WHAT THE MOON SAID by Gayle Rosengren

Posted April 13, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Book Reviews, Good Read-Alouds

Tags: , ,

imgresI just read a great historical fiction book that I found touching and moving. WHAT THE MOON SAID is about an extremely likeable young girl and her family relocating from Chicago to a farm in Wisconsin during the Depression (1930′s) after Pa loses his job. Despite the harsh conditions – the farm is rundown, has no electricity or indoor plumbing – Esther loves the animals and responds to the adventure of living “pioneer style”.  Esther desperately wants her mother , a Russian immigrant who is very superstitious, seeing signs in everything from rings around the moon to the number of birds on the fence post, to show her some affection.  She wants her to be more like her best friend’s mother, but Ma is caught up in the grind of farm life. Through the course of the book, we see Esther respond to tough issues involving school, sickness, and a new best friend, yet she never loses hope or the willingness to try again. If you like the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, WHAT THE MOON SAID gives you the same feeling.  The past is brought to life as a charming, believable young girl deals with real life situations in ways that make you cheer for her.


Posted March 30, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Class activities

Mrs. Bullen’s class has been working on puppet shows in library classes recently.  They wrote their own little plays, which happen to have a lot of singing in them.  I have found that kids really love to perform! Here are Shelby, Nadia, J-Lyn, and Brooklyn performing their show for the kindergartners:

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Posted March 28, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Class activities

Third graders celebrated the wonderful AMERICAN GIRL book series with a tea party this past Wednesday. Each of the sixteen students attending the party read five American Girl or historical fiction books and wrote a book review. The party was the culmination of a lot of hard work, so we went all out and had music, special tea food, and fifth grade waiters and waitresses. Here are some pictures from the festive lunchtime party!

Adler serves tea to the girls.

Adler serves tea to the girls.


Janna seems interested in the tarts that Ava is offering!

Janna seems interested in the tarts that Ava is offering!


Even the boys dressed in their best for the party.

Even the boys dressed in their best for the party.


Maddie surveys the scene.

Maddie, a fifth grade waitress, surveys the scene.


Everyone made bookmarks with American Girl stickers after eating their lunch.

Everyone made bookmarks with American Girl stickers after eating their lunch.


Posted March 13, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Class activities

It’s a week late, but here are some highlights from Crescent Park School’s 2014 READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY!  Many Dr.  Seuss books were read and celebrated in the individual classrooms during the school day, and then the entire school assembled in the gym at 1:45 to read silently together.  Before the reading started, though, the Fifth Graders presented a quick song and dance.  Mrs. Keane’s class, during library class,  took the words and tune of “Kung Fu Fighting” and turned it into “Kung Fu Reading”.  They invited students in the other two Fifth Grade classes to join them onstage, after giving up 4 recesses to practice.  Here are some of pictures of their exuberant delivery:


Everyone loved the kicking move

Everyone loved the kicking move

These kids loved being on stage!

These kids loved being on stage!

Utah dressed as the "lightning"

Utah dressed as the “lightning”

Here is a scene of the school “silently” reading in the gym:

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And at the end of a busy day, Bella proudly showed me her Dr. Seuss stuffies:

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Great way to end the day!

FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo

Posted February 28, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Award Winners, Book Reviews

Tags: , , ,

flora_cvr_usatoday_rev-3_4This year’s Newbery Award, given to the most distinguished book for children by an American author, goes to FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo.  The author of many popular books such as THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX,  BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, and the MERCY WATSON series, this is a smart, heavily illustrated story with a lot of humor and heart.

Flora is a lonely girl.  Her mother spends all her time writing romance novels, and Flora doesn’t see her father very much (her parents are divorced).  Flora reads a lot of old comic books about “the great Incandesto”, a superhero.  One day she looks out the window and sees a squirrel getting sucked into the neighbor’s vacuum cleaner.  Flora saves the squirrel, who now seems….different somehow.   Has he become a superhero?  How will Flora’s lonely life change because of this squirrel named Ulysses?

EXTRA YARN by Mac Barnett

Posted January 21, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Award Winners, Book Reviews, For Younger Children, Mrs. Raymond's favorites, New Books 2013 school year


imgresIt’s winter, and we’re all trying to stay warm…plus have a few laughs. I’ve been reading EXTRA YARN by Mac Barnett in lots of my library classes. It is an award-winning  picture book fable about a little girl named Annabelle who lives in a dreary black and white town. She finds a box full of yarn of every color and knits sweaters for everyone in town, plus the pets and the houses, but the yarn never runs out! When a greedy archduke sails in from across the sea and steals her box of yarn, you might think that would be the end of her yarn adventures. The ending puts a smile on everyone’s face, and reinforces the notion that good always triumphs over bad, and kindness can transform a community. EXTRA YARN will give you a warm feeling on a cold winter day.

The Christmas Truce of World War I

Posted December 16, 2013 by cpslibrary
Categories: Book Reviews, For Older Children

Tags: , ,

Last year I discovered these three books about the famous Christmas truce that happened during World War I.  In varying degrees of illustration and text, all three books tell the amazing true story of the Christmas Eve in 1914 when the British and the Germans stopped fighting, sang Christmas carols together (in different languages),  exchanged small gifts and conversation, and even played a rousing game of football.  My fifth grade classes have truly had their eyes opened by this gem of a story, which gives us a glimpse of peace and humanity in the midst of the harsh, violent realities of war.


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