Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Waking Dragons

Title: Waking Dragons 
Author: Jane Yolen
Illustrator: Derek Anderson   
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: October 2012   
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Picture Book   
GoodReads Summary: Wake up with a pair of sleepy dragons and the knight who must get them ready for school! 

From tumbling out of their humongous blankets to devouring a breakfast of catapulted waffles, these characters and their lovable antics fill the pages with luminous color and dragon-size fun. A joyful collaboration between two bestselling talents, author Jane Yolen and illustrator Derek Anderson, this book will make any young reader fly out of bed. 
What I Think: In my search for dragon books for World Read Aloud Day, I found Waking Dragons! This book has simple rhyming lines that don't always maintain the rhythm throughout the book. I love the premise: a young knight describes the morning routine of his dragons, but there were times that the text just doesn't flow well because of the forced rhyme or a strangely taken page break. As a mentor text, I think this might be great for lower elementary students to discuss rhyme and rhythm because it definitely has instances when the rhyme works and when it struggles. 
     As for the content of the book itself, I think it's a sweet little story. I love how this could be used to talk about morning routines for preschool or lower elementary-aged kids. Actually, both of my own kids were talking about dental hygiene in February at preschool/daycare and in kindergarten. I can see how this book would have been a great read to go along with this discussion. The pictures are colorful, the text is simple, and those dragons have to brush their fangs before heading off for the day. Who wouldn't want to brush his or her teeth when they hear dragons do it? This book is one that I chose to read for World Read Aloud Day after falling in love with Dragons Love Tacos. I love connecting books and food so having a taco party just made sense. I also love themed parties so I searched for other dragon books and discovered this title. I'm reading aloud in two preschool classes and when I talked with the teachers, this book made more sense to read than Dragons Love Tacos for their students. One of the teachers offered her dragon puppet for me to use! I'm going to gather other props like a tooth brush so I can act the book out as I go and also invite students to share parts of their morning routine as we read.
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 3 
Read Alone: Grades Pre-K - 3 
Read With: If I Had a Dragon by Tom and Amanda Ellery, Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges 
Snatch of Text:  
"Dragons wake up,              
Dragons rise,
Dragons open
Dragon eyes."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Predictions 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Expository, Rhyme, Rhythm 
Writing Prompts: Write about your morning routine - you might write a list of times and events or you might describe what happens when your mom or dad or someone else tries to wake you up in the morning. Write about what it would be like to have your own dragon.  
Topics Covered: Dragons, Waking Up, Routine, Caring For Others, Caring For Self, Caring
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