Monday, June 30, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.30.14

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.

We were on vacation last week in Colorado Springs.  What a beautiful location!  I brought lots of books with me but we ended up being busier than I thought we would.  Need to do some catch up reading during the month of July.  Not only will I be doing #bookaday but I also joined #summerthrowdown too to help encourage me to read read read!  If you haven't heard about #summerthrowdown, check HERE

We got home from vacation on Saturday so I had a little time (between loads of vacation laundry!) to read some picture books on Sunday!

Picture Books

A Piece of Cake
A Piece of Cake by LeUyen Pham
4/5 stars
This one really surprised me.  Mouse makes a cake for Little Bird's birthday and runs out of all ingredients to make more cake.  Along the way of delivering the cake to Little Bird, Mouse shares a little piece of it with other animals in exchange for something a little unexpected.  For example, when Mouse sees Cow, who has bottles and bottles of milk by her, instead of Cow giving Mouse a bottle of milk, she gives her a flyswatter!  Quite strange. On the way back to Mouse's house, Mouse and Little Bird encounter all of the animals again, but this time they each have a problem.  Little Bird helps solve the problem with all of the things Mouse has collected, but not with the item you think she would use.  This book would be terrific to use to teach problem/solution.  You could also discuss how not all solutions have to be ones you typically think of - think out of the box!  

Urgency Emergency! Itsy Bitsy Spider
Urgency Emergency!  Itsy Bitsy Spider by Dosh Archer
4/5 stars I'm grateful for the Cybil Awards for introducing me to this series.  Very cute take on different nursery rhyme/fairy tale characters.  Young readers will really enjoy the silly jokes in this fun series.

The Crocodile Who Didn't like Water
The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water by Gemma Merino
3/5 stars
Made me laugh!  Who ever heard of a crocodile who didn't like water?  There may be a reason for that...

The Numberlys
The Numberlys by William Joyce
4/5 stars
I liked this one more than I thought!  Fantastic illustrations, starting in sepia, but moving to colored.  You also have to hold the book on its side - reminded me of Parrots Over Puerto Rico.  First page reads, "Once upon a time there was no alphabet.  Only numbers."  I immediately said noooooooooo! (I'm not a numbers person).  This book teaches kids to try new things, think differently.  What else can you come up with?

Graphic Novel

Babymouse: The Musical (Babymouse, #10)
Babymouse the Musical by Jennifer and Matthew Holm
5/5 stars
LOVED the musical references - made me want to sing!  Favorite Babymouse so far!

Middle Grade

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
4/5 stars
This book took me awhile to get into.  I was relatively fresh off Absolutely Almost which just took my breath away.  I think it would be hard to start any book after that one!  But I eventually got into Sage's story and rooted for him until I wanted to reach into the book and pluck him and Imogen out to help them!  I loved the twist - it's one I thought in my head, "that would be cool if that happened", but not really thinking much more than that.  I look forward to reading the next 2 in the trilogy.  One of my goals this summer is to read some series that I've missed and this is a great one to start!  This was also one of my #mustreadin2014 books!

Read with my ears

The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1)
The Land of Stories:  The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
4/5 stars
I adored this book when I read it the first time in 2012.  I remember that there were some specific reasons that I was not going to recommend it for my school, but other than the book containing the word "bastardization", I couldn't remember why I didn't think it was ok for 4th grade (our highest grade level).  We listened to this in the car on our road trip, and there were a couple of times that I cringed that my 8yo was listening to it.  There were a couple of other words, just words not appropriate for younger readers, that were rather unnecessary for the story.  I think that Colfer is a terrific actor and singer, and now we know he can craft a beautifully written story, but I wish someone had helped him change a few things that were a little too adult-like.  I still really enjoyed listening to the story - so many fairy tale characters and I loved how the story came together in the end.  I'm thrilled this story continues.  I'm also excited because for the third installment, my daughter and I are going to meet Chris Colfer and have our book signed by him!  

A Corner of the Universe
A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin
4/5 stars
One of my goals this summer is to read some Newbery and Honor books.  This was my first!  Beautiful story, but sad.  I wasn't prepared for it, nor was I prepared for some of the mature content - the characters walk in on 2 adult characters in a romantic situation and there is a suicide.  My 8yo was also listening to this one with me... I'm hoping some of it went over her head - I like keeping her innocence for a little longer!  I would recommend this book for an older audience, 5th gr and above.  I can see why it won the Newbery Honor, it was beautifully written and had so many layers to peel away, between the story and the characters.  Much to discuss!

Book for me

The Matchmaker
The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand
2/5 stars
Summer reading is synomynous with reading Elin Hilderbrand books.  I enjoy the Nantucket setting in her books and all are quick reads for me.  This one dealt with illness and adultery. Not fun summer topics.  
I feel like there is a big difference between adult books dealing with death and illness and children's literature dealing with the same topic.  I feel like most children's books deal with those topics and reach your heart and make you think.  They are more poignant.  Adult books are just sad.  What do you think?

Currently Reading
I'm getting ready for nErDcampMI next week so I am reading a couple of books whose authors will be there:

How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied
How to Ourtun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied by Jess Keating 

This Journal Belongs to Ratchet
This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

after those I'll get back to:

The Enchantress Returns (The Land of Stories, #2)
The Land of Stories:  The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer

Busy busy :)


  1. Hopping over to say hello on my first time with this meme. I was tickled to find we both featured The Crocodile who didn't like water!

  2. Again I am seeing this cute little book "The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water" I think it is a sign that I must read it.

  3. Loved the Crocodile book, but sad that it's only available in paperback. Haven't read the Martin book in a long while, but she does have a new Doll People book out in October that might be better for your 8 year old!

  4. Michele, I am glad to see you liked The False Prince. It has been on my radar for awhile, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Thanks for your review! I hope you have a terrific reading week.

  5. I enjoyed The False Prince, though I haven't felt compelled to finish the series. I've avoided the Chris Colfer books because for some reason I just assumed they wouldn't be any good, but your review makes me want to try them--will be looking for the first one this week at the library. Thanks! I have been trying to complete the Nerdbery challenge, but I'm still 0/12 on my goal for this year. I am thinking of modifying it to include any Honor books as well. I am just having too much trouble making myself read some of the horrible winners from the 40s and 50s!! (Trying to read sort of in order). I don't think I've read the Ann Martin but seems like one I would enjoy so perhaps I can break my Newbery block after all!

  6. So many great titles here! We listened to The False Prince as an audio book and were quickly hooked! I read aloud the next two in the series to my children. Can't wait for more from this author! This reminds me that I own This Journal belongs to Ratchet and need to read it this summer!

  7. Hi Michele, the False Prince and Ratchet are big favorites of mine. A Piece of Cake looks really intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I think you and I have a lot of the same book tastes... Babymouse the Musical was my favorite Babymouse too. :)

  9. Hi there Michele, it's the first I'm hearing about Ann Martin's A Corner of the Universe - very interesting. One of my book club participants in GatheringReaders, a 10 year old girl, positively adores The Land of Stories. Glad to hear that it's to your liking too. :)