Sunday, November 15, 2015

Monday Reading - Last Week's Wonders





          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
           
       It's my second post today. See the other one for a giveaway! I read quite a few books this week and wanted to share those, too.
 



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


The Girl On The Train - Paula Hawkins
I don't want to give anything away. The story is compelling, but hard to read. I kept going, but didn't want to. I knew early on how it would play out because of the character so thinly developed, and I wondered why. My favorite part of the writing: the voices. Oh those voices, those women that I wanted to yell at and hug all at the same time. Others have disliked it, others have praised it. Haven't you always imagined things going on behind a window as you walk in the evening? The story of Rachel begins with her view as she sits on the commuter train, watching as her old neighborhood goes by. Her state of mind makes things imaginary become real, and so the story begins, with Jess and Jason, a love Rachel sees as something she's lost, something to gain back? Paula Hawkins has had Rachel throw that pebble into the pond, and the ripples widen and widen. It's quite a story.

A Mom for Umande - written by Maria Faulconer and illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung
       This is a fiction story, but based on a beautiful true one. Umande, a newborn lowland gorilla at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado is born to a young gorilla, and she doesn’t know how to care for this new baby, won’t pick him up or take the steps needed for Umande. The zoo keepers take over and for eight months pretend to be his mother. They feed him, play with him, carry him around, and once in while see if his mother won’t begin to bond with him. She doesn’t. A connection is made with the zoo in Columbus, Ohio and a loving mother, an older gorilla names Lulu. It took a few days, but before long Umande had his mother. The backmatter tells more of the story and the extensive research the author did to tell this story. The pictures allow us to see the story, too, with sweet pictures of Umande and his early life.

When Dad Showed Me The Universe - written by Ulf Stark and illustrated by Eva Eriksson

         From New Zealand,
        Dad took his young boy out on a cold night. He said he wanted to show him the universe.  The boy tells about this journey, the magic and the surprises, the fact he needed to look up instead of down. Although looking down made him see some beautiful things too.
        It’s a rather quirky book, the boy so trusting, and the dad so earnest.  They looked and talked and chewed gum as the stars shown brightly. The ending is pleasing, a pull away from the serious contemplation of the universe, and funny for the young boy. I think there might be lessons here for both adult and child. Funny is good; it’s good to laugh. Sometimes adults want to be sure their children have special knowledge, and children take that seriously, but also want to laugh.


The King and the Sea - written by Henry Janisch and illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch
          I love the mix of collage cut-outs using patterned papers and crayon drawings in this collection of very short stories. A king tries to assert his power over a number of things, like rain, the sea, and a trumpet, but soon realizes that these things, among others, follow their own rules, not the king’s. Full of philosophical wonderings, the king does learn that his power is limited, and that’s okay. When reading the book to students, I wonder what they will take from the stories? The book will be one to read and discuss more than once.


A Bear’s Year - written by Kathy Duval and illustrated by Gerry Turley

        Written in verse, the story takes the reader through the year with pages filled of one bear and her cubs. Simple pictures and text make this for younger readers and could be a mentor text for telling a story that includes the arc of a year in any life, animal or human.

Bear and Hare Go Fishing - written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
           Two friends, delighted to go fishing together. Bear does all the fishing, almost, and hare enjoys just being with bear, creating a chain of daisies and dipping into the basket for snacks while being continually surprised by what bear pulls from the water: hare’s hat, a frog, a roller skate! There is a time when bear tires, takes a little nap, and the surprise ends the story. Emily Gravett’s illustrations delight in this happy book, for the very young who’ll enjoy predicting what comes from the pond next.

How To Heal A Broken Wing - written and illustrated by Bob Graham (Lisa’s)

         In a big city, a little boy, among hundreds of people ignoring it, sees a bird that’s fallen with a broken wing. Nearly wordless, the illustrations beautifully tell the tale of loving parents helping their boy take the bird home to care for it, and with time and hope, helping it to heal, and fly again. This could be discussed as a metaphor for an act of kindness that can happen anywhere if only we notice when it’s needed.

Now Reading: - Zach Delacruz: Me And My Big Mouth by Jeff Anderson
            I won this book, and it's a delightful middle grade story. You may know Jeff Anderson's wonderful books about teaching. This is his debut middle-grade novel. Poor Zach, a good kid, but speaks (sometimes) before he thinks. Oops! 

Next: This Side of Wild by Gary Paulsen, Red by Liesl Shurtliff (I have it from Net Galley), The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (a re-read so I can discuss with some friends), and a pile of picture books from the library.

Happy Reading Everyone! Come check out the Giveaway!

20 comments:

  1. I've had Girl on a Train since it came out, but never got around to reading it. I've heard all sorts of things about it too. I'm hoping that when I start it, after hearing negatives and positives, I'll be pleasantly surprised! I guess I'm not expecting much, so hoping for higher expectations!

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    1. It wasn't easy reading, but different because it was an adult book & I wanted to finish it. There are some parts so good, but others were hard. Good luck with it, Michele!

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  2. I am filled with possible ways to use A Mom for Umande after reading your review here. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Luckily, our local library has a copy.

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    1. It's a book of many layers, Cheriee. Happy you found one at the library!

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  3. We have a Bear window display right now and I've been surprised at hot many cute bear books - like the ones you mentioned- are out there. I've been debating about the Dad Universe book.

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    1. I know what you mean, I just checked out another from our library, Snowy Bear! I think I should make a list, and find my favorites. A Bear's Year is very fun, Earl.

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  4. Zack Delacruz was interesting, but the whole chocolate sale thing seemed far fetched. Interesting that the author is a teacher. Hmmm.

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    1. I just finished it, and know what you mean, but it depends on the teacher who just let it happen, I think. Maybe she saw something in Zach we didn't see. Sometimes middle grade books have a 'quickness' of solving problems, not so complex.

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  5. Just reading the description of A Mom for Umande got me feeling a little teary. One I'm definitely going to have to get.

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    1. It's a wonderful story, and especially considering all the work that they did to help this young gorilla thrive. Hope you like it, Elisabeth.

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  6. I read The King and the Sea this week too. I loved it, but I would be so curious to hear responses from children; I don't usually think of "Philosophical wonderings" as being super appealing to kids, but this may be a format where it its!

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    1. I guess one would have to already have had those conversations from other books, too. I'm not sure either, but I enjoyed it very much.

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  7. Such an interesting variety of books. I added A Mom for Umande to my next elementary order. It sounds good. Check out my week here. Happy reading!

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  8. Your mysterious review of Girl on a Train makes me really want to read it! I think I may get that one on audio next. :)

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    1. It might be very interesting to 'hear' it, Ricki. Thanks. I will watch to see what you think.

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  9. I absolutely love Wolf Erlbruch - I think I ordered this particular title for my current research project - I am looking forward to studying/examining a few of his other titles. We are on the same book wavelength with Girl on a Train!

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    1. Glad to hear your idea about 'train'. Wolf Erlbruch is new to me, but I did love this book. Reminded me of James Thurber's approach to talking about life, little tidbits! Thanks, Myra.

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  10. A MOM FOR UMANDE looks like a beautiful book. Animals can teach us so much about compassion.

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    1. It is very special, and you're right, caring for animals can move right into caring for other humans, Laura. Thanks!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!