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I didn't find time to finish a long book this week because of time and because I received The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and stopped reading my other books to start it. So far, good beginning! I did manage one audio book and some picture books, new and old, some fun and some maybe's.
True (…Sort Of by Katherine Hannigan
All right then… Those words are used so sweetly in this book that I needed to begin with them. They wrap the story around us, the readers, like a hug. And then there is a whole new vocabulary, like Deli-icious and Chisel (an un-cuss word), or SurPresent, a gift one is surprised by. I listened to this book during the past two weeks. The main character, Delly Pattison is a pre-teen with a temper who is constantly getting in trouble, and it seemed to be a long while before things started to move. The Boyd family comes to town, and that is when different things happen, most often good. Perhaps if I had read the print book, I would have hurried through those early pages in order to find the real story, which involved another girl who didn’t speak, a boy with a stutter, Deli’s sweet little brother CB, and a bully. One crisis happened and then a final one, but this young woman, Deli, who was so mischievous, turned out to be a lovely and thoughtful person whose words brought tears. It is a book that could be a good read aloud, so that the early mischief could be discussed and then those subtle turnings--that the author wrote beautifully--could be a good experience for the class. Much to discuss in all the book!
Rosa’s Bus – Jo S. Kittinger, illustrated by Steven Walker
For younger children, this picture book is a good introduction to the story of Rosa Parks through focus on the history of the Bus, Number 2857, now part of a historical display in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. It shows what happened on buses because of the Jim Crow laws, how finally Rosa Parks chooses not to obey, and then the resulting boycott. Illustrations fill the pages with emotion and action, demonstrate the somberness of the times. It’s inspiring and a great true story to share with students.
Dogs – written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
A sweet book with lots of dogs and an introduction to them in brief text. The narrator says dogs loved are ones that play and ones that won’t, stripy dogs and spotty dogs, slow dogs and fast dogs, and so on. The pages show dogs leaping, jumping, playing. And there is a surprise at the end. It’s a delightful book for young children to start a good conversation, about dogs!
Little Bird – Germano Zullo, illustrated by Albertine
There are a few books that inspire thought, and this is one that would be terrific to read and share with a writing group. It’s about those little moments that one must appreciate and notice. It’s nearly a wordless picture book and a few, important words appear about halfway through. The illustrations are simple and whimsical, make you take time to savor the details that are shown.
Yucky Worms – Vivian French, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg
If someone want to become a wormologist, this is the book to read, for both young children and adults. The author uses a fictional story with a grandson visiting his grandmother and working in the garden. The grandmother shows and tells all about worms, and there are a number of pages with extra information, including more at the back of the book. Entertaining illustrations show off the worm info too. It’s a cute, informative book that explores underground worm life simply and well.
Library Mouse – written and illustrated by Daniel Kirk
While I was looking for other books for a project, I discovered this book in our library, about a wee mouse who lives behind the children’s reference section in the library, and after some consideration, writes his first book, and then sneaks it onto a shelf. It is discovered and read. The mystery begins. After a few books written by shy Sam, the library mouse, and the librarian writes a lovely letter asking him to come meet his fans. What happens next is a surprise, and something fun to share in writing workshops everywhere, at least through third grade.
No Dogs Allowed – Linda Ashman, illustrated by Kristen Sorra
This is nearly a wordless picture book, and what I call a ‘building’ story, where it adds to the same thing, page after page, getting more outrageous as it goes along. It begins at a small sidewalk café with a rather snooty waiter/owner? who first chalks on his menu board “No Dogs allowed!” which is the title. Next added to the list of those not welcome are cats, then bunnies, and on, until finally someone shows up with an elephant. The restaurant is clearly losing business and a local lemonade-ice cream cart is thrilled to have the business, but that happiness doesn’t last long either. The book offers an opportune beginning in helping children “read” facial expressions and background information in order to predict what’s next in a story. And it’s also a good lesson in inclusion and kindness in a variety of ways. This is a book out last year that’s too good too ignore.
Boy + Bot – Amy Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
A simple story of new friendship, but different expectations for each other, or one could say misunderstandings. A robot’s switch is accidentally flipped, thus losing power. A boy goes to sleep, and the robot believes he needs a new battery. It’s a perfect book for young children and predictions, and conversations about friendship and kindness. Sweet story!
Sarah’s Little Ghosts – Thierry Robberecht, illustrated by Philippe Goossens
I thought this was a story about Halloween, but found it really is about telling the truth and dealing with one’s conscience. The ‘ghosts’ which appear are nudges to the little girl Sarah to tell the truth. She has some trouble telling about an accident breaking something, so little ghosts appear urging her to tell the real story. It would make an interesting conversation, yet I wonder about the concreteness of students and seeing ghosts as some kind of strange punishment. I’m not sure I like the idea. The illustrations are not scary, which helps.
Beneath The Ghost Moon – Jane Yolen, illustrated by Laurel Molk
I thought I would begin to read some of the Halloween books in our school library, and found this one by Jane Yolen. It is an imaginative story of adventure of a group of 'crawlies' (lizards) who do some damage to the delightful costumes and masks that belong to some gleeful mice who live in the same house. The mice almost run away, but decide to fight back and win the day. This is all in rhyme and a bit silly, but the illustrations by Laurel Mok are delightfully Halloween-ish even to the weather vane which is a witch on her broomstick. Whimsical touches like this plus Yolen's rhymes make a fun read.
UnBEElievables – Douglas Florian
From the bee-ginning to the Bee-bliography, this poetry book is delightfully ‘buzzy’ with all sorts of bee information. Each page illustrates particular concepts with charming bees who have children’s faces, a poem and accompanying explanation. For instance, the poem titled Drone begins BROTHER!/Yo BROTHER! /Bee-have in your hive!/Hey, DRONE!/Don’t MOAN!/Don’t GROAN!/And don’t JIVE! It continues to talk about their main work with the queen-very important! There are poems about the stages until the bees become adults, about honey itself, about bee anatomy and more. If you want to know more about bees or just love the importance of bees, this is a great book that will teach you more—poetically.
Next: Stiefvater's The Raven Boys and I hope to be able to see her too because she'll be in Denver Saturday! And will try to finish at least one of the other books I've started. Happy reading week everyone!