Thursday, October 30, 2008

Missing May by Cynthia Rylant - Realistic Fiction Intermediate

Summer has lived with her Aunt May and Uncle Ob since was 6 because she was orphaned and none of her other relatives wanted to take her in. Now, at age 12, Summer and Uncle Ob are now faced with a grave tragedy, they must cope with the death of Aunt May. Uncle Ob, without Aunt May, is quickly going downhill and Summer begins to learn how to take care of him and herself simultaneously. But, Uncle Ob feels that Aunt May's "spirit" is still around. Cletus Underwood, a boy from school, tells Summer and Uncle Ob of a women who contacts the dead. Together, they set off to contact Aunt May and hope to find peace with her death. This book would be great for a student who is dealing with a recent death of a loved one; this book is not so much about "talking with the dead," but how to move on from losing someone you loved.

Do You Want To Be My Friend by Eric Carle - Picture Book

On the first page, a mouse is looking for a friend and asks an animal to be his friend and the illustrator shows a picture of an animal's tail. The next page reveals the rest of the animal; a few of the animals in this story are a horse, alligator, lion, etc. After meeting various tails, the mouse finally finds another mouse who answers his question and says, "Yes." I love the bold and vibrant colors and animation in the illustrations; although the colors are not the typical colors of the animals, it is appealing to the eye.

Ten, Nine, Eight by: Molly Bang - Picture Book

This book is really simple and short, but I really loved the concept of it. Not only does the author discuss numbers, there is also a relationship between father and daughter going on. I think this would be a great book to read to your little one for a bedtime story. The story talks about the little girl being washed and we see this little girl's room with her stuffed animals. The pictures seem gentle and the picture portrays how I would imagine my father putting me to bed. My favorite part of this book is number three, it says, "3 loving kisses on cheeks and nose," I just think that is adorable! :)

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by: Bill Martin Jr. - Picture Book

This is a simple story that features the alphabet with catchy rhyming. During the story, the lowercase letters come out to play and climb the coconut tree. As all the letters climb the tree, the tree begins to tilt more and more until... CHICKA CHICKA BOOM BOOM!!! They all fall down. Some get scratches and stubbed toes, like many children do when they fall down, and the upper case letters come and help them. I love this book and its illustrations; the pictures are so bright and creative. I would recommend this book for preschool to 2nd grade.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by: C.S. Lewis - Book to Movie

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, written by C. S. Lewis in 1950 will lure and entice readers. Narnia is a fantasy land that is under the spell of an evil witch who has stopped time in a never-ending winter. It is up to four children, Susan, Lucy, Edmond, and Peter to leave their world and travel through a wardrobe, which is the magical entrance to Narnia. Once in Narnia all realities change, and anything is possible. These children work with the Great Lion, Aslan, who sacrifices himself to free the people of Narnia. This is a magical story in which good and evil battle; characters include a variety of beings and animals. They include the “good”, which are Aslan’s people, such as tree women, centaurs, giants, unicorns, great dogs, and eagles. The “evil” winter witch’s people are composed of such creatures as ghouls, boggles, ogres, minotaurs, and peoples of the toadstools. Narnia is saved and soon winter turns to spring. In the end the children return through the secret wardrobe passageway to their normal existences. This is a wonderful book to read to get your imagination going; I really enjoyed reading this novel and watching the movie afterwards. Although the movie was good and followed the book for the most part, I am glad I read the book and let my imagination run wild.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park - Series Study

Junie B. Jones is getting ready to head into kindergarten, when her and her mother go and visit her teacher, Mrs., at school. This is where Junie B. is told she gets to ride the yellow bus to school, but Junie B. doesn't want to ride the bus to school; she gets a sickish feeling in her stomach. On the first day of school, Junie B. is hesitant to get on the bus, but finally does. She wants to sit by this girl, but she is saving it for her best friend. The next stop, that Jim gets on, but he doesn't want to sit by her. Soon, the bus starts to smell and Junie B. is really hot in her pink sweater. Finally, when Junie B. thought she would never get off the bus, she arrived at school. But, everyone was trying to get off of the bus and she fell and someone stepped on her skirt, she wasn't happy. Towards the end of the day, Mrs. told the bus riders to get in line to go to the bus, but Junie B. wasn't going on that bus. She was the last in line (and no one watched the person last in line), so she hid. The next few chapters were hilarious; you really never know what Junie B. is going to do!

Junie B. Jones Is a Party Animal by Barbara Park - Series Study

Junie B. Jones, Grace, and Lucille are best friends in their kindergarten class. One day, Lucille's Nanna pulls up to the school and drops Lucille off, when Grace and Junie B. come rushing to the car. Lucille's Nanna is rich; in this book, Lucille, Grace, and Junie B. stay the night at Nanna's rich house. While at the house, Junie B. is flabbergasted by the "rich and fantasy" items; she even manages to break a few things. In the end, the reader finds out that Junie B. misses her Grandma; Junie B. and her mother go to her grandmother's for breakfast the next day. I really enjoyed the ending to this short chapter book. Junie B. thought she wanted her family to be rich, but she realizes that she loves her family just the way they are! :)

Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying by Barbara Park - Series Study

I have fallen in love with Barbara Park's Junie B. Jones series! I wish my teachers would have introduced me to this novel when I was a young student. Park has a way of convincing the reader that reading is fun, because Junie B. is fun and hilarious. In this book, Junie B. is spying on people and she wants to spy on Mrs., her teacher. She sees Mrs. at the store, while spying on her, Mrs. eats two grades, but doesn't pay for it. This is a huge problem for Junie B. because she once ate three marshmellows out of a bag and her mother had to pay for it, because eating is stealing (that's what Junie B. says). I recommend this book to any early reader, there are good themes and interesting plots in these books!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Minty "A Story of Young Harriet Tubman" by Alan Schroeder/Jerry Pinkney - Illustrator Coretta Scott Award Winner

This is a fiction book that takes place on a plantation that allows the reader to look into the life of a slave and the horrible situations and circumstances that Harriet Tubman underwent. Minty, an eight year old, rebels against her owners authority as much as possible. As a girl, she was placed in the house, but soon Mrs. Brodas thinks she is too clumsy for the housework and sends her to the fields. While doing work in the fields, Minty's urge to run away and gain freedom magnifies. Her father teaches her how to survive on her own and in the wild, so one day she can be prepared to run away. The use of watercolors and details in the illustrations is amazing; this is a great story and history lesson all in one.

Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi - Caldecott Award Winner

This story is about a little boy named Juan who loved swallows, but one day like many birds, they flew south. After they left, Juan became sad and lonely because he became "friends" with them. The most creative and best part of this book is when Juan makes a garden for the swallows for when they came back. Also, the illustrations are wonderful; they are very bright and intriguing.

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

The Dowel kids, Mary Alice and Joey, at first think they are being dumped on their Grandma so their parents can go on a "getaway" vacation; however things at their Grandma's house tend to be exciting and they begin to look forward to their visits. I really enjoyed this book because it sort of reminds me of my grandma and when my brother and I used to spend time at her house (my Grandma was always doing crazy things). During this novel, I was always looking forward to the crazy and random things that Grandma Dowel does and how her grandchildren would react to her. Richard Peck, the author, discusses different cultures and generations in the novel, but still keeps the book very interesting. I would recommend this book for grades 4 - 8, but I think that anyone can enjoy it.