Thursday, November 19, 2009

When is it too early to call?

Yesterday was our monthly Guys Read Book Club. We discussed Ark Angle by Anthony Horowitz. The guys enjoyed, but didn’t love it. There was not a lot of discussion during the month about the book. This is an easy way to tell the popularity of the book. Our next book is Cirque du Freak The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan. I have a feeling this will be much more popular. Here is one reason why. This morning a mom told me a funny story about the new book. She said that another student called their house at 7:30 AM to find out how far E, her son, had read. She answered that E was still asleep because he had stayed up to 10:45 PM reading the book. Hmmmmm, “ Late to bed and early to rise” seem to be signs of a popular book.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th and Christmas

It’s Friday the 13th, but it could be your lucky day!

Autumn is my favorite season of the year. I love the colors of the leaves, the pumpkins, the colder weather, and because it leads to Christmas. WOW! A period filled with dazzling colors, joy, and magic. That is why I was excited to participate in this book tour. The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Jon J Muth and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King illustrated by Gail deMarcken are both a must for any library.

Over the years I have learned that the children’s illustrators are very important, so when I saw the names on these two books I knew I was about to read two special books.

I had the privilege to listen to Jon J Muth at a Teacher’s Night at The Bookies. It was fun and interesting to learn how he does his work. He ranks up there as one of my favorite illustrators. He does not disappoint with The Christmas Magic. Lauren Thompson’s story about how Santa prepares for the special day is charming and magical. I have spent the last few months emphasizing the importance of descriptive, rich and exciting language. I want students to use words like: snug, tingling, shaggy, creaky, gleams, and the list in this short books goes on. Thanks Ms. Thompson for a brilliant example. I am a very visual person so Jon J Muth’s magnificent illustrations bring the story to life. Who knew Santa had bunny slippers. Also, I know wonder what parsnips and berries would taste like.

One of my favorite read aloud books is The Giving Quilt. It is a beautiful story about the importance of giving to those in need. The illustrations by Gail deMarcken have made it a book I share year after year.

When I hear The Nutcracker I think of Russian Ballet with cute kids dressed up. I never really paid attention to the fact that it is an old German story. I admit the first thought I had whan i looked at The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was “OK, I blog about books boys will like. Will a boy like this book?” After reading I changed my mind. Boys will enjoy reading and hearing this story. The story has battles etc, but it is Gail deMarcken’s illustrations that will fascinate boys. The intricate illustrations of the tooth falling out of the nutcracker to the seven headed Mouse King will excite boys.

I look forward to sharing these books with my class and my nieces and nephew.

So here is how it is your lucky day. Two, yes two lucky people that comment (Can commenter be a new blog word?) will win both books. I am stealing this idea from the Shelf Elf. When you comment tell me what your favorite holiday book is, also, making sure I have access to your email address. US addresses only.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Billy Twitter’s and His Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex

First, I want to say the Billy Twitter did not invent twitter. That was a question asked before I read Billy Twitter’s and His Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex. Secondly, it is a great boy book. Billy is not the most responsible kid. His parents tell him that if he doesn’t do his chores etc. he will get a blue whale. Let me think no work cool pet, what would anyone do? Well, you guessed right Billy Twitter does get a whale. He soon learns that it is a HUGE responsibility to care for a blue whale.

The humor in the book is non stop and at many different levels. Yes, adults will love it. What makes the book special is all the factually information about blue whales. It always helps to have non-fiction text wrapped up in a fun fiction book. Here is a question, how many skateboards does one need to haul a blue whale down the block?