Monday, October 8, 2012

Spook On!

Hosted by Jen & Kelle at Teach Mentor Texts

I wanted to write only about spooky titles this month.  I really wanted that.  But the truth is, I haven't been reading any spooky books lately.  Double darn.  So, to get around that I will add on some favorite spooktastic books at the end of the posts.

Here's what I've actually been reading this week:

Giant Squid by Mary Cerullo & Clyde F. E. Roper
Capstone Press, 2012
Nonfiction: General Information
48 pages
Recommended for grades 4-6 as an independent read

Awesome nonfiction text about the search for the giant squid, alive and in its natural habitat.  As a teacher with little squid hunters in my own classroom, this book is especially relevant and exciting to add to my classroom library.  The author is also from our good old home state.  I love the mixture of vintage feeling graphics alongside photographs of the biggest eyeball on Earth and the inside of a Sperm whale's belly.  Ok, I didn't actually "like" either of those pictures, but you catch my drift.



Hocus Pocus Hotel (Book 1) by Michael Dahl
Capstone Press, 2012
Mystery
204 pages
Recommended for grades 3-5

One of the things I love about Capstone books is that they publish fun to read texts that support striving readers.  This book has lots of white space on the pages, and every chapter or so has a full page color illustration.  And with over 200 pages, this book doesn't look like an "easy" read.  The Capstone titles I've added to my classroom have always been a hit.  It's not that they are the best written literature, but they certainly serve an important role in helping many students feel more and more like accomplished readers.


Escaping Titanic: A Young Girl's True Story of Survival by Marybeth Lorbiecki, illustrated by Kory S. Heizen
Picture Window Books (an imprint of Capstone), 2012
Historical Fiction
32 pages
Recommended for grades 3-5

I'm on the fence about this title.  Students with a lot of background on the subject of the Titanic will not find any new information here.  The illustrations look old fashioned, which I personally think are charming, though not moving.  One of the best features of the book is the true information about Ruth Becker.  To be honest, I would rather have read about her after the voyage.  We have many texts about the sinking, but not as many written for kids that tell about the people after the voyage. 

Water Sings Blue by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Meilo So
Chronicle Books, 2012
Poetry
32 pages
Recommended for grades 3-forever

Oh, the loveliness of this book is so powerful!  The watercolor illustrations are absolutely perfect, Coombs must feel so fortunate to have been paired with So.  The style and subject matter of the poems changes throughout, of course keeping an ocean theme.  These poems need to be shared!  It was impossible for me to read this book to myself.  I kept reading them out loud to the fiancé!  
If you have yet to come across this book, don't forget to read the back jacket flap.  I love what Meilo So wrote for her 'about the illustrator'.  I can certainly see doing this with students!

What Came from the Stars by the Amazing Gary D. Schmidt
Clarion Books, 2012
Science Fiction
304 pages
Recommended for grades 5 and up

I'm currently in the middle of this book.  I adore Schmidt's writing, and this is a big change from Lizzie Bright, Holling and Doug's stories  What isn't missing from this book are the emotions found in Schmidt's other works.  What's new is the far away planet where a terrible overthrowing is taking place.   When human Tommy Pepper finds himself in the possession of an item that is desperately needed by both sides of the fighting back on the home planet of the Velorim, he is targeting by the aliens.  Things are violent and frightening as the town of Plymouth is ravaged by nightly storms and home break-ins.  The creature wants to find what Tommy has.


Spook time:


Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky
HarperCollins, 2011
Fantasy
227 pages
Recommended for grades 4-6

This title is currently on the Maine Student Book Award list.  So Maine kids in grades 4-8 looking for a good October read should check this out!

Juniper Berry is the only child of two famous movie stars.  She lives in a mansion, and even though she is surrounded by people that work in her house, she is totally void of human companions.  Luckily she has her little dog, Kitty.  When Juniper watches her parents sneak out in the night towards the forest behind their home, she becomes curious as to where they are going.  Around this strange event Juniper has been noticing some odd changes in her parents.  They are involved with something not right.  Something not human, and Juniper will have to come very close to the source of the evil to find out what it is.  A good creepfest.





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