Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 2014 Storytime Briefly

Because of fall break, we only had three weeks for storytime in October.  I chose more nonfiction books for the first two weeks, and then finished out the month with spooky books.

We talked about great ideas and read
We also talked about a couple of longer picture books that I hope some of the students will pick up on their own:  The Boy Who Invented: The Story of Philo Farnsworth by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Greg Couch and The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors by Chris Barton, illustrated by Toni Persiani.

We read true stories about animals:
  • Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox, illustrated by Brian Floca; and
  • Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by G. Brian Karas.
Many of the students are either reading or have read Katherine Applegate's fiction story inspired by Ivan's life, The One and Only Ivan, (particularly because it is a selection for America's Battle of the Books this year).  Reading Ivan's story gave us a chance to discuss elements of the story that are factual and elements that are imagined.  The kids especially loved the photos of Ivan and the picture of one of his paintings.

In anticipation of Halloween, we read about two creepy gardens.  We read
  • Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown; and
  • The Garden of Abdul Gasazi by Chris Van Allsburg.
We talked about achromatism and color choice.  We discussed why an artist might want to create black-and-white illustrations, and the marvelous effect of having spots of orange color in Creepy Carrots.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

kids recommend The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

The Princess in Black is a story about a seemingly perfect princess, with a secret.  When a nosy duchess comes to visit, Princess Magnolia has to rush to turn into her alter ego (the Princess in Black), battle monsters from the nearby Monster Land, and make it back to the castle before her secret is discovered.   This comical story with colorful illustrations is sure to delight young readers.

Now, it's time to let our kid readers do the talking.

K. (age 7) wrote:

My favorite part is when the Princess in Black is thinking about the nosy duchess.  If I were the Princess in Black, I would try not to think about the nosy duchess.  I like how cute the Princess in Black looks when she is hoping the duchess will not snoop.

L. (age 7) wrote:

My favorite part was when she switched from the Princess in Pink to the Princess in Black.  If I were the Princess in Black, I would save people all over the WORLD!!!

The Princess in Black
by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
illustrated by LeUyen Pham
published by Candlewick
October 2014
recommended for ages 5-8

Review copy received from publisher.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tick . . . Tick . . . Tick

You only have a few more days left to nominate books for the Cybils this year.  Look at this list of some of the good nonfiction books that haven't shown up on the lists yet:
  • Frida & Diego: Art, Love, Life by Catherine Reef
  • Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa's Fastest Cat by Sy Montgomery
  • Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family by Susan Goldman Rubin
  • Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi by Susan Goldman Rubin
  • Strike!: The Farm Workers' Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner
  • The Dolphins of Shark Bay by Pamela S. Turner
If you haven't nominated your favorites yet, do it now--it only takes a minute.  Here is the link.

Monday, October 6, 2014

danyelle recommends Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier

When I was young (think four or five), my sisters and I were allowed to watch television until Mom rang the dinner bell.  (Yep, we actually had a dinner bell.)  Dinner-prep time was when PBS showed The Electric Company, and I loved the segment called "The Adventures of Letterman" where the villain, Spell Binder, created havoc by changing a letter in a word.  The hero, Letterman, then came to the rescue by ripping a letter off his sweater and changing the word back to the original, or better yet, by changing the word to something else entirely.  Letterman could fix all kinds of perilous situations with the power of a single letter.  Michael Escoffier's new book, Take Away the A, reminds me of that.

In it, each letter of the alphabet is featured on a double-page spread where a word is transformed by taking away just that letter.  For example, "Without the A the BEAST is the BEST" and, "Without the E BEARS stay behind BARS."

The illustrations take the cleverness up a notch, with a droll cast of animals and personified inanimate objects inhabiting small, individual stories that extend the text and are funny, funny, funny.   Jam flirts with Peanut Butter, saying, "Jam I am" as a slice of bread sits on a plate nearby, presumably to become a sandwich when the two jars get together.  "SNOW falls NOW" on two unfortunate pigs who are sitting under their beach umbrella clad in swimwear.  And I won't give away P's story, but trust me, it's good.  In a twist for the letter Z, a curtain call loosely wraps the stories together and provides a tidy sense of completion.

Readers will want to linger before turning pages and may find themselves looking for word pairs of their own.

Take Away the A
by Michael Escoffier
illustrated by Kis Di Giacomo
published by Enchanted Lion Books
September 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ready, Set, Nominate!

Get yourself on over to the Cybils site where nominations open today and submit the titles you think deserve some attention.  And . . . bring on the books!