Monday, December 7, 2015

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.
Little Elliot, Big Family

Just so darn sweet! This new Little Elliot story makes you fall in love with Little Elliot and Mouse all over again. Poor Little Elliot feels lonely and dejected when Mouse leaves for a family reunion. The illustrations that accompany this part of the book are just heartbreaking, especially the one where he is gazing out to sea. Mouse comes to the rescue, though, when he invites Little Elliot to his family's house to have cheese chowder. Family doesn't have to be flesh and blood; it can be whomever loves you, takes you in, and makes you feel at home.
Two White Rabbits
Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago, illustrated by Rafael Yockteng, translated by Elisa Amado
A girl and her father journey from Mexico to the American border. The girl isn't fully aware of where or why they are traveling. Along the way, she counts the chickens, cows, birds, clouds, etc. The journey requires all kinds of transportation, and the two encounter guards/soldiers/policemen along the way. The little girl makes a friend at one of the stops, and he gives her two white rabbits. The two-page spread at the end is chilling and ambiguous. It leaves you with many questions. This is a timely book to share with children and would require a lot of inference skills. The note at the end helps us understand the symbolism of the coyote in the story.
The Little Snowplow
The Little Snowplow by Lora Koehler, illustrated by Jake Parker
Much like The Little Engine That Could, this gem of a book will steal your heart. It also reminded me of Loren Long's Otis books.  The Little Snowplow is adorable. Loved the illustrations!

Serafina and the Black Cloak (Serafina, #1)

I listened to this captivating, creepy story set in the Biltmore Estate (very cool setting for a creepy story). Serafina, an excellent rat-catcher and able to squeeze into tight hiding places, lives in secret with her pa in the basement of the estate, and after seeing a girl disappear upon encountering the man in a black cloak, she begins a journey full of self-discovery, dangerous villains, and deep, dark secrets. This story is definitely not for the faint of heart - kids under fourth grade might find it too disturbing. Reminiscent of Harry Potter, The Night Gardener, and Neil Gaiman stories.  I will be getting it for my classroom!
Circling the Sun

What an amazing woman Beryl Markham was! I was captivated by the rich setting descriptions and Beryl's adventurous, resilient, and ground-breaking spirit. It kept me turning the pages. However, in the same vein as The Paris Wife (also by McLain), Melanie Benjamin's Aviator's Wife, and Nancy Horan's Loving Frank, she endured a tortured love life. I enjoyed, though, the accounts of her years of horse training and racing, and how her relationship with Denys Finch Hatton led to her love of flying. Even though Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) left Beryl out of her story, I'd like to watch Out of Africa again. I look forward to talking about this novel in book club! One of our members read everything she could about Beryl upon finishing this book.  That's what I love about historical fiction!
  The Thing About Jellyfish
All American Boys

1 comment:

  1. Two White Rabbits sounds very timely (as you said). I am so glad you shared it. I want to get a copy and read it! These are the kinds of stories we need to have in our classrooms, libraries, and homes. Thanks, Holly! You rock. :)