Batchelder Book

Part 1: 

Hurlimann, Ruth (1973). The Cat and Mouse Who Shared a House. Prentice Hall Press.

Batchelder Award Book: Translated from German by A. Bell.

Children’s Picture Book for ages 4 and up.

Part 2:

Before reading The Cat and Mouse Who Shared a House it is immediately known what the book is going to be about based on its title and the cover page of the mouse and cat on the front and around them is a heart. I perceived the cat and mouse to have a loving and caring relationship.

This book is filled with bright, lively pages. The illustrator, Ruth Hurlimann, is wonderful. She crafts each page of pictures to really depict what the author is saying. Since there are very few words in the book, you come to understand the relationship of the cat and mouse through the drawings. In the beginning of the book, the setting is winter time. So, the cat and the mouse have a pot of butter to share. However, little does the mouse know the cat is taking advantage of him. Throughout the book. the reader learns the cat is selfish, lazy cat who wants all the food to herself. This book is carefully crafted and well thought out. The illustrator, Ruth Hurlimann, spent a lot of time to bring life and tell a story through her pictures.

In my opinion, this book was really cute. It is a great book for children because they are able to “read” the body language of the cat and the mouse to understand the story. They also would be able to re-create their own story of what they believe the cat or mouse is thinking. This would allow them to use their imagination and be creative as well. For older children or teens, this would be great in the same aspects as it would for younger children. They could re-tell the story in their own way, try to guess what the cat or mouse is thinking, or do a skit on the book with their own twist. The greatest way this could help older children or teens, are those who are non-English speakers. This is an easy way to “read” without frustrating them.

While reading this book, a teacher could ask students:

-What do they think is going on in each characters head?

-Why do they share a home?

-Since they are an unlikely pair, how do you think they became friends?

-Do you think they have always been friends?

-Do you think they were ever friends?

And this list could go on…

Part 3:

The setting, plot, theme, style, and point of view are all perfect for the way the book was organized. The setting of the book is in a house during the winter. The message of the story aligns well with the message. The message of the story is actually quite sad because the cat and the mouse aren’t true friends. The cat takes advantage of the mouse in the house. The house is the setting of the story since this is where all the action happens. The point of view is third person.

Part 4:

This book could be taught as a way to help children learn to perceive pictures. This book would be taught as a lesson for young children. Since it is a mostly picture book, I feel like it would be hard to teach and would be better to compare it to another book. However, I would try to teach students a message of how the cat was selfish and greedy and how this affected the mouse.

Lesson Objective:

Students will understand how it is not nice to deceive someone and how there actions can really affect someone else.

My lesson would be for Kindergarten.

Discussion Questions:

-How do you think the cat felt at the end of the story?

-How do you think the mouse felt?

-Why do you think the cat would hurt her friend?

-Why do you think the cat tried to take advantage of the mousE?

-Why could they “never be friends?”

Standards-Based Activity:

CA ELA State Standards 2.3 Relate an experience or creative story in a logical sequence.

Students will relate an experience that have had or seen in their life that is similiar to the story. For example, when someone didn’t want to be their friend or a similiar experience.

They will write a small paragraph about it and how they turned it around. For example, Zoey didn’t want to play with me on the playground. It made me sad. I played with Lilly on slide later. It made me happy.

Then, they can draw a picture relating to the story.

Story elements could be taught for older children.

Outside resources:

Fairytale-Folktale Book Information

Story Elements For Older Children

The Cat and Mouse Who Shared a House

By raquelgomez3

Multicultural/Global: The Name Jar

Part 1:

Choi, Yangsook. (2001). The Name Jar. New York: Random House Children’s Books

Multicultural and Kindergarten through Second Grade

Part 2: 

Before reading the book, I believed it was going to be about a little girl who wanted to change her name to fit in. However, I quickly learned that The Name Jar is about a little girl, Unhei (pronounced Yoon-hye), and on her first day in America she realizes how many people mispronounce her name. She is confused as to why children mispronounce her name since she recently moved from Korea. On the school bus before the first day of school, children constantly tease her about her name by saying “‘Oh, it’s Yoo-hey.”  As she arrives to her class on her first day, she refuses to say her name to the class. She responds by telling them she will tell them her name next week. As school continues, the class begins a name jar where they write down American names that could be hers. Unhei is left is a predicament. She wants to be loyal to her family and country back home by sticking with her name, yet she wants to fit in with her peers. She sifts through the names in the name jar, yet she decides her name is her favorite. At the end, Unhei teaches her class how to pronounce her name.

This book is great especially for children who don’t understand other cultures. It helps break down the barrier of cultural tension between each other. It also displays how everyone is unique and each name is unique. Names display culture typically if you are hispanic your name might be or if you asian it might reflect your heritage.

I connected with this book in many ways. My name isn’t extremely unique; however, most people mispronounce it and say “Rachel or Rochelle.” I was never a fan of my name until recently. I like that it is not a super common name and that it is unique.Unhei didn’t change her name because she realized that made her who she was and that is special.

The issues in the book are about cultural diversity. I loved how the author displayed the struggle many immigrants or second generation immigrants go through. Whether it’s a language barrier, a cultural barrier, or a religious barrier, this book allows children to open their eyes to other and accept them for who they are.

Some prompts that could be used with children are asking the children what makes them unique, have them write a sentence or two about their family culture, and ask them what they are most proud of about their heritage.

Part 3: 

The setting, plot, theme, style, and point of view are all perfect for the message of the story. The lesson of how people are all unique and why are names are all different based on heritage. The setting of the book is in Unhei’s classroom which is relevant since the story is about her and her challenges with her new school. There are two points of view one from Unhei and one from the classmates.

Part 4:

This book could be taught in several ways. This book could be read when learning about other cultures such as African American (Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, etc.), Jewish (Anne Frank), and many more. It could be taught to display how everyone is different, unique, and special in their own way. It could be used for teaching math (see lesson below).

Lesson Objective:

Students will understand other cultures and how to break barriers between each other.

Discussion Questions:

Do you know anyone from somewhere outside of the United States like Korea, Mexico, or another country?

If you could pick a new name for yourself what would it be? Or would you keep yours the same?

Why did Unhei choose to keep her name?

How do you think Unhei felt as she sat on the bus before her first day of school?


Yangsook Choi Website

Name Jar Lesson Plan Idea 1

Name Jar Lesson Plan 2

Name Jar Lesson Plan 3

Name Jar Math Lesson Plan

By raquelgomez3

Caldecott Medal Award

Part 1:

Floca, B. (2013). Locomotive. An imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Caldecott Medal Award: Children’s Picture Book

Children’s Picture Book for Ages 4 and up.

Part 2: 

Before Reading Locomotive it is immediately known what the story is about, trains. It is a given due to its title, the cover page of the train on the front, and the maps in the pages before the cover page. The pre-cover pages dive into the rich history of the United States. There is a small section on the transcontinental railroad, the union pacific railroad, and a map of the Pacific Railroad of 1869. Floca discusses information about how the idea of building railroads was considered during the Civil War Era and shortly after the railroad became reality when President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act.

This book was crafted with careful detail. It is brilliant. Each page is filled with vibrant, colorful illustrations. The font is perfect for the book when a character is “yelling” the font is in big letters. There is one page where it says “Chug-Chug Chug-Chug Chug-Chug!” and the font is imbalanced as if the font was moving the wheels of the train. When the mood of the story is quiet or the setting is at night time the pages are dark and gloomy, but when its morning or someone is excited the pages are vibrant and filled with life. The book travels through different scenes as if the reader was actually on the railroad visiting each city. The book starts off on the platform then the reader gets on the train and travels west to San Francisco.

In my opinion, I thought this book was awesome. It is not just a children’s book, but it gives details and information to adults as well. My son was given this book for Christmas and honestly we have never read it. I noticed it was a Caldecott Medal Book, so we read it together. It is rich with so much United States History. There are many details given in the book as well. The words chosen are very detailed and if there were no pictures, a reader would clearly be able to picture the story in their mind. I thought this was very unique.

While reading this book, my son and I discussed how during this time there were no cars, planes, or means of transportation like there are today. We discussed how there were animals (like horses and donkeys) that carried people on their backs or pulled wagons. Besides animals, people had to walk to get around. We discussed why they wanted to build the railroad. Depending on the age of the children, you could give general background information on how the Pacific Railroad Act was passed. My son is too small to understand how a bill is passed. We also discussed who drives the trains and what trains are fueled with. These are just a few prompts one could give while reading this book.

Part 3:

The setting, plot, theme, style, and point of view were all perfect for the message of this story. The lesson of how people transported themselves around. Why they wanted to move west mainly because most of them were searching to strike for gold. The setting of the book is the Pacific Railway and the book goes through each “stop” along the way. The point of view is taken from a traveler it is almost as if the reader is on the train with them.

Part 4:

This book could be taught in many ways. This book could be used as a lesson on the Western movement. When most people were headed west to strike for Gold in California. It could be taught when teaching on President Lincoln and how he contributed to the Pacific Railway. It could also be taught when teaching figurative language since there is a lot of alliterations, rhymes, and onomatopoeia.

Lesson objective:

Students will understand the purpose of the Transcontinental Railway.

Discussion Questions:

How does the author, Brian Floca, grab the readers attention?

Why do you think Brian Floca adds the extra information in the beginning before the story starts?

What is so important about the Transcontinental Railroad?

Why do you think Abraham Lincoln passed the Pacific Railway Act?

How did Pacific Railway Act benefit people during this time?

How do you think passengers felt while riding the train?

What does Brian Floca teach us in this book?

Standards-Based Activity:

Students will create a map or model of the Transcontinental Railroad using the book Locomotive.

They could use the endpapers of Locomotive and re-create their own map of the transcontinental Railroad or they could as a group (4-5 students each group) create a model of the Railroad.

Outside Resources:

Locomotive Lesson Ideas

Transcontinental History

Brian Floca’s Website

Teacher’s Guide for Locomotive

Brian Floca Blog

By raquelgomez3

Touch Stone Book Review

Young, Ed. (1996). Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China. London: Puffin Books.

Children’s Book for Ages 4-8 or Pre-School to Third Grade

The Story of Lon Po Po is a Chinese version of the traditional European Fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood. This book is very similiar to the traditional European book as I expected it to be. However, there are three little girls in the book, Shang, Tao, and Paotze, instead of the traditional book which has one little girl. The Wolf tricks three little girls into thinking he is her grandmother, yet Chinese words are substituted in the book. For example, “Po Po” is a Chinese word for grandmother. The children suddenly realize there “Po Po” is really a wolf. I really didn’t expect the story to have three little girls working together devising a plan against the wolf. I really enjoyed that unique twist.

I thought this book was crafted carefully and with great thought. The author, Ed Young, really took the traditional Red Riding Hood Story and made it his own. He changed the plot from having one girl to three girls. He created the three girls to work together against the wolf. He also added a traditional Chinese twist by using Chinese words for grandmother and he introduced readers to gingko nuts to the story.

This story made me think about learning about other cultures. I think this is a simple and fun way to introduce young children (4-8 years old) to other cultures. It allows children to learn a few words in Chinese and a little bit about the scenery in China from the illustrations and descriptions.

The issue in the book is clear, the girls are trying to get away from the grandmother aka the wolf. The girls need to devise a plan to get away from the wolf. I like this issue because it teaches children some very important lessons such as follow your instincts, stay away from strangers, how to problem solve, and how to work as a team. This leads to some prompts you could ask a child while reading this book such as “What would you do if someone tricked you into their house?,” How could you get away?,” “Why should you not go into strangers houses?” and so much more.

I really enjoyed the book. I thought it teaches children great, valuable lessons as mentioned before. It also shows them culture through the setting in the trees of China. The plot is similiar to the traditional Red Riding Hood book so it would be easy to read them that version first and compare it to this one. It shows them this in an easy, fun way.

An easy lesson plan could be:

Objective: Students will discuss the story of Little Red Riding Hood and Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China. Students will discuss the similarities and differences of each book.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the differences between the traditional book and Ed Young’s version?

2. What are the similarities between the traditional book and Ed Young’s version?

3. Which book did you like the best and why?

Links to Outside Resources:

Lon Po Po Multicultural Activity

Lon Po Po Lesson Plan Link

Lon Po Po Scholastic Activities

Compare and Contrast Ideas

This book would be easy to teach a lesson on comparing and contrasting as well as teaching another culture.

By raquelgomez3