Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday, a Freebie, AND a Giveaway

Hey everyone!!  I'm here today to link up with Deanna Jump's Book Talk Tuesday linky party.  I've had so much fun with this linky, getting to share my favorite books and learning about the favorite books of other teachers.  Make sure that you check it out for yourself!!

Today I am going to share TWO books, since they go so very well together.  They are both creations of the author/illustrator Dave Horowitz and are GREAT to use for the beginning of the year.

A favorite choice of kindergarten boys....

and a favorite choice of kindergarten girls!

I just LOVE these books!!  Each letter of the alphabet is given a page in the story, combined with a pirate/princess whose name starts with that letter.  Also, each sentence ends in a word that rhymes with the name of the pirate/princess.  So many phonics lessons!!

Let's take a look at Twenty-six Pirates:

Check out the illustrations!!  Look at the details in the faces of the characters and the faces of the frogs.  Can't you just imagine the discussions you can have?  For instance, why does Doug need a hug?  How can you tell he is sad?  Do you think Earl is scared to be up in the crow's nest {vocabulary opportunity}?  Also, the letter being focused on is hidden in the page somewhere.  Sometimes it's easy to find, sometimes not.  I just love how the illustrations can help teach littles to look at the pictures to help them understand the story.

Before you even read the words on this page, ask them what they think Lee's problem is.  I bet they can tell you, 'cause they have felt that way before too!!  Ask them how the frogs feel about seeing Mark the shark, and ask if they think the frogs know it's not a real shark.

There are perfect opportunities for them to express their opinions, as well.  Do you think Roy is a dangerous {vocabulary opportunity} boy?  Do you think Samson is really all that handsome?  {vocabulary opportunity}

The end of the story shows all of the pirates on board the Sea Princess, and this provides a great opportunity to see if students remember the events in the story.  Point to a random pirate and ask if anyone remembers his name or what he was doing in the story.  You can count up the pirate with the littles, and ask them why there are 26 and not 27.

Next up is Twenty-six Princesses:

This book is set up exactly like the pirates version.  Each letter of the alphabet is given a page, and each sentence ends in a word that rhymes with the name of the princess.  Just like in the pirates version, the illustrations lead to many great discussions.  There is also lots of vocabulary in the story to talk about with your kinders.  Take these two pages.  You can have a great discussion about why they think Dot is not considered a lady and if she seems to care, and how they frog feels about Elle's yells.

This is a great chance to compare characters in similar situations.  Both of these princesses are out in the rain, but they both feel very differently about it.  Have the littles study the faces of each princess and ask why they think Heather is happy in the rain and Isabella is not.  You can even ask them this before you read the words on the pages.

At the end of the story, all the princesses are gathered together in the ball room.  You can help kinders retell the story by asking them to identify the princesses by name and/or what they were doing in the story.

Aren't these books AWESOME!!  If you want a copy for yourself (of course mine came from Scholastic) you can head over to Amazon by clicking the pictures of the covers of the book at the top of this post.

I enjoy these books so much that I had to create an activity to go with it.  I had an idea in mind but I was having a hard time brining it to life.  Then one day I was unpacking groceries and was about to put away my variety pack of mini-cereal boxes when it hit me.  I can use these boxes to create an activity that my kinders can work on during Word Work time of the Daily 5.  Here's what I did.

First, I gathered the materials I would need.

If you've been with me for a while, you know how much I LOVE the different patterns of Duck Tape out there.  I gathered some of my favorites for this little DIY. 

Next, I cut off the tops of all the mini-cereal boxes.

After removing the tabs, I began to cover each box with Duck Tape.  I used the same style of Duck tape for every two boxes, so there would be a matching pair when I finished.  That's important, you need a matching pair!!  It helps the littles follow directions when they can grab the two boxes that are the same.

It took three layers of tape before I felt the boxes were sturdy enough to stand up to little hands, as well as completely covering up the graphics on the boxes.  Here's the finished product.

Remember, you need two styles of each!!  After the taping is finished, attach a small piece of Velcro to the front of each box.  This will allow you to easily swap out the letter tags as you learn about different letters.

For one of the activities I made, attache a pirate or princess uppercase and matching lowercase letter to the two matching boxes.  The uppercase B would go on the other tie-dye covered box.  Students can put the letters on themselves.  I have a plan to keep the letter boxes and envelopes/baggies of the letter of the week we're working on in a large basket.  Students can get two boxes and grab an envelope.  The pirate/princess tags go on the boxes, and the smaller letter cards are what they will use to sort.  Print out the letter cards on different colors of construction paper and then laminate.

These cards don't need Velcro on them, only the pirate/princess ABC cards to use as labels.  I haven't decided if I'm going to glue these to milk bottle lids before the kinders use them, just to give them extra durability, or if I'm just going to leave them as cards.  Guess it'll depend on how much time I have at the beginning of the year!!

Each letter comes with self-check keys, so that the kinders can check their sorting.  I'm going to keep these in a location I can watch, so that I can tell if kinders are running right over to get the answer keys before they even start the activity!  You could laminate them and have the littles color in a check mark as they check their answers, or you could print them on paper and create a small book that littles could keep as a reference.

I tried to use as many fonts as I could, and that each letter buddy was in a matching font.  When littles are done sorting and checking, I've included an assessment they can complete and that will let you know how well they understand the uppercase and lowercase letters.

This awesome little sorting activity is only ONE of the many activities I have included in this 171 page activity, and I've only included two of my favorite ABC books.  Here are a few of the other standards I've covered in this packet:

I included a few of the words from each book on color and B&W vocabulary cards.

This standard comes complete with teacher and student labels and cards to sort the tools of an author and those of an illustrator.

There are discussion pages I've included, as well as a student response sheets.

This standard comes with a class book you can make with your littles that is modeled after the pirate/princess books.

Have I gotten you interested yet??  I worked hard on this pack, and I plan on adding more of my favorite ABC books and activities to go with them.  Make sure you grab a copy while the price is at it's lowest!!  Click on the picture below to go to my TPT store, and if you download the Preview you get a freebie of the letter A princess sorting activity.

Finally, I'm having my VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY!!  Just enter using the Rafflecopter below, and I will choose two random winners next Tuesday.  You will win a copy of the packet, as well as any and all future updates I make to this packet.  Plus, if you're interested, I will even throw in six of the mini-cereal boxes that you can use with this packet.  You can pick the styles from what I've already made!!  Good luck, and I hope you're as excited about my first giveaway as I am!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. WHY have I never seen either of these two books before?? I am going to have to head straight to Amazon and check these out!
    My favorite Alphabet books to read are: Annie, Be a & Chi-Chi Dolores and Alphabet City. If you would like the chance to enter a giveaway on my blog for 2 children's books & $25 to either Amazon or TpT, please stop by my blog @: SweetSchoolMoments
    Thanks for the opportunity to enter your contest! Have a great week!

    1. They are definitely a great addition to your classroom library!! Thank you so much for sharing such great books, I don't have any of them!! My Books to Buy list is getting a wee bit out of control... ;-) Thank you so very much for stopping by and entering my giveaway!! I am definitely headed over to your blog to check it out, thanks so much!! :-) Good luck!! :-)

  2. I always love adding to my library and these will be on my shopping list! LOVE the sorting of uppercase and lowercase letter. My kiddos would love this!

    1. Isn't adding to your classroom library just THE BEST!!! I am a bit obsessed with books, and am a firm believer that you can never have too many!! ;-) Good luck with the giveaway, and thanks so very much for commenting!!

  3. Thank you Erin for sharing these books. I love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It is an all time favorite alphabet book.


    1. You are so welcome!! I'm excited to have been able to share books that were new to some of you!! I love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom too!! My kinders just loved getting to read along with it!! Great choice!! Thanks so much for leaving a comment!! :-) Good luck with the giveaway!!

  4. We love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom too. We re-enact it and love the song for it!

  5. I love the song too, and so do my kinders!! Re-enacting it sounds like so much fun, I bet your littles love that!! Thanks for sharing such a great idea!! Good luck with the giveaway, and thank you so much for commenting!!! :-)

  6. Actually just ordered by Pirate and Princesses books! Superhero ABC is always most requested Kinder ABC book!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing!!! I'll be adding that one to my list!! :-)

  7. I love Alphabet City--if you're feeling bold, you can even hand your kids the camera to find their own city alphabet! Great books, and great sort!

    Primary Explorers

    1. What a FABULOUS idea!!! I don't think I have Alphabet City, so will have to add that one to my list (one of my goals this summer is to organize my collection of books) and your idea of having them create their own Alphabet City sounds like so much fun!! Thank you so very much for leaving such great feedback!!

  8. I just love Alphabet Books in general! I really like Alphabet Mystery and Alphabet Adventure. I did not know about the Pirates and Princess books. I have a feeling they will be among two of my newest favorites! Thanks so much for introducing me to them.

    1. Last year my kinders LOVED Alphabet Mystery and Alphabet Adventure!! I'll have to add those to my beginning of the year bundle, thanks for the reminder!! :-) You will LOVE these books, and they will soon become a fast favorite with your littles!! :-)

  9. It's me again! I just have to say I love your blog and your name! I wish I could have come up with something like this. My school mascot is the Knights and this would have been so perfect! Kudos to you for a great name! This year for our Family Literacy Knight our theme will be Fairy Tales. These knew resources will be a perfect fit! I am so excited now and can't wait to get started.

    1. Oh my goodness, you are just the sweetest ever!!! Thank you so very much for such incredibly wonderful feedback!! I LOVE your school mascot!! Ours is a I kinda went my own way with my classroom decor!! :-) I just love dragons, and I think it's okay for 5 and 6 year olds to still believe magic can happen!! :-) I hope you have a fabulous school year, can't wait to hear about how it goes for you (and I LOVE the idea of a Family LIteracy Knight, what a great way to get parents involved in their child's education!!)

  10. Thanks for the post. As the author/illustrator of these books it makes me happy to read how much you and your students are enjoying them.

    Thought you might like to see how the art is made... since you are Kindergarten "Dragons" you may find it extra relevant:

    1. Oh. My. Goodness!!! I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am that the author and illustrator of two of my FAVORITE ABC books took the time to read my post and leave such great feedback!!! Thank you so very much for taking the time to visit my blog and leave a comment, and I am headed to check out how you create your illustrations. I know I will be able to use this to help my kinders understand the job of an illustrator!! You are so awesome, thank you so much!!

    2. AAHHH!!! I LOVE the video!!!! I am so much in love with those dragons you created, I would be honored to be able to buy one from you for my classroom this year!! What an AMAZING discussion piece that would be!! I'll have to look into your school visits!! Thank you so, so , so much for sharing this video with me!! I am definitely going to be using this when I teach my kinders the difference between author and illustrator!! Thank you so much for providing me such a wonderful opportunity to teach one of my kindergarten standards!! I am totally going to be blogging about this, too!! :-)