Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3.17.14

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.

It's the St. Patrick Version!
The countdown to Spring Break is on!  Can't wait for some more reading time.  I had a good week even with lots of work time!

Picture Books

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
The Adventures of Beekle:  The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
5/5 stars
I received an early copy of this book from John Schumacher, after winning it in a giveaway on his blog.  This book is AMAZING!  I am such a huge fan of Dan Santat's illustrations, but he is a fantastic storyteller as well!  Beekle is going to go straight into your heart and stay there!  The illustrations are out of this world good - it's a feast on the eyes!  Wait until you see the gorgeous sea dragon!  The story of Beekle, who just wants to have a friend, will resonate with everyone.  I loved seeing Beekle go after his dream because he wanted it bad enough.  I can't wait to see kids have conversations about this book!  I will be sharing it with several classrooms at school and then it is going into my school library.  After all, Mr. Schu asked us to pay it forward, what better way then to share this gorgeous book with a school?

Urgency Emergency! Big Bad Wolf
Urgency Emergency:  The Big Bad Wolf by Dosh Archer
4/5 stars
Cute version of Little Red Riding Hood.  Kids are going to be laughing out loud when they see Granny down the Wolf's throat!  Pair it with Chris Duffy's Fairy Tale Comics, the "Little Red Riding Hood" version.

Chapter Books for 2nd/3rd graders

Penguin Problems (The Life of Ty, #1)
The Life of Ty:  Penguin Problems by Lauren Myracle
3/5 stars
Good beginning chapter book.  Ty has no-longer-the-baby syndrome.  He's craving a little bit of momma's attention.  But it's probably not a good idea to wander away from the group when on a school field trip or worse yet, steal a penguin from the aquarium!

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie (Eleanor, #1)
Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg
4/5 stars
My Goodreads review:  Julie Sternberg has started a great series for early chapter book readers. Second graders and third graders will enjoy this series, as well as be introduced to reading in verse.
Eleanor is a spunky kid who youngsters will relate to because of her adventures and challenges. 
You have to enjoy a character who says things are "as bad as the black parts of a banana." I get that. I also appreciated when she said, "I closed by eyes and decided to move to Florida." I'm with you...
Young kids will appreciate the illustrations of Matthew Cordell - they add to the story without it taking over. Just what those young chapter book readers want.
Graphic Novels:

Super Amoeba (Squish, #1)
Squish #1 by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
3/5 stars
The creators of Babymouse are behind the Squish series.  I can see boys really enjoying this series.  Some of the science brought me back to some old school days... Lots of sarcasm in this book.

Middle Grade:

Handbook for Dragon Slayers
Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell
3/5 stars
I read this one with my daughter for our book club.  I was interested in seeing her thoughts in this book, since like the heroine, my daughter also has a foot (and leg) disability.  Her final reaction was she (my daughter) thought the main character, Tilda, learned a great lesson that she could do anything she wanted if she put her mind to it.  That lead to a great discussion :)  She also related the book to the movie "Frozen", she said they were the same because it wasn't the boy and "true love's kiss" that solved the problem, it was the love between family, or in this case, almost-family, that won!

Seven Stories Up
Seven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder
4/5 stars
My Goodreads review:  I loved this book. I loved the thought of being able to change something in history that leads to a positive change in the future. It's a great concept and one I'm glad Laurel Snyder explored. 
I remember reading when the book came out a post on Nerdy Book Club that the author had written giving some backstory to this novel. It was interesting to hold that in my head while reading.
I loved her notes at the end of the book. She challenges readers to think of a question about their own past or something that hold their interest, their passion, and to go find out more information about it. Wow, she just explained Genius Hour!
I have two big huge problems, and this is what lead me to rate the book from 5 stars to 4. 1. I didn't like that she used the word "sucks" several times in the story. I don't like when young students use that word and I make them change their choice in words. I don't allow my child to say that word. I really really wish she had not included it. I think another word would have worked just as well - it wasn't the word that described what was going on in the scene, so another one could have been used. 2. She outs the Tooth Fairy - Annie complains that her mom is the worst tooth fairy! I was planning on handing this book off to my 3rd grader. Never mind. Not sure when I'll give this book to her now! I was planning on book talking this book with the 4th graders but now I won't. I don't want to be held responsible for any un-believing! Ugh! Bummer!!!
Amazing book. Just want to change those two things!
Adult Books:
I read my first real adult book this week!

Lost Lake
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
4/5 stars

Currently (and Still) Reading:

Unforeseen - A Kingdom Keeper's Novella
Kingdom Keepers:  Unforseen, a novella by Ridley Pearson
This novella gives us more information about Jess and Amanda, the fairlies that help out in the Kingdom Keeper series.

Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Unstoppable by Tim Green
I know, I've been reading this one for awhile.  So many library books have come in in the meantime, so some of the books I own (this one and the one below) have been put on the hold shelf.

Ava and Pip
Ava and Pip by Carol Weston


  1. I liked The Handbook for Dragonslayers more than I thought I would. You have a good week of reading!

  2. Dying to read Ava and Pip... hope you enjoy it. I didn't even notice the two frustrations you pointed out with Seven Stories Up- very thoughtful to be careful... but I hold no reservations about handing it out still to my 4th/5th graders. Can't wait to read The Adventures of Beeckle, huge fan...

    1. Beekle is WONDERFUL! Can't say enough about Dan Santat!

  3. I have to remind myself to take breaks from YA and read some adult books every now and then! Sarah Addison Allen is a favorite. I hope you enjoyed it! Have a great week ~Megan

    1. I really enjoy Sarah Addison Allen! This one was even better than her last one!

  4. I still have a few chapters to go in Seven Stories Up before tonight's chat. I didn't get to the Tooth Fairy part yet. Hmm, I agree with you about that. I believe in keeping hope alive and not casting doubts. A few years ago, I saw a giant Easter bunny walking down my street early on Easter Sunday morning. My heart jumped with excitement. What a thrill and here I was all grown up.

  5. I saw a comment today on Twitter about the tooth fairy. That just slipped by me too! I also teach 4th grade and that is such a fine line at that age. Santa is a big issue too - we avoid that all costs! I still think I will put it in my library though....maybe just monitor the reader!

    1. I enjoyed chatting with you tonight about the book! I hope she does take it out of the paperback version!

  6. What great titles this week. Beekle looks just fantastic. I still have to read these titles by Julie Sternberg. I haven't read any yet I feel my students would love. So . . . must remedy that.

    1. I think 2nd and 3rd graders will love the Sternberg series! I already recommended them to a few today. And Beekle is amazing. I've read it several times already. It's at school to be shared with many classes soon!

  7. My students love Babymouse. Going to have to check out Squish.
    Mrs. Brown Loves Bookworms

    1. I think where Babymouse speaks to girls, Squish is for the boys!

  8. I've heard lots of good things about Urgency Emergency! and am looking forward to reading Seven Stories Up. Most of the other titles you've shared are new to me, but will now be on the lookout for them.

    1. I always love getting new titles! Find Beekle as soon as it comes out, it's my new favorite!

  9. Hi there Michele, the Beekle picturebook by Dan Santat caught my eye. I should definitely find that one in the lirbary next I visit. Looks like Seven Stories Up is receiving quite a bit of love recently, and I am most definitely intrigued. Thanks for sharing so many interesting titles this week.