Ben, a young boy, feels lost and alone ever since the death of his mother. Even though he lives with his aunt and uncle he doesn’t feel like he belong...moreBen, a young boy, feels lost and alone ever since the death of his mother. Even though he lives with his aunt and uncle he doesn’t feel like he belongs. When loneliness get too much, Ben sneaks next door to the house he lived in with his mother and begins to look for something, anything to make him feel better. When he finds a mysterious note that could possibly lead him to the father he’s never known, he has to make the decision whether to follow his heart or stay where he is.
Rose, a young girl, feels lost and alone in a house with her stern father. With her mother out of the picture and her older brother living in New York, she is completely cut off from everyone. After one too many disagreements with her father, Rose decides to strike off on her own to New York City to find some peace of mind.
Both Ben and Rose find themselves at the American Museum of Natural History – only 50 years apart. Ben’s story takes place in 1977 and Rose’s story takes place in 1927. Ben’s story is told in words, while Rose’s story is told in pictures. Brian Selznick does a masterful job combining two journeys to create one amazing story.(less)
Babymouse has such a boring life. The same thing happens every day. She gets up, fusses with her curly whiskers, fights with her locker that always st...moreBabymouse has such a boring life. The same thing happens every day. She gets up, fusses with her curly whiskers, fights with her locker that always sticks, and wishes she could be Felicia Furrypaws' friend. Felicia is the most popular girl at school and she won't give Babymouse the time of day.
When Felicia starts handing out invitations to a slumber party, Babymouse is determined to do whatever it takes to get one. She knows a sleepover at Felicia's house is going to be the most exciting thing she has ever done in her life. How could it not be? Felicia is SO cool!!!
How far will Babymouse go to get an invitation? I wonder if she'll regret her decisions?
I loved that Babymouse is a big reader. It really is evident in her wild imagination. Interspersed throughout the story are elaborate "dream sequences" where Babymouse pictures herself in an imaginary world doing exciting things related to what is going on in her life at the time. Babymouse is a delightful little girl.(less)
The second installment finds Babymouse struggling with her normal, boring life. Once again she misses the bus, once again her locker gives her trouble...moreThe second installment finds Babymouse struggling with her normal, boring life. Once again she misses the bus, once again her locker gives her trouble, and once again her best friend, Wilson, is the only light in her otherwise dark day.
Even though Felicia Furrypaws is still the biggest bully at school, she isn’t Babymouse’s problem this time. This time it’s DODGEBALL. When the gym teacher informs the class that everyone has to play dodgeball because it will be for a grade and go in their permanent record, Babymouse panics! She is scared of dodgeball. How will she ever overcome her fear?
Babymouse’s wild and crazy imagination takes us on a hot and dusty wagon train, a dark and lonely prison, a horror movie starring Babymousezilla, a World Dodgeball Federation match, and a hero’s parade. As always, her imagination gives us a great insight to her feelings. You can’t help falling in love with Babymouse.(less)
There once was a hunter filled with jealousy. Putt craved power and wanted to be the leader his tribe. He went to see the local wise man and convinced...moreThere once was a hunter filled with jealousy. Putt craved power and wanted to be the leader his tribe. He went to see the local wise man and convinced him to create a talisman to harden his heart so he could rule with an iron fist without any feelings of guilt. The Flint Heart is created and soon, Putt is the leader and the tribe is scared and bullied and live in fear of him. When Putt dies Fum, the wise man, buries the Flint Heart so it won’t cause havoc anymore.
Years later, a loving family man stumbles across the Flint Heart while out working. As soon as the Flint Heart gets in the man’s hand the magic begins to work. A once kind man becomes harsh and mean – one who yells and strikes his children. Charles and his young sister Unity know something is wrong and set out to help their dad get better.
Charles and Unity are thrust in a world of fairies and adventure. Fairies, humans, animals, and even a water bottle work together to save the world from the evil magic of the Flint Heart.
Katherine and John Paterson collaborated to rewrite the original 1910 version of this story in order to make it more accessible for today’s readers. The writing, combined with the beautiful illustrations of John Rocco make this a delight to read. THE FLINT HEART is a must read.(less)
Suzanne Tripp Jurmain takes a different approach to her picture book about Thomas Jefferson and John Adams than Barbara Kerley does in THOSE REBELS, J...moreSuzanne Tripp Jurmain takes a different approach to her picture book about Thomas Jefferson and John Adams than Barbara Kerley does in THOSE REBELS, JOHN & TOM. Jurmain briefly covers the facts about their involvement in the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War and, instead, spends time on their lives after these volatile times in U.S. History.
Around 1790 is when Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had their major disagreement that led to their feud. They couldn't agree on the way the government should be ran. John Adams felt the President should be the most powerful person in the United States, but Thomas Jefferson didn't think so. He felt that if one person had all the power he might start thinking of himself as a King - and we all know how that turned out. Things really came to a head in 1800 when the two ran against each other for President.
It wasn't until 1812 that John Adams picked up a pen to write Jefferson a letter - not knowing if he'd write back or not.
Even though the entire book focuses on a feud it still ends on a happy and hopeful note. It almost brought a tear to my eye.(less)
Jack Prelutsky is back with 100 brand-new poems. I was so excited when I got my hands on this book because I have really enjoyed his poetry collection...moreJack Prelutsky is back with 100 brand-new poems. I was so excited when I got my hands on this book because I have really enjoyed his poetry collections in the past like A PIZZA THE SIZE OF THE SUN, THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK, and THE DRAGONS ARE SINGING TONIGHT. But, it didn’t take long for me to realize that HIPPO just isn’t the same quality as his past work.
Part of it might be the illustrations. This time he is joined by Jackie Urbanovic. The harsh, black and white illustrations look sloppy, so much so that I wondered if they were just preliminary since I had an ARC. I’ll definitely check to see when the book is released this month just to make sure. The other books of Prelutsky’s I mentioned, PIZZA and NEW KID, were illustrated by James Stephenson and DRAGONS was illustrated by Peter Sis.
The poems themselves weren’t that impressive either. In the middle of the book there is a series of 6 poems written in haiku that don’t fit with his normal style. There isn’t any explanation for these poems and for kids it might just seem weird. My favorite poem is “Short Song of the Hungry Bookworm.”
I love books. Yes, I love books.
Oh books, it’s hard to beat you.
I give you long and loving looks,
And then I slowly eat you.
I think the reason I like this one so much, besides the subject matter, is the fact that the rhythm is very easy to find.
There is another one called “I Can Yo-Yo” that is really clever too.
I’m anxious to see what other people think about this one.(less)
I have enjoyed several of Gail Carson Levine’s books in the past and was very curious when I saw that this poetry collection was written by her as wel...moreI have enjoyed several of Gail Carson Levine’s books in the past and was very curious when I saw that this poetry collection was written by her as well. I hope you don’t think I’m ignorant, but I had never heard of false apology poems before picking up this book and while I know the name William Carlos Williams, I had never read “This Is Just To Say,” which this book is inspired by. For those of you that haven’t read it either, here it is:
This Is Just To Say
I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox
and which you were probably saving for breakfast
Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold
William Carlos Williams (1934)
Levine has written a collection of humorous false apology poems. Some are realistic, some are fantastical, and some are just plain silly. She includes an introduction explaining where she got the idea (William Carlos Williams) and then gives the reader the permission to start writing their own false apology poems. Something I think is very good is she explained that the poems didn’t have to be exactly in Williams’ style. She deviated from the pattern in just about every poem, if not all of them.
Kids will get a kick out of this poetry collection. I know I did. I decided to write my own apology poem. Since William Carlos Williams wrote his to his wife I decided I would write mine to my husband.
This Is Just To Say
I didn’t finish the laundry that is piled up high
I know you need underwear also clothes for work
Forgive me I was enjoying some time reading my book
Karin Perry (2012)
If you want to write you own in the style of William Carlos Williams, here is the pattern:
No punctuation Only capitalize the first word and Forgive
3 words 2 words 3 words 2 words
2 words 3 words 2 syllables 3 syllables
Forgive me 3 words 2 words 3 words
This first two stanzas explain what you did and the final stanza is the fake apology.(less)
Bud is nervous about starting at his new school and running late on the first day isn't helping ease his fears at all. Lucky for him, the bus rolls up...moreBud is nervous about starting at his new school and running late on the first day isn't helping ease his fears at all. Lucky for him, the bus rolls up right after he gets to the bus stop. It doesn't take long for him to realize something is strange though. All the students look really weird, robotic arms force something into his ear, and a safety bar comes down in front of him to hold him in the seat. But, when the bus launches itself into the sky, Bud really knows he's in trouble. He totally got on the wrong bus.
Gort, a fellow bus rider sits next to him and explains they are heading to the Cosmos Academy. When Bud tries to explain that he made a mistake and needs to get back to Earth, Gort quickly tells him to be quiet. Earthlings are the most feared creatures in the universe. Gort comes up with the plan to tell everyone that Bud is a Tenarian exchange student and should come home and live with him.
At Cosmos Academy, Bud is roped into playing Zero-Ball since Tenarians are known for their athletic abilities. Unfortunately, Bud doesn't play sports and with zero gravity it makes it even harder for him.
Gort and Bud come up with a plan to get Bud back to Earth, but the only way they can do it is to secure a place in the Zero-Ball Championship game. That means they have to beat the best team at school. Will Bud ever get back home? Will he be able to keep his identity a secret?
EARTHLING! is a really cute graphic novel. The final copy with be in full color and the sample color panels I've seen look great. The ARC I read had black and white drawings and it was still enjoyable to read. Gort is an adorable character and his and Bud's friendship is great!(less)
Danny Bigtree and his family were forced to move away from their Mohawk reservation in order to find work. Starting at a new school would be hard for...moreDanny Bigtree and his family were forced to move away from their Mohawk reservation in order to find work. Starting at a new school would be hard for anyone, but Danny is also the only Indian at his school in New York City and has to listen to kids call him chief and ask him about his Tipi everyday. The kids don’t care that Iroquois used to live in Longhouses so Danny doesn’t even bother to correct them.
Danny’s dad works as a steel worker and is gone for weeks at a time traveling from job to job. When he comes home early one day, Danny begins to explain to him how hard school is. His father tells him the story of the Iroquois peacemaker, Aionwahta, for inspiration and offers to visit Danny’s fourth-grade class to talk about the Iroquois culture.
Danny is both excited and nervous about his dad’s visit. What if the kids are mean and tease his father?
Will the kids continue to tease Danny even after his father explains the Iroquois culture to the class?
Joseph Bruchac is a master at sharing Native American culture in childrens and young adult literature. While the legend in this book is just as engaging as some of the others he has shared, the character development is lacking.This is a Puffin Chapters book and only 96 pages so the story is very quick. So much so, that the problem resolution seems rushed and even a little unrealistic. But, as short as it is, there is no reason not to read EAGLE SONG.(less)
Lois Ehlert uses nine basic shapes (square, rectangle, triangle, circle, diamond, half circle, oval, heart, and teardrop) to form a book full of anima...moreLois Ehlert uses nine basic shapes (square, rectangle, triangle, circle, diamond, half circle, oval, heart, and teardrop) to form a book full of animals. Each animal is accompanied by a short rhyme. Some of the rhymes are good, but some are just terrible. (Ugly bugs get no hugs)
This is definitely not one of my favorite Ehlert books. It might even be a bit overwhelming for young children. The rhymes are so short that they don't have any time to even think about the different animals.
I could see throwing out the nine shapes to the kids and letting them make their own animals and rhymes though. That would be fun. So, maybe I'd share a few of the animals and rhymes from the book instead of all of them before letting the kids loose on the activity.(less)