Friday, April 28, 2017

Spotlight Friday - The Case of the Stinky Stench 4.28.17

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

The Case of the Stinky Stench (Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, #2)
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast 
The Case of the Stinky Stench
written by Josh Funk
illustrated by Brendan Kearney
published by Sterling Children's Books
May 2nd

In the fall of 2015, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast took the school by storm.  Meaning, it was always checked out.  Everyone knows the story.  The books are all well loved and perhaps a bit worn and tattered.  Multiple copies are needed.  

A year and a half has passed, but the demand for this book is still going strong.  And now we have... the sequel!  As evident by my hold list, I think the sequel is going to do quite well.

I can't imagine what it must be like to write a book, much less one that rhymes.  When a book is written in rhyme, there needs to be a certain cadence and pacing with words.  When that cadence is off, even a young reader can tell it's not quite right.  Josh's books all have a very natural flow to them, one word flowing into the other.  He always has just the right word, so the beat flows.  Not only is it in rhyme but he even throws some very clever play on words in there!

In Stinky Stench there is a mystery to be solved and we meet Inspector Croissant, who is actually Sir French Toast's nephew (means another character with a French accent for me....) who is on the case.  Just like in the first book, the characters travel across the fridge and come across all sorts of different food obstacles.  As in all mysteries, we gather clues along the way, but even I didn't see what was coming!  Mr. Funk has added in another twist that will surprise the savviest of readers.

When you get this book, read it quick.  Because you probably won't see it much once it gets in the hands of readers.

Enjoy the trailer as you wait for the book!

Looking for a copy to have in your library?  Enter the rafflecopter and cross your fingers!  Entries are limited to residents of the United States.  Entries will be accepted through Thursday, May 4th!  Good luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - a hybrid series 4.26.17

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

I really like hybrid books - fiction books that are infused with nonfiction facts.  While not true nonfiction - and be careful to not label them that in your library - it can be a way to get students who have a nonfiction aversion to dip their toes in.  I would recommend giving students background on these books.  Teach them how to read them.  Teach them how to figure out fact from fiction.  Teach them not to take everything as fact.  And expose them to other great nonfiction :)

This series is in the graphic novel section at my library, but I like how facts are added into the story.  I can see them being a hit with young readers.

Mad Scientist Academy:  The Dinosaur Disaster
Mad Scientist Academy: The Dinosaur Disaster
by Matthew McElligott
"Students" go to their new school - the Mad Scientist Academy - and end up having an unexpected real encounter with dinosaurs!  They have to use what they know about dinosaurs to stay safe.

Mad Scientist Academy by Matthew McElligott
Mad Scientist Academy: The Weather Disaster
by Matthew McElligott
Nothing like having a real world problem solving task in front of you - this time the kids need to control a weather machine using what they know and the weather instruments their teacher left them.  And they need to figure it out before the crazy weather they are experiencing - a snowstorm in one area and a tropical rainstorm in the other - collide!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - mysteries for young readers 4.25.17

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools 
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

As I was looking at some of my books the other day I realized I was beginning to get a collection of mysteries that would be great for readers who are looking for something a bit longer to read.

Some of the series here are perfect because the structure stays the same, they become familiar with characters, there aren't multiple story strands, it's just a new problem/solution the reader encounters.  

With a mix of human and animal characters, everyone will find a fun series to get lost in.

A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery: The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake       A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery: The Case of the Poached Egg
The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake
The Case of the Poached Egg
written by Robin Newman
illustrated by Deborah Zemke
Detectives Wilcox and Griswold are on the case for all missing food around this farm.  Filled with puns, this mystery series is sure to make readers laugh while they figure out the culprit.  

King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats       King & Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code
King and Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats
King and Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code
written by Dori Hillestad Butler
illustrated by Nancy Meyers
Young readers will love meeting King - he's a dog that loves hunting down clues to solve a mystery - unless a bit of food distracts him!

The Case of the Lost Boy (The Buddy Files, #1)       The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts (The Buddy Files, #2)
The Buddy Files series
written by Dori Hillestad Butler
illustrated by Jeremy Tugeau
Once readers are comfortable with the Kayla and King series, they'll be ready to meet Buddy.  He's actually King, but has a new owner and now a new name.  But he's the same distractible dog who loves solving mysteries.  This series is a bit longer than the other, but has lots of supports for readers.

The Case of the Missing Tiger's Eye (Rider Woofson)       Something Smells Fishy (Rider Woofson Book 2)
Rider Woofson series
written by Walker Styles
illustrated by Ben Whitehouse
The PI Pack is on the case - no mystery is too small for these pups!  I love the variety of mysteries in this series.

Inspector Flytrap       Inspector Flytrap in The President's Mane Is Missing
Inspector Flytrap series
written by Tom Angleberger
illustrated by Cece Bell
I love how each chapter is its own story - reminds me just a bit of the Encyclopedia Brown series!

Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery
Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery
written by Jill Diamond
illustrated by Lesley Vamos
This is the first book in the series and I'm anxiously waiting more!  This one is starting to cross into middle grade territory with its complexity, but will be great for older readers who still need a larger font, illustrations and clear characters, problems/solutions.  

What are your favorite mysteries?  Leave titles in the comments so we can all find new books to add to our collections!

Take a look at Alyson's post today.  She's featuring some new releases.

Have a post about readers on the #road2reading?  Link up below!

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.24.17

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

Teach 4th/5th grade and need titles for striving readers?  Take a look here.

A round up of newly published spring titles here!

I loved Lauren Wolk's upcoming book, Beyond the Bright Sea.  My review here.

Whether you are teaching conservation, being a change maker or science, you'll want one of these water books.

Picture Books

Big Cat, Little Cat
Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper
5/5 stars
I am not a cat person.  While I lie more on the dog side of the line, I have also never owned a dog.  My life cards have not fallen in a way that would allow it to work.
I tell you this because there aren't many cat stories that my heart melts for.  I think I found one.  Mostly because it didn't matter what Cooper decided to use for his main characters.  This book is going to be the perfect, just right for the moment book for many young readers. Losing a beloved pet, or any family member is hard and difficult to understand.  And while this book isn't going to solve their heartbreak, it is going to fill just a tiny hole.

Tidy by Emily Gravett
4/5 stars
What happens when a badger goes a little too far with tidying up the forest?  Environmental effects are quickly shown before our badger friend realizes he needs to solve his problem.
The fun in this book are in the little details in the illustrations.  

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt
5/5 stars
Everything you're hearing about this book is true.
It is laugh out loud hilarious.  Cannot wait to share this book, over and over and over.  
And like I said in my Goodreads review.  Glad I read it before putting it out for the kids to check out, because I'm never going to see this book until the last day of school.  There is going to be a long hold wait for this one!

Be Quiet!
Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins
5/5 stars
Oh gosh, another one that had me laughing out loud.  I'm so glad to have books like this one and ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS because they are going to get so many kids reading books.

I Don't Draw, I Color!
I Don't Draw, I Color! by Adam Lehrhaupt
4/5 stars
Add this to your growth mindset collection.  Would be good for the beginning of the school year to talk about strengths and how we express ourselves will look different from one another.

I Just Want to Say Good Night
I Just Want to Say Good Night by Rachel Isadora
4/5 stars
Reminds you that some things about childhood are universal.  No matter where you live, children resist bedtime!  Gorgeous illustrations.

My Kicks: A Sneaker Story!
My Kicks! by Susan Verde
4/5 stars
This book was a definite for my collection!  Love how the boy recalls everything that has happened to his sneakers - the good and the bad - and that they are hard to part with.  Until....  If you have not checked out the thread Scott Fillner (@sfillner) started about this book and his students writing odes to their kicks, it's one you need to go find!

Rolling Thunder
Rolling Thunder by Kate Messner
5/5 stars
The concept of Veterans Day/Memorial Day/Labor Day is hard for young students to grasp.  And while this book won't completely close the gap, it will give young readers an understanding that we remember people, they did something important for our country, and we respect them.  Messner does not shy away from content vocabulary so there is plenty of opportunities for discussion with readers.

Early Chapter Books

Agnes and Clarabelle       Agnes and Clarabelle Celebrate!
Agnes and Clarabelle and Agnes and Clarabella Celebrate! by Adele Griffin and Courtney Sheinmel
4/5 stars
I love this new series from the Read and Bloom series by Bloomsbury!
If your readers are looking for more Frog and Toad style books - this is where you'll want to send them!  Episodic stories, but the theme of friendship shines through in each chapter!

Graphic Novels

CatStronauts: Mission Moon
CatStronauts: Mission Moon by Drew Brockington
4/5 stars
I have no doubt you'll have readers for this series!  Pulling in some STEM and using humor, this book is about 4 cat astronauts who are headed to the moon to build a solar power plant to avoid Earth's energy crisis!  Looks like subsequent books will also be about space, so I'm happy to see this new setting in this graphic novel series.

CatStronauts: Race to Mars
CatStronauts: Race to Mars by Drew Brockington
4/5 stars
This time the crew is set fora mission to Mars, but there is a space race involved as three other cat space programs are all set on being the first to Mars!

Middle Grade

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire
Cilla Lee-Jenkins Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan
4/5 stars
Loved this early middle grade novel.  Perfect for 2nd-4th grade readers.  There is humor, real life experiences, and I know readers will love meeting Cilla.  Bought a copy for my classroom library and book talked it right away!

Counting Thyme
Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin
5/5 stars
A book that had gotten pushed off in my stacks, and I knew I wanted to get to it, so I made sure it ended up on my #mustreadin2017 list.  So glad I read it and got to know Thyme and Val.  Beautiful story and I'm glad it was told.  In Conklin's hands, it is deftly woven into a story that breaks your heart and mends it back together by the power of hope and family.

Currently Reading

The Shadow Cipher (York, #1)
York - The Shadow Cipher series
by Laura Ruby

Worst Fairy Godmother Ever! (the Wish List #1)
The Wish List:  The Worst Fairy Godmother Ever!
by Sarah Aronson

I have so many books checked out from the library and in my personal to be read stacks.  Have they figured out a way to not sleep yet?

Happy Reading!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Spotlight Friday - Spring Books Roundup! 4.21.17

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

Spring is definitely in the air in the midwest.  I live in the north suburbs of Chicago, closer to the Wisconsin border than to Chicago.  Close enough to the lakefront to feel the effects of the cool wind coming off the lake.  We've seen lots of wet, rainy days.  We've had warm days, and days that are reminiscent of a December morning - and with Chicago's infamous temperature drops, some of those temps have happened on the same day!  Yet, the grass is green.  There are buds on all of the trees.  My pear tree is in full bloom.  The petals on the magnolia tree are starting to open.  I see tulips and daffodils growing and growing.  Yes, spring is here.  Here's a roundup of newly published spring books that would be perfect to use right now!

Hello Spring!
Hello Spring! 
by Shelley Rotner
published by Holiday House
A lyrical ode to spring, Rotner's beautiful words and gorgeous photographs highlights the changes that happen in spring out in nature.

Wake Up!
Wake Up!
by Helen Frost
photographs by Rick Lieder
I love the books this pair has put out - the simple poetry that packs a punch by Helen Frost and the close glimpses of nature by Rick Lieder are books that always warrant multiple reads.  Spotlighting the young animals, insects, birds that often make springtime appearances makes this book a perfect one to add to your spring roundup!

by Sam Usher
Something that is not missing in this midwest Spring is rain!  It's funny how adults look at things one way, yet kids think another way.  Such is the young boy in this book - the abundant rain is an excuse to go on a journey, have adventures, and find fun!  Might be a fun read on a rainy day!

Fantastic Flowers
Fantastic Flowers
by Susan Stockdale
Have you ever played the game of lying on your back, looking at the clouds, and deciding what they look like?  This book is like the same thing except its flowers - these flowers look like dancing ballerinas, parrots, and baboons!  I love that the author included photographs of the actual flower in the back.

Pedal Power: How One Community Became the Bicycle Capital of the World
Pedal Power
by Allan Drummond
April seems to be a month where we try to become more conscientious of protecting Mother Earth.  If you're doing anything with conservation, awareness, being a change maker, you'll probably want to include many of Allan Drummond's books.  His newest book takes on using bikes as a form of transportation.  

Muddymania! by Chris  Barton
Mighty Truck: Muddymania! 
written by Chris Barton
illustrated by Troy Cummings
Rarely does a spring go by that doesn't see its fair share of mud!  Celebrate that mud with the next "Mighty Truck" book!  Mighty Truck is back and this time everyone is getting dirty.

Do you have a new, favorite spring book?  How about one of your favorites?  List titles in the comments and share!  Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Beyond the Bright Sea - a review 4.20.17

Beyond the Bright Sea
Beyond the Bright Sea
by Lauren Wolk
published by Dutton Children's Books
May 2nd, 2017

Goodreads summary:
From the author of the critically acclaimed Wolf Hollow comes a moving story of identity and belonging.

Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift on a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow's only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.

Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn't until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.

Vivid and heart wrenching, Lauren Wolk's Beyond the Bright Seais a gorgeously crafted and tensely paced tale that explores questions of identity, belonging, and the true meaning of family.

My quick thoughts:
How do you follow up Wolf Hollow?  That book packed such an emotional punch.  I was so wrapped up in the many sides of that book, and it brought up such strong feelings for {or against} the characters.

Beyond the Bright Sea started slower for me, but one thing was evident right away, the writing was beautiful.  Lauren has this way of wrapping words so they swirl like a fine glass of wine, around in your mind.  Although it started slowly, the development of characters was just right, so by the time the action starts rising, you know these characters - or in one case - have enough questions of others that it all makes sense.  

I felt that Bright Sea had a strong theme, one that readers will be able to have a variety of connections to - what makes a family?  How do I fit in?  What is my place?  What is treasure?  It will be an interesting topic to explore in conversations.

A connection between the two books lays in the main characters - both Crow and Annabelle see past the outside of a person.  Both characters are wise beyond their years and I admired how both see qualities in people that others miss.

I think this book will find an audience in 5th-7th grade classrooms.  Another historical fiction novel, this book takes place in the 1920s and is close to an island that had been used to house people with leprosy until their deaths.  Many young readers will need some background about this illness and how it was treated in the United States to fully understand some of the references.  There are enough clues for savvy young readers will be able to make inferences to what leprosy could be and why people inflicted with it would be condemned to an island.

Lauren has written another beautiful novel and I look forward to sharing it with readers on May 2nd!

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Water ideas 4.19.17

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water Around the Earth
Rivers of Sunlight -
How the Sun Moves Water Around the Earth
written by Molly Bang
illustrated by Penny Chisholm
published by The Blue Sky Press

I recently read Molly Bang's recent book in her Sunlight Series, Rivers of Sunlight.  This book focuses on how the sun moves the water on Earth through stages of the water cycle and goes into other weather patterns.

Here's the Goodreads summary:
In this brightly illustrated narrative, readers will learn about the constant movement of water as it flows around the Earth and the sun's important role as water changes between liquid, vapor, and ice. From sea to sky, the sun both heats and cools water, ensuring that life can exist on Earth. How does the sun keep ocean currents moving, and lift fresh water from the seas? And what can we do to conserve one of our planet's most precious resources?

Thinking about water and what an important resource it is, made me think about these books - a mix of fiction and nonfiction.

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle
Water is Water
by Miranda Paul

Raindrops Roll
Raindrops Roll
by April Pulley Sayre

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth
One Well: The Story of Water on Earth
by Rochelle Strauss

The Water Princess
The Water Princess
by Susan Verde

A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World
A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water Across the World
by Christine Jeronimo

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story
A Long Walk to Water
by Linda Sue Park

What books would you add to this list?