Sunday, November 18, 2012

So Many Good Books Available!


Jen and Kellee host this kidlit meme at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS.  Join us to see what we're all reading.

          It's Monday! What are you Reading? is another meme hosted by Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS that offers reviews of all kinds of books.  

        If you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #IMWAYR when sharing your link.

I’m trying to read most, if not all, of the Cybils nominees in poetry this year since I’m a beginner second round judge, & feel as if it’s a education of sorts to read those which others nominated, those who’ve been doing this longer than me.  I read two this week & can see that the judges in the first round have a tough job before they send the finalists their picks.

And, I’m still listening, nearly done with Monsters of Men, Patrick Ness’ Chaos trilogy.  It continues to be fascinating. 

This week I read some great books!


The Monsters’ Monster – Patrick McDonnell

Because several of my blogger and Goodreads friends have recommended this book, and because my granddaughter plays lots of monster games, loves all things about monsters, I had to get the book. It is wonderful, with delightful illustrations and descriptions of three bad little monsters who create what they believe will be the 'baddest' monster of all. What they end with is something unexpected, and I won't spoil the satisfying ending.

While He Was Away – Karen Schreck

I've read this over several weeks, in between others. I was not compelled to read it fast, but about midway, I became more interested. It concerns a girl about to enter college whose boy friend is about to leave, and then does deploy to Iraq. Because I have no experience with saying goodbye in such a circumstance, and having to worry about someone far away and in constant danger, it was difficult to connect. There is a subplot of the girl seeking to know her grandmother who is estranged from her mother, a single mom. The book is about a girl becoming a woman, choosing to create relationships that at first she is reluctant to try, and eventually finding a path to the kind of person she wants to be. She clearly tells her story, her thoughts and dilemmas, and that is what kept me interested, this strong young woman with so many challenges already, and me wondering how things would go. Anyone with a military separation will love this book, and I suspect will read it very fast. There is an additional chapter titled "Tips For An Army Girlfriend" and another page of helpful links that will be welcome to some.

Cowboys  Voices In The Western Wind– poems by David L. Harrison, illustrated by Dan Burr

This anthology tells the story of the experience of cowboys during the incredible cattle drives which happened before the pioneers and the trains came west.  There was only one way to get the meat to market, bring the cattle thousands of miles north from Texas to Abilene or Wichita.  David Harrison has captured both the challenges and the beauty of a cowboy’s life during a drive.  There is “Mending Fence” speaking of ‘twelve miles of fence…like a pencil drawing out my future.”   There is “Cookie”  who “stood all day in the burning sun/to make this son-of-a-gun stew.”  And “Those Stars” tells how they “look down/like heaven’s own eyes.”   Perhaps because I’m a long time horse person, who sees some adventure in these poems that’s appealing, despite the hardships, but I loved how Harrison wrote the story of cowboys in just twenty-two poems, a good scrapbook of the times.  There is some backmatter in the book which is interesting too, a summary of just who were cowboys.  And, the illustrations by Dan Burr are gorgeous, seemingly full color acrylic paintings, so realistic with beautifully expressive faces of the cowboys.

Water Sings Blue – Kate Coombs, illustrated by Meilo So

I am late reading this; many reviewed the book months ago, but I just never had it.  I love how creative writers can be when they use real information and write about it so beautifully.  Coombs has written of many of my own favorites, and adds her own ideas about the sea creatures.  She traces sand from its beginnings, "We used to be rocks,/we used to be stones." calling the ocean waves “its breaker and maker.”  Then, there are the varieties of food available, called “Tide Pool Shopping”. There is also a gorgeous vertical page including a whale & a shipwreck below, and a page filled with all kinds of shells.  This poem is called “Ocean Realty”, spouting off some ideas for hermit crabs.  It’s quite fun to figure that those little white crabs have so many varieties to choose from.  I can see students of varied ages reading this and enjoying Coomb’s ideas for including information about a topic.

Cold Snap – Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

If you read my poem to winter last Friday for Poetry Friday, you know that I love winter, so this book pleased me very much.  The story is about a town named Toby Mills, after a general Toby, that experiences an extreme cold snap.  The town’s statue to General Toby grows an icicle that follows the story throughout, growing longer and longer.  There are some repeating characters that add to the spice of this tale, like kids Millie Moffat and Franky Tornetta who sled and make snow angels, etc.  There are also adult characters like Mrs. Moffat who sings in church and Pastor Pickthorn who gives his sermon with a muffler and earmuffs.  As they, and others, move a long day after day, the temperature drops until the mayor comes up with a great idea, and for that you’ll need to read the book.  The illustrations are sweet and whimsical, remind me of the little Golden Books that I loved so much as a child.

Ralph Tells A Story – by Abby Hanlon

This is the ultimate “how-to” for writing, or not writing I suppose.  It tells about Ralph, who just cannot find anything about the topc, and his friend tries, and the rest of the class cheers, but he still cannot.  It’s a terrific book to use with some students, and the illustrations, also by Abby, are much fun, just as if she illustrated the book right there., on the blank pages with the text.  If you want to read a great response to this book, look here at Deb Day's Coffee With Chloe post. And-just today, Amazon's e-book deal offers this book for only $1.99.  

Next:  Finish Monsters of Men and read Don’t Feed The Boy, by Irene Latham.  I’m just begun, and so far, it’s great.  I will continue to read more poetry, am finding it easy to find the books at my library.

And I will have a Happy Thanksgiving, as I hope for all of you, too!



18 comments:

  1. Ralph just had such a sweet story to tell. It will definitely be a read aloud in Creative Writing as a reminder to my kids that everyone has a story. As always, your Monday post always adds books to my reading list. And thanks for the link!

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    1. It's just a good book, Deb. And I just saw that Amazon has it special today for and e-book, only $1.99! Thanks.

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  2. I too love many elements of winter, so Cold Snap caught my eye with that charming cover. Can't wait to check that out! Have a great week!

    Lorna

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    1. Thanks Lorna, you too. Hope your Thanksgiving is good.

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  3. Linda! Water Sings Blue seems perfect for our current bimonthly theme! I shall definitely look for this one. It may even fit our Project Splash! Asia criteria with Meilo So as the illustrator!!! Wow! Would hunt this book down this weekend. I'm also glad you shared the Cowboys book by Harrison and Burr. I have just read (and drafted a review) of Pirates - another Harrison/Burr collaboration - my contribution for Poetry Friday this week.

    I think I'd also resonate a little bit with "While He Was Away" as a very close and dearest friend (a kindred, really) is serving in the european elite forces right now and currently based in afghanistan. with things intensifying over there, my heart jumps to my throat as i read the news.

    the monster's monster sounds charming. i should find this book too! reminiscent of Monsters Inc? :)

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Break, dear Linda!

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    1. Thank you Myra-so nice to hear that some of my 'reads' touched you. I'll be sure to look for David's Pirates, too. His writing is so good!

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  4. Seeing Water Sings Blue again makes me long for some sand and waves. That book is a beauty!

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    1. Yes, an ocean visit would be nice, wouldn't it? This book is a treasure!

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  5. Oh I am so intrigued with Cold Snap. I must get my hands on this. I love reading winter stories when we are all cozy inside! So pleased that you enjoyed The Monsters' Monster. It is such a wonderful book.

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    1. Yes, the Monster's Monster was great, Carrie. I bought it fast for my granddaughter! I hope you like Cold Snap. It will be great to read with cocoa inside!

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  6. I ordered Ralph Tells a Story last week after reading a review about it on Two Writing Teachers--I can't wait for it! I also love almost all of Eileen Spinelli's books so I'll have to track down Cold Snap. Thanks for some great recommendations, Linda!

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    1. Both are certainly great 'recent' books, Melanie. Hope you like them too!

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  7. Water Sings Blue has been in Isabelle's bedroom book bin for months. We love it (perhaps because we love the beach). That being said, she and I have been entertained by Cold Snap recently. It's a great juxtaposition to Water Sings Blue, isn't it?

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    1. I do love the ocean, & can't wait until I get to see what Ingrid thinks of it if we ever get to go there! This book is really beautiful, isn't it? And Cold Snap is so cute-just a great story to entertain. Thanks Stacey.

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  8. I may need to check out Ralph Tells a Story to show to my primary teachers. It looks adorable - and they are always looking for tie ins to help with their writing workshops.

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  9. I just requested Ralph Tells A Story. I have learned to have my library account open when I check other IMWAYR posts! Thanks for the suggestions with my A to Z Children’s Picture Book Challenge! Can't wait to check out those authors!

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    1. Hi Earl, I keep my acc't open, too-saves $, hope you like the authors!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!