06.10.13 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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”.

Literary Highlights of the Week…


As I predicted, last weeks visit to the elementary school my girls attend was a big hit . . . I was even able to bust into Matt’s quiet book signing session and have him sign Small’s guitar that we made for her Babymouse Rock Star Halloween costume. He was very gracious. She was of course over the moon! Matt’s assembly was super engaging and really well done. He talked about the origins of Squish (think childhood microscopes and agar plates) and the involved process of collaboration that he and his sister Jenni take to create each Babymouse and Squish book. 

Click the book covers to go to Goodreads for the full summaries . . .

My Three Favorite Picture Books of the Week:

This is a great “fractured fairy tale” with some fun twists and turns. A tired and lost bear needs a rest and his adventures are similar to the familiar tale of Goldilocks. Great, colorful collage illustrations really make the whole package adorable. Older students could use it for inspiration for their own fractured fairy tale creations. Recommend for grades K-5. (2012)


Adorable! The book showcases all the great things that the monster dad does for his child. It is both heartfelt and laugh inducing. Santat’s illustrations, as always, are full of whimsy. Reading this and then having kids make their own versions for their dads (or moms, or grandparents, etc.) would be a great activity. Recommend for preschool – grade 5. (2013)


In the author bio, Loren Long admits to being influenced by Robert Lawson (Ferdinand) and Virginia Lee Burton (Mike Mulligan), and it shows in both style and story. There is a lovely nostalgic feel to the art and story about a little tractor pushed aside for the newer fancier one. After reading it, I quickly went off to make sure my farm obsessed nephew knew about Otis and the other follow-up Otis books. Recommend for preschool – grade 1. (2009)


Finished this . . .

I’m still slowly coming on to the young adult novel scene, but I found this to be lovely, albeit often heart-breakingly so. Eleanor and Park are an unlikely pair of teenagers in the mid-1980s who tumble into love together. Their relationship is threatened by a variety of factors including a vicious bully torturing Eleanor, her verbally abusive and neglectful home-life,  and Park’s disapproving parents (who thankfully change course!). Rowell did an amazing job of creating very real, imperfect teenagers that you connected to deeply and root for to an ambiguous but hopeful ending. Content wise, there is lots of language, kissing and more extensive intimate moments, or second base, as Eleanor guesses. I’d recommend this more for high schoolers, mainly because of the very intense and persistent bullying and abuse Eleanor experiences. You really just want to swoop into the book and take her away from it all, but then she wouldn’t have met Park, would she? Recommend for readers grades 9 and up.  (2013)

I continue with this . . .

This is for the Newbery Challenge. I must admit, this was hard to jump to after Eleanor and Park. I suspect will need to be wide awake to read this, which is a re-read from eighth grade, where it was micro-analyzed as a whole class novel. I certainly recall despising other whole-class novels more, so I’m hopeful.

And then  . . .


It is a crazy busy week with lots of end of year activities as school, so I really don’t anticipate a lot of other novel progress, but I am going to break up Johnny Tremain with this picture book pile!

Do share what you are reading! Have a great week!


8 comments on “06.10.13 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

  1. It looks like a very fun week was had by all. Good luck with Johnny Tremain. I actually like it more than most people, but he is a difficult character to like. Eleanor and Park was great for me too. Have a wonderful week of reading.

  2. There is little I love more than a pile of new picture books! And what a smart way to break up Johnny Tremain! Sara at Page Appropriate has shown such enthusiasm for Story of Mankind that I’m going to try to get that one from the library and get back to my Newbery challenge. I’ve gotten bogged down in too many old boring (and politically incorrect!) Newberys! Good luck making it through Johnny!

  3. megan says:

    Thanks for that great review of Eleanor and Park. I haven’t read it yet, but I should!

  4. Lorna says:

    @Crystal–I think Johnny Tremain was pretty revolutionary when you think of some of the other books of the prior years that one . . . especially duds like Matchlock Gun and Daniel Boone. This at least feels like real literature even if it’s a little dense!

  5. Lorna says:

    @Elisabeth–I have mixed feelings on the Story of Mankind. It was very readable (especially when compared to the Dark Frigate which I despised and had to abandon) and sometimes even clever and witty, but I kept wondering who on earth would pick it up, or give it to a child. I just feel really bad for those kids of the 1920s between dull reads and bigoted/sexist storylines. I know I can power through Johnny, but it’s so hard when you’ve got those contemporary titles taunting you from the book shelf! 🙂 Good luck restarting your Newbery challenge. I’m hoping I can knock out a few this summer!

  6. carriegelson says:

    I just reserved Eleanor and Park at my public library. I am #41 on 12 copies. Hopefully I will have it for beginning of the summer! I love your picture book stack. I have days when I just want to read picture books all day! My students are learning how to write reviews and rate picture books – their reviews are hilarious: “There are much better books in the world than this but it is still a 3/5” Love kid honesty!

  7. Linda Baie says:

    I have Eleanor & Park (I think I told you last week, too) & hopefully will get to it soon. Your early picture books look great. I know about the Goldilocks & One Bear but still haven’t read it yet. The stack too looks terrific. I love Old Bear! Have fun with that pile of books!

  8. Maria says:

    Just now catching up on alot of blog reading. We read a TON of fractured fairytales at our house, and Goldilocks and Just One Bear is one of our absolute FAVORITES. I think some of it goes over the kiddo’s head still, but I think it’s hysterical. Great illustrations and writing!

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