GROJEAN/PASCO Summer Children's Lit TED 8596/9431 discussion

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June 12th-No Mo Fill in the Blanks! Promoting Discussion Through Questioning

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message 1: by Wendy (last edited Jun 08, 2012 07:01AM) (new)

Wendy Loewenstein (wendyl612) | 11 comments Mod
Copy and Paste a review for one of the books you read for this week (Illustration award winners and graphic novel award winners). Then using examples from the book, respond to what you agree and disagree with in the review and why.

(Organizing question)

End your post by creating a question about THE SAME BOOK using the Questioning Tool box article in Blackboard Assignments. These questions should be directed towards readers of the book. Be sure to identify what type of question you have posted.


message 2: by Sam (new)

Sam (xjustxlovex) | 4 comments Book: Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

Booklist
(July 01, 2011; 9781596436077)
The idea of a garden as a lockbox of memories is not a new one, but rarely is it pulled off with this kind of panache. Lane drops us into a story of an unnamed person. He was born a really long time ago, before computers or television. Who we see, though, is a fairly modern-looking boy tending to an increasingly impressive topiary garden featuring creations sculpted to visualize each stage of the person's life. Chicken pox are represented by berries across a humanlike shrub's face. Going off to war is visualized by a cannon-shaped shrub with branches shooting from its muzzle. Sketched with a finely lined fairy-tale wispiness and dominated by verdant green, the illustrations are not just creative but poignant especially after it is revealed that the boy is the great-great-grandson of the old man whose life is being described, and whose failing memories are contained in this garden (most impressively in a four-page fold-out spread). Possibly a bit disorienting for the very young, but the perfect book to help kids understand old age.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist

I agree with this review that the illustrations of this book are really powerful, particularly once you understand the story that they are telling – that of a great-great-grandfather from childhood to present day. The fold out display was particularly memorable. Even images of small items, such as animals the man encountered and the chores he did as a child are painstakingly detailed in vivid green. I also agree that the illustrations could be slightly disorienting for those who are younger because it is all in different shades of green and the artwork is a little bit more advanced than one sees in books aimed towards small children. Younger audiences may not fully understand the depictions that are shown (i.e. the fact that the hedges are trimmed to tell the story of events in the old man’s life, not simply for random pretty art). However, the book is great for the young if there is someone older there to explain the illustrations. The book can help introduce to children the process of aging, but stays light hearted enough that it does not seem morbid or inappropriate for younger children. In this review and all of the others listed for this book there is nothing I disagree with and all of them had a positive reaction to the book, which I had as well.

Inventive question: Reflect on the changes experienced by the man in this story as he grew from a young boy to “pretty old.” Now consider any elderly people you may know – neighbors or grandparents, perhaps. After taking a moment to evaluate the experiences of the man in the story and the elderly people you know personally, what does it mean to become “pretty old?”


message 3: by Michelle (last edited Jun 10, 2012 06:17PM) (new)

Michelle (michellebullock) Benny and Penny in The Big No-No! by Geoffrey Hayes The Big No-No! by Geoffrey Hayes

Booklist
(March 01, 2009; 9780979923890 )
In this delightful sequel to Benny and Penny in Just Pretend (2008), the mouse siblings have a new neighbor whom they suspect might be a thief, because Benny's pail is missing. When they look over the fence into the backyard, they see strange footprints. Then Benny falls into the yard, Penny follows, and they find a pail, mudpies, and a hedgehog girl wearing swim goggles and fins on her feet. They accuse each other, the hedgehog girl flings mud at the others, and the two mice go back to their yard where Penny finds Benny's pail in their sandbox. Now they have to go back and apologize. Young readers will recognize the misunderstanding and the bad first impressions people will sometimes make as Benny and Penny and Melina learn a lesson about making friends. Hayes draws charming little animal children with highly expressive faces, and he uses great dialogue, easy-to-follow panels, and fun sound effects; children will repeat his muddy splop! with gusto.--Kan, Kat Copyright 2009 Booklist

I agree with the statement, “Hayes draws charming little animal children with highly expressive faces, and he uses great dialogue, easy-to-follow panels, and fun sound effects; children will repeat his muddy splop! with gusto.” This is the first graphic novel I have ever read. The boxes flow neatly and are extremely easy to follow. There is no guesswork as to where your eyes should go; they move on their own. The illustrations are very cute and the expressions make you want to read on to see what happens to the little mouse siblings. The sound effects were adorable, too! Razz! – Waaaaa!!! – Sniff! – Plop! – Flap! Flap! Flap! Flap! – Splop! – Waaaaa!!! – Whooosh! – Splop! – Whapp!! – Waaaaa!!! What’s not to love?

Essential Question: By the end of the book, it appears that Benny and Penny and Melina are going to be good friends. Benny and Penny risked that new friendship when they treated Melina like a thief and made her cry. What could Benny and Penny have done differently when they noticed the pail was missing that wouldn’t have made Melina feel bad?

Hayes, G. (2009). Benny and Penny in the big no-no!. New York: Raw Junior.


message 4: by Pamela (new)

Pamela (prowley) | 4 comments Book: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

School Library Journal
( March 01, 2010; 9780545132060 )
Gr 5 Up-When she was in sixth grade, Telgemeier tripped while running and lost her two front teeth. In the years that followed, she went through a torturous series of dental surgeries and repairs, the trauma of which was mirrored by the social struggles she experienced during her adolescence. A minor complaint is that there is no mention of when all of this took place, and readers may be puzzled by seeming anachronisms such as old-school Nintendo games. Telgemeier's full-color artwork is confident and light, and her storytelling is appropriately paced. This straightforward and entertaining autobiographical comic is sure to please.-Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

I agree with this review that the artwork is “confident and light, and her storytelling is appropriately paced”. The story starts when she is in sixth grade but continues through her teen years. The reader is left with a feeling of completeness and can relate to how the author felt throughout middle school and high school because of the many situations she included in her novel. The reader could get a true sense of her struggles during adolescence (i.e. braces, headgear, a major earthquake, boy confusion, pimples, insecurities with appearance, and friends who are not really friends). Although I tend to speed read, I couldn’t help but stop and really study the pictures. With the vibrant colors and attention to detail, a reader cannot help but get lost in the pictures. I also agree that readers may be puzzled with the era of when the events took place in the book. After reading about Nintendo, the San Francisco earthquake of 1989, and New Kids on the Block, I realized the book consisted of the 1980’s and 90’s. Many of those references could be confusing to students today.

The only part of the review I disagree with is the recommended age group. I believe this novel would also be appropriate for 4th graders. Many 4th graders go through the same social struggles and self-esteem issues. This novel could also help them understand the difficulties of getting older and that they are not alone.

Essential Question: Raina struggled with what was considered a “normal”. She went through many struggles and wished growing up was easy. Construct a manual to guide others through adolescence. What do you think is important in relation to appearance, school, the opposite sex, and friends? What would be vital in a survival kit for tweens/teens?


message 5: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Gregory | 4 comments School Library Journal
( April 01, 2009; 9780547014944 )
PreS-Gr 3-Through the seasons, this book personifies colors, starting with a red bird in early spring and concluding with it as winter ends. "In SPRING,/Red sings/from treetops:/cheer-cheer-cheer,/each note dropping/like a cherry/into my ear." At first Green is shy, but in summer "Green is queen." "In fall, Yellow grows wheels/and lumbers/down the block,/blinking:/Warning-classrooms ahead," and in winter "Gray and Brown hold hands." Sidman encourages readers to experience color with all of the senses. Some of Zagarenski's mixed-media paintings are full of light and others are darker and slightly haunting, but the rich colors come to life on the page. The words and pictures depend upon one another and blend well to conjure up quirky, magical imagery. Children will find many small stories waiting to be told within the detailed paintings and enjoy looking at them over and over. This poetic tribute to the seasons will brighten dull days.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

I agree with this review as I believe students would grasp ahold of how the colors seem to signify different aspects on each page. Whether it is the pictures or the words, you will always find a gentle and sweet rhyme hidden within each sentence. A couple of my favorites were “ Red darts, jags, hovers; a blur of wings, a sequined throat. Red whispers along my finger with little beetle feet.” This was describing hummingbirds and a teeny tiny ladybug. Another favorite was “In FALL, Green is tired, dusty, crisp around the edges. Green sighs with relief; I’ve ruled for so long. Time for Brown to take over.” Basically, the book just left me feeling happy and smiling. The review mentions the artwork as being quirky and magical, which in my opinion was absolutely dead on. The artwork fits so perfectly with each pages describing words, that it almost feels as though your not reading, your watching. What I mean by this is those little flip books that when flipped fast enough show a movie. Lastly, I agree full hearteningly with the reviewer that this book will leave any reader feeling as though their day has been brightened.

What I disagree with based on the review is that Pre-schoolers are too young to get anything really meaningful from this book. It is ideal for 1-5grade, but a four year old might enjoy the pictures, but most likely will not understand the poetry and the color and season references.

Inventive question: After reading take some time to reflect on how the book moved through the seasons from start to finish. Then consider how the colors correspond to the seasons described/mentioned. After thinking to yourself for a moment, what does the title of the story really refer to? (Younger students) Who is “Red” and why does it sing? (Older students) What personal thoughts came to mind as the seasons began to change? How do the colors really correspond to both the describing words and the photos?


message 6: by Jami (last edited Jun 10, 2012 06:41PM) (new)

Jami | 6 comments School Library Journal
( September 01, 2010; 9781596434530 )
Gr 4-7-Throughout his childhood, pudgy, bespectacled Walker Bean has listened to his grandfather's tales of adventure on the open seas. Now Walker finds himself smack-dab in the middle of his own thrilling escapade when his ailing grandfather asks him to return a human skull to a trench deep in the ocean floor. Once part of a skeleton of a witch's enemy, this skull has now been transformed into pearl. Armed with his grandfather's journal, an amazing message bottle, assistance from a few trusted friends, and his own clever and inventive mind, Walker braves pirates, evil witches, and his own fears in this tale of derring-do and skullduggery. Renier's tale is a youngster's dream: adventure with a capital A. The graphic art moves the story along with excellent page layout and a brilliant color palette that serve as fireworks, lighting up the pages with cannon muzzle blasts and ships ablaze. Clever writing, though sometimes a little convoluted for young readers, is filled with humor and puns. Readers should be prepared to suspend all logic and ties to reality. They will find a ship with a garden complete with large fruit trees and a gardener who practices composting onboard. The crew uses matches and employs phrases such as "Holy Guacamole." But for those who are ready to lay aside these concerns for a while and take off with Walker in an adventure of a lifetime, this is an exciting choice.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


I read The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier for my graphic novel and truth be told, I am not a huge fan of graphic novels. However, I agree with nearly everything this book critique states. My only point of disagreement comes in the very first line where Ms. Moon calls Walter, pudgy. As I read the book, I didn’t once think that about him and I didn’t think it a necessary thing to add to a description of him. However, starting on page 32 in the book the antagonist, the skull, does refer to Walter as “fatty” and later on his father who is also an antagonist calls him “pudgy” despite the fact that he is drawn like an average boy. I just didn’t think it a necessary thing for a critique to point out as he isn’t drawn that way in the book. I agreed with Ms. Moon’s observation that one of Walter’s worst enemies is his own fear and I thought it was an important thing for an educator or librarian to know about Walter when deciding if this book is a good fit for their readers. One example of his fear is that in nearly every intense situation, he is drawn sobbing with a speech bubble that says “sob!”. It is worth noting that he always overcomes his fear. I also agreed with her description of Walter as clever and having an inventive mind. A great example of that from the book is when he recognizes the power of the message bottle and uses it to communicate with his grandpa. This is another thing for an educator to know about Walter as this book would be great to teach creative problem solving or the power of working with a team that believes in each other. I also agree that it is adventure with a capital A. Just one example of that is that there are two other storylines happening at the same time as Walter’s adventure and they create the opportunity for the skull to be lost or stolen multiple times. The fact that there are at least 4 different antagonists in the story also adds to the fast paced adventure. I agree with her observation that the layout is excellent. The pages are larger and no two are exactly the same so readers really get a variety of images at just the right size and place to add to the action and flow of the story. It keeps readers interested and alert as they read. I too was impressed with the color pallet. My favorite example of this unique and powerful use of color was the heroine, Genoa, who is drawn with bright red hair which suits her strong intense personality, but her shirt is a beautiful purple which speaks to the artist and gardener readers later discover her to be. The color is bold and unexpected and very powerful. I also loved that the skull’s speech is all in red speech bubbles. I agreed with Ms. Moon’s description of the writing as convoluted for younger readers, which I think is important for an educator or librarian choosing this book to know. I also agree with her thought that the writing is clever and unique and works great for an older audience. An example of this kind of humor is on page 133 when Shiv is talking about the heat from his lap causing the instrument to play and he calls it “lap powered”. She states fourth grade as a beginning audience, I would move that to fifth grade just because the puns really do make the story much more fun and I think kids just a bit older would really understand the writing well. There is also quite a bit of violence and the skull and Walker’s father say really mean things. I agree that a reader does need to be prepared to let go of logic and accept all the wild twists and turns of the characters and their story. For example, the tea pot talks and helps save the day and they put up a fake sky even when it’s raining in order to secretly change directions at night, but I think letting go and enjoying a wildly entertaining story like this is exactly the point of reading it. I thought her critique was very accurate and while I disliked her description of the main character and disagreed a bit with her age range for readers, she and I would both concur this is a visually pleasing, well written story of adventure that can be used both for kids looking to enjoy an entertaining read or for teachers looking to teach lessons about courage or how to solve problems creatively, as well as those about the value of a good friend.


An Elaborating Question for The Unsinkable Walker Bean is:

What if Shiv wasn’t Walker’s friend? Think about what the story would be like if Walker and Shiv hadn’t become friends; then outline how the story would be changed without Shiv as Walker’s friend and sidekick.

Reiner, A. (2010). The unsinkable Walker Bean. NewYork: First Second.


message 7: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (amanda06) | 3 comments Amanda Ziegenbein-Blackout by John Rocco


Booklist
( June 01, 2011)
It's a scenario many kids are probably all too familiar with: a young boy wants to play, but older sis is gabbing on the phone, Mom is busy on the computer, and Dad is making dinner. When the power goes out, however, the family comes together to make shadow puppets on the wall, join the neighbors on the roof to admire the stars, and even head out front to the most idyllic city street you'll ever see. All good things come to an end, though. The power comes back on, and everyone immediately slips back into walled-off family units though the walls are a bit weaker now. Compositionally, this picture book bears a strong resemblance to Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen (1970), breaking some of the pages into comics-style panels and running a boxed narrative up top. Rocco's lustrous, animation-quality artwork somehow manages to get richer the darker it gets, and features one of the silkiest skies since Van Gogh's Starry Night. A versatile reminder to take a break and invest in quality together time once in a while. --Chipman, Ia. Copyright 2010 Booklist.

I agreed with this reviewer in that the takeaway message for the book Blackout by John Rocco is “to take a break and invest in quality together time once in a while” (Chipman, Booklist). I think it is crucial for students to understand that there is a time and a place where we turn off our phones, walk away from our emails and videos games in order to spend quality time with those individuals in our lives that we care about. The author, John Rocco, illustrated beautifully the scenarios that many students face day to day when parents and older siblings are too busy to give attention to the younger children. These illustrated scenarios from Blackout include parents utilizing the computer for extended periods of time, older siblings talking on the phone or playing video games, and the younger child being left alone to entertain themselves. With a combination of simple text and wonderful illustrations the takeaway message was driven home beautifully by John Rocco.


The one aspect I disagreed with during this review was the comment the reviewer makes of Rocco’s night sky illustration and its comparison to Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I would disagree that it is“…One of the silkiest skies since Van Gogh's Starry Night” (Chipman, Booklist). Van Gogh included a varied color palette and included movement throughout his piece and I think that aspect is missing from Rocco’s depiction of the night sky. I will give credit where it is due, it is a gorgeous illustration of a bright night sky but I do not think it comes close to the magnificent work of Van Gogh.


Elaboration Question:

When the characters in the story return to their home when the power returns, the young boy states, “Everything went back to normal…but not everyone likes normal.” What do you think the young boy was referring too? Was he referring to his parents and siblings returning to their work on the computer or talking on the phone and not including him? Or was the young boy referring to the fact that his family enjoyed the quality time they had together during the blackout and they did not want to return to their busy tasks?



Citations:

Chipman (2011 June, 1). [Review of the book Blackout by J. Rocco]. Booklist 57(7), 77.

Rocco, J. (2011). Blackout. New York City, NY: Hyperion Book.


message 8: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 4 comments A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka

School Library Journal
( August 01, 2011; 9780375858611 )
PreS-Gr 2-Ever the minimalist, Raschka continues to experiment with what is essential to express the daily joys and tribulations of humans and animals. This wordless story features Daisy, a dog. The motion lines framing her tail on the first page indicate that a big red ball is her chief source of delight. Ever-changing, curvy gray brushstrokes, assisted by washes of watercolor, define her body and mood. Blue and yellow surround her ecstatic prance to the park with toy and owner. The story's climax involves another dog joining the game, but chomping too hard, deflating the beloved ball. A purple cloud moves in, and eight squares fill a spread, each surrounding the protagonist with an atmosphere progressing from yellow to lavender to brown as the canine processes what has occurred; a Rothko retrospective could not be more moving. Until that point, the action has occurred within varying page designs, many showing Daisy's shifting sentiments in four vertical or horizontal panels. Her attentive human's legs are glimpsed frequently, a sunny child whose warmth is transferred in comforting full view at bedtime. When another day dawns, the frisky dog's person proffers a blue surprise; the exuberance at having a ball and a friend is barely containable across two pages. Raschka's genius lies in capturing the essence of situations that are deeply felt by children. They know how easy it is to cause an accident and will feel great relief at absorbing a way to repair damage.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

I do agree that the book is primarily for PreS-Gr 2 as the School Library Review suggests, however, I however I disagree that the book’s use would stop at second grade. I believe the story can be used effectively in upper elementary classrooms, in middle school, and in high school as well. Because there are no words in the book, I think it could be used wonderfully in creative writing classes and with descriptive writing assignments/units. Students could put words to each page and create the story with words. They could take one page and write a paragraph about it. They could select one page and describe what they are seeing so that others students in the class can listen to what was written and guess what page of the book was being described. So, while I think the book is well suited for the lower elementary grades, I do think it can be used very appropriately in upper grades as well.

The review suggests, “ever-changing, curvy gray brushstrokes, assisted by washes of water color, define Daisy’s body and mood.” When I read this part of the review, I thought it may be an over exaggeration. However, as I was flipping through the pages of the book, both the truth of that statement and the tremendous talent of the illustrator amazed me. To be able to communicate so much feeling and emotion through only a few brushstrokes is incredible. From joy, to frustration, to worry, to sadness, the illustrator is able to do it all and it is the gray brushstrokes outlining the dog that play the most significant role. Simply astounding!

The review states that the author captures the essence of situations that are deeply felt by children. I agree with that statement. On the first page, students can tell how excited the dog is about the ball by the framing of the dog’s tale. Students can relate to a time that they were really excited, either by a new toy, a visitor, a meal, or an activity. If they have pets, they can talk about what makes the pet happy and how they know when their pet is happy and sad. In addition, as the review states, kids know how easy it is to cause an accident. When they see the dog’s Daisy’s ball deflate from another’ dog’s action, they can talk about accidents and that accidents do happen and how to respond when an accident does happen. Accidents are a common occurrence in everyone’s life but maybe even more so in the lives of children when they are learning and exploring so much about the world each day.

Clarification Question
How does Daisy feel? How do you know? I would ask this question on the very first page of the book. Because the entire story is told through pictures, I think it is important to start the book discussing how much information you can get from a picture. On the first page, Daisy’s tail is highlighted with gray brushstrokes. To talk about what that means and what it tells us about how Daisy feels while playing with her red ball, sets up the rest of the story and underscores the importance of deriving meaning from pictures.


message 9: by Laura (last edited Jun 11, 2012 03:19PM) (new)

Laura Osborn | 4 comments Red Sings from Treetops
A Year in Colors
School Library Journal
( April 01, 2009; 9780547014944 )

PreS-Gr 3-Through the seasons, this book personifies colors, starting with a red bird in early spring and concluding with it as winter ends. "In SPRING,/Red sings/from treetops:/cheer-cheer-cheer,/each note dropping/like a cherry/into my ear." At first Green is shy, but in summer "Green is queen." "In fall, Yellow grows wheels/and lumbers/down the block,/blinking:/Warning-classrooms ahead," and in winter "Gray and Brown hold hands." Sidman encourages readers to experience color with all of the senses. Some of Zagarenski's mixed-media paintings are full of light and others are darker and slightly haunting, but the rich colors come to life on the page. The words and pictures depend upon one another and blend well to conjure up quirky, magical imagery. Children will find many small stories waiting to be told within the detailed paintings and enjoy looking at them over and over. This poetic tribute to the seasons will brighten dull days.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

In the review of this book, there are two main points that I agree with. First, there is no doubt that the book can "conjure up quirky, magical imagery." In order to help the students to understand the book, some type of pre-reading strategy would need to be used. The author stretches our imagination to look at nature in a poetic and personified manner. In the chapter of the book on Spring, "red squirms on the road after rain," obviously referring to a worm. Likewise, in the chapter of the book on Summer, "green trills from trees, clings to pup's knees." Summer is for grass stains. This is such a unique way to describe something as simple as a grass stain, and to use it in reference to an animal. A third use of imagery in this book is in the chapter on Fall, when "orange ripens in full, heavy moons, thick with pulp and seed." Most children may figure out that this is a pumpkin. Picture clues that are on this page of the book would be extremely helpful. Finally, another example of the imagery that is in this book is in the chapter on Winter. "Gray and brown sway lightly, the only beauties left." The imagery used to describe the gray skies and the empty brown branches of the trees, supports the idea that winter is nearly colorless and lacks an abundance of life that is woven into the other seasons.
A second part of the review that I agree with is the idea that the use of the five human senses are intertwined in the book, as if to give the colors personified attributes. Examples of these are "Yellow and purple hold hands," for touch, "Green peeks from the buds," for sight, "White sounds like storms," for hearing, "Yellow melts everything it touches...smells like butter, tastes like salt," for taste and smell. These are just a few of the images that children can envision as their own senses become heightened. Perhaps after having read this book, children would look at, and appreciate, the wonder of colors in nature in a whole new way.

The section of the review that I disagreed with was the suggested age range that the book is suitable for. I do not feel this is necessarily material for children under five or six years old. Although the pictures are bright and beautiful, the large amount of imagery and poetic language is far above the comprehension level of smaller children. Phrases/words to support this would be: white clinks in drinks (ice cubes), a sequined throat (bird's neck), and black flits and swoops (a bat). I do think that this type of language in a children's book would need to be supported by immense amounts of questioning and guidance, as well as examples to make the book enjoyable and understandable for younger children.

Elaborating question: The author of this book uses colors to describe the four seasons in nature. What would happen if you used a different topic (not colors), to describe nature? What if you had to re-write the book using this new topic?
Since this is one of the first times children may have to "dig deep" into this type of literature, I would brainstorm ideas with them to give them somewhere to go with this. As the example for elaborating questions says--"How can I take this farther?" and "What might it mean if certain conditions and circumstances changed?"


message 10: by Willa (last edited Jun 11, 2012 03:28PM) (new)

Willa (willabg) | 3 comments Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors , illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Joyce Sidman (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

School Library Journal
( April 01, 2009; 9780547014944 )
PreS-Gr 3-Through the seasons, this book personifies colors, starting with a red bird in early spring and concluding with it as winter ends. "In SPRING,/Red sings/from treetops:/cheer-cheer-cheer,/each note dropping/like a cherry/into my ear." At first Green is shy, but in summer "Green is queen." "In fall, Yellow grows wheels/and lumbers/down the block,/blinking:/Warning-classrooms ahead," and in winter "Gray and Brown hold hands." Sidman encourages readers to experience color with all of the senses. Some of Zagarenski's mixed-media paintings are full of light and others are darker and slightly haunting, but the rich colors come to life on the page. The words and pictures depend upon one another and blend well to conjure up quirky, magical imagery. Children will find many small stories waiting to be told within the detailed paintings and enjoy looking at them over and over. This poetic tribute to the seasons will brighten dull days.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

I agree that this book “encourages readers to experience color with all of the senses.” Although much of the poetic imagery is naturally visual; taste, smell and sound are also engaged. For example: “in the spring, even the rain tastes green,” and “White sounds like storms: snapped twigs and bouncing hail, blink of lightning and rattling BOOM!” and “In fall, the wind feels Black,” and “Yellow melts everything it touches smells like butter, tastes like salt.” I would add to Roach’s observation it is not just color that children are exploring with their senses here it is nature, specifically the changing of the seasons. Color is really just one facet of this beautiful book, which puts you right in the middle of a spring morning a summer day or fall evening. I agree and disagree with Roach’s statement “The words and pictures depend upon one another…” This is true in the sense that the pictures depict what the words are saying, and it may be difficult to know what exactly the words are referring to without the pictures. For example, what does “red squirms on the road after rain” mean? Looking closely at the illustration you can see a few tiny red worms on the road. However, the first thing I thought of was traffic lights reflected in puddles. What a good opportunity to have children talk about their own interpretations of the words.

Elaborating question: What is your favorite season and what sights, sounds, smells, tastes, feelings, etc., do you associate with that season?


message 11: by Krystal (new)

Krystal Spilger | 4 comments Rocco, J. (2011). Blackout. New York, NY. Disney Hyperion Books.
School Library Journal
( July 01, 2011; 9781423121909 )
PreS-Gr 2-The view inside this family of four's duplex depicts what might be a typical night for them. The younger child is reaching for a board game, her older sister is talking on the phone, dad is cooking, and mom is working at the computer. When the girl tries to enlist the others to play the game with her, they're all too busy-until "The lights went out. All of them." It's a blackout! At first, the family members sit at the kitchen table with a flashlight and some candles; then they head up to the roof for a look at the bright stars against the dark cityscape; and, finally, they go down to the street, where there's a festive atmosphere of guitars playing, free ice cream, and an open fire hydrant. In the end, readers will see that simple pleasures and a spirit of togetherness can be enjoyed even when the electricity comes back on. The colorful pictures work beautifully with the book's design. Rocco uses comic-strip panels and a brief text to convey the atmosphere of a lively and almost magical urban landscape. Great bedtime reading for a soft summer night.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted

I think the depiction of everyone being too busy to play a board game is a reality for many children’s households. Unfortunately, people are so busy doing things around the house that it’s very difficult to enjoy spending time together as a family. When the blackout occurs, the family is forced to spend time together. They discover there are lights on in the city (the stars). The stars are artistically enhanced and produce a magical glow in the sky. I agree with Lauralyn Persson when she says this book reminds the reader of “simple pleasures and a spirit of togetherness.” The characters enjoyed their time so much that they turn off the lights and continue spending time together. I disagree with Lauralyn Persson when she recommends reading this book in the summer at bedtime; I think this is a great book that can be shared at any time or season, especially in the winter when parents and children alike are more apt to watch television. This book reminds families to turn off their electronics and spend time together. It is also an excellent story for students to make family connections.
As I read this story, it reminded me of when I went to talk to my parents and they were busy watching television. I would have liked it if the power had gone out, and I could have gotten my parents’ attention. What connections did you make to the story? Has your family ever shared a simple moment together, such as the blackout?


message 12: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Padomek | 5 comments A Sick Day for Amos McGee

School Library Journal
( May 01, 2010; 9781596434028 )
K-Gr 2-Amos McGee, an elderly man who works at the zoo, finds time each day for five special friends. With empathy and understanding he gives the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl the attention they need. One morning, Amos wakes up with a bad cold and stays home in bed. His friends wait patiently and then leave the zoo to visit him. Their trip mirrors his daily bus ride to the zoo and spans three nearly wordless spreads. Amos, sitting up in bed, clasps his hands in delight when his friends arrive. The elephant plays chess with him, and the tortoise plays hide-and-seek. The penguin keeps Amos's feet warm, while the rhinoceros offers a handkerchief when Amos sneezes. They all share a pot of tea. Then the owl, knowing that Amos is afraid of the dark, reads a bedtime story as the other animals listen. They all sleep in Amos's room the rest of the night. The artwork in this quiet tale of good deeds rewarded uses woodblock-printing techniques, soft flat colors, and occasional bits of red. Illustrations are positioned on the white space to move the tale along and underscore the bonds of friendship and loyalty. Whether read individually or shared, this gentle story will resonate with youngsters.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.

I agree with this review. This is a book best suited for grades K-2. However, because it is about friendship and the idea of “what goes around, comes around” I think it could be used for older grades as well with that purpose in mind. “Whether read individually or shared, this gentle story will resonate with youngsters,” is a statement I agree with, too. I think this book has an easy-to-relate-to message that is a great life lesson children need to learn. I also agree that the illustrations “…move the tale along and underscore the bonds of friendship and loyalty.” The expressions of the characters and interactions depicted through the illustrations really add to the sweetness of the actions told through the words in this story.

Questions: What is the message the author is trying to convey? (Elaborating Question) What if Amos McGee had not been a good friend to the animals? How would this story have been different when Amos McGee got sick? (Hypothetical Questions)


message 13: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jmisbach) | 4 comments A Sick Day for Amos McGee

School Library Journal
( May 01, 2010; 9781596434028 )
K-Gr 2-Amos McGee, an elderly man who works at the zoo, finds time each day for five special friends. With empathy and understanding he gives the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl the attention they need. One morning, Amos wakes up with a bad cold and stays home in bed. His friends wait patiently and then leave the zoo to visit him. Their trip mirrors his daily bus ride to the zoo and spans three nearly wordless spreads. Amos, sitting up in bed, clasps his hands in delight when his friends arrive. The elephant plays chess with him, and the tortoise plays hide-and-seek. The penguin keeps Amos's feet warm, while the rhinoceros offers a handkerchief when Amos sneezes. They all share a pot of tea. Then the owl, knowing that Amos is afraid of the dark, reads a bedtime story as the other animals listen. They all sleep in Amos's room the rest of the night. The artwork in this quiet tale of good deeds rewarded uses woodblock-printing techniques, soft flat colors, and occasional bits of red. Illustrations are positioned on the white space to move the tale along and underscore the bonds of friendship and loyalty. Whether read individually or shared, this gentle story will resonate with youngsters.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The artwork in this book is pretty amazing. I would agree with the review that the illustrations are positioned in such a way to move the tale along. For example, on one of the middle wordless pages the animals are riding on the bus to visit Amos at his home. The bus is facing the direction that you turn the page. Small things such as that give the book good flow. I also agree that this story will resonate with youngsters. I think all children can relate to loving an animal or doing nice things for someone. They can also relate to not being able to attend something they want to because they are sick for a day.
There isn't anything from the review with which I disagree. It does a nice job of relaying the idea of the artwork and the tenderness of the story.

Essential Question:
What does it mean to be a good friend? How do Amos and the animals show they are good friends?


message 14: by Gail (new)

Gail | 3 comments Book: Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute

Booklist
(March 01, 2009; 9780375946837 )
This tongue-in-cheek superheroine graphic novel will hit the spot for chapter-book readers. Lunch Lady and Betty, her assistant in both the cafeteria and her role of wrong-¬righting supersleuth, investigate the strange case of an absent teacher, his creepy substitute, and a plan to grab the Teacher of the Year Award by truly foul means. Three little kids join in the action as Lunch Lady, equipped with a variety of high-tech kitchen gadgets like a spatu-copter and a lunch-tray laptop, tracks a cleverly disguised robot to his maker's lab, where a whole army of cyborgs require kicking, stomping, and the wielding of fish-stick nunchucks. Yellow-highlighted pen-and-ink cartoons are as energetic and smile-provoking as Lunch Lady's epithets of Cauliflower! and Betty's ultimate weapon, the hairnet. There is a nice twist in the surprise ending, and the kids' ability to stand up to the school bully shows off their newfound confidence in a credible manner. Little details invite and reward repeat readings with visual as well as verbal punning.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2009 Booklist

I agree with this review and especially that this graphic novel “will hit the spot for chapter-book readers.” I can imagine this series of books flying off the shelves of the library. From second graders who are anxious to begin reading chapter books to fifth graders who may be struggling readers and beyond, I believe the action, mystery, and comic illustrations will definitely attract readers. I believe students will be intrigued with the characters in this book, Lunch Lady and her assistant, Betty, the cyborg substitute, the jealous science teacher, Mr. Edison, the school bully, Milmoe, and the three children that join in the action. Children will also enjoy the inventive kitchen gadgets, which also include a spork phone, rubber glove suction cups, cannoli-oculars, and chicken nugget bombs.

I also agree that the “yellow-highlighted pen-and-ink cartoons” are humorous and lively. At first I thought the lack of color in the illustrations would be drab, but it made no difference due to the creative text. The facial expressions and sound effects (Whoosh!, Vvrrroooooommmm, putter, putter, putter, squeak, squeak, squeak) included in the illustrations also add interest.

Although I haven’t been a great fan of graphic novels, I concur with the reviewer that “There is a nice twist in the surprise ending, and the kids’ ability to stand up to the school bully shows off their newfound confidence in a credible manner.” This graphic novel deals with bullying in a way students can relate to. The children in the story are repeatedly confronted by the school bully, Milmoe, and the science teacher, Mr. Edison, is also somewhat of a bully as he attempts to replace the other teachers with robots because he is jealous of the fact that he is not voted teacher of the year.

I also found that “Little details invite and reward repeat readings with visual as well as verbal punning.” As I reread this graphic novel, I noticed more of the creative use of language such as the simile, “I’m on him like cheese on macaroni!” Another example is, “Should I serve up some whaaamburgers and cries?” Even younger students should be able to pick up on some of the visual and verbal silliness in the illustrations as well as the text.

Elaborating Question: What would the school have been like if Mr. Edison, the science teacher, had been successful in replacing the other teachers with cyborg substitutes and the lunch lady had not been a super heroine?


message 15: by Liz (new)

Liz | 9 comments A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Review: Publishers Weekly
( May 10, 2010; 9781596434028 )
With quiet affection, this husband-and-wife team tells the story of a zookeeper whose devotion is repaid when he falls ill. On most days, the angular, elderly Amos rides the bus to the zoo, plays chess with the elephant ("who thought and thought before making a move"), sits quietly with the penguin, and spends time with his other animal friends. But when Amos catches a cold, the animals ride the bus to pay him a visit, each, in a charming turnabout, doing for Amos whatever he usually does for them. The elephant sets up the chessboard; the shy penguin sits on the bed, "keeping Amos's feet warm." Newcomer Erin Stead's elegant woodblock prints, breathtaking in their delicacy, contribute to the story's tranquility and draw subtle elements to viewers' attention: the grain of the woodblocks themselves, Amos's handsome peacock feather coverlet. Every face-Amos's as well as the animals'-brims with personality. Philip Stead's (Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast) narrative moves with deliberate speed, dreaming up a joyous life for the sort of man likely to be passed on the street without a thought. Ages 2-6. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

My Review of the Review:
I agree with the statement “With quiet affection…” this book is definitely quiet. I read this book to myself the first time, and in my head I read it through quickly, but today I reread it to my 3 & 9 year old and read it slowly, and quietly and the pictures and narrative definitely make a bigger impact when it is read this way aloud. The author uses words like “belly full and ready for the workday, he’d amble out the door”. When explaining the word amble to my children, we mimicked ambling when I call them to go to bed. This is a perfect adjective that describes a quiet way of walking.

I did some research and the word “newcomer” is accurate for Erin Stead as an illustrator. She has only illustrated two books. This is surprising to me, since her illustrations are so detailed and fluid. I would think that she has been doing this for a long time. She focuses your attention on some of the smallest details like the bunny slipper that Amos wears throughout the story. Also the wrinkles on the turtles legs, and the outstretched neck of the turtle, lets you almost feel the rubbery skin. (“draw subtle elements to viewers' attention”).

I also agree the colors in the illustrations are matted and soft which helps with the “story’s tranquility and delicacy.” The illustrator uses pencil drawings and only color on the animals and the important details, but not on the bed, or face of Amos. When Amos gets a cold she uses a pink rose color on his nose, which is humorous, since I remember as a kid having chapped lips and a red, raw nose when I was sick.

The last part of this review that I agree with is Amos being “the sort of man likely to be passed on the street without a thought”. This is true because he doesn’t have a loud personality, he is older and seems to be a shy fellow. He is set in his ways, and seems to have a routine that he follows daily, without meeting new people regularly. For goodness sakes he gets up and catches the bus at 6am, and stays at his job, the zoo, until dark so he can read a book to an owl. He doesn’t seem to have much of a social life, and nobody is present to care for him when he is sick and the animals show up.

The one part of this review that I DO NOT agree with is the age that it is recommended for is ages 2-6. I do not think a two year old would developmentally be able to sit and listen to such a slow paced, muted color book as this. Most of the 2 year olds I know like to look at pictures of real people, with bright colors. I definitely think this book is appropriate for older students than 6, because they would enjoy the relationship between Amos and the animals, and many students upwards of 10 enjoy a bedtime story that is read to them. The book ends similarly to Goodnight moon, where each animal says “Good Night” to Amos.

Elaborating Question: A lot of books are adapted for an audio format. If the book A Sick Day for Amos McGee was adapted for this format, how would the author have to change the narrative to be able to express the emotions and feelings that the illustrator portrays with her drawings. Listeners would not get the full affect of this book without changing this narrative. Using these feeling words or other feeling words that you choose, change the narrative to express the emotional qualities of Amos and the animals.
WORD BANK: amusement, delight, joy, affection, friendliness, courage, pride, satisfaction, content, relaxed, relieved, surprised.

Extra: Short Video Clip that describes how the illustrator used wood block stamping to create the pictures. This would be very informative for students to see prior to reading the book. It is a little over 40 seconds in length.
http://us.macmillan.com/BookCustomPag...


message 16: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 4 comments Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

School Library Journal
( January 01, 2011; 9781596436954 )
Gr 2-5-While exploring a meteoroid crater, young explorers Zita and Joseph discover an unusual device featuring a conspicuous red button. Zita's curiosity compels her to press it, only to discover that it summons an alien creature that instantly abducts Joseph. The fearless heroine follows him to a planet inhabited by Scriptorians, who intend to use him as a ritual sacrifice to prevent the destruction of their planet. In her quest to save her friend, Zita assembles a cadre of unusual cohorts: a giant mouse that she rides; an oversize bloblike creature named Strong Strong; a Heavily Armored Mobile Battle Orb known as One; and Robot Randy. Together they head off to the Scriptorians' castle to rescue Joseph. Along the way, she meets Piper, a fellow earthling traveling through space who becomes an important player in the story. Aptly named, he is part Pied Piper and part inventor but always a smooth talker who alternately assists and sabotages the mission. In order to save her friend, Zita must ultimately risk her own chance to return to Earth. With echoes of The Wizard of Oz, this charming, well-told story has a timeless "read to me" quality that makes it perfect for one-on-one sharing. Adults will enjoy the subtle humor and inside jokes, and children will love intrepid Zita and her adventures. The art is simply delightful: a realistic heroine surrounded by a world of bizarre creatures. Fans of the Flight anthologies (Villard) will cheer for the return of Zita.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

I agree with most of what this reviewer says. I like how she describes it as having "echoes of The Wizard of Oz." This is definitely true, especially when her original way home is closed off. She also does well to describe Piper as a Pied Piper, as this is most certainly who he is modeled after, with his flute that helps him control creatures.

The reviewer mentions how adults will appreciate the subtle humor, and I agree that there might be a little humor that seems like it might be too subtle for kids. For example, Zita says that she thought that meteoroids burned up in the atmosphere before hitting earth, and her friend Joseph quips, "The dinosaurs thought so too." Such humor in kids books often frustrates me because I worry that the author is writer over the kids' heads. Why market a book of humor to kids if the kids don't understand the humor? However, it's possible that I'm simply underestimating them.

The part of the review that I don't agree with is when she says that the story has a "timeless 'read to me' quality." If the story was to be rewritten as a traditional book, I might agree with this, but I find it difficult to imagine that it would be simple to read aloud a graphic novel. This specific book is entirely dialogue and pictures, and there is no description or narrating as there is in some graphic novels and comics. You'd have to make sure that both of you are done "reading" the pictures before you move on to the next page, or even the next box of dialogue. It's somewhat similar to trying to both silently read the same book. One person will always be the faster reader, and wait for the other to catch up. Unless you have a natural rhythm for reading this type of material together, graphic novels are probably best left to the silent reader.

Elaborating Question: Do you think Zita is sad that she missed her easy opportunity to get home? Or do you think that she is glad?

Another Elaborating Question: What do you think Joseph did when he got home and realized Zita wasn't with him?


message 17: by Amy (new)

Amy (amyjo_w) | 4 comments School Library Journal
( August 01, 2011; 9781596436077 )

K-Gr 3-A clever premise, brilliant pacing, and whimsical illustrations offer a distinctive look at the life and artistic vision of one great-grandfather. A boy recounts the essential facts of the man's life: "He was born a really long time ago." "After high school his wish was to study horticulture." The imaginative art fills in what the words leave out by ingeniously chronicling Grandpa's story through the fanciful topiaries he creates. The sinewy tree limbs in black line have a sculptural quality, while airy line art drawn in a subtle palette depicting the boy, his great-grandfather, and the general landscape of the garden allow the fantastic creations to stand out. From the formal design of boxwood mazes to fantasy-inspired hedges, Smith uses a broad range of green hues and textures to create ornamental foliage that is inventive and charming. There is harmony in the overall design yet each page surprises and delights. Discerning viewers will identify a playful homage to The Wizard of Oz. Other more quirky creations may be open to interpretation. As he narrates his great-grandfather's story, the boy strolls through the garden picking up the pieces of Grandpa's trade, a garden glove here, a watering can there-Grandpa is getting forgetful. With a powerfully charged and perfectly placed line-"But the important stuff, the garden remembers for him"-readers are treated to a dramatic double gatefold revealing the panorama of Grandpa's life depicted in the living sculptures. Visually intriguing and emotionally resonant, this is a book to pore over and talk about. With each subsequent reading, it offers new layers of meaning and visual connections.-Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

I thought this review summed up the book nicely. The illustrations are whimsical and imaginative. The four page spread of topiaries chronically some of the man's important life moments is particularly effective. It is a wonderful book for a grandparent to share with their grandchild. That moment when the author writes, "But the important stuff, the garden remembers for him," is so heart-wrenching but beautiful at the same time that it made me tear up. What the review doesn't mention is that this book may be too difficult for a child to read and fully grasp on their own. There is a lot of subtext within those pages as well as some more advanced vocabulary, such as the word "horticulture", that will need an explanation so a child can grasp the real story behind all those pretty pictures.

Hypothetical Question: Name one important moment in your life so far. How do you think you would feel if you started to forget that moment little by little, and why would you feel that way?

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith


message 18: by Emily (last edited Jun 11, 2012 07:36PM) (new)

Emily | 3 comments Booklist
( July 01, 2009; 9781416985808 )
It's arguable to what degree young children feel part of a wider world, but this gentle exercise should at least get them thinking about it. Scanlon uses a pleasing rhythm to move from normal-life specifics all the way to more existential concepts. Small illustrations of a family entering a restaurant are paired with everyday notions (Table, bowl, cup spoon / Hungry tummy, supper's soon / Butter, flour, big black pot) before a page turn offers a panoramic spread of the restaurant and the woods surrounding it: All the world is cold and hot. It's a catchy pattern perfect for reading aloud while pointing out the children hiding within the illustrations. Spanned across large, horizontal pages, Frazee's black pencil and watercolor drawings have the thick texture necessary to believably portray wind, rain, and clouds, and provide a solid grounding for text that occasionally gets a bit intangible: All the world is everything / Everything is you and me. Adults should enjoy this, too, which will only increase its popularity.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2009 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

I agree with the opening statement in this review, that while some children might not be aware of how connected the world is, they will begin to get a taste of it with All the World. The book is written in poetry like the review describes, and each set of lines flows nicely together throughout the text. The way the book is set up makes it easy to read since you go from a small idea to a big picture encompassing all the pieces in the poem. It is fun to look for the small images in the following large image that contains all the details mentioned in the previous lines, and to point out new things added to the pictures. I also agree with the description of the images. Much of the artwork in the book conveys motion, such as the clouds, wind, and rain. The drawings make you feel as if you can see the pieces moving across the page. I agree with the statement that adults will enjoy the book too, because they may be able to recognize and appreciate the connections made more than children will. I also agree with the statement that the pattern of the book makes it easy to read, the words flow naturally and have a rhythm to it that will help children pick up the pattern and follow it across the page. The only part I did not like about the book was that there was no overall plot to follow, just a series of poetry lines together. It is a very simple book to read, and I think most children will appreciate that, but there was no problem or issue to solve. It is simply a story about one family’s day.

Question: Imagine that this story takes place in Omaha, Nebraska. Write an ending to the story using the same rhythm of poetry in the book. Create images to go along with your ending. (Inventive Question)

Scanlon, L. (2009). All the World. New York: Beach Lane Books.


All the World


message 19: by CK (new)

CK | 4 comments Book: "Blackout" by John Rocco

Booklist
( June 01, 2011; 9781423121909 )
It's a scenario many kids are probably all too familiar with: a young boy wants to play, but older sis is gabbing on the phone, Mom is busy on the computer, and Dad is making dinner. When the power goes out, however, the family comes together to make shadow puppets on the wall, join the neighbors on the roof to admire the stars, and even head out front to the most idyllic city street you'll ever see. All good things come to an end, though. The power comes back on, and everyone immediately slips back into walled-off family units though the walls are a bit weaker now. Compositionally, this picture book bears a strong resemblance to Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen (1970), breaking some of the pages into comics-style panels and running a boxed narrative up top. Rocco's lustrous, animation-quality artwork somehow manages to get richer the darker it gets, and features one of the silkiest skies sinc. Van Gogh's Starry Night. A versatile reminder to take a break and invest in quality together time once in a while.--Chipman, Ia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

The review is pretty spot on. The story is about a family living their everyday life when the power goes out and suddenly so does their daily routine. The father is forced to stop cooking, the mother leaves the computer, even the daughter gets off the phone, meanwhile the youngest child still attempts to get them to play a boardgame. When it gets too hot they retreat to the roof. There they see other people and hear noises from below. They then head out to the streets to see kids run through the open fire hydrant, people playing music, and even a lady selling free icecream.

The only thing the review gets wrong is that not everything goes back to normal. They return to their apartment, then the child turns off the lights and they light some candles and play the boardgame as a family.
The artwork in this book is really fantastic. I can see the resemblance to Percy Jackson artwork which he does as well. The faces and bodies are similar.

Question: (Comprehension) When the power goes out in “Blackout” the family is forced to stop doing what they normally do. Instead they play games and go outside to the look at the stars. Has the power ever gone out in your house? Illustrate a picture of what your family did. If you haven’t lost power illustrate what you think your family would do.

Rocco, J. (2011). Blackout. New York: Hyperion Books.


message 20: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 3 comments The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Pinkney, J. (2009). The lion and the mouse. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

2010 Caldecott Medal Honor Book

Publishers Weekly
( July 27, 2009; 9780316013567 )
Other than some squeaks, hoots and one enormous roar, Pinkney's (Little Red Riding Hood) interpretation of Aesop's fable is wordless-as is its striking cover, which features only a head-on portrait of the lion's face. Mottled, tawny illustrations show a mouse unwittingly taking refuge on a lion's back as it scurries away from an owl. The large beast grabs and then releases the tiny creature, who later frees the lion who has become tangled in a hunter's snare. Pinkney enriches this classic tale of friendship with another universal theme-family-affectingly illustrated in several scenes as well as in the back endpapers, which show the lion walking with his mate and cubs as the mouse and her brood ride on his back. Pinkney's artist's note explains that he set the book in Africa's Serengeti, "with its wide horizon and abundant wildlife so awesome yet fragile-not unlike the two sides of each of the heroes." Additional African species grace splendid panoramas that balance the many finely detailed, closeup images of the protagonists. Pinkney has no need for words; his art speaks eloquently for itself. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

I agree with the review that the lion’s face on the cover is striking; however, the review does not mention that the back cover shows the mouse. The lion’s expression and eyes glancing to the side beg the reader to turn the book over and look at the back cover. This in itself leads to the anticipation of this story.
I disagree with the review’s use of the word “ mottled” to describe the illustrations used to tell the story. The illustrations show such beauty and detail; not blotched, streaked, or spotted as the word mottled implies to me.
I agree with the review that no words are necessary to communicate this story to the audience. “Pinkney has no need for words; his art speaks eloquently for itself.” The only words used, which are sounds, and the vivid watercolor illustrations in this book bring the African Serengeti to life for the reader. The expert imagery of the expressions of the lion and the mouse reveal to the reader the emotions these characters are experiencing when each is caught. The review does not come right out and say, but even if the reader has not heard the Aesop fable of the lion and the mouse they can draw the meaning of the story from the vivid illustrations in this book.
I agree with the review that this story enriches the classic tale of friendship with a theme of family blended into the story. The author shows pictures of lion and mouse families within the book. This gives the reader a way to relate these animal families to their own. But, I think another very important theme that is expressed in the pictures that the review does not mention is that anyone, no matter how small, can make a difference and that no act of kindness is wasted.
The review gives an age range of 3 to 6 for this book. I do not entirely agree with this. I would place the book at preschool through 3rd grade. It is a picture book for sure, so I think this book would be great to use with young children just starting to read because they can tell the story through the pictures. But, I also think this book would be appropriate for an older reader because they can actually create their own script to the story and even act it out.

Question:

What does it mean to show compassion for others? Give examples of how you could show compassion to a friend and then toward someone who you don’t see as a friend. (Essential Questions)


message 21: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Peterson | 9 comments A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead


Publishers Weekly
( May 10, 2010; 9781596434028 )
With quiet affection, this husband-and-wife team tells the story of a zookeeper whose devotion is repaid when he falls ill. On most days, the angular, elderly Amos rides the bus to the zoo, plays chess with the elephant ("who thought and thought before making a move"), sits quietly with the penguin, and spends time with his other animal friends. But when Amos catches a cold, the animals ride the bus to pay him a visit, each, in a charming turnabout, doing for Amos whatever he usually does for them. The elephant sets up the chessboard; the shy penguin sits on the bed, "keeping Amos's feet warm." Newcomer Erin Stead's elegant woodblock prints, breathtaking in their delicacy, contribute to the story's tranquility and draw subtle elements to viewers' attention: the grain of the woodblocks themselves, Amos's handsome peacock feather coverlet. Every face-Amos's as well as the animals'-brims with personality. Philip Stead's (Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast) narrative moves with deliberate speed, dreaming up a joyous life for the sort of man likely to be passed on the street without a thought. Ages 2-6. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Clearly, the summary is an accurate one with some choice words that help the readers of the review gain a mental picture of what they will encounter as they read the book. Elderly and angular represent our main character fairly as Amos is a thin, tall, elderly man.
As for Erin Stead's illustrations, I agree with the review and was surprised to read they were wood block prints. They are quite detailed, with a classic feel and charm oozing off the page. By far, my favorite picture is the spread of the zoo animals on the city bus. The detail is amazing. You can see the texture of the elephant's skin, the slight flatness of the tires, the bus number, the bus driver's face, and the rhino's quiet contemplation. I do think this is a story that could have been completely wordless and would have been worthy of awards. However, the text is complementary.
As for the text itself, I adore it. The review also felt this was a positive story to read with young children. The story is respectful and tender. Never once does it speak ill of getting older or of the relationship between Amos and the animals. It is gentle and shows kindness. When Amos becomes ill, the animals go visit HIM and keep him company as he has done for them for so long. How often do you get to see a truly reciprocal friendship in books these days? What a great lesson for young readers!
I found the review to be accurate and well thought out. I enjoyed reading the contents of the review nearly as much as parts of the book itself.
The review gives an age range of 2-6. I believe this can go higher for enjoyment purposes. I would say more perhaps to the age of 9. The book would have more success reaching the older reader if introduced at a younger age. Clearly, it can be used for a variety of purposes: exploring friendships, researching the zoo animals presented in the book, helping the elderly, and character traits come to mind.

If the book were written with you as the main character, what would you add to or change about this story? Why? (Inventive, Hypothetical, Sorting and Sifting)


message 22: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Peterson | 9 comments Liz wrote: "A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Review: Publishers Weekly
( May 10, 2010; 9781596434028 )
With quiet affection, this husband-and-wife team tells the story of a zookeeper whose devotion is repaid when h..."


I read this book too and used the same review (as it turns out). I scrolled up and saw your post. I am totally with you on the age range. While some 2 year olds are gentle enough personalities (like if they watch Little Bear), my daughter would have passed over this one. How perfect is this for older kids? I love the book myself, so I imagine with all of the ways it can be used, it just depends on the personality of the children.
I wanted to let you know that I particularly enjoyed your question! How thought provoking!


message 23: by Liz (new)

Liz | 9 comments Thanks Mandy. I really enjoyed reading the book to my kids, much more so, than reading it to myself. Seemed much gentler out loud than just in my head. :) My kids would have definitely passed this book over, had I not read it out loud to them. I was kind of worried about using the publisher's review rather than the boolist and school reviews, but I'm glad you used it as well. Mandy you have a great way with words and I really enjoyed reading your comments as well.


message 24: by Alicia (new)

Alicia (AliciaV) | 4 comments A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
Book: A Ball For Daisy
By: Chris Raschka

Booklist
( June 01, 2011; 9780375858611 )
This story about loss (and joy) is accomplished without a single word, which is perfect it puts you directly in the headspace of its canine protagonist. The title tells us her name is Daisy, but she is a pretty anonymous little thing, drawn by Raschka as just a few indistinct yet somehow expressive squiggly lines. What's clear is that she loves playing with her ball, both indoors and out, until the fateful moment that another dog bites too hard on the ball and deflates it. In a heart-aching series of nearly identical paintings, Daisy slumps into a sofa as depression overtakes her. Dogs, of course, don't know that there are more balls in the world, which makes her glee at the end of the book all the sweeter. Raschka uses fairly sophisticated comic-book arrangements long, narrow, horizontal panels, and so forth but masks them with soft watercolor edges instead of sharp corners. The result feels like something of pure emotion. Pretty close approximation of what it's like to be a dog, probably. --Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist

I agree completely with this review. The loss and joy expressed through the pictures is powerful enough that there is no need for words. You feel for Daisy and know exactly how she feels when she loses her ball. The pictures drew me in so much that I had to go back and look again at the layout of the illustrations to realize that they were indeed arranged in a comic book style. I also love the use of watercolors instead of harsh lines and crazy colors. The watercolors made it possible to show even greater emotion when Daisy was down in the dumps about losing her ball. The only thing I dislike or disagree with is the fact that the review pretty much gives away the ending. I know it is a children’s book but they could leave a bit to the imagination.

Strategic Questions: What could Daisy do next to brighten her mood? Could she get something else to make her feel better? Why or why not? I would ask these questions before the end of the book and have the kids come up with a strategy to make Daisy happier.


message 25: by Jayme (new)

Jayme Prisbell-Hultman | 3 comments Booklist
( March 01, 2009; 9780375946837 )
This tongue-in-cheek superheroine graphic novel will hit the spot for chapter-book readers. Lunch Lady and Betty, her assistant in both the cafeteria and her role of wrong-¬righting supersleuth, investigate the strange case of an absent teacher, his creepy substitute, and a plan to grab the Teacher of the Year Award by truly foul means. Three little kids join in the action as Lunch Lady, equipped with a variety of high-tech kitchen gadgets like a spatu-copter and a lunch-tray laptop, tracks a cleverly disguised robot to his maker's lab, where a whole army of cyborgs require kicking, stomping, and the wielding of fish-stick nunchucks. Yellow-highlighted pen-and-ink cartoons are as energetic and smile-provoking as Lunch Lady's epithet of Cauliflower! and Betty's ultimate weapon, the hairnet. There is a nice twist in the surprise ending, and the kids' ability to stand up to the school bully shows off their newfound confidence in a credible manner. Little details invite and reward repeat readings with visual as well as verbal punning.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2009 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.




The term “Lunch lady” is a slang term often used to identify women who cook and/or serve food in a school cafeteria. Often, these women have become an exaggerated and stereotyped version of overweight, uncaring women with hairnets, rubber gloves, glasses and warts/moles. However, in the graphic novel, Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Thompson Brook School doesn’t realize how lucky they are to have the ultimate crime fighting lunch lady named “Lunch Lady” and her sidekick Betty.

The Lunch Lady and her assistant are supersluth’s equipped with high tech kitchen gadgets. The storyline for the graphic novel begins when Lunch Lady becomes suspicious of an absent teacher (i.e. he hasn’t missed a day of school in 20 years) and his sinisterly odd substitute. While Lunch Lady and Betty are working the case, three students deemed “The Breakfast Bunch” become very curious about Lunch Lady and her day to day duties. Of course, they assume she is a boring woman with no life outside the cafeteria…but soon enough they will find out just how important her role is at the school.

There are not many heroes with a more passionately divergent alter ego. I agree with the reviewer that there are clever touches of superhero lunch gadgets throughout the book. This is supported by the inventions Betty has created for Lunch Lady. Krosoczka does a brilliant job of tying together lunch themes with superhero qualities. Case in point…the hidden lab behind a fridge where Betty has spent her time inventing weapons such as helicopter spatulas, exploding chicken nuggets, a lunch tray laptop, and my personal favorite…the fish stick numb chucks that assist Lunch Lady as she serves and protects the student body. Not only do the gadgets keep the reader entertained, but the dialog contains cafeteria talk; meaning food-inspired statements and quotes. Classic statements such as “oh no!” are replaced with “good gravy!” will make any student laugh aloud. One of my favorite parts is the view of the spy screens in the Lunch Lady's lab; showing what the teachers are doing in their classrooms. For instance, we learn that "Mr. Johnson is reciting poetry" to and of course the poem he is reciting begins with food, "Beans, beans, good for your heart..." before trailing off to be completed by laughing readers. In addition, the yellow-highlighted pen-and-ink cartoons drawings filled with silly puns are energetic yet simple which alternate keep the readers’ visual interest.

The one item I disagree with is how the reviewer presents the children joining in the action of the crime fighting lunch lady. Though the children do contribute in helping fight the crime, it is actually Hector’s invention that saves the day. The Breakfast Bunch devised a plan to spy on Lunch Lady’s daily activities unaware of the trouble that lurked ahead; ultimately leading the kids to accidently participate in the binding climactic fight scene. It is important to note, they don’t stumble across the situation until the end of the novel.

Clarification Questions: Before the book begins, prior to the title page, the reader is introduced to a crime fighting scene with the main character. What is a main character? We see the main character trying to stop bank robbers. What is a bank robber? What does it mean to protect someone or something? What do you think fighting crime means? Who is this main character/crime fighter? What do you think saving the day means? How does the main character save the day? Why do you think the author, Jarrett J. Krosoczka , introduces us to the Lunch Lady fighting crime before the story actually begins?


message 26: by Debra (new)

Debra Wake | 3 comments Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

School Library Journal
( January 01, 2011; 9781596436954 )
Gr 2-5-While exploring a meteoroid crater, young explorers Zita and Joseph discover an unusual device featuring a conspicuous red button. Zita's curiosity compels her to press it, only to discover that it summons an alien creature that instantly abducts Joseph. The fearless heroine follows him to a planet inhabited by Scriptorians, who intend to use him as a ritual sacrifice to prevent the destruction of their planet. In her quest to save her friend, Zita assembles a cadre of unusual cohorts: a giant mouse that she rides; an oversize blob like creature named Strong; a Heavily Armored Mobile Battle Orb known as One; and Robot Randy. Together they head off to the Scriptorians' castle to rescue Joseph. Along the way, she meets Piper, a fellow earthling traveling through space who becomes an important player in the story. Aptly named, he is part Pied Piper and part inventor but always a smooth talker who alternately assists and sabotages the mission. In order to save her friend, Zita must ultimately risk her own chance to return to Earth. With echoes of The Wizard of Oz, this charming, well-told story has a timeless "read to me" quality that makes it perfect for one-on-one sharing. Adults will enjoy the subtle humor and inside jokes and children will love intrepid Zita and her adventures. The art is simply delightful: a realistic heroine surrounded by a world of bizarre creatures. Fans of the Flight anthologies (Villard) will cheer for the return of Zita.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted

I agreed with several points in the review. I agreed with the grade level. There are lots of pictures in the book without text which will help younger students understand the story. There are some upper level vocabulary words, like “vermin” and “gravitational tremors” but the pictures and the sentence content should help students with the meaning of the words. I was delighted by the comparison to The Wizard of Oz in the review, but I didn’t see it for myself when reading the story. It would be a good classroom activity to talk about both texts to make test-to-text comparisons. This book is the first in a series so I am anxious to see what happens in the next book.

There were a few points in the review that I didn't agree with. I read the book in one sitting, but I didn’t see any inside jokes. Maybe after a second read, I will be able to pick up some of the humor. I also didn’t see the value of it as a read aloud. Since the book is a graphic novel, it is very picture supported and would lose some of its impact as a read aloud.

Probing Question: Why did Zita choose to save Joseph instead of herself?

Hypothetical Question: What would you do if you were called to space to rescue Zita?

Essential Question: What would you do to help a friend?


message 27: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 3 comments Booklist
( July 01, 2011; 9781596436077 )
The idea of a garden as a lockbox of memories is not a new one, but rarely is it pulled off with this kind of panache. Lane drops us into a story of an unnamed person. He was born a really long time ago, before computers or television. Who we see, though, is a fairly modern-looking boy tending to an increasingly impressive topiary garden featuring creations sculpted to visualize each stage of the person's life. Chicken pox are represented by berries across a humanlike shrub's face. Going off to war is visualized by a cannon-shaped shrub with branches shooting from its muzzle. Sketched with a finely lined fairy-tale wispiness and dominated by verdant green, the illustrations are not just creative but poignant especially after it is revealed that the boy is the great-great-grandson of the old man whose life is being described, and whose failing memories are contained in this garden (most impressively in a four-page fold-out spread). Possibly a bit disorienting for the very young, but the perfect book to help kids understand old age.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist

I read Grandpa Green by Lane Smith. I really loved this book. It is a story of a young boy who shares the life of his great grandpa, through the garden. It has different ways for the kids to connect to the book and different things the kids could learn. Like what it was like for him to grow up without tv and on a farm. The book shows us different ways we can remember those who are growing old or those we have lost. One of my kids just lost her grandpa and I think this book would be a great book for her to help with the loss and trying to understand death from a three year old point of view.
For the most part I agreed with this particular review. I think the author did a great job of using the illustrations to show the story. I like the way he used the greenery to show him growing up on a farm with the carrot and chicken. Or the wedding cake when he got married.
I didn’t agree with the last sentence, where the review said it was a bit disorienting for younger children. I teach preschool and I think my three year olds would love the creativity of the book. They would have so much fun pointing out all the different things the greenery is trying to be. I also think they would be able to make a connection to the book because the majority of them have grandparents that they are close to and a few who have lost them.

Question – How is the boy in the story like us? Is the great grandpa in the story like your grandparent? How?


message 28: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 3 comments Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

School Library Journal
( July 01, 2010; 9780763641689 )
PreS-Gr 2-In a picture book that is as charming and comic as Pouch! (Putnam, 2009), Stein again represents an affectionate parent's trials with a vigorous child. At bedtime, despite a rooster papa's best efforts to share classic fairy tales with his daughter, Little Red Chicken's soft heart means she can't help but jump into each story to warn Hansel and Gretel and then Red Riding Hood about impending danger, and to assure Chicken Little: "Don't panic! It was just an acorn." In each case, the story abruptly ends, wearying the father with what to do next. When he convinces his daughter to compose her own story, she fills four pages with preschool-style spelling and drawings about a chicken putting her papa to bed, but her tale is interrupted by Papa's snores. At the end, the pair cuddle together, asleep. Stein's droll cartoons use watercolor, crayon, china marker, pen, and tea. The rich colors of the characters perfectly contrast with the sepia pages of the storybooks. This is one of the rare titles that will entertain both parent and child.-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted

There were many things I found in this review that I agreed with in regard to the adorable book Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein. First, the review calls the book “charming and comic” and I couldn’t agree more. While reading the book, I oftentimes started laughing out loud at Little Red Chicken’s antics. Her interrupting came from a sweet place of caring for the characters in the book and this character even reminded me of a few students from my past. The book was also charming because I found myself really enjoying Little Red Chicken as a vivacious, lively character and could empathize with her exasperated father as he tediously tried to keep Little Red Chicken from interrupting the stories they read together. This review also states that Little Red Chicken is not interrupting the stories to be naughty. Rather, Little Red Chicken is coming from a very warm and caring place for the characters in the classic fairy tales she reads with her father. This point was evident throughout the story and this sweet demeanor is what made Little Red Chicken such an endearing character. In regard to the pictures in this book, the review states that the sepia pages used for the storybooks are a great contrast to the other rich and color pictures in the book. I agree wholeheartedly. It is nice for the readers to know when the fairy tales are being told and when they are not. This seems to help organize the story so the reader does not get confused with what is happening in the book.

The only point that I tend to disagree with is the statement about this book being a rare title that both children and parents will be entertained by. While I do believe that Interrupting Chicken is indeed a book both children and parents could enjoy and be entertained by together, I feel strongly that there are many children’s picture books that would be enjoyed just as much by people. This also seems to be a very subjective statement because different children and parents are going to enjoy different books. Again, this book was wonderful, but I don’t think it is rare to find such an enjoyable book because there is a wide array of children’s literature available for both children and parents to be entertained by other than this book. Therefore, it is my opinion that to call this rare is a fallacy.

An Elaborating question for Interrupting Chicken…….

Little Red Chicken interrupts her Papa’s reading of the fairy tales to give the characters advice, or helpful ideas, so they will not get into trouble or have any problems in the story. Think of your favorite fairy tale. At what point in the fairy tale would you interrupt the character like Little Red Chicken does to stop them from getting in trouble or from having a problem? What advice, or helpful ideas, would you give the character at that time so they do not get into trouble or have any problems?

After thinking about or writing this question down, students could share and discuss their answers with partners. You could even have kids do the same fairy tale and have them compare and contrast the similarities and differences in the advice they would give to the characters in that fairy tale.


message 29: by Kindra (new)

Kindra (kindra954) | 4 comments Book: Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Awards List: Eisner 2010 (found current book on list but that one was unavailable so I got this one from the same series)

School Library Journal (January 01, 2010)
Gr 2-4-Dee, Terrence, and Hector are looking forward to Mr. Scribson's upcoming author visit. Suspicions soon arise, though, when the man refuses to sign Hector's worn copy of Flippy Bunny, snatching it away from him instead. Then Coach Birkby goes missing, and Lunch Lady and Betty start to investigate. They soon learn that gym teachers from other schools the author visited have also disappeared, and they're hot on the case. The illustrator uses a fine line of pen and ink with touches of yellow. Balloon call-outs are large and clear and work well for beginning readers and those new to the graphic-novel format.-Lisa Gieskes, CA Johnson

I agree with this review. I, myself, am new to graphic novels. I may have read some comics growing up, but not as many as my brother or husband. The illustrator only uses 3 colors, black, white and yellow. I found this approach to be simple, yet effective in getting the story across. The balloon call-outs for the text are very clear and would be great for beginning readers. The words are large and easy to read. Since this is a graphic novel, it would also reinforce the concept of reading top to bottom and left to right. I remember that when I first started to read I struggled with that.

The only thing I disagree with in this review is the age of the reader. I think it would be okay for first graders too, maybe toward the last half of the school year or if they were a little more advanced. This book may however encourage them to challenge themselves to read a little bit harder book. The students may need help with some of the words in the book like: successful, kidnapped, hypnotized, coincidence, and presentation. These could easily be sounded out and looked up for their meanings. There is also a little violence in the book, but it's kidnapping and hypnotizing, no guns or anything. The weapon of choice is a dodge ball or a stuffed ninja attack bunny.
The villain in the story is an author who, as a child who was “picked on” a lot for not being athletic in gym class. He was always picked last for teams, had to climb the rope and would fall, and the gym teacher made fun of him. All of this pent-up aggression made him mean and out to get all gym teachers he came across as an adult.

My question is this: What would have happened to the author had he not been made fun of as a child? How different would his life have turned out if he had some friends that stood up for him? What would happen if you stuck up for someone at school who was getting picked on? (hypothetical question).


message 30: by Zach (new)

Zach | 1 comments Anne Frank: The Authorized Graphic Biography
Library Journals
Gr 6-10-This graphic biography by the creators of The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation (Hill and Wang, 2006) will introduce a new group of readers to the tragic and inspiring world of Anne Frank. Rather than focus solely on her famous diary, Jacobson and Colon trace Anne's history beginning with her parents' early lives, the family's frequent relocations, the move into the Secret Annex, and the final fates of Anne and the other "hiders." Along the way, they add in factual information to contextualize the events. The full-color artwork does a good job of conveying Anne's world, family, and friends. A list of the people appearing in the story would have been helpful, especially when considering that the Dutch and German names will be unfamiliar to most readers. Overall, this is a high-quality, important work that should find a place in most libraries-Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

I agree with this review wholeheartedly. I expected a graphic version of Anne Frank's diary, but was surprised to find that it was a biography with some excerpts from the diary placed in context in Anne's life. While the book carries the narrative style of a graphic novel, the authors interject one- or two-page history lessons to give information on what was happening outside of the annex where the Franks were hiding. The only thing I would add to the review is a short warning of graphic material. More of just a "heads up" so parents and teachers will be aware that there is some nudity and a little bit of graphic violence when the book shows scenes from concentration camps. I realize graphic material is unavoidable when making a graphic novel about the Holocaust, and I think it is warranted in this instance, I just think I as a teacher would like to know this when considering adding the book to my classroom library.

Hypothetical question: Anne and her family hid out in a very small building for over a year and it put a major strain on their relationships with each other and the others staying with them. If your family were in that situation, how would you handle it? Would you be able to get along with your family fairly well? How would you destress when tempers were rising? Imagine how you cope with these situations now. Imagine being unable to get away from your family when you need a break. Could you handle it?


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

McDonnell, Patrick. (2011). Me… Jane. Little, Brown and Company.

2012 Caldecott Honor Book

Review

Booklist

( March 15, 2011; 9780316045469 )

*Starred Review* Little Jane loves her stuffed animal; a chimpanzee named Jubilee, and carries him everywhere she goes. Mainly, they go outdoors, where they watch birds building their nests and squirrels chasing each other. Jane reads about animals in books and keeps a notebook of sketches, information, and puzzles. Feeling her kinship with all of nature, she often climbs her favorite tree and reads about another Jane, Tarzan's Jane. She dreams that one day she, too, will live in the African jungle and help the animals. And one day, she does. With the story's last page turn, the illustrations change from ink-and-watercolor scenes of Jane as a child, toting Jubilee, to a color photo of Jane Goodall as a young woman in Africa, extending her hand to a chimpanzee. Quietly told and expressively illustrated, the story of the child as a budding naturalist is charming on its own, but the photo on the last page opens it up through a well-chosen image that illuminates the connections between childhood dreams and adult reality. On two appended pages, About Jane Goodall describes her work, while A Message from Jane invites others to get involved. This remarkable picture book is one of the few that speaks, in a meaningful way, to all ages.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

My Response

This review provides a good and accurate summary of Patrick McDonnell’s book Me… Jane. This book makes connections between Jane Goodall’s childhood dreams and the realization of those dreams as an adult. The book is very inspiring for young (and young at heart) readers. Young readers can easily identify with young Jane as she makes her observations in nature with her loyal companion Jubilee. I agree the illustrations are well done; however, there are two pages of illustrations, which do not seem to fit with the flow of the book. The illustrations about the Alligator Society and various lists and games Jane created as a child seem forced or really just stuck in the book at random. The author does have an “art note” at the end of the book explaining what those pages are at the end of the book. I also really enjoyed the real life photos of Jane. The book opens with a picture of Jane (as a child) and Jubilee so the reader can see where the author got the inspiration for the illustrations, which are lovely and represent Jane very well, and the book ends with a photo of Jane as a young woman working with chimpanzees- dream realized. I really enjoyed this book and agree with the review from Booklist that this book will speak to readers in a meaningful way especially after one reads About Jane and A Message from Jane at the end of the book. Truly, from the idea of dream to reality, to nature, to themes of dedication and determination, there is something for everyone in this book.

Essential Question: Jane’s dream was to live and work in Africa where she could study and help animals. Through hard work and determination, Jane’s dreams came true. What are your dreams and where do you think your dreams will take you?


message 32: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 4 comments The Meaning of Life and other Stuff – Written and Illustrated by Jimmy Gownley

Booklist
( September 15, 2011; 9781416986126 )
Amelia's life has gotten very confusing. With cheerleading and crushes and school and near tragedies to deal with, is it any wonder she sometimes longs to be younger again? The seventh book in the Amelia Rules series is as well written and beautifully illustrated as readers have come to expect. Amelia and her friends are heading into middle school, and puberty is lurking, but the books remain a kid-friendly mix of humor and realism. This volume builds on the previous stories, so libraries will want to update and fill in their collections, especially now that the publisher is rereleasing the entire set.--Wildsmith, Snow Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.



Amelia’s life has gotten confusing and that is probably why I thought this graphic novel was confusing. The storyline jumps around a lot just as the book review states. From being super heroes in a club, to getting on the cheerleading squad mid-season, to meeting up with her dad who lives in another city, to reading her aunts diary, to dealing with a good friend’s scary news about her dad, and none of which seemed to tie in together. The review stated that this volume builds on the previous stories and since I have not read the other volumes, it is very understandable that I would be somewhat lost when reading this one. I agree with the review that even though Amelia and her friends are heading into middle school and dealing with some more mature issues, the book is still very “kid-friendly” and I would not have an issue with recommending this book to students as young as 3rd grade. The one issue I have with the review is that I don’t agree with its statement of being “well written and beautifully illustrated.” This story would have been better written if the disjointed stories didn’t stop and start so abruptly. The novel just did not flow well. As far as the illustrations go, I felt it was adequately illustrated. To say that the illustrations were beautiful is an overstatement. They weren’t anything out of the norm for a graphic novel.

Inventive Question

Think about the different situations Amelia was in throughout the book. Give three situations Amelia was in and what she found out about life in each of those situations.


message 33: by Leigh (new)

Leigh | 3 comments “The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain” by Peter Sis

Booklist
(September 01, 2007; 9780374347017)
*Starred Review* In an autobiographical picture book that will remind many readers of Marjane Satrapi's memoir Persepolis (2003), Sís' latest, a powerful combination of graphic novel and picture book, is an account of his growing up in Czechoslovakia under Soviet rule. Written in several stands, the somewhat fragmented narrative never dilutes the impact of the boldly composed panels depicting scenes from Sís' infancy through young adulthood. Throughout, terrific design dramatizes the conflict between conformity and creative freedom, often through sparing use of color; in many cases, the dominant palette of black, white, and Communist red threatens to swallow up young Peter's freely doodled, riotously colored artwork. The panels heighten the emotional impact, as when Sís fleeing the secret police, emerges from one spread's claustrophobic, gridlike sequence into a borderless, double-page escape fantasy. Even as they side with Peter against fearsome forces beyond his control, younger readers may lose interest as the story moves past his childhood, and most will lack crucial historical context. But this will certainly grab teens who will grasp both the history and the passionate, youthful rebellions against authority as well as adults, many of whom will respond to the Cold War setting. Though the term picture book for older readers has been bandied about quite a bit, this memorable title is a true example.--Mattson, Jennifer Copyright 2007 Booklist

I agree with most of the points in this critique of this combination graphic novel and picture book. The author does not dilute the impact the Communist had on his early life. His drawings show the faces of the people as they react to the soldiers coming in and forcing their rules on the Czech people. His dialog does not mince words, and he states directly that a family friend died in prison because this friend stood up to the authorities. I also agree that the sparing use of color is effective. The first part of the book is almost completely done in black and white with the addition of red when referring to the Communist. The red strikes a sharp contrast to the bleak white and black images and, for me at least, gave a sense of uneasiness. Anytime he is talking about the West or the United States, multiple colors are used to put a positive, carefree, and happy feel to these thoughts. They are a stark contrast to the black, white, and red that is used when referring to the Iron Curtain. I also find that the review is correct in stating that this story will grab teens who are interested in history, and that teens will rebel against authority when given the chance just like the author rebels by not becoming a member of the Communist Party, which prevents him from being allowed to open an art studio in his home. He also rebels by drawing what he wants even though he knows that these drawings could be used against him at anytime. His final act of rebellion comes when he is ordered back to Czechoslovakia, but he refused to leave the United States. From the historical perspective, I would like my youngest son to read this book and get his thoughts as we have visited the Czech Republic, and even though the Communist are long gone, the country still had an oppressive and sometimes discomforting feel. Out of all the foreign countries we have visited, this is the only country where the hotel kept our passports overnight, so I could directly relate to the feeling of uneasiness that the author expresses frequently.

There really isn’t much that I disagree with in this critique with the exception of the idea that younger readers may lose interest in this book. Some of the narrative parts are long, but I feel if the teacher is prepared and leads the younger students through this book, that even the younger reader could benefit from reading this book and learning about what life was really like behind the Iron Curtain. This is an excellent primary source that shows the reader exactly what was going on during that time period in history. Having been to the Czech Republic myself, this book even helped me understand better why the older people acted the way they did – very distrustful of others and especially Americans.

Inventive Question:

Create a timeline that includes both pictures and words that reflects what you feel are the major events behind the Iron Curtain that had the most dramatic effects on the author’s life.


message 34: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 3 comments Booklist
( September 01, 2008; 9780979923845 )
Swamp monster Stinky has a good life in all the wonderful, stinky, squishy mud, with his pet toad, Wartbelly, and other swamp critters such as slimy slugs and possums. However, close by is a town full of kids that Stinky thinks are yucky because they like to take baths and eat such things as cakes and apples. When a boy invades the swamp and builds a tree house, Stinky tries to scare him away. Nothing works it turns out the boy actually likes toads and swamps but when they finally meet and talk, each one realizes he needs a friend. Davis' colorful art makes Stinky and his swamp delightfully yucky and attractive to young readers. Her simplified graphic-novel structure does have some sophistication in panel placement, but the panels' reading order is clear. Although the vocabulary may be too much for younger children to read on their own, the repetition will have them quickly learning mucky, yucky, and gross.--Kan, Kat Copyright 2008 Booklist

I also think that the story of Stinky and his swamp is a fun book for young kids. The illustrations are enjoyable, and made me smile every time I turned the page. I really do not understand how this graphic novel had “sophisticated panel placement.” To me it looked like all of the other graphic novels for young readers. But I do agree that the reading order is clear, and I believe any first or second grade student could follow it. The alliteration and repetition of words on many of the pages, such as “I love the mushy, mucky, mud” and “slimy, smelly swamp” will give the students a chance to not only learn new vocabulary, but I think it will make the story that much more entertaining.
Question: Stinky had already decided he did not like kids before he ever met one. How would the story be different if he had not judged the kids from the beginning? (Elaborating) What can you do to make sure you or your friends do not judge others? (Essential)
Stinky


message 35: by Susan (new)

Susan (skless) | 3 comments Booklist
( September 15, 2010; 9780763641689 )
At bedtime, Papa prepares to read an old favorite to the little red chicken, but before beginning, he reminds her not to interrupt the story. Reassured, he begins Hansel and Gretel, but just as the two children approach the witch's house, up pops the little red chicken, exclaiming DON'T GO IN! SHE'S A WITCH!' . . . THE END! Two more attempted bedtime stories end abruptly with the little red chicken saving Little Red Riding Hood and Chicken Little. The childlike humor of this wonderfully illustrated picture book will bring belly laughs from kids, particularly those who know the original stories. Stein uses page turns dramatically to build tension, which is released each time the chicken interrupts and amends a fairy tale. Differences in medium and style differentiate between scenes taking place in the folktales and in the main story. Created with watercolor, water-soluble crayon, and pen and ink, the illustrations are vivid and dramatic. Great fun for reading aloud.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist.


I do agree with the Booklist. This book has so many great features that it brings to all readers. Like the Booklist describes, the childlike humor is wonderful in this book. Children will love the silly chicken in this book that just cannot resist the urge to interrupt when his Papa is reading. Not only does the chicken just interrupt, but the chicken jumps into the classic stories and becomes a character in the classic stories Papa is reading. As the Booklist stated, children will connect with the book even more if they are familiar with the classic stories because they will know the events that actually take place. The Booklist also described how dramatic the page turns are in the middle of the fairy tales. These are sure to grab any reader’s attention. Readers will love trying to anticipate and predict what the chicken will do next. The Booklist and I both agree with the great use of different illustrations to show the differences between the classic fairy tale stories and the main story. This especially allows children to easily distinguish the difference between the two settings. I can also imagine the enthusiasm and excitement a reader can use when reading this aloud to children and really bring the dialogue and humor to life.

Question: Papa tried reading several stories to get the chicken to fall asleep, but they didn’t work. What else could have Papa tried in order to get the chicken to fall asleep?


message 36: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 3 comments Review of Blackout by John Rocco:

School Library Journal
( July 01, 2011; 9781423121909 )

PreS-Gr 2-The view inside this family of four's duplex depicts what might be a typical night for them. The younger child is reaching for a board game, her older sister is talking on the phone, dad is cooking, and mom is working at the computer. When the girl tries to enlist the others to play the game with her, they're all too busy-until "The lights went out. All of them." It's a blackout! At first, the family members sit at the kitchen table with a flashlight and some candles; then they head up to the roof for a look at the bright stars against the dark cityscape; and, finally, they go down to the street, where there's a festive atmosphere of guitars playing, free ice cream, and an open fire hydrant. In the end, readers will see that simple pleasures and a spirit of togetherness can be enjoyed even when the electricity comes back on. The colorful pictures work beautifully with the book's design. Rocco uses comic-strip panels and a brief text to convey the atmosphere of a lively and almost magical urban landscape. Great bedtime reading for a soft summer night.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

I agree with the reviewer on many aspects of this book. The colorful pictures work beautifully with the book’s design. They, at first, illustrate the separateness of the family members and then later the joy of the street party and, finally, family togetherness. The chocolate brown backgrounds, except the blue-grays of the blackout, give the book a warm appeal.

I also agree that the comic-strip panels and brief text convey the atmosphere of a lively and almost magical urban landscape. The warm colors, pleasant facial expressions and the incidental extras in many of the pictures add humor and a festive atmosphere without the need for extra words. There is also a complete absence of any hostile or criminal activity in the book. Rocco has used many artistic touches to illustrate the story, one of which is that at first there are white margins around the pictures, but they disappear during the blackout, reappear when the electricity comes back on and then disappear again as the family decides to turn their lights out and spend time together.

The happy expressions on the family members' faces after the blackout as they gather around the kitchen table to play a board game speak volumes about the simple pleasures of being together. This would definitely be a bedtime story that would leave a child feeling warm and loved. (It might also bring a request to play a board game together the next night!)

I do disagree with the reviewer on two points. First, this reviewer identifies the younger sibling as a girl (two other reviewers referred to this child as a boy and one just mentioned the youngest member of a family). The child’s hair length would seem at first glance to indicate a girl. But boys have been known to wear long hair as well. The child’s shoes are rather big and clunky for a girl and he/she takes off running at the sight of free ice cream. He/she also wears baggy shorts and sits on the front steps with knees wide apart like a boy. Perhaps only John Rocco knows for sure, but what convinced me that this child was a boy was the father’s comment on the next-to-last page, “Good idea, Buddy!” Very few fathers call their daughters, “Buddy,” and ruffle their hair.

My second point of disagreement is the reviewer’s description of the family’s living quarters as a duplex. I think of a duplex as a house built for two families, where each side is pretty much a mirror image of the other. The pictures in this book show a five story building that looks more like an apartment house, though this family’s living quarters include two levels. Unless the word duplex is used differently in the city than in my rural area, their living quarters would not be a duplex.


Planning Question for Blackout:
How can this family maintain the togetherness they’ve found as a result of the blackout, and make it a regular part of their life in the future?


message 37: by Chad (new)

Chad | 3 comments Zita the Spacegirl
Library Media Connection (March/April 2011)
Zita's story starts out on earth, but she jumps through a strange portal to save her friend, who was captured by a creature. She finds herself in a new world filled with robots that is on the verge of being destroyed by a meteoroid. As Zita tries to save her friend, she meets up with unlikely robot friends as the rest of the planet gears up to watch their world end. In the end, the planet is saved by one of Zita's new friends, and her human friend is sent back to earth. Zita gears up to travel the universe with her remaining friends in hopes of making it home one day. The ending is not strong enough to leave readers waiting for another installment. Hatke's simplistic illustrations move the story along. The reader is not overwhelmed with details, and the captions don't overpower the illustrations. Older readers will enjoy the space story and futuristic drawings, and will also be able to relate to being an outsider trying to survive in new surroundings. Recommended. LJ Martin, Media Specialist, Portville (New York) Central School

So, skipping the summary provided in the review, which I obviously agree with, I would say this book was an okay read. I agree that older readers might enjoy the space story and they can identify with being an outsider. The book provided a fun story that gives a great message that it is better to befriend those around you than to shut them out. Friends can be helpful and great to have around when you're in a pickle.
I also agree with the notion that the ending is not enough to really snag a reader into diving into the next volume. This volume is fairly self contained and does not need a sequel. It simply allows itself to continue if a reader should wish to follow, but it is not compelling. The illustrations where pretty well detailed and provided a good explanation of the story, but at times, some panels were not necessary for plot development.
The only part of this review I might disagree with is the "recommended" notion. First, I'm not sure I agree with the idea of star reviews, or recommended titles in the first place, but for this book I would say it was in the "okay" range, but it did not fascinate me or compel me to want to read the next one.
So, my question about this book would be: The creatures in this book put their very survival in the hands of a prophecy that spoke of salvation. When have you put your faith in something you could not prove through logic? Why did you believe in it?


message 38: by Cally (new)

Cally O'Brien | 3 comments Nursery Rhyme Comics 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists by Chris Duffy
Nursery Rhyme Comics
50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 celebrated artists
2012 Eisner Award Nominee: Best Publication for Early Readers

Publishers Weekly
( August 01, 2011; 9781596436008 )
in this easy-to-read and fun to read aloud collection, classic nursery rhymes get a contemporary spin from artists as varied as the New Yorker's Roz Chast and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. Each miniature story is beautifully colored, making each two-page spread a visual treat, and the traditional panel form of comics and graphic novels merge easily with the syncopated beats of the familiar rhymes. The interpretations of the nursery songs range from literal-such as Lilli Carre's "Sing a Song of Sixpence" to the slightly wacky. In Dave Roman's "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe," the numbers in the title refer to tiny clones created by a wizard inventor, with the help of gadgets like the Clone Master 3000 and the Mega Incubator. And any preconceived notions you have about old women living in footwear should be abandoned before reading Lucy Kinsley's delightfully original "There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe." Instead of a crotchety crone, the titular woman lives in a funky boot and runs Ruth's Rock & Rock Babysitting. Every panel explodes with enough rich detail to keep attention glued to the page. Ages 3-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

This review recommends the book for ages 3 and up, which I feel is too young to appreciate the subtleties of the artwork. Those subtleties also make this a difficult book to read aloud in a traditional manner. Many of the rhyme interpretations invite a more careful reading, like “Solomon Grundy” where the titular character is portrayed as a wooden doll or “Hector Protector,” which tells the story of a boastful young rabbit who exaggerates his tales of bravery. The review gives the impression that each nursery rhyme is depicted in a two page spread, but some are told in one page and others in more.
I agree that the comic form works well with the nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes in general make little sense and the artwork in the book serves to amplify or clarify meaning. For example, in the interpretation of “Tweedledum & Tweedledee,” the characters are shown looking through spyglasses for the line “Just then flew by a monstrous crow, as big as a tar barrel.” The next panel revels that the bird “which frightened both the heroes so, they quite forgot their quarrel” was normal sized. This visual joke adds meaning to the text.

Inventive Question:

Which of the artists’ interpretations surprised you the most? Just looking at the pictures, what story do the images tell? Does it match the nursery rhyme it is supposed to represent?


message 39: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Loewenstein (wendyl612) | 11 comments Mod
Pamela wrote: "Book: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

School Library Journal
( March 01, 2010; 9780545132060 )
Gr 5 Up-When she was in sixth grade, Telgemeier tripped while running and lost her two front teeth. In th..."


I love your idea of having students write a manual on how to survive the tween/teen years! What a great way to get students to have fun and write about a serious topic.


message 40: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Loewenstein (wendyl612) | 11 comments Mod
Jami wrote: "School Library Journal
( September 01, 2010; 9781596434530 )
Gr 4-7-Throughout his childhood, pudgy, bespectacled Walker Bean has listened to his grandfather's tales of adventure on the open seas...."


Jami wrote: "School Library Journal
( September 01, 2010; 9781596434530 )
Gr 4-7-Throughout his childhood, pudgy, bespectacled Walker Bean has listened to his grandfather's tales of adventure on the open seas...."


I like how you point out the various colors that are used and what they represent. This would lead to a great discussion with students as well-especially as a pre-reading strategy so the students know to draw their attention to the colors.


message 41: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Loewenstein (wendyl612) | 11 comments Mod
Gail wrote: "Book: Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute

Booklist
(March 01, 2009; 9780375946837 )
This tongue-in-cheek superheroine graphic novel will hit the spot for chapter-book readers. Lunch Lady and Be..."


This book sounds absolutely hilarious!!


message 42: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Gregory | 4 comments Ashley wrote: "School Library Journal
( April 01, 2009; 9780547014944 )
PreS-Gr 3-Through the seasons, this book personifies colors, starting with a red bird in early spring and concluding with it as winter ends...."


After getting my grade for this question...I found out I forgot my title! :) The book I was writing my review for is "Red sings from treetops: A year in colors" Just an FYI for anyone reading my post, sorry! :)


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