Monday, November 5, 2012

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (10)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! is a meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach.Mentor.Texts

 I wanted to try something new this week and use a goodreads widget to show you what I’ve read.  You will have to let me know what you think. I hope it might work as a way to display my current reads.  It was ten times easier than uploading all of the information as usual!  (Books are clickable in the widget - it takes you to the goodreads site)

As you can tell we have still been enjoying Maisy Books and read a few Halloween Books.  Our week was busy and we didn't get to read as much as usual.  The big storm did take out out power for about 24 hours, flooded our street, and rescheduled our Trick or Treat, but we survived.  Hoping all my bookish, bloggish, and twitter friends are doing ok, too.  I know a lot of you were hit hard.  Well, for Halloween my Lil Guy dressed as BOT (from Ame Dyckman's adorable Boy + Bot).  And we are now overloaded with candy!  This week we'll have to get back on track with more books, storytimes, and library visits.  :)

Also, it's Picture Book Month!  To see my ten ideas for how to celebrate you can look back at my post this week HERE

This Weeks Books

The Pirate's Eye
4 of 5 stars true
For older students. The story is intriguing, how a pirate and a 'sand fiddler' connect their lives and learn from each other. The storytelling wasn't very natural, it just lacked finesse. That being said, I did enjoy the book and woul...
The Goalie Mask
4 of 5 stars true
Perfectly blends the real life story of Jacques Plante and the story of a struggling youth hockey goalie who finds inspiration in the stories his grandfather tells about the Montreal Canadiens.
Cold Snap
4 of 5 stars true
I rather liked this winter tale. Maybe I was just in the mood for something chilly. Parts of the story were a bit forced. (Do icicles really grow longer the colder it gets?) And the characters names didn't click with me. Otherwise t...
Maisy Big, Maisy Small
3 of 5 stars true
I prefer the Maisy stories, but young Maisy fans will enjoy the colorful and fun illustrations. I rather missed Maisy's friends!
3 of 5 stars true
Dinosaur teams (Veggies vs Meats) take to the ice in a fierce hockey battle. We liked the fun names, action, and hockey bits. Hockey kids will like this one. Others might not appreciate the over the top play action.
Pigsty - Audio
4 of 5 stars true
Pigsty is a hilarious book about a boy's room that is so messy it gets overtaken by pigs. At first it's cool, the pigs play games and don't mind the mess. But, when the pigs take over ... the boy has to decide if he can live with his r...
Prairie Evers
4 of 5 stars true
I reviewed Prairie Evers along with Prairie Thief on my blog HERE @ Teacher.Mother.Reader
Maisy Goes Camping: A Maisy First Experience Book
4 of 5 stars true
We liked this one! Maisy and the crew go camping and fill a tent with friends and fun!
Pluto Visits Earth!
3 of 5 stars true
I would have loved for this book to have featured some facts along with the humor.
Waking Dragons
3 of 5 stars true
A little booy is sent to wake the dragons before starting his own day. I kept having the feeling the dragons were symbolic, but it was never clear from the book if this was the case. Sparse rhyming text, Preschoolers might enjoy it.
The Halloween Play Board Book
1 of 5 stars true
I wanted to like it, really ... but the story went nowhere.
Just Say Boo!
4 of 5 stars true
Perfect for preschoolers. Cute illustrations too.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Celebrating Picture Book Month

Today is the start of Picture Book Month.  As you probably can guess by my frequent book reviews, reading updates, and blog posts, I am a huge fan of picture books.  I will most definitely be celebrating Picture Book Month.  Yay!  Having the realization that Picture Book Month protocol may not be clear and we may need guidance for how to celebrate, I’ve come up with ten ideas to celebrate Picture Month Book in your classroom, in your home, on your own, or with others. 

1. Read lots of picture books.  Make a goal of reading at least one picture book a day or one new picture book each week.

2. Visit your local libraries. Pull picture books off the shelf and discover new authors and illustrators!  Ask the librarian for assistance in find the right book for your and your child/students.

3. Find your favorite picture books from when you were a child.  My husband recently found his two favorite childhood picture books online.  Thanks to the selling power of Amazon, he found Disney Classic Button Soup.  It was such a pleasure to see Nana reading Button Soup to our Lil Guy.  (The Big Guy was listening too!)

4. Visit book blogs that are celebrating Picture Book Month.  There are so many amazing book blogs out there that may cater to your picture book tastes.   You can easily blog hop from one book blog to another just by checking for ‘blogs I follow’ links.

5. Check out past Caldecott winners.  The Caldecott medal is given to picture books by a committee that recognizes excellence in story and illustrations.  Click HERE for the official Caldecott website with a lits of previous winners and honor books.

6. Stock up on picture books as gifts for birthdays, holidays, or give them as children (or adults) just because.  I love giving (and receiving) books as gifts. Work a book into a themed gift! (Give sporting goods plus a book about a favorite character playing sports.)

7. Visit a local book store.  Book stores are one of my true vices.  I love seeing the full book shelves and new books ready to be discovered.  I also love used book stores where I can grab a stack of picture books from the clearance section for a steal.  Try local indie book stores for unique local reads!

8. Participate in PiBoIdMo.  Picture Book Idea Month was started by Tara at Writing For Kids.  You can sign up on her blog.  The idea is simple.  Get your ideas for picture books out of your head and into notebooks, onto paper, write, sketch, and get organized.  If you are the writing type, check out herideas along with the other participants HERE.

9. Reread your favorite picture books.  Grab those favorites off the shelves.  Enjoy them or look at them critically for a new perspective.  Use fun voices for the characters or read a book in the dark with only a flashlight.  (Kids love that!)  Try reading book for younger students to an older audience and see their reaction!

10. Join a reading community.  Connect with other readers of picture books online at GoodReads or on twitter.  Check for your favorite author or illustrator’s website.  Go to story time with your children or encourage older students to share non-fiction picture books in the classroom.  (It’s worth it, I promise!) 

Overall, have fun and enjoy picture books.   
Have a great Picture Book Month and for more information, 

Anyone else planning to celebrate 
Picture Book Month?

Prairie Somethings

I recently read two very different middle grade books with a connection in the title.  Prairie Evers by Ellen Airgood is a novel about a girl whose first name is Prairie.  This story is realistic fiction with themes of friendship and family.  It is set in modern day New York State.  Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley had similar themes of friendship and family, but has a bit of magic and is set in the 1800’s.  There are other little connections between the stories as well.  

  • Each story features glimpses of farm or pioneer life. Prairie Evers lives on a plot of open land that allows her to raise chickens.  Prairie Thief is set on the Kansas prairie where the main character, Louisa and her father keep cows, chickens, and more. 
  • Both show a tender side of friendship.  Prairie Evers makes friends with a shy classmate.  The two share secrets and smiles and eventually become as close as sisters.  Louisa in Prairie Thief finds a friend during an unusual situation.   Louisa and her friend new friend, Jessamine, conspire to help each other and hide a magical creature, too.
  • In an unusual connection, both stories critically look at the parenting skills of a minor character.  It’s Prairie’s best friend who has a mother who is disconnected.  It’s an unusual situation that creates friction between the two friends, but also brings them closer together.  Meanwhile, in Prairie Thief, Louisa’s neighbor, Jessamine, has a step-mother who is pure nasty.  While this character is quite unlikable, she provides some comical parts of the story with her arrogant attitude.
  • Best of all, the main characters in each of these stories were smart, resourceful young women.  They each showed that caring for your family and friends can be a sign of strength.
I enjoyed both books for different reasons.  I liked the pioneer spirit in Prairie Thief.  I also thought the minor characters in Prairie Thief were fun to get to know.  One character is a judge who decides young Louisa’s father’s fate, and he really surprised me.  Prairie Evers on the other hand is such a modern and fun story that really appealed to me as a teacher who loves to see adolescents show their personality and get to know themselves.  Prairie’s unique situation of coming from homing schooling to entering into a public school put an interesting twist on this.  I would recommend both books for grades 4th to 7th grade and would be fun read together.

How about you?  Have you read any stories lately with an unusual connection like this?