As always, be sure to check out the Teach.Mentor.Text and Unleashing Readers blogs by Jen & Kelly, the creators of this meme, for other bloggers participating in “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?”
I loved fairy tales as a young child. I went to the library every week with my sister and my dad and this is where I really learned to read. I made my way through all the fairy tale anthologies – The Red Fairy Tale Book, The Blue Fairy Tale Book, The White Fairy Tale Book . . . On Christmas Eve, my sister and I got to open one present, the ones we gave to each other, and I’ll never forget the year my sister gave me a pink book entitled Fifty Famous Fairy Tales!
So it goes without saying that I couldn’t wait to read Liesl Shurtliff’s full-length novel about Rumpelstiltskin. I was not disappointed. Rump is the born before his mother can tell him his full name and he yearns to know what it is. He feels like his life will not be fulfilled until he does. A great deal of importance is placed on people’s names and Rump is continually taunted and tormented because of his. When his grandmother falls sick, he turns to his mother’s spinning wheel that has long been abandoned to find some comfort and closeness to her only to find that he has inherited her magical powers. He soon learns that he can spin straw into gold and uses it to help buy food to save his dying grandmother. But what has he done? Is the magic too powerful for him to control? Does it control him? Follow Rump through his trials and torments as he learns about his destiny and his true name.
In my work as a literacy specialist, I work with small groups of students for short periods of time. This year I am working with quite a few groups of kindergarten students and I am supposed to be focusing on letter and sound recognition. However, I think that it is also incredibly important for me to be reading stories to these young children. So in order to be able to do both, I need to find short books that won’t take a lot of time but be of high quality. Digger and Tom is one of those books. First of all, the end pages are fantastic. They have all kinds of different construction vehicles that the kids love to look at and talk about. I let each child point out their favorite one. Next the story itself is timeless. It is the end of the day and the trucks are cleaning up the construction site. Digger is going to dig up the rock that is on the site. As he digs he realizes that it is bigger than he thought. The other trucks come over and move him out of the way telling him to let the big guys handle it. None of them are actually right for the job and they decide to take a break. Tom, Digger’s friend, whispers to him to “Try again. You’re a Digger and that’s what Digger’s do, dig”. I’m sure you probably can all guess the ending of the story but the children love it and it proves once again that it’s not always the biggest that can get the job done. I read this book to eight different groups of kindergarten children and every single one of them loved it!
Mary Lou Shuster has been teaching in RSU#6, (Buxton, Hollis, Limington & Standish) for 30 years, first as a kindergarten teacher and now as a literacy specialist with students K – 5th grade.In addition, she is an adjunct instructor at the University of Southern Maine as well as a workshop presenter throughout the state and for the Department of Education. She achieved National Board Certification in 2001 and is currently working on her C.A.S. in Literacy.