Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Review of Wonton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw

Wonton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku
by Lee Wardlaw
Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
Published March, 2015  
Henry Holt and Co. 
Fiction Picture Book
40 pages
Review copy provided by Blueslip Media

Summary
We first met and fell in love with Won-Ton the cat in Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku where he was adopted from an animal shelter. In this book, Wonton laments the arrival of a new puppy. The puppy comes with new toys, eats Won-ton's food and worst of all, takes the attention of his boy. Won-ton tries to teach the puppy the rules of the house without much luck and usually ends up being put outside for his efforts. Will Won-ton have a change of heart and accept this new member of the family?

My Thoughts
Lee Wardlaw is a master at telling stories in seamless haiku. I am not an animal owner, but one can easily imagine this rivalry through her description. She also does not shy away from using rich vocabulary throughout the book as seen in this haiku. 


Picket fence lament:
Woe is meeee-ow! The crowd howls,
Cue for an encore

What a great way to introduce children to wonderful new words! Illustrator Eugene Yelchin fills each page with color and soft background details while keeping the focus on our two main characters.  

Won-ton and Chopstick lends itself to discussions about conflict resolution, jealousy, and dealing with changes with young children. I can imagine the stories many students will want to tell about their own pets' behaviors. It would also be a fantastic way to show haiku used not just in isolation, but to tell a story. Perhaps the students will want to try telling their own stories in haiku. I would recommend Won-ton and Chopstick to children in grades 1-5. 

See what others have to say about Won-ton and Chopstick


Monday, June 29, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? June 29, 2015

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Click on the book covers to read more about them.

I discussed this book last week on 

I fun little book about space (and siblings). Review soon. 

Finished Listening
What at first seems like a book of historical fiction 
with flashbacks and flash forwards takes an unexpected twist. Grades 4-6.

Currently (still) Reading

Currently Listening
Right now this one is a bit slow for me, but I 
am sticking with it since many friends have enjoyed it. 

Coming Up???
Maybe one of these...
   
Not sure quite yet. 

What Are You Reading Friends?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-For The Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai's Story


My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website.

For The Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai's Story
by Rebecca Langston George
Illustrated by Janna Bock
Available September 2015
Capstone Press
Nonfiction Picture Book
42 pages
Digital Review copy obtained by Netgalley




Goodreads Summary
She grew up in a world where women were supposed to be quiet. But Malala Yousafzai refused to be silent. She defied the Taliban's rules, spoke out for education for every girl, and was almost killed for her beliefs. This powerful true story of how one brave girl named Malala changed the world proves that one person really can make a difference.

My Thoughts
Many people are familiar with Malala's story. This book provides information about her story for younger readers in a matter of fact and informative way. The book opens with Malala receiving her Nobel Peace Prize and then flashes back to her early educational experiences. I love how the importance of education and the determination of Malala and her friends to receive an education is at the forefront of this story. The author scaffolds the information in bite-sized pieces that make it easier to understand. Original quotes are woven into the narration and add to the authenticity of the story. The illustrations really bring the story to life and have a soft Disney-like feel to them. I loved the muted earth tones of the desert scenes. Children in America often take their freedoms for granted because they are unaware of the struggles of people in other countries. Of course her shooting and the Taliban is discussed so you will need to be prepared to talk about it. I will definitely be sharing Malala's powerful story with my class this fall. 

Further Reading
  

Monday, June 22, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? June 22, 2015

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.


I have not posted an IMWAYR since the end of May!!! Here are the books I have read recently. 
Click on the covers to learn more about them.

This book is on the Maine Student Book Award list for 2015-16. Great middle grade sci-fi fantasy. 

Finished
Loved this newest book by the amazing Cynthia Lord! 

Currently Reading
By another fabulous Maine Author, Megan Frazer Blakemore!

Currently Listening

So happy to finally be on vacation so I can read more!
What Are YOU Reading Friends?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Celebrating a Special Teacher

Every week, Ruth Ayres over at Discover. Play. Build. invites people to share celebrations from their week.  Please visit and consider linking up your own celebration. 

Thanks to Ruth for providing a platform for me to share my big and small celebrations. 

   This week I would like to take a minute to celebrate and recognize some very special people. If you visit often, you're probably aware that I have a nine year old son who has autism. He is about to transition from his primary school to a school, where he has been for four years, to the intermediate school across town. 
    When TJ was leaving his developmental preschool to enter our public school with over 800 students, I was worried. I was worried about his safety in such a large building. I was worried that the staff would not love and care for him as much as they did in preschool. Fortunately, the transition was very smooth, mostly because of his new special education teacher, Jody Colangelo, his paraprofessionals and his many dedicated and skilled therapists. They know him very well and take every step necessary to make sure he is learning and safe. At each meeting and in every interaction with them, it is clear how much they care about TJ.  
   He has had three paraprofessionals that have worked with him one-on-one since he arrived. They have all been wonderful. Mrs. Priscilla Gilman has been his one-on-one support for the last three years. Other than my husband and myself, no one knows TJ better than Mrs. Gilman. She can get him to do things that he will not do with us at home. She works incredibly hard to make sure that he not only progresses academically, by attends to his communication needs, personal needs and safety. 
  Since he cannot tells us what he has done during his school day, Mrs. Gilman writes us a note every day in his notebook. These notes make us feel connected to the school and help us to know what his days are like. Now we have a chronicled record of his development that we treasure. Most importantly, Mrs. Gilman just loves him. She loves him when he is sweet (which most of the time), and she loves him when he hits her, shows his stubborn side or has a meltdown. The feeling is very mutual. TJ loves Mrs. G and is eager to go to school each day. It has given us great peace of mind as parents to send our boy to school each day and know that he is so well cared for. 

   Mrs. Gilman is retiring at the end of the school year. How do you thank someone who has played such an integral part of raising your child? "Thank you" does not seem like enough. We are so appreciative for all that she has done for TJ and consider her to be part of our family. 

 Thank you Mrs. Gilman!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Review of Rodeo Red

Rodeo Red
by Maripat Perkins
Illustrated by Molly Idle
Published March, 2015
by Peachtree Publishers
Fiction Picture Book
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.




Goodreads Summary
Rodeo Red and her hound dog Rusty are happier than two buttons on a new shirt 'til Side Swiping Slim shows up. Red's sure anyone who hollers that much'll be hauled to the edge of town and told to skedaddle, but her parents are smitten. When Slim sets his eye on Rusty, Red'd better figure out a way to save her best friend in all the world. Can she bargain with a varmint?

My Thoughts
I did not know what this book was about before reading it. I thought it was just about a little girl who liked to pretend she was a cowgirl.  Well, it is about a little cowgirl, but so much more. I have read many books about the arrival of a new baby, but this one is different. Red tells the story of the arrival of her new baby brother, whom she calls Side Swiping Slim, in an adorably hilarious way. This quote says a lot, "Slim laid low for a while, but gradually he started moving into my territory."  When Slim starts getting into Red's belongings and starts sleeping with her beloved stuffed dog Rusty, Red is forced to take desperate measures to get Rusty back. 

I love everything about this book. Many children will relate to Red's story of the arrival of a new sibling and will laugh at how Red handles this new change. But it is a great read aloud for all children regardless of their sibling situation. It is filled with interesting vocabulary like cantakerous, skedaddle, gibberish and lickety-split. With sentences such as, "But that scallywag talked nothing but gibberish. He just moseyed back into my ranch like he owned the place", this book begs to be read aloud in your best cowgirl accent. The illustrations are done by the amazing Molly Idle and have her signature adorable characters with a softness that makes Rodeo Red all the more lovable.  I highly recommend Rodeo Red for young readers Pre-K-2. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Review of Same is Lame by Jimmy Vee

Same is Lame
by Jimmy Vee
Illustrated by Mike Motz
Edited by Allen J. Venezio
Published 2014
Atlas Press
32 Pages
Picture Book
Review copy provided by New Shelves Distribution




Goodreads Summary
"It is your uniqueness that's really the seed. Embrace it! Exploit it! And you will Succeed."
Little Jimmy is a small guy with a BIG mission... help people realize how special they really are.
Why is everyone trying so hard to fit in when there is so much uniqueness to celebrate?
Jump in and follow the miniature ringmaster through his circus-inspired world of weird, where normal is ordinary, and ordinary is boring.
In these fun-filled pages you'll discover what makes you unique and why being different is actually cool.
So hurry, hurry! Come one, come all! Step right up. Kids of all ages, shapes and sizes are welcome and special in Little Jimmy's wondrous and wacky world.

Read this book and prepare to be amazed at what you see in the mirror the next time you take a look!

My Thoughts
In real life, Jimmy Vee is known as the "five foot high marketing guy" and has written several successful books about marketing. He is also a creative person who dabbles in magic, music and ventriloquism. The message in this book is the universal "You can do anything you set your mind to" message. Little Jimmy takes conditions often thought of as disabilities or differences and shines a spotlight on the positive possibilities. The story is narrated by Little Jimmy in fun, but sometimes awkward rhyming text. The illustrations are big, often silly and the pages are filled with color.