Gator Gumbo: Candace Fleming

Gator Gumbo: A Spicy-hot Tale

Author: Candace Fleming
Illustrator: Sally Anne Lambert
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Publication Year: 2004
Brief Summary: An aging alligator cooks up his maman’s recipe for spicy gumbo, getting no help from the skunk, possum, or otter.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

 Ideas for using this book in classroom or library:
  • Science/cooking: Use the recipe in the back of the book and cook it in a crock-pot.  (Give students’ a week’s notice so they can sign up for ingredients.)  Instead of possum, skunk and otter, what can we use as substitute?
  • Does this story remind you for another story?  (Little Red Hen)  What are some similarities/differences in…Plot? Setting?  Characters?  Ending?
  • Discuss swamp animals — students can research animals mentioned in the book and write about special characteristics
  • Swamps — what are the characteristics of this setting?
  • Social Studies: Louisiana/Cajun culture.  Facts, food, people, history, etc.

Brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.

  • Art, science, social studies connections
  • Text-to-text connections

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.
Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

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When I was Young and in the Mountains: Cynthia Rylant

When I was Young and in the Mountains

Author: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrator: Diane Goode
Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books
Publication Year: 1982
Brief Summary: Inspired by the memories of her childhood in Appalachia, Cynthia Rylant writes, in her first book,h about what it was like to live in the mountains with her grandparents and other relatives.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Randolph Caldecott Medal, 1983 Honor Book United States

Best Books:

Books to Read Aloud to Children of All Ages, 2003 ; Bank Street College of Education
Children’s Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson
Children’s Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson
Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 ; California Department of Education

State Provisional Reading List: 

Golden Sower Award, 1985; Nominee
Kentucky Bluegrass Award, 1984; Nominee

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library:
  • Do you have some favorite childhood memories or tradition that you and your family keep?  Start each sentence with “When I was young…”  Share with classmates.
  • Author study on Cynthia Rylant
  • Other books about Appalachia life
  • Discussion about different types of communities.  What kind of community does the narrator describe?  (Rural)  What is this community different or similar to yours?  (In the book, you have to get water from the well, go to the general store for food, etc.)

Brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.

  • Text-to-text connections
  • Text-to-self connections
  • Social studies: types of communities

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc. Lesson plan/autho study on Brain Pop Jr. http://www.brainpopjr.com/readingandwriting/authors/cynthiarylant/grownups.weml

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library