Writers elicit emotion. That is what I teach my students.
Three pages into the book I knew this was going to be a tear-jerker. I balled from about 40%Writers elicit emotion. That is what I teach my students.
Three pages into the book I knew this was going to be a tear-jerker. I balled from about 40% onward.
As my students were entrenched in a writing activity, I circulated. I noticed a set of books I had re=positioned the other day. The box was askew so I approached. This book, which we had received from someone at some time in the past with no explanation, was in front of the bin. I saw the gold medal. I am a big fan of Newbery Award winners. I read a handful of pages before I returned to teach.
At lunch I read much more. Right before I picked up my students, I checked Overdrive at the local library to see if it was available for the Kindle. Indeed it was. I finished this at home . . . crying all by myself. Pathetic. A 50-year old man should not be bawling over a gorilla and an elephant.
This is a modern-day Charlotte's Web. Ivan is a 27-year old gorilla at a mall animal attraction. Once the jewel of the spectacle, the mall is rundown, Ivan is no longer cute, Stella the elephant, and Ivan's best friend is not well.
Ivan is an artist. He paints what he is concrete: his banana, his doll, etc. He watches television. Ivan and the other animals perform three shows daily 365 days a year. Ivan has accepted his plight.
Ruby, a baby elephant, joins the show. She doesn't understand the routine. Stella mothers her. Stella knows her plight and has Ivan promise that he will ensure Ruby ends up somewhere else other than this rat-trap of a sideshow.
Not knowing how and feeling he will fail, Ivan perseveres with a plan that improves Ruby's life greatly.
I don't care who you are, this is a must-read. It's a quick read with a big payoff. Bravo!...more
Back in the beginning of my teaching career I purchased The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It's been read several times by my students but never byBack in the beginning of my teaching career I purchased The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It's been read several times by my students but never by me. This summer I am tackling that ever-elusive To-Read list. I picked that book up recently. I've heard a lot about it over the years but never really paid a whole lot of attention to it. I searched minimally and found out that The Magician's Nephew is oft-cited to be read first in this series. Oh, I am going to get hooked in for a seven-book series, methinks. I loathe reading out of order. So, as you can see, I needed to read this prior to reading that book. This is why the To-Read list does not shrink. :)
I placed a hold for the Kindle version of this book. Our library has two copies, but they were checked out.
This is an easy read and quite enjoyable. I must say it is far different than I anticipated. I envisioned settings like The Hobbit. No such thing. I found the writing rather modern with the narrator speaking directly to the reader. I liked it!
The story sure seems to be allegorical. Son of Adam, daughter of Eve, an apple tree, evil in the new kingdom, commands, etc. There is nothing subtle about that either. Of course, I have no issue with that, but I can see where some of what I have heard over the years comes from.
The boy's name, Digory, please me. I really like that. Lewis has good expressions, even if he uses to and fro too frequently.
The discussion of evil and how it is always provides what one wants, but has lasting unpleasantness is apt. Not knowing if one has made the correct decisions is poignant. I think I just may enjoy reading this series. :)...more
Purchased a copy on Amazon on 14 July 2012 for Fritz. He needs to read this as part of his summer reading program for St. Mary School as he enters KinPurchased a copy on Amazon on 14 July 2012 for Fritz. He needs to read this as part of his summer reading program for St. Mary School as he enters Kindergarten.
I believe the first time I heard this story I was in graduate school. I think the reading professor read this one. Anyhow, I just read Fritz's version. It's cute, I suppose. A couple thoughts . . . my boy needs to read this as he enters Kindergarten. It's a 2.4 reading level. Hmmm . . . Secondly, doesn't a story like this just give ideas to children of drawing on the wall?
Okay, so probably not. Then I ask, "What is the purpose of the book?" Seriously.
I am probably overthinking this, but I don't understand. Anyhow, Fritz read this with his mommy yesterday. He's growing up!...more
This just didn't suit my fancy. There is nothing bad, but really, this Clifford the Big Red Dog in tadpole form. I'm not a fan of Clifford, therefore,This just didn't suit my fancy. There is nothing bad, but really, this Clifford the Big Red Dog in tadpole form. I'm not a fan of Clifford, therefore, it is no surprise a large pet tadpole is equally unexciting.
A little boy receives a tadpole as a gift from a faraway uncle. The tadpole grows and grows. He becomes a problem. Magically, they are able to purchase a swath of land in a city to build a swimming pool. The book ends with another unique gift from the uncle.
I am sure some like this kind of story. Go at it....more
Zany! I love Dahl and I suppose this is typical of his writing.
Barely 60 pages of big print and plenty of illustrations (my edition illustrated by TonZany! I love Dahl and I suppose this is typical of his writing.
Barely 60 pages of big print and plenty of illustrations (my edition illustrated by Tony Ross), this is an amusing short story at best.
The Greggs enjoy hunting. A friend of the boys does not like hunting and attempts to persuade them from not hunting. They make fun of her. She becomes cross (good word used throughout) and red. Her magic finger comes out and puts the whammy (I guess it is) onto the Greggs.
We learn through a flashback that the girl has this power and had most recently used it to turn her teacher into a cat after the teacher scolded the girl for being stupid. I quite think Dahl had issues at school as teachers never fare well in his stories.
Anyhow, the Greggs wake up to find their arms are now wings. When the go outside, they see the ducks they shot at yesterday now have arms. Through role reversals, the Greggs are forced to build a nest and survive outside while the ducks live it up in the house.
The "poignant" moment comes when the ducks hunt the Greggs. The Greggs explain that the difference is that they (the Greggs) are allowed to hunt because people give permission to one another to do so. That, I suppose, is the message of the story. The Greggs promise never to hunt again, bury the ducks they had shot, and live happily ever after.
Yeah, I am not so much a lover of this book. It's humorous, but I attempt to remain clear of the obvious political slant presented here. Shoot, the easy proof against the argument is the Bible, but I'll not pursue that and just leave it that cute as this is, it is not Dahl's finest....more
This book has sat on my classroom bookshelf for nearly 20 years. It is considered a classic. In my effort to clear my unread books, I added this to myThis book has sat on my classroom bookshelf for nearly 20 years. It is considered a classic. In my effort to clear my unread books, I added this to my summer reading list. Of course, somehow it ended up back at school before the summer began.
As I looked for this on Overdrive from the public library, I discovered that some recommend reading this series in a different order. Because of that, I read The Magician's Nephew first. I enjoyed that book. I had to wait a week or two before this one was available. Either I lost interest or this book isn't as good as the other.
There is nothing wrong with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but it wasn't as compelling as The Magician's Nephew. I wasn't into this.
The narrator speaking directly to the reader was far less here. The book was far less whimsical. Despite having read the other first, I found some of what was written seemed purposeless. I imagine those who pick this up first would be even more clueless.
I don't imagine I will continue the series. The wardrobe is now off limits as an entry to Narnia. I am not certain why that would be.
To each his own, this book did not impress me....more
It's a tale of fantasy in a land of words and numbers. A bored boy, Milo, enters the land through theThis is a book I should like . . . but I didn't.
It's a tale of fantasy in a land of words and numbers. A bored boy, Milo, enters the land through the tollbooth that he finds in his bedroom. Some of the places he visits are the Doldrums, Insights, and Consequences.
He meets a dog, Tock, who accompanies him throughout the land of Wisdom. There is discord there as the sisters Rhyme and Reason have been banished by their feuding brothers.
It's a quick shallow read.
I had heard good things of the book and had wanted to read it. Recently, two of my students selected this to read for their book report. That rekindled my interest. I picked it up Friday afternoon and finished it in the middle of the night (after a several hour nap).
It's not bad, but I did not connect with the story at all. I find it interesting that Juster is also the author of A Surfeit of Similes. I think he and I would connect as lovers of words, but the book did not capture my enthusiasm of those words.
The master is back at work sharing a wonderfully fanciful story. A man comes across a broken down sailboat in the woods. A nearby man tells the storyThe master is back at work sharing a wonderfully fanciful story. A man comes across a broken down sailboat in the woods. A nearby man tells the story of how the boat came to be.
Boys will be boys. A boastful boy learned a hard lesson for his bragging. He now walks with a limp . . . just like who? Ah . . .
The fantasy Van Allsburg weaves into the story is his trademark.
I really like Chris Van Allsburg. Truth be told, however, I haven't kept up with his newer books, of which this is one. I picked this up this eveningI really like Chris Van Allsburg. Truth be told, however, I haven't kept up with his newer books, of which this is one. I picked this up this evening when Beetle and I went to the public library. Again, I thought a new read aloud might be nice to add to the mix.
Van Allsburg's illustrations are as wonderful as ever. He has talent (those Caldecott Awards didn't just appear). Unfortunately, this story left me flat.
It's not hard to realize why; I had read it previously. This is a remake of Van Allsburg's famous Jumanji. That was a fabulous book! This book follows the same path (siblings find a game, begin playing it, and strange things happen). Blech! The game of Jumanji is even mentioned in this story.
Sure, instead of jungle animals, the weirdness were robots and other space creatures, but it's the same story.
Unless I missed it, Fritz isn't in this book. :( **** The boys who find the game are the Budwings, the boys we see going off to the park at the end of Jumanji. On this second read, I see this really is the sequel, Zathura is a second board tucked into the box. There is a change in that this story should take place at evening since the parents returned from dinner when we saw the Budwings head to the park. So, that has been re-worked a bit.
The theme to this story is working together. When the boys decide to do that, they overcome the obstacles of the game that is causing the problems.
I like how "Me and you" was corrected to "You and I." That is a teachable moment. **** 26 October 2011 8 February 2012...more
I actually only read half of this; that is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It seems to me that I tried to read Through the Looking Glass, but I abanI actually only read half of this; that is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It seems to me that I tried to read Through the Looking Glass, but I abandoned it. Alice in Wonderland was . . . wonderful! A must read, for sure. It is definitely among the books all should read.
For years I have been talking about the books I need to read. This is the poster child of them. I have started and stopped this book no less than sixFor years I have been talking about the books I need to read. This is the poster child of them. I have started and stopped this book no less than six times. Admittedly, it's been some time (20 years). Everyone speaks of how good Tolkien's writing is; I just haven't gotten there. But nor have I discarded the book. The task of dealing with the library of books is all about clearing this one. Once I read this, I know I will have conquered the task. **** Finally.
I first heard of The Hobbit in seventh grade. Mr. Raspa, my English teacher, read this that year. I recall he told us about this grand wizard named Gandolf. That image really stuck with me. This was circa 1977.
Around 1983, 30 years ago, I began reading this book for the first time. It, along with about a dozen other false starts over the years, lasted about 25 pages. I recall trying to read this in my bedroom in Cape May. I recall picking it up at the 'berg. Boston had a run at it. I picked up a beautiful collector's edition of the book with gold trim somewhere along the line. I know I attempted it a few times at the apartment. About a decade ago when we moved into our house I picked this up. And just this past spring I made another attempt. This book just didn't go down for me. There have been about five books like this on the perpetual-to-read list.
Yesterday I had reason to check out the public library's Overdrive catalogue. Something had me go to the front page (a location I rarely visit). When I did, I saw this title. The library has eight copies and there was one available. "Sure, why not?" I thought.
Perhaps it was because I now had it on the Kindle or perhaps because it was a suitable diversion from the work I did not wish to tackle, I got into the story this time. And what a wonderful story this is!
I used to play D&D. This story is what I envision when traditional D&D was a game. This was an adventure and Bilbo was an honest and smart "burglar". Tolkien wove a wonderful tale.
Unlike other fantasies, which are not my favorite genre, the reader was not bombarded with intricate details about the mythical characters that took away from the story. We were easily able to follow who hobbits, dwarves, goblins, trolls, etc. were in this without having to be a geek and have supplemental texts at our disposal.
There is something about a British tale that is soothing to my reading ear.
Much as I noted recently with C.S. Lewis, Tolien is fond of the phrase "to and fro". It must have been in fashion in the first half of the 20th century.
I found the various encounters along the adventure to be interesting. I felt as though I was at the scene. As I teach my students, the movie I have in my head is solid; I do not need a movie director to craft it for me. Tolkien provided wonderful description to allow my reel to roll.
Unlike what I usually ascribe to a book written in the 1930s, the folly that the author used to have the narrator speak directly to the reader was fun. I love this style and it did much to attract me to this tale.
The redemption of Bilbo at the end was pleasing. As we would hope, there was the happy ending.
Much like Star Wars, which I did not see until a year and a half after its initial release, I was very pleased with this read. I scold myself for waiting so long to "get with it" because I didn't think it would be something I would enjoy....more
This is the book that I fell in love with Van Allsburg's writing. It used to be part of the anthology we used in our district. I believe I first readThis is the book that I fell in love with Van Allsburg's writing. It used to be part of the anthology we used in our district. I believe I first read this during my first graduate program as I created a unit around Van Allsburg at the time.
What can happen when siblings don't follow directions? Lots!
I have never seen the movie and have no desire ever to. ****
This story begins with dialogue. It immediately captures the reader's attention: "Now remember," Mother said, "your father and I are bringing some guests by after the opera, so please keep the house neat."
This is exactly how I teach students to begin their narratives. Jump right into the middle of the story. There's action. No set up. we know immediately that the parents are going away, but are coming back. Inbetween, being the good readers we are, we know action is going to take place. Also knowing problems are resolved, whatever happens will be resolved when the parents return with their guests.
So much from the opening sentence of a book!
There is such rich language in this book. Even so, it is a compelling tale for children.
On the second page of text, what stands out? Where do you sense trouble?
Fritz is in this book!
The ending of this book leads naturally to a sequel. What is going to happen now that the Budwing children have the game? Given the details we learn about them, the sequel should be better than the original.
Van Allsburg did write a sequel years later, although it was not from this ending that he began unfortunately....more
Ah, the classic Seuss book! The cat can make everything fun. **** Only 223 words and most of them monosyllabic (why a word that means one syllable has sAh, the classic Seuss book! The cat can make everything fun. **** Only 223 words and most of them monosyllabic (why a word that means one syllable has so many itself is beyond me). I love the alarm the fish sounds at the antics of the cat. This is a true classic that became part of Americana. Who hasn't read this? Enough said....more