Assessment limits:

  • In the text or a portion of the text
  1. Identify and explain how print features such as large bold print, font size/type, italics, colored print, quotation marks, underlining, other print features encountered in informational texts contribute to meaning

Assessment limits:

  • In the text or a portion of the text

INDICATOR

  • 3. Use elements of narrative texts to facilitate understanding

OBJECTIVES

  1. Identify and distinguish among types of narrative texts such as characteristics of the general categories of fiction versus nonfiction, realistic fiction, tall tales, legends, fables, fairy tales, biographies

Assessment limits:

  • Grade-appropriate narrative texts
  1. Identify and explain the elements of a story

Assessment limits:

  • Main problem, sequence or chronology of events, and solution to the problem
  1. Identify and describe the setting and the mood

Assessment limits:

  • Details that create the setting
  • Details that create the mood
  1. Identify and analyze the characters

Assessment limits:

  • Character’s traits based on what character says, does, and thinks and what other characters or the narrator says
  • Character’s motivations
  • Character’s personal growth and development
  1. Identify and explain relationships between and among characters, setting, and events

Assessment limits:

  • In the text or a portion of the text or across multiple texts
  1. Identify and describe the narrator

Assessment limits:

  • Conclusions about the narrator based on his or her thoughts and/or observations

Footprints in the Snow

Footprints in the Snow

By Mei Matsuoka

9780805087925

Matsuoka, M. 2007. Footprints in the snow. NY: Henry Holt and Company.

 

Summary

Wolf was curled up in his house on this cold winter night looking through his shelves for a nice book on wolves. All the wolves in his books were nasty, scary, greedy and mean, so Wolf decided he would write a book about a nice wolf. He wrote about a wolf one winter morning who left his house for a nice walk. When he spotted footprints, he decided to follow them to find out who left them. None of the woodland creatures he encountered, however, would tell him who left the footprints; they all thought he wanted to eat the source of the prints. Finally the wolf found the source, a duck who was swimming in the pond. Despite his best intentions, wolf began to imagine how tasty that duck might be. Suddenly, Wolf awoke, and he was no longer writing a book; he was taking a bath! Thankfully his story didn’t end like all of those other stories with mean wolves. But when there was a knocking at the door, he was surprised to find a set of prints, leading into the woods, and he wondered whose they were.

Quantitative Summary:

ATOS Book Level:             2.8

Interest Level:   Lower Grades (LG K-3)

Qualitative Summary:

Beautifully illustrated, this picture book illustrates how sometimes you can’t escape your own nature. Wolf certainly can’t – even when he tries to write a book about a nice wolf, he comes to find that nice wolf still wants to eat ducks. The chronology in this book can be a little complex, as the wolf goes from writing a story, to suddenly being in the bathtub, to being presented with the same scenario that began the book ending it as well. The language is simple and the font is big, often curving with  the action on the page. The narrative follows just the wolf, although it is a little bit unclear whether the wolf in the actual book and the wolf in his story are one in the same.

Curriculum Ties

Learning about animal nature, how the wolf is not necessarily “bad” for following his nature. Can also be used in conjunction with other books that feature wolves to talk about tropes of good and evil, how wolves are often featured as evil/conniving characters.

 

Standards

MD CCSS

State Curriculum

English/Language Arts

1.0   General Reading Processes: Comprehension: Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).

Comprehension

1. Develop comprehension skills through exposure to a variety of print and nonprint texts, including traditional print and electronic texts

a. Listen to critically, read, and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective, including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socioeconomic background

b. *Read a minimum of 25 self-selected and/or assigned books or book equivalents representing various genres

c. Discuss reactions to and ideas/information gained from reading experiences with adults and peers in

both formal and informal situations

 

3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text: Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary text.

ABC Animals

ABC Animals

American Museum of Natural History

9781454903864

American Museum of Natural History. 2013. ABC animals. CA: Sterling Publishing

Summary

This book will help you learn the alphabet with fun facts about an animal for every letter. From the long, sticky tongued Armadillo to the plant-eating Zebras, this book is an informative and brightly colored reference on many of your favorite animals.

Quantitative Summary:

Readability Formula        Grade

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level          5

Gunning-Fog Score         5.8

Coleman-Liau Index        12.3

SMOG Index      6

Automated Readability Index     5.6

Average Grade Level      6.9

Qualitative Summary:

This is a board book picture book that features 26 animals, one for each letter of the alphabet. The readability score ranks the animal facts at being on a 6th grade level, therefore it may be an adult-guided book for younger students. Each page features three different animals, with brightly colored backgrounds and colorful photographs of the animals. While there are many generally known animals such as the lion and the giraffe, there are also more obscure animals featured such as the Hoopoe bird and the Okapi, a close relative to the giraffe.

Curriculum Ties

This is a preschool to early-elementary level science book in that it can help acquaint children with animals. Children can use this book to connect pictures to names, letters to sounds and animals, as well as simple facts about each animal.

Standards

MD CCSS

Kindergarten

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

INDICATOR
1. Develop and apply comprehension skills by reading and analyzing a variety of self-selected and assigned literary texts including print and non-print

INDICATOR
2. Analyze text features to facilitate understanding of literary texts

INDICATOR
3. Analyze elements of narrative texts to facilitate understanding and interpretation

Science

TOPIC
D.
INDICATOR
1. Recognize that living things are found almost everywhere in the world and that there are somewhat different kinds of living things in different places.

OBJECTIVES
Observe, describe, and give examples and describe the many kinds of living things found in different places in Maryland.

Using pictures, films and illustrated texts identify, describe and compare living things found in other states such as Texas and Alaska to those found in Maryland.

Explain that the external features of plants and animals affect how well they thrive in different kinds of places.

Author website: http://www.amnh.comm

Ah ha!

Ah Ha!
Jeff Mack
9781452112657
Mack, J. 2013. Ah ha! San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
Summary:
Those four letters can mean so many things. This book is about a frog who is escaping dangers, first being a little boy who wants to catch him. He thinks he’s safe on a rock, but it turns out to be a hungry turtle. What he thinks to be a log is in fact a hungry alligator. And when he escapes that, climbing what he thinks to be reeds, he’s actually found a hungry flamingo. Just when he thinks he’s escaped being eaten, he finds himself right back where he started: in the little boy’s jar. Ah ha! says the little boy, and Ha Ha! the frog says to the hungry animals, as they watch him being carted off. As the boy carries him along, the frog gets the last laugh, Ah ha! he says as the lid to the jar slips off, allowing him his freedom.
Quantitative Summary:
The only words used are Ah ha, ha ha, and aaah. There are not scores for this book, but I think it is easily a Pre-K-3 picture book.
Qualitative Summary:
A lot happens in this book with just the manipulation of those four letters: Ah ha! Ha ha! Aahh! The illustrations are what give those words context, where Aahh can be both an expression of fear and of contentment. The complexity of this book is very low: the story follows one character in a chronological order, and the language is limited to one or two straight forward words. The complexity comes in interpreting the illustrations and how they add to the context of the words.

Curriculum Tie Ins:
Could be good for basic spelling and phonetics, how letters put in different positions make different sounds, and how those words mean different things in different contexts. Also to a lesser extent teaches about animals, and that humans should leave them alone (the frog is unhappy in the jar, and contented when he is left alone in the pond).
Standards

English/Language Arts

1.0   General Reading Processes: Comprehension: Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).

Comprehension

1. Develop comprehension skills through exposure to a variety of print and nonprint texts, including traditional print and electronic texts

a. Listen to critically, read, and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective, including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socioeconomic background

b. *Read a minimum of 25 self-selected and/or assigned books or book equivalents representing various genres

c. Discuss reactions to and ideas/information gained from reading experiences with adults and peers in both formal and informal situations

3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text: Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary text.

Author’s website: http://www.jeffmack.com/

Possum and the Peeper

Possum and the Peeper
By Anne Hunter
9780395846315
Hunter, A. 1998. Possum and the peeper. NY: Houghton Mifflin.

Summary:
There is a peeping that awakens Possum from his sleep, but who could it be? It’s not the catbirds in the tree above his hole, so who is it? The catbirds accompany the Possum on an adventure to figure out who is making that peeping sound. Along the way he is joined by other animals who have been disturbed by the peeping. Finally they find the source of the racket: a tiny little frog who just wants everyone to wake up because it is spring time. At first they are mad for being woken up, but as they look around they realize that while trying to find the peeper, they have taken a beautiful spring walk.

Quantitative Summary:
ATOS Book Level: 2.7
Interest Level: Lower Grades (LG K-3)
510L

Qualitative Summary:

This book is a sweet story that imparts the message that it’s important to look around and not take the world around you for granted. These animals are disturbed by the loud peeping of this little frog, but in their journey together to find the source of their annoyance, they are taken on a lovely spring walk. The book has a very simple narrative, with minimal characters and very few words on each page. It would lend itself to being read aloud very well.

Curriculum Tie Ins:

Standards

English/Language Arts

1.0   General Reading Processes: Comprehension: Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).

Comprehension

1. Develop comprehension skills through exposure to a variety of print and nonprint texts, including traditional print and electronic texts

a. Listen to critically, read, and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective, including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socioeconomic background

b. *Read a minimum of 25 self-selected and/or assigned books or book equivalents representing various genres

c. Discuss reactions to and ideas/information gained from reading experiences with adults and peers in both formal and informal situations

3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text: Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary text.

 

Author’s website: http://www.annehunterstudio.com

Bear Has a Story to Tell

Bear Has a Story to Tell
Philip C. Stead, Ill. Erin E. Stead
9781596437456

Stead, P. C. 2012. Bear has a story to tell. NY: Roaring Brook Press.

Summary:
It is winter time and Bear is getting sleepy. But he has a story to tell! He has many friends in the forest, and so one of them must want to hear his story. Each of his friends however, from the squirrel to the frog, the duck and the mole, are all preparing for winter themselves, and so they do not have time to hear his story. He helps each of them to get ready, and they thank him for his assistance. Finally, it is late in the day and Bear is getting sleepy. So, he goes into hibernation. When Spring finally comes, he wakes up ready to tell his friends his story. He greets each of them and gathers them together to hear his story, but when he is ready to tell it he realizes he’s forgotten it! Winter is a long time for a bear to remember a story. Luckily, his friends help him out with remembering the story. It starts with Bear, who has many friends, and it is winter time, and Bear is getting sleepy.

Quantitative Summary:
ATOS Book Level: 2.7
Interest Level: Lower Grades (LG K-3)
AD540L

Qualitative Summary:
Really cute book with beautiful watercolor illustrations that are simplistic in nature. The pages each have only a few sentences on them, making them easy to read. The structure is low, with a chronological order, a single (omniscient) narrator, and a simple narrative structure. The language is also low, being very straightforward and using little to no figurative language. The knowledge demands are also low, requiring very little outside knowledge and focusing on relatable themes (story-telling, friendship, helpfulness).

Curriculum Tie Ins:
Tie ins for students learning about animals that hibernate, and how they prepare for winter. It’s also good for teaching thoughtfulness and helpfulness. Also good for teaching how to tell a story, how Bear’s story was about himself, and can show a conflict/resolution arc. The conflict is that Bear wants to tell his story, and the resolution is that he compromises and waits until his friends are back for Spring.

Standards:

MD CCSS

Gr. 3 English

English/Language Arts

1.0   General Reading Processes: Comprehension: Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).

Comprehension

1. Develop comprehension skills through exposure to a variety of print and nonprint texts, including traditional print and electronic texts

a. Listen to critically, read, and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective, including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socioeconomic background

b. *Read a minimum of 25 self-selected and/or assigned books or book equivalents representing various genres

c. Discuss reactions to and ideas/information gained from reading experiences with adults and peers in both formal and informal situations

3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text: Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary text.

Author’s website: http://philipstead.com/

The Best Cat in the World

TheBestCatintheWorldThe Best Cat in the World
Leslea Newman, ill. Ronald Himler

Newman, L. 2004. The best cat in the world. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

Summary:

A young boy named Victor loses his older cat Charlie, who was the best cat in the world. Nothing seems to make Victor feel better, not the pictures he draws, not even talking to the rosebush where Charlie was buried. When the vet calls their family with an emergency, a kitten who needs a new home, Victor is not sure that she will be able to fill the paw prints of Charlie in their family. She’s definitely different than Charlie, and doesn’t do the same things that Charlie used to do, but as his mom reminds him, the new kitten is not Charlie. Slowly, Victor starts to realize that even though she’s not Charlie, she’s still going to be a great cat, and maybe more than one cat can be “the best cat in the world.”

Quantitative Summary

ATOS Book Level: 3.6

Interest Level: Lower Grades K-3

Lexile: 780L

Qualitative Summary

This book is densely written, with most pages having a lot of text. The narrative is straightforward and discusses a singular narrator’s feelings; it is written with a good sense of emotion for a young age level. The knowledge demands seem Middle Low, there is a singular but somewhat complex theme (coping with death). The message of the story may hit home to some children and help them with their feelings.  Personally, I cried through the whole thing, so I commend anyone who might be able to read it out loud to students. The watercolor illustrations are beautiful, and focus on the emotions of the boy.

Curriculum Tie Ins

Could be useful in a class or guidance counselor session with a student who has lost a pet.

Standards

MD CCSS – Reading/Comprehension Grade 3

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

TOPIC A.

INDICATOR

  1. Develop comprehension skills by reading a variety of self-selected and assigned literary texts including print and non-print

OBJECTIVES

  • Listen to critically, read, and discuss a variety of literary texts representing diverse cultures, perspectives, ethnicities, and time periods
  • Listen to critically, read, and discuss a variety of different types of fiction and nonfiction texts

INDICATOR

3. Use elements of narrative texts to facilitate understanding

OBJECTIVES

a. Identify and distinguish among types of narrative texts such as characteristics of the general categories of fiction versus nonfiction, realistic fiction, tall tales, legends, fables, fairy tales, biographies

Assessment limits:

Grade-appropriate narrative texts

b. Identify and explain the elements of a story

Assessment limits:

Main problem, sequence or chronology of events, and solution to the problem

c. Identify and describe the setting and the mood

Assessment limits:

  • Details that create the setting
  • Details that create the mood

d. Identify and analyze the characters

Assessment limits:

  • Character’s traits based on what character says, does, and thinks and what other characters or the narrator says
  • Character’s motivations
  • Character’s personal growth and development

Other relevant info:

Author website: http://www.lesleanewman.com

Illustrator website: http://www.ronhimler.com/