Saturday, May 25, 2013

One+One=Blue by M. J. Auch

One + One = Blue by MJ Auch (2013)

This book is intended for middle grade students  . . . so it could be be placed in the juvenile fiction or in junior high fiction, depending how libraries, for instance, are cataloging individual collections.  

I had first learned about synesthesia several years ago from the Wendy Maas book A Mango-Shaped Space.  This book is more of a "boy" book than Mango-Shaped as the main character (named Basil after his mother's favorite herb!) is a boy.  

It seems that the author experiences number-related synethesia, and so gave Basil her particular number/color combinations - including something that can make math more difficult than it needs to be:  both three and six are shades of yellow.   

Basil and his new friends Tenzie are each having tough times individually in their families.   Tenzie feels that she is being completely ignored at home.  Basil's long lost mother has returned for the first time in seven years.   He likes his life with his grandma, but he wants to love his mother, who may prove to be just as flighty as ever.  

I could not put this book down as I read it earlier this week.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

Potty by Leslie Patricelli

Potty by Leslie Patricelli (2010)

My son received this board book for his second birthday a little over a year ago.  I had seen it online, and had requested this book in physical format for him.  A friend gave it to him, and it soon became a favorite book in our household.   We liked it so much that we presented it to my cousin and her soon-to-be-born daughter earlier this year.

The little character in this book is never identified as a boy or girl.  My son thinks it is a little boy like himself, and we let him think that.   In a Persian translation of another book in this series by Patrcelli, the character seems to be named "Chil-Chil", so we call him/her by that name in our household.

In the course of the book, the main character sees how the family pets go potty, and finally he/she tries going potty, too.

In terms of the success of this book within our household?  We love to read this book, and for a little someone, reading it on the potty is great fun..  Reading readiness is high in our now three year old. With the actual potty issue?  Not yet!

Participating in Another Month-Long Blogging Challenge

I am going to participate in the following blogging challenge:

We'll see how it goes.  I have had less time to pre-write blogs as I did with the A to Z blog challenge.  I have been looking for another challenge and this seems to fit the bill.

I might also start tweeting more often . . . 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

2014 Illinois Caudill Award Books (That I Have Read Thus Far)

Here is a link to the .pdf of the current Caudill Nominees:'

When this list was released rather recently (an award voted on by fourth to eighth graders in Illinois), I had already read a couple of books on the list (and can't recommend them enough):  Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012) and The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen (2011).   However, I hadn't read any of the others!

Since the list was released, I have read the following titles:

I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson (2010) - A girl with a different name and a different kind of family life learns more about who she is.

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer (2011) - A girl whose mom is on the run from a bad relationship wants to become a famous baker.

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg (2011) - This is a fun (if sometimes a little disgusting) book that I would highly recommend to my eleven-year-old nephew.  It is really about famous people in history and how they died - and what happened in some cases before and after they died.

Mockingbird: (Mok'ing-bûrd) by Kathryn Erskine (2010) - A girl with Aspergers is dealing with her own grief (as well as how to manage her OCD and thought processes), and her father's, after her older brother died in a school shooting.  (I could not put this book down.)

Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nichols (2008) -  A boy is dying after several years of living with cancer.  He writes his memoir for everyone to remember him.  He also makes a "bucket list" of things he wants to do before he dies.   His incredible family and friends make many of these things happen for him - even a first kiss and a ride in a blimp. (Warning: Both this book and the book listed above this one are definitely tearjerkers!)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray (Illustrated by Mike Lowery), 2011.

This picture book is a 2014 Nominee of  Illinois' Monarch Award.  The winner of this award is voted on by students in Illinois in grades K to 3.

This book really is perfect for kids in kindergarten.  The children listening to this book read aloud need to have the context of being in school to really get the excitement of being lost in the school - and getting into the principal's office!  This illustrations are almost in graphic novel format, so that each page contains visuals for each line, sentence, or action.   It is definitely one I would take school visiting for kindergarten and perhaps first grade.  It takes the read through a myriad of emotions while also being rather silly at times, and it has a good ending.

(I am not in any way connected with the Monarch Award and nor am I being paid to review this book. I checked this book out from the local public library!)

Monkey Ono by J. C. Phillips

Monkey Ono by J.C. Phillipps, 2013

This picture book is about a cat (based on the author/illustrator's real cat), a dog, and a stuffed toy monkey who wants to, badly, go to the beach with their family.

Alas, Monkey Ono is left at home, and he hatches several plans to get there - even the silly one of being flushed down the toilet to be able to reach the ocean (aptly named "Operation Swirlie." Eventually, Java the cat and  Telly the dog save the day for Monkey Ono.

This is a fun story that is rather sweet at the same time.  It is definitely one I would use for a preschool storytime!

Note: I have borrowed this book from my local public library.  I have not been paid or whatnot to review this book.   I just love this book as a Librarian and as a mom.  My three year old son loves it, too.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Weather-Related Quotes From Books

Back in the mid-to-late 1990s, I kept a notebook with quotes from books and movies related to weather.  I was a meteorology major for a year, but loved reading about weather. 

These are some selections that I noted.

"Almost overhead now, the tumbling, swirling clouds changed from black to a terrifying greenish-purple.  They seemed to draw themselves together, then a groping finger slowly came out of them and stretched down trying to reach the earth" (254).   - Laura Ingalls Wilder, These Happy Golden Years

"As they dashed into the kitchen the light seemed to vanish, as if blown out by some mighty breath; the awful cloud rolled over the sun and a darkness as of late twilight fell across the world.  At the same moment, with a crash of thunder and a blinding glare of lightning, the hail swooped down and blotted the landscape out in one white fury" (211).   L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

"The sun had now been set sometime; heavy cloud whose lower skirts were tinged with sulphurous crimson, lingered in the west, and threw a reddish tint upon the pine forests, which sent forth a solemn sound, as the breeze rolled over them" (406).  - Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho

"Derry wind speeds were being clocked at an average of fifty-five miles an hour, with gusts up to seventy.  The anemometer in the courthouse registered one gust of eighty-one, and then the needle dropped all the way back to zero.  The wind had ripped the whirling cuplike device on the courthouse roof off its moorings and it flew away into the rainswept dimness of the day" (1042).  - Stephen King, IT

"In the lightning that tore across the sky every few minutes, I could see the clouds were still low and boiling.  I didn't know if we'd be safe anywhere, even when we got out" (66).  - Ivy Ruckman, Night of the Twisters 

"The next day the rain poured down in torrents again, and when Mary looked out of her window the moor was almost hidden by gray mist and cloud.  There could be no going out today" (51).  - Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden  

"Suddenly there was no sunshine.  It went out, as if someone had blown out the sun like a lamp. The outdoors was gray, the windowpanes were gray, and at the same moment a wind crashed against the schoolhouse, rattling windows and doors and shaking the walls" (84).   - Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter 

"I wondered at the beauty of its intricate design / I breathed, the snowflake vanished / but for moments, it was mine" (41). - Jack Prelutsky, It's Snowing! It's Snowing!

"The only thing really that was different about Chewandswallow was its weather.  It came three times a day at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Everything that everyone at came from the sky . . . it never rained rain.  It never snowed snow.   And it never blew just wind.  It rained things like soup and juice.  It snowed mashed potatoes and green peas.  And sometimes the wind blew in storms of hamburgers" (7-8).   - Judi Barrett, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 

"It's true there were dark storm clouds - heavy, black, and pendulous, toward which they were driving."  - 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'  [Not a book . . .  but this has always been my favorite line from this movie.]