Monday, November 9, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11.09.15

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This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Last Week's Adventures

I wrote about how writing is hard and about the importance of celebrating Picture Book Month with my reading intervention students here.

Picture Books

Lost. Found.
Lost.  Found. by Marsha Diane Arnold
4/5 stars
The details are so often in the illustrations.  And when they are illustrations by Matthew Cordell, it's that much more fun to pore over them!
Love the idea that something lost can be another person/animal's treasure!

Early Chapter Books

Ling & Ting: Together in All Weather
Ling and Ting Together in all Weather by Grace Lin
4/5 stars
I love the Ling and Ting series.  This one is fun to see what the girls are up to in a book that takes place over all seasons.

Mr. Putter & Tabby Smell the Roses
Mr. Putter and Tabby Smell the Roses by Cynthia Rylant
4/5 stars
Best quote from this book:
"On Saturday, Mr. Putter put on
his best shirt and his best tie.
He also put some pomade in his hair.
It made him look very spiffy.
'Pomade makes the man,'
Mr. Putter told Tabby."


Transitional Chapter Books

Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Cupcake Queens
Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Cupcake Queens by Christine Pakkala
3/5 stars
A good series to hand off to fans of Junie B. Jones.

Lola Levine Is Not Mean!
Lola Levine is Not Mean by Monica Brown
4/5 stars
I'm really excited for this new transitional chapter book series.  Featuring a diverse cast of characters and one mean playing soccer queen, I know kids will flock to this series.  Well-written and lots of kid appeal.  Looking forward to the next book in January!

Middle Grade

Lost in the Sun
Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff
5/5 stars
Books stand out for me in different ways.  This one it was character development and the writing.  Without great writing, the character of Trent would never have developed the way he needed to.  Trent is a character that is conflicted.  We see pieces of the person he was and wants to be.  But we see a large part of who he is now because of a horrible accident. Most readers love reading about characters they can either relate to, have a connection with, or someone they admire, or someone who touches the reader's heart in a deep way.  Trent isn't that kind of character.  He does unlikeable things.  We know the things that set him off, but we don't like his reactions.  And he does it over and over again.  Graff deftly tells the story so Trent's developments happen slowly.  If you read too quickly, you miss the little things that happen.  But Trent's character development also couldn't happen without the addition of a secondary character - Fallon Little.  For me, Fallon was the hero of the book.  I loved her story and really hope Graff writes another book with her as the main character.  Fallon is also flawed, but her way of dealing with bad things that have happened to her, is vastly different than Trent's.  I love these two characters together.  

The Nest
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
5/5 stars
Oh.  My.
Disturbingly creepy.
And so good.
But so creepy.
Before I even started reading it I knew if was going to be different.  A young boy says yes to an agreement with a queen bee in his dreams that will save his baby brother, who is very sick, from dying.  
Right there, I didn't know if this was something I really wanted to read.  
I read the book in 2 sittings.
I was right.  Very very creepy.  I think there are some underlying and unsaid topics that could be a bit controversial (the perfect race?  disposing of humans that are not perfect?), although Oppel does a great job of not exploring those topics, just letting them sit there without going into further discussion.  I think most kids will discuss them as they are in the book, not go into a huge philosophical discussion.
The book is a high speed ride of a kidlit psychological thriller.  The big action doesn't happen until the end, but Oppel writes in a page-turning way that will keep you up reading.
My daughter asked me to compare it to The Night Gardener which was he last creepy book I read.  It's different.  THG kept me us and it was a spine tingling thriller.  This one is more creepy instead of thriller.
Make sure you have a block of time set aside for this book.  You won't want to put it down. You might want to read it in the daylight hours.

Currently Reading

Princess Juniper of the Hourglass
Princess Juniper of the Hourglass by Ammi-Joan Paquette

On Deck

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall


  1. I borrowed a copy of The Nest from the library and I know that I have to get to it soonest, especially after reading your review. I love CREEPY! Plus it sounds perfect for our current reading theme.

  2. I couldn't read your blurb on the The Nest--I'm starting it tonight so I didn't want any spoilers. Can't wait! And I'm going to check out Lola Levine. That series is new to me. Thanks! And I'm a big fan of Ling and Ting!

  3. I still haven't read any Putter and Tabby. The Nest is perfect for awful weather reading!

  4. How in the world did a new Mr Putter and Tabby book get published without my knowledge?! I just checked Amazon and it's been in the world for almost two months! But thank goodness, with just a couple of clicks, it's now on its way to me. Glad to see there's a new Ling & Ting--one of my favorite series as well. I am thinking about reading Lost in the Sun aloud to my son, but I think I'd better read it first to make sure it's ok for him. It's got a few things that might be big triggers for him, but he did adore Absolutely Almost.

  5. Nice assortment of books. You can see what I read here. Happy reading!

  6. I'll come back to read your review of The Nest-just got it, so don't want to know. I enjoyed your ideas about Fallon, a strong character and smart, too. I also liked how the parents worked things out all the way through. Thanks for the books for younger kids, am interested mostly to know about them for the granddaughters. I do love Ling & Ting & Mr. Putter & Tabby, sweet stories. Thanks much, Michele.

  7. I am the biggest sucker for Mr Putter and Tabby, I think I enjoy them ever more than the kids do! Such sweet and gentle stories about a lovely duo - I'm so glad there's one I haven't read yet! Have a great week!

  8. I am the biggest sucker for Mr Putter and Tabby, I think I enjoy them ever more than the kids do! Such sweet and gentle stories about a lovely duo - I'm so glad there's one I haven't read yet! Have a great week!

  9. I'm really looking forward to reading "Lost. Found." by Marsha Diane Arnold. I like stories that push you to consider ordinary things, like a lost scarf, from a different perspective. And I loved "Lost in the Sun". Lisa Graff does an awesome job making the reader care about all of the characters, even when they're difficult to like. I think another hero to consider in the book, is the teacher with the plants (sorry I can't remember this character's name). At first glance, she's having him water the plants as a punishment. But something about those visits affects Trent in a positive way. I think this book has a terrific message that everyone deserves a second chance. Happy Reading!

  10. Thanks for telling us about the Lola Levine series. It is so helpful to find new series that students will love.

  11. I *need* to get my hands on The Nest! Ahh! Everyone is raving about it. I wonder if I can find it at NCTE/ALAN. I will go on a hunt!

  12. I am a bit afraid of The Nest. I was lucky to see Kenneth Oppel talk about The Nest at the Writer's Festival in October. I got our school copy autographed, but I'm really thankful that there is a long list of students who want to read it.
    Aside from this, I too love Ling and Ting and Mr Putter and Tabby. I look forward to meeting both the Lola's.

  13. Okay so you do know that Elisabeth and I have a secret Mr. Putter and Tabby fan club right? Well, not really but we should! Look at how much love they are getting in the comments! Would you join? Oh how I love these books! And I MUST read The Nest. Kenneth Oppel is incredible.

  14. Lost in the Sun and The Nest are taunting me from my TBR pile, and the more I read about them, the more I NEED to read them.
    Cannot wait to see you soon!

    Happy reading this week :)

  15. I want to get Lola Levine. Thanks for the rec. The Nest sounds amazing, but I'm not sure I can do the creepy.