Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What a Great Book!

A little while back the author, Vincent Mastro, contacted me through my blog to see if I would be interested in reviewing his book.  After being honored of his request, I jumped at it and said, YES please!  He sent out the first book in his series.

Now if any of you are familiar with Aesop fables you will know that A) books for third graders on this topic are few and far between and B) most of our students never even heard of Aesop Fables.

I sat down and read his book.  I was amazed how well it was written!  I mean it kept me engaged and wanting to turn the next page.  The word choice Mr. Mastro used was so fluent and so kid friendly.  The main character is a little raccoon named Aesop and the stories are told from his point of view! Can anyone say what a great lesson on point of view??? And since Common Core RL.3.2 says "recount stories, including FABLES, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text"...what a fantastic way to teach these Aesop fables to children! 

The three stories in the first book are:  The Tortoise and the Hare, The Friends and the Bear, and The Crow and the Pitcher.  The author has come up with lessons that go along with the stories and the common core. 

Let me share with you an example.  In the story The Crow and the Pitcher Aesop's friend the crow is very thirsty.  He wants to drink from a pitcher that is half full.  The crow cannot reach into the pitcher to get a drink.  So he starts dropping pebbles into the pitcher to raise up the water level.  Aesop helps his friend do this until the water is high enough to take a drink.

The author, Vincent Mastro, has come up with a wonderful lesson on how to incorporate Common Core Standard 3.MD.2 to measure and estimate liquid volumes.  He suggests that you have 2 or more different shaped containers that hold the exact same amount of liquid (of course not telling your students that).  The students pick which container would have more volume.  They then estimate how many pebbles it would take to make the water overflow.  You have the students drawing diagrams throughout the entire lesson.  Then they can compare and contrast the two containers and write a hypothesis about their findings.

Ingenious!  And so darn easy!  The book is geared to younger children ages 3-7, but after talking to other bloggers who have been lucky enough to read this book, it is our opinion that even third and fourth graders would really benefit from these stories.

I am going to purchase book 2 and wait for more to come out.  I have already made a plan to incorporate the book in my measurement unit.  I have also planned lessons on using the other two stories for character education lessons about perseverance and in literature about fables.

Book 2 includes the stories:  The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs, Three Equal Shares, and The Oak and the Grass.  Book 3 is in the works and will include:  The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Lion and the Mouse. 


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