Monday, April 11, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.11.16

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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

Once Was a Time is a book that snuck up on my heart.  Here is my review.

Are you celebrating Earth Day?  Here are some books!

Have you seen the books coming out this month?  Check here if you want to deplete your bank account!  Or put them all on hold at your library!

April is National Poetry Month.  Here are some great new poetry books for your collection.

I made a #mustreadin2016 list this January.  Here is my April update!

Picture Books

Hello, My Name Is Octicorn
Hello, My Name is Octicorn by Kevin Diller
3/5 stars
I think this book has a great idea - I love that it's about being different and that's ok.  Instead of picking something realistic, Diller made the character a unicorn/octopus mix.  By making it something imaginary, it can be transferred to anything.  I like how there were a lot of layouts that concentrated on the great things about being different.  There was some humor of it that worked better than other.  My favorite was the end - I'm not going to give it away, but it was funny!

Horrible Bear!
Horrible Bear by Ame Dyckman
5/5 stars
The duo of Ame Dyckman and Zachariah Ohora is a combination that equals great picture book!  I enjoyed reading this out loud - expression is a must!  But my favorite is seeing the special cameos.

The Bear and the Piano
The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
5/5 stars
This book is just gorgeous.  Alas, the author/illustrator lives in the U.K., which means it's not eligible for the Caldecott Award.  Luckily for us, we share books that have beautiful stories and illustrations all the time, and this is one you'll want to share!  This book would go really well with theme, too!

The Night Gardener
The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers
5/5 stars
And you can add this one to theme, too!  I flipped through this book quickly when I was at Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast, but never had a chance to sit down and read it thoroughly.  The time arrived.  And it is beautiful.

Beyond the Pond
Beyond the Pond by Joseph Kuefler
5/5 stars
This is a book I read last summer and loved it and fell in love with it all over again after reading it a second time.  I love it for growth mindset and, of course, theme.  This is a book I would use at the beginning of the year and talk about exploring the unknown, trying new things, not knowing what to expect.

Teeny Tiny Toady
teeny tiny toady by Jill Esbaum
3/5 stars
Esbuam has been a go-to author whose books I use for theme.  Her Elwood Bigfoot was a perfect one, and now this one.  Lots of universal themes to discuss in this book!

I Want a Monster!
I Want a Monster! by Elise Gravel
4/5 stars
I'm a huge fan of Gravel's Disgusting Creatures/Critters series, and it's fun to see her turn her attention to fiction picture books.  Kids will enjoy the universal idea of wanting a pet.  This time, it just happens to be a monster!

Bear's Big Breakfast
Bear's Big Breakfast by Lynn Rowe Reed
3/5 stars
Another cute bear book.  In this one, Bear is looking for some food.  He can't remember what it's called, but it starts with a B...  I guess I didn't realize how many animals start with a B!

Informational Texts

How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?: The Story of Food
How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? the Story of Food by Chris Butterworth
4/5 stars
Taking a look at how some of your food got into your lunchbox!  Each page looks at one part of a typical school lunch and sequences how it got to your lunchbox.  Great mentor text for using sequencing for the text structure.  I also really liked the author's choice of words and phrases, "crusty on the outside and soft in the middle", "tingly on your tongue" and a great opening line, "One of the best parts of the day is when you lift the lid of your lunchbox to see what's inside." (so true)  Great end pages that visually show you how much of each food group to eat and why it's important to eat foods from that group.

Middle Grade

The Wild Robot
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
5/5 stars
Fantastic story.  I have a post coming out this Thursday about this book.  Mark it down to use as a future read aloud!

Currently Reading

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
It took me a bit to get into it, but I'm really enjoying it now!

I have a lot of books on deck.  Actually, I always do.  So much to read.  Are you adding to my TBR list this week?


  1. The Wild Robot has shown up in many places. It's been added to my TBR pile. Horrible Bear will also be added to my collection. Thanks for sharing!

  2. A new book by Ame Dyckman is a must for me. I loved Cinder and am glad you are getting into it. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  3. Great books, Michele. I'm waiting for The Night Gardener from the library. Will look for Horrible Bear, looks cute. The Bear and the Piano looks as if it will be a treasure!

  4. I loved Octicorn when it was just Portland's secret when it was just self-published. I'm happy for their success!

  5. I also really loved Once Was a Time. Delighted when suddenly it jumped to (fictionalized) Wisconsin, whoo!

  6. Beyond the Pond is one we definitely have to get. We are hoping to read The Wild Robot over vacation. Thanks for all of the recommendations

  7. So many great books! I will definitely look for The Wild Robot. The Night Gardener just has such a beautiful cover. I am sure the rest of the book is gorgeously illustrated. I will also have to look for Beyond the Pond. Have a great reading week!

  8. The Night Gardener is a beautiful book! I definitely want to get a copy for my classroom library. I've ordered Horrible Bear from my public library and it's ready for me to pick up tomorrow! Yay! I've ordered several of the other books on your list. So many good books to read, I just wish I had more time. Only 37 more days of school and then I'll have the summer to read! Have a great week!

  9. I will be featuring The Bear and the Piano very soon too. I thought it was a gorgeous book. Hoping to find The Night Gardener from our library this weekend.

  10. I picked up Horrible Bear at the book store, but then put it down. Sounds like a good one. I've just gotten Night Gardener in mail. The pictures look beautiful.

  11. You had me wanting to read Once Was A Time after I read that it snuck up on your heart. Then I read your review and it cemented my need for it. I love the cover of The Night Gardener, but the title reminds me of Jonathan Auxier's book with the same name. It's a strange juxtapositioning of beauty and terror.

  12. My goodness, I've been seeing The Night Gardener on a few blogs this week, obviously great minds think alike!

  13. I just got Horrible Bear and The Bear and the Piano from the library last week but haven't read them yet. I'm a little surprised I haven't picked them up yet because I've been really looking forward to reading both of them.

  14. Henry is obsessed with teeny tiny toady. We read it together at least once a day. It's grown to be an all-star book in my world because it makes me smile!

  15. You have read some wonderful books this week! I am so excited for Horrible Bear, loved The Night Gardener and am looking forward to The Wild Robot.

  16. Horrible Bear is a title that I can't wait to read. Now on the lookout for The Bear and the Piano. I loved The Nigh Gardener. So very beautiful.

  17. It took me a while to get into Cinder too but once I did, I loved it.

  18. You know how much I love reading your blog for good picture books! Thank you for always sharing the best!
    I can't wait for Earth Day! Reading The Lorax with my students is one of my favorites.