Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Halloween Picture Books

When I first transitioned from teaching Grade 7 and 8 to teaching the younger kids it took me a while to realize that I needed to integrate the holidays more into my classroom. It's just not something that was a big part of my planning with the older kids. Now that I am teaching Grade 3 one of my favourite ways to integrate the holidays is by reading a picture book as part of our Book of the Week or just as a fun read aloud. 

So you can imagine how excited I was when I received a new box of books from Thomas Allen & Son to review and there were some new Halloween picture books!!

Five Little Monkeys by Eileen Christelow

This book, and the whole series of books, is so cute! The original Five Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed was one of my daughter's favourites when she first started picking her own bedtime storybooks. 

This is a great book for a read aloud for younger students, probably Grades 1-4. I like that it's not scary and the students will love the tricks played by the 5 little monkeys. One of the things that I like best about the Monkey books is the illustrations. They are so colourful and fun. I think the students in any class would really enjoy writing about their own trick or treating experiences, imagining themselves as the monkeys and the types of tricks they might play. 

In The Haunted House by Eve Bunting

I love Eve Bunting! 

The pictures and rhymes in this book are just fabulous. It's definitely a little scarier than the Five Little Monkeys, although my almost 3-year old has seemed to gravitate to it. This would be a great book to use as part of a poetry unit especially if you were teaching rhyming couplets. I think creating a class Halloween book would be super fun. Each student could create a couplet about a haunted house or their own Halloween experiences and then illustrate their writing. 

All kids will enjoy lifting the flaps and seeing the Halloween ghouls hiding underneath. There are also some touch and feel aspects to the book that children will like to explore. I have enjoy doing a number of picture walks through the book with my daughter as it has introduced her to some of the "scarier" aspects of Halloween in a safe and fun way. She has also really enjoyed tracking the shoes of the little girl and her father as they made their way through the haunted house.

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner

Oh, David Wiesner....your books are so, so, so....!

This book isn't necessarily a Halloween book but I thought it would make a great creative writing activity, especially for the older students around this time of year. Like many of David Wiesner's book this one has very little writing or dialogue but what it does have is a very clear plot line. The structure of the book is organized like a comic book with a variety of panels that move along the story line. 

This is the blurb provided by Thomas Allen and Sons website:

Another comic tour de force from three-time Caldecott medalist David Wiesner. Mr. Wuffles ignores all his cat toys but one, which turns out to be a spaceship piloted by small green aliens. When Mr. Wuffles plays rough with the little ship, the aliens must venture into the cat's territory to make emergency repairs.

I love that the aliens in the book has distinct dialogue bubbles that shows the conversations they are having. Wiesner uses a variety of symbols to create the dialogue which means the students are required to infer what the aliens might be saying to each other. If I was to do this type of an activity with my Grade 3 class I would have my students work in groups of at least 3 or 4 students in order to create the story and dialogue for the book. Older students could perhaps complete the activity in partners or even independently. A concentrated study on the use of quotation marks would coincide nicely with this creative writing activity as well. 

Coming up soon!! The ladies at A Class*y Collaboration have some spooky fun planned...Oct 24th- 31st.

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