The Recess Queen is a story about a bully named Mean Jean that terrorizes kids on the playground. When it comes to recess time, nobody messes with Mea...moreThe Recess Queen is a story about a bully named Mean Jean that terrorizes kids on the playground. When it comes to recess time, nobody messes with Mean Jean. “Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung. Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked.” But things change when a new student arrives named Katie Sue. When the recess bell rings, Katie Sue does as she pleases. She didn’t know about Mean Jean and “her rules.” When Mean Jean confronts Katie Sue, she does something none of the other kids have done before…she talks back and stands up for herself. Mean Jean becomes furious until Katie Sue asks her something that changes Mean Jean.
Unfortunately, bullying can be a major problem in schools. There are many programs to help schools deal with this issue. The result of being bullied can be devastating for some children. This book can be used to help address the problem. It lends itself to discussions on how to deal with bullies. Students can discuss if they have been bullied and compare their feelings with those of the students on the playground. Also students can examine what makes Mean Jean a bully and explore some of the reasons people bully others. Every K-4 elementary teacher can benefit from owning this book in their class.
I listened to this book via cassette tape for one of my non-print choices this week. After listening to the audio book, I read the book to compare the two. Without a doubt, the illustrations in this book bring the story to life. I did not enjoy the story on tape, and do not think it would be effective for students without the illustrations. (less)
"It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with frie...more"It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over. Veteran author Susan Beth Pfeffer, who penned the young adult classic The Year Without Michael over twenty years ago, makes a stunning comeback with this haunting book that documents one adolescent's journey from self-absorbed child to selfless young woman. Teen readers won't soon forget this intimate story of survival and its subtle message about the treasuring the things that matter most—-family, friendship, and hope." (Goodread Review)(less)
"On the last page of the Caldecott-winning book Jumanji, young Danny Budwing is seen running after his brother, Walter, with a game tucked under his a...more"On the last page of the Caldecott-winning book Jumanji, young Danny Budwing is seen running after his brother, Walter, with a game tucked under his arm. Now after twenty years, Chris Van Allsburg is ready to reveal what happens when Danny and Walter roll the dice. This time the name of the game is Zathura and the battling Budwing boys are in for the ride of their lives.
The first book in seven years by Chris Van Allsburg, Zathura is a dramatic adventure that promises a breathtaking and unforgettable experience. At the story's end which becomes, miraculously, the beginning, we find that Walter's feelings for his little brother are greatly altered. Only the mind and hand of Chris Van Allsburg could create this fantastic world where shifts in time and space and perspective take the reader on such an extraordinary journey." (Goodread Review)(less)
"Helena is about to embark on a most amazing journey. Raised in a family of circus performers, she's always dreamed of leading a more ordinary life. Bu...more"Helena is about to embark on a most amazing journey. Raised in a family of circus performers, she's always dreamed of leading a more ordinary life. But when haunting music draws her into a strange and magical realm, one where anything can happen, her real life is stolen by a runaway from the other side. Helena must rescue the realm from chaos in order to win back her own not-so-ordinary life. MirrorMask is a breathtaking film written by bestselling author Neil Gaiman and brought to life through the vision of acclaimed artist and director Dave McKean. This original novella is Helena's tale in her own voice, written by master storyteller Neil Gaiman and accompanied by original art by Dave McKean and images from the film; it is a stunning and magical journey." (Goodread Review) (less)
“The Rock Star” of literacy creates another best-selling book with The Wolves in the Wall. Lucy is certain there are wolves living in the walls of her...more“The Rock Star” of literacy creates another best-selling book with The Wolves in the Wall. Lucy is certain there are wolves living in the walls of her home. Lucy's mom and dad dismiss her concern, until the wolves actually come out of the walls. The wolves take control over their home and Lucy and her parents run away into their garden and hide. Eventually the family regains control of their home, scaring the wolves away. Everything seems fine until Lucy hears a new sound coming from the wall.
I have reviewed a few of Neil Gaiman’s books (both children and adult) and can honesty say I have never read such unique stories. I’m not sure how I have not come across them in my school library or from my students, but according to reviews he is considered “The Rock Star.” In this particular book I found the illustrations strange, creepy and disturbing. Which is why I know my students would love this book. As for me, I can’t quite make up my mind about his stories. The more I read the more they are growing on me, but this is an author I need to review further. (less)
Coraline is a young girl who feels as if her parents neglect her. When her family moves into an old, large house her feelings become magnified as she...moreCoraline is a young girl who feels as if her parents neglect her. When her family moves into an old, large house her feelings become magnified as she feels lost and forgotten. Mice help Coraline discover a mysterious door in the living room wall, which she enters to find an improved replica of her world. In this world she finds her “other family” who seem to be better in everyway and who seem to genuinely love her, unlike her actual family. Slowly Coraline discovers that this world is not all that it seems to be.
I decided to watch the movie Coraline a story based on David Gaiman’s award winning book. Similar to most of his books, such as Wolves in the Wall, this story was nontraditional and a little dark. The author’s style is unique and reminds me of Tim Burton’s work (i.e. Nightmare Before Christmas). The Coraline movie is geared for upper elementary aged students and up. The story teaches an important lesson for students regarding other people and their motives and interests in us. For example, our parents are often tough on us because they want us to have a better life; they have our best interest at heart. However, those who give us whatever we want or make wild promises often times do not have our best interest in mind, rather they are being self-serving. I found it interesting that the author uses the other mother as the villain. I wonder if Mr. Gaiman has issues with his mother and if this affects his dark writing style? (less)
Beegu is a small alien who captured my heart from the start. Beegu, an adorable creature, crash-lands into planet Earth. She feels lost and scared and...moreBeegu is a small alien who captured my heart from the start. Beegu, an adorable creature, crash-lands into planet Earth. She feels lost and scared and tries to make the best of the situation, so she attempts to make friends. She is unsuccessful when she attempts to talk to the trees, leaves and rabbits. Beegu finally finds some comfort when she curls up with several puppies in a box until a human tosses her out. Then she encounters young kids on the playground who accept her as a friend; that is until a teacher comes and kicks her off the playground. Poor Beegu! The rest of the story offers good lessons on friendship and parental teaching as Beegu is redeemed in the end.
This simple and delightful picture book will be a story your entire class can relate to. The book is geared for younger elementary students, but it is the illustrations that are extraordinary and make this book an excellent read. The images of Beegu are a great aid to the readers in seeing just how different Beegu is and why he is having such difficulty in our world making friends. It is a great book to use to teach acceptance, being different and friendship. Beegu is outta this world! (less)
This 2010 Monarch award version of Cinderella goes around the world sharing the different retellings of this classic tale, which dates back to ninth-c...moreThis 2010 Monarch award version of Cinderella goes around the world sharing the different retellings of this classic tale, which dates back to ninth-century China. Countries including Mexico, Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Iran, Iraq, Poland, Germany, Russia and France are represented. The premise of the story remains the same. A great book to use in the classroom to compare and contrast cultures and story lines as well as oral traditions. The illustrations in this book are alone worth checking it out. The illustrator takes each country and brings it to life on each page. This is a must read for all teachers!(less)
By far my favorite version of the classic tale Cinderella is If the Shoe Fits: Voices from Cinderella. The author retells this version in rhymes in th...moreBy far my favorite version of the classic tale Cinderella is If the Shoe Fits: Voices from Cinderella. The author retells this version in rhymes in thirty-three poems. Each poem represents the perspective of a different character. It begins with a prelude from an elderly Cinderella reflecting back on her experiences. This is the only version I know that tells us the perspective of the glass slipper (Personification). “Abandoned in the prime of my life! Dropped! Separated from my mate!” The rich vocabulary in this book stands out including terms such as quandary, regret, grumbles, melancholy, aristocracy and reprise. This is an absolute must read. This version is perfect for older students ages 8 and up. In the end, find out how Cinderella answers three thought provoking questions directed to the reader (including “Did we live happily ever after?”) in the author’s last poem. (less)
David Ellwand uses digital photography to re-create the story of Cinderella in a unique and witty manner. This version called Cinderlily uses flowers...moreDavid Ellwand uses digital photography to re-create the story of Cinderella in a unique and witty manner. This version called Cinderlily uses flowers as characters. The book is written in three acts as a series of clever rhymes. The story begins with a formal invitation (printed on a leaf of course) to all the flowers: “Please gather at the Palace for the Royal Autumn Ball. Tonight the Sultan will choose his bride – the loveliest bloom of all.” Cinderlily’s evil sisters do not allow her to attend the ball because she has to do her chores. That is until Act II when a magical fairy (a red lily) appears and renews her petals. At the ball the Sultan falls in love with Cinderlily, but when the clock strikes midnight she loses her petals. Finally, in Act III, the Sultan searches for his bride-to-be and completes the Cinderella-like fairy tale.
Overall I enjoyed this simple version of Cinderella. I especially enjoyed the way the author wrote the story in rhymes. It was easy to read and entertaining, two benefits for younger readers. Also I was drawn to the black background that served as the stage. On some of the pages you can see the curtain. The flowers are animated and bring to life this floral version. One drawback I found for students would be the writing. Specifically, the book uses different fonts, which can be difficult to read for younger ages. The book is geared for grades K-2. (less)