Thursday, February 14, 2008

Picks From the Pit

In my first entry I mentioned my Picks From the Pit! The time has now come to reveal my first set of picks, but before that, a little background on the title. Our library has a story area that you can see in the picture above. Previous librarians have referred to it as the "story steps." Those who know me, know that doesn't quite fit with my personality, a little too cutesy, and I began calling it the Story Pit. It has been shortened to just THE PIT! Now when it's time to share books, I tell the classes to "Hit the Pit!"

One of my goals when I took over the library was to be sure that I read to every class, every time they came in. I also knew that I didn't want to start anything that would need to be coninued from week to week. Our school operates on a four day related arts rotation so every fourth day, I pick a new picture book to share with each class. Usually I read the same story to all classes, K through 5, occasionally switching something for the younger kids. Whatever I read, I make a color copy of the cover, and staple it to the wall as sort of a timeline of our reading together this year. Periodically, I will share the titles here with brief summaries, and this is the first installment.

This is the Teacher by Rhonda Gowler Greene is a fun, noisy book with a "This is the House That Jack Built" feel to it. The noisy part of it allows for lots of audience participation, something I always look for in my read alouds. Yes, the Pit gets a little loud from time to time! I started the year with this one to set the tone of the fun we were going to have in the library!

I try to use my read alouds to introduce the kids to some possible Caldecott winners or as we call them, Caldecott Maybes. The first one of these I read was The Cheese by Margie Palatini. If you've ever wondered just why the cheese stands alone in the dell, this book attempts to answer the question. I love the rat in the story, and reading it with a cheese-head hat on my head made it even more fun. The illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher are full of new surprises each time you read the book.

For some loud, read aloud fun, I shared Punk Farm on Tour with the kids. The farm animals and the kids in the pit rocked to "The Wheels on the Van." I mean it got LOUD IN THE PIT! and man was it AWESOME!! I just discovered a review of this book over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
and thought you might like to see someone else's opinion of this book.

The most recent Pit selection was Waking Up Wendall by April Stevens. The wake up call moves down Fish Street with each pig being awakened by a different noise, dogs barking (yes I did), tea kettle whistling like a train pulling out of a station (yes I did), a young pig playing his new harmonica (yes I did), and finally a singing pig (yes I did and they thought I was good enough for American Idol!) until Wendall finally wakes up! Simple, fun, noisey, great pictures the perfect formula for a read aloud in the Pit!


  1. Oh my word, more books to add to my collection! I can't wait to go and check these out myself.

    Thanks for the reviews...and I LOVE "The Pit"!

    :-) Susan

  2. Yes, I love The Pit, too! I am the lucky classroom that overlooks The Pit and I get to hear all the noises! After listening to the noises for a few days, I try to get down their for one class so I can here the words that go with the noises. However, the best thing is to see all the faces of children of every age, hanging onto EVERY word that Bill is reading. The kids can't wait to get to "The Pit!"

  3. Love it that the library is a place for loving books, for read aLOUDs, for a literate history (covers on the wall), and for a connection to books in the Big World Outside (Caldecott possibilities).