Sunday, October 21, 2012

Variety Is The Spice of Books, Too!


This post connects to TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS hosted by Jen and Kellee.  Here you will find many books to put on your TBR lists.  


          It's Monday! What are you Reading? is another meme hosted by Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS where many others share Kidlit and adult books read.          
           If you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag#IMWAYR when sharing your link!


Poopendous! – Artie Bennett, illustrated by Mike Moran
            This seems to be my year for examining poop, as I discovered and loved the book Poop Happened by Sarah Albee a few weeks ago.  This time, I have had the pleasure of reading a picture book by Artie Bennett, writer of The Butt Book, about “rear ends in all their variety”.  It appears that Artie thinks often that the ends of things are just as good as the beginnings.  His latest book is funny, interesting, and beautifully fits younger children’s interests (and giggles) about poop. 


            A fictional Professor Poopdeck takes us through his toiletry tour and his words rhyme as he introduces that every single living thing on earth poops and that often there is a different term for it.  The book reads: Guano is an Incan word/For poop of bat or ocean bird.  And, it also introduces topics like size and styles and shapes of poop, all those things all of us, even children, wonder about.  For example, did you know the poop of a wombat is a cube?
The uses of poop are treated with worldwide coverage, considering birds that carry seeds inside their poop all over the world, along with those who travel fewer miles but make a bigger impact, like elephants!  Other uses are for fertilizer, cooking, sealing yurts, and building huts.  There are even pages of poop souvenirs and games at fairs!  The illustrations by Mike Moran fill in additional information with colorful cartoon-like drawings as the narrative moves along, ending with Now you have the inside scoop/On every type and use of poop, and final, chuckly lines that include the title.  This is a fun, non-fiction text that will delight young children.

                   Thank you to Artie Bennett for providing a copy for review. 


Lizards, Frogs and Polliwogs – poems and paintings by Douglas Florian

I recently searched for good mentor texts for a lesson in using information to write poetry, specifically frogs this time, and found another wonderful book by Douglas Florian.  This is filled with delightfully varied poems about all kinds of amphibians, and helped my lesson because it included poems about a bullfrog, a red-eyed tree frog, and the wonderful spring peepers.  I had the wonderful experience of hearing the peepers on a trip to the Poconos with my students a few years ago, and this poem captures what we heard, as in Each spring/We sing/To bring//A mate,/And make you stay/Awake too late.  Like all his poetry anthologies, Florian’s paintings are beautifully creative in their approach to the animals. For instance, in the illustration for peepers shows a wide awake child with peepers sitting on his face (keeping him awake).

A Place for Frogs – Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Higgins Bond

I recently needed a good mentor text for a lesson in using information to write poetry, specifically frogs, mentioned earlier.  This non-fiction book for younger readers gives lots of details on each page while telling the story of what happens to hurt frogs and their habitats through what people and nature do.  It also includes how frogs fill an important part of a food chain; therefore if they are at risk, other creatures are, too.  There is a repetitive narrative in the text that I found children enjoyed.  For example, on a two-page spread, the author writes: "Some tadpoles have trouble surviving when people add fish to lakes and ponds.  When people take out the fish, frogs can live and grow."   Each part ends with those final five words.  And, each page contains an additional block of information set apart that explains the problems further.  There are also pages at the end of the book giving some ideas for helping and additional facts.  The full color, realistic illustrations add to the information given.  It's a great book that's both informative and entertaining. 

Memorial – Gary Crew, illustrated by Shaun Tan

I love finding books new to me in the library, and to find another book illustrated by Shaun Tan is a marvelous surprise.  Here is a beauty of a book, filled with Tan’s gorgeous painting/collages of different wars in America, spoken about through the memories of a young boy, his great-grandfather, grandfather and father.  The problem discussed is the town tree, planted long ago after World War I, but now uprooting a permanent statue, obstructing the view of traffic, and taking up too much space.  You’ll need to find and read the book to discover what happens to the tree, but the resolution is satisfying.  Memories throughout the story and in the illustrations hover as memories do, through small pictures and large spreads, adding much from the times in which the tree lived and the people it saw.  This will be a great book to use in a study of wars as well as things changing.


Forgive Me, I Meant To Do It – Gail Carson Levine, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

       I’m reading more poetry because I’m gearing up to be one of the judges in this years’ Cybils’ awards for poetry.  This book is on the nominated list!  My work doesn’t start until the beginning of next year, but I’m nervous, and think I should study many examples to see if I can learn something, about writing poetry and evaluating it as well as the way it’s presented. 
        This is the first book I’ve read since I knew I was going to be a judge.  I also happen to know that one of the classes I work with has fallen in love with this poem, and have written multiple versions of their own.  The poems included follow a theme of turning our beloved world of childhood tales into something a little different and a little nastier.  Levine herself says in her intro that in order to be a successful writer of these poems, modeled after William Carlos Williams’ famous poem, one must be mean.  She has the cow of Jack and The Beanstalk fame biting down the stalk as Jack reaches the top.  She asks for forgiveness, of course, but still believes she is worth more than five beans.  Another has a man sincerely apologizing for knocking Humpty off that wall, but assures others that it was only because all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.  The illustrations by Matthew Cordell are whimsical black and white illustrations, adding much to the tongue-in-cheek flavor of the poems.  It was such fun to read and I imagine multiple ages will enjoy it. 

Next—

I can’t seem to finish any of the chapter books I’m reading because there are just too many.  I must take each a few pages at a time.  For my own choice, it’s Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.  For a book group of books by naturalist writers, I’ve chosen The Story of My Boyhood and Youth by John Muir, and this week begins a younger group who will read Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli.  All are wonderful, but all demand reading time.  Hopefully…

I got the audio of book two in the Chaos Trilogy by Patrick Ness.  So far, enjoying it very much.  

Love this!  “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”  C.S. Lewis

14 comments:

  1. Hi there Linda, we love Artie Bennett in GatheringBooks. Fats has also done a review of Poopendous several months back, and I did a review of The Butt Book (hilarious). :) I love everything you have here but I am practically salivating at the sight of Gary Crew and Shaun Tan's Memorial. Their collaboration is just exquisite, isn't it? I love The Rabbits - the only one we have here in Singapore. Perhaps you should also check out whether you have The Viewer - another one of their collaborations which we don't have here yet.

    I'm glad that you're making progress with the Chaos Walking Trilogy - Patrick Ness writes with so much subtlety and power. Stargirl! Oh my oh my, that is my and Fats' favorite. We looooove Stargirl. We've also read and discussed its sequel Love, Stargirl. I'm hoping you'd love both books. :)

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    1. Hi Myra, thank you for ALL the other comments, too. It is certainly a busy and exciting time for me. Now I'm making lists upon lists! I think I must have missed Fats' Poopendous review. It is such fun. I didn't realize that Shaun Tan and Gary Crews have other books; I will certainly search for them. As you saw, I loved this one! I do love Stargirl; when it first came out I used it as a read aloud, & have used it in a book group earlier too. Such a wonder it is about inclusion & acceptance. Finally, the Chaos Walking trilogy is such a pleasure. I will be sad when it's over!

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  2. I have Raven Boys on my to read stack - it's my book club's next pick. Love the look of Poopendous - will have to purchase that one.

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    1. I feel bad that I haven't gotten to devote more time to Raven Boys-soon! Thanks Katherine!

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  3. Memorial sounds like a wonderful find, especially now that I've begun my memoir unit. We've always loved Stargirl in my classroom - such a great book for discussion!

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    1. Yes, this is a new group to read Stargirl; it will be a great time introducing them to the book. You're right-so much for discussion. I hope you saw above that Shaun Tan & Gary Crews have more books together. Thanks, Tara.

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  4. Linda - I love the look of A Place for Frogs and its focus on being careful with animal habitats. I am also trying to squeeze in time to read The Raven Boys. Not that I'm not enjoying it, just trying to find the time. I hope your students enjoy Stargirl. I always have such a special spot in my heart for that book. Did it with my book club a few years ago and the conversations were so special.

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    1. I am looking forward to having a good time with the Stargirl group. It will be special, I know. The frog book is really well done-hope you can find it! Thanks, Carrie!

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  5. "Yes!" to the C.S.Lewis quote :-) You make me want to find "Memorial" ... adding it to the list!

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    1. The quote pleased me, too, Tabatha! We all believe that. You will like the look of Memorial, I think, as well as the story.

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  6. The cover of "Memorial" looks gorgeous! Seems like it would be a wonderful teaching book to both read aloud or independently.

    Maria @novalibrarymom.com

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    1. I was so happy to come across it. It is beautiful! Thanks Maria!

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  7. Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It looks like a fun, lighthearted approach to poetry. When sharing with students I think one of the most important parts of reading or writing poetry is that it should be enjoyable. It certainly looks like this book would fit that description! Congratulations on being a Cybils judge!

    I think Poopendous would also be enjoyed by children. It's that gross science that gets giggles and funny faces, but also might just teach students a thing or two, too!

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    1. Thank you for all the comment. I agree that both books would add much humor & be so enjoyable. They are clever as well as informative.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!