Inspired by the beautiful leaves that are all around us, in library today we asked lots of questions about leaves and then read a book called My Leaf Book by Monica Wellington. We had fun creating some leaf art too: digital leaf creatures! Thank you to my friend Mrs. Martellino for sharing these with me!
When 6 and 7 year olds clap at the end of a book, you know it is special. Mike Curato's Little Elliot series is simply that special.
The Polka Dot Express arrived at Brewster School on October 6th and we were already buzzing with excitement! As part of our International Dot Day celebrations this year, Little Elliot, Big City was shared (Elliot is covered with dots, so what a great fit!) and immediately loved. The character of Elliot is one that kids understand. He is small, no one notices him, and he loves treasures and cupcakes. He helps someone smaller than he is too. As I read the book aloud, the students were reading the pictures closely. There is so much to glean from them and each class noticed something new. And each class knew the ending and said it with me, that Elliot had made a friend.
We even had a burning question from a first grader who wanted to know if Mike Curato has chosen an elephant and mouse on purpose - thinking of stories like Aesop's fables. So we tweeted a message to the author. I love how social media connects us in ways that help us learn!
When the Little Elliot stuffed character arrived in the library soon after, I shared that the new Little Elliot book would be coming out on October 6th and that we were going to be part of a very special project to share about Little Elliot all around the United States. We watched the book trailer to learn a little about what might be coming next.
When I got to school on Monday morning, there was a special package in my mailbox. It was sooo hard, but I waited until my first class arrived to open it. We looked at the package and noticed the Little Elliot stickers and just knew what was in there! A student opened the package as I took some pictures. We found a letter, a magnet, and THE BOOK!
After reading the letter aloud and checking out the magnet, we finally opened Little Elliot Big Family. The students were happy to see Little Elliot and Mouse still together and laughed at the enormous amount of family members Mouse has. They worried about Elliot as he walked the streets of the city and we noticed how the colors change to dark and sad colors to match his mood. I think everyone sighed with relief when the two friends came back together again. More clapping!
At some point during the reading of the book, Mrs. Barrett came in to share more news! A blue and polka dotted box was waiting for me in the office! It could only be the Polka-dot Express! Again I waited (so hard!) for my next class to come so we could open it together. Inside was a map, a stuffed Elliot, and a small treasure box. With great drama, we looked at what was in the treasure box: an ornate key, a glass cat, and Little Elliot's trophies. What would we add? A teacher's desk is a gold mine of items to be used as treasures. Almost all of my 16 classes that read the book added something to the treasure box. A keychain, domino, binder clip, die, 2 beads, dog tag from a morning announcer, 2 glass stones, small pencil, foam compass sticker, a penny, a pencil grip and a pin with the bear from Ame Dyckman's Tea Party Rules; all things we thought a small elephant would choose.
The Polka-dot Express is all packed up and on its way to its next stop in New Jersey. We marked our towns on the map and sent it along. We are sad to see it go, but cannot wait to see what other treasures end up in the box! Tremendous thanks go out to Mary and the fabulous folks at MacMillan for organizing this experience. But most especially to Mike Curato - we are hoping for Book #3! Keep inspiring us with your stories!
Mrs. Lussier is a Library Media Specialist at Brewster and John Lyman Elementary Schools in Durham & Middlefield, CT. I am passionate about getting kids reading (ok, everyone!), wondering, using technology and having FUN!
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