Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Marvels (Brian Selznick)

I was going to read this book months ago. I had borrowed it from the library and it was in my car when my car was stolen! Fortunately, car thieves tend to ignore books and I got it back. I returned it to the library and it took a few months to get it again.

I love this book!! Brian Selznick has done something amazing again. He seems to have a thing about theatre, runaways, history and French. 

This story is based on a real story - someone who tried to save stories, like the characters in this story. One interesting thing was that the real person this story was based on was greatly influenced by Peter Ackroyd's writing! 

I love the touch of French, the quest to learn about a family's past, and although it seems like a little thing, the gold edges on the pages. It is a beautiful story!

Goodreads summary:

Caldecott Award winner and bookmaking trailblazer Brian Selznick once again plays with the form he invented and takes readers on a voyage!

Two seemingly unrelated stories--one in words, the other in pictures--come together. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Spark (John J. Ratey, MD)

On p. 245, the author says: personally, researching this book has we doubled my enthusiasm for the benefits of exercise and replaced intuition with hard, scientific fact.

Me too!

Research consistently  shows the more fit you are, the more I resilient your brain becomes and the better it functions both cognitively and psychologically. If you get your body in shape, your mind will follow.

He advises readers to do a varied incident intensity of walking, jogging, running, and sprinting. In broad strokes, then, I think the best advice is to follow our ancestors routine; walk or jog every day, run a couple times a week, and then go for the kill every now and then by sprinting.

He suggests doing aerobic exercise 6 days of the week for 45 minutes to an hour. Four of those days should be on the longer side, I'm at moderate intensity, and two on the shorter side, and high-intensity. On the shorter high-intensity days, include some form of strength and resistance training. These day should not be back to back.

He opens up the book by talking about these concepts in schools. I really want to investigate this further and figure out how I can implement it in my classroom.

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Handful of Stars (Cynthia Lord)

You know those kid movies that have lines that just the adult get? Kids an parents both often rave about those movies.

This book is like that. It would be be great one to read with your favorite child.

Lily's mother died when she was two and now she lives with her grandparents. There is so much she doesn't know about her mother. Her friendship with Salma, a girl just there for th summer to work in the fields, gives me her experiences that give her new insights into her mother.

P. 110 I wonder sometimes, if time travel were real and I could magically go back and meet her when she was my age, would we like each other? I've always been scare that I'd like her, but she wouldn't like me back. She'd think I was boring.

Favorite quotes:

P. 113 I wish that book (Blueberries for Sal by Rob McCloskey) were real, except for the bear parts. I wish Mama could just turn around and realize she'd gone too far ahead without me. Then she'd turn around and find me.

Personal Growth
Being in the pageant and painting the bee houses is proving a point: you can be anything you want to be.
P. 151 what I love about art is that anything is possible. Bees can be pink. Trees can be purple it's like taking the world as it is and then swirling it around to show how it could be.

P. 121 Sometimes understanding comes in little drops, and other times it rushes in like the tide, rolling everything over as it comes.

P. 125 Hannah and I had been two peas in a pod for a long time, but she had left that pod first.
Now I had, too.

Personal growth: she discovers she is a flower, not a weed....a Tigerlilly....just like her mother named her.

She discovers she needs to "put the template away and just paint freely".

P. 170 That"s something we could learn from dogs, isn't it? They don't keep looking backward at what they've lost or asking, 'why me?' They just move on and find a new way to be happy again."

P. 170 Giving up is admitting you're beat and walking away. Letting go means you're setting something free. You're releasing something that's been keeping you stuck. That takes faith and more than a little courage.

I love that Lilly's family is French Camadian.

P. 128 She wanted to show everyon that French Canadian girls were as good as anybody else.
"It's hard to imagine anyone felt that way about French Canadians."
Pepere nodded. "Time change. And it's good that they do. But it only happens if someone is brave enough to be first."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tiptop Cat (C Roger Mader)

A simple, yet compelling story. The story runs from left to right right over on to the right hand page. You can really sense the cat's adventurous tendencies. It reminded me of stories of my dog escaping out of the sunroof and getting picked up. Oh, silly pets!

This story kept everyone's attention and had them meowing along the way. :)

A curious cat plus a big fall leads to squashed confidence. How this cat bounces back will encourage readers everywhere to try, try again. Eye-catching art and crisp graphic paneling invite even the youngest of children to get back on their feet to explore the city alongside TipTop Cat. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Bureau of Misplaced Dads (Eric Veille)

I didn't really like this book. It reminds me of the trend in the world to portray men as bumbling idiots. I wondered if it was a commentary on dead beat dads. The whole story just made me a little uncomfortable.

Goodreads summary:

When a boy's father goes missing, he looks for him at The Bureau of Misplaced Dads, where at least 20 or 30 dads wander in every day and wait for their kids to fetch them. There are bearded dads, a dad named Michael and even a Super Dad, but none of them belong to the boy. He is about to lose hope when he suddenly remembers what he and his father were playing just before the disappearance. Like the best dads, this book is a little bit kooky and a whole lot of fun. (less)

Grandfather Tang's Story

Great for teaching tangrams. Good connection between literature and math.

Goodreads summary:

Illus. in full color. "Drawing on a Chinese form of storytelling with seven
shapes cut from a square of paper, Tompert recounts the tale of two fox
fairies. Parker's pen-and-watercolor art adds drama, while the tangram insets
will motivate children to try their own versions. Ingenious."-- "Bulletin, 
Center for Children's Books."

Equal Schmequal

Great visuals for teaching the concept of equality.

Goodreads summary:

What does it mean to be equal? Mouse and her friends want to play tug-of-war but they can't figure out how to make teams that are equal. Nothing works until Mouse starts thinking mathematically. Wonderful illustrations capture Mouse and her animal friends from whiskers to tails.

Mad Scientist Academy - The Dinosaur Disaster

This will be perfect for my future palentologists. One student was just mentioning yesterday that he plans to become one! I probably won't use this one as a read aloud. It will be a good addition to our library corner, nonetheless.

Will definitely look for more book by this author though. We are CRAZY about graphic novels in our classroom.

Goodreads summary: 

Enroll in Dr. Cosmic’s class of clever monsters at the Mad Scientist Academy as they solve the greatest challenges in science, in this perfect blend of adventure and exploration—it’s the Magic School Bus for a new generation.
Welcome to Mad Scientist Academy! The first day of school is always exciting, and Dr. Cosmic’s new students can’t wait to get started. After their teacher reveals that their school pet, Oscar, is a dinosaur, they quickly realize Dr. Cosmic has an unusual teaching style. To find Oscar, the class has to follow the clues through the realistic dinosaur exhibit Dr. Cosmic designed and built over the summer. But when a malfunction causes the robotic dinosaurs to come alive, this prehistoric exhibit feels a little too real!
With a mad genius for a teacher, things don’t always go as planned. Armed with high-tech handbooks and the scientific method, Dr. Cosmic’s class is ready to solve their way out of any disaster.