Monday, December 18, 2023

It's Monday - Last Books of the Year!


        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! 

        This will be my final post until the new year. This year, Christmas celebrations stretch from Christmas Day until early January because of various family plans. I wish each of you a lovely holiday along with a very happy start to 2024. 

         I thought this was such fun that I wrote a poem as a response! 
         The book made me do it! Hilarious antics, made even better by Andrea Tsurumi's art!
          My Review
Here are things about monsters
who give kids a fright,
also things on the pages
that’ll last for the ages –
at least till tomorrow night.
Just follow the page numbers,
they add to the theme
of silly, yet wise,
a dreamy surprise.
No matter the goofy,
I like that it’s spoofy
and a poet’s extreme
that may make you scream
with laughter!

Don't miss this one!

Thanks to Candlewick Press
for this copy!

        If you want to read a short picture book that lays out the history of racism after the Civil War, read this book. Although Black people were freed, Jim Crow laws set in place in southern states kept them segregated and left out of many, many things. This particular story of MacNolia Cox's journey and the Scripps National Spelling Bee makes one's heart hurt. It starts with her journey but continues on until finally, in the early 1960's, local spelling bees opened to African Americans. Weatherford tells of MacNolia, who went to the National Bee and was well supported by her community, yet she had to stay with a Black doctor because the hotel that housed the other "white" contestants didn't allow Blacks. They also couldn't use the elevator at the banquet but climbed the stairs and were seated at a separate table. And there is more. Can you spell O-U-T-R-A=G=E=D?  I wrote that because on each page, Weatherford ends with a word that encapsulates the content of that page in a question, as I did. It's a clever way to knit the theme. Frank Morrison's paintings fill every page with gorgeous illustrations of the action described. There is an epilogue and a selected bibliography at the back. 

Thanks to Candlewick Press
for this copy!

           Every beloved character is in this 'extra-long' new Mercy Watson tale, and there are some new ones, too! Mercy, as the title says, has gone missing and Deckawoo Drive is all a flutter about finding her. As DiCamillo writes: "What had started as a pebble of worry was turning into a boulder of despair." Some are sobbing, the kids are trying to be very helpful, and a new, "maybe?", detective is in on the game, or trying to be. Kate Dicamillo and Chris Van Dusen show the usual expressions either in words or art and envelop the story both in our expectations of the characters that readers know, plus make us laugh at some new ones. For example, a detective who hasn't really had a case actually becomes dependent on a pigeon's help. As the story moves along, butter becomes even more important, it and its smell. Yes, "butter"! You'll find out when you read it and smile all the way through!
            Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

       One more Christmas story!

        This was previously told in 2006 but re-told in 2016 by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by the dear Jerry Pinkney. It's a special story of a magic boot found by lonely Miss Hannah Greyweather who is glad to have at least one warm boot for her left foot! As she gathered wood for her fire, there was that boot! She lives in a ramshackle home and as she goes to bed only wishes she had a pair. What happens to her wishes after that and the amazing surprise at the end makes a delightful and magical Christmas story, made even more special with Jerry Pinckney's illustrations. You'll be pleased with this happy story if you can find it. 

     It's really a short story, but fun to read another mystery by John Dunning and see the Denver locations included, along with the fight by used booksellers to discover the best book that will make them, maybe not rich, but able to live a little longer!

Currently Reading: 
Kent Krueger's newest mystery, The River We Remember. I'm also starting The Little Match Girl Strikes Back by Emma Carroll.


  1. Linda, I hope your weeks of holiday celebrations are wonderful—enjoy your time off from blogging, and we'll look forward to having you back soon! These books look so wonderful—I adore your poem for My Head Has a Bellyache, and I added How Do You Spell Unfair? to my list (Carole Boston Weatherford is so talented). And the new Mercy Watson book looks like a meaningful addition to that series—anything Kate DiCamillo writes is bound to be great. Thanks so much for the thoughtful reviews, as always, and take care!

    1. Thanks for the wishes, Max, and the same back to you, too! I hope you have some fun with some of these, though I know they're not exactly your choices for reading. Happy Reading!

  2. Happy holidays to you and your family, Linda. I'm surprised we didn't receive our copies of the new Mercy Watson last week.

    1. Thanks, Earl, maybe they're in a box hidden somewhere? Hope you find them! Happy Holidays back to you!

  3. Love your poem. That's a fun way to tell your thoughts about a book!

    1. Thanks, Lisa. The book is such fun I just couldn't help it! Hope you'll get to read it soon!


Thanks for visiting!