Thursday, November 18, 2021

Our school's Mock Caldecott list - 11.18.21

It's November which means it's time for Mock Caldecott!  Excited to be celebrating books in person this year with our young readers!  Every winter, our 2nd-4th grade readers get to listen to and then do some further analyzing of books that are worth of Caldecott consideration.  It's always so hard to narrow books down and this year was no exception!  I'm grateful to have had a Caldecott selection committee (my fabulous colleagues Laura, Angie, and Terry) to help me get the list down to 12 books.  Here are the 12 books that our 2nd-4th grade students will be taking a look at this winter!

  • Watercress - illustrated by Jason Chin, written by Andrea Wang

  • Mel Fell by Corey Tabor

  • Strollercoaster - illustrated by Raul the Third, written by Matt Ringler

  • Have You Ever Seen a Flower by Shawn Harris

  • Wishes - illustrated by Victo Ngai, written by Muon Thi Van

  • Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel

  • Shy Willow by Cat Min

  • Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham

  • Bright Star by Yuyi Morales

  • Milo Imagines the World - illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de la Peña

  • The People’s Painter - illustrated by Evan Turk, written by Cynthia Levinson

  • We Shall Overcome by Bryan Collier

Our school will have a school-wide book celebration following the ALA Youth Media Awards where they will learn the winners of our school-wide vote and what the actual Caldecott committee selected.  Yay for books!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Odd Beasts - book review - 11.16.21

Want to introduce your young readers to some fascinating animals?  While the tagline of the book refers to these animals as being nature's weirdest, I found them to be truly fascinating!

Odd Beasts:  Meet Nature's Weirdest Animals
written by Laura Gehl
illustrated by Gareth Lucas
published by Abrams Appleseed

The rhyming story inside this board book names an animal and an interesting part about them.  For example, did you know there is a spider with horns?  Yup, the long-horned orb-weaver spider has two long horn-like parts coming out from the end of the spider.  Or maybe the size of an ocean sunfish will find you inspired to learn more.  Because really, how big can a fish be?  No worries, you can get additional information about each animal in the backmatter of this board book.  That ocean sunfish is about a ton, or 2,000 pounds!  
I love that this book introduces young readers to these animals.  And the illustrations by Gareth Lucas are fantastic!  Bright, geometric patterns will draw the reader's eye to study these animals.  Want to see a photograph of each animal?  That's in the backmatter!   Yes, this is a board book, but one that is full of information that will appeal to many young readers.  I love that board books are being published with important information for so many young readers.  And they hold up well for lots of readings!
Whether you're gifting this book to your favorite toddler or making sure it's in the library for your littles and kindergartners and first graders to read, it's one that will be met with a lot of enthusiasm!

More about author Laura Gehl:

Laura Gehl is the author of more than two dozen popular picture books, board books, and early readers including One Big Pair of Underwear, the Peep and Egg series, and Except When They Don't. A former science writer and teacher, Laura holds a PhD in neuroscience. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with her husband and four children. To learn more, visit

Twitter: @AuthorLauraGehl

Instagram: @authorlauragehl

Extra! Find coloring sheets for Odd Beasts on Laura Gehl’s website

As always, happy nonfiction reading!