The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark

— feeling big smile
The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark - Deborah Diesen, Dan Hanna, Daniel X. Hanna

The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark, by Deborah Diesen, finds the Mr. Fish trying to help Mrs. Clam find her lost pearl. He's persistent, but when he starts to waiver, the voice of a friend helps him to go on. As Mr. Fish goes deeper and deeper into the ocean, we find out he is afraid of the dark. However, with a little help from his friend, he is able to find Mrs. Clam's pearl and return it to her safely.


The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark has really nice illustrations which anyone would love, but is a book which would probably be best enjoyed by lower elementary grades. It tells a story of friendship, persistence, helping others, and keeping one's word, all the while using a fun, rhyming text. This would be a great book to share with a lower elementary class when you are working on character building or if you are having issues with students wanting to quit when things get a bit difficult.

Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster

Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster - Debra Frasier

Miss Alaineus, by Debra Frasier, is the hilarious story of a girl named Sage who is sick and misses a few days of school. Sage is a smart girl and often writes her own definitions for her vocabulary words instead of looking them up. She gets her vocabulary words from her friend while she is out and writes her own definition of Miss Alaineus - and even illustrates it for extra points!  The hilarity ensues when Sage realizes the word was actually miscellaneous and her classmates will not let her live her mistake down.  All ends well, though, as Sage and her mom create a clever costume to illustrate miscellaneous and she wins the fifth grade vocabulary parade.


Miss Alaineus is a great book to read to any level elementary class or upper elementary could read it independently. It is the perfect lead-in to the concept of a vocabulary parade, which many schools are using as an alternative to Halloween costumes in the fall. Children choose a word from a provided list of vocabulary and wear a costume that illustrates the word the on the chosen day, when they parade throughtout the school.

I Love You, Stinky Face

I Love You, Stinky Face - Lisa McCourt, Cyd Moore

I Love You, Stinky Face, by Lisa McCourtis a sweet book about a mother's love for her son.  He's getting ready for bed and asks her repeatedly, "Would you love me if I....".  In his questions he is an alligator, an alien, a swamp creature - but she loves him however or whoever he is.  It is an awesome example of a mother's unconditional love.  The illustrations are funny, his questions are funny, and mom's reassurances are funny.  I cannot imagine a child who wouldn't love this book.


I Love You, Stinky Face would be a good book for a classroom library for any child to read. It would also be a perfect fit for a kindergarten or first grade teacher who has a child who has not quite adjusted to school and being away from home.  Reading this book with that child, or sending it home for the parent to read with her, could be just the thing to hlep an insecure child get over those insecurities and realize that they are loved - even if they are away from their loved ones each day.


Interest Level: Grades PreK - 3

Reading Level: 

    Grade level Equivalent:  4.2

    Lexile® Measure:AD1290L

    DRA: 30

    Guided Reading: N

Accelerated Reader test available


Leo, The Loveable Lion

Leo, the Lovable Lion - Giles Andreae, David Wojtowycz

Leo, The Loveable Lionby Giles Andreae, is a story, about a lion cub who doesn't fit in. When he tells his pack he doesn't want to eat meat, they send him away. While on his own, he makes new friends, proves his worth, and finds peace with himself. In the end, his pack realizes their mistake, and his Mom welcomes him back home.


Leo, The Loveable Lion is a super sweet story with equally pretty illustrations.  It teaches a great story about appreciating those who are different and about accepting yourself when you are the one who is different, yet doesn't come across as preachy. This is a fabulous book to use if you are having issues in your classroom with accepting diversity or when teaching a diversity unit.  Kids will hopefully learn a lesson without even realizing they are learning!


Interest Level:  Grades PreK - 2

Reading Level:

    Grade level Equivalent: 2.4

    Lexile® Measure: Not Available

    DRA: 18

    Guided Reading: K


Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur?

Oh say can you say di-no-saur? - Bonnie Worth, Steve Haefele

Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saurby Bonnie Worth, finds the Cat in the Hat once again taking Dick and Sally on an adventure. He takes them from the formation of fossils all the way up to viewing fossils in his own museum, while sharing information about dinosaurs in enjoyable rhymes. Phonetic pronunciations of dinosaur names are provided, along with non-rhyming text boxes with facts about dinosaurs. Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur is a fun book and would definitely entice even a reluctant reader to read, while learning scientific facts as they do.


This would be a great book to use while doing a study of fossils and/or dinosaurs with 1st and 2nd graders. It has plenty of level two and three words to help increase students' vocabularies and presents them in a manner that helps with retention and comprehension. There is also an Accelerated Reader test for this book. 



Interest Level:  Grades K - 2

Reading Level:

    Grade level Equivalent:  2.5

    Lexile® Measure:  400L

    DRA: 24

    Guided Reading: M