Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons by Jon J Muth

Recommended Grades: 4-6

Using an adorable panda, Koo, Jon J. Muth challenges readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haiku about the four seasons. In the author’s note, Muth explains that haiku has evolved over time and now poets no longer adhere to the rigid structure of 5-7-5 syllables. Instead, Muth uses sensory images to capture a moment of emotion in words.

Lesson Idea:


Mentor Text: Author’s Craft/Word Choice: Read aloud Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons and discuss how haiku has evolved over time. Look at several of the haiku and talk about Muth’s use of sensory details instead of the typical 5-7-5 syllable structure. Using  Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons as a mentor text for author’s craft, encourage students to write haiku that develops through sensory images, instead of the traditional, rigid 5-7-5 syllable structure.

©2014 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Noah Webster & His Words by Jeri Chase Ferris

Recommended Grades: 3-5

From the beginning, Noah Webster knew he didn’t want to be a farmer like the rest of his family.  He wanted to be a SCHOLAR.  This is the story of how he made his dream come true.  

Lesson Idea:  


Mentor Text, Biography and Word Choice:   Read aloud Noah Webster and His Words as part of a unit on biographies.  Noah Webster wrote the first all American (instead of English spellings) dictionary after the American Revolution.  Noah studied twenty different languages and traveled around the world to fully research his dictionary.  In addition to a biography mentor text, Noah Webster and His Words is a fantastic model for the craft of word choice.  The author provided definitions for words embedded throughout the text, a great homage to Mr. Webster, but also a fun writing technique.

©2013 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj

Recommended Grades: K-5

Cats have secrets they keep in a book.  But, if you are anything other than a cat, and especially a  mouse, you should not be reading it!  What happens when the cats test the readers to see if they meet the criteria to read the book?      

Lesson Idea:  


Read Aloud/Model Text: This is a fun read aloud for kids in the primary grades.  It also makes a good model text for writing dialogue.  The author uses bubbles to indicate when a cat is speaking.  Cat Secrets can also be used as a model for “talking directly to the reader.”  Both author’s craft techniques can be modeled for students in writer’s workshop.

©2013 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

The Three Billy Goats Fluff by Rachael Mortimer

Recommended Grades: 3-5

When Mr. Troll threatens to eat the three Billy Goats Fluff for trip-trapping over his bridge too loudly, Mother Goat comes up with a fluffy plan to keep everyone happy!   

Lesson Idea:  


Author’s Craft: Another fun read aloud that could be part of a fractured fairy tale unit.  Read aloud Three Billy Goats Fluff as a mentor text.  Pair it with Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs and other fractured fairy tales.  Analyze the texts with students to determine the characteristics of fractured fairy tales and particular elements of author’s craft.  Create an anchor chart for students to refer back to during the year.

©2012 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.