Monday, October 22, 2012

Creep, creep. What a great word!

I said spooky, but will Creeepy work?  It will.

Hosted by Jen & Kelle at Teach Mentor Texts.

This week I read:

The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech
Joanna Cotler Books, 2012
Fantasy?  Realistic Fiction?
226 pages
Recommended for grades 5-7

If you've read this, let me know, do you think this is a fantasy book?  As in, is you-know-who a you-know-what?  Or not?  Fantasy or not though, this book is beautifully written.  I have a serious complaint though.  Too short.  I wanted more time with these characters.  The language and feel of this book take you away from where you are sitting as you turn the pages.  So vivid are these characters that you instantly connect to them.  I love the mysterious going ons across the ocean that the reader peeks in on from time to time.  When watching Poirot was mentioned I smiled to myself.  My father loves Poirot.

Back to back I read the following books:

The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins
Houghton Mifflin, 2012
Nonfiction, general information
33 pages
Recommended for grades 2-5

What do I love about this beetley book:
The awesome illustrations.  Enlarged color drawings with life size black silhouettes accompanying.   
Lots of white space make this book easy to navigate. 
Text looks handwritten-I just like that sort of thing.
The information within the book ranges from habits of the beetle to parts of a beetle to how the beetle survives.  
Lastly, I love how excited my students were today to get their hands on this book.

Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders by Jim Arnosky
Sterling Children's Books, 2012
Nonfiction, general information
40 pages
Recommended for grades 3-5

First of all, Arnosky is a brilliant artist.  His love of nature and his curious nature makes him a writer that kids can connect to.  This book begins by telling the reader why and how this book came about.  Don't you love when authors include you in their writing?  Really make you a part of it?  Yeah, kids do too.  So this book was sparked by a furry little yellow, black and white caterpillar.  Thanks caterpillar, without you this book wouldn't be here.  
Readers can either choose which groupings of insects to read about via the table of contents, or they can read start to beautiful finish.   As I was sharing this book with the class we talked about how to read a book with massive fold out pages like the ones found in this book.  We also talked about the similarities found in this book and The Beetle Book, lots of similar information, plus the life size silhouettes.  Then I pointed out what Arnosky does that not every nonfiction author conveys.  Arnosky shows us his love of words and language.  He knows the power in more than just facts, the power that lies in the way we craft our message.  
"Insects and spiders enliven the motionless ground and vibrate invisible air, filling the world with movement and sound."

He leaves us with the wisdom to "be mindful of the small."


But what on earth to read now?  Well, this one might be surprising.  I am reading, and LOVING:

ParaNorman by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
256 pages
Fantasy
Recommended for grades 4+

I thought this would be a bit...umm...how to say...not so good.  I mean come on, there is an animated movie out at the same time the book is out, how am I to know this isn't just more money to be made in the same story, different format.  WRONG-O!  This book is a hoot!  Poor Norman, he is bullied by meatheads and is pestered by the dead at every turn.  When Norman's great-uncle decides to rest in peace a bit too soon, Norman is charged with protecting the town from the risen dead before...before what?!  I don't know!  I have to keep reading!

Cheers, Nicole






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