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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Picture Book Companions

The Top Job was written by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel and illustrated by Robert Neubecker. This title is on my list of favorites this year for ages 4-8. There are depths for many ages and I was amazed at the older students’ interest. Students keep asking questions and want to know much more after hearing this story. The boys in particular paid attention to every detail of the tools, equipment, and journey to the top. Just tell me, why did I ever ask them "Does anyone have any questions?"

  • "Are there really sticky-bottomed climbing books?" asked one group.
  • "What is that famous New York landmark?"
  • "Do people really do that?"
  • "Why don’t they just have robots go up there and change the most important lightbulb in NYC?"
  • "Why did the illustrator do that? Can I do that, too?"
  • "Why don’t we have career day?"
  • "Would you read it again?"

Another Day in the Milky Way was written and illustrated by David Milgrim. Since I have many of his Pip and Otto titles, I wanted to see if this title had anything to do with constellations. Not! But it was a funny alternate universe for our character to wake up in.

Leaves by David Ezra Stein captured me with these two sentences:

Everything was going well
until the first leaf fell.
"Are you okay?" he wondered.

I was hooked. The simplicity and yet honest wonder is so perfect for my youngest students. David knows what little ones are thinking as they watch the leaves. The illustrations are exactly what I needed for my fall unit.

We can role-play this with my autistic, visually impaired and preschool.
My kindergartners can rejoice at how bear learns about the seasons. (This gives them the chance to be superior in knowledge for once!)
My older students can use this as a writing model for point of view and prior knowledge.

Thank you, David! This title is now on my perpetual re-order list for fall. I can’t wait to bring this title back out in Spring after our hibernation unit ends.