Friday, September 27, 2013

If You Find a Rock (Peggy Christian)

I love this book. We study Rocks and Minerals in Grade 3 and the way she talks about rocks in this book totally relates to how kids think of rocks. Forget the science stuff. Rocks are for wishing, standing on, skipping, splashing, sifting, and rubbing away as a worry rock.

What kid doesn't love rocks?!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

Life of Pi

Good thing for book club! I would have never persisted with this book otherwise. I also would have never got the symbolism. Weird book though, I have to say!

Something about it though, makes me keep wondering, could it be true???

Goodreads summary:

Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Huge Harold (Bill Peet)

I have a boy in my class who loves rabbits - so Huge Harold is a must read! After we read it he came to me and wanted to know if I had any other rabbit books. I had actually tried to get him interested in some previously, by telling him about them in his Response Journal - but he said he wasn't really interested. Today, though, I showed him those same books and suddenly he was extremely interested. Goes to show that just telling someone about a book doesn't do the trick. You need to do a little book commercial to warm them up to a book!

Huge Harold

Right away my kids noticed this is a rhyming book - and they loved it.   They loved how Harold is big and awkward. One of my kids is crazy about rabbits because he is getting a bunny as a pet soon, so he was especially interested.

Good Read summary:

The world seems a cold place to Harold, a very overgrown rabbit, until he finds his niche as a champion trotter.

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Dad Thinks He's Funny


My Dad thinks he s funny. Whenever I say, I m hungry, Dad says, Hello Hungry. Pleased to meet you. My Dad thinks he's funny. But he's not.

This is a great book to read to help children understand the little idiosyncricies of language. It totally nails dads and the funny things they like to say.  When I read it to my class we talked about each page: what he said, what he meant, what other meaning it could have, etc. Then we read it all over again and they really enjoyed it. The more you read this book the more kids would get it.

I think it would be especially good for children where English isn't their first language.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Do Not Feed the Boy (Irene Latham)

Don't Feed the Boy

This was an interesting read for me. I almost didn't finish it. It really didn't grab me for about the first 80 pages. Page 81 was where it really got interesting.

Here is the summary from GoodReads:

No kid knows more about zoo life than Whit. That's because he sleeps, eats and even attends home-school at the Meadowbrook Zoo. It's one of the perks of having a mother who's the zoo director and a father who's the head elephant keeper. Now that he's eleven, Whit feels trapped by the rules and routine of zoo life. With so many exotic animals, it's easy to get overlooked. But when Whit notices a mysterious girl who visits every day to draw the birds, suddenly the zoo becomes much more interesting. Who is the Bird Girl? And why does she come by herself to the zoo? Determined to gain her trust, Whit takes the Bird Girl on his own personal tour of the zoo. He shows her his favorite animals and what happens with them behind the scenes. For Whit, having a friend his own age that he can talk to is an exciting new experience. For Stella the Bird Girl, the zoo and Whit are a necessary escape from her chaotic home life. Together they take risks in order to determine where it is they each belong. But when Stella asks Whit for an important and potentially dangerous favor, Whit discovers how complicated friendship and freedom-- can be.

I don't think this book would be a great one for my current grade 3 class, nor for book club. The book focuses on issues that are a little older than my kids. Whit develops a friendship with Stella that is a little obsessive. He also makes some really bad choices. Although, discussing the things he did would be quite interesting in book club.

Other interesting topics:

  • zoos - ethical or not?
  • Whit's mom is the main breadwinner in the family and has a job where her husband reports to her. Not a common theme in books. The dads aren't the strong patriarchal types - Stella's dad is unemployed because of an accident and doesn't do anything but sit in his chair, and Whit's dad is an elephant keeper.
  • Rebelling against your parents and keeping secrets from your parents.
  • drug use (Stella's dad appears to be addicted to prescription drugs because of an accident)
  • running away (Stella's brother has run away after a confrontation with dad, Stella runs away and Whit leaves the zoo, something which is forbidden)
  • homeschooling versus bricks and mortar schooling (Whit is homeschooled and is quite lonely for friends his age)
  • learning to be happy with what he have (Whit lives in a zoo! Who wouldn't love that? But he doesn't love it)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pingo (Brandon Mull)


Love this book! Pingo is Chad's imaginary friend. However, he gets to an age where he decides he's too old for imaginary friends. That doesn't necessarily mean Pingo ceases to exist.

What happens when your imaginary friend turns into your imaginary enemy?
Are imaginary friends actually real?
"Pingo teaches children that imagination has no

limits and no age. Brandon Mull and Brandon

Dorman have created a lovable, mischievous,

and memorable character. Move over, Tigger,

make some room, Hobbes Pingo is coming

and bursting with imagination!"Chris

Schoebinger, Product Director, Shadow