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Sarabella's Thinking Cap by Judy…

Sarabella's Thinking Cap (original 2017; edition 2017)

by Judy Schachner (Author)

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816261,789 (4.17)1
Sarabella spends so much time thinking that she has a hard time focusing in school until an understanding teacher finds a way to help.
Title:Sarabella's Thinking Cap
Authors:Judy Schachner (Author)
Info:Dial Books (2017), Edition: Illustrated, 32 pages
Collections:Your library

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Sarabella's Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner (2017)


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This is a picture storybook appropriate for grades 1st-3rd grade according to TeachingBooks.Net. The theme focuses on the importance of imagination and creativity, and how we should celebrate children for their differences and abilities.
In this story, a little girl named Sarabella has trouble focusing in school, listening, or maintaining a sense of reality at all. Her teacher has been understanding for a long time, but then feels like he must send a note home. At home, Sarabella's parents are not worried about her daydreaming. They say daydreaming is "in her DNA," as they are artists and other forms of "dreamers." Then, Sarabella's teacher assigns the class "A Penny for your Thoughts: Draw Your Dreams" for the weekend. Of course, Sarabella soars, and creates a thinking cap that shows all of her dreams and imagination.
This book seemed to drag on for a long time, but I liked the moral of the story and the way this can be related to children who love to daydream and imagine. I would use this book to share with the class if a child seems to be an outlier due to their imaginative tendencies, and I would hope that they would relate to Sarabella and see that they are worthy of celebration and appreciation.
I really liked how her differences are celebrated at the end, and how easy it is to create a craft/activity with discussion in the classroom. I would have my students create their own thinking cap, with daydreams they have for the world, in their actual dreams, or even dreams they had in preschool.
However, I really expected to “feel” more with this story, so I would rate it a 3/5. ( )
  huntema19 | Feb 3, 2020 |
Sarabella spends her days inside the imaginary world in her head. She has a hard time paying attention in class, and is sent home with notes about her lack of focus. The illustrations give us some insight into the wild flood of thoughts and daydreams that are going on inside Sarabella's head. Finally, Sarabella receives a school assignment which allows her fantastic imagination to shine. This is a wonderful take on the struggles students face. A reminder that we should celebrate all learning styles and differences.
  maryganderson | Sep 16, 2018 |
Sarabella is a quiet girl with a wild mind. While other students are occupied with math facts, Sarabella’s imagination pulls her into a world of her own. Sarabella’s thoughts flood the pages of this picture book through creative illustrations and playful dialect that will engage young readers. She is often sent home with notes from her teacher telling her parents that she daydreams during class. Many young readers will relate to Sarabella’s struggle to pay attention in school. The lively, luminescent illustrations engage all readers with this young student’s head full of fantasy. These illustrations also demonstrate the random and whimsical ways thoughts come and go when someone has an overactive brain. At one point Sarabella has a meltdown while doing homework, which can be very relatable for many students, especially those with exceptionalities. Elementary students and teachers will enjoy turning the pages as Sarabella invites readers into the life of a child with a mind of her own. This book would serve best read aloud to a class, or students in third grade and up may read it independently. This is a story that shows children the value of independent thinking through the beautiful creations that result from sharing your ideas with others. This material is appropriate for curriculum support in teaching writing, as well as helping students understand the value of individuality and independent thinking.
BIBLIO: 2017, Dial Books For Young Readers/Penguin Young Readers Group, $ 17.99.
REVIEWER: Emily Sires
FORMAT: Picture Book
ISBN: 9780525429180
  SCCCBL | Feb 12, 2018 |
Sarabella is quiet in class and often loses track of her work - she's simply too busy with the dreams and thoughts that flood into her mind. Her parents and older sister tell her not to worry, as they pursue their own creative endeavors, but Sarabella's teacher keeps sending notes home reminding her to focus. Finally, Sarabella figures out a way to express what she's thinking to everyone with a marvelous thinking cap showing the flood of ideas and pictures that occupy her mind.

The mixed media illustrations glow with the flood of images from Sarabella's mind; some softly colored, others sparkling with light, and more that are what I think of as "Victorian clip art". In the end, her thoughts explode out of her mind and onto paper, impressing her teacher and classmates and earning her the shy friendship of another thoughtful child.

Reviews on this title are mixed, some thinking the story is a good celebration of creativity and differences in learning style and others calling it flawed. I have a different perspective - is this book really needed? There are plenty of books featuring white kids and their quest for creativity and self-expression. The mild reproaches of Sarabella's teacher for not focusing in class and her small, private worries are easily resolved by the end of the story. Her parents have occupations that allow them plenty of leisure time for painting and playing music and Sarabella has her own (spacious) room with plenty of art materials at hand. Her classroom is carefully diverse and has a more normal classroom size - about 20 kids - than most picture books depict. There's a variety of skin colors and races, a girl in a hijab, a boy in a wheelchair, and the child who attracts Sarabella's attention at the end is black. So, what I want to know is, why are we not hearing the story of another child in her class? Why is the little black boy, who appears to have the same fertile imagination, not the featured protagonist instead of the little white girl? It's not necessary to make every picture book an "issue" book, but why not feature a family where the parents are busy at work and the child uses their imagination to amuse themselves? Or a family with more limited resources where the child uses their imagination to create without all the art supplies easy to hand? Basically, why retell the same story over and over when there are other stories waiting to be told?

Verdict: It's a perfectly acceptable story of creativity and imagination with pleasant and sometimes unique illustrations, but it's a story that's been told to exhaustion. I'd pass on this and look for something new to add to my picture book collection.

ISBN: 9780525429180; Published 2017 by Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher
  JeanLittleLibrary | Jan 13, 2018 |
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Summary: This book is about a little girl who thinks outside the box. She doesn't always make friends easily because she is so different form everyone else. Her class has an assignment to make a "Thinking cap" and Sarabella makes a huge one that's very artistic! The whole class loves it and others try making theirs just likes Sarabella's.
  mdalbeck15 | Dec 7, 2017 |
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