Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's Monday Reading!

         Thanks to Jen at Teach.Mentor.Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers for hosting our Monday Reading community. Come along to find new books to read.
          Tweet at #IMWAYR

            This is a week of finishing things. In addition to those above, my book group completed The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, a Newbery to love and enjoy for sure. 

A Snicker of Magic – Natalie Lloyd
                 There are moments in this book that are marvelous, the exuberance of this young woman, Felicity Pickle, called the “poem catcher”, just trying to figure out who she is, what’s important in life, and where she really belongs. A big help along the way is a new friend, Jonah Pickett, a wonderfully thoughtful boy she first meets at school. Most of the answers are figured out with Jonah in Midnight Gulch, where she has lately landed with her mother and sister, to live for a while with her Aunt Cleo while her mother makes a little money so they can take off again. It seems Felicity’s mother is a wanderer, doomed because of a long ago curse on the Threadbare brothers, but we don’t discover the connections for a long time. There are numerous interesting connections in the book, some heartfelt, some a little crazy, but all the threads are straightened out satisfactorily. I loved when I got to the part about the “snickers of magic” and loved the magical qualities that appeared throughout. I was reading still another book these past two weeks, so wonder if my opinion wasn’t colored a bit while reading both. I should have read it faster perhaps, but found there were some slow parts, and quite a bit of repetition of the same desires and feelings from Felicity. In all, it was a book I will recommend, but it didn’t touch me as much as others have expressed they were touched.


Charlie and Kiwi—an evolutionary adventure – written by Eileen Campbell, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds and FableVision-a project of the New York Hall of Science
                Parts of this book’s information are non-fiction, but it’s a fictional account of how a kiwi is really a bird, starting millions of years ago with dinosaurs who had feathers. A little boy has to write a report about a bird, his parents just brought him a stuffed kiwi from New Zealand, so that’s how the adventure began! Through a small delay in the report for class, and a few trips in a time travel machine, part of them with a “five-great” grandfather who was a bird expert, Charlie found his answers, actually more than one. He saw the process of adaptation through the years, and finally figured out how the kiwi, a bird, became a long-beaked, furry, ground bird who hunted insects at night.  The book’s explanation is clear, and illustrations are simple and entertaining. If you are beginning to teach the concept of evolution, this is a terrific book.

Miss Emily – written by Burleigh Mutén and illustrated by Matt Phelan
           What a lovely imagination this author has in telling the story that “might” have happened during a time that Emily Dickinson played with her neighbor children, including her niece and nephew, Ned and Mattie. It begins with an adventure, sneaking out in the middle of the night to see the wonderful circus train arrive in town. A mishap occurs, but the show indeed must go on, and I don’t want to spoil the story by telling all. This is a verse novel, written of a time gone by when children played and imagined they too were famous circus performers, this time with Emily Dickinson! The words are lovely, including a few of Emily’s own words. There is a poignant moment when the children realize “She needs our eyes/to see these things for her,/for—playful as she is with us--/ she isn’t part of the world’s hubbub/anymore. She is getting old!” Matt Phelan’s muted black and white sketched illustrations are muted, reminding me of the old (and faded) photos of years ago. I enjoyed reading this very much.

Still Reading: The Storied Life of A.F. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin - a lovely, easy and enjoyable read. Loads of book references, main character is a bookstore owner, his new love is a publisher's rep. For readers, not much to dislike!

What's Next: I have a few picture books that I own that still need to be read, and guess I'd better get to my #MustReadIn2014 list. So.many.choices! 

Have a terrific reading week everyone!

30 comments:

  1. Thank you for your honest opinion about A Snicker of Magic! I think reading other people's raving reviews of it may have caused you to have high expectations! That happens to me so often- for example, We Were Liars.

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    1. I think you're right, Earl. I should have read it after the first review, and alone. Different books fit different readers, too.

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  2. Hi Linda, I totally agree with you about Snicker of Magic. I enjoyed it very much, thought it had really interesting characters and a unique plot, but I did not love it as much as I thought I might based on the reviews of others. Charlie and kiwi sounds really interesting. My partner teacher teaches a bit of evolution. I will surely tell her about this one. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, too, Gigi. Charlie and Kiwi was a terrific beginning to the ideas of evolution; your partner will love it!

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  3. I know what you mean about Snicker - there was a point in the story (fairly early on) when the author veered off into a type of precious zaniness that I fond hard to take and contrived. But I did appreciate the warmth of the relationships described and the inventiveness of the language - the flights of fancy, I suppose. I had been reading a series of YA books that were dark and sad, and I appreciated Snicker's sesne of warmth and hope. Miss Emily is in my Summer pile of TBRs - so looking forward to it! Have a wonderful week, Linda!

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    1. Thanks for your opinion on "Snicker", too, Tara. I loved most of the premise of it, just got a bit bogged down sometimes. Miss Emily was a sweet story-hope you enjoy it. Have a good week, too.

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  4. Must read SNICKER. I've heard so many wonderful things about it!

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    1. It is definitely worth the read, Laura.

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  5. I am one that loves loves loves Snicker. In fact, I have 60 4th graders reading it as their extended text right now! But, I also know how you feel. As I was reading Flora and Ulysses I kept wondering when I was going to love it. Never happened for me. You almost feel let down after hearing how everyone else loves it! But, like you said, different books for different readers!!! I just bought The Storied Life. Would love to say I'm going to get into it soon, but…. Hopefully by June :) Have a fantastic week, Linda!

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    1. I agree, Michele, not everyone loves every book. I feel the same about Flora and Ulysses, but know that many kids and adults like it a lot. Hope you enjoy The Storied Life... It's a good, good story.

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  6. I'm with Michele - I was one that loved Snicker, but I understand your points, and not every book is for every reader. I'm reading it aloud to my fifth graders now. It's a good read aloud. I can't wait to get The Storied Life. I picked it up at the bookstore last time I went because I had heard so many good things about it. :-) Miss Emily sounds really good!

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    1. I'll look forward to what you have to say after the read aloud, Holly, and what the kids think too.Hope you enjoy The Storied Life...

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  7. Gabrielle Zevin is coming to Michigan on Wednesday and I can't wait to hear her talk about her new book. I've heard such great things about it.

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    1. How exciting is that, Beth. I'm so happy you get to meet her. Maybe she'll come to Denver!

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  8. I am joining the Michele and Holly group! I loved Snicker. The language was wonderful to me. A student read it alongside me and we made word collections on the board that inspired writing. One of my boys wrote a great poem with the word Felicity.
    I did not love Flora and Ulysses. I loved so many of Kate's other books that I was expecting a stronger life lesson. I have Miss Emily in the TBR pile.
    I am still new to the Monday meme. Have a lot of people reviewed 14 Fibs?

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    1. I still haven't gotten to 14 Fibs, Margaret, & don't remember many. You can see reviews on Good Reads. I was disappointed in Flora & Ulssess, too, just couldn't see why it was thought to be so good. There are parts, however, I did love, and the same for Snicker as you see above. Hope you love Miss Emily!

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  9. I have not yet read Snicker of Magic but from all the praise the book has been getting it is certainly one I want to read. I appreciated your honesty about it and I agree with many of the above comments. Sometimes when you read so many positive reviews, our expectations going in are just too high! I'll let you know what I think when I've read it! Thanks, Linda!

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    1. Thanks, Adrienne, another idea is that I should have stopped reading the reviews, allowing me to read with less influence. I will look forward to your ideas about the book, too.

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  10. Everyone is raving about A Snicker of Magic. I really need to get to that one! It looks just as marvelous as you described it. I hadn't heard of the two others you listed, so I am grateful that you are keeping me up-to-date. I hope you enjoy your week!

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    1. Thanks Ricki, hope you enjoy them all.

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  11. I have just started A Snicker of Magic - am reading it because of the reviews. Just finished Anne Quindlen's "How Reading Changed My Life" and loved it. Full of wonderful quotes about reading. Exactly how we respond so differently to books is why we always need to make our own opinions.
    So wonderful books you've read again this week.

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    1. Thanks Beverley, hope you like 'Snicker'. I love that Quindlen book & wish I could get to some of her other recent ones. She is fun to read!

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  12. I still haven't managed to read Snicker. Your take on it is different than others I have read so it will be interesting to see how it goes. Thanks for your reviews.

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    1. Thanks Crystal- There is a lot to enjoy in the book.

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  13. Oh Linda, you've read so much, and you've started reading AJ Fikry. I think it's called The Collected Works of AJ Fikry here in Singapore. I am hoping to receive this one for Mother's Day (hehehhee). Will be reading A Snicker of Magic as soon as I finish reading Last Night I sang to the Monster - which would be in two days' time, I hope. Miss Emily sounds beautiful. Matt Phelan is simply wonderful. I have to find that one. :)

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    1. Yes, I noticed the difference in title somewhere I was reading, Myra. Happy Mother's Day surprises! Hope you can get to Miss Emily sometime- very sweet. Thank you!

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  14. I am planning to read Snicker soon. I admit I am anxious about liking it because it has so much buzz. I worry that it might be too "quaint" for me We shall see. I am a big Charlie and Kiwi fan. I have enjoyed sharing this with groups of children as a read aloud.

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    1. I think next time there's a book like Snicker, I'll read it, then read more reviews. But as I've said, there is much to love in it, too. Charlie and Kiwi was really enjoyable, and so full of good info. Thanks, Carrie!

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  15. I have Snicker in my pile now and found your thoughts so interesting to read. One thing I love about these Monday posts is that they help me have more balanced views of books. It's always helpful to read raves about books that I'm meh about so that I don't dismiss a book too quickly or skip booktalking it. Just because I wasn't wild about it doesn't mean it won't be just the right book for some of my students. I have been reading about Charlie and Kiwi, and it sounds like one I need to get for my floating classroom library. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. There are lots of choices and that's a wonderful thing for us as teachers and for students. I agree, Elisabeth, keep that open mindset!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!