I’ve decided that March is a really tough month for doing this unit because our 1st and 2nd graders have testing. Plus, March is a big field trip month, which I seem to have missed last year. Last year I did this right after the Caldecotts and Newberys were announced, but we were still reading Clementine at that point. So anyway, I’ve got to keep tweaking this for next year, but this is what we did with the time we had.

First, we looked at all the 2010 books and voted on our favorite. The Lion and the Mouse was a big hit, followed closely by Red Sings from Treetops. All the World got a lot of “Cool!” outbursts because Marla Frazee also illustrated Clementine, which we just finished.

Then we went back to last year’s books, which I’m still so completely enamored with. We read The House in the Night, which is so hypnotic to the kids. And it gets giggles from them in places I would never think to giggle. We skimmed through River of Words and How I Learned Geography because we were running low on time for the unit. But I did read them A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever as the finale to our reading, and it got the huge laughs I knew it would. That’s such a great interactive book. “Are the kids really meditating quietly?” as I scrunch up my face. “NO! THEY’RE PLAYING VIDEO GAMES!!” and then riotous laughter. And they love that Marla Frazee wrote that one, too. She’s a big hit with my 1st graders now, even though they have a tough time getting her name right. “Do you have any other books by Merla Frazzle?”

Then to top off the unit we made our own pictures inspired by The House in the Night. I really wanted to do this last year, but for the life of me I can’t remember why I didn’t. Beth Krommes illustrations are so great, we had a big talk where I tried to explain that there isn’t actually any grey in the illustrations. When I’d ask them what are the 3 colors, they’d say black, yellow, and grey. So we looked closely at the drawings to see that actually, there’s no grey at all. Just black, WHITE, and yellow. So I gave them all black pieces of paper, a white crayon, and yellow construction paper to cut up. That’s all they could use, but they could draw whatever they wanted.

I know I’m not supposed to have favorites and all that, but look at how awesome these are!

Mya’s rainstorm, especially with the weather we’re having, was so right-on. Hers was my absolute favorite.

Zoey is like our own personal Clementine, and I love that she picked up on the illustration from the book that made the sun look like it had roads as rays.

**Update: I found more photos! I knew I’d taken more.