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Author/ Illustrator: Kevin Henkes

Publisher/ Year: 1993

Number of Pages:

Genre: Fiction



Owen is a mouse who has a blanket named Fuzzy. Owen takes Fuzzy everywhere and they do everything together. But as Owen gets older, Fuzzy also gets older, and more dirty. His parents are not sure what they will do when Owen starts school because he cannot take Fuzzy with him. Ms. Tweezers, the neighbor, comes up with all sorts or ideas to help Owen’s parents get rid of Fuzzy. They dip Fuzzy in vinegar, they try to throw Fuzzy away, and they even attempt to get Owen to give Fuzzy to the Blanket Fairy. But Owen doesn’t give Fuzzy up, even when his parents start telling him the word “no.” Finally, his mother decides to cut Fuzzy into handkerchiefs so that it is small enough for Owen to take to school.

This story is a mirror for children who have a special bond or attachment to a favorite stuffed animal or toy. Some children outgrow their favorite toy/stuffed animal, but others find it very difficult to say goodbye or leave a toy behind. The story offers a positive way for parents to help their kids transition from the home setting to a school setting.

Fuzzy is a yellow blanket. This could symbolize Owen’s happiness when Fuzzy is with him. Yellow also is associated with creating new ideas. Owen and Fuzzy spend their days creating fun and entreating new games. Or the color yellow foreshadows the ideas that Owen’s parents and Ms. Tweezers come with to try to keep Fuzzy away from Owen. It could also foreshadow betrayal. Owen is upset because his parents will not allow him to bring Fuzzy to school.

The text states that Owen’s parents try many ideas to get Fuzzy away from Owen. They come up with all these ideas, but Ms. Tweezers is the one who “fills them in” about using the word “no.” The text kind of implies that Owen is basically allowed to do what he wants because his parents have never told him “no.”

Goodnight, Gorilla

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Author/ Illustrator: Peggy Rathman

Publisher/ Year: 1994

Number or Pages: 18

Genre: Picture Narrative



The zoo keeper makes sure to look up all the animals in their cages at night. He says goodnight to each of the them, but doesn’t know that the gorilla has stolen the keys and has let all the animals out. After the zoo keeper thinks he’s locked everything, he goes to his house, with the animals following close behind, and goes to sleep. The animals all pile in the room and go to sleep as well and say goodnight. The zoo keeper’s wife turns on the light, sees all the animals, and takes them back to their cages. The gorilla follows her back, climbs into bed and goes to sleep.

This book has no words so the pictures narrate the story. The pictures are very colorful and fun, keeping younger children engaged in the book. The pictures have no frames on them so readers are inside the story instead of looking in from the outside. The pictures have a rectangular shape which means that a character is not secure, or in this case, the zoo keeper’s keys are stolen and the cages are all unsecured.

Another fun way to keep children interested in this book, is that a mouse is always present on each of the pages. This is a fun way to see if children can find the tiny mouse on every page of the book. Sometimes the mouse is in plain sight, mostly next to the gorilla, but other times, he is hiding and it takes a longer time to find him.

This book is a great tool to help children come up with their own different ways of telling this story because the text is missing. The only words mentioned are “good night”. This allows children to challenge their creativity and to feel as if they have all the power because they are telling the story in their own special way. This allows for the story to be read multiple times because the story can still have the same ending, but can be told in multiple ways, according to the way each child would like.



Bedtime for Frances


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Author: Russell Hoban

Illustrator: Garth Williams

Publisher/ Year: Harper Collins 1960

Number of Pages: 32

Genre: Fiction



It’s bedtime for Frances, but before she can fall asleep, she needs a glass of milk, a kiss from mom and dad, and reassurance that monsters are not in her room.

Many children can relate to this book. It is a mirror for children who have trouble falling asleep or who may try anything and everything to stay awake. Just as Frances asks for milk and later on, a piece of cake before she goes to bed, many times children also ask their parents for a snack or a glass of water/milk before they head on to bed. Another reason Frances can’t go to sleep is because she is scared that there is a monster in her room. Most children have told their parents at least one time that there was a monster hiding in the closet or underneath the bed. And just like all parents do, Frances’ parents look around the room to check for any monsters, tell her that there are not any monsters in the room, and tell her to go back asleep.

The text is almost always on the opposite side of the pictures and is written exactly how a child would think while trying to fall asleep. Frances sings the alphabet to herself, and then stops at a letter and starts to think about something that starts with that letter, then switches to thinking about something totally unrelated. Children’s minds are so full of imagination, they think about one thing one minute, and the next, they have moved on to something else.The pictures are not framed so the reader is inside the story. The pictures have some color, but get darker and then lighter, symbolizing the coming of night and then night turning into day.





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Author/Illustrator: Ludwig Bemelmans

Publisher/ Year: 1939

Number of Pages: 40

Genre: Fiction



Madeline, one of 12 little girls taken care of by Madame Clavel, is the littlest, but the bravest of the children. One night, Madeline wakes up screaming and crying because she has an appendicitis. She is rushed to the hospital and immediately taken to surgery. The rest of the girls come to visit her in the hospital. After seeing the toys and candy, that night all of the girls wake Madame Clavel because they want their appendixes out as well.

The color yellow is the most used color in the pictures. The color yellow can be used as a symbol for illness or sickness. This color could possibly foreshadow Madeline’s appendicitis.The little girls are always dressed in yellow as well, which could symbolize their happiness or optimism. Madame Clavel is seen dressed in a dark black or blue dress which symbolizes her authority and dignity as the guardian of the girls.

The text is in rhyme; it mirrors the images and is also underneath the pictures. The pictures do not have any frames around them as if the reader is inside the story. The story can be used as a window to teach children about a different culture and time period as this story is sent in France during what seems to be the 1920’s. The style of clothing has changed and the setting would not be familiar to them. It could also serve as a mirror to children who have had their appendix removed or have had some surgery.  Or, the story may help those who know someone who has had surgery.

This story can also be a lesson to those who want even more than what they already have. The other little girls wanted their appendixes taken out so that they could get different gifts and candy. But the story reinforces the idea that the children should be happy with what they already have.

Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen

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Author/Illustrator: Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan

Publisher/Year: Mulberry Books 1991

Number of Pages: 29

Genre: Fiction



 A boy learns to understand how to help those who are in need while he helps out one day with Uncle Willie at the soup kitchen.

This story is very informative. It is a window that teaches children about the functions of soup kitchens and how they help feed many homeless people or those who can’t afford to eat.Many children have not ever seen a homeless person up close before and might have questions about them. This story, told through the eyes of the boy, shows children how to help those who might be in need. The soup kitchen is open to anyone who is hungry and the boy learns a little more about those who are homeless. He learns that some people do not have homes to go to after work, and some don’t even have jobs. He also learns that most people come to the soup kitchen because they cant afford to buy food to feed themselves or their families. This story could also be a mirror to kids who might know someone who is homeless, or even themselves be homeless. Or it could be a mirror to kids who have helped those who are homeless, whether it be working in a soup kitchen or helping those in need in different ways.

The pictures are not framed so the reader is engaged with the boy, being in on the action as he works in the soup kitchen and understands more about it and those who come in and eat. The text is very important, leaving many inspiring quotes for young readers to remember. “Sometimes people need help” is a great introduction quote to start a conversation with children who might not fully understand what a soup kitchen is for.

Fiona’s Lace

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Author/Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Publisher/Year: Simon and Schuster 2014

Number of Pages: 36

Genre: Historical Fiction



 Fiona, her sister Ailish, mother, and Da all live in Ireland. After the mill in the village closes, Fiona and her family set their sights for America. They decided to leave their beloved Ireland and immigrate to Chicago, Illinois. They all must find work to make money, so Fiona, having been taught by her mum, makes fine white lace for the richer folks to buy.

Green and white are important colors throughout the book. First of all, the colors green and white appear on the Irish flag. Green symbolizes nationalism and white symbolizes peace. Regarding the book, green can symbolize rebirth as the family leaves behind the only life they know to travel and move to another country, creating a new life for themselves. White is a universal symbol for purity. Fiona’s white lace that she creates symbolizes her innocence and that fact that she is still a child. But as a fire breaks out, she leaves her lace behind in pieces so her parents are able to find her and Ailish. After Fiona and Ailish are reunited with their parents, the lace is covered in black soot. The black soot covering the white lace could symbolize the end of Fiona’s innocence because the fire marks her lace as well as her understanding of her world.

The illustrations are not framed so the reader is involved with the story, unlike an outsider looking in. In the beginning of the story, there are more colors present, but as the book progresses, the author uses fewer and fewer colors. The text could stand alone without the pictures, but most children wouldn’t know what Ireland or Chicago looked like, so the pictures do help to give an idea of the setting.

This book can act as a window for children to learn about families who have immigrated from other countries to America. It shows the stereotypical flaming red Irish hair and freckles as well as popular Irish names.  In the end, children see a different culture from their own.


Bug in a Vacuum

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Author/Illustrator: Melanie Watt

Publisher/Date: Tundra Books 2015

Number of pages: 45

Genre: Fiction



A fly is accidentally sucked into a vacuum and goes through the five stages of grief. After he experiences the final stage, which is acceptance, his luck changes, and he finds a way out of the vacuum.

This book is an informative piece on the different stages that people go through when they experience loss or a traumatic event in their life. This book can serve as a mirror for children who may be experiencing the same feelings as the fly. It also serves as a door to lead children to learn how to cope with these feelings that they might face in the future. Moreover, the book is a window for those who may not have experienced a loss or upsetting event but may know someone who has. It can teach children to understand how another person may be feeling, therefore, helping that person cope with his/her struggle(s).

The illustrations are not framed, so the reader is in on the action as the story progresses.The colors in the pictures are mostly shades of green. The color green can symbolize many thoughts or ideas, but in this particular story, green could symbolize growth. As the story progresses, the fly goes through different stages in the vacuum, and as he is trapped, he finally learns to accept things the way they are; therefore, growing and maturing. Green is also seen as the color for rebirth (associated with nature). Since green is so heavily used in the pictures, it almost foreshadows the fly’s fate as he is “reborn” with a different perspective on life.

Gingerbread Baby

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Author/Illustrator: Jan Brett

Publisher/Date: Scholastic Inc. 1999

Number of pages: 31

Genre: Fiction



 A little boy named Matti makes a piece of gingerbread into the shape of a boy. The cooking directions specifically say NOT to peek in the oven as the gingerbread is baking. But Matti can’t help himself and takes a tiny peek.  The next thing Matti sees is a gingerbread baby popping out of the oven and running away. Matti and the rest of the villagers must find a way to catch him!

Jan Brett is known for taking classic stories, mostly folklores, and twisting the story just a bit to show her own ideas. The pages of the book are framed so readers are outsiders looking in as the story is told. On the left and right of the pages, there are pictures in the shape of a gingerbread baby that show what has happened or what will happen next. The text could stand alone without the pictures, but it is nice to see the “sneak peak” of what is about to happen. The images are colorful, expressing freedom, at least for the gingerbread baby. The gingerbread baby is always running to the right, as if to keep the story moving forward.

The characters are dressed in what looks to be traditional period clothing from Germany (i.e., lederhosen). This dress acts as a window for children to learn about the past as well as a different culture. The story can also teach a lesson to children to follow directions and/ or to be patient.  If not, something unexpected can happen. The story can act as a mirror for children who might see themselves as Matti, very curious and sometimes impatient but full of imagination and creativity. Overall, the book is just a fun and entertaining read for children.



When Marian Sang

Author: Pam Munoz Ryan

Illustrator: Brian Selznick

Publisher and Year: Scholastic Inc. 2002

Number of Pages: 32

Genre: Nonfiction




This is the true story about how one little girl proved that dreams really do come true. Marian Anderson has a voice like none other and her talent is seen by many people. Soon she works hard enough to go to music school and she keeps learning and learning till finally she is heard from different countries all over the world.

This story is such an inspiration to many children with high hopes and dreams. It serves as a mirror for some, seeing themselves as Marian and wanting to perform just like she did. This book can function as a door to open children’s eyes that anything is possible, and if a person works hard enough, they can succeed. It also gives the real life challenges and struggles that Marian had to face as she continued to become a better singer. It gives the reality of dialogue and situations that African Americans faced such as blacks not being able to apply for music school or not being able to preform in “Whites only” theatres or auditoriums.

Perceptual- Marian faces hatred and racism throughout the book. When she applies for music school, the woman behind the counter tells her that she doesn’t service Negros.

Structural-  The text is either written on the side of the pictures or below the pictures. The pictures are not framed so the audience feels involved instead of looking in like an outsider. In one of the pictures, Marian sings with the choir and the robes look like they have stars on them, which could foreshadow Marian’s stardom that was about to come.

Ideology- The issues with racism and how even though Marian had an outstanding voice, she was still treated as lower than common whites because of the color of her skin. She had to sit with the other African Americans when she rode on the train, and the President of the United States had to issue an order to let her sing in a whites only space.

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Author: Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrator: Kadir Nelson

Publisher and year: Hyperion Books for Children 2006

Number of Pages: 37

Genre: Nonfiction




This is the true story of Harriet Tubman. She was a slave in the south who escaped and eventually gained her freedom. She went back to her former master’s plantation and took with her other slaves who longed to be free. This story tells of her miraculous journey and her unwavering faith in God.

This is such a wonderful book because it serves multiple purposes. It teaches children about real people who changed history. It teaches children that Harriet Tubman was real and she led many slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. It opens doors for kids who might be curious about who she was and after reading the book, they go and search and learn more about her. Some kids can connect with her struggles, struggles meaning doubting in her faith or overcoming an obstacle. This book can serve as a mirror for children who might see themselves in certain situations and the book can provide a sense of encouragement.

Perceptual- In some circumstances, Harriet Tubman prays to God asking him to stay with her, or help her find her way to freedom. And God always answers her, reassuring her that everything is going to work out.

Structural- When God speaks, His words are in all capital letters, maybe symbolizing that He is bigger and more powerful than any of Harriet’s problems. His texts are also printed so that it fits with the setting on each page. For example, when the wind is blowing or waves are presents, the text is curved and moves up and down.

Ideology- Not all white people were for slavery. In the book, the author tells of white people helping Harriet Tubman escape from her plantation to a free state, and even then after she went back to free more slaves.

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