Sunday, January 28, 2018

Monday Books to Celebrate


        Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!  Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki who share so much with us by taking time to support this meme!

       I have some nice books to share, including one more from #MustReadIn2018 list!



       It is fiction but based on true stories of woman spies in the world wars supported by extended research by the author. And it is one that’s both hard to read and equally hard to put down. Swinging back and forth between a woman spy in World War I and a woman searching for a cousin survivor (she hopes) in World War II, Kate Quinn makes it very hard to switch at the end of each section. She is an expert at leaving one clinging to the cliff and at wrapping up storylines with perfection.
       From my #MustReadIn2018 list!           
          Things don’t always turn out the way one dreams but sometimes the way they turn out are wonderful anyway. There is a girl named Crow and the man who found her named Osh. And there’s Miss Maggie, and though they don’t live together, they are a family strong as any you might know. I will also remember Mouse, the cat who’s part of this family, who turns up at just the right moment like good cats do. Perhaps this is Crow’s story, a baby sent out in a skiff and found across the sea. Yet, it is everyone’s story who searches for who they really are.
        It seems lucky for a baby to survive a voyage alone in a leaky boat, but she did. No one knows from where she floated. As Crow gets older and in the story she is now twelve, she begins to notice things and to ferret out the mystery that was her beginnings. There are both bad people and good people in the story, just enough to make one shiver with fright or with a smile. Lauren Wolk’s beautiful and clever language made me smile more than once. There are books that Crow says “rang bells in her heart”. There is life’s advice that Osh tells Crow: “an island is one thing when a man has a boat, quite another when he doesn’t.” And there are “pocket lunches” which is food enough to fit in one’s pockets. Like so many who have already read this book, I adored it, am sorry I have finished it.


       I didn't know about this beautiful book and it is old, first published in 1974, illustrations copyright in 1990. The official review says that Tolkien thought it an epilogue to the adventures. Bilbo is leaving for the Grey Havens, and as the poem moves through his thoughts, Pauline Baynes has illustrated one large scene and several small parts. Those paintings are gorgeous. The flap says that Baynes was one of Tolkien's favorite artists and she also was asked to illustrate C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. For those who have loved these stories, this will be loved, too, if not already known.


        It’s a must-share with every child. Hopefully, even teens will get the message.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Rot, a mutant potato show us that well in Ben Clanton’s story. He’s a happy mutant potato and when he sees the sign for “The Cutest In The World” contest, he’s hooked and enters! Other contestants find this quite laughable. Just look at that bunny’s cute ears! But beauty in one’s eyes makes all the difference and Rot shows that good thing about life!
        Céline Claire has written many books for children, but this is the first book of hers available in English. I imagine this is our loss, because this story, illustrated so beautifully by Qin Leng, is a wonderful one of a kindness offered, kindness repaid. A blizzard is coming and animal families in the forest scurry to prepare good shelters. A bear and his child are caught out, ask each family for shelter, are turned away, but the foxes do offer a lantern. The ending might make you teary!
         I don’t know why I haven’t read this before. I like the title, close to my blog title, and it is a gorgeous book that should be read way back in September or October. A fox sees a snowflake, knows he must get ready for winter, so moves along asking this question to other animals: “What should I do?” Answers tell about that animal, like a squirrel says to scurry and gather acorns and caterpillars suggest wrapping itself into a “shiny chrysalis” ready to become a butterfly. However, the fox replies he doesn’t even like acorns and is not meant to fly. My favorite page: among other wonderful illustrations by Richard Jones is the page showing bats hibernating in a cave. It is black, black, but if one looks closely, there are slight changes/outlines of bats with tiny glittering eyes. Finally, after additional questioning, the fox decides to be himself, and surprise, another joins him. And they do what foxes do in winter, they dance! Marion Dane Bauer’s poetic and repetitive text is just perfect for talking about winter to young readers.

              I adore finding another bear book to share and to love. It’s not a “new” story, but Jory John has written one full of chuckles that shows no matter how we might like a bit of ‘alone’ time from a friend, it’s also good to have that friend arrive at just the best moment. Bear decides to go out by himself for a bit of camping and fishing in the woods. Duck soon discovers he’s all alone. My goodness! He doesn’t know what to do. At the same time, Bear is not having much luck either. It’s fun, will be terrific to read aloud and let the children guess what’s next, and why it is a happy ending! They’ll also love Benji Davies cute cartoon-like and expressive illustrations.
         Mordicai Gerstein wrote and illustrated this story because of inspiration of a genuine whale rescue, one you can see here. It’s a straightforward story of a man and his son, out to check what looked like a large animal in the water. It is a whale, sadly entangled in their fishing net. The father is upset to lose his net. There is no money for another. He’s unconcerned that the whale is dead. The boy then sees the whale’s eyes open and he cannot let that whale go. What happens next is closer than you think to the real story. Gerstein’s illustrations fill the pages with emotional highs and lows of all involved, most especially that beautiful whale, freed!

What's Next:  for my book club-The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

22 comments:

  1. I also read Shelter this week. Beautiful story! I also read Come Home Already, but forgot to add it to my post. I love the bear and duck characters. They are funny and sweet.

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    1. It's fun that we're finding and reading the same books, Lisa. I liked both, thought Shelter was fabulous! Thanks!

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  2. I really like the picture book series with Bear & Duck, so I’m looking forward to reading this one, too! Have a great week!

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    1. I do, too, Jana. That Bear & Duck are just plain fun! Thanks!

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  3. Come Home Already looks great - I need to grab that one. Loved his others. Isn't Beyond the Bright Sea incredible?

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    1. Yes, I did love Beyond The Bright Sea, sorry I put it off so long! Enjoy Come Home Already, Carrie and with your students!

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  4. I agree completely about The Alice Network. It was indeed "both hard to read and equally hard to put down." I'm hoping there is a sequel to Beyond The Bright Sea.
    I adored Shelter. It is such an important beautiful book! I love the expression on the bear's face on the cover of Come Home Already.

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    1. I too wish, then wonder, about that sequel, Cheriee. Yes, Shelter is marvelous, as was The Alice Network, too. Enjoy Come Home Already, another fun duck & bear adventure!

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  5. I loved ROT so much. I need to buy a copy for my library, stat!

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  6. We are almost finished reading The War I Finally Won. Based on your description, Beyond the Bright Sea is next on our list. Can't wait!

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    1. Terrific! I was sad when I finished The War I Finally Won and sad again when I finished this one, Beyond The Bright Sea. Hope you enjoy it, too!

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    1. You're welcome, Earl. I am so glad I found it!

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  8. I just love everything that Mordicai Gerstein creates - put it in my To-Read stack on Goodreads. Love your description of Beyond the Bright Sea - makes me want to read it, stat! I've read (and will be featuring) I love you Already by Jory John - so so fun!

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    1. Yes, Gerstein's books are ones we all savor. Enjoy Beyond The Bright Sea when you can, Myra! Thanks!

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  9. Beyond the Bright Sea has been on my list for awhile. I am starting to feel like I might be the last person to read it. I really appreciate your review of it.

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    1. Thanks, Ricki. And I thought I was one of the last ones to read it! Hope you will get to it soon!

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  10. Rot is just so hilarious. I gave it to a friend who has a funny sense of humor. He about died laughing. I will have to find the Bilbo book. I didn't know it existed.

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    1. So glad that Bilbo is new to you. It was to me and it is wonderful, Crystal. I hope you can find it!

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  11. The Alice Network looks like one I'll mention to a coworker.
    Rot has gone over VERY well with young readers :) They can't get enough of his "back side"!!

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    1. Good to hear about Rot! I really enjoyed The Alice Network, but it was tense! Thanks, Michele.

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