The Lorax

Picture Book

Bibliographic Information: Geisel, Theodore Seuss. The Lorax. New York: Random House, 1971.

Plot Description:
A boy explores a run-down property on the edge of a polluted town that used to have the Lorax. To find out even what the Lorax was, you have to ask the Once-ler, who lives there and seldom tells the tale. Long ago, the grass was green, colorful Truffula Trees grew, and animals played. The Once-ler unloaded his wagon and cut down a tree, turning the soft foilage into clothes. A small man appeared out of the stump of the tree an announced he was the Lorax and spoke for the trees, demanding to know why the tree had been chopped down. The Once-ler showed him his creation; the Lorax said no one would buy it, but a man came by and bought it. The Lorax implored him to not hurt the trees, but the Once-ler ignored him and called his family, informing them of the chance to get rich. They cut down many trees and turned them into products to sell. The Lorax returns, speaking for the animals that lived because of the trees, and who were starving because of the deforestation. The Once-ler watched them leave, building his business. The Lorax returned, saying that the birds couldn’t sing because of the smog in the air. The Once-ler watched them leave, too, and the Lorax dragged him through his factory, complaining about the toxic runoff, which was forcing the fish to leave. They looked out and saw the last Truffula tree being chopped down. Afterwards, the Once-ler’s family drove away since there was no more work. The Lorax grimly flew off, leaving behind a pedestal with the word UNLESS. The Once-ler watched the buildings fall apart and worried ever since. He gave the boy a seed, the last Truffula Tree seed, and implored him to take care of it, because unless someone like the boy cared, nothing would ever get better.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 560; Accelerated Reader: 3.1

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written mainly in first person, from the Once-ler’s point of view. It focuses on the problems of deforestation.

Content Area: English, Nature

  • Content Area Standard:
  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text; #3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #6 Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text; #7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It explores themes like regret and nature.

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The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig

Picture Book

Bibliographic Information: Trivizas, Eugene. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. New York: Scholastic, 1993.

Plot Description:
Three little wolves set out into the world to build a house. They were warned by their mother against the big bad pig. They built a brick house and played croquet, and ran inside when they saw the big bad pig. He huffed and puffed and tried to blow their house down, but it didn’t work, so he got a sledgehammer. The three little wolves escaped, frightened. They built their next house out of concrete and played shuttlecock, and ran inside when they saw the big bad pig. He again tried to blow their house down, but it didn’t work, so he got a pneumatic drill. Again, the wolves were frightened but got away. They built a house out of barbed wire and armor plates and played hopscotch, and ran inside when they saw the big bad pig. He couldn’t cblow the house down, so he blew it up, with dynamite. The three little wolves escaped with their tails scorched. They decided they had been building their houses wrong, and built a house out of scaffolding and flowers. The big bad pig took a deep breath to huff and puff, and smelled the pretty flowers instead. He realized that he’d been mean, so he decided to be a big good pig instead. The three little wolves and the big good pig played together and lived happily ever after.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 700; Accelerated Reader: 4.6

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on the resourcefulness of the wolves and the antagonism the pig has for the wolves. It teaches the reader that destroying other people’s possessions is mean.

Content Area: English, Adventure, Family

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text; #3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #9 Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #2 Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text; #7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great modern book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 3rd grade through 5th grade. It explores themes like family and creativity.

Note: This is one of my favorite books because it twists the classic folk tale.

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet

Picture Book

Bibliographic Information: deGroat, Diane, Sylvia. Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1998.

Plot Description:
Gilbert is going to be a Martian Space Pilot for Halloween, so his sister wants to copy him instead of being a ballerina. He doesn’t like that, but takes the bag with his costume in it to school. He talks with a friend on the way to school, who says she also is going to be a Martian Space Pilot, a different character. The class lined up to change into their costumes for the parade, and many students had Martian Space Pilot costumes. Gilbert is mad that so many people have “his” idea. He opens his bag and finds his sister’s costume! Embarassed but not wanting to be scolded for not wearing a costume, he puts it on and puts a paper bag over his head with eyeholes. No one recognizes him on the parade until his sister, wearing his Martian Space Pilot outfit, yells out that he’s wearing her costume. He pulls her with him through the parade over to school to change outfits. They can’t both change in the boys’ bathroom nor the girls’, so they go to his classroom, right into the party! He boldly says that he didn’t want to have the same costume as everyone else, so he decided to be a ballerina. They went trick-or-treating that night in their original costumes.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 520

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on Gilbert’s irritation that everyone else chose “his” costume and then his embarrasment at wearing his sister’s costume. It has text on almost every page, ranging from one sentence to a few paragraphs. The illustrations compliment the text well.

Content Area: English, Feelings, Halloween

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #2 Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text; #7 Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great modern book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 2nd grade through 4th grade. It explores themes like feelings, friendship and family.

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too

Picture Book

Bibliographic Information: Disney, Walt. Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too. New York: Disney Press, 1994.

Plot Description:
Tigger visited Winnie the Pooh and bounced on him.  He bounced a small bounce on Piglet, who was still startled. Tigger bounced a big bounce right into Rabbit, who was gathering carrots, spilling them. Rabbit invited Pooh and Piglet over to talk about how to calm Tigger down. They would lose him on an expedition, retrieve him the next day, and he would be grateful and less bouncy. In the morning the four friends set out, and Tigger bounded ahead. The others went home for lunch, but got lost in the mist of the forest and passed by the same pit several times. Piglet and Pooh stayed by it, and Rabbit headed off. Pooh was hungry, so he decided to follow his stomach home with Piglet. Tigger found them, and declared he would find Rabbit. Rabbit was lost and scared, and grateful to Tigger for rescuing him.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 330

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on the friendships of the characters. It teaches the reader to not be mean to your friends, because you will need them.

Content Area: English, Friendship

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers; #3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting); #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #2 Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea; #6 Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great modern book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 3rd grade through 5th grade. It explores themes like humility and friendship.

Leaf Man

Picture Book

Bibliographic Information: Ehlert, Lois. Leaf Man. Orlando: Harcourt, 2005.

Plot Description:
Leaf Man is a little man with leaves for his body. He used to live near the narrator, but was blown away by the wind. He went east past chickens, ducks, and geese. “A Leaf Man’s got to go where the wind blows.” He blew past fields of vegetables. He might have drifted above orchards or meadows. He might be on a breeze over a lake, travelling with leaves that look like him. The narrator listens for rustling leaves for Leaf Man’s return.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 310

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person about Leaf Man, although the narrator speaks in first person.The story focuses on Leaf Man’s travels. It teaches the reader to appreciate nature. All of the illustrations of the book are made out of real leaves cleverly grouped together to form shapes of animals, plants, nature, and Leaf Man himself. The tops of the pages are die-cut, to reveal other pages behind them.

Content Area: English, Nature

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details; #7 Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #6 Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text; #7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great modern book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It can also be used as part of the Science Curriculum to teach about different shapes and colors of leaves. It is best suited to kindergarten and 1st grade. It explores themes like adventure and nature.

Curious George and the Pizza Party

Picture Book

Bibliographic Information: Rey, Margaret and H. A. Curious George and the Pizza Party. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.

Plot Description:
George the monkey was very excited; a girl had invited him to a pizza party. His human, the man in the yellow hat, admonished George to behave well. At the party George received a chef’s hat and an apron; everyone would be able to make their own pizza out of small pieces of dough. George ignored the party games and instead squished all the dough together, which was a lot of fun; he then rolled out the dough all over the table, getting flour everywhere. The dough covered the table, chairs, and George! He cut the flat dough into shapes; the girl’s mom found him and was disappointed in him, telling him to go home. The girl thought George’s shapes were neat, and the mother told him he could stay if he cleaned up the kitchen. The kids helped him, and they all talked about how they would shape their pizzas. They put on ingredients and cooked the pizzas. George was happy he had been allowed to stay. There is a pizza recipe on the back cover.

Quantitative Reading Level: Accelerated Reader: 3.4

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on George playing with pizza. It teaches the reader to take responsibility for their actions.

Content Area: English, Friendship

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text; #3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #2 Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text; #7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a fun modern book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 1st grade through 4th grade. It explores themes like creativity and friendship.

Note: The books featuring Curious Ceorge first began being published over 70 years ago. Books have been translated to television, tv episodes have been made into new books, and movies and video games have been created.

Froggy Plays in the Band

Picture Book

Bibliographic Information: London, Jonathan. Froggy Plays in the Band. New York: Scholastic, 2002.

Plot Description:
Froggy saw a sign for a marching band contest at school. He played his dad’s saxophone; it sounded terrible. Each of his friends brought an instrument over and tried to play, and Frogilina tossed a baton. The music teacher reminded them to not stop for anything, or the parade would run into them. Right before they passed the judges, Frogilina missed her throw and the baton landed on Froggy’s head. He fell over and the parade crashed into him. He got back up and played, and his band did too. They got the award for Coolest Marching Band.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 190; Accelerated Reader: 2.2

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on Froggy trying to form his friends into a working band. It teaches the reader to perservere in the face of challenges.

Content Area: English, Friendship

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text; #3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #2 Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text; #7 Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great modern book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to kindergarten through 2nd grade. It explores themes like friendship and trying things you’re not good at.