I love the realistic illustrations, showing a boy with his dad. This story focuses on a young boy whose father left before he was born, but now he's d...moreI love the realistic illustrations, showing a boy with his dad. This story focuses on a young boy whose father left before he was born, but now he's dreaming of what his life would be like if his father was there. I wonder how young children will react to so much focus on the boy's dreaming of his dad. There are so many rich pictures of the boy with his dad. It's a big leap to understanding this isn't happening. So my guess is save this for 1st graders, not preschoolers.(less)
I really liked this story of a young girl who is fed up at home, especially with her parents having to focus on the new baby so much. "'Not gonna eat m...moreI really liked this story of a young girl who is fed up at home, especially with her parents having to focus on the new baby so much. "'Not gonna eat my mush. Not gonna eat it!' I say.
Squishy, yucky, yellow stuff- mush is baby food."
She goes over to Grandma's house - "Grandma attends when I'm talkin' / calls me her Sweet Pea Nonie." Then Grandma takes her to church, along with Daddy.
I loved the ending when Daddy takes her fishing, then swinging at the park. It has a wonderful family feeling, of a dad bonding with his daughter, making her feel special. At the end, they all return home. "'Baby's been missin' me some?' I ask./ Momma nods, attendin' now."
The illustrations are of an African-American family, and are filled with warmth. A great book to share, especially with preschoolers and kindergarteners dealing with little siblings.(less)
This is a fun book to share about a little girl getting to know her dad who lives far away. The preschoolers liked the way she discovers what she love...moreThis is a fun book to share about a little girl getting to know her dad who lives far away. The preschoolers liked the way she discovers what she loves about her dad, and how they can be silly together. It made them think about how much they love their dads, how they like trying on his clothes and being silly with them. I liked the way it shares the story of a little girl whose dad "lives a whole plane ride away."
The kids I read it to had a little trouble understanding why the dad lives so far away, but they understood Molly's feelings - first of apprehension when her dad came to stay with her, and then pride when he told stories to her class, and finally joy with her love for her dad.
A great story to share and talk about dads and different family structures.(less)
Gregor is drawn into a magical world underground, as he follows his 2-year old sister when she is sucked down an air vent in the basement of their New...moreGregor is drawn into a magical world underground, as he follows his 2-year old sister when she is sucked down an air vent in the basement of their New York apartment building. Gregor and his sister, Boots, enter the world Underland - with giant cockroaches, bats and rats. Gregor meets the people of the Underworld, and learns that his journey their was prophesied hundreds of years ago. He is sent on an epic quest in search of his missing father, who is being held captive by the evil rats. There is adventure and fighting, friendship and discovery.
I was really drawn into this audiobook as Gregor searched for his father and cared for his little sister, in this strange and dangerous world. I think this would appeal to boys and girls, in 4th - 6th grades(less)
Alvin is still getting into mischief and wriggling his way out of sticky situations in the second book in this series. While it didn't tickle me as mu...moreAlvin is still getting into mischief and wriggling his way out of sticky situations in the second book in this series. While it didn't tickle me as much as the first in the series, it was a fun read. In the second chapter, Alvin receives a package at the front door.
"I ripped open the kit right there in the driveway. Inside, there were pencils, stickers, handcuffs, and handcuff key, a rope, a Houdini's Greatest Escapes DVD and a gold card.
'Alvin Ho GOLD MEMBER OF HOUDINI-IN-A-BOX do it yourself escapes'
Calvin whistled. 'Dude!' he said."
How great would it be for a second-grader to get a Houdini-in-a-box kit?! Funny situations turn into funnier situations, as the kids make a straight jacket and then Alvin volunteers to be trapped inside his sister's time machine. I liked how Lenore Look was able to turn funny situations into more poignant ones. Alvin got really, truly scared as his sister left him trapped in the box and forgot about him.
"My dad isn't a superhero, but he can pull me out of anything, even from long, tangled boa constrictors that were squeezing the last wheeze out of me.... 'You're my best friend, Dad. You saved my life.'"
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters has more touching moments like these. It isn't full of quite as many laugh-out-loud moments as the first in the series. But it will still make kids happy reading it. It would make a good family read aloud, especially talking about how Alvin learns to be brave during his camping trip.
I really like how Alvin's Chinese-American culture is simply a part of who he is. His favorite meal is vegetable wontons and noodles. His grandfathers are GungGung and YehYeh. His culture is not a pivotal part of the story, it's just part of the texture that makes Alvin feel like a real kid.(less)
In this father-and-son construction story, a young boy describes his father’s work building a new school. Thomson’s dynamic paintings instantly draw c...moreIn this father-and-son construction story, a young boy describes his father’s work building a new school. Thomson’s dynamic paintings instantly draw children in with their dramatic perspectives, making young readers feel as if they are right there watching the giant machines get to work.(less)
I really enjoyed reading this with my kindergartner, especially the way it celebrated the little boy's imagination and his courage and independence as...moreI really enjoyed reading this with my kindergartner, especially the way it celebrated the little boy's imagination and his courage and independence as he explored the beach. The illustrations are wonderful - realistic, and yet soft and full of love.(less)
As we celebrate Memorial Day, I'd like to take a moment to think about the families who have sent fathers, sons and brothers to fight in war. The Hear...moreAs we celebrate Memorial Day, I'd like to take a moment to think about the families who have sent fathers, sons and brothers to fight in war. The Heart of a Shepherd, by Rosanne Parry, tells the story of an twelve-year old boy whose father is sent to fight in Iraq with the rest of his reserve unit. I was very moved by this story, especially because it shared with me a perspective that is so far away from my experiences here in Oakland, and yet such an important part of our American experiences in the early 21st century.
Twelve-year old "Brother" is the youngest of 5 boys growing up on a ranch in Eastern Oregon. His older brothers are now off at boarding school, college or the army, and he's now alone helping his dad and grandparents manage their cattle ranch. Brother feels that he's never been the rancher that his older brothers are - it's difficult trying to fill their shoes when they're away. But his dad and grandpa help him learn how to do things.
Then, Brother's dad is called up to fight with his reserve unit in Iraq. With all of his brothers away, Brother promises his dad that he will help keep the ranch running smoothly. His dad believes in him, and Brother has to keep faith that his father will return safely. Here is one of my favorite quotes from his dad:
“You don’t have to be brave,” he says, real quiet. “Neither of us does. A man’s life is not so much about courage. You just have to keep going. You have to do what you’ve promised, brave or not.” (page 24)
In many ways, The Heart of a Shepherd reminds me of A River Runs Through It for tweens. The setting is inextricably part of the story - the land, the weather, the power it holds for people living on a ranch. Brother struggles with his relationship with his older brothers, trying to prove himself a man. And Brother tries to come to terms with his faith, both his faith as a Catholic and his grandfather's faith as a Quaker.
Kids who like real stories about real people will like this book. I think it will appeal to girls and boys, most likely in 5th or 6th grade. The audiobooks has gotten great reviews - it would make a great story for a car trip this summer.(less)
I enjoyed this book, especially its theme of forgiveness. I thought the author did a particularly good job showing how Groovy recognized that she need...moreI enjoyed this book, especially its theme of forgiveness. I thought the author did a particularly good job showing how Groovy recognized that she needed to forgive her father, but how she couldn't right away. She really felt her feelings, stayed with them - and then eventually moved through the anger toward forgiveness. It wasn't the best written book I've read lately, but it spoke to me. Hmmm, will it speak to kids? Not sure. Fuller review will come later.(less)
currently listening to the audio - great fun, but make sure to avoid during lunch hour: too much gushing blood, dead rodents, and general gruesome hil...morecurrently listening to the audio - great fun, but make sure to avoid during lunch hour: too much gushing blood, dead rodents, and general gruesome hilarity(less)
When I was a kid, I loved reading about girls who went against the grain and weren't "good little girls," wearing dresses and doing what everyone expe...moreWhen I was a kid, I loved reading about girls who went against the grain and weren't "good little girls," wearing dresses and doing what everyone expected of them. I think that's one of the lasting appeals of Laura Ingalls Wilder. She had spunk and a sparkle in her eye. Jennifer Holm has created a wonderful character May Amelia with this same appeal. Living with a pack of brothers, May Amelia wants to do all the exciting, brave things her brothers do - swimming in the Nasel River, working with the animals, helping run the family farm. But living in the Washington state frontier wilderness in 1900 isn't easy - especially when her father declares that Girls Are Useless. This wonderful historical fiction will appeal to 4th and 5th graders who love characters with heart, courage and spunk.
The Jackson family lives in logging country in rural Washington State in 1900, in a community settled by many Finnish immigrants. It's a hard life, with rain, mud and work; but it's also a life full of family and community, traditions and adventure. This is a sequel to Holm's Newbery honor book Our Only May Amelia, but The Trouble with May Amelia can be read on its own since Holm introduces each character nicely.
May Amelia certainly has courage and guts, or Sisu as the Finns call it. As the only girl in a family with seven brothers, she must carry the weight of cooking and cleaning when her mother goes to help catch babies as the local midwife. While her father continually criticizes her as a useless girl, she thinks she may have won his respect when she helps her Finnish-speaking father by translating for a gentleman who asks them to invest in a new company establishing a local harbor for the logging business. But when the man turns out to be a fraud and the family loses everything, everyone blames May Amelia.
May Amelia's spirit and voice shines through on every page. I loved the first person narrative that Holm created - this reads aloud in my head just as if May Amelia is talking right to me. Holm takes you into really hard times for the family and despair for May Amelia, but the family's love and humor pulls through. This powerful, compelling novel will reach your heart and make you laugh.(less)