Betsy's Bookshelf

Literacy Block

Sheep in a Jeep

Sheep in a Jeep (board book) - Nancy E. Shaw, Margot Apple

Written by Nancy Shaw

Illustrated by Margot Apple


Five sheep go out for a drive in the country in their red jeep. While out, they run into several misfortunes along the way.


This book is great for a lesson on double e with first grade. It contains both "ee" and "ea" words, so you could tie in a lesson about how "ee" and "ea" sound the same. It could also be used for a lesson on rhyming.

Mother Bruce

Mother Bruce by Higgins, Ryan T. (November 24, 2015) Hardcover - Ryan T. Higgins

Written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins


Bruce is a grumpy bear who lives by himself, and is particularly fond of cooking eggs. One day, however, Bruce doesn't cook his eggs quickly enough and they hatch into four little goslings! He tries everything he can think of to get rid of them, but the goslings have imprinted on him and won't leave his side. As they grow, Bruce does his best to be a good parent. When it comes time to migrate south for the winter, the now-grown geese don't get it, so Bruce improvises. Every winter from then on out, Bruce and his geese travel to Miami to relax on the beach together as a family.


I absolutely love Mother Bruce. This book would be appropriate from kindergarten to second grade. Teachers could use it for a variety of lessons, from family diversity, to fairy tales, and even to a discussion about migration! Mother Bruce's humor and wonderful illustrations are sure to keep students engaged.

E is for Election Day

E Is for Election Day - Gloria M. Gavris, Shawn Mccann

Written by Gloria M. Gavris

Illustrated by Shawn McCann


E is for Election Day is an A-to-Z tour of the American electoral process. The book breaks the process into parts, with pages like B is for Ballots, D is for Debates, T is for Term Limits, and the most important letter in the book, Y is for You! Children will learn that their involvement can make a real difference in their government.


This book could be adapted for use throughout the elementary grades, from first grade on up. Though it is somewhat lengthy, teachers could break it up into smaller chunks of the alphabet at a time. This book is ideal for teaching about elections and all of the aspects that influence them, and would be especially useful during an election year.

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

Written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein


In The Giving Tree, a young boy and a tree love each other very much. He swings from her branches, rests in her shade, and eats her apples. As the young boy grows, however, so do his interests and needs. He spends less and less time with the tree, returning only when he needs something. The tree happily offers him what she has each time he returns, such as her branches to build a house and her trunk for a boat, until she is nothing but an old stump. The last time the young boy returns he is a very old man, and the tree frets that she has nothing left to give him. He assures her that she does, as he only wants a comfortable place to sit and rest. The tree is happy again, because an old stump is perfect for sitting and resting.


This book would be great for a lesson on sharing versus being greedy, or for a lesson about wisely using resources found in nature. It could be adapted for use throughout the elementary grades.

A Bad Case of Stripes

A Bad Case of Stripes - David Shannon

Written and illustrated by David Shannon


Camilla loves lima beans. However, she fears the judgement of her peers, so she does not eat them. When she tries to fit in with the other students at school, rainbow stripes pop up on her body. Throughout the story, her appearance changes based on her surroundings and even on suggestions shouted out by her peers. When the cure is finally discovered, it will surprise everyone!


This book would be great for the beginning of the school year with first grade to third grade to open a discussion about diversity and self-image.

There Once Was a Bull... (Frog)

Once There Was a Bull... (Frog) - Rick Walton, Greg Hally

Written by Rick Walton

Illustrated by Greg Hally


Bullfrog has lost his hop! While searching for it, he experiences a variety of situations involving compound words.


I love this book! Great for a lesson on compound words with second grade. It will keep children engaged as they try to guess the second half of the compound word hidden on the next page.