I needed to get caught up with my #bookaday count so got in a few picture books this week. I was really caught up in my reading of Deborah Wiles' Revolution. What a gorgeous book!
Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter
Another book illustrated by the talented Birgitta Sif. I love how she always knows what color palette to use with her illustrations that mesh with the text so well. Paired with the sweet story by Alicia Potter, this book will touch the hearts of many young readers. I love the gentle teaching style of Miss Hazeltine. Her soft touch and understanding of her houseguests' needs is just what these cats need in order to grow and learn.
Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage
Savage has an amazing talent of knowing just how to appeal to young readers. He creates books that will draw a very young reader in and be excited about books.
Kids will get a kick out of finding Walrus on each page as he eludes the zoo keeper!
To the Sea by Cale Atkinson
I had heard how wonderful this book is, and the reviewers did not lie! Such a sweet book about friendship. What does it mean to be a friend? I love the small acts of kindness between the two surprising friends and the feeling of hope at the end of the book.
I think this one would be a great companion story to Trudy Ludwig's The Invisible Boy.
I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann
I get where this story was going. Rose might not be the perfect student but she has talent. Can she be acknowledged for her talent?
What made me sad was the portrayal of the teacher. To see a teacher put out the flame in a child is sad. She has a reversal by the end of the story, but I was already turned off by her at that point.
The Whale in my Swimming Pool by Joyce Wan
Loved the easier text in this fun book that is perfect for summertime reading. The mom cracked me up - completely engaged in her book and not noticing the ginormous whale in the little backyard pool! The little boy in the story ends up making the best of the silly situation. The surprise at the end will make young readers laugh. The bright, bold illustrations are eye catching and fun. The end pages reminded me a bit of Elephant and Piggie, with a surprise from the front pages to the back.
Revolution by Deborah Wiles
5/5 stars ++++++
I read Countdown last week and went right into Revolution. Wow wow wow. I loved Countdown. The way Wiles was able to put historical fiction and primary sources together was just astounding. But the heart of the story in Revolution, was nothing short of amazing.
Wiles wrote a picture book story, Freedom Summer, that does a great job telling about a small moment in time during the political chaos of the 1964 Freedom Summer in Mississippi. That book also has a great Author's Note giving some more background. But Revolution is a brilliant mash-up of the political craziness of Freedom Summer and the Vietnam War. Although the core of the story is what was happening in Mississippi, you can't help but compare the political unrest that was happening in Vietnam with the political unrest between whites and blacks. What is the meaning of freedom? And how does a young girl, who is meant to believe in the adults that surround her - family, friends and community members - but in her heart know something is not right? How does a young child who is black, understand what is due to him by law, but cannot act because of the way the adults who have power have made it impossible to do so?
Franny's story is such a powerful one because it makes the reader ask, what is right? And even though you can understand what is right, what is morally correct, how come that can't happen? And then there is Franny's secondary story, wondering about her mom.
Raymond's story is equally powerful. His story is told through emotion and always trying to fight the hard feelings to become an equal. I love that Wiles told both sides of the story.
It's either the sign of great storytelling, or me just being completely oblivious, but I did not realize until the very end how Wiles brought Countdown and Revolution together. Not sure how I missed that, but there was an audible "ohhhhhhh" once I figured it out!
Revolution is the second book in a trilogy about the 60s. I cannot wait for the last one to come out. I'm very excited to find out what topic will be the center of the third book!
Tonight I'll be chatting about Revolution on Twitter with Aly, Carrie and Leigh Anne. Join us in our discussion! We start at 9pmEST using the hashtag #revolutionchat.
Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
I stuck with this book because off and on it was good. Overall, I did not care for it. I think there are certain young adult readers who will enjoy this story. I felt like it was completely predictable, the writing was easy and the characters were flat.
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Have you ever had that book that everyone else in the world has read but you? I'm sure all of you gasped when you saw I hadn't read this title yet, but I'm reading it now!
I'm continuing my month of June YA reading. Here's what will be up next:
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
What book are you looking forward to reading next?