A fun, quick read, about a young girl named Ellie, who is going through some major life changes, including middle school, friendships... and her grandA fun, quick read, about a young girl named Ellie, who is going through some major life changes, including middle school, friendships... and her grandfather reverting back to his teenage self? A great mix of science fiction and real life situations would definitely capture the attention of upper elementary and beginning middle school students. Teachers can use this book as a introduction to some of the great scientist that some students may have never heard of. I'm really looking forward to sharing this book with my teachers and students this school year....more
This 2014 Newbery winning book is actually a hybrid novel. The majority is told in novel form, but several times, switches to a comic form, especiallyThis 2014 Newbery winning book is actually a hybrid novel. The majority is told in novel form, but several times, switches to a comic form, especially when something truly heroic and super is happening.
It’s the story of a girl named Flora, a self proclaimed cynic, and a squirrel named Ulysseus, who develops super hero type powers after an unfortunate run in with a vacuum cleaner.
I could see this story as being very popular among kids. In fact, I have book talked it to some of my older kids and have gotten a few of them interested in the story. It’s funny, fast paced, and entertaining.
That being said, as an adult, I found it to be almost a little too much. All the quirkiness of the story kind of hit me in the face and just kept coming and coming. Almost like Kate DiCamillo was trying too hard to make this seem like an award winning book (which obviously worked). I was glad when it all ended and I could actually sit back and reflect on what happened.
I did really like the characters. You can tell that underneath her “cynic” persona, Flora is a normal ten-year-old girl going through her parents divorce and basically being ignored by her mother. She just wants to know that her mother loves her and approves of her. I will say, I hated Flora’s mother the entire way through. I’ve recently had discussions with other librarians about how that woman should not even be allowed custody of Flora. Always good to have a villain that people deeply despise ☺.
I look forward to getting my students to read this. I think they will really enjoy and a big congratulations to Ms. DiCamillo for another Newbery win! ...more
I cannot stop gushing about this book! I don't normally read a lot of ghost stories, but this was so well written and fun that I just want to tell theI cannot stop gushing about this book! I don't normally read a lot of ghost stories, but this was so well written and fun that I just want to tell the whole world about it!
Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been best friends for a very long time and the big thing that bonds them together is "the game", which they play with their action figures. But when Zach's dad says it’s time to grow and throws away his toys, everything changes between the three friends. Desperate to get Zach’s friendship back, Poppy and Alice unknowingly release the spirit of a girl that is connected to an old doll. Now they have to take the doll to the girl’s grave or she will haunt them forever.
I think my favorite part of this book is the history behind the haunted doll. It is extremely creepy and even maybe a little gruesome when you really think about it. But Holly Black went into such detail about it and it’s fun to finally put all the bits and pieces of the story together at the end. And although the characters don’t exactly interact with the ghost (she usually sends them messages while they are asleep), there is clearly a lot of evidence that she is real and wants to be laid to rest.
It’s also an underlying theme about growing up. The characters are 12 years old, so I’m guessing they are in 6th or 7th grade. This is such a hard time for kids, and that is displayed in the way the characters develop through the story, and voiced by Poppy, who fears her friends changing while she stays the same. I feel like several students would be able to relate this change and may even have the same fears as Poppy.
As an elementary school librarian, my students are always asking me for “scary stories.” In the past week I have book talked this story to many of my 4th and 5th graders and have been desperate to find a quick way to get multiple copies for my kiddos. This book has been my favorite ghost story since “The Seer of Shadows” by Avi. Read this book! It won a Newbery Honor for a reason!