Sunday, April 20, 2014

Will In Scarlet by Matthew Cody

Recently I finished The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen.  It was book three in a wonderfully exciting trilogy.  As I searched my TBR stack for my next book, I realized how much I enjoyed the medieval fantasy genre.  A while back I received Will In Scarlet by Matthew Cody from Random House, but hadn’t started it, so here it was a book that fit into the genre I was looking for.  I really enjoy Mr. Cody’s writing, so I knew I was in for a treat.  Little did I know that it was going to be a huge treat!

Copy from Random House
The legend of Robin Hood is one that has been done in film, books and TV.  Most we wish had never been done.  Yes, Kevin Costner comes to mind.  Matthew Cody’s adaptation is one that is sure to be a hit.  (We are doing Lucy Calking unit of study on Fairy Tale adaptations right now in class.) 

Will in Scarlet is the tale of William Shackley heir to Shackley Castle.  Will’s father is currently traveling with Richard I The Lionheart.  They had been away fighting.  Prince John is ruling England during his brother’s absence and the Sherriff of Nottingham is helping.  Will is thirteen and spends most of his time getting into trouble with his friend Milo.  When the Sherriff arrives at the Shackley Castle with Sir Guy of Gisborne tragedy comes with them.  This sends Will and his mother fleeing to safer places.  Unfortunately, for Will he ends up in Sherwood Forest. 

While trying to stay alive Will befriends Little John, a lad named Much, and a drunk named Rob, that used to be very good with a bow and arrow; and was in love with fair maiden named Marian. To buy time Will tells Gilbert, the leader of the Merry Men that he can get them into Shackley Castle to get rich.  Will’s true reason for going back to his home is to seek revenge on the man that murdered his uncle. 

I really enjoyed this book.  I liked the pace of the book and how Will knew right from wrong, but that often that line had to be blurred for the good of everyone.  The book is gritty, but I can see our guys read book club really enjoying this book.  There is action, good vs. evil, and a pretty girl.  All the things that make for a fun read.  The thing that stands out the most is that it often takes the back stories of a legend to really make them exciting.  I can’t wait for this to come out in paperback, so I can order it for Guys Read.


On a final note I am still waiting for a sequel for the Dead Gentleman.  Hint! Hint!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Slice #4 Flowers

My mother is a talented florist.  She manipulates cut flowers into art.  I was fortunate to grow up in a home filled with flowers.  Throughout the year I surround myself with flowers.  Some may think it is an extravagance, I see it as food for my soul.  Anyhow, this morning I threw out a bunch of flowers; and it made me think of the flowers I received while I was sick.

I’ll be honest I got a lot!  At one point there were four vases in the living room, one in the kitchen and two blooming plants in the dining room. Yes, I had flowers everywhere.  When I returned to school there was a vase and my niece brought another, so even my classroom was filled with blossoms.

Now part of growing up with a florist is the work that goes with it.  I delivered flowers for many years, and I remember one woman that received multiple flowers arrangements a week.  Each time I went to her house her joyful reaction to the flowers made me happy.  Unfortunately, there were others that would say,“Why would they waste their money?  Flowers just die!”  I would think yes they do, but spending the day with the flowers you have is lovely!


So what exactly is the meaning of my Slice of Life?  Well, I guess it is simple we need to spend time with people and things that make us happy.  Be it a cappuccino, watching kids play soccer, having a wonderful meal, or a vase of flowers we are on earth for a reason.  That being to enjoy what it has to offer!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Slice #3 Happy

My students make me happy.  Today was a happy day in my class.  The last two weeks has been very stressful for my students.  I have been gone, they had the state reading test; and a parade of guest teachers. There is often criticism that 21st century kids have lost their innocence.  Well, if those critics had been in my class this morning they would see that my students are so far from being jaded. 


This morning I clicked on a link You Tube click of a current band doing a cover of Happy.  It was fun, but not the most appropriate for my class.  For some reason I searched Google for other Happy videos.  I found a perfect one for my class.  After the test was over, and we put the class back together I had the kids sit on the rug, and started the video.  As I look around the kids in front of me I see some snapping along, some doing hand movements, all singing along to the chorus.  Most importantly I see smiling, happy faces.  The goose bumps ran up my arms and I realized my students make me happy!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Slice #2 The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

I finished a novel!  I am proud of myself.  It has been months since I have read an adult novel from cover to cover. Lately it seemed challenging just getting through a middle grade chapter book.  I did have extra time.  However, surgery does weird things to you, so I actually couldn’t focus on a book until last Monday.  So, yup I read a novel.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith was a wonderful book to read while I was recuperating at home.  I realized that I’m not too good at figuring out mysteries, but boy are they fun.  Robin the temporary assistant was a great character.  It is funny how the assistant gets sucked in by the private eye’s charms. 

The funny thing about reading this book is that I wanted to look up the characters on Google to see what they looked like etc.  It is like watching a TV show or movie at home and an actor is on the screen and I can’t figure out what they were in before, so I go to IMBD to see the parts they have had.  Since they were fictional I couldn’t do it.  I mean, really, wouldn’t it be fun to look at a lot of pictures of Tansy?

There were numerous references to places in London, so I did start looking up those, which was fun.  I would love to have luncheon at the restaurant where Strike met John.  It is describe on line as the open book roof restaurant.  John actually, gets to go to all the cool places because the conference he “attended” used to be a prison, but has been converted to a hotel in which the cheapest room is $800 a night!


I realized on Friday that I really miss reading adult fiction, so I am going to be more assertive and make sure that I get a dose of grown up chapter book time.  I don’t want another surgery to give me a reason to read.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Slice #1 and a Useless Organ

I am going on record saying that so far 2014 has not been a great year.  Since spring is two weeks away I am taking that as a sign that it will change just like the season.  Two weeks ago after lunch I didn’t feel right.  Abdominal pains made it difficult to be comfortable.  After about seven hours the pain subsided, but didn’t completely go away. By the next afternoon I knew that I needed to see the doctor, and by 2:00 on Tuesday I was on my way to surgery to have my gallbladder removed.  There were no gallstones, just a useless organ that wanted out of my body.

There is never a good time for an unplanned surgery, but if one could pick a really bad time it would be right now.  Colorado starts the lovely testing in third grade.  The reading test is in February and the mathematics and writing tests are in March.  Guess what? My surgery was on Day 1 of third grade TCAP Reading Test.  Yes, I was having a CT Scan while my students were taking their first state test!

I am fortunate to work in a school were the test is truly to show what the kids know.  We don’t spend hours doing “test prep”.  Because of this my principal’s only message was get better! 

Through all of this I have learned that the school community is so important to everyone.  The outpouring of offers for help was incredible.  The three-foot get well card and individual cards from my students cheered me up.  Families from my last school brought me lunches last week, and last night a mom and a student from my class drove across town in a snowstorm to deliver a wonderful dinner.

Next week I return to school for half days. I feel like the first day of school all over again.  That nervous feeling of what is the class going to be like.  However, knowing my kids we will be back to normal by the time we get to class at 8:30.