I cannot believe that my summer break is almost over! But, the calendar does not lie. I am sure that many of you feel the same. I have already been into my classroom and am happy to say that it is at least physically ready for the seventy-five sixth-grade students who will soon be walking through the door.
As I've started preparing for the coming year, I came across a list of books I'd used every year when I still taught fourth-grade. Though, I enjoy the books the older students read, I do miss several of the books I used with my younger students. So, today's book review will be about Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen. It was one of my favorite books to read with my fourth-graders.
Owl Moon is a picture book, so it may seem silly to some that I would use it with students as old as those in fourth-grade. But, on top of being a beautiful book and simple story, it actually has a lot of text that can be used for higher comprehension skills. One look at the cover and a quick glimpse at a few pages are enough to show why this book was awarded the Caldecott Medal for its illustrations in 1988.
The story is told from the point of view of a child, who never shares her name. Most assume it's a story shared from the author's own childhood and that the narrator is her younger self. The child gets to go "owling" with her father for the first time. They travel into the woods in search of owls. As I said, the story itself is quite simple. But, what makes the story captivating, besides the illustrations, are all of the vivid descriptions. You can feel the excitement the child feels. It's not hard to imagine the coldness of the winter night. With lines such as "The moon made his face into a silver mask," and "They sang out, trains and dogs, for a real long time. And when their voices faded away, it was as quiet as a dream," the reader is immersed in the sights and sounds of the story. It is filled with metaphors, similes, and even a little personification. Which is why this teacher used it to teach figurative language to her fourth-graders.
I'd recommend this book as a read aloud for any child from pre-school through elementary. Though, it can be read independently, I feel this particular book works very well as a read aloud.
I suppose I must get back to my stacks and lists of things to do for the upcoming year. But, I also wanted to share that I'm still hard at work on the third Maisy Files book and hope to share it with you all in the next couple of months! For now, I'll share a coloring page to help your young reader pass the time during these last days of summer freedom. I hope you all have a great start to the new school year!