It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5-1-17

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers. Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews and recommendations!

Whoa, it's May.

This week I'm sharing two books that are entirely and hilariously different!

Books I Read this Week:

Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld, 
illustrated by Alex Puvilland, colors by Hilary Sycamore
First Second, 2017
Science Fiction/Graphic Novel
215 pages
Recommended for grades 8+

What I want to say is that I read this book in 5 minutes. But that would #1: be ridiculously unfair to only spend 5 minutes with the work of these talented three creators, and #2: be a total lie. It only felt like I spent 5 minutes with this book. What happens is this: you look at the edgy cover, read the back of the book and the jacket flap, you get a feel for this story, and then dive right in. And then a few pages in you see your first meat puppet, you read that right, and then your eyes get wide and you can't. stop. reading.
You may or may not talk in your sleep that night after reading this book in bed. (I did, but I cannot guarantee this side-effect.)

Here's the low-down: There has been a spill someplace in upstate New York which has left an area dubbed the Spill Zone. Addison is a teen that rides her dirt bike into the Spill Zone to snap pictures of what it looks like inside the zone. It is illegal and incredibly dangerous. It's also personal. Addison's parents were in the zone when the spill happened. Her sister barely escaped, but the how is shrouded in mystery, and it left her speechless and withdrawn. The money Addison makes selling her photographs to collectors is used to keep her and her sister cared for. 
Also, her sister has a possessed rag doll, so there's that as well.

Certainly for the upper-end of middle school and beyond, mainly due to language. There's something about seeing swears in print that is so much harsher than hearing them in a movie or a song. They don't disappear, they are there in black, to read as many times as you want. Or don't want. Just my thoughts.

The book leaves off telling you there is more to come, thank goodness.

Hubble Bubble: The Great Granny Cake Contest by Tracey Corderoy, 
illustrated by Joe Berger
Nosy Crow, 2017 (first US edition)
128 pages
Recommended for grades 2-4

There are three short stories within this book. Each story follows a young witch named Pandora, as she takes on a small challenge. By Pandora's side is her unruly and excitable granny, who often uses a bit too much magic to solve her problems....thus creating more problems!

Young readers will enjoy this light story. These books were previously published in England (I believe) and there are more to come!

Interior shot:

I'm Currently Reading:

I'm Currently Reading Aloud in 4th grade:

Before reading we discussed the different covers. My hardcover is the top shown, paperbacks are the bottom image. Which do you think 4th graders were more drawn to?
My thoughts, the two covers combined give a better feel for the story than either one alone does.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Nicole, I loved your post (and the look of your blog)! I especially like the work with two covers of Elijah of Buxton. Great idea! Also, I have to read Orphan Island.

    1. Thank you so much! I love the feedback on the look of the blog :) Orphan Island is amazing so far!!

  2. Spill Zone definitely sounds like a gripping read that will pull readers in!

    I've never seen that first cover of Elijah of Buxton, I find it so interesting to see different covers, and the different feelings they seem to convey.

    1. Cover art is so intriguing to me. Sometimes a cover sucks you in, and other times I hang my head in disbelief at how much the mark was missed!

  3. I really really want to read Spill Zone after reading this post about it!
    Hubble Bubble: The Great Granny Cake Contest looks like a lot of fun. I'll be keeping my eyes open for it.

    1. Yes, Spill Zone is awesome. I kind of wish it were a full length novel though, there is certainly content to make it one!

  4. I love Christopher Paul Curtis! I'm hoping to still fit in a study of book covers with my students - it is so interesting to see the multiple ways books are interpreted through their covers.

    1. I totally agree, covers are worth talking about! (Before and after reading.)

  5. I didn't realize Scott Westerfeld had a new book out. I will have to check that out!

  6. I love everything you said about Spill Zone! I loved the story so much! I posted on Twitter asking why more people weren't hyping about it because it is so good--I'm glad you liked it as well and that you shared it :)
    Jealous about Orphan Island--I very much look forward to reading that one.
    Happy reading this week :)

  7. Hi there Nicole, there is definitely much love given to orphan island recently. Spill Zone also looks quite interesting - thanks for sharing such a detailed review! :)


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