Each year at this time, my 4th grade teachers really start to hit writing skills hard with their students. In TX, 4th graders are tested on writing for the first time, so this is a major priority in the 4th grade curriculum.
Toad, by British author Ruth Brown is really wonderful piece of descriptive writing! It's a very simple and short story, so it's easy to fit into the short time frame that I have to work with as classes visit the library. I use Toad each year with my students--it's accessible to them (nice, "gooey" descriptors that the boys really get into!) and the illustrations allow me to slip in a little art appreciation on the side! The elementary art curriculum in TX is all but nonexistent--in practice, anyway--so this book affords me a great opportunity!
Thanks Ruth Brown, for your wonderful work!!