Monday, February 16, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 2.16.15

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.

This was one of those great weeks where I read a few books that just blew me away. Which  was very fortuitous since it was conference week and I really had to find time to read. 

Picture Books

Wolfie the Bunny
Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman
5/5 stars
I had heard so much buzz about this book.  I had read great reviews.  But nothing I had read made me jump up and want to read this book.
I was so wrong.
Like everyone before me, I ADORE this book.  For me, it was because of the main character, Dot.  Love her.  She is my new favorite character.
I love her spunk.  I love her attitude.  I love her perspective.  I love that she says what is on her mind.  I love her ability to love deeply.
I cannot wait to own this book and share it.  Over and over and over.

Yard Sale
Yard Sale by Eve Bunting
5/5 stars
In a tweet, I joked to Lauren Castillo, illustrator of this book, that I would be happy to send this book on a book journey.  I think it started because friends had gone to NerdCamp NNE and they had received it and I was quite jealous.  I love Lauren's work and couldn't wait to see this book myself.  Luckily, Lauren thought that was a great idea and got a copy sent to me.  I shared it with readers this week, who LOVED it, and now it's time to share with others.  I'm sending it out this week.  If you would like a chance to share it with readers (and add a note in the endpapers!) please visit here.
In typical Eve Bunting fashion, she tells a story that pulls at your heartstrings, but it's one that is important for kids to hear, whether because they are going through things themselves or they hear the story and can empathize with the characters.  But for me, it's Lauren's illustrations that truly characterize the story.

I Don't Want to Be a Frog
I Don't Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty
5/5 stars
I was holding off on this book until I got it from the library.
Read it.  Bought it.
Petty gets the needling little child frog right - the constant asking and asking and then quick changing its mind.  And the patient dad, just always explaining the ways of the world to his son.
This is going to be a really fun book to share with readers.

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret
Ballet Cat:  The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea
5/5 stars
Finally, a book that is actually comparable to Elephant and Piggie.  For so long E&P have dominated the early reader genre.  Ballet Cat is going to give them a run for their money! 
Ballet Cat and Sparkles are friends, but one is a bit more dominating than the other and has strong opinions.  Can the other stand up to the friend to say what they really want?  Cannot wait to own this book in May!

Smick! by Doreen Cronin
4/5 stars
I think this is going to be a fun book for early readers, and one I will add to my 2016 Mock Geisel list.

Middle Grade

The Spider Ring
The Spider Ring by Andrew Harwell
5/5 stars
I really enjoyed this book.  It had just the right amount of creepy for middle grade readers.
Maria inherits a spider ring from her recently deceased grandmother.  She quickly learns that she is able to control a certain type of spider (the brown recluse) with it.  The question for her is how much power is too much?  However, with a ring this powerful, there is always someone who is after it.  This time it's the Black Widow.
Fans of suspense and action novels will enjoy this debut from Harwell.
Some favorite lines:
pg. 92 "Rereading her favorite books always made her feel happy and safe, because she already knew what would happen in the end."
pg. 177 "But then, a real friend sometimes was the one who told you what you didn't want to hear but needed to."

Young Adult

Girls Like Us
Girls Like Us by Gail Giles
5/5 stars
Watching the ALA YMAwards this year was so fun because I had already read the majority of books.  Except for a select few.  This book was the one that won the Schneider Family Award in the young adult category.  After reading this book, I feel like the Schneider Family did a fantastic job selecting this book and getting it the publicity it needs.  Quincy's and Biddy's stories need to be told.
I am sure there are "Speddies" out there who have similar stories.  Stories about being taken advantage of, inhumane treatment, being misunderstood and stories about the human heart not being loved.
Giles did an amazing job with the voice and craft of this story.  The voices of Biddy and Quincy absolutely shine through.  But I thought the craft was just as amazing.  Giles takes her time letting us get to know the characters, let them into our heart.  Then *bam* the story takes off and because the reader is now invested, your heart and brain want to leap into the book and take care of everything.
So good.

Currently Reading

First Frost (Waverley Family #2)
First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
It's my first adult read of the year!  I really enjoy Allen's stories.  The magic that is inside each one makes you want to believe in the possibility of magic residing in your house.  This book is a follow up to her Garden Spells.  I read that one so many years ago, I really don't remember much, other than I enjoyed it!  I'm enjoying the characters all over again, even if I don't remember much from the first time!  If you're a fan of Snicker of Magic, then you would probably enjoy Allen's books.  Not quite as heart warming as Felicity, but good, adult fiction.

On Deck

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielson
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John
Mark of the Thief by Jennifer Nielson

Have a wonderful reading week!


  1. I read Smick this week too and I thought it was adorable. I love simple but fun stories like that. Girls Like Us is SO good.

  2. I haven't read Wolfie the Bunny yet either but I am in the same boat as you were. Nothing has made me jump out of my seat dying to read it yet. I do have it on hold at the library and will happily read it, but I'm not jumping out of my skin. Glad to know it meets the hype.

  3. Will have to look at The Spider Ring. Always need good creepy books. Controlling brown recluse spiders. Hmmmm. Use powers for good... Or for evil?

  4. As soon as I finish the final Jacky Faber book (sniff, sniff, so sad to be done) I am going to be listening to First Frost. I do love Sarah Addison Allen books on audio! I am going to check out Spider Ring for my nephew! ~Megan

  5. So many wonderful PBs here that I'm really looking forward to!

  6. This is the second rave review for Girls Like Us, so that one is on my to buy list for sure!

  7. Will need to find Girls Like Us (on my list for a while), but also Wolfie the Bunny & Yard Sale when it's out, Michele-both sound good.

  8. I want to read (and likely own) all of these picture books! Love the concept of Ame's new book and I can't wait to get my hands on Petty's title too. And Yard Sale, wow. Castillo and Eve Bunting. WOW!!!

  9. I want Smick and Yard Sale. I am trying to be patient. :-)

  10. ARG! I really want to read Girls Like Us, and your review made me want to read it more. I suspect I will be requesting it from the library because I don't think I received it. You read a lot of great books this week! Lots of 5-star reviews! My TBR list grows fast when I visit your site. Slow down, sister!

  11. Loved chatting about Girls Like Us tonight!
    Also, wasn't Ballet Cat phenomenal! Elephant & Piggie fans are going to love it.
    Thank you for telling me how wonderful Wolfie is. I will have to get it :)

    Happy reading this week! :)

  12. SOOOO many great titles on your list this week! I read the Nerdy post a few days ago about Wolfie - and it looks amazing! Yard Sale is new to me - but love anything Eve Bunting writes! Smick too... ahhhhh... my TBR pile is tipping! Thanks, Michelle!

  13. I just want to go right out and purchase all of these books. I adore Eve Bunting! I also love love love Sarah Addison Allen. She got me hooked on magical realism. I can't wait for this one.

  14. Eve Bunting is such a treasure and so prolific - I want to read and study all her picturebooks. This is the second time I'm reading about Girls Like Us - I shall definitely hunt that book down soonest.

  15. Thanks for all the great recommendations! I can't wait to get hold of them all!