Good books for children

An Old Favorite...


The Gist: A boy takes a mouse to school.


Why I like it:

  • It's another fun book in a collection of "If you..." books.
  • This book has more episodes than the previous books: "If you give a pig a pancake, she'll want some syrup to go with it." 
  • I, along with my students, enjoy this simple "cause and effect" story line.
  • The illustrator, Felicia Bond, draws an adorable mouse, doing adorable humanistic things, like putting on tiny bib overhauls, drawing on the blackboard, sniffling, etc.
  • The mouse and his auburn-haired boy sidekick are very endearing.


Story Telling Tips:

Make sequencing manipulatives for the story by printing off my master, laminating the sheets and then cutting them out. Pass them out to your students.

if you take a mouse to school activities, back to school activities, first day of school activities, back to school ideas, first day of school ideas, if you give a mouse a cookie ideas, mouse graph, mouse art, if you take a mouse to school activities, if you give a mouse a cookie activities, back to school ideas, back to school activities, first day of school ideas, first day of school activities, mouse art, mouse graph, Make a blue jean cup to store the pieces in by running off a copy of the blue jeans on blue construction paper. 

Cut out the jeans and place them on the front of a clear plastic cup using several glue dots.  Cut out two 8 1/2 inch strips of blue construction paper and tape them to the back of the blue jeans. 

Loop the "jean straps" over the cup and fasten them to the back of the cup with glue dots. Put 2 white reinforcement holes on the front of the jeans to look like buttons.


If you wanted to make a cute treat as a surprise for your students, these would make darling cups for them.  Fill a snack Baggie with miniature chocolate chip cookies, or a medium baggie with one large cookie and then tuck it in the cup. 

Students can make their own blue jeans and then take this home at the end of the day with their mouse (art project) tucked in the cup as well. 

mouse graph, if you give a mouse a cookie activities, if you take a mouse to school activities, back to school activities, back to school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, back to school books, mouse art, You could also read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and compare both stories.  If you do read both stories, you may want to add a math extension and graph which book your students liked the best. 


When you pass the manipulatives out to your students and you come to that particular item in the story, where the mouse would want that "thing",  the child holding that piece puts the item on your white or flannel board. 



Magic Trick:

I put a pink pom pom, a scrap of brown paper, a wiggle eye and a piece of brown yarn into my change bag.  The children clap their hands 3 times and say: "If you take a mouse to school..."

I produce a paper mouse.  I ask my students if they would like to make one.  Of course they say "Yes!" They then transition to their desks and make a mouse.


If you take a mouse to school art activity, mouse art, back to school activities, first day of school activity, september books, back to school books, If you take a mouse to school activities, back to school ideas, back to school activities, first day of school ideas, mouse art, september books, back to school books, Art Project:  Paper Pom Pom Mouse:

Run off the mouse on brown construction paper. Fold the paper in half.  Remind students to keep their paper FOLDED.  When they open it up their paper will be heart-shaped because they LOVE story time. 

There is a message inside for their parents to read.  Students sign the card and re-fold it, turning it into a mouse by adding a pom pom nose, wiggle eye, ears and yarn tail.



Writing / Reading Extension: Class Book If you give a mouse a _______________ he'll want a ________________.

Have your students fill in the blanks and illustrate their page.  Collect the pages, collate your class book and then read it to your class. Set it in your class library so that students can read it whenever they wish.

The "Mice" activities will remain FREE for the month of September 2011. Click on the link to print them; after September they can be purchased for only .59 cents under Mice Activities.


train books, the little engine that could, If you take a mouse to school ideas, if you give a mouse a cookie ideas, back to school books, dinosaur books  monkey books, free easy reader books, booklets to make,I teach around several themes for September:

Click on each link for a list of my favorite BACK-TO-SCHOOL themed books,  Bibliography for MORE Back-To-School books TRAIN books,  DINOSAUR books, APPLE books, and MONKEY books.


You can also click on the links to view/print our FREE Easy Readers this month:  My September Senses,  My Spatial Direction Bus Booklet, & The Students On the Bus. 


To get my parents involved in reading to their children, I have a RAH-RAH program. It stands for "Read At Home." Click on the link for directions, poster, bookmarks, certificate, reading logs and a letter home.

Each day we have a WOW Day. It stands for Wonderful Outstanding Word of the day.

It helps build my students' vocabulary. Click on the link for a mini-poster You can also get a mini-poster of  ZIPPY to remind your  students that it's time for reading and you need a Quiet Zone.

Whatever you're reading this month, I hope you and your students are able to "fall" into lots of good books!

READ on!

An Old Favorite:


The Gist and…Why I LOVE it:

Caterpillar, Ladybug and Bee live in a lovely garden and are friends.  However, Bee and Ladybug can fly and Caterpillar cannot.  He is always saddened when he is left by himself when they fly away to go off exploring.  One day when they return they cannot find Caterpillar anywhere so they ask the wise snail where he might be.  Snail tells them that he is sleeping in a chrysalis.  They wait for him to wake up and as he peeks out he announces that he is now a lovely Butterfly.  They fly off together leaving poor snail behind.

Story Telling Tips:

I have a different voice for each of the main characters of the story.  I hot glue a foam mask to a paint stick and when I read that character’s part I hold the mask over my face.  (I ordered my masks from Oriental Trading Co.)

Math Extension:

 After the story we graph which character in the story was our favorite.  Click on the link to view/print a copy of the Caterpillar’s Wish graph.

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Science-Art Extension:

We make a life cycle of a butterfly caterpillar. Click on the link to view/print the caterpillar/butterfly life cycle pattern. 

When you get done with the art project, students can use their caterpillar as a bookmark.  They will enjoy taking their caterpillar home and explaining the life cylce of a butterfly to their families.  

To get the "wiggles" out, I have my students use their caterpillar as a manipulative to do the Caterpillar Pokey.  Click on the link to view/print the Caterpillar Pokey song.

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Magic Trick:

I put a caterpillar in my change bag, which I refer to as a chrysalis, out pops a butterfly.  If I use my double-load change bag I put an egg in and then out comes a caterpillar.  I re-insert the caterpillar and then out comes the butterfly. 

The magic word of course is metamorphosis. Click on the link to view the butterfly life cycle magic trick on my video page; scroll down to the 6th one.   

The magic trick really helps nail the concept and the new "chrysalis" and  “metamorphosis” vocabulary words.  They could see this a zillion times and never get tired of seeing it again and again.

We review the life cycle of the butterfly via a poster; I point to the various steps. I also pass out numbered pieces to a life cycle of a butterfly puzzle that I also bought from Insect Lore.   I call for a number and we arrange the pieces on the floor.

I purchase live larvae from this company as well and we watch the caterpillars eat and eat and then finally go into the J-position, form their chrysilis and then emerge as Painted Lady butterflies in about 14 days. My students are absolutely thrilled.  It's well worth the money as students can see this fascinating process first hand.   I re-use the butterfly house that I purchased initially and then simply re-order the caterpillars each year.   

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Reader’s Theatre:

After I read the story, I assign parts to my students who are not shy.  I made simple costumes out of large towels by simply cutting a hole in the center so that they would easily fit over a child's head. 

I cut up another black towel and appliqued heart and stripe details to the ladybug and bee towels and then outlined the details with puffy paint.  I drew a swirl on the purple snail towel with silver puffy paint. 

I sewed a black thorax stripe down the center of two turquoise towels to make a huge butterfly and then appliqued on yellow hearts.  The children held up foam masks. A plastic headband with pipe cleaner antennae and laminated construction paper heart pieces on the ends completed their costumes.  

Since my students can’t read I sit in the audience and prompt them as to what they should say and then they repeat it.  The rest of my students sit in the audience.  I have two helpers hold up a grey sheet that caterpillar crawls under.  This is the chrysalis. 

Another student plays the butterfly.  She is also hiding behind the sheet 'til it is time for her to pop out.  The audience yells "metamorphosis!"

I made a black cone shaped stinger that I safety pin to my bee’s bottom.  On the bee's back is a sign that says: The End.  After the production, all performers come out and take a bow and then bumblebee turns around so everyone can read the sign. 

The audience claps.   My students enjoy doing this so much that I’ll repeat it several times over the next few days so that everyone can have a turn.  By the third time I don’t have to prompt much as to what they need to say.

Whatever books you're reading this month, I hope they help you soar to new heights!

Bibliography for April