Thanks to Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts for hosting the meme “It’s Monday! What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA”. Check out Jen and Kellee’s site to see what others are reading through their posted links. You can also find posts from folks using the hashtag #IMWAYR on Twitter.
My hopes of a relaxing, good food and good book-filled weekend came true with the long Thanksgiving weekend spent with family. With a six-hour over the river and through the woods trip each way, we also finished an audio book as a family. Below are the highlights. In case you missed it, I made a list at the request of family and friends of my Favorite Picture Books of 2012 last week. I’m planning to also do one with my favorite middle grade and teen reads as well later this week.
Click on the cover images for the synopsis of each book.
Favorite Picture Books of the Week:
Viola is not a traditional princess and she is reluctant to embrace traditional princess protocol at Princess Camp. Her natural talents and interests come to the rescue in the end, however. A cute book about non-conformity with a dash of girl-power thrown in. It certainly reminded me of The Paper Bag Princess. Some pages are told with cartoon panels. (2012)
A lovely story of a boy who prefers to play by himself with his toys and a great imagination, until an unplanned event introduces him to a new friend. Fun illustrations have a lot of cute details that will have the reader lingering over the page spreads. The text captures well the solitude that some kids need.
My favorite quote: “And sometimes, wherever he was, he wanted to fly away.” I’d recommend for ages 6 and up. (2012)
This book is filled with the sweet holiday moments that capture the excitement and awe of the holiday season. Darling illustrations and I love that most of the scenes are not about the commercial aspects of Christmas. Recommend for preschool and up. Even bigger kids and adults will utter a contented sigh on many of the pages. (2012)
Other Picture Books:
Abe Lincoln’s Dream was quirky, as is the way of Lane Smith. A school girl on a White House tour befriends the ghost of Abe Lincoln. He expresses worry about the state of the union and she magically gives him a tour of the country to show that all his efforts were not in vain. This book requires a tremendous amount of background knowledge to understand all the historical references, so I think it’d be best appreciated by older grade schoolers or even middle school. (2012)
The remaining books are the Caldecott books for award year 1956. Write up to follow soon!
Beginning Chapter Book:
A cute early chapter book. Young grade school kids will love the pun-filled jokes. Bear’s friends cleverly help him with a work-around for his anxiety over telling jokes in public. Great for emerging readers in grades 1-3. (2011)
Non-fiction for the big kids:
A fine example of non-fiction done right. Facts are scientific, but not filled with over your head jargon. Lots of pictures and anecdotal stories help put a face to the course of this disease. Would be good for curious kids 4th grade and up, or really any adult who wants a primer on the history and current challenges of tuberculosis. (2012)
Middle Grade Novels:
Creech crafts a marvelous tale of hopes, dreams, and revenge riddled with a bit of fantasy. Patient readers will be rewarded for following two alternating and mysterious story lines to a terrific intersection. Quirky characters and amazing dialogue make for a very entertaining read. I’d recommend for grades 4-8. (2012)
Nanny Piggins is super silly, and super fun. No wonder my third grader enjoyed it so much. She was thrilled to hear there are other books in the series. I’d recommend for grades 3-6, or younger as a read aloud. (2010)
We listened to this in the car and found the audio narration terrific. Alvarez is one of my favorite authors, but this is my first of her stories written for children. The whole family enjoyed this warm and often witty story of family. Would make a good read aloud for third graders, or as a read alone for fourth grade and up. (2002)
I enjoyed this quick, funny read about a retired search and rescue dog who is now solving mysteries on a farm, ala 1940s detective-style. I know this is billed as an early chapter book, but I think younger readers might need help understanding the motivations of some of the characters. I also wish more effort was put into alerting the reader when the occasional shift in narrator happened. Maybe it could be a special chapter label, or even a different font? I think it could be a fun teacher or parent read aloud, and such a reading might help readers better string things together if needed. (2011)
This Week’s Reading Adventures:
I know I will be tackling this 1937 Newbery winner for the Newbery Challenge, but beyond that I haven’t really mapped out the week yet. Based on the first few pages of The White Stag, I’m going to need a reward book!