Archive for the ‘Book Picks’ Category

Say Hello

Last week I mentioned the importance of keeping a writing schedule.  Well, here’s the TRUTH in hardback.  

Say Hello to Zorro! by Carter Goodrich

You see, my schedule actually revolves around Millie, my dog.  Yep, she’s in charge and she knows it.

Dog owners will certainly relate to this fun story.  It’s about Mister Bud who sets his own household schedule. 

That is, until Zorro a.k.a Trouble shows up at the front door.

The front cover gives this one away–just look at those adorable faces–and that’s just what you’ll find throughout the pages.


The Loser List

If you enjoy the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, you may want to check out this one:

The Loser List by H.N. Kowitt  

My 12-year-old grabbed it from my library stack immediately, finishing it before I ever had a chance to even suggest interest.

His response? “You gotta read this one.  It’s funny.”  He even noted certain page numbers he wanted to discuss once I’d finished.

So yeah, this one’s a keeper.  Here’s the basic idea:

Danny’s trouble begins when he tries to scratch his name from the loser list that happens to be displayed in the girls’ bathroom.  Once caught, he’s thrown into detention with a group of scary guys–Axle, being the leader and scariest

His mighty Sharpie saves his skin befriending the “Skulls” as their personal tattoo artist. 

However, hanging with the Skulls does have its consequences.  Soon, Danny realizes there are worse things in life than being included on the loser list.

This Week’s Read Aloud

Here is my latest find from a trip to the library:

How to Teach a Slug to Read by Susan Pearson

I found myself chuckling with each turn of the page. 

Here’s why:

  • Illustrations –The personified slug images are hilarious–a must see to appreciate.  
  • Familiar–the story refers to some very familiar book titles we all remember reading–but of course in Slug style– example: The Poky Little Slug.
  • Great Teachable Moments–If you teach the early grades, this would be a great beginning-of-the-year read aloud to excite your students about learning.  The story really does go through the steps of learning to readAND  It’s also a great read for teaching point of view–after all, you’re teaching a slug to read here.  How’s that for a different perspective?

Visit your local library to find your next treasure.–Happy Reading!

This Week’s Library Treasure

Here is my latest find from a trip to the library:

The Woods by Paul Hoppe

A kid dressed in his pjs wearing a cape and carrying a sword, while eyes watch from the deep dark woods–the cover alone signals a great bedtime story–and YES, it delivers one.

Here’s why:

  • Illustrations and Paper–the illustrations and the feel of the paper (not glossy, a rougher texture) set the tone for a dreamy-in-the-woods story
  • Page Turner Tool–the story uses the until. . . method, creating the need to find out what’s next  You may feel this method has been overdone, but it works well in this story.
  • Comfort Quality–Although kids will anticipate a scare, the main character uses his imagination to conquer his fears.  AND  The tone is fun and doesn’t leave the kid with scary thoughts–If you’ve ever experienced a kid who’s afraid of the dark, you know why this is important for a bedtime story.
  • For me, A Sweet Memory–reminds me of my own favorite childhood book, I’ll Protect You from the Jungle Beasts by Martha Alexander.

Press Here by Herve Tullet

Ever think as writers we try to overcomplicate things? 

Today’s book pick proves the brilliance of simplicity.  

Have you read it?  You need to. 

My 7-year-old was immediately hooked just by the front cover.  I mean, what kid can resist pressing that yellow button? 

There’s no recorded sound–not even a swatch to pat.  The magic in this one comes straight from a little paint and a few brilliant phrases throughout the pages.

Still, you’ll find yourself tapping, shaking, and clapping your way to the end.–My son’s reading and laughing through it again right now.  Believe me, this one’s a keeper.

Summer Homework

It’s time to kick off the summer with some of my favorite reads!  a little homework for the adults

I’m labeling this first list (for picture books): 

 Endearing Characters who Make Me Chuckle

Elephant (aka Gerald) and Piggie have been my son’s favorite characters for several years now.  He laughs over and over at these stories–an easy reader series–and never tires of them.  We love the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems.

It was love at first read the moment I opened A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker.  She also has two more in this series–A Birthday for Bear and Bedtime for Bear–for those of us who can’t get enough of this fun duo.

I MUST include Weezer from David McPhail’s Weezer Changes the World.  This dog is irresistible.

Here’s why they are kid tested and mother approved:

  • rich language–just because their kid books doesn’t mean you need to use “simple” baby talk–give the readers some credit
  • wit–they’re clever and make quick amusing remarks that keep us guessing–and laughing
  • parent AND kid friendly–When a kid likes a book, know that you’ll read it over and over.  It’s a wonderful thing when parents enjoy it just as well.

Nature Walk Writing

Today’s frog-themed book is for the science lovers.  Frogs by Gail Gibbons is filled with fun facts and colorful illustrations just right for the younger audience.  As always, Gibbons takes a close look at the topic and conveys the scientific information creating more of a read-aloud than a nonfiction science book.  Though filled with facts, her stories are always page turners.

If the weather permits, grab your notebook and take your students–or just yourself–on your own nature walk.  

Take time to sit still and just observe animals and insects along the way.  How do they move?  Why are they there?  What do you notice?  Are you surprised? 

Sketch the animal in its surroundings.  Jot down observations and questions that you would like to continue investigating.

For fun, create a What if? story.  Let your imagination take you to a place you’ve never been.  Write as quickly as possible, allowing the story to flow onto the page.  You may be surprised just where the story takes you.