Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

King of the Pond

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King of the Pond is about a tadpole named Tombo who claims to be the fastest, biggest, and strongest tadpole in the whole pond. Tombo is constantly telling everyone that he is the king of the pond and can out swim and out jump any other tadpole. He is usually biting the tails of the other tadpoles as they try and run away. He makes fun of them for being smaller and slower than he is. Whenever the other tadpoles find food, Tombo would chase everyone away. He always demanded that he was the biggest so he got to eat first. One day when he was showing off how high he could jump out of the water, a boy named Alex caught him with a net. Alex took him home and made him his pet. He fed Tombo terrible tasting fish food that Tombo hated. He eventually got so hungry he forced himself to eat it. When Tombo grew into a frog, Alex decided to let him go back in the pond. Since he barely ate the nasty fish food, he was the smallest frog in the pond. When he saw other frogs playing he tried catching up with them and told them he was the king of the pond. They simply laughed at him. Everyone was now bigger than him and he felt ashamed for being mean to them. He told them how sorry he was and asked for forgiveness. They forgave him and went off to play together and lived happily ever after!

 Element 2 teaches us to respect others. King of the pond embodies this element with its theme of treating others with kindness and respect. Tombo originally bullied everyone because he thought he was better than them because he was bigger and stronger. Tombo eventually realized that having friends and treating them right is much more fun than being king of the pond. After reading the king of the pond, students can see how Tombo treats everyone poorly and how it comes around to bite him. He eventually learns his lesson when he notices everyone is bigger than stronger than him. Element 2 teaches us to respect others no matter how much smaller and weaker they are than you. 

This is a great book to introduce students to tadpoles and frogs. Not only does it have a great story but also informative about how tadpoles change into frogs. The teacher should bring in tadpoles for the students to watch grow into frogs. The students can keep a log on how the tadpoles have changed from day to day. They can notice how small and weak they start off yet grow I to a strong frog. Teachers can use this book to teach a lesson on frogs and to respect others. 

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