Memories of a frog, a spider and a tesseract

Here at the Fordham office, the draft Common Core standards has not only brought an air of excitement, but also a nostalgic trip down memory lane. The illustrative texts included in the English Language Arts appendix are strong examples of what students should be learning from kindergarten to high school graduation. But instructional merit aside, they're also great books. Oh, to be a kid again???

Frog and Toad Together (K-1) by Arnold Lobel: Who didn't love this endearing amphibian duo? In kindergarten, they were the greatest pair since Bert and Ernie. And back before cars had TV screens, they had the added bonus of portability.

Charlotte's Web (2-3) by E. B. White: Some book. A classic at any age, so good that even obvious questions such as ???How did the spider learn to spell???? are overshadowed by an engrossing?? plot and an enduring friendship.

Tuck Everlasting (4-5) by Natalie Babbitt: Right about the time that you first realize you're eventually going to grow up, this book gives you hope that you can stay a kid forever. Or maybe that's just how we around the office remember it now???

A Wrinkle in Time (6-8) by Madeleine L'Engle: No explanation needed. If you haven't read this book, go find it immediately.

The Odyssey (9-10) by Homer: ??OK, we'll be honest, no one has nostalgic memories of slogging through The Odyssey the first time around; instead, it brings back *shuddering* flashes of a first encounter with footnotes. But without it, we would all be terrible at Jeopardy! today. Thus, two thumbs up.

The Great Gatsby (11-12) by Scott Fitzgerald: The final two years of high school feature a tour de force of great works (Jane Eyre, Macbeth, Death of a Salesman, A Raisin in the Sun) but none can touch Gatsby. ??To still feel a twinge of fluttering heart at the sight of a green light in the distance???now that's a good book.

--Janie Scull

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