Whoo-hoo! It's officially summertime for me! I was able to start #bookaday (wow, and what a start that has been, right??) although not as fast as I wanted. It seems that there is always something else I need to do before I get to sit and read. I'm thinking today may be a good sit down and read day - watch out next Monday's post! Here's what I got to this week:
Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey by Alex Milway
Great beginning reader, in a chapter format. Pigsticks is the strong and brave, yet clueless in the how to be a friend department character. Harold is the smarter and kinder sidekick. Not as clever as Elephant and Piggie, but I think fans of E&P will like this book. Fun illustrations.
Zen Ghosts by Jon J Muth
Not my favorite in the Zen series. The story that Stillwater tells is a koan, "a story that Zen students sometimes contemplate in their efforts for enlightenment." I think the story will go right over the heads of young readers. Upon reading the Author's Note, I think older students could ponder the story for a longer time and keep it in their heads longer. It would lead to an interesting conversation!
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan
I know, I'm pretty much the only one out there that doesn't like… doesn't get this book. When I pick up a picture book, I want to understand the point it's trying to make. I love picture books that make me think and I return to it more than once, but this one I just didn't get. I read it when it first came out and didn't get it. I picked it up again after reading numerous reviews explaining it. I picked it up because everyone was raving over the brilliancy of it. Apparently my brain is done working for the year because it just didn't work for me. I'm not afraid to admit it. I think it's ok to have differing opinions.
But, with that said, I do think this book has a place in the classroom, especially for those in an older grade (that for me is 4th and above). I think you could use it for inferring. Because of the simple text, there is a lot missing between the illustrations and the words. I think students would have a great conversation discussing the picture and the rule and what is not being said. After reading the book in its entirety, have students discuss - is there a message in this book? The book could be used as a mentor text for writing - students could make up a set of rules for something and then interpret them in their own way. And after all of that is done, just go back and look through the illustrations and admire. Even if I don't admire the book, I do appreciate the beautiful illustrations Tan has created.
Travis Jonker wrote a review of Rules this week, and it was the first time I felt like someone else got it. While Jonker does praise the book, he too was confused and said what he finally figured out was this book does not read like your normal picture book does - straightforward and to the point. Which is what I wanted it to do. I needed there to at least be an explanation to these rules and the weird illustrations, but there wasn't one. Here's the review
The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo
I love this book! Easy text, lovely illustrations and a great story. What a winner! I can't wait to use this book with young kids to show them how your thinking changes as you read. When you start the book, you think the "troublemaker" is the little boy, especially since he appears to be up to no good as he sneaks away his sister's toy. Or is he the troublemaker?? My favorite picture book of the week!
Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison
I had heard great things about this book, and it did not disappoint. Everyone in Jane's family can do something extraordinary except for Jane. But this sweet little dog ends up having a special talent that surprises even her. Beautiful illustrations. Easy text.
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio
Love this story about what makes up a modern family!
My New Friend is So Fun! by Mo Willems
There has yet to be an E&P book that doesn't make me laugh! This one was no exception. And I love how crazy Gerald gets when he's upset! So silly!
Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won
Love this story about the grumpy animals. After receiving a special, and what seems to be customized, hat, the grumpy animal celebrates and joyfully wears the hat before going off to give another grumpy animal a hat. Great for teaching central message/lesson.
I started this challenge back in March when Mr. Schu and Mr. Sharp announced it. I've really enjoyed going back and reading these books, since so many of them I had missed. I know a lot more series for young readers that I can suggest. How wonderful!
I read these books to finish off the challenge:
Let's Go For a Drive! by Mo Willems
This is up there for my favorite Elephant and Piggie book!
I Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems
See Me Run by Paul Meisel
The One and Only by Emily Giffin
I think a good author can take an uncomfortable situation and write it well to make it understandable to the reader. That's what Emily Giffin did for me in this book. The main character, Shea, while likable, has a HUGE crush on her best friend's dad. I'm thinking kind of strange. But to make it worse, his wife, Shea's best friend's mom, just died. To me, that sounds like a stupid plot. But Giffin makes it work. I enjoyed this book, I liked returning to it.
Continuing to Read
Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner
This book is fantastic. I'm really enjoying it.
Readers Front and Center by Dorothy Barnhouse
Don't miss - Pigsticks & Harold, The Troublemaker, Extraordinary Jane, Hooray for Hat, Let's Go For a Drive, and Circa Now
Looking forward to reading today and seeing what you read!