Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week. I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books.
Count the Monkeys
You can't beat the experience of hearing this book read aloud by Mac Barnett himself! What a treat! I loved the reaction of the kids at the Joseph-Beth Bookseller's story time. They loved it. Barnett is hilarious in his books AND real life! The colorful, humorous illustrations fit Barnett's counting book perfectly. Bravo, Barnett and Cornell, for creating what promises to be a classroom library favorite!  I enjoyed hearing Mac talk to the kids about writing.  He told them he reads way more than he writes, and that he gets ideas from what he reads, watches on t.v., movies, and from his friends and even enemies!  He also talked about how important it is for kids to write and make books out of their stories.  He mentioned two great writing programs for kids, Word Play in Cincinnati and 826 National: Don't Forget to Write. Here are some pictures and video of the event:
The Cincinnati Zoo brought a baby alligator, Augustine, to introduce Count the Monkeys!
This picture makes me laugh because it was taken by someone at Joseph-Beth, and that's my big head in the foreground.  Ha!
Photo: Mac Barnett is pretty #countthemonkeys awesome @josephbeth
I had to have Mac sign Extra Yarn, his 2013 Caldecott Honor winner!
The kids LOVED Mac and his books!
Video of Mac reading Count the Monkeys.  The audience of kids cracked me up (so did the book)!
The Mighty Lalouche
Sophie Blackwell is the illustrator of the beloved Ivy & Bean series.  I loved spending some time on her blog and looking at her YouTube videos.
Lalouche is a fictional (I clarify this because it reads like a true biography) postman who lived many years ago in France. He loved walking around his neighborhood along the Seine, delivering mail. His little apartment, unfortunately, did NOT have a view of the river. Alas, one day he lost his job because the postal service bought a fleet of electric autocars. In order to survive, Lalouche became a sparring partner for the Bastille Boxing Club. Everyone laughed at his puny size, but he surprised them all! Even though he was the best in the boxing ring, he longed to go back to his old job, and since he made plenty of money, he could afford an apartment overlooking the beautiful Seine. The Author's Note contains some interesting history about French boxing. I loved the illustrations! Kids will love all the boxer cards on the endpapers.
Sleep Like a Tiger
GORGEOUS illustrations grace the pages of this sweet story about a little girl who can't fall asleep. In the beginning you see that she is active and creative, and she's just not sleepy! Her calm and majestic parents tell her she still has to get ready for bed, but all those preparations don't do the trick. The little girl asks about whether or not everything in the world goes to sleep. They explain that everything does sleep, including their own dog (who's sleeping on the couch even though he's not supposed to) and cat. The illustrations in the second half of the book incorporate her imagination with the way all the animals sleep, and finally she falls fast asleep, just like the tiger. This would have been a favorite of my girls when they were little!
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
This is a delightful story about Rumpelstiltskin, how he got his name, and what it means. I think kids will love it, and it will make a fun read aloud. Poor Rumpelstiltskin's mother died shortly after giving birth to him, and because she could only say part of his name before she died, he has had to live with the humiliating name of Rump. He is bullied, poor, and directionless. However, when he finds his mother's spinning wheel, his destiny seems to take shape. Acting against his grandmother's warnings, he discovers that he can spin straw into gold! He befriends another kid with an unusual name, Red, and she and HER grandmother warn him to be careful, too. But magic has its own plans, and soon Rump is embroiled in a heap of trouble. He must find out what is full name is in order to stop what has been set in motion. I'd love to use this book in a unit that pairs extended traditional literature with the original stories.
A Prayer for Owen Meany
I'm very glad this is our book club book this month because I definitely want to talk about it! I chose this novel because I've had it on my shelf for years and hadn't read it, and it was mentioned as one of the books Will Schwalbe read with his mother in The End of Your Life Book Club. I'm ashamed to say I've never read John Irving - I've only seen the movies made out of his books. I didn't know what to expect from this story - all the covers of its various editions intrigued me - the red pickup truck, the armadillo, the headless/armless mannequin, and baseball player. Now they all make sense! Irving masterfully weaves all the experiences of John and his best friend, Owen, a tiny, shrill-voiced anomaly, into an incredible conclusion, one that kept me anxious for most of the book. I'm wondering why this book isn't used more in high school English classes. There is SO much there for teens to discuss, and I think they'd really like it.


 The Water Castle


Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises CD: Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises CD

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2)

I've been featuring what my family is reading, also. 

My 17-year-old is reading:

The Sky Is Everywhere

My 20-year-old is still in Ecuador!

My husband is reading (Can you tell he doesn't mind the YA titles I recommend to him?):


My mom is reading:
The Inn at Rose Harbor (Rose Harbor #1) 
My mom and I are going to attend the Debbie Macomber Fan Retreat in Nashville in August!
My dad is reading:
 Outlaw Stronghold
 What are YOU reading this week?
If you enjoy reading my blog, I'd love for you to join it or subscribe by e-mail!  Just scroll down to the bottom right sidebar, and you will find ways to do both/either.  It would make my day!  Happy reading this week!


  1. My class loved Rump! I am reading the Morris Gleitzman - Once, Then, Now. I am reading Now at the moment, totally fantastic but at times heart wrenching.
    Hope you enjoy the Debbie Macomber retreat. Bet its great.

  2. Another Owen Meany mention! Laini Taylor is a wonderful author and she's local (to me) and she was just at our store last week. I love it when writers support local businesses!

  3. Hi there Holly. I loved looking at the videoclips - particularly the one by Mac Barnett. He is such a darling. I love hilarious picture book artists/writers. By the way, you are our May winner for the AWB Reading Challenge - the announcement is posted on the blog for my Monday reading post. :) Do send me your mailing details. :)

  4. I've been considering reading Rump. Sounds like I definitely should.

  5. Hi Holly, I really want to read The Mighty Lalouche. I enjoyed Rump and The Water Castle very much. I wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed your NBC post yesterday.

  6. Those look like great kids' programs, especially with the alligator.

  7. Love the picture books! And thank you for sharing video clips, so wonderful to come upon these - they really add to the reviews, I think.

  8. You are so fortunate to have had the chance to listen to Mac read his book! That is so cool! I'm s huge fan of his, and you can just tell through his work how awesome he must be in person. I couldn't watch the video of him reading (it said the video was private), but I will try on a different computer later today. I loved Owen Meany in high school, but that was a while ago! I wonder how/if my feelings would be during a reread. Great books on your blog today! Happy reading week!

    1. Oh, bummer about the video! I hope that hasn't given everyone trouble! Maybe it will work on another computer. He was fabulous! Thanks for stopping by!

    2. I fixed it! I hope you can watch it now!

  9. Lots of good books there! I have Extra Yarn but didn't get a chance to read it before I left school for the summer. My Monday Report is here. Happy reading!

  10. So many good bookish things in your week! I like seeing your "big" head in that picture, lol. You hair is adorbs!

    Have another great week, happy reading!

  11. So cool! I loved reading about Mac Barnett's visit. The Great Lalouche looks absolutely fascinating. I'm off to see if any of the libraries in my area have it! I love Blackall's illustrations!

  12. Oh, I enjoyed Rose Harbor in Bloom...still haven't read the first book.

    Love the picture books! Thanks for sharing.

    You asked about the office portrayed in my background...not mine. I got the image on Pinterest. Would love an office like that! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  13. I love illustrations by Sophie Blackall, so I need to check out The Mightly Lalouche! Thanks for including all the book students always love them.

  14. Sleep Like A Tiger seems like it would be a great choice for my little boy who tells us each night that he "has to stay up for at least an hour to get his tiredness going." Sigh...
    Have a wonderful week!

  15. Sleep Like a Tiger sounds beautiful! I love goodnight books. I started reading Rump a while back and it was so cute. I put it aside for something else, and I really need to get back to it.

  16. So exciting to see Mac Barnett. Jealous! Looks like you had a fabulously bookish week. I want to see The Mighty Lalouche now. Thanks for all of the extras in your post. Fun.

  17. So exciting to see Mac Barnett. Jealous. It looks like a fabulously bookish week. I will be watching out for The Mighty Lalouche. Have a great week.

    Crystal from Reading Through Life

  18. What an exciting event! I'm a new GFC follower, as I'm a fellow teacher/librarian I'm very interested in what you blog about.
    Check out what I'm reading

    1. Thank you for following, Lisa! I hope you enjoy my blog. :-)

  19. I am in love with the fact that you include what your family is reading. I loved THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE. I hope your 17-year-old loves it too.

    I read A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY last summer. I liked it, but I loved THE CIDER HOUSE RULES even more. I think it would be tough to teach in high school because it is quite long. I also wonder if teens might find it to be slow. I could see it being successful in a mature lit circle.

    Thanks for joining #IMWAYR this week. I sent your book out today!
    :) Ricki (

    1. I'm glad you like the family part. It's fun making sure I know what everyone is reading. :-) Yeah - Owen Meany might be a little long and slow. I guess I just thought it might appeal to them because of Owen's character. Thanks for the book! :-)

  20. Yay, Mac Barnett has a new book! I love Extra Yarn and Count the Monkeys looks adorable. (I couldn't watch the video either.) Love your other kid pics. Lots of people mentioned The Water Castle during #titletalk last night, so I guess I'd better add it to my list! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Sorry about the video. :-( I fixed it! I had it on "Private" instead of "Public." Now try! :-)