Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Those Darn Squirrels!

Title: Those Darn Squirrels! 
Author: Adam Rubin 
Illustrator: Daniel Salmieri 
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Publication Date: September, 2011   
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Old Man Fookwire has a plan. He'll build some birdfeeders and fill them with yummy seeds and berries. That way, the wild birds he loves so much will stick around for the winter--instead of flying south. But there are other hungry creatures in the forest, and the have plans, too...Those darn squirrels! 
What I Think: When I was a child, my grandparents always had bird feeders at their house...and my grandfather was always so cranky with the squirrels. Reading this story reminded me so much of my grandfather, who died when I was a senior in high school. I remember how much those squirrels drove him crazy. My grandmother used to get mad at them, too. She would tap on the window and try to scare them away. Both of them would talk about the different kinds of birds that came to visit. Their kitchen table was always next to the window so they could eat breakfast and look out at the birds. I loved this book because it rang so true to what I knew about my grandparents and their annoyance at squirrels. I was always amazed at how the squirrels were still able to get to the bird feeder no matter what kind of bird feeder it was or whatever my grandfather did to try and stop them. I like how Adam Rubin's squirrels are just as clever. As annoying as my grandparents found them to be, it's hard to deny how determined and smart those squirrels are.
     I love to do voices when I read aloud and I had a blast shaking my fist in the air and reading Old Man Fookwire's parts. It cracked my kids up, too. They thought he was so funny. Kids seem to love when adults get angry and then angrier. They loved the squirrels and their antics.   
     I just saw that there are two more squirrel books by Adam Rubin that I am excited to read! I think this book would pair really well with Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate that we reviewed last week. In fact, I think I'm going to take my kids to buy bird feeders that we can hang in our backyard. Maybe we can find bird feeders that the boys can decorate and then put up or maybe even those pinecone-peanut butter bird feeders that we can make ourselves and then do some bird watching of our own. In the comments last week, one of our readers, Mandy Robek, shared an idea that she uses in her classroom. She has a window that is designated as an observation window and students are able to take their writer's notebooks over to the window to take time to observe, draw, or write whatever they see in the window. I love this idea! It's simple but just calling a window an observation station makes it so much more exciting! And what a great option to give to student writers who might have trouble getting ideas.
Read Together: Grades K - 6 
Read Alone: Grades K - 6 
Read With: Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate, Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
Snatch of Text: 
     "When the air turned crisp and the leaves began to change color, the old man grew sad. He knew that soon the birds would fly south for the winter, as they did every year, and that he would be lonely.
     Then he had an idea: If he fed the birds, maybe they would stick around."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Predictions, Asking Questions 
Writing Strategies to Practice: AAAWWUBBIS, Personal Narrative  
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when things didn't go your way. How did you respond? What did you learn from the situation? How will you hand things the same or differently in the future? 
Topics Covered: Hobbies, Love, Friendship, Loneliness, Integration - Science - Bird, Birdwatching, Animals 
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