Monday, September 23, 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.


Here are the books I read this week:

I've been reading lots about this book on multiple blogs and Goodreads reviews, so I was excited when I finally got it at the library. It's laugh-out-loud funny in the same vein as Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat. Reynolds's narrative works perfectly with Santat's expressive illustrations. I read this book aloud to my fifth graders today, mostly so they could enjoy it, but it also lent itself to a good discussion on point of view and how it can make us sympathetic to characters. My favorite illustration is when the shark, lion, and timber wolf are sitting together listening to the wise owl. The body language is so human-like and funny. I'm not sure you'd want to share this one with really young kids, but intermediate graders will love it and appreciate the slightly twisted humor!
Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great
2013-book, empathy, friendship, humor, individuality, picture-book, point-of-view, theme

Goat thought he was special until Unicorn came along. Now he just can't seem to compete. Just when Goat gets pretty bitter about it and starts to really bash Unicorn, Unicorn notices the heavenly smell of goat cheese on Goat's pizza. Everything turns around and we realize Unicorn thinks Goat is pretty great! This would be a good picture book to encourage conversations about jealousy and appreciating others' talents and unique gifts. Good lessons on point of view and theme.
Brief Thief
Brief Thief by Michael Escoffier, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
Oh my goodness, this book is hilarious! My students are going to love it. The illustrations are awesome, and I love the thick pages. Leon is stuck with no toilet paper, so he has to use something else.  He thinks he's found the perfect solution!  Nothing beats a surprise ending. You will laugh out loud!
123 versus ABC
                  2013-book, alphabet-or-counting-book, animals, humor, picture-book

I read this for the September Sharp-Schu book club coming up this week. This funny book is an argument between the number 1 and the letter A about whether this is an alphabet or counting book. Of course, it's obvious to the reader that when ONE alligator appears, it's going to be both! It takes 1 and A a little longer to come to that conclusion. There's a cute ending, too. I saw that Beth Shaum on Goodreads said exactly what I was going to say - that it's the perfect book for fans of Z is for Moose and Counting Monkeys!
Hank Finds an Egg

I loved this sweet story! It's amazing how expressive Hank and the hummingbird are! It's so unique - telling a whole wordless story through photographs of handmade creatures and forest. This book would be perfect for an empathy/Choose Kind unit. I can't wait to find out more about Rebecca Dudley.


Counting by 7s
This is a very special book, unique in so many ways. The main character, Willow Chance, is so real she practically jumps off the page. She's profoundly gifted, left alone by the tragic death of her adoptive parents, and changes everyone with whom she comes in contact for the good(reminds me of the song "For Good" from "Wicked"). You can see all the categories above where this book could be shelved. In just a pure literary study, the point of view and time structure could be analyzed because it's so complex. Metaphor and symbolism are strong throughout, and character development is a major component. On a personal level, this book will touch your heart, reminding me of One for the Murphys. Willow and the people she affects are all so incredibly human - imperfect, well-intentioned, and redeemable. I loved it and can't wait to pass it on to students to see what they think. This one should definitely be in the running for a Newbery sticker of some sort!
For Willow:
The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)
I listened to this on audio, and the narrator (actor Will Patton) was perfectly creepy. I loved the overall mood/tone of this book, the smart writing, and sharp, complicated characters. The prep school boys and Blue with her psychic mother had me mesmerized. I'm glad I finished it when The Dream Thieves had already come out - now I don't have to wait for the sequel!
The Truth of Me 
The Hunt (The Hunt, #1) 
The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) The Real Boy
I also feature what my family is reading each week.
My mom:
My dad:
Warpath of the Mountain Man
My husband:
Homeland (Little Brother, #2)
My 17-year-old (for AP Lit):
The Sun Also Rises
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What are YOU reading this week?




  1. Hi Holly, so funny, I just read the first 3 books on your list. The ABC's 123"s book looks awesome. I need to read Counting by 7's. I have heard great things. Enjoy your week.

  2. The Real Boy was awesome! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it. I will have to order some of those picture books, they are so cute! Have a great reading week!

    The Monster Report

    1. I'm so excited to read The Real Boy! I've heard so much about it!

  3. Fantastic myriad of books this past week! Can't wait to get my hands on Carnivores! :) Shall look forward to what you think of The Truth of Me!

  4. Wow! What a fabulous reading week. You have some awesome picture books... several I keep meaning to grab.

    I adored Raven Boys and Dream Thieves! The Real Boy is such an amazing book.

    I definitely need to read Counting by 7s... you make it sound like it is right up my alley.

    1. Counting By 7s is just wonderful - I think you'd love it! Handed it one of my students today - I'm crossing my fingers that she'll love it!

  5. So many great picture books on your list this week. I will need to find a copy of Brief Thief!

  6. I've read the first chapter of The Raven Boys a few months back and postponed reading it until our current theme. Looking forward to getting back to it in the next few weeks. Can't wait to read Carnivores and The Brief Thief. Have a great reading week!

    1. What is your current theme? I'd love to hear how people are using it in the classroom. It's too mature for the students I teach, but I think it would be fantastic for older kids. Great writing!

  7. I've got to get Carnivores! I just ordered Maze Runner. Can't wait to see what you think.
    Mrs. Brown Loves Bookworms

    1. I'm looking forward to Maze Runner. So many students love it. It's become even more popular since students have caught wind that it's going to be a movie!

  8. Holly - what a GREAT list of books you have this week! I love many of the ones listed here - Carnivores , Brief Thief and ABC vs I23 have stimulated much laughter from my students. I also just finished Counting by 7's and found it heartbreakingly beautiful. Willow is a character who has certainly left her mark on me. I am also currently reading and thoroughly enjoying The Real Boy. And my 13 yr. old son just finished The Mazerunner - loved it! From your list - I'm excited to read The Truth of Me. Thanks for the great list and happy reading week!

    1. Wow - sounds like we have a lot of reading in common this week! :-)

  9. LOVED Counting by 7's....and now my sixth grade kiddos love it too. What a special book!

  10. If you go to the author's website, you'll find more of Hank's adventures. It's such a cute book.