Monday, October 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.
This Is the Rope: A Story From the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson (The video on her website is excellent - I would include it here, but I can't seem to get the embed code to work!)
I love the idea of an object running through a story, symbolizing connections to the past, present, and future. This is a great book to inspire writing ideas that include the concept of journeys, families, and symbolic objects. I see using it in a memoir unit - it would pair up nicely with Paul Fleischman's Matchbox Diary and/or Mem Fox's Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. 
        Little Red Writing         
2013-book, allusion, bebrave, fairy-tale, fractured-tale, humor, journey, mock-caldecott-2014, parts-of-speech, personification, picture-book, play-on-words, theme, writing-connections

This book was published at a perfect time for my classroom! We are just about ready to write fractured tales of our own. It's also the perfect combination of the theme topics "Journey" and "Be Brave." Great picture book to introduce mechanics, parts of speech, and writing tips, too. Melissa Sweet's illustrations are so lively and detailed - lots of humor to pick out in them. Great addition to my classroom library!
Maude: The Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton
I liked this quirky story about a family who craves attention and one of its daughters, Maude, who seems to blend in and go unnoticed. The illustrations are really fun, and I see it as a good writing lesson that we don't have to have a story that's extraordinary for it to be worth telling. Sometimes you can write about a goldfish and not a tiger.
Oliver and his Alligator
This book made me laugh! Oliver is scared about his first day of school, so he brings along an alligator just in case things got rough. Well, things do get rough and the alligator takes care of it, but Oliver learns he needs to be brave and take risks to join in on the fun. Funny illustrations!

Once Upon a Northern Night

Lyrical and magical. Reminds me of Owl Moon and Twilight Comes Twice in its description and tone. I read the summary and saw that it was described as a parent telling the story to a child, but I could also see it from the point of view of God, making it a spiritual story.
Henry's Map
Awww, Henry is just cute. "A place for everything and everything in its place, indeed." Cute story about map-making and a sense of home.
What Floats in a Moat?
What Floats in a Moat? by Lynne Berry, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
This is a silly, funny book about a goat who wants to cross the most to get to the castle, but he has to figure out how (never mind that there is a perfectly good drawbridge he could use). I always love Cordell's amusing illustrations, and there's a little physics lesson at the end!
Something Big
Something Big by Sylvie Neeman, illustrated by Ingrid Gordon-Noy
Sweet story about a father and son exploring what it means to "do something big." Interesting illustrations.
Ten Birds Meet a Monster
This humorous and imaginative counting book has fun with words and vocabulary. Ten birds try to create scare away a monster by inventing monsters of their own. I need to read the original Ten Birds!


Young kids will enjoy this funny book about a cranky boy. He finally meets his match at the end. Good companion to Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and Jamie Lee Curtis's Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day.
                             2013-book, bedtime-story, picture-book, repetition, rhyme
Cute bedtime story full of childhood rhymes. I could see little ones begging to hear it over and over.
Ol' Clip-Clop: A Ghost Story
Ol' Clip-Clop: A Ghost Story by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by Erik Velasquez
Oooh! Creepy! Great October read aloud. Evil John Leep rides out on his horse in the year 1741 on Friday the 13th in October to evict poor Widow Hayes. As he rides through the moonless night, he hears the clip-clopping of another set of hooves behind him. He continues and even though he constantly looks behind him, he never sees what might be following him. Extremely scary illustration at the end!! Good ladder for "The Telltale Heart," "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," and The Christmas Carol.
The Truth of Me
The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan
This quiet story about a young boy's discovery of his "truths" while staying with his grandmother says a lot in a small and simple package. I loved his dog, Ellie!

The Real Boy
"The only thing worse than being odd was trying desperately not to be." Oscar always felt like something was wrong with him. In the midst of magic and lost wizards, Oscar finds his way, even battling an earth monster that reminded me of the tree in the Patrick Ness book A Monster Calls. There are also connections to make with Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin since Oscar is looking for his history and identity, and magic is cautioned - "'There is danger in small enchantments, my boy. (Malcolm) Small enchantments make us dream of big ones.'" There are gems about truth and the beautiful mess life and people can be: "'I think if you'll look around, my boy,' he said (the baker) gently, 'you'll find that no one is quite right. But we all do the best we can.'" Callie says at one point, "'It happens,' (losing children or seeing them suffer)she said quietly, after a moment. 'That doesn't mean they shouldn't have existed in the first place.'" I can see my students making connections with Wonder there. Throughout the story, Oscar is trying to find his identity, and he's always thought there was safety in his small world and the certainty of tomorrow, but he learns what is real in the end. I loved Breadcrumbs, and this one was similar in its tone and depth. I can certainly see why this book has gotten a lot of Newbery buzz!
The Hunt (The Hunt, #1)  The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #1)
ON DECK (my book club book this month):
The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia, and Laser Hair Removal
I also include what my family is reading.
My mom:
The Burgess Boys
My dad:

Devil Wire by Cameron Judd

My 20-year-old daughter (she finished The Source - yay!):
People of the Book
My 17-year-old:
The Sun Also Rises
What are YOU reading this week?


  1. Phew you got tthrough a lot of books :-) I love the term "Crankenstein" - and I'm about to start reading The Real Boy with my step-son for the Mother Son book club. And since I really enjoyed A Monster Calls (although it made me sad), looks like The Real Boy is going to be excellent.

  2. Sheesh! That's quite the book week! I love the ghost story idea. I have a student who wants to write a ghost tale. I may need to find that one for her.

  3. The Real Boy was sooooo good! And I really want to read Fangirl. Enjoy your books!

  4. Your picture book choices are amazing. I am jotting down some to buy titles. Thanks. I can see Crankenstein flying off the shelves.

  5. Gorgeous Picture books! I love Once upon a Northern Night. So soothing and beautiful. But oh my - this Ol' Clip Clop is one I will avoid. I have a phobia of anything Sleepy Hollow like - I bet it is great. But I am a BIG chicken! Also love that there is a new Cybele Young title. Thanks for sharing all of these

  6. Look at all of those picture books! Way to go, you! I'm interested to know what you think about The Alchemist. I've toyed with it and I had a boy last year that LOVED it. Let me know! Happy Monday!

  7. I really liked The Real Boy and I will be adding Crankenstein and Little Red Writing to my next book order. Come see my Monday Report. Have a great week!

  8. Oh my goodness, I'm just going to print out this whole list! A ton of intriguing titles! I particularly want to find the new Lauren Child. My daughter got hooked on her Charlie and Lola books, and we've read through those and her standalone titles. I hadn't seen this one!


  9. I need to write down some of your titles. What Floats in a Moat looks like total fun.

    It's been a while but I remember I liked People of the Book.

  10. Hello there Holly. There are so many great titles here, and quite a few of them that are in keeping with our current bimonthly theme of "Monsters, Beasts, and Chimeras" - I actually borrowed Ol' Clip-Clop from the library and will be featuring that one soon. The Cybele Young book also caught my eye as well as Crankenstein! Will find those titles in our library soon. And Lauren Child! Wow, a new title! Jacqueline Woodson is a personal favourite, I am sure her new book is amazing. :) Thanks for sharing so many great new titles this week.

  11. Hi Holly, I also loved The Real Boy like so many others. We now call my daughter Crankenstein in the mornings because she makes the same noises. All of your picture books look great. I am trying to find a copy of Little Red Writing but no libraries have it yet up here in Maine. Have a great week!

  12. I've been wanting to read Little Red Writing for awhile now. It looks interesting. I enjoyed Something Big. Some books just surprise me when I figure out what they're ultimately about!