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Three Great Books from Scholastic's Blue Sky Press!

Share Scholastic's Blue Sky Press offers high-quality literature from award-winning authors and illustrators, including Virginia Hamilton, Cynthia Rylant, Dav Pilkey, Barry Moser, David Shannon, and Leo and Dianne Dillon. Check out three recent Blue Sky titles! Included: Follow-up activities to extend language, geography, and self-esteem connections in these new books!

Love those Blue Sky/Scholastic books!

Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic Press, has carved a special niche for itself. Launched in 1983, Blue Sky produces high-quality, hardcover titles written and illustrated by some of the most sought-after names in children's literature: Cynthia Rylant, Virginia Hamilton, Leo and Diane Dillon, Dav Pilkey, Barry Moser, and Audrey Wood, to name just a few.

Among Blue Sky's recent titles are three terrific books, books that will make readers of all ages laugh -- and think! Education World is pleased to spread the word about The Silly Gooses, A Bad Case of Stripes, and Tulip Sees America. Read about the books below, and try out some of the follow-up activities we offer -- activities designed to engage readers, extend learning, and enhance your students' author studies!


Silly Goose Book Cover Once upon a pond, there lived a flock of geese...

So begins Dav Pilkey's enchanting fairy tale gone awry. If in every flock there is one "black sheep," Mr. Goose is it! The oh-so-silly goose is looked at with some disdain by the rest of the flock. As the other geese pair off during mating season, they chide their offbeat pal to straighten up if he ever expects to find a wife!

Mr. Goose proves them all wrong in The Silly Gooses, Chapter 2 -- "Birds of a Feather" -- when the future Mrs. Goose enters the scene with a splash!

A silly wedding follows. And silly kids are on the way. In the meantime, though, the other geese have flown the coop!

"We can't take it!" they cried, and they all flew south for the winter.

"But it's only June!" shouted Mr. Goose.

The silliness continues.... Kids will giggle as the gaggle of goofy geese eat ice cream sundaes capped with ketchup and hamburgers topped with hot fudge!

Speaking of silliness, young readers will love Pilkey's colorful, eye-catching illustrations -- and his backgrounds full of polka dots and stars. Pay attention to details in his drawings if you're up for more silliness!

Follow-Up Activity
The Silly Gooses is written for kids ages 4-8, but kids of all ages (including adult ages!) will love it! Take ten minutes to read aloud this little 40-pager, then let your students go "wild" with a little language activity. Challenge students to create their own hilarious chapters as the saga of the silly goose family continues. (Actually, it won't be much of a challenge. The book will inspire all sorts of silliness!) See what kinds of absurd situations your students invent!


As a young woman, author Cynthia Rylant set off on a great adventure. Never having traveled far from her Ohio roots, Rylant packed up her car and headed west. She landed in Oregon, where she still lives today. Tulip Sees America Book Cover

In Tulip Sees America, Rylant returns years later to that memorable trip. In this version, however, Rylant is a young man who sets out with his dog, Tulip, in his green Beetle car. Together, the young man and Tulip (and even the green Beetle, which has feelings too) explore the beauty of America as they travel.

In Rylant's poetic text, the young man, Tulip, and the Beetle reflect on the majesty all around them. There are no farms like Iowa's, they come to realize. And there are no skies like Nebraska's:

The skies in Nebraska. They are everything. They are vast and dark and ominous. And a tiny Beetle feels even tinier, driving beneath them. It feels a little afraid. Then the skies break open into blue and white and yellow and pink, and it is like one great long breath of freedom and air. There are no skies like Nebraska's.

In turn, Rylant's characters are inspired by Wyoming's wind, Colorado's mountains, Nevada's desert, and Oregon's ocean. But it's Oregon's ocean that inspires them to settle down!

Lisa Desimini's layered oils are as rich as Rylant's words. Examine closely her beautiful shadowing. Invite students to "play" with the use of shadows in an illustration they might do for the activity that follows.

Follow-Up Activity
What is it about your state that inspires your students? Or is there some other state that they long to visit? Let students explore Internet and other library resources related to the state of their choice to learn more about features of that state that might inspire them to write a brief, poetic essay (imitating Rylant's style in Tulip Sees America). Put together students' essays and illustrations into a class book: (Your Name)'s Students See America.


Poor Camilla Cream frets about everything. Tomorrow is the first day of school and none of the 42 outfits she's tried on will fill the bill. There will be so many people to impress! Stripes Book Cover

Camilla tries so hard to impress ... Indeed, even though she likes lima beans, she will never admit to it -- because all her friends hate lima beans. Camilla wouldn't think of being different!

But the stress and the pressure of fitting in have finally gotten to Camilla. As she considers outfit number 43, Camilla takes a look in the mirror. To her horror, she is completely covered with stripes! Rainbow stripes!

Camilla's curious condition confounds her doctor, Dr. Bumble. It also confounds all the Specialists and the Experts that Bumble brings in. Finally, an old woman arrives at the door. She wades through the media types camped out in the Cream's front yard to introduce the cure. We won't say any more -- but readers of all ages will love it!

In the end, Camilla has learned a valuable lesson -- how to be herself and appreciate her uniqueness!

Kids will especially love author/illustrator David Shannon's patchwork of colors as Camilla's skin tones change from rainbow stripes (even her tongue!) to stars and stripes. From army camouflage green to checkerboard black and red!

Follow-Up Activity
Help students gain an appreciation for the ways in which they are unique. Invite them to draw pictures of themselves -- in the style of Camilla's pill picture (thanks to her doctors) or her bedroom picture (thanks to her environmental therapist!) -- that will reflect some of the ways they are special.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 1998 Education World

Related Resources


Dav Pilkey

Cynthia Rylant

David Shannon