In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts and Unleashing Readers for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! It is Chinese New Year, happy year of the horse! I love celebrating Chinese New Year here in Hong Kong. It is beautiful both visually and culturally to see how everyone celebrates from flower markets to lion dances, quite special and fun. While it is Chinese New Year, I’m on holiday, so I’m looking forward to reading many more wonderful books within the week!
Picture Book Heaven:
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts – Inspiring, creative, inventions, and self confidence… love the messages: “Don’t let others make you lose sight of your ambition.” Beautiful illustrations, fantastic characters, and humourous creative inventions all combine to a powerfully wonderful book. I loved how there was a lovely, easy to read, fact page about women’s history connections to airplanes. Lovely read aloud that connects to non-fiction book topics- flight, transport, women’s history, inventions and more. I was very disappointed that I didn’t already have a copy of Iggy Peck, Architect, another book added to the ordering list. Cannot wait to read this as well. Goodreads Summary: “Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal–to fly–Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose inisists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit.”
Paul Meets Bernadette by Rosy Lamb – Beautifully created picture book with thoughtful approach to life in a fishbowl, learning to look outside your own little life, and interpret what you see. Particularly fond of these little goldfish. Goodreads Summary: “Paul is a fish who used to go around in circles. He made big circles and little circles. He circled from left to right and from right to left. He circled from top to bottom and from bottom to top. What else was there to do? Until one day Bernadette drops in and shows Paul that there is a whole world out there, right outside his bowl, with so many things to see. A banana-shaped boat! A blue elephant with a spoutlike trunk (be quiet when she’s feeding her babies)! A lovely lunetta butterfly, with tortoise-shell rims! Simple saturated paintings play off this charming ode to an active imagination — and the way that life changes when a bewitching creature opens your eyes.”
What’s Your Favorite Animal – Eric Carle and Friends – Nick Bruel, Lucy Cousins, Susan Jeffers, Steven Kellogg, Jon Klassen, Tom Lichtenheld, Peter McCarty, Chris Raschka, Peter Sis, Lane Smith, Erin Stead, Rosemary Wells, Mo Willems – my favorite collaborative book of the year. Wow. Loved reading the personal, sometimes humorous stories by each of these illustrators and loved the different favorite animals that were in this book. I enjoyed seeing what illustrators my son recognized, only a few slipped by him including Steven Kellogg- I must resolve this! Fantastic celebration of illustrators! Goodreads Summary: “Everybody has a favorite animal. Some like little white dogs or big black cats or hoppy brown bunnies best. Others prefer squishy snails or tall giraffes or sleek black panthers. With beautiful illustrations and charming personal stories, 14 children’s book artists share their favorite animals and why they love them.”
Matilda’s Cat by Emily Gravett – I missed when this book came out, just love all book creations by Emily Gravett… Really thought that this one was cute with a little girl who assumes that her cat loves everything she does, but you quickly see the opposite.
I also enjoyed:
Manfish – A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Eric Puybaret – I heard about this book way too many times to put off purchasing it. Wonderful biography about Jacques Cousteau with information relevant for any age and powerful message at the end about how we have some environmental concerns about the future of oceans. Lovely information written in a friendly, interesting manner about Jacques Cousteau’s life, good for an example of a biography to read aloud to a class! Goodreads Summary: “Before Jacques Cousteau became an internationally known oceanographer and champion of the seas, he was a curious little boy. In this lovely biography, poetic text and gorgeous paintings combine to create a portrait of Jacques Cousteau that is as magical as it is inspiring.”
Encyclopedia Brown Solves Them All and Encyclopedia Brown Keeps the Peace by Donald Sobol – Still enjoying moving through this series with my son. We enjoy trying to solve the cases before reading the solutions! Goodreads Summary: “A clown accused of robbery… A mutt maimed by an armed gardener… A pig-shaped teapot… A Cupid who shoots expensive arrows… And a muscle-building tonic that shrinks your pockets!”
The Greatest Star on Earth – Three Ring Rascals #2 – by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise – Enjoyed reading this sequel, I was curious to see if this book would be a stand alone or series book… It certainly can be read on its own but readers would also benefit from reading both hilarious books! There’s the simple message throughout the book which is that teamwork is sometimes better than going on your own to do something. I enjoyed reading this book but honestly, my favorite books by Kate and M. Sarah Klise are the Regarding and 43 Old Cemetary Road series. Just loved that when a doctor visited Sir Sidney that she gave him the prescription, “You should worry less and laugh more.” Quite funny but a prescription I’d be happy to receive… Goodreads Summary: “The rascals from the world s friendliest family circus are back in the second installment of this smafunderful * fully illustrated series. Everyone knows Sir Sidney s Circus is the best in the world. But who’s the “star” of the show? “The Circus Times “is having a contest to find out. Just thinking about it gives Sir Sidney a worrywart, and it s quickly clear why. Soon after he goes off to rest, the performers start thinking too much about winning the trophy and not enough about putting on a good show. Meanwhile, it looks as if ringmaster-in-training Barnabas Brambles might need some help managing the crew, so Bert and Gert, the sly brother-and-sister mice who travel with the show, set out to write a book to teach him how it’s done.”
Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs – 4th grade and up, Mystery – Loved reading this first book about a prankster turned sleuth, sometimes the book was a little too graphic with details about the innards of a hippo but overall, really interesting, well developed book. I accidentally read the sequel, Poached, a few months ago, glad to read this book now, things make much more sense! Goodreads Summary: “12 year old Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt Fitzroy has got a murder on his hands and trouble on his tail. Henry, the hippopatamus at the brand-new nationally known FunJungle, has gone belly up. Even though it’s claimed he died of natural causes, Teddy smells something fishy and it sure ain’t the polar bear’s lunch. Dealing with the zoo’s top brass proves to be nothing but a waste of time. They want to see any trace of Henry’s death disappear like yesterday’s paper. So Teddy sets out to find the truth. With the help of Summer McCraken, a fiesty girl with secrets of her own, the two narrow down their prime suspects. Is it Martin Del Gato, FunJungle’s head of operations who dislikes kids and hates animals even more? Or J.J McCraken, the owner of FunJungle and Summer’s father, who has more concern for the dough he’s raking in than the animals in the zoo? As their investigation goes on, Teddy gets squeezed on all sides to quit asking questions– or Henry won’t be the only one to turn up dead. The deeper Teddy and Summer get, the more the danger mounts — because when it comes to hippo homicide, the truth can’t be kept in a cage!”
Graphic Novel Revisited:
Jellaby, The Lost Monster by Kean Soo – Loved rereading Jellaby, this time with my son. Great little graphic novel, glad it was republished, can’t wait to update the graphic novel section with this book and the sequel, Jellaby, Monster in the City. Pretty fantastical overall! Goodreads Summary: “Quiet, brilliant Portia has just moved to a new neighborhood with her mom. Adjusting to life without a father is hard enough, but school is boring and her classmates are standoffish — and even Portia’s mom is strangely distant. But things start looking up when Portia mounts a late-night excursion into the woods behind her house and discovers a shy, sweet-natured purple monster. Life with Jellaby is a lot more exciting, but Portia’s purple friend has secrets of his own; secrets that may even lead to the mystery of Portia’s father’s disappearance!”
YA Audiobook –
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – High School – Science Fiction – I haven’t stopped talking about this book since I listened to it. Totally lost in this futuristic society. Brilliant book, refreshing to listen to, great narrator as well! (Whil Wheaton). I loved going back in time mentally to the 1980’s and enjoy that time period that I still enjoy memories within music, games, books, movies, and tv shows… which were key elements throughout this brilliant book. I was disturbed by this future society which has people completely plugged in, spending all hours online in a program, and additionally students attending classes on the same game. Goodreads Summary: “It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune–and remarkable power–to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved–that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt–among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life–and love–in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?”
Adult book I listened to –
Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas – Adult book!- Murder/Mystery/Historical Fiction – I absolutely adore Sandra Dallas historical fiction novels. I get lost in her stories and find her creations fascinating. I listened to her interview at the end and I loved this one quote: “I love dialogue, I could write a whole book of dialogue.” She is quite a brilliant author and also a huge fan of audiobooks! It was difficult to listen to since the time period is during WWII when Japanese internment camps were set up in different locations and this book was from the perspective of a local town girl that has an internment camp set up close by to her home. I’ve read numerous other books about Japanese internment camps in the past and the inequity and hostility are always difficult to read. This book is packed with interesting characters, a horrible mysterious murder, and some characters that make me feel relieved that there were thoughtful, caring people in the world back then. Goodreads Summary: “During World War II, a family finds life turned upside down when the government opens a Japanese internment camp in their small Colorado town. After a young girl is murdered, all eyes (and suspicions) turn to the newcomers, the interlopers, the strangers. This is Tallgrass as Rennie Stroud has never seen it before. She has just turned thirteen and, until this time, life has pretty much been what her father told her it should be: predictable and fair. But now the winds of change are coming and, with them, a shift in her perspective. And Rennie will discover secrets that can destroy even the most sacred things.”
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