Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up. Sheila at Book Journeys began this sharing, and it's now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date..
This book series of nine books is all about farms, beginning with A Year On The Farm, and now a just released Christmas story, Casey's Bright Red Christmas, all by Holly Dufek and illustrated by Paul E. Nunn. If you or your children or students are interested in farming, this is the series. It reminds me of the Cars movies, where each vehicle has a name and a personality, only this time the vehicles are farm machines: Fern the farmall, Big Red the magnum, Kellie the combine, and more. They take part in the business of farming, perform important jobs, all managed by a girl named Casey and a worm named Tillus, who is in charge of the weather report. My granddaughters six and four sat interested in both stories, asking more questions about how the farm machines worked. New information is always fun.
The Christmas story finds Casey working at her farm chores, becoming more and more tired. She doesn't feel good, and there are many chores to do in addition to all the Christmas decorating. Finally, taking a break, she lays her head on the kitchen table and falls asleep. The machines wait and wait, wondering how to decorate and find the perfect tree without her. And that's the surprise because they do manage, helping out because it's needed. The story shows the goodness of friendship, the illustrations are cheerful, and each book has added extras. For example, A Year On The Farm gives added farm facts, and Casey's Bright Red Christmas gives a sugar cookie recipe.
The publisher sent these books to me for reviewing, and also let me offer a giveaway. If you are interested in receiving Casey's Bright Red Christmas, please let me know in the comments. I'll announce the winner next Monday.
Glory O’Brien’s History of The Future - A.S. King
This is another story that I’ve put off reading in spite of the love given it in many reviews. I’m glad I finally did read it. Glory has but one friend, Ellie, who lives across the road in a commune with her parents and others. We soon find that in the earliest days of her parents’ marriage, they came to this place with Ellie’s parents as hippie types, artists, against consuming, letting the children raise themselves. Somehow it didn’t work for Glory’s Mother, because she committed suicide when she was four. Glory tells the story of her life as she moves through the days surrounding her high school graduation. She discovers about the family’s past, her self and her future, a worry throughout her life as she’s often wondered if she would be like her mother, and end her life before it really got started. I loved it, enjoyed the strong, real voice of a teen figuring out tough stuff.
Zen Socks - Jon J. Muth
Like the other books by Muth with Stillwater, there are wise stories and gorgeous pictures. This time Stillwater, Leo and Molly all bring something to share with each other. Patience and kindness, no bad guys and taking one step, then another, to solve a problem fills this book. The books are wonderful to read aloud and talk through with others. Perhaps those ‘others’ will bring more to the book than one can if reading alone. I imagine good conversations.
Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats - Alicia Potter and Birgitta Sif
Miss Hazeltine welcomed all those cats who needed extra lessons in being brave, and she taught them. There are lessons in pouncing, how to hold tails high, and as the story reads, “How Not to Fear the Broom.” One of the cats, whose name was Crumb, is the most frightened of anything, even misses her food once in a while. One time more and more cats arrive, so many that Miss Hazeltine is soon out of milk. She leaves Crumb, who was watching Miss H. as usual, and told her that she's return soon. Well, she doesn't, and that's when someone must step in the save the day. If you haven't read it, you'll need to in order to see that sometimes we do what we must for someone, in spite of how hard it is. I loved the illustrations, shadowy or bright in just the right places.
Now Reading: Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary - Gail Jarrow
Next: I've never read the The Turtles of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye. It seems like a good one to read right now.
I reviewed this Christmas story two years ago just so I could share it with others, but this time I want to remind you of it if you missed it before. It's still in print! Published in 1964, re-issued in 2005, Star Mother's Youngest Child by Louise Moeri and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman is for older children, maybe 8 and up, but it is a beautiful story of one "unforgettable Christmas."