Sunday, September 1, 2013

Monday Reading - Come Visit



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. 
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR

              And, Myra, Fats and Imogene host the blog, Gathering Books and challenge us with their reading Challenge, which you can find here.  This week, I'll share books that have been honored with awards.

Award-Winners
Three Hens and a Peacock - written by Lester Laminack and illustrated by Henry Cole
             This is a terrific collaboration between these two artists!  It’s wonderful to read a story that holds a message young children need to figure out, and this is a good one:  Everyone has an important job to do.  No matter what it is, each one’s place in our world is needed!  I can imagine much conversation about this story when read aloud.  It’s a tale of a peacock arriving at a farm that sells produce, that begins to hang around the “Fresh Produce” sign on the road and attracts more customers.  The hens soon become jealous and wonder what the peacock is doing besides strutting around.  After all, they’re producing eggs!  When they trade, it’s a surprise what happens, and that they all finally realize how useful each one is in a special and unique way.  One says, when speaking of the other’s job, “I’m just not meant for it.” And the others answer, “Your job is harder than it looks.” The illustrations by Henry Cole, of many wonderful books illustrated like A Nest for Celeste, are bright, colorful, funny and just plain enjoyable.  I know that this would be a terrific addition to any primary classroom.

Children’s Choice Awards in 2012
2012 Storytelling Resource Award


Ragsale – written by Artie Ann Bates and illustrated by Jeff Chapman-Crane
            This story is set in Appalachia, a time of being frugal and traveling around to the local ragsales to purchase needed clothes and some furniture.  It reminds me of going to garage sales or to thrift stores today.  Mother and children, sister, cousins and grandmother all go together (most every week) and have a good time.  The author says she wrote the story to capture a favorite memory from her childhood.  The artist is also from Appalachia, drawing upon his own memories to create beautifully realistic portraits of the scenes in the story.  It’s a sweet memoir.

Won Best in Show at the 1995 New England Book Fair


Chapter Books
A Dog Called Homeless – written by Sarah Lean
          I just had a few pages left and I put them off for a whole day.  I didn’t want the story to end!  This is a wonderful book that centers around Cally Fisher, whose mother has died in an automobile accident, but the father seems to need to halt all memories of her in order to survive. Cally has her own struggles at school, often getting into trouble, but takes on a challenge of a “silence” day to help raise money for a charity.  The problem is, she stops talking after the challenge.  Also during this time, the family has to move to an apartment to save money, and the downstairs neighbor has a boy a bit older than Cally who is blind and nearly deaf.  That friendship developing and the friendship from a homeless man named Ned complicates things.  The dog in the story is cared for by Ned, but sometimes seen with what Cally believes is her mother’s ghost, yet so, so real.  Cally’s mother first appears on the first anniversary of her death.  For a middle grade novel, it’s a complicated story that moves smoothly through the days, with Cally struggling with friendships, missing her mother, and also her father, who has changed the ways he acts toward the family too.  When tragedy strikes, nothing seems to be safe from change.  It’s a lovely, although sad story, and I know you don’t want me to spoil by telling the end, but I will say, the end “spoils” the reader.  It’s a lovely, lovely story.

Picture Books
The Show Must Go On – written by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
         This is my first arc from NetGalley, fun to have a few books that are not published yet!  Everyone is excited to see that Sir Sidney’s circus is coming to town, but this owner is getting older and needs to find someone to help run his little circus, with a lion, an elephant, two acrobats, two mice who add jokes all along the way, and one crow.  After quite a few interviews, Sir Sidney offers a trial week to Barnabas Brambles, who appears okay to Sir Sidney, but the rest of us readers are just a little suspicious.  Barnabas’ management ends up quite a disaster, but the animals do their best to keep the circus together, and try hard to make the week work, and staying together.  Barnabas cuts everyone back to one meal a day, tries to sell the animals and finally makes a deal with a zoo.  Because he doesn’t seem to know how to drive the circus train, he makes the two acrobat brothers drive.  They end up creating quite a few disasters in their navigation that plague them all, but especially Barnaby. All the circus performers miss Sir Sidney very much, and we soon discover that he is missing his circus too.  Through huge changes made in order to make money, and travel mishaps all over the United States, the story ends in San Francisco with a grand finale. The lessons taught by Sir Sidney of kindness and giving someone a second chance underscore the story throughout. The illustrations are clever and bold, using both regular text and balloon speech to carry the story forward.  There are posters and letters when needed.  This book would make quite a fun read aloud!

The Friend – written by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
          Lucky me; a friend just brought this to me-- a beautiful story written in rhyme that shows a loving relationship between a little girl and the family housekeeper, Belle and Bea.  The parents are often away working, in my mind missing out on all the delights of childhood.  Each day of the week, the regular chores are done, and even then the girl makes more of them in play.  For instance, when the wash is being hung on the line, Belle makes clothespin bouquets Bea always responding with a loving comment. And then the afternoons include the ocean adventures whether it’s having tea, building castles or making art in the sand.  The end finds Belle taking one more step of growing up, to almost disastrous results and her friend Bea is there, too.  The ending is a surprise, but you’ll have to discover that by reading.

Eight Days, A Story of Haiti – written by Edwidge Danticat and illustrated by Alix Delinois
            This book is not just about the earthquake, but about a little boy who is rescued—after 8 days!   The author created a way to show Haiti as it was “before” the earthquake by having the boy tell what he did during the time he was trapped.  He “played”, not truthfully, but he pretended he was playing.  So, for example, on the first day, he and his friend Oscar (also trapped with him) flew kites and then started a huge back of marbles.  The story moves page by page, telling the story that only imagination can create.  The pictures help tell this story with bright colors and movement, just as I often imagine what Haiti must be like.

Old Bear and His Cub – written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea
               The love just oozes from this story, when dear old bear tries to get the cub to do things, like nap, and the cub refuses, then goes to sleep anyway. There is lots of repetition and then the relationship is reversed when the cub starts ordering old bear around, especially when he gets sick.  The illustrations are exquisite.

Creepy Carrots - written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown
        I finally found this at my library.  It will be delightful to read the story to students, watching them figure out that there is a second plot going on with those creepy, and sneaky, carrots.  Jaspar Rabbit couldn’t get enough carrots from Crackenhopper Field, the best carrots around!  He ate them often, on the way to school, to Little League practice, and on the way home.  But unfortunately, there appeared a few carrots here and there, peeking around corners, through his windows, and under his bed.  Every time he called for help, no one but Jaspar could see them, yet he just knew they were there.  The ending is surprising, but even more it will be fun to have children predict how they believe this funny story will end.  Then, they’ll have to read the way the authors finished it.  Peter Brown’s illustrations are on the dark side, just the way a ‘creepy’ story should be. 

Next:  I’m still reading The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, very good, often surprising!  And I received another NetGalley Arc-Heaven Is Paved With Oreos, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, just started but the main character has a strong presence so far!  I have new books ordered from the library, slowly going down the list I made during PB10for10.  I know I’ll love each one, recommended highly in a top ten list!

22 comments:

  1. Olivier Dunrea has some of the cutest books for kids. I should check out this Old Bear book series of his.

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    1. And thank you for telling me that there are other good ones by this author! I didn't know!

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  2. Hi there Linda, i read and reviewed The Friend sometime last year and loved it. I have been reading a lot of reviews about A Dog Called Homeless and I am definitely intrigued - it would have been a nice addition to our current bimonthly theme, I think. Thank you for sharing quite a number of award-winning-books for our AWB challenge this month!

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    1. Yes, A Dog Called Homeless would have fit your theme well, Myra. It is a very sweet book. I think I've missed linking with you several times too with award books. Sometimes it slips right by! Thanks!

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  3. Love Lester Laminack! I picked up "Three Hens and a Peacock" last year. My students loved it.
    Mrs. Brown Loves Bookworms

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    1. Happy to hear that children will love this book-can't wait to share it! Thanks!

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  4. Creepy Carrots is one of my favorites, Linda--love the surprise ending. Three Hens and a Peacock sounds like it'd be perfect for a lesson on cooperation and how we all bring different talents to a project. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. What a fun book Creepy Carrots is, I agree! You're so right about Three Hens... I'm going to read it this week to some primary students!

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  5. Eight Days, A Story of Haiti – written by Edwidge Danticat - sounds fascinating, so glad to hear about it!

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    1. It was a beautiful idea, to chronicle the survival in this unique way. Love this book! Thanks!

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  6. Great titles Linda. I am so pleased you enjoyed A Dog Called Homeless as much as I did. And I am a big, big fan of The Friend. One of my favourite Stewart/Small titles.

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    1. Isn't The Friend just the sweetest book, one for all parents to read I think. And yes, I'm glad you nudged about A Dog Called Homeless-really lovely story & I've already donated it to our library so others can start reading too! Thanks Carrie!

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  7. These are all new titles for me. I have a hard time keeping up with you. Do you ever sleep?
    I am considering a service project for Haiti. Would you suggest the book Eight Days to kick off this project?
    Thanks for all these reviews. Great books to add to my list.

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    1. It's a beautifully illustrated book that celebrates the rescue of this little boy, & is by a well-respected author, too, Margaret. I think the fact that she wanted to show Haiti as it was might be a wonderful beginning for your project. Can you get it from your library to look first? Thanks-hope you like some of the others, too!

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  8. I am so glad to hear your are enjoying The 5th Wave! I can't wait to hear your full review after you finish. I will keep checking back. ::wink::

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    1. Thanks Ricki, it's very good & he's weaving so many surprising pieces together!

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  9. So many good choices, Linda! I loved Three Hens and Peacock, and Creepy Carrots is such a hoot! I've been looking forward to The Show Must Go On. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!
    Catherine

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    1. You're welcome, Catherine-I really enjoyed this group of books!

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  10. Thank you for this great list! I really enjoyed Creepy Carrots and am excited to read Three Hens and a Peacock as it sounds like a good title for teaching inferring! Old Bear and his Cub looks lovely and the story of Haiti is one I'm definitely going to order for our library! Thanks again!

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    1. So glad you found some to find & enjoy! Thank you!

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  11. I too loved The Friend. Yet another reason to love that Small/Stewart collaboration. A Dog Called Homeless is very high up on my to read list. My youngest read it this summer and usually she doesn't provide a lot of commentary on her book. With this book though, she clutched it to her chest and said that it was "really, really good, Mom." I had to share that micro review with Twitter pal, Alyson Beecher, who was on the Schneider Committee that selected it!

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    1. Thanks for sharing about your daughter's love for this book, Lorna. That's great, & I hope you'll get to it soon!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!