"Snarky Picture Books" should be a designated genre in my classroom library, because I absolutely ADORE them. The newest addition is A Hungry Lion,...
"Snarky Picture Books" should be a designated genre in my classroom library, because I absolutely ADORE them. The newest addition is A Hungry Lion,... or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals. Maybe you think you already have an idea... a prediction!... of what happens in this book, but I'll simply warn you that this little 40-page picture book has a couple of plot twists. This is a great picture book that kids of all ages will enjoy. Bravo to Lucy Ruth Cummings for a fun (if twisted!) story!
I just love a humorous, snarky picture book, and Penguin Problems by Jory John definitely fits the bill. From the curious cover (front AND back) to th
I just love a humorous, snarky picture book, and Penguin Problems by Jory John definitely fits the bill. From the curious cover (front AND back) to the front jacket flap- which is really part of the story, and should not be missed- and on to the end of the book, readers will find themselves giggling over the penguin's determined pessimism and complaining. There's definitely a lesson or two to be learned from this story, but enjoying the story for the story's sake is also a lot of fun. The illustrations by Lane Smith are priceless-- minimalistic, and clever -- especially the "underwater" pictures! My students and I all loved this book!
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas is a timeless story about our longing to belong, be included and accepted, and be cared about by some
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas is a timeless story about our longing to belong, be included and accepted, and be cared about by someone else. There are some beautifully written lines in this book, and because of the way it is written, it can't be pinned to a particular time or place-- so it is accessible to a wide audience. The illustrations, created with oil pastels by Erin Stead are beautiful, and perfectly accompany the varying moods of the book. This book which starts with loneliness ends with the hope of friendship.
The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers is on many mock-Caldecott short lists, and it is a beautiful book. It is a book about using ones' gifts to brin
The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers is on many mock-Caldecott short lists, and it is a beautiful book. It is a book about using ones' gifts to bring beauty and happiness to others, and encouraging them to do the same. I like this book very much, and believe that even older children will enjoy examining the illustrations to see all of the many details. I have other picture books that I like better for the Caldecott, but I can see how this book could take the prize or an Honor!
Oh, Narwhal, Unicorn of the Sea! you are such a silly but joyous and fun book! I didn't intend to buy this book, but one of my students saw it and act
Oh, Narwhal, Unicorn of the Sea! you are such a silly but joyous and fun book! I didn't intend to buy this book, but one of my students saw it and acted so crushed when he found out I hadn't ordered it, I added it to my Amazon cart for my next order!
This is a short graphic novel, perfect for younger readers, but equally lovable for older children, and (obviously) adults, too. Happy, fun-loving, and optimistic Narwhal befriends cautious, reserved Jellyfish, and this first book in their series lets the reader see how they end up being perfect friends for one another. As I read in another review, this book earns a "5" not because it is brilliant literature, but because it is just the right book for those times when you need a quick pick-me-up! I'm glad Tony pushed me to purchase it!
Okay, before I even begin I need to say up front for those who don't know me, I am a HUGE Harry Potter geek! I love the books, characters, places, and
Okay, before I even begin I need to say up front for those who don't know me, I am a HUGE Harry Potter geek! I love the books, characters, places, and movies. I am one of those adults still waiting for their Hogwarts Acceptance Letter. I was going to be a tough critic of this book from the beginning. Now that I've made this disclaimer, I can tell you that this book can't hold a candle to any of the books written by J.K. Rowling in the original seven-book Harry Potter series. This is true for about three main reasons (but be sure to read the END of my review-- important information there!):
1) Part of what makes JKR's writing so strong is her attention to detail, her determination to fill her descriptions of setting, characters, and action in such a way that you feel like you are seeing the places, know the people, and experiencing the adventures with them. You just don't get this in a play script. There are parts where it is hard to decipher exactly what the stage notes mean, and how this would "look" on stage. Of course, if you were seeing the play, much of this wouldn't be an issue because you would actually see and witness the sets, characters, and actions.
2) For those who have read the books, the characters are like old friends-- seeing Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, Draco, etc. almost twenty years later-- married with kids...; it's a bit of a stretch because we've missed so much. And unlike in a novel, we don't really get all of the back story that would help us to know what those years were like. Furthermore, the new characters-- the children and some others-- come across a bit two-dimensional. These are people we don't really know, and we only get a sense of them from their words, what others say about them, and the actions they take as described in the stage directions. Again, if you watching the play, I don't think this would be as much of a problem.
3) And finally, there's something about this story that doesn't seem real. I know, I know... it IS fiction! Still, after the way I felt about the original series, it there is a disjointedness I felt reading the play that at times made me think, "Okay, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Professor McGonagall, etc. are all putting on a play about what it is like when they get older!" I finished the book thinking, "Well, that would have been an interesting thing to happen."
NOW, after all that, I have to say that I did enjoy the story line, and feel like it would have been an excellent book if it were written by JKR in the same style as the original books. There were a few times when I was reading the play that I was invested enough to be concerned about what was happening with the characters and anxious to read on to see what would happen next. Additionally, if I have the opportunity to go see this play, I will JUMP at it! I think I would enjoy it far more if I saw it on the stage: the characters' personalities would be conveyed by the actors' interpretations and the action would be real action instead of a stage direction-- which is kind of bland when you read it. I like the overall story arc, and feel like the play explores some really interesting ideas.
Bottom line-- I'm glad I read this-- I really can't get too much Harry Potter! I would warn other Potter fans that as long as they realize it can't measure up to the books, they should be able to enjoy the story, and the play should be amazing!
Pack of Dorks is a great book for addressing issues related to inclusion. Lucy has always been part of the popular group at school and hasn't had reas
Pack of Dorks is a great book for addressing issues related to inclusion. Lucy has always been part of the popular group at school and hasn't had reason to be concerned with included. When this changes because of a silly dare gone wrong, Lucy has reason to consider what life is like for "misfits"-- the types of people she has spent most of her school life looking down on or ignoring. Lucy is made even more sharply aware of the plight of those who are different when her new baby sister is born with Down's syndrome. Through her experiences, Lucy begins to understand what it means to have and to be a real friend.
The characters and events in this story are believable and engaging, and readers will be interested in seeing what happens to Lucy and what she will do next. I found that I liked the characters and was excited to find out that there is a sequel-- Camp Dork.
This text is very readable and speaks to the heart and mind of an educator. Excellent text for those engaging in action research for formal reasons orThis text is very readable and speaks to the heart and mind of an educator. Excellent text for those engaging in action research for formal reasons or for one's own informal classroom research. ...more
This is a delightful book that bibliophiles young and old will appreciate. If you've ever had to fend off people who want to spoil the ending of thatThis is a delightful book that bibliophiles young and old will appreciate. If you've ever had to fend off people who want to spoil the ending of that wonderful book you are reading, you will empathize with the main character in this colorful and humorous picture book. Great for reading aloud in class to help make this point with students!...more
I first became interested in The Inquisitor's Tale for two reasons -- it was the "book of the month" for October in the mock-Newbery group I'm a part
I first became interested in The Inquisitor's Tale for two reasons -- it was the "book of the month" for October in the mock-Newbery group I'm a part of, and it's written by Adam Gidwitz, author of the "Dark and Grimm" series. This book is notA Tale Dark and Grimm! Gidwitz incorporates some of the humor and the style of the interrupting narrator into this book that readers of his past series will expect, but this book has much more.
This story takes place during the middle ages (1242) in France, and is the story of 4 unlikely characters -- a peasant girl, a Jewish boy, a young monk from a mixed heritage, and the girl's dog (who has returned from the dead)-- who are thrown together by even more unlikely circumstances and are being sought out by the King of France and the Church. Though the book's subtitle describes the children as "magical", the question becomes if these children are heretical "magicians", or actually miracle-working saints.
There is much that makes this book notable. First, it is told in the style of the Canterbury Tales; various characters tell the different parts of the children's travels and travails as each of them experienced them, so that between the assembled group of travelers in a small inn, the tale is carried from the beginning to (almost) the end. Secondly, though there is much to laugh about, the underlying theme of this story about friendship and love that sees beyond race, class, and religion is a serious one that is as relevant today as it would have been centuries ago. Finally, the book is filled with historical information (that was heavily researched by the author) about a time period for which very little has been written for the middle-grade audience. Given the fact that many sixth grade students study this time period, it seems to be a great companion book to use along with the study of the middle ages in a social studies or humanities class.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book -- the audio version has an entire cast of narrators who take on the different storytellers' parts, and that is delightful. The print book, on the other hand, is enhanced by the "illuminations" of Hatem Aly, which I believe would help young readers make sense of some of the period terms and vocabulary. All this said, I don't know how well this book will do in the hands of students. I would imagine it would be best for children in 5th grade or older-- and I teach 3rd and 4th grade this year. Though I've read other reviews that speak of 4th graders enjoying the book, I think it would take a rare 4th grader to truly appreciate this text. It is for this reason only that I give the book a "4" rather than a "5". For an older audience-- and for adults who love this period in history-- I would recommend it with confidence.