This was very, very silly and mostly an excuse for wordplay with not much substance behind it. I would not use it for a discussion again. Tricia Tusa'This was very, very silly and mostly an excuse for wordplay with not much substance behind it. I would not use it for a discussion again. Tricia Tusa's illustrations were charming.
Cover to Cover December 2012 selection. This was good but not great and probably most of interest to fans of the adult series. Oddly the book and audiCover to Cover December 2012 selection. This was good but not great and probably most of interest to fans of the adult series. Oddly the book and audio did not have exactly the same text and I preferred what was on the audio....more
A fun school story that is also an animal fantasy. Pretty surface level with almost no depth to the characters (Everyone changes positively thanks toA fun school story that is also an animal fantasy. Pretty surface level with almost no depth to the characters (Everyone changes positively thanks to Humphrey? Really? Everyone? All Mr. Brisbane needed to relieve deep-seated depression was to chase a hamster? OK.) But the kids in book club really liked it and we had plenty to talk about.
Cover to Cover Book Club choice for November 2012....more
As an inveterate lover of puzzles, I had a lot of fun with this one. It turned out to work better for discussion than I thought it might. One night'sAs an inveterate lover of puzzles, I had a lot of fun with this one. It turned out to work better for discussion than I thought it might. One night's discussion went really well. The other had some issues - all the talkers were kids who'd already read the entire series and the majority of the kids were non-talkers. That's an issue with the group though mostly and less so with the book. The characterizations are flat, but the action and the puzzles make up for it. I also loved all the historical information about Benjamin Franklin. I'm looking forward to reading the rest eventually and learning about some of the other historical people repurposed as part of the Cahill family. The online components are fun, too (I'm a member of the Janus branch myself) - I'm pretty sure this whole setup would have been catnip to me as a child - books that interact with online games and puzzles and even a collecting aspect with the card packs. I would have been crazy about the whole thing (in a good way).
July 2012 Cover to Cover Book Club selection. Previously read (or had it read to me) as a child.
I was surprised by how little of this I actually rememJuly 2012 Cover to Cover Book Club selection. Previously read (or had it read to me) as a child.
I was surprised by how little of this I actually remembered and how much more I remembered the movie (the older version with Gene Wilder). There's whole plot points added to the movie that aren't in the book at all. I also think Roald Dahl has some of the most child-centric humor of any author I've read. I remember loving his books as a child and not having any qualms about the just desserts that were often served up, while as an adult I'm a little taken aback by the brutality and callousness. Kids in the book club clearly enjoyed this (although there were a few who I think really knew the story from the movie versions), but I still struggle with getting them to think more deeply about the characters. Willy Wonka in particular is complex and deserves some exploration. I think the book has plenty of depth to work as a discussion title, but I would hesitate to do this again because so many kids had a hard time seperating the movies from what they had read....more
June 2012 Cover to Cover selection (3rd-5th book club).
I picked this for book club before I read it (our summer reading them is Reading is So DelicioJune 2012 Cover to Cover selection (3rd-5th book club).
I picked this for book club before I read it (our summer reading them is Reading is So Delicious!) and after I read it, I was really worried that we wouldn't have anything to talk about. Turns out that was not the case and both groups had great discussions. Part of that may have been that because there wasn't a whole lot to talk about from the book, the questions focused more on things like what kind of gadgets the kids would have if they were secret spies. We'll see how next month goes when we actually have more book-centered, thought provoking questions. This was super easy for most of my going-into-5th graders, but just about right for most of my just-starting-3rd graders.
The book itself was fine for what it is - an amusing spy romp with lots of fun and punny gadgets. The panels are nicely varied and effective. The use of the yellow color to contrast with the black, white and grays is also well done. This is a great read-alike for kids who like the Babymouse and Squish, Super Amoeba books and also good for those who might not be quite old enough for Diary of a Wimpy Kid....more
The highway cats are a mean, scraggly, tough bunch. You know these cats are bad when they respond to a box of kittens being left beside the highway byThe highway cats are a mean, scraggly, tough bunch. You know these cats are bad when they respond to a box of kittens being left beside the highway by betting on which ones, if any, will make it across the busy roadway without being splatted by a truck. Strangely enough, all three kittens do make it across the road and a rumor starts that they’re miracle kittens. Soon, even stranger things are happening. Under the kittens’ influence, the highway cats actually start cleaning up themselves and their language. Khalia Koo, their leader and the toughest of them all, appears to be softening to the kittens. Old Shredder sees something special in the kittens and something like a soft glow surrounding them. Could the kittens actually be magic? Or even a real live miracle? The highway cats could certainly use a miracle because the mayor has his eye on their little scrap of land. But what can three little kittens and a ragtag band of cats do against the might and power of city hall, not to mention construction workers and their huge machines? Turns out, there may be more power in these three little kittens than the highway cats ever imagined, but will it be enough to save the day? Read and find out!
This was a strange little book, but entertaining enough. I'm particularly fond of one of my book club kid's response to it: "Not as bad as I thought it was going to be."
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to live on a space station? Jeff thought it was going to be awApril 2010 Cover to Cover Discussion title.
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to live on a space station? Jeff thought it was going to be awesome, full of excitement and special activities, like the space walk he and his Dad are supposed to be training for while Mom works on her super important solar data tracking. The truth: thanks to Mom’s assistant Doctor Krosta getting sick at exactly the wrong time, everyone, even Dad, is way too busy doing important science stuff to do anything else, especially anything that involves Jeff. Instead, Jeff is stuck with an annoying baby-sitting robot named Nanny. Jeff is bored out of his mind – until the e-mail from Earth arrives. “Hi! I am looking for a pen pal who lives in an unusual place. Your address seems unusual. Do you live in an unusual place? Are you looking for a pen pal? Write back. P.S. Do you like peanut butter???” Soon Jeff and his new pen pal are exchanging e-mails non-stop, but little does Jeff know that his pen pal isn’t on Earth. His pen-pal is right there with him on the space station. Rat turned the wrong way when she escaped from her laboratory on Earth and now she’s stuck on the space station and starving. Jeff is her only hope to survive, but Rat isn’t about to trust a human ever again so she’ll have to trick Jeff into helping her. Good thing Rat has some special skills like knowing how to type…
I really enjoyed this, but it was a bit of stretch for my 3rd and 4th graders to catch the nuances of emotion from the characters. They were mixed in their reviews - some found it totally boring, others thought it was pretty good and couldn't wait to read the sequel. I'd recommend it for 3rd through 6th graders who are looking for science fiction, but not as a first foray into the genre....more
Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone may be cousins but they couldn’t be three more different peoplJanuary 2010 Cover 2 Cover Discussion selection.
Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone may be cousins but they couldn’t be three more different people. Phoney Bone’s the crafty one with the get-rich schemes that always lead to trouble – like getting run out of Boneville and getting lost in the desert wilderness. Smiley Bone’s the not-so-bright one, happy to help his cousins in any way possible, but short on ideas of his own. Fone Bone’s the one who gets everybody out of trouble, but even he doesn’t know where they are now. Things are not looking good and when the horde of locusts comes through, they’re looking even worse because now the three Bone cousins have been separated and Fone is on his own. All he has is the strange map that Smiley found that leads him to a valley where things get stranger and stranger. First, a dragon appears and disappears in the middle of the night. Then, Fone meets two bugs – one tiny, one giant; one friendly, one a little less so. Fone doesn’t really hit rock bottom though until he meets the stupid, stupid rat creatures that seem to be out to capture and eat him. Then Thorn arrives and things start looking up because Thorn is a beautiful girl who brings Fone home to meet Gran’ma Ben who can help him get back to Boneville, once he’s found his cousins of course. It turns out this is just the beginning of Fone Bone’s adventures though – something very mysterious is happening in the valley and the Bone cousins and Thorn seem to be caught smack dab in the middle of it. The Bone series continues in eight more volumes and once you read this first volume, you won’t want to wait to read the rest!
Loved this and really want to read the rest of the series, but somehow they seem to be constantly checked out from my library because the kids love them too! I had a great response from my discussion group on this, although I also had one girl who returned her copy without ever opening the cover. They now can't wait to do another graphic novel....more
I loved this book. It can be read on several levels. There's the basic adventure story as Minli goes on a quest to change her family's fortune. There'I loved this book. It can be read on several levels. There's the basic adventure story as Minli goes on a quest to change her family's fortune. There's the folktale adaptations. And then there's how everything ties together. We used this for a book discussion for 3rd-8th graders at our library and there were just so many things to talk about. The artwork and book design are simply gorgeous. I cannot wait for the next one to come out later this year! ...more
The water fountain at Dry Creek Middle School (formerly Spring Creek Middle School) is leaking and Principal Walter Russ is convinced that it needs toThe water fountain at Dry Creek Middle School (formerly Spring Creek Middle School) is leaking and Principal Walter Russ is convinced that it needs to be replaced. So Secretary Goldie Fisch writes to Ms. Flo Waters of Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc. requesting a catalog. Instead of a catalog, Goldie receives a letter from Ms. Waters (Flo hates phones!) requesting permission to visit the school so that she can design a one-of-a-kind fountain just for them. First though she needs to know what the students want and that's where Mr. Sam N.'s class comes into the picture. Soon the letters are flying fast and furious and it becomes clear that intrigue is afoot. What happened to make the spring that used to run through Dry Creek dry up? Isn't it a strange coincidence that it happened the same year the Middle School was built? What is going on with the mysterious faxes between School Board President Sally Mander and local water company owner D. Eel? Will the school ever get their new fountain? Written in a style different from anything you've read before, Regarding the Fountain is a compilation of letters, faxes, message slips, newspaper articles, and one recorded conversation. You'll have so much fun getting to know the residents of Dry Creek and Flo Waters, that you'll want to read the rest of the series, too! Follow the adventures of Mr. Sam N's class inRegarding the Sink Where, Oh Where, Did Waters Go?, Regarding the Trees A Splintered Saga Rooted in Secrets, Regarding the Bathrooms A Privy to the Past, and Regarding the Bees A Lesson, in Letters, on Honey, Dating, and Other Sticky Subjects.
This was a lot of fun to read and discuss. I am a sucker for puns - maybe because I grew up reading Piers Anthony in junior high - but the kids loved it too! They had so much fun figuring out all the names and what they meant - if I did this again, I think we'd make a list of all the goofy names and what they meant. It was definitely perfect for my 3-5 grade range.