“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Keesha's Bright Idea! • Early Reader

Keesha's Bright Idea!
by Eleanor May • illustrated by Amy Wummer

July 2008 • Kane Press • Early reader
Will Keesha’s plan for an Earth Day project get in the way of her brother’s band rehearsals?
Story: Uh-oh. Eddie’s little sister gets a “bright idea” just days before the Battle of the Bands. Now Eddie has to write a new song, practice with his band, and help Keesha save energy—all at the same time! Can he do it?
Story behind the story: This early reader for students grades 1-3 is part of Kane Press' "Social Studies Connects" program which combines characters and plots with social studies concepts -- here, the environment, saving energy, and making thoughtful decisions -- that relate to kids' everyday lives and supports/reinforces social studies vocabulary. Keesha's Bright Idea!, along with the other books in the series, can be enjoyed by independent readers and also read aloud to younger children.
FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please click on the "comments" link below for reviews from your colleagues.


Susan Mello said...

Keesha's Bright Idea by Eleanor May addresses earth day and conservation of energy around the home using a brother and sister relationship storyline. Most children can associate with either side. I am sure many of the conservation techniques have been discussed or used in their schools or homes. The language is simple and the content can easily be connected to the curriculum.
My one complaint is figuring out who is "speaking" to the reader. We eventually learn the Keesha's brother is the narrator and his name is Eddie. This might confused young readers.
I would give this book a 3. While it is clear and has a lesson to learn it is not extraordinary in writing or illustrations.

Patti Harju said...

Keesha's Bright Idea by Eleanor May is a wonderful story. I read it aloud to my second graders and they connected right away. They could relate to the brother/sister relationship and loved all of the energy tips. I love the term "energy vampires" describing how appliances that are turned off but still plugged in will still suck energy. The children learned ways that they can make a difference and save energy. I think parents will enjoy seeing children "think with the door closed" referring to opening the refrigerator only when you know what you want. This book would be a great companion to an Environment or Earth Day unit. It is written for a younger audience and it is effective in how it delivers a message without preaching. My class was engaged and enjoyed the story. They would certainly enjoy reading more of Keesha's Bright Ideas. I Strongly Recommend this book.

Patti Harju
St. Stephen School
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Beckyb said...

Kane Press has a new book called Keesha's Bright Idea by Eleanor May and illustrated by Amy Wummer. It is in their "Social Studies Connects" series. I thought this book was such a great idea - a way to incorporate Social Studies - ways to help the environment, to be exact - and still be in story form. Keesha is such a fun character that kids will want to read this one! She had me chuckling as I was reading along - Great idea for grades 1-3. I would give this book a 4!
Becky Bilby
Youth Services Librarian
Orange City Public Library
Orange City, Iowa

Heather said...

Keesha’s Bright Idea by Eleanor May successfully weaves environmental issues into a fun story. Keesha is a spunky character, full of Earth saving ideas and the initiative to get things done. Her brother Eddie is an excellent narrator; his sense of humor keeps the story light and upbeat. The activity page in the back of the book has helpful suggestions for further exploration. This is a great book on the topic, but I would not include it in every early reader’s picnic basket: 3

Tina Ristau, Elementary Media Specialist said...

I loved Keesha's Bright Idea! Keesha is a great book that connects literature to social studies. As a classroom teacher turned elementary librarian I can see so many ways to use this book. Because the book is not hard, it would be great to use in reading groups or with lower grades.
There was a lot of information within the book as well. The additional text bubbles included more information that teachers may or may not choose to share with students depending on their age/ability. I also enjoyed the last page that included some activities to do with students. Parents at home could use these ideas with their children to generate conversation about this important topic. The topic of energy conservation is an important one and I can't imagine any curriculum not touching on this in some way....Keesha just makes the topic seem relevant to kids.
-- Tina Ristau, Elementary Media Specialist, Irving Elementary,
Waterloo, Iowa

PLLoggerR said...

Keesha’s Bright Idea is the story, as told from her brother’s point of view, about energy saving ideas and how sisters can drive brothers nuts. The ideas are good – turning off unnecessary lights, unplugging energy vampires, buying energy saving appliances, etc – and will be great for starting conversations about energy conservation. In the end both children learn a bit about give and take while readers may think more about how they use energy.

I think this may be a useful book for science and social studies projects or as a conversation starter, but I don’t see my readers returning to this book to read it over and over. I rate this book a three.

Becky, rural library Co-Director

Kathy Stemke, Educator said...

Keesha’s Bright Idea written by Eleanor May and illustrated by Amy Wimmer is full of delightful facts about energy usage and waste. This unusual book brings the relevant issue of energy conservation to life with fun characters and an interesting story. The colorful, hip illustrations with their many details keep young children’s attention. On almost every page you’ll find a box with quick tips of fresh new information, which stimulates class discussion. My students were eager to share their own energy saving stories from home, and couldn’t wait to share the new facts and tips they learned in school with their families. I also coupled this book with a great activity. We made “I save energy” T-shirts with energy tips displayed. We hung them with clothespins on a rope across our classroom. I strongly recommend this book and give it a rating of 5.

Kathy Stemke
Freelance Writer/Educator
Mount Airy, Georgia

Anonymous said...

Keesha's Brigh Idea by Eleanor May addresses the issues of responsibility, and how children can be responsible about using resources. Having a book that connected to social studies so easily can be very useful in the classroom environment. I used this book with my 11 year old students who have a difficult time understanding civics, and our civic duties. This book helped to pull out that point and to give the students a real life example. I would give this book a 4. I would enjoy to review more copies like this book that have a social studies connection.

Lisa Sabella
Ripley Central School
Ripley, New York

vickie m said...

Keesha's Bright Idea by Eleanor May is a fun book for students to use as they learn about conservation. I think the illustrations will captivate students while teaching important life lessons. Parents will appreciate this book as they teach conservation at home. Overall, this is a fun read.
I would give this book a 4. Teachers may want to use this to introduce conservation with their students.

debnance said...

Don't you love it when you read a book, enjoy the story, and learn something, too? That was Keesha's Bright Idea for me. Keesha's is a sparkling character; the fun she has with thoughts and ideas may inspire some children to come out from behind the tv set. I especially liked the little balloons with extra information and I think children will like these, too. 4

Renee - library volunteer said...

I found Keesha's Bright Idea to appropriately written for children in grades 1-3. The content moves quickly enough to keep their attention, and at the same time slow enough for them to process and interpret the book's intent. I read this book to a group of four 1st grade children who have had limited exposure to conservation. I feel that Keesha's Bright Idea gave them enough basic information to "do their part". To me, this would signify a books success. One a scale of 1 to 5, I rate this book a 4.

Kay Bowes, Youth Services Librarian said...

This entry into the “Social Studies Connects” presents a plot developed on the theme of saving energy. There are plenty of sidebars with facts on the problem of energy usage from which kids can learn. The story, itself, is all about how little sister Keesha helps Eddie find a new song for his “Battle of the Bands” and save energy at the same time. This beginning chapter book is full of colorful illustrations that will appeal to the primary graders for whom it is aimed. The very slight amount of pages will also be attractive to this age level. Using diversified characters will assure that it will be appealing to a wide variety of readers. This is a steady offering that will be appreciated by those who read it. It would certainly work very well with any unit on energy conservation in the elementary school.

Rating: 3

Kay Bowes, Youth Services Librarian, Brandywine Hundred Library, Wilmington, DE

Anonymous said...

Keesha's bright idea is a good story with great illustrations. It is relevant to the social studies curriculum and is a great length for guided reading groups. It is a good resource for integrating a harder subject in the lower grades (K-3). I think this is a "sweet" story that I would rate a 4. While the writing is a bit juvenille the story teaches the concept ad the questions / activities at the end of the book are very helpful for teachers to use in guided reading groups. I've encouraged our curriculum facilitator to look into other Kane press curriculum books!

Heather said...

The story is an exploration of energy conservation told from the point of view of a brother whose sister, Kisha, is constantly coming up with great ideas – but then making her older sibling do all the work.
Children in my 5th grade class immediately connect to the relationship between siblings, when catches their attention as they read the rest of the story. The older brother is a member of a band who wants to win a contest by writing a good song. He seeks his sister’s help, but she is far too immersed in her latest big idea – conserving energy.
As the brother struggles to write a song, his sister shares a wealth of knowledge with him and the readers about the importance of saving energy by doing little things around the house.
The pages are peppered with great little facts about energy conservation, the story kept my interest and that of the children who checked the book out of my classroom library, and I appreciated the tips that my children got out of the book.
Another big bonus for my children was that the family in the story was black and we are always looking for representations of my student population in literature. I look forward to seeing many more of my students check out this book. I would give the book a 4.

Vicki Pajamas said...

Keesha's Bright Idea by Eleanor May, tells the story of a peppy young daughter who encourages her parents and older brother to save energy. Earth Day is the initiative. Her older brother wants nothing to do with Keesha and is involved in writing a song for his band and "The Battle of the Band" competition.
In the end, they both start working together on an energy saving song.
Amy Wummer's illustrations are cartoonlike, colorful and to the point.
I give this book a 4.

Vicki Kurashige, librarian said...

I give this book a #5. Keesha's Bright Idea, by Eleanor May, is a spunky little book about saving energy. Keesha's pep and initiative to move her family in the direction of saving energy takes a positive turn when she and her older brother collaborate for the benefit of both. She helps him write a song for his band competition and in return he promises to save energy. The cartoon like illustrations, by Amy Wummer, fit the story like a glove, bright and colorful. I would certainly recommend Keesha's Bright Idea.

Vicki Kurashige, North Chatham Library

Jennifer Koel said...

As a Social Studies teacher for 1st and 2nd graders, I really found Keesha's Bright Idea useful. I feel it is age appropriate for K-2. I enjoyed the speech bubbles with fun energy saving facts and the "Making Connections" section was useful for review. I plan to use this book in my classroom for Earth Day this year!

Jennifer Koel
Colby Grade School
Colby, Kansas

californiadreaming said...

Keesha's Bright Idea weaved wonderful energy saving ideas throughout a colorful, and well paced story that most k-3 students will find interesting. As both a parent, and as someone working with elementary aged children, I love a book that can be both entertaining and have a purpose. The fact that this book teaches simple and effective ways for children to help our environment, while enjoying a story about sibling relationships, makes it a win-win! The content of the story opens up wonderful discussion on our personal responsibilities to take care of our world, and helps us to keep each other accountable, with regard to our behavior both in, and outside, of the classroom. I would easily give this book a 4, and would encourage others to consider incorporating it into their class curriculum.
Teaching Assistant
Highroad Academy
Chilliwack, B.C.

Dana said...

Keesha's Bright Idea was a wonderful story that really highlights 21st Century Skills. Many students are learning about convervation throughout the day, and this story is a great way to weave it in to social studies and language arts. I think many students will make text-to-self connections with both Keisha and her brother. This book would be great to be used as a read aloud to kick off a discussion for students also. Because this book does not look "baby-ish" it is a great pick for boys and reluctant readers in the middle elementary grades. The vocabulary is somewhat limited making it an easy read for a struggling reader. I highly recommend this book!

I would give this book a 4.5/5.

Literacy Coach
Chicago Suburbs

Sandra Stiles said...

Keesha's Bright Idea was the second book I read from The Kane Press. I loved the idea of teaching students about Saving Energy through this book. It was a jumping off point for a discussion in my ESOL class. The students loved the way the brother and sister were always fighting but helped each other out in the end. For my ESOL students, they didn't know about the different types of light bulbs. They made a list of things they could do at home to help save energy. I would give this book a 4 rating.
I look forward to ordering more books from Kane Press. My middle school ESOL students are better equipped to make connections with these books.

Caroline said...

The book Keesha's Bright Idea was a "nice" book. It wasn't Earth-shattering or outstanding. I think the target age group will connect with its message, as it is much of what they have been hearing/learning for years. I like the tip bubbles and the term "energy vampires."
I give this a 3, only because it is not all that original.

Anonymous said...

Keesha's Bright Idea by Eleanor May

Eddie's little sister, Keesha, comes up with an idea to help save Earth by using less electricity in her home.

Although the concept is a good one, the story line tends to be bombarded with too many tips for early readers. And even though there is a note warning readers to, "get your parents' permission and help before fiddling with light bulbs and electronic gadgets!", I can just imagine a well-intended elementary-aged student unplugging the family television (as shown in the book) to the dismay of their parent.

Over all, I rate this book a 2 Recommend under Certain Reading Situations.

Julia Pitau
Media & Intervention Technician
Denair Charter Academy
Denair, CA

Stacey Worrell, Language Arts said...

I reviewed this book as a 4 for the younger reader. This book was used our school recycling club.....the book gave good information (CFL's). This graphic design style with facts and a storyline is similar to The School Bus series. The information provides additional facts to the individual reader and has been researched. A suggestion may be for an additional page of websites and/or books which may be an other venue for the stimulated inquisitive reader.

Stacey Worrell
Language Arts
Our Saviour School

Jessica said...

Keesha's Bright Idea is such a cute and informative story. It includes a great story about a brother and sister while also teaching about energy and conservation.

I always love this series by Kane Press. The stories are always fun, usually a little funny, and very informative. They are a wonderful way to connect fiction and nonfiction. Also, a great feature is that they have a page in the back full of activities for kids to do with the story. This is a wonderful thing added component. Also, the illustrations are always multicultural. Not all books are this way and they really need to be.

Overall I would give this book a 4 out of 5. The one bad thing about this book (and most of the ones in this series) is that they are a little long for kids. I work with 1st graders so maybe I just view it as long for them. However, the fun story can hold kids attention just not always the fact snippets on the pages.

Enjoy this book!!

Linda Biondi said...

It's often difficult to find books that reinforce or introduce science and social studies concepts. Keesha's Bright Idea by Eleanor May, is an excellent way to introduce or reinforce the concept of energy and conservation of energy. The graphics in the book are age appropriate and the text is easy to understand. I read the book to my fourth grade class and they responded with mixed reviews. Overall, it received a "3". We felt that the song lyrics were a little contrived and the book would not be relevant in the not to distant future. The energy tips were definitely an A+. However, some students may tend to read the book for content instead of reading the added captions. I incorporated this book into two areas: our electricity unit and in my unit on teaching students how to read non-fiction.

Maria said...

Keesha's Bright Idea is colorful and draws the attention of young readers. The brother and sister relationship is reminiscent of Arthur and DW from the Marc Brown series if anyone is familiar with it. This is a clear resource for teachers to introduce energy conservation to their students. It offers facts regarding the environment and easy tips on conserving in a kid friendly language. I would like to point out that if used as an independent reader it might be necessary to point out the information in the boxes to the side of the narrative. The third grader I had read this to me ignored these completely until I showed them to her. These are especially useful if working on a report or in group discussion. Though Keesha comes off as a nuisance at the beginning she proves her cause is important and justifies her pushiness. It is good to see a female character who is willing to take on a cause and be proactive. I give this book a 3! It has great content and it is an easy read but the fact boxes on the side are not compelling enough to draw the reader's attention. Perhaps looking at the Magic Schoolbus model of having it written in the form of a letter or report or being "spoken" in the form of blurbs above the character's head. A few missed opportunities for some more fun while learning like having a little piggie say "Oink, oink, don't be an enrgy hog" and putting Mom in to warn with a waggin finger to get a parent's permission before touching electrical plugs. Overall, a subject that is not touched upon enough in early childhood and it is always good to see the child as the center of making change. It makes children feel empowered and that what they do, even if something simple like shutting off the bathroom light, can make a difference.

Pamela Kramer said...

Keesha's Bright Idea
by Eleanor May

I enjoyed reading this book and can think of several ways to use it. First and most obvious, this book is great for younger readers in primary who would enjoy a fun story that also has interesting facts. I also see that it would be a good book for a teacher of older grades to use in teaching writing and reading nonfiction books. This book shows how to present information in an interesting manner. It is also useful to teach students to analyze writing for important information. I would give this book a 4--it's great for some picnics!

Pamela Kramer
Reading Teacher
Highwood, Illinois

Patty Thomas, literacy coordinator said...

I was completely surprised that this book had an energy-saving message inside. Keesha is an upbeat girl, helping the reader see the simplicity in helping others reduce their consumption of energy. If Keesha can get her point across to her older brother, maybe her enthusiasm will be contagious for others. She makes it catchy and easy.

While it’s definitely not my typical favorite, it serves a purpose. I can definitely see the use for this book to support recycling efforts. The author cleverly includes fact boxes throughout the book providing additional insights for the readers. This also gives the book another level of challenge for independent readers. It would be a good read aloud in elementary school for Earth Day or to gear up for an energy awareness group.

As a literacy coach and 4th grade teacher, I would recommend this book for read aloud, independent reading, or a book discussion group with kids who have a focus on energy saving efforts. This book scores a 2, as certain reading situations would definitely be supported with this text.

Anonymous said...

"Keesha's Bright Idea!" allows the reader wanting to know more about Character. It is a good book for support with Earth Day activities. I have shared with high school students for their science symposium during their "Go Green" day. It will fit nicely in their reading table with primary and pre-school student time. High School students were eager to find and use the extension activites to complement their time.

I give this book a three+.

Maria Elena said...

Keesha's Bright Idea by Eleanor May has a good starting point for children learning about earth day and energy conservation. My 6year old enjoyed the story and could identify with Keesha and her brothers relationship. This was a good easy reader and I liked it because they learn how to help the environment.

Picnic Basket rating: 3