Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Caring for Your Lion by Tammi Sauer

Caring for Your Lion 
by Tammi Sauer 
Illustrated by Troy Cummings
Published May 2017
Sterling Children's Books
32 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
What happens when you expect an itty-bitty kitty . . . but get a lion instead?
It’s kitten delivery day, but—SURPRISE. Congratulations on your new LION! We know you ordered a kitten, but we ran out of those.Fortunately, the big cat comes with instructions—like, try very hard NOT to look like a zebra. Or a gazelle. And give your lion PLENTY of space to play. But soon the feathers and fur start flying and everything’s in chaos. Is there any way a lion could actually be a child’s purr-fect pet?

My Thoughts
What a unique concept. Each step in the caring for your lion guide looks "official" like one might find in a manual. This book is adorable and funny. Kids will love it for the humor (pizza guy gets eaten and sneezed out) and the illustrations. 
I always enjoy Troy Cummings' illustrations in his Notebook of Doom series.  He varies the page layouts, fonts and colors in a way that will hold the interest of young readers. 
In a classroom, this book could spark discussions about expectations and how to deal with changes in plans. It also lends itself as a writing mentor text. How fun would it be to have students write, "How to care for your...." stories!
I would recommend this book for ages 3-8.

Watch this interview with Tammi Sauer.

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You Can Be a Paleontologist:Discovering Dinosaurs with Dr. Scott

You Can Be a Paleontologist Discovering Dinosaurs with Dr. Scott
by Scott D. Sampson
Published National Geographic Kids
April 2017
32 pages

Goodreads Summary
Ever wondered how to find a dinosaur? Paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson, host of Dinosaur Train on PBS Kids, tells kids how! How do paleontologists find dinosaur bones? How do they know what dinosaurs ate or looked like? And what is paleontology, anyway? Dr. Scott tackles all these questions and more while inspiring kids to go out and make the next big dino discovery!

My Thoughts
This book takes the reader through the entire process of locating, harvesting, protecting and studying fossils. This is followed by a section that discusses dinosaurs: what they looked like, what they ate, etc. Each section is short with lots of photos, labels and captions. The backgrounds are solid, bright colors and the text is a big on the larger side making it easier for younger readers to read. There is information on how to become a paleontologist and a glossary in the back. 
I learned a lot from this book and think it is just perfect for any budding scientist. Grades 2-5. 

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Monday, January 22, 2018

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? January 22, 2018

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

I was only able to read 2 books last week.
Click on it to learn more. 

For grades 1-4

A middle grade graphic novel for those that like things a bit creepy. 

What are you reading friends? 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Celebrate This Week-January 20, 2018

Each Week Ruth Ayres hosts a platform where she writes about something to celebrate from the week and invites others to celebrate with her. Visit her blog, Ruth Ayres Writes to read more. 

This has actually been a tough week. Within the last week or so I have had 3 friends lose close loved ones and it has just been sad. While I have reached out to my friends and attended one service so far, I can't help but feel that I should do more. 
My hubby has also been sick and work was pretty tough this week. 

Still, even in a hard week, there have been small celebrations. 

*I had a lengthy chat wth my mother in her kitchen early in the week. 
*I was able to sit around a table full of lifelong friends to reminisce with a friend who lost her father.
*I celebrated with friends at an impromptu party at school for a colleague with a "significant" birthday.
*Today I meet with my Maine State Book Award Committee to create our "short list" of 100 books. 

I hope you were able to celebrate things big or small this week friends. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

National Geographic Kids Ultimate Explorer Guide

Ultimate Explorer Guide:
Explore, Discover, and Create Your Own Adventures with Real National Geographic Explorers as Your Guides!
by Nancy Honovich
Published March 2017
National Geographic Kids
160 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
National Geographic has inspired generations of explorers. Now it's your turn! Learn what it takes to be a real-life explorer in this fun and action-packed guide to discovering the world around us. Unearth ancient mummies and lost treasures, encounter wild animals and learn how to protect their habitats, and shoot for the stars with the latest technologies in space travel. Amazing stories, fantastic photos, and hands-on-activities inspire curious kids to start discovering on land, air, and sea. Profiles feature National Geographic explorers of all kinds: paleontologists, biologists, photographers, artists, writers, activists, conservationists, and more. Kids are inspired to follow their passions into careers and introduced to the first steps to take to achieve their dream.

My Thoughts
I have to admit, I'm not much of an explorer, but I felt like one reading this book. Organized into three large sections, Land, Sea and Sky, this book takes the reader around the world and beyond. 
A detailed table of contents and index make it easy to find specific information. It is filled with facts, experiment ideas, activities and trivia questions. Readers meet real scientists and learn what it is like to be an explorer for a career. 
And then there are the photos. Well, it IS National Geographic after all so the photos are amazing with close-up creatures, rolling landscapes and unexpected places. 

       Image from Amazon.com
I can imagine kids gathered around examining photos and spouting off facts and as they slowly make their way through this book. It would be a great addition to any home, classroom or school library for upper elementary to middle school. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Elly and the Smelly Sneaker: A Riches to Rags Story by Leslie Gorin

Elly and the Smelly Sneaker: A Riches to Rags Story
by Leslie Gorin
Illustrated by Leslie Vamos
Published April 2017
Sterling Children's Books
40 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Sometimes it’s more fun NOT to be a princess. Elly has everything a girl could desire: bonbons, pretty clothes, maids to put everything in order, and a family that treats her like a princess. Except that, to her, life’s a boring, royal pain. All Elly really wants is to be with other kids—especially when they play baseball. She dreams of opening days, double plays, and joining the team. Then, one day, her fairy godfather arrives to make her wish come true. Will Elly FINALLY succeed in trading her glass slippers for a pair of smelly sneakers? A fun and inspiring twist on Cinderella that’s just right for today’s girls.

My Thoughts
This is certainly not your typical Cinderella story, quite the opposite really. It was so fun to read and kids will really love it. Ellie just wants to play baseball outside with the neighborhood kids. Then her "designated fairy godfather" comes and grants her wish. The book is full of baseball 
I have seen many units on "Cinderella stories". This book would make a great addition to these kinds of stories. I can see students really enjoying and appreciating the stark contrast and would hope that this would open the door to some rich discussions.
I think kids would also enjoy writing and sharing their own "riches to rags" stories. 

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Celebrate This Week-Embracing Change-January 13, 2018

Each Week Ruth Ayres hosts a platform where she writes about something to celebrate from the week and invites others to celebrate with her. Visit her blog, Ruth Ayres Writes to read more. 

I have not written a celebrate this week post for a very long time, not because I don't have lots to celebrate, but time just seems to get away from me. 

This is more of a cumulative celebration than specifically just this week. 
This school year I left my position as a 4th grade teacher, which I held for 14 years, for a position as Lead K-2 RTI teacher in the same building. Not only was it a change in position, but also a drastic change in grade levels. I work with the younger population who are initial and striving readers. I went from feeling very confident in my abilities and knowing my job well, to feeling like a fish out of water. 

So this week I celebrate change and growth.  Change is rarely comfortable at first. There are new routines to learn, systems to navigate, and expectations to meet. I have keenly felt the uneasiness of change and uncertainty this year and instead of fighting it, I decided to embrace it. I ask LOTS of questions and continue to make more than my fair share of mistakes. But, with each passing week, I learn more and I do better. 

It is January and I am starting to feel more comfortable, all thanks to the RTI teachers that I am so lucky to work with. The team consists of 6 other highly trained and experienced teachers and each one has helped me in so many ways. They continue to answer my questions and show patience when I forget to do something or when I do something differently than the previous teacher who held the position for many years
This change has improved and deepened my knowledge of early literacy and allowed me to get to know many colleagues in ways I had not before. It also has solidified, 2 things that I already knew. First, no matter how much we know, how many degrees or professional experiences we have, there is always much more to learn. And second, we are better when we work together. 

I am looking forward to continuing on this messy and exciting journey of learning and change with my amazing colleagues.