11.04.13 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Jen at Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers for hosting the meme “It’s Monday! What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA”. Head to the It’s Monday post here to link up or see a list of the all the other readers participating in this great meme. You can also follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #IMWAYR!


This post today is a summary of my reading activities over the last couple of weeks. Life has been a bit tumultuous of late at our house with one minor calamity after another, but a wee bit of reading has been had. 

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

Non-fiction/biography picture books:

This is a fine example of a picture book biography for young readers and is definitely on my favorites list for 2013. I always marvel at biographies that can convey character and achievements without weighing down the text with too many date or place specific details. Berne does it masterfully here, as she captures Einstein’s curiosity, even from a young age, and synthesize his often complex work down into terms that grade school students can understand. A great one for encouraging kids to dream, wonder, and question. I loved Vladimir Radunsky’s softly painted illustrations. Great choices for grades 2-5. (2013/Chronicle Books)


I always love books that champion libraries, and this is lovely one to learn about the efforts to allow children access to libraries, reading rooms, and book collections just for them in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Miss Moore is also an example of a strong, pioneering woman, who with the help of others, challenged the status quo. Hurray for Miss Moore! Kids will marvel at how things have changed for both women’s roles as well as access for children to such services. It would be a great title to pair with Michelle Markel’s Brave Girl: Clara and the Story of the Shirtwaist Maker’s Strike of 1909. Recommend for grades 2-5. (2013/HMH Books for Young Readers)


My three favorite fiction picture books:

This is a fun interactive read-aloud. Lehrhaupt builds suspense and Forsythe’s action-filled illustrations are a great combo. It will certainly remind readers of The Monster at the End of This Book with its anticipatory story. I wasn’t sure about the autumn-y color palette but it grew on me. Recommend for preschool – third grade. (2013/Paula Wiseman Books)


The frogs are just bewilder by a visiting pig at their pond. No oinks here, though. This is a pig who ribbits. Completely perplexed by what the pig is doing, the frogs involve their other animal friends in the investigation. Will they find out the pig’s motivation for perching himself in the pond? Is he taunting them, or does he mean well? Keep reading to find out. Young readers will enjoy the colorful illustrations. (2013/Knopf Books for Young Readers)



Battle Bunny is a very clever collaboration between Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett. Imagine a sweet little story about a bunny enjoying his special birthday. Now imagine if someone (Alex, the birthday boy) takes that story to a more sinister place through changing the text and embellishing the illustrations with additional, often combative details. This is no sweet bunny. It is Battle Bunny. Words and even whole lines of text are crossed out or changed with handwritten script. The book might be rather challenging to read aloud because of all the embellishments, but confident, independent readers will have fun with this one as they explore the revised text and illustrative additions. I know a nephew or two who will be getting this one for Christmas. Recommend for ages 8-11, though just about many older readers will be amused by the creative additions. (2013/Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers)


Finished Middle Grade Chapter Books:

I really enjoyed this, as did my fourth grade daughter, with whom I did this as a read aloud. We loved the quirky story and the quirky characters. As you can read below with my thoughts on the upcoming The Real Boy, I’m usually not much of a fantasy reader, but I was charmed by this book. I loved the rich language, though admit it might be challenging for many readers. I can’t even tell you how many times Di Camillo used the lovely word, capacious. Capacious. Capacious. Capacious. It really is wonderful to say aloud! Flora is a born skeptic who saves Ulysses, a squirrel, from a terrible fate with a vacuum cleaner. His life is forever changed as he now has super powers, but so is hers as she slowly lets herself believe in the unbelievable, all the while letting love and joy into her life. K.G. Campbell’s comic-strip panels for many of the action scenes were a great addition to the story. I think this is story that people will either like or finding irritating. As I read this, I couldn’t help but think of Wes Anderson’s often polarizing movies (The Royal Tennebaums, Rushmore) filled with bizarre characters and storylines, that while quite odd, are impossible to turn away from because you are desperately trying to make sense of them. My recommendation for this is as a read aloud, for grades 3-5, or for strong readers equipped with dictionaries, in grades 4-6. (2013/Candelwick Press)


Ongoing Read Alouds . . .

We should finish this one in the next few days. Lots of Willy Wonka-style fun.


This week I will finish:


Next up . . .

The 1948 Newbery Medal winner for my Newbery Challenge


I’ve had this in the book bag from a while, but honestly I am a bit wary to start. It has been getting SO much buzz from fellow readers and I’m really just not a huge fantasy person. Hoping it draws me in quick . . .

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


8 comments on “11.04.13 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

  1. megan says:

    I enjoyed Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. Just one of a handful of really great middle grade books I picked up this year. Those MG books can be a nice break from all the crazy YA! Have a great week!

  2. Linda Baie says:

    I love the first two, about Einstein & Miss Moore, Lorna-just lovely stories, but thanks for the others, especially Battle Bunny, what fun that has to be. I have Flora & Ulysses, haven’t started it yet, & Mr. Lemoncello-both seem like good middle grade choices. There are so many good ones. I read The Real Boy pre-pub & enjoyed it, but I do love fantasy, so you may or may not like it. I’d love to read And The Mountains Echoed, too, know it will be wonderful.Thanks so much for all the good reviews.

  3. I understand your trepidation with THE REAL BOY. I’m not a fantasy person either but I really enjoyed it. I think I just liked the idea of a boy with asperger’s being the hero of a fantasy novel instead of the protagonist in a realistic fiction “issue” book, ya know?

    I loved RIBBIT! Such a cute book. And I so cannot wait to read BATTLE BUNNY. Impatiently waiting for that one to show up on the hold shelf at the library,

  4. I loved the Einstein picture book! What a wonderful way to tell his story.
    Your upcoming TBRs are both books I love. I hope you enjoy them as well!
    Thank you for sharing the other great picture books–there are definitely so many out there I need to read!

    Happy reading this week 🙂

  5. carriegelson says:

    Good to know re Flora & Ulysses – maybe I will do this as a read aloud for my two rather than having my daughter read it herself – doubt she will be consulting the dictionary! I also loved Do not Open this book – in fact I think I will toss it in my bag for tomorrow – we need a light hearted fun read aloud for the morning. Can’t wait to get my hands on Battle Bunny! And, On a Beam of Light . . . swoon, swoon, swoon!

  6. I still haven’t gotten to read Do Not Open This Book or Battle Bunny, but am looking forward to both. Mr. Lemoncello’s Library has been winking at me for a while too. I really enjoyed On a Beam of Light. Have a great week!

  7. Flora & Ulysses is a marvelous read aloud–such fine sentences! The vocab is often way too challenging for my English language learner, but it’s so well-written that he’s able to follow and enjoy. I want to bring Battle Bunny into my Children’s Lit course next semester–solely to let my students mark up the original story and write their own version. There’s a website with the “original” pages you can download. So clever! I think it’s going to be fun. I also loved On a Beam of Light and completely agree with what you say–that book got the balance right. Time for me to get back to 21 Balloons! Hopefully for next week….

  8. Myra GB says:

    Hello there Lorna, I really hope I get my hands on Flora & Ulysses soon – it sounds like a beautifully written book. I’m sure it’s a book that my 11 year old daughter and I would enjoy reading together. And BATTLE BUNNY! My Goodness, we have to get that book soon here in our libraries! Looks like Scieszka and Barnett have craeted something really unforgettable that would mark yet a significant point in the history of children’s literature! 🙂 Hope things would be well at home. 🙂 Reading can be a saving grace, indeed.

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