06 September 2013

Book Review: The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice Harrington

One of my favorite books to read aloud is Janice Harrington's The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County. It's the story of a little girl who really enjoys... you guessed it, chasing chickens. And as the title implies, she's pretty good at it. But there's this one hen, Ms. Hen she's called, that the title character has a particular hankering for. 

While it's not made entirely clear in the book, it seems to be set somewhere in the southeastern United States, at Big Mama's house. The dialogue and inner thoughts of the characters are so well-written, it'd be difficult to not read this one with emotion. I look at this book as a lot of kids' idea of a great summer. The title character explains at the very beginning that she always does three things when she wakes up: she brushes her teeth "whiter than a biscuit," she tells some stories to her Big Mama, she eats her breakfast, and then... Can you guess what she does next? 

I've read this book to several grade levels and it's always been a hit, with small kids and big kids alike. This week, I read it to my second graders for a lesson about the 5 Ws. Each time I read this book, I find a new way to use it. On this go around, I realized that it'd be a great book to use in teaching similes and metaphors. So, fourth graders, you'll soon get to know the Chicken-Chasing Queen, too.

If you get a chance to read The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County, I think you'll be come a fan too. 

My rating: ☆ (Money Back Guarantee)

05 September 2013

Picture Books: To Dewey or Not to Dewey, That is the Question

Our library is nearly Dewey-free. Our chapter books are in sections based on genre and our nonfiction section has been reorganized. But what to do with picture books? I've been thinking about that question for quite a while now (years actually). 

One alternative to having our picture books arranged by the author's last name is to put them in sections based on genre, like we did with our chapter books. But I'm just not sure it'd be that simple. Are there other alternatives I'm just not thinking about? What do YOU think? 

I've been referring to our new system of classification as "The Bookstore Model," and if you think about bookstores, their picture books are arranged by the author's last name too. Is there a better way? Dividing picture books up into genre based categories may be the answer, but perhaps the genres are just different. Instead of having funny, historical fiction, mystery, scifi/fantasy, scary, and adventure like we do for our chapter books, maybe picture books would have genres like superhero, spooky, funny, and.... What else am I missing?