Natalie Lloyd is a true storyteller. She brings together believable characters that readers care about, quirky settings that evoke a true sense of plaNatalie Lloyd is a true storyteller. She brings together believable characters that readers care about, quirky settings that evoke a true sense of place, and a compelling storyline that keeps you reading. In the two books I've read by Lloyd, A Snicker of Magic and now The Key to Extraordinary, I've noted these as some of her "trademarks".
I love Natalie Lloyd's way of weaving together stories of ordinary people with extraordinary experiences in extraordinary places. While The Key to Extraordinary's characters lead primarily "realistic fiction" lives, they do experience phenomena that are either magic, supernatural, or divine intervention--making this a fantasy or "magical realism". As a girl born in northeast Tennessee, and growing up in Bristol-- a town where the main street straddles the Virginia-Tennessee state line-- the setting as a mountain town in Tennessee definitely takes me home. For me, the most extraordinary thing about The Key to Extraordinary is its uplifting, inspirational tone, and the almost spiritual mood the book evokes in me as a reader. We live in a world where children hear and see more disturbing and difficult things than ever before-- and many of today's children's books attempt to address these things and help children to make sense of them. Lloyd's book is almost like a refuge from much of that; the characters deal with difficult issues, but the book seems a bit more innocent and even like a bit of a welcome refuge from the outside world. I definitely recommend it for middle grade readers!
This is the second of Chapman's books I've read, and I felt the same about it as I did the first: Chapman talks in big, important ideas, but then doesThis is the second of Chapman's books I've read, and I felt the same about it as I did the first: Chapman talks in big, important ideas, but then doesn't always give you practical information about how to make them work. There are some wonderful templates, handouts, etc. within the book, but I felt myself always wanting a bit more information. For example, if I need to "establish a positive learning climate", how exactly does Chapman recommend I go about that. There are just too many times when I feel like the author expects/assumes the reader will know certain information that maybe they really don't....more
Drake has good ideas and some fairly easy-to-follow plans for how to managing integration of curriculum. The book is fairly reader-friendly given theDrake has good ideas and some fairly easy-to-follow plans for how to managing integration of curriculum. The book is fairly reader-friendly given the diagrams and other figures included to help illustrate her points. A good read for those interested in integrating curriculum....more
Wolf Hollow is one of the most beautifully written books I've read in some time. The story of the events that happen in this rural community is tightl
Wolf Hollow is one of the most beautifully written books I've read in some time. The story of the events that happen in this rural community is tightly wound and compelling, but the strength of the book is in its well-developed characters who you will feel deeply about-- either positively or negatively--, in the complexity of the themes and issues brought up by the story, and in Wolk's ability to convey a sense of place and time so completely. This book deserves to win awards. That being said, it is not a book I would feel comfortable putting in the hands of anyone younger than 10, or possibly even older unless they are fairly mature kids. It would likely be a very good read-aloud, as reading this with a caring adult could lead to excellent discussion. This one earned every bit of the five stars in my estimation!