Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett

I realized the other day that I rarely blog about picture books, and I don’t know why.  I LOVE PICTURE BOOKS!!!  So, I decided that I am going to focus on some wonderful picture books.  When I was a kid Little Golden Books were very popular.  Recently, Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett released Battle Bunny, a book that takes us back to the good old days of Little Golden Books.   Of course with about everything Mr. Scieszka does there is quite the twist.

Alexander received a lovely birthday book from his Gran Gran.  It is a sweet story about how Bunny celebrates his birthday.  Well, Alexander will have none of this.  Soon Bunny is transformed into Battle Bunny.  The real birthday boy crosses out words and lines and changes this cute bunny into a terrorist determined to destroy the forest.  It gets so bad in the forest that the President sends Air Force One to eliminate Battle Bunny.

I read this book to my third graders.  A funny thing happened on the way to enjoying the book.  First, the boys concern that Mr. Scieszka and Mr. Barnett were going to get into BIG trouble for writing in someone’s book, and passing it off as their own. Second, they thought it was disrespectful that they ruined Matthew Myers’ pleasant illustrations.  I was shocked that it took a while for these kids to get that Birthday Bunny is not the real book.

After the second read through the real laughter started.  Since that day the book has been in someone’s book box.  I have no idea what condition it will be in at the end of the year, but with every great book I end up purchasing another copy.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ultra by David Carroll

I place running is in the same category as going to the dentist, so when I read the blurbs about the finalist for the Cybils Middle Grade award I thought “really with all the great books out there I have to read about ultra-marathons!”  We all know that you can’t always judge a book by the cover. 

Quinn, a new teenager, is an ultra-marathon runner.  (Yes, there are people out there that run 100 miles in 24 hours!)  When Quinn was younger he started running with his dad.  They soon found out that he had a larger than normal heart, and his body doesn’t produce much lactic acid, so he doesn’t get tired as easily as the rest of us.  David Carroll the author of Ultra uses a television interview and flash backs to tell this gripping story.  Through the race we learn about the relationships he has with his mom, younger brother, and best friend.  We find out the hardship of the war in Afghanistan.  Most importantly, I couldn’t put the book down.  When the second round judges started we wrote about what exactly are we looking for.  Michael wrote that we don’t want to pick a book that is like brussel sprouts or one like gummy bears, we want a book that is healthy and fun.  That is why Ultra by David Carroll was the clear winner. 

On a side note due to recent events a friend has formed a team for a race this spring in memory of Ethan, so I am training to run my first 5k.