Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Bibliographical Information: Barrett, J. (1988). Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. New York: Atheneum.

Brief Annotation: This book brings forth a chaotic story about various foods falling from the sky.  It also brings forth the imaginations of all readers in wondering what will happen next in the town of Chewandswallow

Genre: Visualization

Grade Level: Pre-K-3

Readers who will like this: This book is a crazy and imaginative book that any student would love to read.  I even loved it because I thought it would be awesome to have random foods falling from the sky throughout the day.  First off, I’d be saving money on grocery shopping but also would have new surprises every day!

Rating/Response: 5  I loved reading this book because it is funny and very bizarre.  This phenomenon is something we never expect to happen but is something that we can imagine and have huge discussions about.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: If you could have anything fall from the sky what would it be? Why?

Reading Strategy: Visualization

Rationale for Strategy: I chose this book because I have only seen the movie with this title and I knew they were different from each other.  I loved paging through the pictures and reading about everything that happens.  I think it helps lead a great discussion for students to use their imaginations and creativity in what they would want falling from the sky and why.

Posted by: Brittany Billiet



Bibliographic Information: Rylant, C. (1998). Scarecrow. San Diego, Calif: Harcourt Brace.

Brief Annotation: The scarecrow in this story is living a simple and happy life.  He is okay with who he is and is okay only having a little.

Genre: Visualization

Grade Level: Pre-K-3

Readers who will like this: I found myself really enjoying this book because it opened my eyes to realizing how I don’t need everything in the world to be happy.  I only need the simple things that truly make life what it is.  I think this is a feeling that we begin to understand as we get older so I think it is great to start bringing in this mindset to younger readers as well.

Rating/Response: 4.5  I loved this book for it’s simplicity.  I LOVED the illustrations as well as the way the writer made scarecrows a happy object in our world.  Too often they seem sad, lonely, and scary, and I don’t think they should be portrayed this way.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What makes you happy?  Do you need a lot of things to make you happy?  If so, what do you REALLY need?

Reading Strategy: Visualization

Rationale for Strategy: This book was chosen because I was intrigued with the pictures which made me interested in the book itself.  It is a very simple book but it sends a great message for all ages: be happy with what you have and remember you don’t need everything in order to live a great life.

Posted by: Brittany Billiet


Bibliographic Information: Bardhan-Quallen, S. (2011). Hampire! New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Brief Annotation: Duck wants a midnight snack, but there is a Hampire roaming outside, searching for something to eat.  Duck and the other animals are terrified that they will get eaten, so they try to stay away from the Hampire!

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-3

Readers who will like this: Children who like animals; children who like scary characters; children who like farm settings.

Rating/Response: 4 This book is a fun read and has a great rhythm since the text all rhymes.  The story is also funny and students can easily relate to the characters and story.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Have you ever been scared of someone or something before you met/saw him/her/it?

Reading Strategy: Visualization

Rationale for Strategy: This book would make a good book for visualization because the test lends itself to making visualizations, especially since most students know what a farm and farm animals look like and many descriptive words are used in the text.

Posted by: Jenna Bosch

Bibliographic Information: Haley, Gail E. A Story, A Story: An African Tale. New York: Atheneum, 1970. Print.

Brief Annotation: This is an African Folktale about Nyame, the Sky God, who kept all of the stories of the world in a box beside his throne. Ananse, the Spider Man, wanted them. In order to attain them and set them free, he had to endure a challenge in which he had to catch three sly creatures.

Genre: Fiction/African Folktale

Grade Level: K – 5

Reader who will like this: Imaginative and creative readers will surely enjoy this story in addition to readers who like learning about other cultures. For those who like visuals, the illustrations provided are eye catching. This would be a great story to use for reader’s theater.

Rating/Response: 5 – This is one of my favorite children’s books of all time. I love how the African culture is brought into the story and the illustrations truly add to the text. It would be a blast to have students act out the story.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: This story is an African folktale. What does that mean and why? Do you know of any other folktales?

Reading Strategy: Visualization

Rationale for Strategy: I would love to read this story aloud without showing students the accompanying illustrations. It would be fun to have them create their own illustrations, and then show them the illustrations included int he book later on. The language used is very vivid, making visualization a key component when reading.

Posted by: Emma Henke


Bibliographic Information: Florian, Douglas. Mammalabilia. Orlando: Voyager, 2004. Print.

Brief Annotation: This book is comprised of twenty-one poems and paintings about animals. Animals from aardvarks and mules to elephants and porcupines are playfully written about.

Genre: Fiction (Poetry)

Grade Level: K-4

Reader who will like this: I definitely feel as though younger readers would enjoy this children’s book, as it is full of playfully witty poems about animals. It may be too juvenile for upper elementary students.

Rating/Response: 4 – This book is wonderful and the illustrations are beautiful and highly detailed. That being said, I feel as though this book could be improved by including scientific tidbits about each animal in addition to the poems. Regardless, this story would be a great intro to a poetry unit for younger students.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: This is a book of poems written about animals. What types of information about the animals do you think we will see in the poems and why?

Reading Strategy: Visualization

Rationale for Strategy: Although there are wonderful illustrations to accompany each poem, the silliness within the language used throughout will surely create mental images in students’ minds. It would be fun to read the poems aloud and to have students create their own illustrations without seeing the illustrations in the book.

Posted by: Emma Henke

Oliver All Alone

Bibliographic Information: Harris, Christine, and Catherine Walters. Oliver All Alone. New York: Dutton Children’s, 1994. Print.

Brief Annotation: This book is about the time around Christmas and a puppy who is left at home alone while his owners are out.  It is all about his adventure in the house and he experiences using some of his five senses.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: Kindergarten-4

Reader who will like this: Students who like books about dogs and who also love the holiday time period.  This is a book about Christmas, so it should not necessarily be used in a public school.

Rating/Response: 4, this book is an easy to read book with beautiful pictures on every page.  It is also interesting to hear the story of the dog and even to relate to some of the things he experiences like being scared of shadows and weird noises.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: How would you feel if you were left at home alone?  Imagine what you might feel if you were home alone during Christmas Eve at night.

Reading Strategy: Visualization

Rationale for Strategy: This book has some great pictures that will get students thinking visually.  I would probably have them do something with thinking about shadows and the different forms shadows can make that make us think they are something else.  I may also have them draw what their house looks like at Christmas time.

Posted by: Breanna Richey

Turtle in July

Bibliographic Information: Marilyn, Jerry Pinkney, and Leah Palmer. Preiss. Turtle in July. New York: Macmillan Pub., 1989.

Brief Annotation: Turtle in July is a collection of poems about a variety of animals and their actions during a certain times of the year. For example, the dog goes for a walk in the park during the spring and the cat lies on the chair during the winter.

Genre: Nature

Grade Level: 1-3

Readers who will like this: Students with a passion for animals and nature will enjoy Turtle in July. The book follows the journeys of different animals throughout the seasons.

Rating/Response: 3. I enjoyed Turtle in July because I was able to picture each of the animals’ actions. I connected with the stories on the dog and the cat because it reminded me of my own pets. I also liked that the story was written in poems. I especially liked the poem about the deer mouse because it was short, scattered thoughts, similar to how I think a deer mouse would act.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do animals do as the weather changes? Do they all do the same thing?

Reading Strategy: Visualization

Rationale for Strategy: Turtles in July is a great story to used when teaching visualization because it is composed of poems. While reading each poem separately students will picture the time of the year and image the personality and actions of the animals. 

Posted by: Kelsey Peterson


Bibliographic Information: Dorros, Arthur, Elisa Kleven, and Barbara Powderly. Abuela. New York: Dutton Children’s, 1991.
Brief Annotation: Abuela is about a grandmother and granddaughter who spend the day together at the park. It starts with feeding the birds, but then the two explore the world as go on an adventure in the sky.
Genre: Fiction
Grade Level: 1-3
Readers who will like this: Students will enjoy this book if they like going on adventures and exploring the unknown. The book also offers students to learn a few Spanish words.
Rating/Response: 3. I liked Abuela because of its rich and brightly colored illustrations. I liked the imagination the author used as the grandmother and granddaughter flew up with the clouds looking down at the world.
One question you would ask before a read aloud: Who has ever gone on an adventure?
Reading Strategy: Visualization
Rationale for Strategy: Abuela allows students to activate their imagination as the grandmother and granddaughter go on an adventure. Students can picture themselves experiencing the adventure through the colorful and detailed illustrations.
Posted by: Kelsey Peterson

Snow Music

Bibliographic Information: Perkins, Lynne R. Snow Music. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2003. Print.

Brief Annotation: This book captures a soundscape of falling snow and the animals, people, and objects that interact with it. It also subtly and creatively follows the story of two boys, one of whom has lost his dog in the snow.

Genre: Poetry, Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Children who love snow/winter; children who like spending time outside; children who enjoy making music.

Rating/ Response: 5 – Beautiful illustrations with an even more beautiful set of sounds to go along with it. It fosters creativity and truly creates a movie in your mind. It has to be shared and experienced with a group of excited students making the sounds!

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What sort of sounds do you make when you do your favorite activities in the snow? (sledding, snowball fights, etc.)

Reading strategy: Visualization, Science

Rationale for strategy: Visualization is not merely visual; it uses all the senses to capture the setting and characters of a book. This book particularly focuses on the sounds of winter and makes for an excellent visualization/music lesson that asks students to be the “soundtrack” for the book. I got some of my ideas from the author’s blog ( when writing a lesson for first grade standards. You could easily transition into a science lesson with this book as well, but it stands on its own as a musical treat.

Posted by: Caitlin Miller

Flora’s Very Windy Day

Bibliographic Information: Birdsall, Jeanne. Flora’s Very Windy Day. US: Houghton Mifflin, 2010

Brief Annotation: This book is about a little girl named Flora who initially wants to get rid of her little brother, but when he gets blown away by the wind, she has second thoughts and wants to take him home.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: Kindergarten-3

Readers who will like this: Students with siblings, students who have a very active imagination.

Rating/Response: 4 – This is a delightful book, that anyone would be able to enjoy.  The writing is charming and the illustrations are beautiful.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Have you ever experienced a very windy day?

Reading Strategy: Visualizing

Rationale for Strategy: This book is filled with descriptive words and imaginative situations that would be sure to ignite children’s creativity and imagination.

Posted by: Olivia Cyr