The Snatchabook

Our first BLG book of the 2013/2014 year is a beautiful one! Dan, our BLG reader read us The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty.

The Snatchabook - There's a Book for That

Bringing a book that celebrates the love of reading to a classroom full of eager readers and book lovers was a very smart move! Dan was greeted by a few compliments about his nice outfit and his deep voice and then told by one child: “We love, love, love books more than anyone else in the world!” We were certainly excited to hear this story! And when we saw images from favourite fairytales and other beloved tales, our excitement grew!

Students were fascinated by this little book thief – the Snatchabook:

“Is it a raven? They steal and trick!”

“Is it a book fairy?”

“Book fairies don’t have tails.”

“It looks like a mouse fly.”

“Does it have big muscles?”

Heman‘s review summarizes the story in a wonderful way:

He rates this book 5/5 and writes: My favourite part was when the Snatchabook gave the books back to their owners. I liked it when Eliza read a book to the Snatchabook. I liked the pictures and the colours in the book. In the book, the Snatchabook stole books from the animals and then the Snatchabook gave the owners their books back. The Snatchabook stole books because nobody read to him. At the end, Eliza read a book to the Snatchabook. I liked the way the illustrator drew the Snatchabook and the rabbit  The Snatchabook looks like a mouse with a long tail and wings. 

We loved how the Snatchabook made everything right in the end and got to participate in nightly story time in Burrow Down. What a perfectly lovely story about the joy of being read to!

Other student reviewers respond:

Brian rates this book 3/5 and writes: My favourite part is when the bunny read to the Snatchabobok. That was calm. I want to know – does the Snatchabook feel sad and lonely? Do they have homes? Do the Snatchabook and bunny love books? How can the Snatchabook carry that much books?

Vicky rates this book 5/5 and writes: What if a Snatchabook came to our classroom? If a Snatchabook came to our classroom, then it might steal our books. I will feel sad then and tell the teacher. My favourite part is when the Snatchabook gave the books back to people.

Soleen rates this book 5/5 and writes: I love the pictures. I enjoyed the book. I wonder if he is going to steal books ever again? The story was the best Snatchabook ever. The illustrator makes the best pictures.

Kelvin rates this book 5/5 and writes: My favourite part was the bunny read to the Snatchabook. How do snatchabooks have wings? How could the Snatchabook carry so much books?

Kala rates this book a 4/5 and writes: The book was nice. I enjoyed listening to the book. We had lots of books like that book – the rhymes. My favourite thing was when the book fairy was nice to Eliza. I love the pictures. It was so so so so lovely.

Jerry rates this book 5/5 and writes: I love when the Snatchabook snatches books and when the bunny says come back with the books. I love the snatcher. I liked when the bunny read to the snatcher. I liked the bunny too. 

Hyo Min rates this book 5/5 and writes: My favourite part was the Snatchabook steals books. He was a good reader. I love the pictures. She is a good author and he is a good illustrator. I liked the underground and the overground. 

Andrew rates this book 5/5 and writes: What if the Snatchabook went to our room? What will the Snatchabook snatch? Which book will he snatch? In the end, the Snatchabook is really nice. 

Kevin rates this book 5/5 and writes: It is so nice to meet the new BLG reader. My favourite part was when the author draw nice rabbits in the book. It will be really nice to let Snatchabook come in and we will read a book to him. I learned to be patient. I thought this was a rhyme book on the first page and it was. I’m happy! I enjoyed the rabbits in this book. My sister wants a pet rabbit.

Jorja rates this book 5/5 and writes: I like the pictures. I like the cover. The Snatchabook looks like a mouse. Maybe Snatchabook likes books so he took their books. 

Grace rates this book 4/5 and writes: I like the rhymes. But I love the pictures. The animals are cute. What if a Snatchabook came to our classroom? Why doesn’t Snatchabook have a Mom or Dad? What if the Snatachabook was reading the book The Snatchabook? I enjoyed this book but it isn’t very very very exciting. What does the Snatchabook eat?

Bear Has a Story to Tell

Magnus, our BLG reader this week shared the gorgeous Bear Has a Story to Tell with our class. Written and illustrated by the extremely talented team of author Phillip C. Stead and illustrator Erin E. Stead, this book was an instant favourite. It brought quiet smiles and laugh out loud giggles as we experienced this gentle story about patience and the change of seasons.

Bear Has a Story to Tell - There's a Book for That!

I have highlighted this book before on this blog:

“Text and illustrations that match perfectly to create a quiet and calm book about the change of seasons and a small group of friends. There is so much space in this book to question and reflect. It begs to have its pages turned slowly and to just revel in each scene. On some pages it was the phrasing, others the muted colours of a forest sky that asked to be enjoyed before moving on.  It isn’t possible to move quickly through this book just as we have no power over the pace the seasons come at us. Beautiful.”

I am a huge fan of both of the Steads. When they tell a story together, it is even more powerful! It was wonderful to have this book read aloud to my students and be able to sit amongst them and watch as the story was experienced. This book cast a gentle kind of spell over us. A quiet calm crept up as Magnus read. And then when all of the anticipation kind of went poof . . . the laughing and chatter began in earnest. A simply delightful book!

Student reviewers respond:

Kelvin: To the author and ilustrator: How did you make the spine and cover so shiny? Was that story the bear had really really important? I loved the book. It is so beautiful and exquisite and generous. It makes me happy.

Andrew: My favourite part was when the bear forgot his story. To the author: What story was the bear going to tell? To the illustrator: I like all the pictures so much.

Arianne: To the author: Why do bears hibernate? I love the pages in the book where the illustrator turned the book sideways for the mole’s house underground.

Vicky: My favourite part is when the bear asked mouse, duck, frog and mole if they had time to hear a story. I felt happy when Magnus read the book. I think in the story a bear tells a story, he’s telling the story we were reading.

Brian: My favourite part was when the bear was in a deep sleep just like Cinderella. When the bear forgot his story, it was pretty silly.

Heman: My favourite part is when the bear tried to tell the story to his friends. I liked the pictures. They were so colourful. It was funny when the bear forgot the story at the end.

Gracie: My favourite part is when the bear starts to tell a story. I think  . . . in the story a bear tells a story and the story he’s telling is the story! It makes a circle! I like this book!

The Highway Rat

Our BLG book this week was The Highway Rat by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Thank you to Deborah, our BLG reader this week, for sharing this wonderful title with us.

This author/illustrator team (Donaldson and Scheffler) continues to create books that kids adore and adults love reading aloud!

The Highway Rat

In this story, inspired by the poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, we meet a thieving rat who rides along the highway and steals food from all of the travellers. It begins:

“The Highway Rat was a baddie

The Highway rat was a beast.

He took what he wanted and ate what he took.

His life was one long feast.”

It didn’t take long before the class began to shout out their opinions of this Highway Rat. “He’s so greedy!” “And bossy!” “Jealous and selfish.” “I think he’s a pirate on the road!”

As he continued to hold up travellers and steal their food, students became even more upset. They shouted out and mumbled. Some comments were general. Some seemed to be addressed directly to the rat!

“He is very naughty!”

“You aren’t going to get anything guy if you continue like this!”

“Whoa! He thinks everything is his.”

“You are not the best. Even if you think you are!”

“I don’t understand. Why is nobody standing up to him. They could say ‘Stop it!'”

When the rat came upon a little duck with nothing, no food or treats, he announced that he will just have to eat her up. One student noticed the dark clouds on the page, “Oh no! Something terrible is coming I think!” The little duck led the Highway Rat to a cave promising him delicious treats that her sister who lived in the cave possessed. Our greedy thief followed her eagerly. Students quickly figured out that this little duck was up to something.

“That duck is trying to trick him because of all the things he did! That rat is going to get it!”

We won’t give away the very clever ending. But will let you know that good prevails in the end. And suffice it to say that the only dessert the rat will get for a while is dessert of the “just” variety.

Deborah announced at the end of the story that there was “a little bit of a lesson” in this book. One child quickly remarked, “No it was a BIG lesson!”

A simply delightful story that begs to be read again and again. My students adore this author/illustrator duo and I managed to find some fantastic articles and blog posts for further reading. Here are a few:

Students have been learning to address specific questions to the author and the illustrator in their writing. Especially if they have questions or comments. You will see this reflected in their writing below. 

Student reviewers respond:

Ava: Author, I love your writing! Where did you get the idea to put a rat in a book? Where do you live? I liked the rat’s hat. The rat at the end deserved it! Because he was mean!

Vicky: My favourite part was when everybody was happy because they got their food back. I liked when the duck tricked the rat. I really enjoyed the story. To the illustrator and author: I really liked the story and the pictures.

Andrew: I like when the duck tricked the rat to go to the cave. The rat was mean because the rat took the traveller’s food. To the author: Where are you from? How old are you? To the illustrator: I like the way you dressed the rat.

Giovanni: I liked when the duck tricked the rat. I liked the horse.

Shereese: I think the duck is the hero. Did you make the duck the hero? I loved the book. I also love your other books. The rat learned his lesson.

Kelvin: That book made me hungry just a bit. The rat made me hungry. To the illustrator: The pictures were so real. It was so nice. The horse looked really funny.

Ethan: To the author: I think you are an expert writer. You could write rhyming words. I think that rat is a pirate because of his hat and his sword. Where were you born? Where are you from? I’m from Vancouver.

Gracie: How did the duck know that the rat would bring the duck to the cave? My favourite part was when the duck tricked the rat. The rat was mean because he was so selfish. Why would the rat like hay that he stole from his horse? Rats don’t like hay. Do they? To the illustrator: I liked your drawings. They’re awesome! To both of you: I love all of your books that you guys made together.

Kevin: Why does the book repeat a lot? Why is the rat so bossy? I think he will never get any present from Santa. I enjoyed the story. My favourite character is the duck. I think that the rat is like a pirate. The duck is very helpful. To the author: How did you print so good? I think you are an expert. To the illustrator: How did you make the colours so bright?

Brian: The character of the duck had a really good trick to trick the rat. He took the rat to a cave and pretend he had a sister. The rat could eat the duck but when the rat stepped in the cave, the duck took his horse and ran away!

Kassidy: When the rat got stuck in the cave, that was my favourite part. I have a question. Why does the rat steal so much? I learned that he should not steal any more. I enjoyed the rhyming!


Pirateria written and illustrated by Calef Brown was our BLG book this week read by the very talented Bill who read sections in a very believable piratey “accent.” This was one fun book and a very amusing read aloud experience! Bill started off with the title and immediately one child remarked that the title sounded a lot like “bacteria.” Well, yes . . . With amazing illustrations, rhyming text and read in “regular” English and “pirate” English, this read aloud was highly energetic! Bill was frequently interrupted by requests to see the illustrations up close and a few times for some feedback like,

 “It’s kind of like you are using up all of your saliva.”


“You should think about being in a movie about pirates.”


“Are you having a lot of fun talking like that? I think you are.”


Pirateria (the book) describes Pirateria (the store) and all of the treasures that are available there. Everything these “treasure seekers”, “barnacle scrapers” and “sea robbers” might be in the market for . . .  My favourites? Maple walking planks, black pantaloons, big buckled shoes and the incredible sword collection! Also important to note, you can take night classes at Pirateria and learn about such things as “wild pirate rumpuses , “smuggling molasses” and how to avoid the gallows.

When Bill read us the information about Calef Brown on the book jacket, we were very interested that it referenced a real store called Pirateria! Many students decided to provide details in their book summaries of what they would purchase if they could go shopping in such a store! 

There was also a discussion between a few girls about whether or not there were any girl pirates featured in this book. They couldn’t decide if the long haired pirates were girls or long haired boys. Their writing below reflects this concern. I loved that this conversation was happening independent of adults. Fantastic for little readers and listeners to be aware!

This book will likely inspire some future pirate art. Pirates are very fashionable and eccentric and this book revealed all of the pirate details in the best of ways!

Student reviewers respond: 

Kala: To the author: Why did you make is so piratey? If I was you, I would buy a pirate family. I love your book. I’ve got a pirate stuffie. I like all the colours. I am a girl. You did not really put girls in it.

Kevin: My favourite part was when the pirate was wearing stripes, sword, map, and eye patch. I would buy socks like Miles [our volunteer Miles happened to be wearing pirate socks today :-)], a parrot, lots of eye patches and pirate socks.

Brian: I would buy a sword, a treasure map, an eye patch, a fake moustache and a fake beard. The names of the pirates were funny names. And I would buy a talking parrot too! I love pirates!

Vicky: I would buy a sword, treasure maps, gold, money, pirate socks and a bracelet. My favourite part is when they showed all eye patches on the page.

Gracie: To the author: Is Pirateria a real store? If it was, I would buy a blue and white striped shirt. If Pirateria is a real store, do you work at it? I would also buy a fake moustache and a talking parrot. And a tophat and striped socks. I also want a new belt and I want a sharp sword. Also: a red eyepatch and a pair of boots. I really like this book but I wonder why don’t you put colourful colours in the book? And you didn’t put many girls in the book. Girls can be pirates too. But I like this book a lot! Bye!

Heman: My favourite part is when the pirate was eating a grub! I like pirates and I liked the colours. I would buy a pirate ship, eye patches, swords and treasure maps. And a parrot.

Arianne: I would buy a talking parrot, sparkly jewels and a sparkly hat. I liked it when the pirates were funny.

Andrew: My favourite part is when I figured out that there is a real store named Pirateria. I would buy a sword, a map and a crest.

Shereese: I like the book. I like the book because it has a hat and boots and a parrot. Calef Brown, do you like your book because I really do. My name is Shereese.

Ethan: Was that a cool book? Cause I thought it was cool. Do pirates drink whiskey? I would buy a sword and a costume.

Kelvin: I like the pictures. Beautiful. How do you make the pictures so nice. Really?

Kassidy: I like your story because you used lots of colours. Are you a real pirate? Where do you live? I live in Vancouver B.C. I am 8. What is your real name? Is it the one on the book? My name is Kassidy.


Goal! written by Mina Javaherbin illustrated by A.G. Ford was our BLG read aloud this week. Thanks to Harpreet for sharing it with us!

Goal! by Mina Javaherbin


Set in South Africa, this book tells the story of good friends, a new soccer ball and the bullies that threaten their freedom to play. Ajani has won a brand new federations sized ball for being the best reader in class. He brings this ball to play with his friends. How thrilled all of the boys are to not have to play with their old plastic ball! However, the streets where they play are not safe and one boy at a time must take a turn standing guard on the roof. When bullies show up, the boys are able to outsmart them, concealing their new ball. Their old ball is taken but when the bullies are gone, the game can continue!

This book is universally appealing because of the celebration of play and, of course, of a favourite sport played all across the world: soccer/football. Kids were instantly connecting to make-shift goals, scoring, racing after the ball and playing with friends.

The illustrations are gorgeous. You can feel the bright African sun, the dusty streets and the joy and concentration as the boys play.

My favourite lines of the book:

When we play, we forget to worry.

When we run, we are not afraid.

Student reviewers respond:

Shereese: I thought it was smart when they hid the football in the bucket so the bullies wouldn’t break the ball. He was pretending to cry but why did they pretend to cry? For the author: Do you like your book?

Kevin: Why do the bullies want to steal the ball? Why do they need to use the buckets as goals? Where did the bullies come from? Some boys have flip flops and some have shoes. My favourite is scoring the goal!

Pheonix: Bullies are so mean.

Andrew: Why did the bullies steal the ball? Why did the bullies didn’t want them to play football? I connected because I play soccer with my friends. In the story the boys use buckets for goals and I use a sweater for goals.

Kala: How come you didn’t make the kid fall down? Is this story true? Why did you make them pretend to cry?

Kassidy: Why did the boy carry a bucket? Why did the bullies steal the balls? Why is the street bad for the boys? I like when the boy pretends to cry. Why did the bullies take the old ball? How did the illustrator make the boys so real? How did you come up with this story

Ashley: My favourite part was that the bully boys were taking the old ball and the good nice boys were happy because they had a new ball with them. I do not like the mean boys. I like that the nice boys were so happy that they can play soccer now. The pictures are so so nice. I am feeling happy that the nice boys can feel happy. I am feeling happy because they can be playing soccer and they still have a soccer ball.

Giovanni: Football is soccer. The kids had fun playing football. They had a new ball.

Heman: My favourite part is when the boys hide the new ball from the bullies. The bullies was riding bikes. The boys were playing football. They used upside down buckets for the net. Some of the boys were wearing flipflips. Why did the bullies steal the ball from the boys?

Arianne: In Africa they play football. We call it soccer. The boy won the new ball for being the best reader.

Kelvin: My favourite part was the kids trick the bullies and take the ball. The kids faked cry. They wait for the bullies to get far far away to play football again.

Vicky: When I listened, I was thinking about the boys playing soccer. In Africa, they call it football. My favourite part was the boy got first prize for reading. I did not like the bullies. Harpreet, did you like this book so you picked this book?

Brian: My favourite part was when the kid scored a goal. Why did the big bullies take their old ball away. My Dad taught me that football means soccer.


The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Our BLG book this week was the amazing book by William Joyce, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Thank you to Magnus for sharing it with us! I have a special amount of book love for this book and included it in my 2012 favourites.


My students had actually heard this book once before – on the very first day of school because I shared it with them to share what our year was going to be about – a year surrounded by books and reading. And therefore, magic! When Magnus brought the book out of his briefcase, there was instant excitement and one little whispered comment, ” I can’t wait to hear this book again.” It is fitting, I think, to share a book that celebrates books as treasures, as friends, as world changers again and again. I was excited to sit back and be read to – when it was this book in the reader’s hands (and me in the audience)!

This book begins:

Morris Lessmore loved words.

He loved stories.

He loved books.

As soon as Magnus read these words, one of the boys in our class was up on his knees pointing at me. “Hey! Hey! Ms. Gelson loves all of those things! This book really was made for her!” I beamed through the rest of the story, watching my class literally become entangled with the ideas, the images and the love of books. What was fascinating is that they were so hooked into the story that they couldn’t stop debating whether it was true or not. Magnus read and little whispered debates persisted, sometimes becoming quite intense.

Is this a true story?” 

“No because books can’t really fly.”

“Yeah, no. Books don’t have legs.”

“But storms are real.”

“His house could go upside down in a tornado.”

“It went to colour from black and white. That means it’s made up like a movie.”

“This is so not true.”

“Yes, it could be I think.”

Students loved the story. They loved that the books were characters and that the books were Morris’s friends. When Morris got old and passed on, the debates began again.

“Now he is in heaven. And he’s younger.”

“It’s not heaven. It’s just the sky.”

Magnus shared his own love of books with us, that he has books all over his home and that books are his friends. He shared with the students that he loves the feeling of being lost in a book. We all just savoured the feeling of book love and the moments just following a beautiful book shared aloud. I think the reviews this week are particularly wonderful!

Student reviewers (little reviewers with large amounts of book love in their hearts) respond:

Gracie: My favourite part is when he flies on the books. It’s cool. Was that room full of books a library? Why did a big wind come and blow his house away? Did the guy live alone? I also liked when he got lost in the book. It looked fun. I love books !!!!!! And I loved this story!!!!! I also liked when the books read themselves to him. I liked when the little girl came in and it started all over again.

Kevin: I love books because it feels good. My favourite part was when the books read to the boy. Was the book real? The book was very good today. How could the boy be so tiny? I like when the books fly.

Ava: I like when the book took care of the old man. Ms. Gelson loves books. I love Heidi Heckelbeck. I am on number 6.

Giovanni: I love books because you can learn.

Andrew: My favourite part was when the book read to Mr. M. It made me happy. Books make me happy. Was the book real or not because Ms. Gelson reads books to us for learning. She calls them fiction and nonfiction and information story books.

Kala: I like the part when the girl came in. Did he pass away? Did you make a tornado?

Heman: My favourite part is when there was an earthquake. I liked it when Morris Lessmore found the library. It was kind when Morris Lessmore gave books to other people.

Kassidy: It was funny when Morris was upside down and when he was running and jumped. I like that he likes books. I like when the man laid on a big pile of books. I love books because sometimes, you do not know what it looks like and you have to think.

Arianne: I love books because you can learn new words. Because as you grow up, you can read more and more and more.

Kelvin: When the books started to fly was my favourite. My two teachers and Miriam love books. Because they travel in books and see everything.

Vicky: My favourite part was when the books read back to Mr. Morris Lessmore. Is the book real or not? This book made me happy because Mr. Morris Lessmore got lost in books.

Ethan: I love it because I love books. Because it makes you smart.

Ashley: My favourite part was that the book floated. But books don’t float. It’s not for real. I like the book so much. It seems like the book is kind. My teacher loves books so so so so so so so much!!!

Shereese: Is the book real? Where do you live William Joyce? I like this book. When did you make it? Even Ms. Gelson likes the book too! Do you like your book too? And Happy Valentines William Joyce.

The First Mosquito

Our BLG book this week was The First Mosquito written and illustrated by Caroll Simpson. Thanks to Bill for reading us this dramatic tale.

the First Mosquito

Young Yax is upset when he cannot accompany his father to trade on the other side of the mountains. But his mother and sister Sook need him at home. When Yax loses his spear in the forest, he decides to show how brave he is and heads into the forest to look for it.  By evening, Yax has not returned. His mother and sister are very worried and Yax’s Mother vows to rid the forest of the Bloodsucking Monster that Mouse Woman whispered to her about. Sook and her mother set about a plan that will do away with Bloodsucking Monster and save Yax. All of them must be inventive and brave. What happens is very exciting (student comments will give the dramatic ending away :-))

Students loved hearing about all of the Supernatural creatures and beings in this book (there is a detailed description of each in the back of the book) and loved Simpson’s art work. There was mumbling all through the story:

  • Wow. Her pictures are so beautiful.”
  • “I love the art.”
  • She does such nice drawing.”

Also lots of comments about the creatures:

  • I’m a little scared of Creek Woman.
  • “Those Lightening Snakes are powerful.” (This child leaped out of his seat to get a better look!)
  • The Wild Man of the Woods is easily tricked for food!”

Student writing reveals how engaging we found this story!

Student reviewers respond:

Kala: Why did you make the blood sucking monster go to the fire? I like your pictures! But I think they are so real.

Ava: My favourite part was when the bloodsucking monster was pushed into the fire and the ashes turned into mosquitoes. I felt a little bit scared and I felt like, “Yes!”

Shereese: I like when the Mom saved the day! I like the art too. I like Creek woman crouched under the creek. I love those pictures. You are a great artist!

Ashley: My favourite part was when the bloodsucking monster turns into mosquitoes  The sucking monster seems like he is mean!

Kelvin: Bloodsucking monster came to eat their blood. And the bloodsucking monster fell into the fire and turned into one million mosquitoes.

Heman: The best part was when the bloodsucking monster went into the fire and transformed into mosquitoes. I liked it when Yax ran away from the man. I was scared when the blood sucking monster ran to the beach.

Vicky: My favourite part was when the blood sucking monster transformed into some mosquitoes. I want to know what happens next.

Andrew: My favourite part was when the bloodsucking monster went in the fire. What happens when the lightning snake shoots you? What happens now?

Ethan: I know why Bill picked this book because it’s almost Chinese New YEar. I like that book. It’s awesome!

Kevin: My favourite part was when the blood sucking monster transforms into mosquitoes. Where did the thunder snakes shoot? At who?

Brian: You are a good reader Bill. that book was scary. The Mom that push the bloodsucking monster was a super Mom. I felt scared when Yax and Sook was coming to be eaten.

Kassidy: Why did the mother push the monster into the fire? How did you come up with this story? I like your story. I like your pictures. I like when the boy fell on the ground, then one of the nice monsters told the boy to go. How do you make the book from the pictures? How do you do the lightning snakes together? I like the Creek Woman. How do you draw the monsters? I like the part with the monster wild man of the woods and the wild woman of the woods and the woodworm. I like all of them. I love you. Love, Kassidy

Millie Fierce

Millie Fierce by Jane Manning was our BLG book today (read by Deborah :-))


I read this book in early December and included this summary: This book explores finding an inner strength in a very honest way. It is not a simple thing to go from quiet to confident and the transformation is not always smooth. I have had students who when they finally shed their shy personas need some guidance about being polite and not hurtful with their words. Sometimes the words come before the social filters kick in. I thought of those children as I read this book about Millie. Millie doesn’t want to be ignored, she is tired of being “barely there” and unnoticed. So she becomes fierce. As she tries on this new found ferocity, she certainly gets noticed. But nobody wants to be with a Millie that puts getting noticed above being considerate or properly behaved. She even realizes that being fierce can be cruel. Finally Millie understands that she can be noticed for her kindness and consideration. This kind of attention is what feels right to her. I think this book could be quite powerful shared with a class and I look forward to the discussions that it might prompt.

Having Deborah read it today allowed me to sit back and watch the children react. They were quite serious during the story. Afterwards, certain things were highlighted in our discussion. Things that they mentioned made me realize how relevant background knowledge can be and how what we bring to a book is shaped by what we have learned. In our room, we just spent a few weeks reading stories with a kindness theme. Students noticed that Millie was kind at the end and some even called her actions acts of kindness. We also have done lessons from the MindUp curriculum and learned about parts of our brain. Children brought up that Millie was controlled by her amygdala and should have taken some breaths to make better decisions. Very sweet how the children brought these things to our discussion. We were all rooting for Millie. It was agreed that she would be happier being kind. The children identified many of the emotions she felt throughout the story: loneliness, sadness, jealousy, guilt, pride, relief, etc. A powerful little story to prompt discussion about how we treat each other and how we make ourselves noticed.

Student reviewers respond:

Kelvin: When she became fierce, she went home and messed up her hair. At the end, she clearned he Grandpa’s shoes and she loved to be small and quiet.

Vicky: My favourite part was when Millie Fierce was nice. Why did Millie be nice again?

Ethan: At first she was lonely. Then she got fierce. She made her hair spike up and freaky. she had loud boots like cowboy boots. She acted a bit like a devil. Evil like I don’t know how . . . Then she did some acts of kindness.

Andrew: Why when the three girls stomped on her picture, can’t Millie draw another flower?

Kevin: Why did she have a hard time to make a friend? Why did she take the cake and then feel guilty? Why did her amygdala take over?

Ava: I liked when she became fierce. Millie was lonely then fierce then she was nice.

Shereese: She was nice then she became mean because no one didn’t like her. Why no one liked her at the first?

Heman: Millie Fierce was lonely at the beginning. Her amygdala took over. I think Millie Fierce’s heart became fierce. Millie messed up her hair when she was fierce.

Kala: When she was being bad her heart got broken. But when she was nice, it got put back together. I like this book. I want to know from the author: Where were you born? I love you.

Gracie: Why did no one like Millie at the beginning? I liked it when at the end it said “Mostly.” To Jane Manning: You are a good drawer like my mom. She’s an illustrator for kids books. I think it was a good story. But why did she want to be so fierce? When she stole the biggest piece of cake, she felt guilty. I really liked the story. It teaches you a lesson: be nice to get peoples attention.

The Three Ninja Pigs

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat was   our BLG book this week! Thank you to Pearl for sharing it with us. This was certainly not the Three Little Pigs story we thought we knew!

3 ninja pigs (1)

This was one fun fractured fairy tale! A not to be missed adventure!

Instantly, we were charmed by these three pigs who were not about to let a big mean wolf boss them around. The fact that they went to Ninja School? Absolutely fascinating!

Each pig chose a different martial art to practice. Akido, jujuitsu and karate! Wow, we were intrigued. Santat’s illustrations are so engaging and the students all strained to get close up looks of the pictures. All of the action scenes, the bravado, the humour has huge kid appeal and we were hooked completely.

Unfortunately, the first two pigs had not paid enough attention to the learning and practice necessary to become masters of their chosen martial art. Neither could overpower the wolf. When Pig Three announced that she was a “certified weapon,” a hush fell over the room. The wolf might have tried to be brave as he hurled a few choice insults at the pig, calling her bacon and claiming not to be intimidated, but we knew he was scared. And so he should have been. Pig Three was a keen student. She was ready to take on this wolf and realizing he was outrivaled, the wolf retreated, making the third little pig a hero!

There was some surprise that the third pig was female. One student interrupted, “Hey! Hold on! I didn’t know there was a girl.” But while students were writing their reviews, a few girls mentioned to me that they were happy that the smart pig was a girl pig. When I read this book to my own children, my daughter cheered at the end. “Yes! Girls! They are full of determination!”

A fan of pig power? Girl power? Stories where the bullies don’t win? This book delivers! Kiya!

Student reviewers respond:

Vicky: My favourite part was when the third pig showed karate to the wolf. I was thinking about the Three Little Pigs Book. This was funnier. Why did the first pig and the second pig not listen?

Shereese: That was funny when pig #1 fell asleep. I like when pig #3 was learning.

Ethan: The first pig fell asleep and he did akido. The second pig did jujitsu. He did a little better than that first pig. The first pig did better than every pig and the wolf too. I like the end. It’s a happy ending.

Pheonix: Pork Chop! Pork Chop! I like that part best.

Gracie: My favourite part is when the wolf says to the third pig, “Yo Bacon! I’m not scared of you.” It’s funny. But why did the first pig fall asleep? And I liked that the third pig was a girl! 🙂

Giovanni: That wolf started to shake!

Andrew: My questions: Why did the first pig fall asleep? Why did the second pig left the dojo? The third pig did all of her training. I learned I should listen.

Heman: It was funny when the first pig fell asleep in the middle of training. My favourite part is when the third pig scared the wolf away. The third pig did karate!

Kala: It reminds me of a karate kid movie. The wolf is being naughty. I like that they went to school.

Ashley: My favourite part was that the pig fell asleep. It was funny so much! The number three pig was good at listening. The wolf seems mean to the pigs. I like the number three because she listens so much.

Bear in Love

Bear in Love written by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand was our BLG book this week. Thank you to Deborah for sharing such a sweet, gentle story – an ideal story to hear as our school participates in The Great Kindness Challenge 🙂

bear in love


This really is such a comforting little tale about kindness and being generous. A bear finds a carrot on a flat rock and decides to taste it even though he has no idea what it is. When he loves the crunchy flavour, he devours the whole thing and sets off on a walk through the woods singing a little tune about this delicious treat. The next day, there are two of these delicious orange things on the rock outside of his cave! This inspires more eating and another little song! Every morning there are more treats left for him and he begins to feel that someone must like him. A delightful feeling!

Gracie had a great question after the bear had made a few discoveries: “But how does he know that those are left for him?” We decided that they were left for the bear because somebody had left the treats on the flat rock outside of his little cave. Eventually, the bear decides that he will also leave gifts for this generous creature who has left him so many treats. He tries to stay up and keep watch to discover who it is but always falls asleep. Some of the gifts are so lovely – a carefully stacked tower of blueberries, a chocolate bar with just two bites missing . . .

Finally bear and bunny meet, convinced they have each found the perfect friend. For bear it is a cute little bear and bunny thinks he was found a lovely big strong bunny. Confusion aside, the two friends sit together and chat and sing as the sun goes down. A feel good book that made us all smile!

Student reviewers respond:

Ethan: He was doing an act of kindness! The bunny started to give some carrots. I liked the book because it was happy.

Shereese: I like when Bear was falling asleep. I love the part when he left the blueberries. And when he was wondering who was leaving the gifts.

Kevin: My favourite part was when the Bear was hungry and then I felt hungry too. What’s the bunny’s name? He looks so cute. Where does he live?

Heman: I liked when the bear put the chocolate bar on the flat rock. My favourite part is when the bear put blueberries on the rock. The bear saw carrots on the rock and the bunny left a flower there.

Ashley: The bear was falling asleep. The bear was nice to the rabbit. I like the title because it has the word love. I like it because I love Ms. G.

Vicky: My favourite part was when the bunny thought the bear was a bunny and the bear thought the bunny was a bear. It was funny. I was thinking about my birthday when they were giving gifts. Whey did the bunny leave treats for the bear and the bear started to give treats?

Kelvin: Bear saw some carrots and he eats the carrots. then he saw two carrots and then three carrots and he eats them. Bear had some honey. He wanted to eat it all but he wanted to give some for a gift to somebody that gave the carrots to him.

Andrew: Where did the bunny get all those stuff? The bunny did an act of kindness. The bear was finding his friend. His friend was the bunny. I like the part when the bear found his friend.

Kassidy: I like when the bunny thought that the bear was the bunny. The bear put some honey near the rock and chocolate on the rock.

Arianne: I liked it when the bear found the carrot. He took a little bite of the carrot. He found three carrots. The bear found honey. The bear found a friend.

Grace: My favourite part is when he keeps falling asleep. It’s funny. Does he like the gifts? I also like it when he sings about how nice the bunny is. Why is the title Bear in Love? What’s he in love with? The bunny? The gifts? But I like this story!