Reviews, Giveaway & Treasures! Whew!

So, I’ve been home today with 2 sick boys. I hoped that it would give me some time to get caught up on some things, but that didn’t really happen! Oh, well. 🙂 I have a few sports themed picture book reviews to share with you, news about a giveaway and an Amazon deal on Scholastic Treasures DVD’s!

There’s a big giveaway at Liv to Teach! My Neighbor Numbers Unit is part of prize package 2.  There are 5 great prize packages!  All you have to do for each entry is follow the TPT store for that seller.  I enjoy these type of giveaways.  I only follow the stores that appeal to me and are at my grade level.  I’ve found lots of new resources through this!  My wishlist at TPT is very big!

Amazon has the Scholastic Treasures DVD’s (the 2 big collections) for 60% off and the others are also discounted. The offer is ending on Saturday. I really like these DVD’s. It’s nice to have movies that are visual/audio versions of books – less guilt about playing a movie! 🙂  Here is the link: Scholastic Storybook Treasures.  Here are a few links for some of favorite FREE online book/movie collections:

Youtube – my playlist
Barnes & Noble Online Storytime
SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild) Storyline Online
World Book Day Storytime Online

Lastly, I have some more Sports Themed Picture Books to review.  My linky party for this week is looking sad!  If you get time, I would LOVE for you to share a book.  I really need some more books about girls in sports!  I know Mia Hamm has a nice one.  My library didn’t have much.  Check out my reviews and then add your own!

Brothers at Bat by Audrey Vernick

The true story of the longest playing all-brothers baseball team.  The illustrations in this book are lovely.  They look like they are from a 1940’s book.  I really enjoyed this story.  It focuses on how the brothers played together and cooperated.  How nice to see a book that features siblings that enjoy being together!  There are a few things to be prepared for – one brother loses his eye (recovers and still plays with the support of his brothers!) and there is a page with a soldier kissing a girl on his return (mirroring the famous magazine cover – Life?  My boys said “ewww!”).  Overall, it’s a very nice picture book about the history of the game.

The Basket Ball by Esme Raji Codell (author of Educating Esme)

Lulu served with tea sets.
Lulu dressed in dresses.
Lulu’s stuffed toy animals received her fond caresses.
Lulu messed with makeup.
Lulu played with dolls.
But most of all, our Lulu like to shoot her basketballs.

Lulu isn’t included on the all boys basketball team at recess.  So, she recruits girls from around the world for her “basket ball”.  The girls are talented and “girly”.  It’s a cute little rhyming book and the girls will like it.

The Day Roy Riegels Ran the Wrong Way by Dan Gutman

The true story of Roy Riegels.  I love the style of illustrations.  It has the look of a comic book.  The book is voiced with a “sports announcer” type dialogue narrating the story.  A boy and his grandpa are in a side box talking about it and the boy is “predicting” (hmmm… good mentor text for reading?) what will happen next.  I loved the theme of this story – everyone makes mistakes!  It’s great for the kids to know that even the pros make mistakes.  It emphasizes going forward and learning from those mistakes.

Last one!

Willie and the All-Stars by Floyd Cooper

Willie lives in Chicago in 1942.  He dreams of playing professional baseball.  He listens to the the games on the radio with his grandma and is knows all the major players.  He’s surprised when he learns of some fantastic players that aren’t in those games.  How can that be?  He learns about the Negro League and is crushed that he isn’t able to play in the Majors because of his skin color.  He gets an opportunity to see a game between the Major League and the Negro League and adds to his list of sports heroes.  Great book for MLK’s birthday, black history month or anytime!

Monday Picture Book Linky – Sports Theme

Since the big game is now less than a week away it seemed appropriate to have a Sports Themed Picture Book linky! It can be about any sport or sportsmanship.

1) Only list books that are related to the theme (others will be removed)

2) Review the book on your blog and include a picture — it can be short & simple.
*Let others know why you chose it!

3) Add your link (if you need more help click here for instructions)
*Put the BOOK TITLE for the name and link to your review (your URL)
*Choose the picture of your book at your URL

4) Add a link to the linky party — that is how they work! It can be a picture or text link. You can grab the picture link code below.

5) Keep coming back to see all the links & read the reviews! Fun!!

Here’s the html code to put on your blog post for the link to the linky party: 


Batter Up Wombat

Here’s my book for the linky party this week:

Batter Up Wombat is written by Helen Lester & Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. 

Wombat is joining the Champs baseball team and they are sure he will be just what they need.  I mean with a name like Wham-bat he’s sure to be great!  Wombat turns out to be a confused player in the style of Amelia Bedelia.  He doesn’t understand why it’s necessary to tell someone to not stand on the plate and of course he picks up the base when told to steal it.  It gets even worse when they tell him to go home.  He has to get out a map to show them how far away Australia is.  How can they possibly ask him to go home?  Don’t they know that would take such a long time?  It appears to be a disaster.  And then Wombat is needed for something that wombats just happen to excel at — digging!  Can he save the team?

This is a cute little story.  The kids will think it’s funny and it can spark a good discussion about everyone having different strengths and talents.  Enjoy!


Sweet Literacy & Science Centers – Flash Sale!

Here’s my latest item on Teachers Pay Teachers:

It has an adorable honeybee theme.  It includes:

*Sweet Sentences – Sort the word cards to make a complete sentence.
*Sweet Bee Trail – Write the room activity!  My kids love to do these.  Each card has a can/have/are sentence about honeybees.  Post the cards around the room.  Students read the cards and fill in the missing words on their worksheet.
*Sweet Syllables – Students sort the words by their syllable count.  “Fly” each bee to the correct hive!
*Sweet Science – I love this one!  There are 6 cards that describe the parts of the honeybee.  Students read the cards and then complete the diagram to label the parts.  There are 2 worksheets – – one is blank and one has the first letter of the word to help them get started.

The target grades are 1-2.  It includes a worksheet and answer key for each center.  I haven’t had a chance to use these with my students yet, but I was so excited about it I had to show one of my reading groups when we were defining an insect! 

This set is $5.00, but I’m going to have a “flash” sale on it tomorrow!  Shhh!  You’re the only ones who know.  Tomorrow (Friday) it will be 1/2 off!  Buzz on over to my TPT store and check it out! 


Picture Books

Don’t forget to join the linky party!  Tell about your favorite picture book that was published in 2013.  If you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave a comment under the linky party and write your “review” there.  Thanks!

It’s a linky party! Favorite Picture Books of 2012

It’s a linky party!  Share your favorite picture books that were published in 2012.  This is a great way to find new books.  I just discovered a fabulous new book that I can’t wait to share with my students next week!

Here’s the process: 1) Post a book review (as short or as long as you like!) on your blog  2) Add a link (see below the picture) to the linky party 3) Enter the linky party here by clicking on the add link at the bottom of this page 4) For name – please add the title of the book; for picture – choose the picture of the book; This will make it more appealing to viewers.  They will then click on the picture to go to your blog and read your review.

If you’re new to linky parties and need a bit more help, please review my google doc that has a longer description and pictures to help you with each step.

Next week’s theme: Favorite picture books about sports ~ Have you heard about a big game in a couple of weeks! 🙂  These could be books about a sport, sportsmanship, etc.  

Here’s the html code to put on your blog post for the link to the linky party:

Favorite Picture Books of 2012

Tomorrow starts my first linky party – Favorite Picture Books of 2012.  We’re linking up books that were published in 2012.  I’ve listed a few now to get ready to link them.  I’m looking forward to discovering other new books!  ~Melissa

Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon

I loved reading this one!  It’s writing time and Ralph doesn’t have a story.  He never does!  It seems that everyone else can think of great stories except for him.  He uses excuses to escape from the room (I’ve got to go to the bathroom, teacher!) and aimlessly wanders around the room “thinking”.  Finally a single thought pops into his head.  Just then, the teacher wants to know if he has a story and he blurts out his one thought.  The teacher is delighted and wants him to share his story.  But, it’s not a whole story…or is it?  This book is humorous and provides some examples of student writing (could help with generating story ideas).  Of course, since Ralph finally becomes a writer (yeah, Ralph!) he also shares his helpful and not-so-helpful writing tips!  I was going to share this for a writing themed linky, but it was too cute to not share it right away.

 My Heart Will Not Sit Down by Mara Rockliff

My heart will not sit down is a beautiful Bulu (Cameroon) expression that is used several times in this book.  Kedi’s teacher is from America.  He tells the class that in his country there is a Great Depression and many people do not have jobs or enough food to eat.  Kedi is troubled and her heart will not sit down.  But what can one child do to help this “village” that is across the great salt river.  This touching tale was inspired by a true event from 1931.  Read the back of the book first to get some history and pronunciation help.  This book brought tears to my eyes.  The generosity of people who may not have much themselves is always a beautiful thing.  This would be a great book to teach about character traits such as empathy and generosity.

But I’ve Used All of My Pocket Change (Charlie and Lola series)

I have to say that about 3/4 of the way through this book, I was really disliking Lola.  You’ll see what I mean when you read the book! LOL!  In a surprising turn-of-heart, she not only changes her  live-in-the-present ways but she also finds a way to help someone.  This book was cute and it had a few lessons about saving and planning.  And Charlie is such a sweet big brother!  Who knows, it might even inspire a little bit of sibling kindness!

100 Followers and Monday Linky Parties

Yesterday, my little bog reached 100 followers! Thanks so much for taking the time to follow.  I have lots of plans for future giveaways, linky parties, flash freebies, etc.  I’ll also continue to share with you any treasures I find – new technology, apps, sales (online & brick and mortar stores) and teaching ideas.  I told you about my monthly giveaway coming up that is exclusive to followers.  In order to make that work, I assigned each of you a # that is your forever number.  It probably is not the actual number of when you followed because Google doesn’t number the followers for us and they actually re-sort them into those with pictures (first ones listed) and those who don’t have a profile picture.  There are 2 numbers that I know for sure: my first follower and my 100th follower: Heather’s Heart was 1st and Tama Trotti was the 100th!  Heather & Tama, please go to my TPT store and pick out an item that you would like and I’ll email it to you!  Thanks!

I’m so excited about a weekly linky party that I’ll be starting on Monday.  It is all about books!  There will be a different theme each week.  I already have the themes planned for the next few months.  The first one will be “favorite picture books of 2012”.  It will feature books published in 2012.  This one is actually going to be a challenge for me.  I tend to have books that were purchased at thrift stores or that I purchased at Scholastic.  So, they’re usually not the latest ones.  I searched my local library by just putting in a single letter (“a”) and sorting by date published and then choosing only books in the “primary” target audience.  So, my husband and kids are at the library right now and I asked them to pick up a big pile of books.  Hopefully there are at least a few in the stack that are “review worthy”!

The linky will include you linking back to your blog where you’ve featured a book that fits into the category.  It can be one book or multiple books.  The review that you post on your blog could be as simple as telling why you like the book or a full book review.  I’m planning on leaving it open indefinitely (I think 1 year is the max), but only promoting it during the first week (pinterest, google plus, etc.).  So, to get the most “traffic” to your blog posting, it will be best to join the party while it is current!  There will be simple, clear directions on Monday.  I just wanted to give you a chance to start looking for books to review.

If you don’t already have a book in mind, here are a few from 2012 that looked interesting:
*The Pirate Princess by Sudipta Bardhan Quallen
*Princess-in-Training by Tammi Sauer
*The Really, Really, Really Big Dinosaur by Richard Byrne
*Snowzilla by Janet Lawler
*Sophie’s Fish by A.E. Cannon
*Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot by Anna Branford
*Olivia and the Fairy Princess by Ian Falconer
*I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black
*In the Land of Milk and Honey by Joyce Carol Thomas
*King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson by Kenneth Kraegel
*Oh no! Not Again! by Mac Barnett
*Oliver by Judith Rossell
*Don’t Wake the Bear! by Steve Smallman
*Cindy Moo by Lori Mortensen
*Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
*Giant Peach Yodel! by Jan Peck
*Good News, Bad News by Jeff Mack
*Will Princess Isabel Ever Say Please? by Steve Metzger
*Zero the Hero by Joan Holub
*Millie Fierce by Jane Manning
*The Great Fairy Tale Disaster by David Conway
*Horseplay by Karma Wilson
*The House at the End of Ladybug Lane by Elise Primavera
*I Know a Librarian Who Chewed on a Word by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton
*Maudie and Bear by Jan Ormerod

Enjoying the long weekend…~Melissa

And the winners are…

Elementary Contest:
**Grand Prize Winner Entry #177Michele G.

Entry #265Jessica R.

Entry #67Dinah E.


Secondary Contest:

**Grand Prize Winner Entry #4Andrea
Entry #33Vanessa J.
Entry #37Vanessa J.

Congratulations!  The Grand Prize winners will get all of the items in their giveaway!  The runner up winners will choose one item from their giveaway.  I’ve emailed all of the winners.  As soon as I receive the responses from the runner up winners, I will have the contributors email the products.
Thank you for all who contributed and participated in the giveaway.  It was lots of fun!  

There’s another giveaway going on right now at Mrs. McLaren’s Little Super Heroes.  Check it out!

Click here to enter!


Featured on Debra’s Blog!


I’m still new to all this blogging stuff, so I find it so much fun
when someone features my blog or products!  I am also grateful when this happens!  I know there is a lot you have to overlook on my blog as far as formatting – the margins drive me crazy!  A blog “make-over” is high on my wishlist.  So, I’m glad that some of you stay around anyway and still read my posts!

Debra at Primary in Idaho is doing the neatest thing this year.  She’s featuring a different blog on her site every day this year!  365 blogs for you to discover!  And, I’m day 16.  Such a nice surprise!  Thank you, Debra, for featuring my blog.  I hope you all will go and follow her blog so you can discover some new blogs.  She’s already featured some amazing ones — and lots of them have been 1st grade so far! 🙂  First grade teachers just like to blog! 

Happy surfing!