A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold is a sweet story about a boy and his skunk. Yup, his skunk. Bat’s moOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold is a sweet story about a boy and his skunk. Yup, his skunk. Bat’s mother is a vet, and brings home a baby skunk to look after. Bat is enthralled and sets out to convince his mom that they should keep the skunk instead of send it to a wild-animal shelter.
I loved this little family. Bat is a great narrator; as a person on the autism spectrum he has a unique way of interacting with the world and people around him (especially with his sister, and classmates) that shines through in his narration. Bat uses all of his incredible research ability and love of animals to learn about skunks, reach out to an expert, and convince his mom that a baby skunk can have a future as his pet.
My students and I had thoughtful conversations about wild versus domestic animals, skunks, research, and Bat himself. This was a perfect book to read as a lead in to our animal research projects – the duo who chose skunks was particularly invested in their project! A Boy Called Bat is a fun and interesting read aloud, and has two sequels that continue Bat’s story: Bat and the Waiting Game and Bat and the End of Everything. ...more
My students loved The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el. I picked this one up at Indigo Books one day wOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages.
My students loved The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el. I picked this one up at Indigo Books one day when I was searching for a read aloud that wasn’t too short, or part of a large series. The cover immediately drew my attention, and then the synopsis hooked me in. When I read it, I knew my students would be hooked – and they were!
Duane is just a precious main character. He has a bit of innocence about him as he explores his home and makes new friends. He’s gentle, and friendly, and is a fantastic narrator for the story. Each chapter is like its own mini story, a new adventure in Duane’s life that all adds up to a year in the very, very far north. The new friends are all introduced one at a time, often in quite interesting situations. My students enjoyed Twitch and Boo the best (outside of Duane himself of course) and loved guessing what would happen in the next chapter based on chapter titles.
The Very, Very Far North is a great read aloud for conversations around friendship and acceptance, science and art, and in a more curriculum related note, predictions, inferences, character building (traits in particular. Each character has such a wonderful and unique personality) and vocabulary (Handsome has quite a well-rounded vocabulary and he provided great opportunity to introduce new words to my students). Though aimed at middle grades, I read this with my grade one/two class. This one has earned it’s place on my yearly read aloud list!...more
I very much enjoyed Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw. The story takes place over less then a week, in a snowedOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages.
I very much enjoyed Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw. The story takes place over less then a week, in a snowed in cottage area in the mountains. There’s a spooky, aggressive forest, a bottomless lake and a camp for wayward boys. Add in our main character Nora, and we have the makings of a moody, tense, mystery with a smaaaaall love story. Just the way I like it!
If you like character driven plots with wonderfully detailed backstory teased throughout, mysteries, and only the simplest of teenage romance than I think you’ll enjoy Winterwood. The writing is beautifully descriptive and I lost myself in Nora’s witchy world. Oh yes; did I mention the witches? ;)...more
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown is a class favourite. It has taken a number of years to find decently longOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown is a class favourite. It has taken a number of years to find decently long chapter books that are suitable as read alouds for my grade one/two class – children aged 5-8 (it’s quite a range!) - and The Wild Robot is a winner. It’s written in amazingly kid friendly language using a fantastic mix of “big” words and simple sentences in a vivid visual manner, and the narrator often speaks to the audience. The story doesn’t shy away from the often harsh aspects of life for wild animals (and wild robots) living on a wild island. It speaks of death plainly and matter-of-factly, but also the beautiful moments of living in and with nature.
I read The Wild Robot near the end of the school year, around March – my kiddos are more mature and I leave myself enough time to read the sequel, The Wild Robot Escapes if they ask for it. And they always do. Students become attached to Roz and Brightbill and the other animals of the island, and need to know what happens after the end.
I found this story perfect for helping students visualize, infer and predict. Chapter titles help students predict what will be happening next, and they use their knowledge of the characters and the island to read between the lines in many scenes. The illustrations are nice additions to their own visualizations.
The Wild Robot is a book that is here to stay in my classroom!...more
WORLD CUP MOUSE by Richard Seidman is an adorable book about a French mouse who wisOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
WORLD CUP MOUSE by Richard Seidman is an adorable book about a French mouse who wishes nothing more than to play for the French soccer team and go to the World Cup.
This book is perfect for younger children, especially those with an interest in soccer, or sports. Louie is a determined, likeable, short-tempered (but working on it), and enthusiastic little mouse. Living in a world where animals can speak to humans, but are still treated as lesser, Louie has a lot to overcome in order to make his dream of playing soccer come true. But he has a wonderful best friend in Francois who encourages Louie at every turn and pushes him when he would give up. Although primarily about Louie and his journey to play soccer for the French national team, WORLD CUP MOUSE has so many wonderful messages about friendship, perseverance, passion and acceptance within it.
Readers will enjoy cheering on Louie as he goes about realizing his dream of becoming part of the French national team, and growing with him as he learns about such things as anger management, friendship (and the jealousy that can sometimes occur), good attitudes, coaching and playing soccer, and tolerance. WORLD CUP MOUSE by Richard Seidman uses easy to understand (but not overly simple) language and introduces the reader to some very basic French words and phrases as well. I can definitely see this book being a great one to have in a classroom or home!...more
Blood Diaries: Tales of a 6th Grade Vampire by Marissa Moss is an entertaining loOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with a 3.5 star rating.
Blood Diaries: Tales of a 6th Grade Vampire by Marissa Moss is an entertaining look at the life of one Edgar Stoker – 6th grade vampire. Despite Edgar being a vampire, he has many of the same experiences in school that a regular 6th grader would have, making the book fairly easy to relate to.
Edgar writes in his diary about the history of vampires, some of the “rules” of being a vampire (like garlic, stakes, sunlight and telling others), what it’s like at his elementary school (friends and bullies) and the Saturday Vampire Jamboree where he has to deal with all his relatives. Marissa Moss does a very good job of making Edgar and his life believable. The problems in gets himself into and Edgar’s solutions for getting out of those problems are engaging and even a bit funny at times.
I think my only issue with Blood Diaries: Tales of a 6th Grade Vampire would be the amount of time spent describing each cousin, each friend at school, and all the little nuances of being a vampire. Since in this case Edgar’s diary is being written for an audience and not just himself it’s a bit understandable. Over all, though, I think this book series (I hope it will be a series) will find good homes on shelves of younger kids who enjoy the supernatural....more
THE NIGHT IS FOUND by Kat Kruger is an excellent end to a wonderful trilogy. ConnerOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
THE NIGHT IS FOUND by Kat Kruger is an excellent end to a wonderful trilogy. Conner is so much more than he was in the beginning, and it was awesome watching his transition from teen to leader.
This third book takes us back from Paris to New York, Conner’s home city. There, he encounters the unified packs of the new world and discovers more intricate plans than he could have guessed at. He stands strong against the Founders of these unified packs and uncovers some useful allies in his fight against the Luparii and the Hounds of God.
I don’t want to give too much about THE NIGHT IS FOUND because it would ruin the entire trilogy! I found the action, secrets, reveals and even the epilogue to be wonderfully paced and attention grabbing. Only thing that threw me off a bit was the switch from Conner’s point of views to Madison’s, mostly because in that first chapter from her point of view she was never named and though I figured it was her, I was still a little thrown. Outside of that, the read was great. I definitely recommend this trilogy!...more
THE CREEPING by Alexandra Sirowy is not my usual read. But between it and Survive tOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
THE CREEPING by Alexandra Sirowy is not my usual read. But between it and Survive the Night, I think I’ve managed to getout of my reader slump! There’s something to be said about reading books different from your usual. I’m not one to like horror – either movies or books – but THE CREEPING was horrifically great, and exactly what I wanted.
When Stella was six, she and her friend Jeanie went missing. Only Stella returned, with no memory of what happened. Now, years later, things start happening which bring up past events. It’s the anniversary of when the girls went missing and another girl has just turned up dead. Stella is rightfully freaked out! Especially with the return of Daniel, Jeanie’s older brother, who over the years has blamed, stalked and tormented Stella. With the help of an old friend, Stella is determined to fifure out what really happened the day she disappeared. But that’s not always a good idea.
I was holding my breath throughout most of this book, wondering at what would happen when Stella recovered her memories (if she recovered them) and who or what kidnapped the girls. Alexandra Sirowy does a fantastic job at setting the mood. The nights were dark and creepy, Stella’s thoughts and memories were sporadic and abrupt, the forest was looming and terrifying and the cast of characters were unforgettable. I could have done without some of the Sam/Stella romance, but it was realistic. Stella is in high school, trying to solve Jeanie’s disappearance, yes, but also navigating popularity, friends and boys. One doesn’t stop because the other starts. So Sam and Stella were believeable, if not my favourite parts. Zoey was not my idea of a best friend. I can see why Stella stuck with her, loved her and would do anything for her, but oh man was she bossy, rude and a bit self-absorbed. You basically have to trust Stella that she’s a good person.
I was definitely surprised by the end of THE CREEPING. Even with everything seemingly wrapped up and explained, there is that small little tidbit left behind that makes you wonder: was it really? Could there be more to this? I was hooked from the beginning, and engaged until the end. I don’t suggest reading this one while you’re home alone in the dark, especially if you don’t like horror, but outside on a deck in the bright sunshine withpeople around? Go for it! If you like, horror? You’ll like this one....more
I initially bought PIE to read aloud to my class – no other reason, besides the ideOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
I initially bought PIE to read aloud to my class – no other reason, besides the idea of a book revolving around pie appealed to the baker in me. I had so far exclusively read books that had male narrators (no real reason why, and nothing wrong with that at all) and my girl students were begging for a book with a female narrator. I had been recommended Sarah Weeks, and PIE seemed like the best choice. Before I even read the book, I used the Chocolate Cream Pie recipe inside and made one for my boyfriend (he loved it). Each chapter is started with a different pie recipe and my kids made me read each one – even though the measurements meant nothing to them.
I loved PIE. And so did my students! We were enthralled with the mystery of who owned the green Chevrolet, who broke into Polly’s pie shop, and who might want to catnap Lardo. We were enamoured with Alice and Charlie, and sad about Aunt Polly. We were made hungry from all the talk of pie, and learned some new tips and tricks for making them. We felt bad for Alice (because of her mother, and Aunt Polly) but then felt better at the end. We couldn’t figure out why Aunt Polly would leave a pie crust recipe to a cat and then all said “Ohhhhh!” at the end when we figured it all out. We were angry at Alice for comments she made to Charlie, and then were happy when things worked out.
In PIE, Sarah Weeks tells a heartwarming story about a young girl who loses her beloved Aunt, but finds that even though she’s gone, her Aunt Polly still lingers in memories and recipes. She finds unexpected friends of both the human and cat variety, and grows her relationship with her mother. Alice’s story is interwoven with flashbacks of herself and her Aunt Polly, stories of the people who also loved her Aunt Polly and her pies, a few well-done mysteries and even a jump forward in time at the end, to see how it all turns out. I will definitely be picking up more books by Sarah Weeks, and I think my students will too....more
It’s rare that I take a break from reading YA and MG, but I couldn’t say no when SOriginally posted at Esape Through the Pages with a 4.5 star rating.
It’s rare that I take a break from reading YA and MG, but I couldn’t say no when Savvy Fox offered me an e-ARC of Jillianne Hamilton’s MOLLY MIRANDA: THIEF FOR HIRE and I am SO glad I said yes! It’s a short read, at only around 150 pages, but still. I was planning to read it in bits and pieces as a break from lesson planning and correcting. Instead, I sat down to start reading and didn’t put it down until I had hit 100% read. I read through lunch and was starving, but it was so worth it.
Molly Miranda is a professional thief. She’s hired by a middle-man (or in this case, woman) to steal items for clients. Of course, or good-looking nice-guy roommate things her parents own a ski resort and pay for her gorgeous NYC apartment, but what are a few lies between roommates? Nthing, until things heat up between them! Of course, we can’t be good chick lit with the sexy, kind-of-a-dick at first professional thief she’s hired to do an assignment with. Rhys is all charm and Scottish accent, with a head for stealing and gadgets. But he’s not the nicest in the beginning. He flips attitudes pretty fast, but it fits. Thankfully, this book is not a full on crazy love-triangle or I might not have liked it as much! I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, thieving, car chasing and gun-slinging going on in MOLLY MIRANDA: THIEF FOR HIRE. It kept me on my toes and turning pages!
Molly is definitely the best part of this book. Boys, guns and cars aside, we spend the book in Molly’s head and it’s awesome. She’s a smart (but not good at geography), sarcastic, kind narrator who loves to steal and get paid for it. She tries the 9-5 thing and it does not go well. She has boy troubles, enemies, a best friend who’s not as straight in business (or in love, which was awesome) as you’d first expect when Molly mentions her, and a dad who can order a hit. Kind of awesome! I would have loved to read another 100 pages of Molly’s thieving ways and am hoping for a sequel!...more
Ever since reading the synopsis for BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA by ApriOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
Ever since reading the synopsis for BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA by April Genevieve Tucholke I had wanted to get my hands on it. I finally decided to purchase it – and went with audiobook. I am so glad I did! I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of audiobook and this one certainly helped! I listened to BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA fully in my car while commuting back and forth to two jobs, and finished it quickly. Thank goodness, too, because this book is full of moments that hook you and drag you in.
Violet and her brother Luke are living alone in their big, old gothic-like mansion when our story opens. Though their parents are off traveling, Violet (our narrator) does not often concern herself with them. Instead, it is her late grandmother Freddie she thinks of, and her warnings about the Devil. It seems like good luck that when Violet and Luke are in need of money, River West sees Violet’s aid for a border and comes to apply. Since this is a YA book, billed as gothic-romance/horror, you know right away that River West is going to be bad news. Or very good bad news, if you get my meaning. And really, it’s a bit of both. Along with River comes a whole host of problems for Violet, Luke and Violet’s best friend Sunshine (who I found rather over-the-top). Some of these problems are River’s fault – others, are not.
Along with the horror aspect of the novel, which is done exceedingly well, full of deaths and visions and mind-control, is a small mystery involving Violet’s grandmother and family. It’s melded very well with the horror of the book, and surprisingly lends quiet moments to the story. I am a big fan of April Genevieve Tucholke’s writing – the plot unfolds both quickly and quietly at the same time. Small moments give way to bigger ones, and new revelations lead up to crazy ones in the end. I wasn’t always the biggest fan of Violet, or Luke or Sunshine or River but then again…I don’t think we’re supposed to be? They all had their moments in which I went “really??” and “so stupid” and “of course!” but they also all had moments of “awww” and “oh geez!” and yes. What I’m saying is that the characters are refreshingly flawed. I didn’t even mind the insta-love, since it’s kind of explained!
BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA was both what I was expecting, and no where near what I was expecting. I was looking for gothic romance/horror and I was given gothic romance/horror. I was also given flawed, human, relatable (surprisingly) characters that changed and matured, or were broken and carefully pieced back together. River’s story and grandmother Freddie’s mystery mesh and blend beautifully together. This is definitely a book outside my usual fare, but one I thouroughly enjoyed experiencing. I’m excited for the sequel, and will definitely be purchasing it on audiobook. I hope it’s the same narrator!...more