Sunday, September 14, 2014

Monday Reading


 Sheila at Book Journeys started It's Monday! What are you Reading?, a meme where bloggers share the books read recently. Then, Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers, started one with a children's focus. Come share your own reading!





Lots of terrific picture books this week, including a longer chapter book with pictures! I'm almost done with Revolution by Deborah Wiles; what a great read it is!  Next: Finish Revolution, then I have so many to catch up on. Probably will start The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson-still not read!

        I reviewed a new poetry collection by J. Patrick Lewis last Friday for Poetry Friday. If you need a new collection for your classroom, I suggest you find Everything Is A Poem.



          Summer camp isn’t what her mother  loved, in fact, it’s what Eleanor hates, but as the days move along, and she keeps doing the activities she thinks she dislikes, she has a few surprises. It’s a story with a few hard remarks in the beginning, but Eleanor has a good friend almost immediately which helps, and the camp counselor is supportive no matter what. It’s a sweet story of doing something hard, and discovering that you can do  those hard things.


             An injured magpie and a one-eyed dog have created a mutually helpful relationship, but a jealous fox comes along to prey on their inner wishes. Sadly, it's a story that teaches the parable, "be careful what you wish for" and the bird and the dog lose much more than they gained. There is some hope left at the end, but this is a story that's for older students, to pore over the fascinating illustrations that seem to come alive, and to ponder the actions and choices made.




             
             “His face was always twisted into an angry frown” is part of the description of a greedy man who, after a long life of thievery, learns what a good life can feel like.  From the beginning there is sympathy for him with his pale face from always working at night and his bent and shriveled body from too much hiding in dark places. It begins with the sight of a gold coin in an old woman’s cottage window, and continues as he searches for it, finds it missing, and follows the old woman’s journey in order to rob her. Along the way, he needs help. In order to find her, for example, he must cross a river, but in order to be taken by a boat, he must first help dig the potatoes for those who have the boat. The story is predictable, with experiences of work and eating meals with people in order to find the old woman. I hope to share this soon with a group of children. I know they will love guessing what’s next, see those small changes in the thief cleverly added by Alma Flor Ada, and celebrate the wonderful ending. The illustrations are rather dream-like, perfect for a fable.


          What a marvelous book filled with terrific graphic pictures and simple sentences within each illustration. For example, there is "I am in the cheese, said the hole." and "I am in the herd, said the sheep." I think young students will love it for its repetition, but older students will love the pictures. My book-sharing friend brought this to me yesterday and I'm glad she did!


            When studying different habitats, what better choice than to examine Julia’s house for lost creatures.  I read this to a group of young primary students this past week & they loved it! It’s the perfect gesture of kindness for a little girl to open her home to those who need one. When living together, there is a bit of a crisis, but Julia has an idea, and it all turns out beautifully. It’s a must read for young children, a clever and imaginative look at kindness and cooperation



            It’s hard to describe this marvelous counting book that is not for the youngest child, but older ones who can take the time to examine closely each page as farm animals are added, starting with a flea! Each time, it’s mostly black and white animals that fill up the page, and as the artist, Gianna Marino, adds them, it becomes a puzzle, the counting, and seeing where she has hidden them.  And really they aren’t hidden, just camouflaged in the blacks and whites, all in plain sight! It’s a marvel to see, with a terrific surprise at the end.


          A story about friendship that's a little quirky when the animals who are friends need to change in order to help the crabby crab. It might make a good read aloud when the conversation turns to including others, and sometimes telling people you'd be happy to be friends if they weren't so crabby!



         This, like other stories in picture books, has a surprise at the end. Sweet little dog Ted needs a home and while he is willing to try many kinds of homes, none quite fit. This is one of those fun repeating scene stories until the resulting ending, just right for Ted.
The illustrations enhance Ted’s sweet personality in soft watercolors.

          I wondered if Aaron Becker could show us another story so filled with adventure as he did with Journey, and he has. Again, I pored over the beautiful, detail-filled pages, finding new things each time while imagining the story. I loved anticipating the “what’s next” and think it would be wonderful to sit with a small group, each one adding to our group story.  What a terrific book!

23 comments:

  1. Can't wait to get me hands on Quest! Your review of Fox was spot on, Linda. We have used it as a springboard for debate in fourth grade, as well as about what we look for and value in friends. You've given me others to look for--thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Melanie, I've never used Wild myself, so glad to hear it works for that. I think I loved 'watching' the story in Quest better than Journey, but both are marvelous.

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  2. Gorgeous picture books Linda. I loved Julia's House and can't wait to read Quest. I hope you are still loving Revolution. I just finished it. Impossible Knife is another intense, wonderfully done title. Enjoy!

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    1. Yes. If I have time, might finish Revolution today. It is wonderful. I'm so impressed with her weaving of the story, the pictures, the words she's
      included. Thanks, Carrie!

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  3. A perfect place for Ted looks fun. I have that on my list to check out!

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  4. I LOVE Fox - such a rich story, and I've used it as a thought provoking mentor text for so many reading and writing mini lessons. I hope you'll like the Halse-Anderson book, Linda - another great read.

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    1. I've known about Fox for a long time, but never just sat down to read it. Glad to hear you love it Tara, & have used it, too!

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  5. I think Like Bug Juice was my least favorite of the three in Sterberg's series, but I did still like it. I have an aversion to camp stories for some reason! What a wonderful selection of PBs! I am caving this week and purchasing Julia's House for Lost Creatures and of course I need my very own copy of Quest! Most of my students in Children's Lit last semester listed Journey as their favorite PB of the semester, so I want to be sure I have Quest to share too.

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    1. I haven't read Journey in a while, but I think I enjoyed Quest even more. I just started reading the Sternberg books, & I didn't enjoy the Bug Juice one as much either, but it will reach those who've had camp experience. The pickle juice one is terrific, now to find the other one. Julia's House... is wonderful-loved it a bunch. Thanks Elisabeth!

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  6. Did you see that Sternberg has a new, middle grade novel? I have it... just don't know when I'm going to read it... Loved the Eleanor series. I think the last one was my favorite.
    Quest was beautiful. Shared it with ELL kids last week and I loved hearing their observations!
    I have Julia's House just haven't read it yet...

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    1. Oh, thanks, Michele! I will look for the new Sternberg one. Maybe I read about it on someone's post? Glad to hear about students and Quest-I loved it!

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  7. In this Book looks absolutely lovely. I love books that are different or unique, and it seems as if the simplicity of this one would capture me. Thank you for sharing it, and I hope you have a wonderful week, Linda!

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    1. Thanks, Ricki, hope you do as well! Yes, you've said it right, In This Book is unique, wonderful to look and look. I would love to do a project with kids using it.

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  8. Wow, what a great long, list! Went to reserve Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, only to find two books with that same name were published this year - how odd is that?

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    1. That is odd, wonder what they're all thinking with the title? Thanks, Katie!

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  9. Thank you for telling us about so many great books. We can't wait to get Quest, In this Book and Julia's house. Fox is one of our favorite mentor texts for writing workshop.

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    1. You're welcome! As you may have seen, I've known about Fox, but never read it-what a wonderful book! Hope you enjoy the others!

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  10. I'm glad you liked Eleanor's story. I am a fan of all of her books.
    I look forward to reading Julia's story. I have it on hold from the library.
    Kroscozka's newest looks great as well!

    Thank you again for sharing so many great books!
    Happy reading this week :)

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    1. Thanks Kellee-many good books arriving this month! These books were all pretty special! Happy Reading to you, too!

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  11. Thanks for the poetry collection recommendation - I am always looking for new ones to add to my collection! I have seen so many posts about Julia - can't wait to read it myself! One Too Many also looks great - love picture books that appeal to the older students! Have a happy week, Linda!

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    1. Thanks, Adrienne, hope your week moves things forward in BC. I showed One Too Many to older students (middle school) & they loved it. The art is simply mind-boggling. Julia is fun and lovely, illustrations full of creative ideas!

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  12. Hi there Linda, FOX had such a huge impact on me, I thought that it was an immensely powerful book, so thought-provoking, and the ending was just staggering. I am so glad that you found it. You are right in noting that it is for older readers.
    I am so envious that all of you seem to be enjoying Quest now - I don't think it's available in our libraries yet. Looking forward to reading it soon. :)

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Having a conversation is a good thing!