Monday, January 23, 2023

Monday Reading - Fun to Share


    Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! 
       It's been snowy and cold all week with more to come. Hope all of you are doing great this beginning of 2023! 

       Most any age will enjoy this jam-packed book about all things concrete, from the earliest makers to the Romans, on to today's engineering marvels. Did you know that cement is different from concrete? Did you know the Romans had an original recipe for concrete? Imagine how they constructed the Colosseum, then the Pantheon! And then, it was lost. Years and years later, a man in need of the secret of a lighthouse that would not keep burning down, John Smeaton, perfected a new recipe. Larissa Theule packs a treasure of information in this history, including the important use of stone, too. She entertains readers with both text and speech bubbles, cleverly illustrated by Steve Light. Real people are depicted in a somewhat humorous fashion. Then there are skyscrapers and dams and gorgeous creations like the Sydney Opera House plus an intriguing art installation in a desert. Theule adds a bibliography at the back. It's a fantastic book for all but especially those budding engineers who ask "How?" 
Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

        As Penguin Random House tells us:  "Inspired by Dadaism’s rejection of reason and rational thinking, and in cahoots with Blanche Fisher Wright’s The Real Mother Goose, this anthology of absurdity unravels the fabric of classic nursery rhymes and stitches them back together (or not quite together) in every clever way possible." 
       I say you have to read it to believe it. Jon Scieszka's books never fail to be entertaining and educational in that he calls out the usual to be the "unusual" and with illustrator Julie Rothman partnering in his mash-ups, readers will see a new way to imagine rhymes like "Humpty Dumpty", "Old Mother Hubbard", and "Jack Be Nimble" in book reports, in news reports, secret codes, even translations into other languages! The most fun is that there is a lot of back matter showing off the "how you, too, can do it" part. That includes Esperanto, pig Latin, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and more! For middle grades and up, I see kids who want to break away from the usual loving this book, a new way to kick out the old! 
         Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

       Found at the used bookstore where I volunteer, a book by Joseph Bruchac from years ago that feels like a great fit for reading to a middle-grade or upper-elementary class. It brings in a contemporary story of a young Native American boy whose family has moved to Brooklyn for his mother's work. He is the only one like him and is teased with native stereotypes constantly. Weaving in the truth about his heritage with help from his father, readers are led to wonder if he can find the courage to find peace with his classmates instead of fighting them. Danny's ironworker father visits Danny's class to tell stories of his people's history and heroes which help a lot. It's a short novella that I'm happy to have found.
       Like all of the Steads' tales, this is beautiful to see and special to read. Three animals, a mule,
a milk cow, and a miniature horse, stand at a barn door waiting for the sun. They eventually realize that the faithful sun is late, not rising as it should have. Readers know those animals must be hungry! They go to ask Barn Owl what they should do and he sends them off on a journey to places they have not been before, to the edge of the world! Owl tells them to take Rooster along, and the magic, along with some fun questions about dreaming, happen along the way. What fun it will be to read with young children! It was fun for me, too! 

       I didn't realize this was part of the Christmas story when I found it at my library but knew I would love anything written by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. Park goes back thousands of years to create a new story of the three wise men. A young boy, in desert surroundings, follows his father on long walks looking for certain trees in order to gather resin, what they call "tears", something of value for their livelihood. Park adds the uses for resin within this story. The days are long, hot and hard but the boy learns, and at one tree they find quite a treasure, a huge "tear", nearly the size of an egg already waiting. 
At the market, the merchant is excited for waiting at his stall are three strangers in brightly colored robes who are shopping for a gift for a baby. That "egg" is something the boy prizes and then, so do the men. 
Within the author's note, Park explains the few words actually in the Bible about the wise men, one passage being from Matthew where he mentions the three gifts, "gold, frankincense, and myrrh". "Myrrh" is the resin, often used in funerals as an embalming oil and for incense. Bagram Ibatoulline's illustrations are realistic, g
         Cheriee recommended this lovely story about a single woman with a sad past because her parents died in a car accident when she was only four. She moves to a lovely little village, and immediately buys a small cottage, with a phone booth! That is the beginning of "The Littlest Library". It becomes her co-star as she creates a special library from beloved books left from her own sweet Grandmother Mimi who raised her, open to anyone who needs a book! There are complications, as you can imagine, both nefarious and romantic. It's a nice story that happily includes references to famous books, including some great quotes. I enjoyed it.

What's Next: I'm stuck with a big stack, including Odder and The Ogress and The Orphan, and others. They have been on the Mock Newbery list. Do you have a favorite?


  1. The Real Dada Mother Goose sounds very amusing! I didn't know about this one. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I really wanted to read Concrete after reading your review here. Instead I just added it to my for later list. I'm so happy you enjoyed The Littlest Library! I put a hold on The Real Dada Mother Goose because our grandkids are coming for Family Day and my husband loves to read nursery rhymes with them.

  3. I'm a sucker for any bookish read so The Littlest Library looks intriguing to me.

  4. Thanks, Lisa, Cheriee, & Earl. Hope you enjoy the ones that spoke to you!

  5. I recently read The Littlest Library too and found it to be a fun, ultimately "comfort" read. I seem to be needing more of those lately. My book clubs have been reading beefy (in page number & themes) books lately and sometimes I just want to escape. Requesting Concrete for Jack and the Stead book for all the boys. It's so joyful to read with them. Ollie meets me at the door with books in hand. I have The Third Gift in my Christmas book collection. As always, so fun to check in with you and see what you're reading.
    I haven't read many on this year's possibilities for the Newberry - I loved Ain't Burned All the Bright. I just looked at predictions on the Heavy Medal blog and I'm requesting The Last Mapmaker and The Ogress and the Orphans (which arrived on Libby, but I returned since I had no time to listen when it came).

    1. Wishing you had left your name but I am happy to read about your own reading, that you know some of these I shared & what else you've loved, too. Thanks!


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