Sunday, November 1, 2015

It's Monday!


     
More lovely books!


          Visit Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.  Others join Sheila to share adult books at Book Journeys

 

Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!

This first book meets the criteria for the award challenge at Gathering Books. See the button on the right for more information. Or go here.

Memoir


Island Treasures: Growing Up In Cuba - written by Alma Flor Ida with illustrations by Elel Rodriguez and Antonio Martorell
           I took a while to read this book, savoring each part, a combination of three smaller ones by Alma Flor Ida, her memories of growing up in Cuba. The final one, Under The Royal Palms, won the Pura Belpré award. The writing was slow and easy, sweet times with mostly family, amazing stories like spending time with a great-grandmother who lived in a tiny house next door, one uncle’s reason for becoming a doctor, counting bats in the evening with a grandmother, Alma’s love for ballet and the special person, Gilda, and on. Each one introduced Spanish words (there is an extensive glossary), friends and family (noted also at the back), and a part I loved especially, the flora and fauna of Cuba. This will be a wonderful mentor text for writing memoirs.

Poetry

A Lucky Thing - written by Alice Schertle and paintings by Wendell Minor
          Published in 1999, I am thrilled to have found this book of poetry. If you need a mentor text for using metaphors and similes with the a theme (this time, writing) throughout the book, this is it. With Schertle's wonderfully clever poems, Minor shows well that there is poetry everywhere one looks. Or is it the other way round, with Minor painting, and Schertle writing? A young girl is shown through a window, at a table writing, mixing words and pictures as she writes the first poem, titled Right Here, in the book. Here is part of the poem: "I'll dig a pond right here./Dig down deep until/the water/and the words/run clear. Later, when Schertle writes Poem About Rabbit, she writes that she is "writing a poem/about//rabbit.//A pink-eyed poem/that watches/from the//edges/of the page, that nibbles/at the//corners/of my mind." It's a treasure of a poetry book, among others, of course, but I'm very glad I have read it.

Picture Books


The Houdini Box - written and illustrated by Brian Selznick

        It was fun to find this book, one I did not know, published in 1991, twenty-four years ago. It isn’t really about Houdini although the endpapers show some wonderful old posters advertising his shows. A young boy, Victor, is inspired by Houdini and wants very much to meet him, to discover his secrets. He does manage to meet him by chance, and receives a letter from Houdini with a date for their meeting. So excited, the boy goes that very day instead, and is handed a box by Houdini’s wife, a locked box, and then the boy learns that Houdini has just died. It is Halloween, 1926. It isn’t a great story, but interesting in its mystery. You’ll need to read this to find how it ends. One discovers more connected to this imagined tale in the one page of backmatter by Selznick. The wonderful thing, however, is that Selznick’s illustrations are there, the beautiful ones we’ve loved in his recent books. And, on the very first page of the story, Selznick used the word, “wonderstruck”.  I don’t know if he remembered that word, but it was great fun to read it here in this older story.

I Really Like Slop - written and illustrated by Mo Willems
           I had to explain what “slop” was to my granddaughters, remember well a “slop” bucket kept for chickens and pigs on a grandparents’ farm. Dear Piggie is so excited to have some slop, but Gerald is quite a bit less thrilled. They go through the usual silly learning about something, arguing about it, too, but eventually, like good friends always, they compromise.

Monster Trouble - written by Lane Fredrickson and illustrated by Michael Robertson
            Winifred Schnitzel was not afraid, but those monsters kept her awake all night. She tried everything, until at last finding the perfect, and sweet, solution. Big, bold illustrations fill the pages with colorful cartoon-like drawings. It was such fun to read aloud because it’s written in rhyme.

The Sky Is Falling - written and illustrated by Mark Teague
           A new and hilarious version of Chicken Little keeps the rabbit, a squirrel and a cat on their toes, despite their skepticism, and the fox is tricky- aren’t they all? - but the ending is a big and nice surprise.  Pages fill with chickens dancing while showing hilarious expressions, and the other animals join right in.



Found - written and illustrated by Salina Yoon

        Simple and colorful, black outlined drawings grab immediately, like others by Salina Yoon. It’s a sweet story of kind Bear who finds a stuffed bunny and searches for its owner. He searches well, but toward the end becomes rather close to the bunny. The end finds Floppy’s owner, and Bear is sad to say goodbye. What happens next is a pleasant surprise that is predictable (even for my young granddaughters), but it’s still nice. Kindness fills this story, one to make anyone smile.

Sloth Slept On - written and illustrated by Frann Reston - Gannon
           Totally unrealistic, but a fun adventure as three children discover a creature asleep in a tree, and, unable to awaken it, take it on an adventure to see if they can find out where it belongs. As they guess places, like far, far away, the illustrations cleverly show them as they imagine that ‘far, far away’. Finally they discover it’s a sloth and belongs in the rainforest, but the surprise is at the very end after all the trouble they’ve gone to. The illustrations are gorgeous, cut-paper collage.

Still Reading, and nearly finished with Margarita Engle's beautiful Enchanted Air. Not sure what's next, many in the stack!

Happy Reading Everyone!

22 comments:

  1. I put Island Treasures on hold at the public library. I like her Dancing Home. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Karen. I liked Dancing Home too, & also have Love, Amalia yet to read.

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  2. I read the newest Mo Willems books, too. My students love the Elephant and Piggie books. They are really funny, but they have a sweet message about friendship, too.

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    1. They are really a pleasure, I agree, Lisa. I think we start with a smile on our faces when we get ready to read! Thanks!

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  3. Island Treasure sounds like a good read. I will have to check it out. I just finished Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle which also talks about life in Cuba.

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    1. It is good, Joanne. I am almost finished with Enchanted Air, enjoying it very much. Thanks!

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  4. I am so eager to get my hands on Sloth Slept On. I very much liked the other book by Frann Gannon Reston I recently read--and was very impressed by the illustrations. I do need to get Enchanted Air. Reading so many good things about it.

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    1. The cut-paper collage work by Reston is creative and clever, Elisabeth. I am enjoying Enchanted Air, like all the others by Margarita Engle. Thanks!

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  5. New Elephant and Piggy! I'm going to have to put a hold on this pronto, because it is going to fly off the shelves as soon as it hits the library!

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    1. Yes, probably already is, Jane. Enjoy!

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  6. I love Alma Flor Ida so I have to get and read Island Treasures: Growing Up In Cuba. I'll have to wait to read it since it isn't available at our local library yet. I'm really envious of all the bloggers who have already read Elephant and Piggie. I'm waiting for our copy to arrive.

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    1. So glad you like Alma Flor Ida. As you can see, I do too. Enjoy the new Mo Willems too!

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  7. Great books here, Linda! Thanks for your review of The Houdini Box. With The Marvels out, it's nice to read some reviews of his older books!

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    1. I didn't know it at all, just a 'find'. It isn't great, but the art is lovely, just like the newest ones. I was so pleased to see that word "wonderstruck" in his text. Thanks, Michele.

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  8. I want to find A LUCKY THING. THe snippets of poems you shared are just enough to make me want more!

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    1. I hope you can find it. I love Schertle's work, but this book blew me away!

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  9. So many wonderful titles - Thank you so much. We are looking forward to reading Island Treasures

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    1. It is lovely, & I hope you do find and read it!

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  10. Love the picture books you mentioned! I love Found, Sloth, and Monster!
    I love Selznick's work, and I would love to read Houdini. Thank you for reminding us of it :)

    Happy reading this week!

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    1. Thanks, Kellee. It was a good week of reading.

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  11. I'm intrigued by Island Treasures - it sounds like it would pair well with Enchanted Air, which I loved. I didn't know about Houdini - just finished The Marvels!

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    1. There are some connections between the books, both memoirs about Cuba, Holly. And Crystal just reviewed another memoir titled My Havana. Hope you'll find & read it!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!