Sunday, January 25, 2015

Monday Reading


           Link up with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers. and Sheila at Book Journeys.  Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR.

         Number one read from my MustRead2015 list!
The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp - written by Kathi Appelt


         I love the voice Kathi Appelt gives to her characters, animal and human. Her story-telling style is wonderful, makes me want to sit with the story teller and listen! This story is about a young boy, Chapman who lives with his mother in Sugar Man Swamp, running a "sort-of" breakfast/lunch place, trying to make ends meet. Chap misses his grandfather Audie very much, a lover of all the critters in the swamp, but especially the Sugarman. There are those true blue scouts, two thoughtful and adventurous raccoons; Gertrude, a large diamondback rattler; and wonderful villains, human and animal. Another thing I loved is the marvelous images Kathi writes page after page, like "Hope swam like a fish right up into his chest." and the very next page: "The little fish of hope that Chap had just experienced swam right down the toilet." I know middle readers will love the adventure, be able to predict some things and be surprised by others.


Back of The Bus - written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Floyd Cooper
               Slowly, slowly this important story unfolds, told by a young boy at the back of the bus, riding home with his mother. He plays with a marble, and we first get a glimpse of Mrs. Parks from the tailor shop when she rolls the marble on the floor groove back to the boy. Slowly, we can begin to predict what day this is, although the boy at the end sees only a glimmer, but feels that it's important too. He hears the shouting, sees the policeman take Mrs. Parks away, and Mama says, "There you go, Rosa Parks, stirrin' up a nest of hornets." The boy also notices that his mama's got Mrs. Parks' lightnin'-storm eyes now." There is much to delight in while reading this story of our history, the subtle message of courage, the ideas that help the prediction of what's next, and the beauty of the illustrations, people up close, feelings falling right off the page. Beautiful story, and well told here.

Pardon Mewritten and illustrated by Daniel Miyares
             I've seen this book reviewed, but often don't read all of the words in fear of too much given away, so I won't give anything away either, but just say you "must" get it and read it, preferable with a group of young children. They will notice things, and then shout, and you will need to tell them to wait and not tell too much. It's terrific!
                
A Letter for Leo written and
illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
             There are a number of books about saying goodbye out recently, like The Farmer and The Clown, yet this one is another one to know, to relish the sweetness of the developing friendship as well as Ruzzier's illustrations. Each page not only moves the story along, but add details about the characters and the plot. For example, we see Leo in his living room, making a bed for his newfound friend, a found baby bird. And in the background, there is a bookshelf showing his love of books and several other trinkets. Later in the story, there is Leo and Cheep sitting at the table, but out the window is a tree, with new leaves-spring is coming. And what that means is that Cheep will soon be on his way north. The thread that binds the story is that Leo is the postman, delivering faithfully, but never receiving a letter of his own. The rest of the story is for you to predict and discover. This book is just satisfying all the way through.

Merry Christmas, Merry Crowwritten by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Jon Goodell
             I know, it's another Christmas book, but had to tell about this so you can find it for next year if you need another good poetic holiday story about a crow who works hard to give everyone a Christmas surprise. "A button here, a feather there/A crow can find things anywhere!"

Reading--Port Chicago 50, at school, & just starting Going Over by Beth Kephart!

32 comments:

  1. Back of the Bus sounds so interesting. Adding that to my Goodreads now!

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    1. It is a beautiful way to tell Rosa Parks' story. Thanks, Earl.

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  2. I loved True Blue Scouts, and I also reviewed A Letter for Leo and Port Chicago 50 this week. Am definitely interested in Back of the Bus, thanks!

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    1. I enjoyed them all as you can see. I'll look for your opinion of A Letter for Leo, Katie.

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  3. I too loved The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp, especially since Lyle Lovett narrated the audiobook I listened to. I will give Pardon Me a chance with little ones, but I think that older ones will appreciate the darkness in it more. I'm looking forward to Back of the Bus. Thanks

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    1. My granddaughter who is five enjoyed Pardon Me, & "saw" what she was supposed to see, but she likes other stories better. Thanks for pointing that out, Cheriee.

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  4. Letter to Leo is a recent favorite for me. How I love Sergio Ruzzier's art! True Blue Scouts was a surprise and a delight--a surprise because it's basically a recipe for everything I hate in children's lit (especially the intrusive twangy narrator!) and a delight for all the reasons you mention. So glad I got over my prejudices and read it! I am hoping to get to Port Chicago 50 soon--but then I have about 100 books I'm hoping to get to soon, LOL. (Including Going Over! Carrie's rave review made me want to pick that one up for sure!) And yes, all the #mustreadin2015 titles as well.... Ah well. Too many books to read is a good problem to have!

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    1. I am not always a big middle grade fan, but some of the students at school really loved True Blue Scouts, so I felt compelled, & I enjoyed it, too! I know what you mean about the books, I just keep plugging along, Elisabeth!

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  5. I want Pardon Me! I need to find that. I don't usually like stories with animals as the main characters, but you've intrigued me with The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp. Have a good week, Linda!

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    1. Kathi Appelt in The True Blue Scouts (and The Underneath) does the animals beautifully, but you have to realize (or believe) that animals can talk & think. They are both well written. I loved Pardon Me.

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  6. Thanks for telling about A Letter for Leo -. We love the way you paired it with The Farmer and the Clown. Books about saying good-bye would be a wonderful text set.

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    1. I think there's even another one that connects with a spring goodbye, but can't remember it. Perhaps someone else will?

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  7. Great books Linda! I listened to Sugar Man on audio. It was narrated by Lyle Loveitt which I thought was a strange choice, but his drawl worked nicely. I enjoyed it but have not found a students who has connected with it. I thought Pardon Me was really cute!

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    1. Several students at school who are in the Newbery club last year liked it. Perhaps it helped that they thought it was a possible? Yes, Pardon Me tickled me, too, Gigi.

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  8. Great round-up, Linda! I look forward to reading these!

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  9. I love Kathi Appelt's writing! Thank you for sharing this one. I've heard about it, but never read a review.
    I loved Pardon Me! Made me laugh out loud. Leo and Back look like ones I need to pick up.

    Happy reading this week! :)

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    1. Thanks, Kellee. I get to meet and introduce Kathi at my state reading conference in a few weeks. I am excited! Yes, Pardon Me was very funny!

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  10. All of these titles are new to me except True Blue Scouts, which I've avoided because I really didn't enjoy The Underneath. You've made me curious about Pardon Me, and I'm adding the other books to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing, Linda!

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    1. All of us have different tastes, I know, but I do enjoy these rather mythical adventures. Enjoy the others, Catherine!

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  11. Another week of fun books! My daughter and I read Sugar Man Swamp together and neither of us loved it. I like how different books speak to different people, though. My daughter and I are very similar, I knew as we were reading it wasn't going to be a hit for her either! But I passed it along to a 3rd grade class for a read aloud and they loved it!
    Pardon Me had me drawing comparisons to I Want My Hat Back :) A little tongue in cheek humor???

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    1. Yes, I wrote above, each of us likes different things for sure. I am not an expert in middle grade fiction, prefer the YA edgier work, but I do love quirky books & True Blue... is one. I didn't think of Pardon Me in that way, but you're right, one must re-look at both books!

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  12. My kids are loving stories of peacemakers and life-changers. (Which I adore about them!) I'm working on getting Back of the Bus. They will love it. I had never heard of Pardon Me before, another one to check out soon! Happy Reading!

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    1. Thanks, Kendra, Back of The Bus will be so good for your class. I hope you'll find it soon!

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  13. Ah! I love Kathi Appelt. I really want to read The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp. Thank you for this lovely review with the beautiful quotes! :)

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    1. Hope you will enjoy it, Ricki. Happy you enjoyed the review.

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  14. I hope you enjoy Going Over. I did rave in big ways about this book! I've got my husband reading it now. :-) I have True Blue Scouts on my #MustReadin2015 list. I must find A Letter for Leo. Have the feeling I will love it.

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    1. It's your review that had me find Going Over, Carrie. So far, starting well! Yes, I hope you love Letters for Leo! Happy Reading!

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  15. I read True Blue Scouts and enjoyed it very much too! The characters have a lot of character :)

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    1. Yes, they do! Happy to hear you enjoyed it!

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  16. I keep on wanting to read a Kathi Appelt novel, but never get around to doing it. I'm not very big on animal stories, so I hesitate a little bit. I am glad that you shared your musings here in great detail which gives me an idea of what to expect. Thanks for the picturebook love too - some are unfamiliar to me - particularly Back of the Bus - I love altered perspectives in picturebooks. :)

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    1. If you don't like stories with animals as characters within a 'sort of' realistic story, it won't work for you, but it was a fun story that wove in several themes. Thanks, Myra.

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