Archive for 2012

Pip and the Wood Witch Curse: Book One of the Spindlewood Tales

Written and Illustrated by Chris Mould

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Book One of the “Spindlewood Tales,” is the exciting and gripping adventure of an abused orphan, Pip. About to be sold, literally, to a ship’s captain, Pip seizes the opportunity to escape, only to land in a worse situation.  is delivered into the legendary village of Hangman’s Hollow, where the townspeople and the creatures of the forest fight over possession of the children. Children are forced to hide lest they be imprisoned by the forest dwellers. When Pip trudges through a heavy snow, his tracks set in motion a whole series of events: chases through the city streets and through the woods, flying accusations, and battles. He wanders past the local tavern, where the tavern keeper snatches him, keeps him safe, and introduces him to his own son. Pip and the son, Toad, set out to rescue a girl rumored to be hiding.
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Weird! Book One of the Weird! Series

By Erin Frankel

Illustrated by Paula Heaphy

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Luisa thinks there is something wrong with her because a girl in her class calls her “weird” every time she does something.  Whether she’s answering a question in math, telling a joke at lunch or kissing her mom at pick-up time, Sam says, “weird!”      Luisa keeps changing the things she does but Sam keeps calling her weird.  After her mother’s advice to be herself, Luisa works at building her self-confidence and ignoring Sam’s hurtful words.  By gently and realistically taking a sweet character through an all-too-common dilemma, the reader can see Luisa triumph in the best possible way: being herself.
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The Man in the Clouds

By Koos Meinderts
Illustrated by Annette Fienieg

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The mountain had always been there. The man in the clouds appeared seemingly out of nowhere, to make his home in the house on the mountain that had always been there, and made a life on the mountain as though he had always been there.

It’s such a simple tale, simply told. The man has not much more than a painting depicting a world of great beauty–”this is what it must have looked like when the world began.” The villagers hear of it, and make the climb to see the painting, and to visit with the man. He welcomes them all, the hale and hearty, the old, the broken, the rejected.
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Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World

By Laurie Lawlor

Illustrated by Laura Beingessner

Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013 from the National Science Teacher’s Association and the Children’s Book Council (click for more info)

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Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World is an excellent resource and biography to include on the third grade reading level list. This book tells of the life of Rachel Carson, pioneering environmentalist.

The subject matter may seem a bit complex at first for third grade readers but the information is written at the third grade level. The book includes many facts about how Rachel Carson became first a biologist and a writer, then a researcher. She became a famous environmentalist and her work had lasting effects on our laws today long after she had died.

Comprehension is enhanced by the water color illustrations throughout the book. There is also a great list of resources and information to enhance the third grade classroom experience. The book gives many of the activities that Ms. Carson did during her career including photography, drawing, writing, and learning all she could about animals and wildlife in and around the ocean. Each of these activities could lead to classroom discussions and activities that mimic Ms Carson’s research giving teachers a spring board for enhancing a science or nature lesson. This book would be excellent to include in science or nature modules in the third grade classroom.

Another positive for teachers is included in the reference section which offers additional details to a number of statements of fact in the story. This allows more ideas for discussion so the third grade reader may comprehend the importance of Rachel Carson and her work and ideas for activities.

  • Rachel CarsonTitle: Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World
  • Author: Laurie Lawlor
  • Illustrator: Laura Beingessner
  • Publisher: Holiday House
  • Reviewer: Terri Forehand
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-8234-2370-5
  • Genre: Juvenile Biography
  • Lexile Score: 820

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad

Written and Illustrated by Nathan Hale

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This graphic novel tells the true story of the Battle of the Hampton Roads. It was the most important naval battle of the American Civil war, between the Confederates (the rebels) and the Union (the north). This story for third graders was the first meeting of the ironclad warship, the Virginia (built from part of the famous Merrimack) and the Monitor (built by the Union and designed by John Ericsson).

Third grade students will enjoy reading this book. This book will be specially appealing to boys, who love an exciting, but true story.  They will learn about the events leading up to the final showdown of the two ships and the other ships involved.  It is an exciting way to learn about this event in American history.

This graphic novel also includes some very funny characters besides the people who were in involved in the preparation of the ships and crew for the battle. The illustrations add a lot of information and are fun to read.  Third grade students will enjoy reading this book more than once because of the details included in the both the illustrations and the text.  A fun book for all ages, this could also be used as a center for students who are reading for comprehension. The teacher could ask for facts to be written from each chapter.

In the back pages there are facts about each person involved in the battle. There is a time line and a bibliography.

For more information on author, Nathan Hale, go to his website: [learn_more caption=”Bibliographic Information”]

  • Nathan HaleTitle:  Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad
  • Author and Illustrator: Nathan Hale
  • Publisher:  Amululet Books, 2012
  • Reviewer:  Susan Couture
  • Hardcover: 118 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-4197-0395-9
  • Genre: Graphic Novel, History
  • Lexile: 280GN

Can We Share the World with Tigers?

Written and Illustrated by Robert E. Wells

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Everyone, even the youngest of readers have heard of tigers. The author wisely uses the tiger as a vehicle to present important conservation-related issues.

We read that the Bengal tiger is in danger of becoming extinct, but falling prey to poachers is not the only reason that they are in danger. Their natural habitat (and that of their prey) is being destroyed to make way for farms and ranches. More than 90% of their original habitat, an astonishing number, has been destroyed.
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Victricia Malicia Book-Loving Buccaneer

By Carrie Clickard

Illustrated by Mark Meyers

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Victricia Alicia Calamity Barrett comes from a pirate family, where she has learned the correct behaviors of being a pirate. However, piracy is not her forte.  Victricia doesn’t tie her knots right. She can’t climb ropes. And, all she  wants to do is READ!    Third grade strong boys and girls will laugh at this funny story.
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Today on Election Day

By Catherine Stier
Illustrated by David Leonard

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Today on Election Day, a book for third graders gives information about what happens on election day. It’s a very exciting time for Bailey and her classmates as they explain what goes on at their school and homes for the elections.  During election time, Bailey’s school is being used as a polling location for the national and local elections. Readers will learn what goes on during the election time and how elections are used to determine who will be the next President, the next Senator, or even just the city mayor.
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Heart on Fire: Susan B. Anthony Votes for President

By Ann Malaspina
Illustrations by Steve James

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   The incident in Susan B. Anthony’s life when she was arrested and tried for the act of voting is highly dramatic and perfect for this lovely picture book biography. Congress passed the 14th Amendment with the intention of giving African-Americans citizenship but the wording is vague and had no reference to gender. » Read more

Lulu and the Duck in the Park

By Hilary McKay
Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont 

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Lulu and the Duck in the Park is a charming third grade level chapter book that will interest both boys and girls. The plot is one that will hook a new reader because it begins with Lulu and her love for animals. Animals are a big interest for third grade readers.

This chapter book is 92 pages for the story and another few pages for third graders to read a preview of the next book in the series. This serves to entice students and encourage them to read more.

The language used in this chapter book for third grade level readers is both appropriate yet challenging and is easy to comprehend. It will reinforce reading comprehension for these young students. The book has chapters that may appear lengthy but are broken up by exceptional illustrations which serve to keep the third grade student interested when they get tired of reading a page or paragraph.

Lulu and the Duck in the Park  will be a great addition to any third grade classroom or library and will encourage third grade level readers to be successful.

  • Duck in the ParkTitle: Lulu and the Duck in the Park
  • Author: Hilary McKay
  • Illustrations: Priscilla Lamont
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company
  • Reviewer: Terri Forehand
  • Hardback: 104 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-8075-4808-0
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Lexile Score: 740
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