In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts and http://www.unleashingreaders.com for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! This was a week packed with reading stamina redevelopment. Surgery distracted me as did recovery. Often, my brain concentrated much better on a tv show than a book. Additionally, I’ve read a few novels recently that I’m not sharing here but instead later in other blog posts… but I did enjoy some treasures:
Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat by Anna Branford – Early Chapter Book- Realistic Fiction, 1st-4th grade, good for a read aloud- I bought this book because of some positive reviews, and because I liked the connection to habitats since my Year 2 students study about them during the year. I thought that perhaps this might be a good title either to share during that time or to have for a teacher to read aloud. I loved how the story came together with a little girl who learns to think outside her own needs and understand her impact on a creatures habitat. Especially appreciated how some of her actions were negative so that you could discuss choices as well. Great, cute book. Sibling issues also were an important component of the story and it was lovely to see how those developed too. Goodreads Summary: “VIOLET MACKEREL quite likes helping. She PARTICULARLY likes to help SMALL THINGS. So when Violet makes friends with a tiny ladybird called SMALL GLORIA, she wants to give her a HELPING HAND. But sometimes it’s hard to know the best way to help a SMALL THING – especially when it’s not in its NATURAL HABITAT.”
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt – Animal Fantasy, 4th grade and up – I love reading Kathi Appelt’s books. I love how she makes me slow down and say, hey, wait a minute! I love how she integrates in legends that can be completely feasible and accepted within her stories. I love how she creates characters that I just love and adore and other characters that I think are completely horrible. I love how her narrator chats with the reader in natural ways from “We’re almost to the finish line, sports fans, so hang in.” This is the first Kathi Appelt book that I don’t wince about sharing with students under fifth grade. I know that all children would love the humor in this book. They’ll fall for the animals who have special responsibilities in their community. They will love reading about a boy who is thrown into a tough situation and worries about having to be the man of the house when he is still a kid. I’ll also probably push my readers of Carl Hiaasen’s books Hoot, Flush, and Scat towards this beautiful story since there are ecological connections as well in this book. So happy to finally read this book. Goodreads Summary: “Meet Bingo and J’miah, raccoon brothers on a mission to save Sugar Man Swamp in this tale from Newbery Honoree Kathi Appelt. Raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah are the newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The opportunity to serve the Sugar Man—the massive creature who delights in delicious sugar cane and magnanimously rules over the swamp—is an honor, and also a big responsibility, since the rest of the swamp critters rely heavily on the intel of these hardworking Scouts. Twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn is not a member of any such organization. But he loves the swamp something fierce, and he’ll do anything to help protect it. And help is surely needed, because world-class alligator wrestler Jaeger Stitch wants to turn Sugar Man swamp into an Alligator World Wrestling Arena and Theme Park, and the troubles don’t end there. There is also a gang of wild feral hogs on the march, headed straight toward them all. The Scouts are ready. All they have to do is wake up the Sugar Man. Problem is, no one’s been able to wake that fellow up in a decade or four…
Like Bug Juice On A Burger by Julie Sternberg, illustrations by Matthew Cordell – Realistic Fiction/Novel in Verse, 2nd grade and up – I love coming back to visit Eleanor in a another book after Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie. This time she’s headed to camp and has precious experiences that I actually identified with- joining up with a group that knew one another before, not swimming well, bug bites, not-so-enticing food, and more… but how she rises to the occasion and grows is what I loved about this book. Terrific read aloud for spring time with students. I especially appreciated when she had to write what she thought about camp twice, once for her perspective at the beginning of camp and then also after being there for a while… would be a good writing prompt for children. Example: we began learning kickball this week, write how you feel about the rules, being on a team, etc… then return after three weeks to the prompt again to have the student reflect on how they’ve grown. Great book. Fantastic simple text that makes me call it a novel in verse. Goodreads Summary: “I hate camp. I just hate it. I wish I didn’t. But I do. Being here is worse than bug juice on a burger. Or homework on Thanksgiving. Or water seeping into my shoes. In this sequel to the critically acclaimed Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, Eleanor is off to summer camp. At first she’s excited to carry on the family tradition at Camp Wallumwahpuck, but when she gets there she finds icky bugs, terrible food, and worst of all: swim class, where she just can’t seem to keep up with everyone else. But as the days go on, Eleanor realizes that even the most miserable situations can be full of special surprises and that growing up is full of belly flops.”
The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett – An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger – Realistic Fiction/Humor – 4th grade and up – Enjoyed every minute of this read. Such fun to read from different perspectives life in a middle school. Here’s my favorite thing: the message of the power of a group led its way through the story. I think sharing this with a class would be quite exciting… Key discussion question I’d use with this book: where else can the power of a group help? I also appreciate how testing is presented in this book with overreaction and simple solutions that children and parents don’t appreciate. Goodreads Summary: “Dark times have fallen on McQuarrie Middle School. Dwight’s back—and not a moment too soon, as the gang faces the FunTime Menace: a new educational program designed to raise students’ standardized test scores. Instead, it’s driving everyone crazy with its obnoxious videos of Professor FunTime and his insidious singing calculator! When Principal Rabbski cancels the students’ field trip—along with art, music, and LEGO classes—to make time for FunTime, the students turn to Origami Yoda for help. But some crises are too big for Origami Yoda to handle alone: Form a Rebel Alliance the students must. United, can they defeat the FunTime Menace and cope with a surprise attack from Jabba the Puppett?”
Fortunately, The Milk… by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell – Fantasy/Science Fiction, 2nd grade and up – I was amused by this story. I look forward to promoting it with my 2nd-5th graders and additionally asking them to use something nearby to create a story. Don’t want to give away the story plot but it was quite humorous and entertaining. Honestly, the illustrations really made the story come to life and I never tire of Chris Riddell’s creations. I’m a huge fan of Neil Gaiman so was quite amused at the ridiculousness of this story… Goodreads Summary: “”I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.” “Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.””
Little Manfred by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Michael Foreman – Historical Fiction, 3rd grade and up– not for the sensitive ones though, many war scenes throughout. I can thank my beautiful friend Tanja for bringing this book to me as a gift recently…many friends are a little wary of purchasing a book for me because they never know if I’ve read it before… so I was excited, as was she, at a book I hadn’t read by Michael Morpurgo. Did you know there is a Michael Morpurgo month celebration in November? What a prolific author. I adore his work. I hope to get back to school after some bedrest and celebrate with my students! Little Manfred is about some siblings and a dog playing at the beach and their serendipitous meeting with two elderly gentlemen which leads the children to understand and learn more about their mother’s childhood along with understanding more about WWII. Heartbreaking story in addition to being quite touching. A little bit of an easier read which might be perfect for that 5th grade boy who is a reluctant reader and additionally wants to read a ‘war’ book. Goodreads Summary: “In the Imperial War Museum is a wooden Dachshund, carved by a German prisoner of war for the children of the British family with which he stayed after the fighting ended. This is the story of how it got there… When the Bismarck sinks, one of the only German survivors is taken on board a British ship as a prisoner of war. Sent to live with a host family, Walter must adapt to a new way of life, in the heart of an enemy country. Gradually, though, he finds a friend in ten-year-old Grace. So when the time finally comes to go back to Germany, it’s an emotional parting, with Walter leaving Grace with only a carved wooden dog to remember him by. The question is, will Walter and Grace ever meet again? In 1966, with the World Cup coming to Britain, that opportunity may just have come along…”
Audiobook I enjoyed:
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis – Fantasy, High School – I honestly got lost sometimes in this audiobook and had to backtrack. I just didn’t “get” part of the story that I probably would have been fine with if it wasn’t an audiobook… but it was beautifully narrated and was a fantastic fairy tale gone wild… from Jack and the Beanstalk to The Frog Prince to a few other stories mashed together mixed with the angst of a high schooler, I enjoyed the adventure overall. Goodreads Summary: “It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true. When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises. The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past – and hers?”
Non-Fiction Picture Books:
Special portion from my beautiful sister: In pink, as it should be! (Thanks Rachel for sharing these books, can’t wait to read most of them soon!) TITLES:
Thanks again Rachel for sharing your favorites too!
Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader! Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.