It's Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Jen at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS. And shared with Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS.
And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews.
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It's been two weeks since I posted, so have more than usual to share. Thanks to Jen, Ricki and Kellee for hosting!
All the picture books I’ve reviewed today came from my list made during the PB 10for10 in August. What a wonderful group of books people recommended! I’ve been ordering them from my library bit by bit (actually book by book)!
Tell Me The Day Backwards – written by Albert Lamb and illustrated by David McPhail
This is another of those sweet books with bears, this time a going-to-bed book where the mother bear do go backwards through the day until the little bear is asleep. Very nice to hear the story and to see McPhail’s drawings, lovely watercolor with a bit of ink outlining. It will be fun to see who can remember ‘backwards’.
Not Last night, But The Night Before - written by Colin McNaughton and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
Written in rhyme, this book shows a little boy in pajamas, getting ready for bed when all sorts of story characters come knocking at his door, sometimes knocking him down, sometimes spinning him around, and so on. There’s a good surprise on every page, like the man in the moon and Goldilocks (and her three bears), and so on. But the biggest surprise comes at the very end. Fun book filled with laughter in the story and seeing the action portrayed so well in the illustrations by Emma Clark.
Beware of The Frog - written and illustrated by William Bee
Poor sweet old lady Mrs. Collywobbles protects herself from the scary things that come out of the big and dark wood she lives near with a pet frog. This story is just outlandish, but the events that occur cause a large open mouth of surprise every time something DOES come out of the forest to “get” Mrs. Collywobbles. And like another recent review, there is a bigger surprise at the end.
Time To Eat - written by Steve Jenkins and illustrated by Robin Page
This is a fascinating non-fiction book about interesting ways in which some in the animal kingdom obtain, store, even digest some of their food. Steve Jenkins always comes through with great information and this is no exception. Have you hear of the butcherbird who spears the grasshoppers on tree thorns, then sets about to eat his prey, rather like using a fork. The illustrations are realistic, greys, black and white with a bit of coloring.
Hat - written and illustrated by Paul Hoppe
Simple and clear text with illustrations that add to the meaning make this a great book for for young children, a book that helps discuss the dilemma of finding something, this time a hat, and understanding that it needs to be left behind for the owner. It isn’t ‘finders-keepers’ after all.
William’s Doll – written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by William Pène Du Bois
This book is 41 years old! I would have loved this book several times through the years. I gave my own son a doll and there were those who were surprised. I hope you can find the book and read about the importance of boys needing dolls just as much as girls. In the story, dear to my heart, William’s grandmother buys him a doll. Her answer to why: because he needs to love and care for his doll, to practice being a father!
My Great-Aunt Arizona – written by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb
This is the story of the author’s great-aunt, who taught the author and the author’s dad in 4th grade, as she did numerous generations. It’s a beautiful story from Appalachia, about one-room schoolhouses and one teacher who went to school in one, and returned to teach there also. The author showed just enough details of this wonderful aunt’s life to bring many ideas of discussion out for young students. Nice book to have for primary classrooms.
The Fifth Wave written by Rick Yancey
The book opens with Cassie, a teenage girl who appears to have a brusqueness about her that shows off the teenager of “before”, yet even at the beginning, it’s clear that there is something very wrong. There are a few gruesome descriptions, but perhaps she’s right, there could be some great monsters out there. And she thinks, “That was the last person I’ve seen.” And in words from a past conversation: “Maybe they’re spacefaring micemen from Planet Cheese and they’ve come for our provolone.” It’s the first hint that this is not the usual book of invaders taking over the world, and the tension is already strong. Much of the book moves in circles. Yancey gives us facts in real-time scenes that show Cassie as both courageous and scared and uses flashbacks that effectively show why. She loses friends and family, but makes herself move on into the unknown through towns and cities and the countryside to keep the promise she made to one person that she hopes is still alive, her little brother Sammy. The threads that keep the story so grounded are the teddy bear she carries for her brother and a teen crush on her high school team’s quarterback, Ben Parish. Another important character, Evan, is both sweet and mysterious, someone Cassie, and I the reader, couldn’t quite get hold of. He kept slipping away! There’s a lot of action, a bit of love and poignancy too. The book is broken into sections that both help switch scenes and heighten the tension. I enjoyed this device although sometimes I would think “no, don’t stop here”! It’s a long and interesting sci-fi story that I think many teens would love.
Heaven Is Paved With Oreos – written by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
This is the first book I’ve read by Catherine Murdock and I enjoyed it very much. It just came out early in September & I was happy to receive an arc from NetGalley. For tweens whose minds are filled with thoughts of friendships and “liking someone” (or not), of family conflicts (often mothers), and simply life’s questions about the right thing to do, this is a book that will support. The story of Sarah Zorn and one ‘growing-up’ summer is told through her journal with a voice that is thoughtful, yet always questioning ‘is this the right thing to do?’ The oreo theme enters into the storyline in various endearing ways, as do other threads like Sarah’s love of science and math, and willingness to figure out some things about other people. In other words, she tries hard (for a thirteen year old) to step into others’ shoes to understand them. Lots to enjoy in this book!
A Jar of Tiny Stars, Poems by NCTE Award-winning Poets – Bernice E. Cullinan
I don’t know how I found this book, but I’m so happy I did. How could one who loves children’s poetry not like these NCTE Award Poets: David McCord, Myra Cohn Livingston, Aileen Fisher, Eve Merriam, Karla Kuskin, John Ciardi, Lilian Moore, Arnold Adoff, Valerie Worth, and Barbara Ebensen? Children, through the help of eachers and librarians across the US read and voted on their favorite poems by these poets. The collection is on you will love and use often. I hope you can get a copy! FYI-a new edition includes the most recent five award winners, Eloise Greenfield, Nikki Grimes, Mary Ann Hoberman, Lee Bennett Hopkins, and X. J. Kennedy. A favorite by Barbara Esbensen is “Elephant”, where she writes “The word is too heavy/to lift/too cumbersome to…” You’ll need to find the book to read the rest.
Next: I still have more picture books from my list to read, and I’m starting Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner!