So, I thought this would be an empty blog unless you count the report card writing related reading but I finished some books with my family and another one late last night. Actually, it was not nearly as bad a reading week as I thought it would be. Please visit the excellent hosts of this weekly meme at http://www.teachmentortexts.com and http://www.unleashingreaders.com
Books I Finished This Week:
I am a huge fan of Amy Dyckman’s books from some of the older ones like The Tea Party Rules and Boy + Bot to her collaborations with Zachariah O’Hora (Horrible Bear, and Wolfie the Bunny), so I was really looking forward to this one with Liz Climo. Liz has some extremely funny cartooning work including some with The Simpsons. This book did not disappoint, it is laugh-out-loud funny. However, if you have any die hard very young unicorn fans, they may not be happy with how the unicorns are portrayed (very poorly behaved). My older primary students loved it, its the Kindergarten class I worry about (just one student).
I read this outloud to my six year old who is a huge fan of this series. Her favourite scenes are the ones that involve Quidditch. We watched the movie on the weekend and she was disappointed in how much of the Quidditch was cut. I really enjoyed the book, particularly the increased role in the resolution for characters not named Harry, and the peek into Hogwart’s past through some new characters. My youngest is pushing for our next family read aloud to be the fourth installment, now that she has caught up to her big sister.
I did not intend to read this, but I was returning some public library books and there it was. I thought it was a follow-up to This Book ate my Dog, which I read a couple weeks ago and enjoyed. I was unaware that there is one more book in between by Richard Byrne called We’re in the Wrong Book. I found the two I have read to form a cute series of pic books in which young readers will interact with the story. I am going to try to get that second one.
This book was kind of special for me as it is the first chapter book my youngest requested to read TO me. I had read the first three in this series to her, and we have really enjoyed reading them together. There is a blend of action and humour. My youngest says that she needs books with action, fighting and magic (thus her love of Harry Potter). Here, we really liked the acorn shaped monster drawn by LeUyen Pham and some of the other new characters as well. This has been a great early chapter series for us, as having listened to the first three books, my little reader can access some words she would not otherwise have been able to. Also, a fifth is on the way. I know someone that can’t wait.
I picked this up at the library at the same time as This Book is out of Control. Nice work librarians for making a display of new books. Now, I know why I do that, it works! This one has cute illustrations. You can see from the cover that the girl is going to be using her brain for something, and that is the case. She is thinking about the important parts of her dog, not the looks. There is a message to go with the pictures, but it is subtle so it will inspire/require discussion.
I think this is one of the most underrated covers and maybe series for MG readers. My wife chose it for our family read aloud and the kids really liked it (its a re-read for me). The cupboards lead to different worlds and we had just read two Narnia books so that was a big hook for my children when they read the back and looked at the cover and realized it could be similar. The eyes of the cat are a big draw as well. This one has action, some creepy parts, and some hidden details in the background that are expanded on later in the series. I had several grade five and six students read this last year. A sign of a potentially good book: my copy looks like it has been through the blender from last year’s class.
I don’t read a lot of non-fiction so I had been wanting to try this one for a while, and its mention at the YMA was the final boot to my rear. The back cover gives a warning that generally people do not die of natural causes here, and there are many violent ends for people in this account of the life of a 12th century samurai. I thought it was really interesting the ways in which Pamela Turner let you know when her source was really good, and when she had to speculate a little. At times, I felt like I was sitting in on her research. The story itself is exciting and I think those that can handle the violence will enjoy the peek into medieval Japan including well described battle scenes that could play out as a cinematic daydream in the mind of a reader.
I am still re-reading The War that Saved my Life and Masterminds in preparation for my literature circle unit.
I am going to start Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart tonight (hopefully after some report cards get done) as I will likely use it as a recommendation to other lit circle students who choose to read The Honest Truth. My daughter looked after my early chapter goal last week, so this week it might be The Bad Guys, the second in the Amulet series or Weekends with Max and his Dad. Happy Reading to all!