Saturday, October 26, 2013

Early Chapter Books

The Cybils is an award given by book bloggers. In my Book Whisperer workshop yesterday a lot of people asked about early chapter books for kids just getting into chapter books. Here is a great list from the  Cybils.

What are the Cybils? Check this out.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Zella Zack and Zodiac

Zella, Zack and Zodiac

Goodreads summary:

Zella the zebra helps Zack the ostrich when he is young and helpless. When he grows up Zack returns the favor by saving Zella's young offspring from a lion.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks (Kate and Sara Klise)

Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks

Good Reads Summary:

The Dry Creek Middle School drinking fountain has sprung a leak, so principal Walter Russ dashes off a request to Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc.

...We need a new drinking fountain. Please send a catalog.

Designer Flo Waters responds:

"I'd be delighted...but please understand that all of my fountains are custom-made."

Soon the fountain project takes on a life of its own, one chronicled in letters, postcards, memos, transcripts, and official documents. The school board president is up in arms. So is Dee Eel, of the water-supply company. A scandal is brewing, and Mr. Sam N.'s fifth grade class is turning up a host of hilarious secrets buried deep beneath the fountain.

This is quite an entertaining little story. The story is all told in the form of letters. As the story unfolds you start to realize things aren't as them seem, and something is awry in this little town. I really enjoyed the read.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hank Zipzer: I Got a D in Salami (Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver)

Who knew Henry Winkler was an author? This is a story full of his humor. This book is actually the second book in the series (I couldn't get the first one at my public library) and I was excited to read it to my class. Sadly, it wasn't a big hit. I think, perhaps, the story didn't happen fast enough for a read-aloud. We decided to abandon it as a class - but I had to finish it. A friend had recommended the series to me and she said her son could often be found giggling away as he read those books.

Here's the summary from Wikipedia:

The story is about Hank, a boy in 4th grade, and it starts off with him getting his first report card - which is not good news. He goes to his mom's deli to show her. While this is going on, his mom is making a special salami to give to a leader of a supermarket chain. Hank decides to get rid of his report card before his parents see it. He gives it to Robert to destroy. Robert puts it in a batch of salami. Once his mom is done making many batches of the salami, she picks the one with the report card in it. Hank and his friends try to put a stop to the delivery but they don't stop the deliveryman in time. While this is going on Hank figures out he has learning problems. In the end Hank begins eating his sandwich while visiting the Press for the large Supermarket chain and gets a business deal for his mom's deli.

Even though it was not a hit as a read aloud, I think I will still try to get a bunch of these books for my library corner. Someone's going to catch on to these, I'm sure!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan)

I enjoyed the talk of a bookstore and lure to the mystery of books in this story. I kind of felt like I was an old fashioned geek peering into the techno lives of 20 something's who haven't quite found their place in life yet and are wandering from odd job to odd job.  I think it's a great story, but sadly, it is my guess that it likely won't stand the test of time because it won't take too long until the references to technology are outdated. But it's a good one for right now! In one part of the story the author totally got me with the comment, "and if you're amazed at all this techno trivia you're probably over 30"....or something like that. I laughed out loud when I read that.

Mostly, I was glad Google couldn't beat a book. That's how it should be.

I started having a feeling maybe there was more symbolism to this book than i was understanding so I began googling names: Penumbra, Griffo Gerritzson, etc., as well as quotes like:  I work at the opposite of Google.  I would love to ask the author if there is something behind all that.

I read that the book cover won an award for one of the best book covers. It is cool. Mine didn't glow in the dark though. Rip off.

Good quotes:

Re: e-Readers "I have one and I use it most nights. I always imagine the books staring and whispering, Traitor!” 

"Her home is the burrow of a bibliophile hobbit."

“Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines -- it's hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.” 

“He has the strangest expression on his face- the emotional equivalent of 404 PAGE NOT FOUND.”

“Neel takes a sharp breath and I know exactly what it means. It means: I have waited my whole life to walk through a secret passage built into a bookshelf.” 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Molly's Pilgrim (Barbara Cohen)

Recently Peirce and I went to a play called The New Canadian Kid at Storybook Theatre. It is a story about a family that moves to Canada. The twist is only the new kid speaks English so the audience understands. Everyone else speaks a form of jibberish that I sometimes thought I understood, but mostly didn't. It was a great way to convey what it is like to be new to a country. It has really given me pause to think since I have a number of children in my class who are new to Canada.

This story follows the same idea. Molly is a Jewish Russian who has immigrated. One of my students read it and wrote about it in her Response Journal. Since my ancestors were Jewish Russians, it caught my eye. It is a quick read (30 pages?). Perfect for kids just starting to get into chapter books.

In the story, Molly's class is asked to make some dolls for their Thanksgiving diorama. Molly's mom makes a doll, and the kids make fun of her because it doesn't look like the traditional pilgrim. They learn that pilgrims aren't just people who lived long ago. Good little story!