February Literature Connections


Date: February 11

This date is special because: It is National Inventor's Day.

Books That Relate To This Date:


Bender, L. (1991). "Inventions." New York: Knopf.

Bendick, J. (1993). "Eureka! It's a Telephone!" Ill. by Sal Murdocca. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook.

Brown, J., and Hott, M. (1990). "Inventing Things." New York: Bareth Stevens.

Caney, S. (1985). "Steven Caney's Invention Book." New York: Workman.

Caroll, J. and Wells, C. (1987). "Inventors." Ill. by Tom Foster. New York: Good Apple.

Cartwright, P. (1990). "Mr. Butterby's Amazing Machines." New York: Steck-Vaughn.

Davidson, M. (1990). "The Story of Thomas Alva Edison, Inventor." New York: Scholastic.

Elting, M. (1984). "The Answer Book About Robots and Other Inventions." Ill. by Rowen Barnes-Murphy. New York: Putnam.

Himmelman, J. (1990). "The Day-Off Machine." Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Silver.

Jacobs, D. (1990). "What Does It Do? Inventions Then and Now." New York: Raintree.

Jones, C.F. (1991). "Mistakes That Worked." Ill. by John O'Brien. New York: Doubleday.

Konigsburg, E.L. (1991). "Samuel Todd's Book of Great Inventions." New York: Atheneum.

Macaulay, D. (1988). "The Way Things Work." Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Quinn, K. (1986). "Inventive Inventions." New York: Price Stern.

Smith, D., and Cassin, S. (1990). "The Amazing Book of Firsts: Great Ideas." New York: BDD Promos Bk.

Towle, W. (1993). "The Real McCoy: The Life of an African-American Inventor." Ill. by Wil Clay. New York: Scholastic.

Weiss, H. (1980). "How to Be an Inventor." New York: Crowell.


"How to Assemble a Toy" in: Ciardi, J. (1990). "Mummy Took Cooking Lessons." Ill. by Merle Nacht. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (page 40)

"Invention" in: Silverstein, S. (1974). "Where the Sidewalk Ends." New York: Harper & Row. (page 48)

"The Inventor" in: Simmie, L. (1984). "Auntie's Knitting a Baby." Ill. by Anne Simmie. New York: Orchard. (page 26)


1. Ask students to create a new invention using scraps and "junk" items. Then allow them to write about what each invention does.

2. Encourage students to interview their class, other class, the office staff, teachers, and parents about their choice for most important invention. Make a picture graph of the results.

3. Share with the class an unusual fact about an invention. See "Stephen Caney's Invention Book." (Caney, p. 85). Invite students to do the same.

4. Invite students to draw a picture or write an advertisement for their favorite invention.

5. Encourage students to make a "What We Have Learned About Inventions" book with all the information they have gathered. Share the book with another class, and invite them to add to it.

6. Challenge students to think of life today without a certain invention. Invite each student to record their thoughts in a report or short story form.

Date: February 26

This date is special because: It is "Buffalo Bill" Cody's birthday (1846).

Books That Relate To This Date:


Adler, D.A. (1988). "Wild Bill Hickok and Other Old West Riddles." Ill. by Glen Rounds. New York: Holiday House.

Baker, O. (1981). "Where the Buffaloes Begin." Ill. by Stephen Gammell. New York: Warner.

Brusca, M.C. (1991). "On the Pampas." New York: Henry Holt.

Everett, P.L. (1992). "The One That Got Away." Ill. by Dirk Zimmer. New York: Clarion.

Freedman, R. (1992). "Children of the Wild West." New York: Scholastic.

Gorsline, M. & Forsline, D. (1980). "Cowboys." Ill. by Doug Forsline. New York: Random House.

Guthrie, M.M. (1992). "Woody's 20 Grow Big Songs." Ill. by Woody Guthrie. New York: Harper Collins.

Hooker, R. (1990). "Matthew the Cowboy." Ill. by Cat Bowman Smith. Niles, IL: Whitman.

Khalsa, Dayal K. (1990). "Cowboy Dreams." New York: McKay.

Kimmel, E.A. (1990). "Four Dollars and Fifty Cents." Ill. by Glen Rounds. New York: Holiday.

Lenski, L. (1980). "Cowboy Small." New York: McKay.

Levine, E. (1992). ". . . If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon." Ill. by Elroy Freem. New York: Scholastic.

Martini, T. (1981). "Cowboys." New York: Childrens.

Noble, T. H. (1987). "Meanwhile Back at the Ranch." Ill. by Tony Ross. New York: Dial.

Reed, L.R. (1990). "Rattlesnake Stew." New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Rounds, G. (1991). "Cowboys." New York: Holiday.

Scott, A.H. (1990). "One Good Horse: A Cowpuncher's Counting Book." Ill. by Lynn Sweat. New York: Greenwillow.

Scott, A.H. (1989). "Someday Rider." Ill. by Ronald Himler. New York: Clarion.

Sewall, M. (1985). "Riding That Strawberry Roan." New York: Viking.

Shepard, A. (1993). "The Legend of Lightning Larry." Ill. by Toni Goffe. New York: Scribner.

Sullivan, C. (1993). "Cowboys." New York: Rizzoli.


Scieszka, J. (1993). "The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy." Ill. by Lane Smith. New York: Puffin.


Greenlaw, M.J. (1993). "Ranch Dressing: The Story of Western Wear." New York: Lodestar.


Medearis, A.S. (1992). "The Zebra-Riding Cowboy." Ill. by Maria Cristina Brusca. New York: Holt.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. (1991). "Songs of the Wild West." New York: Simon & Schuster.


1. Discuss how cowboys are portrayed in westerns. Is this accurate or fair?

2. Ask students to locate and trace the path taken by the cattle drives.

3. Ask students to match the cowboy expression to their meanings in the following pocket chart activity:


grub pile

bread sack

narrow at the equator

splatter dabs


Texas butter

side winder

frog sticker



leaving Cheyenne


time to eat


feeling hungry





long knife



leaving town

4. Plan a pocket chart activity with the book "On the Pampas" (Brusca, 1991). Ask students to match the Spanish words to their meanings.

horneo - bird

mate - bitter, greenish tea

nandu - South American ostrich

asado - meat roasted outdoors over a fire

estancia - South American cattle ranch

las pampas - Grasslands

mulita - armadillo

recado - saddle

facon - gaucho knife

gaucho - cowboy

rastra - gaucho belt

5. Sing some of the songs from "Songs of the Wild West" (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1991). Ask students to pretend they are gathered around a campfire.


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