*Ah! What a way to end- Kazu Kibuishi is a tease! The 5th book of the Amulet series has a bit of action, but it's primary purpose is to fill in more o...more*Ah! What a way to end- Kazu Kibuishi is a tease! The 5th book of the Amulet series has a bit of action, but it's primary purpose is to fill in more of the back story and to set up for the war that is inevitable. Just like the rest of the Amulet series, it is beautifully drawn and the fans of the first 4 GNs will eat this one up. I cannot wait to share it with my students. (less)
-Every book starts with Harold and George doing an anagram -Ever book has GREAT vocabulary (Ex. from this one: billowing, narratively convenient, fizzled, improbability, jubilant, mock, scurried & many more) -Science and math in this one -Every Harold & George comic has misspellings- would be good for spelling instruction -Puns(less)
I love the back story in this one that shows how Harold and George met and how their friendship grew. Although all of the Captain Underpants book have some aspect of bullying, in this one bullying plays a bigger role.
This Captain Underpants book is different than the others, but I really liked it and it sets up for the final book in the series very well.
I am definitely going to read more of the Goddess Girls series. They are as fun as the covers are. I am so glad that I finally picked one up and read it. What I loved the most is that the story was very much one that you could understand without being knowledgeable about mythology. Much of it was explained and by the end you would be taught what was essential to the story. It even taught me knew mythology- I didn't know about Pygmalion or Metis, Athena's mother, being turned into a fly.
This particular story also had some Egyptian mythology in it, introducing Ra, Isis and 3 other Egyptian goddesses. This series is a great one to add to fans of Tera Lynn Childs's Oh. My. Gods. or Carolyn Hennesy's Pandora Gets Jealous as well as girl fans of Rick Riordan books (yes, it is primarily a girl book though I can definitely see parts of it being used in a classroom and entertaining both boys and girls).
The book also had a pretty important moral to the story which I think is not preached, but will definitely make the reader think about their friends, choices and enemies. (less)
*There was so much hype about this 3rd book in the Graceling trilogy and I can see why people feel that it lived up to the hype and why others didn't....more*There was so much hype about this 3rd book in the Graceling trilogy and I can see why people feel that it lived up to the hype and why others didn't. This book was different than the other 2. This one was much more a mystery than an action/adventure like the first two. This book is not a journey and is not about a woman that is scorned for one reason or another. This book is about a queen and it primarily takes place in her kingdom. But that does not mean that this book is any less exciting. Bitterblue is filled with twists and turns and unexpected conflicts. I did love how characters that were more skeletal in Graceling are really beefed out in Bitterblue- especially Helda and Giddon.
Even if you are not impressed with this story, you will definitely be blown away once again by Kashore's writing and world building. She is a master. (less)
Surprisingly, I liked the 2nd book of the series more than the first. It must have been that the first was just the exposition where this one you are really getting into the meat of the story. And there is definitely meat in this book. We delve deeper into Aliera's job as the defender of Fairy Land as well as her love/hate relationship with Avery the troll. The first brings the adventure to the story and the latter brings the humor. Foiled is a great mixture of both which keeps you completely entertained throughout. The only down fall is that there are pages where there is so much going on it is hard to narrow it down, but these few pages do not degrade the quality of the graphic novel.
What I particularly loved about this Curses! is that we got to really get into the mythology of the fairy land. Yolen has taken a mix of fairy creatures (ala Shrek) and thrown them into her story making her own fairy tale with a human as the hero.
Jane Yolen is amazing. I have read picture books, graphic novels and novels by her and they are all so well crafted and unique. I would love to just step inside of her brain just for a minute to see all of the ideas she has stored up there.
Mentor text for: Vocabulary, Allusions, Simile, Humor, Colorization, Puns
Snatch of text: "Baba Yaga, the great Russian witch. Iron teeth and an iron nose. Ate bad boys and helped feisty girls, sort of adopted them... Did she happen to mention that Baba Yaga lives in a house that walks on chicken feet? Or that she rides around in a mortar and pestle?" (p. 33)(less)
I am not a big fan of magical realism. I like my books to either be fantasy or realistic. However, in this book, Matt Phelan mixes the historical stor...moreI am not a big fan of magical realism. I like my books to either be fantasy or realistic. However, in this book, Matt Phelan mixes the historical story of the Dust Bowl perfectly with a bit of magic that he throws in. He adds it in almost as a legend to fit with his sister's Oz stories and Ernie's Jack stories. And once again, Phelan's watercolor illustrations were beautiful. (less)
This is such an amazing idea. Many ELA and reading teachers struggle with ways to include kinesthetic activities in their classrooms that are meaningful and worthwhile. John & Caitlin Matthews's clever idea of StoryWorld Create-a-Story kit is perfect in both teaching elements of narratives as well as including hands-on activities.
The way Create-a-Story works is that you have 28 cards that have characters, settings, or items on them and on the back there is information about the card as well as guiding questions that could guide a story. Since this set is about quests and adventures there are cards like "The Enchanted Spring", "The Magic Castle", "The Emperor", "The Clever Dwarf", and "The Spell to Command Time". You can play solo and just use the set to create a story. To get started, the introductory book has some suggestions, but really there are no rules. The introductory book also gives ideas on how to use it with 2 people, for a group, with parents, or some games that can be played. There are endless ways that this activity can be used in the classroom or at home.
Snatch of Text: On the cover of StoryWorld is "The Quest Knight" which is also one of the cards. On the back of "The Quest Knight" card: *The bravest of all knights *What adventure is he setting out on today? *Where has the page boy gone? *What is the dog saying?
"Remember, there are no rules - you can make any kind of story you like with these cards. It can be exciting and frightening, funny or sad. You might not know anything about the people or places on these cards, but you will feel the tickle of a story beginning somewhere inside you. Perhaps it's just one line, but as soon as you hear that line in your head, you will begin to sense the next pieces of story arriving. there is no 'right' story, only the story you make. That is story magic." (less)
An anthology of graphic short stories that all include a mystery/magical box of some sort. Featuring star authors of kid lit and YA graphic novels, th...moreAn anthology of graphic short stories that all include a mystery/magical box of some sort. Featuring star authors of kid lit and YA graphic novels, the stories are all very unique yet come together to make a fine collection. (less)
*Talia needs Brody to straighten up and figure out his psychic powers so that she can move onto heaven. Brody needs this so he can get the reward and...more*Talia needs Brody to straighten up and figure out his psychic powers so that she can move onto heaven. Brody needs this so he can get the reward and move on with his life. He doesn't realize what he is signing onto when he says he'll train, but soon something bigger than just helping Talia is in his hands.
This was an intricate graphic novel though it was easy to read because the story flowed very well.
What a cliff hanger ending! I got this collection of Volume 1 and 2 at my book fair, but I may need to get to a comic book store to get Volume 3 so I can find out what happens!(less)
*The Cirque Du Freak series is loved by many a reader and when the manga came out, I picked it up for the classroom right away and it has been popular...more*The Cirque Du Freak series is loved by many a reader and when the manga came out, I picked it up for the classroom right away and it has been popular as well. I now see why. This story is fascinating, creepy, and suspenseful. I'll definitely get the next manga or pick up the 2nd book so I can see where the story goes. (less)
A good follow up to the first Hereville. I praise Barry Deutsch for giving us Mirka, a strong young lady who has faith and a good family. And once aga...moreA good follow up to the first Hereville. I praise Barry Deutsch for giving us Mirka, a strong young lady who has faith and a good family. And once again I learned even more about the Jewish faith which is so well represented in this graphic novel. I also like how each book Mirka is given a situation where she has to use her brains to get her out of it even when her opponent is bigger or stronger than her.
Since the artwork was not finished in the e-galley from Netgalley which I was lucky enough to read, it makes me even more anxious to see the completed book. (less)
How much fun! This rerelease of classic TMNT comics from the 1990s is a perfect introduction to a new generation of readers. This volume tells the stor...moreHow much fun! This rerelease of classic TMNT comics from the 1990s is a perfect introduction to a new generation of readers. This volume tells the story of Shredder returning from Dimension X to try and defeat the turtles through two stories- The Return of Shredder and The Incredible Shrinking Turtles. (less)
*In Darkbeast, we meet Keara, a young girl who has been bound to Caw, her raven darkbeast, since she was 12 days old; however, on her 12th birthday, it is her duty to slay Caw and to welcome adulthood. Keara, though, does not know if she can live without Caw and makes a decision that changes her life.
In the world of high fantasy, very rarely is there a middle grade novel that fits the definition, but Darkbeast is just that. Morgan Keyes has built a world that is unique filled with traditions and mythology from her imagination. Her creation of 12 gods and goddess who are worshiped is a bit reminiscent of Greek or Roman mythology, but includes its own flair. Keara's world also is a bit dystopian with a ruler who ensures that all of his subjects worship the gods he worships and has inquisitors to patrol his kingdom to scare the belief into all. The world also celebrates the arts with the Travelers which are a well respected group who go from town to town performing plays either about The Twelve or about traditions within their culture. Overall, Morgan Keyes built a pretty solid world for her story to exist.
In the classroom, this book would be a great read aloud. It would cause a lot of discussion about Keara's decisions and what it means to be an adult. Keara's story is very similar to many coming of age/rebellion stories yet throws in another aspect with the duty that looms over her head. Parts of Keyes's story would also fit well within a mythology unit because it could take traditional literature and transform it into a creative writing activity about creating gods/goddesses of different realms. You can even have the students use word parts. For example, Keyes's goddess of death is Mortana which literally has the word death in it. So, if a student wanted a goddess of life she could be Biotina.
Snatch of Text: "The Traveleres were even more magnificent than they'd been the night before. Their voices were louder, more sure. Their costumes were brighter. Their story was even more compelling. The goddess Pondera was visiting a market town, watching over all the goods in the market place. A merchant cheated one of his customers, placing false weights on his scales. He wasn't evil, though. He cheated because he needed coins to clothe his family, to buy new shoes for his youngest daughter, whose feet were chapped and bleeding in the winter cold. The merchant's crimes were discovered by a boy. The boy wore a costume, like all of the Travelers, but he did not wear a mask. Instead his face was bare to the world, his dark eyes huge in his pale face. Even though this was only the second time I'd seen the Travelers, I understood that the boy looked that way so we all would trust him, we all would understand the struggle he undertook." (p. 33-34)
Mentor Text for: Suspense, Setting, World Building, Mythology
**Thank you to Morgan Keyes and Simon & Schuster for providing a copy for me to review**(less)
Alligators Overhead begins as you meet Pete Riley, a 12-year-old who is always getting in trouble, but it isn't always his fault. He soon begins to learn that there is a lot more going on in the swampy town of his than just a bunch of pranks.
In a book that starts out as a seemingly realistic fiction novel about a troublesome young boy turns out to be a fantasy novel where the real problem is the lack of respect for the Ornofree Swamp that surrounds the sleep town of Hadleyville. And suddenly the town's bad boy is the only person that can save the town.
At first I was a bit taken aback by the switch of genres- I didn't see it coming- but once I realized what the true focus was of the book, I jumped right in and ended up really enjoying the book. It is like a Hiaasen book, but with witches with alligators for familiars.
Mentor text for: Characterization, Suspense, Allusion
A student who is in my yearbook class was so excited when he saw my classroom library that he came bounding over to me the first week and asked me, "You have so many books! So you read a lot, right? Have you read Wolves of the Beyond?!" He was so excited. And how can a teacher kill a kid's excitement in 2 seconds? By answering, "No. I'm not sure what that is..." Well, he was so flabbergasted by my lack of knowledge that he brought me the book to read, pretty much commanding me to. And I have to say, I am pretty glad he did.
Lone Wolf is obviously the beginning of what is going to be a majorly epic animal fantasy series similar to Erin Hunter's books and Redwall. This series is a spin-off of Lasky's Ga'Hoole series yet I never found that not reading Ga'Hoole hindered the story in the least. Though it takes place in the same land as the other series, it is new characters and still includes description and a map to help with the setting.
While reading, there were 3 things that really impressed me. 1st, like most fantasy animal fiction, I am always amazed by how an author can get into the head of animals. Lasky describes the animal instincts, aggression and emotions in such a beautiful way as if she can read their minds. 2nd, the world building in phenomenal. It amazes me when an author can build such a high fantasy world for their animals to live in. Finally, the immense plot development that is required to make these epic series and ones that intertwine like Wolves of the Beyond and Ga'Hoole astonish me even more.
Mentor text for: Setting, Characterization, Plot Development, Descriptive, World Building (Mapping)
Snatch of Text: "In the Cave Before Time, he had seen two constellations of wolves. One was the starry one on the rock ceiling. The other "constellation" was not stars but the hunting and traveling formation of wolves running together. In that formation he had sensed a common feeling, a spirit of fellowship. It made him fell all the more lonely. He had wanted to run with those wolves, to be part of that "constellation," ever since he had first seen the picture." (p. 145)(less)
3.5 stars We have all known the Cinderella story since we were little kids. Either through our parents telling it to us at bedtime or the Disney classic with Bipity-boppity-bo. And because this story has always been in our lives, we don't question much about it. But what happened in the castle before the ball? What happened after the ball? Where is Cinderella's other slipper? What is the prince like? All of a sudden, as I thought about it, I had so many questions that could be answered if someone else would tell the story. Now thanks to The Other Slipper, the spectacular adventure that we never knew happened.
Before I continue, I wanted to share a conversation I had just yesterday. Do we need to know the answers to questions? Yesterday at the Scholastic Warehouse sale, we got talking about prequels and if you should read them before the first book or after like the author wrote it. I really like prequels and sequels because even though I love having my own opinion on a book and predicting what I think is going to happen, but I also love hearing what the author had in mind. [And if you were wondering my opinion, I think you should read the prequel in the order that the author published it.]
So, if you are like me, you love fairy tale retellings because it goes deeper into the fairy tale. The Other Slipper takes the very story of Cinderella that we know and shows us what is happening behind the scenes. Kenechi Udogu's story, though, is not just a story to live in Cinderella's limelight- it is a story that stands on its own feet and is actually a fun, fantastical adventure.
Read Together: Grades 6 to 10
Read Alone: Grades 7 and up
Read With: Cinderella, Chinese Cinderella Adeline Yen Mah, Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
Snatch of Text: "The girl who stepped down from the carriage was simply beautiful, a delightful combination of flawless skin and delicate features. Her hair was held up at the top of her head with strings of shiny pearls and her gown, like the carriage, was exquisitely detailed and in a unusual style." (Kindle Location 161)
Mentor Text for: Allusion, Point of View, Predicting
Writing Prompts: Take an object from a fairy tale that has some unanswered questions (Sleeping Beauty's spindle, Rapunzel's tower, etc.) and write your own fairy tale explaining what happened to them.