Early Elementary Books

Theme: Partner Books

Flotsam - (ISBN: 978-0618194575)

by David Weisner

In this wordless picture book with breathtaking illustrations, a young boy combs the beach for whatever leftovers he can find. In addition to finding what he expects, he finds an intact underwater camera and begins exploring its pictures too. See if you and your children can name the items found on the shore. Try to take a trip to a beach of your own for a similar adventure or explore beach pictures online. Enjoy this book with <i>The Lost Thing</i> by Shaun Tan, which also works for slightly older readers.

Garman’s Summer - (ISBN: 978-0802853394)

by Stian Hole

Garman is indeed preparing for his first day of school in a very dreamy introspection, but he is also contemplating the big picture. What does it mean that his visiting aunts are getting older? Why hasn’t he lost his first tooth like most of the other children? For great illustrations and a thoughtful experience about life’s important transitions, try this book before you read a partner book, the humorous <i>Miss Mingo and the First Day of School </i> by Jamie Harper.

Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective? - (ISBN: 978-1575055541)

by Brian P. Cleary

Readers will enjoy paging through the descriptive pages that illustrate adjectives. Even before children can understand the parts of speech, they will be able to see the power of great descriptive terms. Look around your room and try to describe it; share synonyms for some of the adjectives your family comes up with. If the household enjoys this book, try <i>To Root, to Toot, to Parachute</i>, also by Brian P. Cleary.

Miss Mingo and the First Day of School - (ISBN: 978-0763641344)

by Jamie Harper

The “children” in this extraordinary school are all different animals; they all share what makes them unique on their first day together in their new classroom. Readers learn the value of having a special, unique quality, and they also learn about some very interesting animals. Talk with your family members and share what you each see as each others’ unique characteristics. Try this book along with a partner book, <i> Garman’s Summer</i> by Stian Hole.

The Lost Thing - (ISBN: 978-0734410887)

by Shaun Tan

While scouring the beach for bottle caps for a collection, a young man finds something he can’t identify. He comes to call it the “lost thing.” He takes it home, and readers get a chance to view the futuristic world he lives in. They also can try to make sense of the many details in borders around the pages. Do the cut up postcards, signs, and pages add to the meaning of his discovery? Compare this book with <i>Flotsam</i> by David Weisner and decide what you like in each.

Curious George Goes to the Beach - (ISBN: 978-0395978344)

by H.A. Rey

The Red Tree - (ISBN: 978-0734410870)

by Shaun Tan

To Root, to Toot, to Parachute: What is a Verb? - (ISBN: 978-1575054032)

by Brian P. Cleary

Tuesday - (ISBN: 978-0395870822)

by David Weisner

Activities for this Theme

Imagine your own “partner book” for a family favorite. What makes you read that book over and over? Start out with that one similarity, such as a character or the setting, but brainstorm ways you could make a partner story.


To find more partner books on your own, try this search feature by Scholastic Press. Click on BookAlike under Books and Authors.


For a look inside the book Flotsam, watch a video from YouTube


Read more books about the first day of school.


After your next trip to the beach or walk in the woods, combine the objects you pick up and create a memorable wreath.