Sunday, June 23, 2013

Good Books Even at Home!


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Jen and Kellee at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS.  Head over for terrific book reviews!  And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS that offers more reviews of all kinds of books, adult and children. 
  
              Tweet at #IMWAYR

The Center of Everything – by Linda Urban
              Ruby Pepperdine, the “center” of this story, is a quiet young woman who has a strong desire to do the right thing.  She does what her mother wants, helps her aunt, and always does what her best friend Lucy wants.  But then she won the “Bunning Day Essay Contest” and that was not expected, by anyone.  Ruby begins to think that what she is “supposed to do” might be questioned.  The book is intriguing and sweet, about relationships and questioning what people say are the “rules” of behavior.  I can’t say more, but the book weaves in and out of real time, which is THE Bunning day when Ruby is to give her speech, and she is standing in a taped square on Cornelius Circle, waiting.  As Ruby waits, she thinks of past events, thus the whole story is told, in and out of the past.  I enjoyed the book, and the other characters, Ruby’s friends.  It is complex enough that it may make a good read aloud.



The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark – by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna
            Written in poetry, this book tells the tale of Mr. Fish, of Pout-Pout fame, who swims off into the deep, despite being scared of the dark, to help a friend.  If you know something of ocean habitats and the creatures there, this will be even more interesting.  The illustrations fill the pages with diverse creatures, peeking out of holes in sloping sides of sand, underwater, with the pout-pout fish standing out.  It’s a book that would be terrific for younger primary-aged children.  It’s about making difficult choices and then succeeding as well as doing things for friends, no matter the challenge! 

         I have a large collection of picture books, some older, and am trying to read (or re-read) and share some of those too.  Some are not to be missed, or can be used in a different way than I did previously. 
 The Big Orange Splot – written and illustrated by Daniel Pinkwater
             This isn’t a great book, but it interested my four-year-old granddaughter who had lots of questions about it.  Essentially is about following one’s own dreams of how to ‘be’.   There is a street where all the houses look exactly alike, and Mr. Plumbean is one of the homeowners.   One day, a seagull flew over Mr. Plumbean’s home, and dropped a can of orange paint on his roof; it made a splot!  Before anyone even thinks about what can be done to “fix” this. Mr. Plumbean has an idea, to do something even more decorative than painting over the splot, he does more painting.  Thus begins a revolution of sorts on the street, with a few resisting, but turning out okay after all. It is good to read a book that supports those who might enjoy being different!

The Giant Hug - by Sandra Horning, illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
          This is the cutest book!  A little boy pig wants to send a real hug to his Granny for her birthday, and thus begins the whole process of sending it, via the mail clerk, the sorter, the airline pilot, and so on.   Each one who handles the mail is a different animal, but the process does show every step that happens to our mail.  And the hugs please everyone, sending good feelings all along the route!  The illustrations remind me of the Little Bear books, and there’s a fun surprise at the end.

Next – Reading Kate Messner’s Capture The Flag (good!), and will try to start The Key - The Flame, by Claire M. Caterer and Quiet by Susan Cain.  


22 comments:

  1. Quiet has just been added to my TBR since it's been getting a lot of positive reviews from our fellow #IMWAYR-ers!

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    1. Yes, I'm really interested in reading it. Thanks!

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  2. I can't wait for Urban's book to arrive - so many positive reviews! The Big Orange Splot was one of my own kids' favorite picture books back in the day - I guess they loved the message of embracing being "out of the box"! So glad that summer is here so that I can dive into my pile of TBR books!!!

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    1. How fun to find someone who knows that "splot" book, Tara. My granddaughter was intrigued by the word itself! Hope you have a great 'first' week out!

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  3. The Pout-Pout Fish books are big hits at our house :) We haven't read the newest one yet, but I'll keep an eye out for it!

    Maria@novalibrarymom.com

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    1. The story, along with the illustrations are good. Glad to hear someone else's opinion of them, too!

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  4. I think The Center of Everything was just wonderful. I will be checking out The Pout-Pout Fish book and The Big Hug. Thanks so much for sharing your titles.

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    1. Terrific, Gigi-hope you enjoy them. I did love The Center of Everything, too!

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  5. Pout-Pout Fish and The Center of Everything both sound excellent. I just started reading Quiet and am really liking it so far. I enjoy understanding more about my own personality and I am only in chapter 1!

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    1. Hi Andrea-so good to hear. I should start it while I'm finishing other things. The Pout-Pout fish books are filled with so much, but have strong stories too! Thanks!

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  6. Just bought the Center of the Universe and love hearing good things about it. Linda Urban is wonderful.
    You'll definitely love Capture the Flag- Kate Messner knows how to tell a story!

    Happy reading this week :)

    Kellee
    http://www.unleashingreaders.com

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    1. Yes, Linda Urban is terrific. I also loved Hound Dog True! And am really enjoying Capture the Flag! Thanks Kellee-you're off and running!

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  7. I enjoyed The Center of Everything also! You'll love Capture the Flag AND Hide and Seek, and I've heard LOTS about Quiet. Happy reading!

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    1. Thanks Holly-so many good books to read!

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  8. I read The Big Orange splot a few years ago, as I think it was on a Reads to Be Ready for Kindergarten list at the library. I recall it being a bit odd, but clearly kids are still engaging with it, aren't they? Have you hear Pinkwater on Saturday Morning Edition when he does kids books with Scott Simon? I will never forget when they read Click, Clack, Moo or a Visitor For Bear. So, so, funny! Enjoy your on-deck books! The students I work with were crazy about Messner's Capture the Flag and Hide and Seek.

    --Lorna

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    1. I thought the 'splot' book a little odd, but my granddaughter was delighted when we got to the part where he painted his house. If she could, she'd probably paint hers! No, didn't even know about Pinkwater on Sat. I will try to look him up! Yes, I think those books next will be good, Lorna. Thanks!

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    2. NPR has a link to many of their conversations . . . that last one listed is several years ago, so I'm not sure what the status is on the series.

      http://www.npr.org/series/4506027/children-s-literature-with-daniel-pinkwater

      Here's them doing Bonnie Becker's A Visitor For Bear: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91210635

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    3. Lorna-thank you! I loved A Visitor for Bear-what a sweet book that was!

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  9. I found the splot book to be odd, but I appreciated its message. I had wondered how kids would receive it. Glad to know they have fun with it.

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    1. I guess we all agree, Crystal, about 'splot'. Interesting how different people look for different things.

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  10. I just picked up The Center of Everything at the library and noticed it was missing from my shelves. My daughter has run off with it. We are both Urban fans! When she is done, I will get a chance to read it! It is fun to share so many books so we can discuss and compare perspectives.

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    1. My daughter and I used to share when she was young too, Carrie. Now she's awfully busy & our tastes/needs are very different (she's not a teacher-a museum person instead). I did like this one, and also loved Hound Dog True.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!