Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Variety of Van Allsburgs!

Recently in our reading textbook, we read The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Chris Van Allsburg's first children's book. 

It is a clever and mysterious story about a dog named Fritz who runs into Mr. Gasazi's garden. Fritz is possibly turned into a duck by Mr. Gasazi, but the reader never really knows for sure. Mr. Van Allsburg leaves that up to the reader to decide.

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Because Mr. Van Allsburg is such a talented writer and has written so many wonderful books, Mrs. Yollis read three more Van Allsburg books.

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The first book we enjoyed was Bad Day at River Bend. 
The story seems to take place in an old western town. Everything and everyone in town is being covered by a colorful greasy slime. However, at the end it is revealed that all the characters are in a young boy's coloring book!

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The second one we listened to was called Two Bad Ants.  
Through their experiences in the jar of crystals, which turn out to be sugar, these ants learn that they are better off staying with their colony rather than venturing out on their own.

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Finally, Mrs. Yollis read The Widow's Broom to us. 
It was an eerie tale in which a witch's broom comes to be owned by a widow. The neighbors are very upset about this enchanted broom who does all the widow's chores and want to do away with it. However, the widow comes up with an extremely clever plan to trick the neighbors and keep her broom!

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Which of these stories did you like best and why?

What other books by Chris Van Allsburg have you enjoyed?

Please leave a comment and give us your opinions.


  1. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    That is a very good post about Chris Van Allsburg's books. My favorite one of Mr. Allsburg's is probably Bad Day at River Bend. It is my favorite because the setting is a funny place, a coloring book. Which book of Chris Van Allsburg's was your favorite?


    P.S. Fritz had a good hiding spot in this book.

  2. @ Sydney,

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

    Chris Van Allsburg is such a clever writer, and one of my favorites. I have read several of his books more than one time. His illustrations are the perfect complement for his interesting stories.

    I really love Two Bad Ants, but Bad Day at River Bend is outstanding too. A story from the point of view of two ants or a story from the point of view of coloring book is very difficult for me to choose!

    Mrs. Yollis

  3. Dear Mrs. Yollis' class,

    I was excited to see this post about one of my favorite authors! I love Chris Van Allsburg because his books are so interesting and mysterious. His illustrations are amazing also.

    I really like Two Bad Ants, but my favorite books by him are The Wretched Stone and Just a Dream. Both of them have very good messages. The message of The Wretched Stone is kind of hard to figure out at first, but if you use all the clues you can figure out what the stone really is.

    We will focus on his books next month. After reading your post, I want to start teaching them today!

    Mr. Salsich

  4. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I agree with you that Chris Van Allsburg is a clever writer. My favorite book of his is Bad Day at River Bend. The reason is that it is so funny and smart to do the setting in a boys coloring book. I love how he was acting like it was an actual place. Now I know that when I get a coloring book to draw neater.


  5. @ Gal,

    Thanks for a great comment. You are getting better and better at writing! :-)

    I agree with you about Bad Day at River Bend. How does Mr. Van Allsburg think of all these interesting stories?

    Like you, I was thinking if I ever draw in a coloring book again...I will make an effort to make all the citizens look good.

    Mrs. Yollis

  6. Dear Mrs Yollis am just new at this blogging and am loving it. I just love what you and your students are doing and showing me what you do in your class room. My daughter is in Miss McGeadys grade and just loves the fact you can talk to other children and see what they are up too on the other side of the world keep up the great work regards AA

  7. @ AA,

    Welcome to our blog! I am so happy that you took the time to leave us a comment! My students will be thrilled...I know I am! :-)

    We love sharing and learning from other classrooms all over the world, especially with Miss McGeady! I feel like we are teaching right next door to each other! Everyone benefits.

    Hope you'll come back again!

    Your friends,
    Mrs. Yollis and class

  8. I just had to reply back to you and your class room of children as am so looking forward to sharing our stories and adventures of what we have been up too thru out the day regards AA

  9. @ Mr. Salsich,

    Chris Van Allsburg is one of my all-time favorite picture book writers! His clever settings and characters always leave me thinking and wondering about what really happened. In addition, I am mesmerized by his art. His illustrations are so interesting. I sometimes just look through his books.

    Enjoy the books when you get to them!

    Your friend,
    Mrs. Yollis

  10. Dear Mrs. Yollis class,

    My name is Blaine and I am a student at the University of South Alabama and I am doing this for my EDM 310 class.
    I like the stories that you read to your class Mrs. Yollis. I remember those books and my favorite one was Two Bad Ants, because it taught me that it is always good to have some one there to help you in life.


  11. To Mrs. Yollis,
    I really hope that the books by Chris Van Allsburg inspired your class. I must say that I myself have read some of the Chris Van Allsburg books and I have enjoyed them very much. Did you read all of his books to your class? If not, then I think you should!


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