Friday, February 12, 2016

Lola Levine is NOT Mean by Monica Brown

Lola Levine is Not Mean 
by Monica Brown
Published 2015
Little Brown Books for Young Readers
96 pages
Review advanced reader copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Lola loves writing in her diario and playing soccer with her team, the Orange Smoothies. But when a soccer game during recess gets "too competitive," Lola accidentally hurts her classmate Juan Gomez. Now everyone is calling her Mean Lola Levine! Lola feels horrible, but with the help of her family and her super best friend, Josh Blot, she learns how to navigate the second grade in true Lola fashion--with humor and the power of words. 

My Thoughts
I love discovering new books and series for grades 2-3 and for my 4th graders who need a less complex text. The story is simple and follows a predictable pattern which young readers will find comforting. Lola's entries in her diario help tell part of the story as do the letters and notes from her mother, brother and her classmates. There are plenty of illustrations to support the text. Since Lola is hispanic, there are Spanish words and phrases presented throughout the text. She also shows her Jewish heritage by eating matzo ball soup and using the phrase shalom at the end of her letters.
Lola is a strong character who loves sports and is not afraid to show her competitive side. She is a great big sister and a loyal friend. I think young readers will enjoy this series. 

Read what others have to say about this book.
Publishers Weekly

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-Whose Eye Am I? by Shelley Rotner

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

by Shelley Rotner
Published January 2016
by Holiday House
Nonfiction Picture Book
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Who am I? ask captions alongside close-ups of colorful animal eyes. As readers guess which animal belongs to each eye, they will discover that each animal has a unique and amazing way of seeing. Snakes have clear eyelids that cannot ever open or close. Some sea creatures have hundreds of eyes around the edges of their shells. Many animals can see colors that are invisible to humans. Brimming with vivid and engaging photographs, this book also includes a clear explanation of how human eyes work, a labeled diagram of a human eye, a glossary and an index.

My Thoughts
Whose Eye am I? Offers a fun interactive way for young readers to learn about animal adaptations. Preceding each animal, the reader is shown an enlarged photograph of an animal's eye and is asked, "Who am I?".  I can see children having fun analyzing the eye to figure out the animal. On the next page the animal is revealed with information about their eyesight. Did you know that chickens have clear eyelids to protect their eyes from dirt? Me neither!

The photos and just the right amount of text work well together. 
I would recommend Whose Eye am I? to grades K-4. 

Do you know this animal? I'll never tell.


Companion Texts

Here is a quick video describing how animals see the world. 

Here is a neat list of animal eye facts.

See what others have to say about this book:

Monday, February 8, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? February 8, 2016

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

Here is my reading from last week.

A fun, interactive book much like Tap the Magic Tree and Press Here

A story about an unexpected family. Very fun!

I LOVED Perry and his whole unconventional extended family!

Finished Listening to...
An excellent young adult historical fiction novel.

Currently Reading

What are YOU reading friends?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Stack-It-Up Sunday February 7, 2016

I have not posted a Stack-It-Up post in a long time. I originally posted about my piles on this celebration post.  Along with showing everyone how messy my house is, I like to share because each pile has its own story.

In my reading nook. I am reading Mystery of Missing Fox right now.  

On the kitchen counter sits my copy of Close Writing where I unpacked it from my bag. 

Random pile in the dining room. 

On TJ's bedroom floor.

On my night stand.

Everyone leaves books on the stairs right?

Don't even ask about this pile in Molly's room.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Knowing Book by Rebecca Kai Doltlich and Matthew Cordell

by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Expected Publication Feb. 23, 2016
Boyds Mills Press
Picture Book Advanced Readers Copy
Provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Inspiring and wise, this story begins and ends with the sky that is always above you. In between, a young rabbit travels through the wide world, experiencing joy and sorrow and all the wonder that the world has to offer. Along the way he chooses a path, explores the unknown, and ventures along trails on and off the map. And at the end of the journey, braver and more confident, he returns home, the place he can always count on and will always know. This beautiful celebration of life is the perfect gift to mark any milestone in a child’s life from birth to graduation. 

My Thoughts
Add this to your inspirational "Oh the Places You Will Go" type books. It is a reminder to be open to the magic in every day events as we travel through our days. The illustrations by Matthew Cordell are done with his signature whimsy and the little bunny is adorable.

Children and adults alike will enjoy this inspirational book. I will definitely be adding The Knowing Book to my classroom collection. It would also make a great gift for many occasions.  

See what others have to say about The Knowing Book.
Publishers Weekly

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-A Place for Frogs by Melissa Stewart

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

by Melissa Stewart
Illustrated by Higgins Bond
Expected release April1, 2016 
Peachtree Publishers
Nonfiction Picture Book
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Melissa Stewart and Higgins Bond team up once again, as they did in A Place for Butterflies and A Place for Birds,  to bring readers a book that will make them think about the impact humans have on animals and the environment and what we can do to change things.
Melissa Stewart is a master at writing nonfiction for children. 

Each page is set up with simpler text at the top of each page, many of them following a similar pattern, "When people ......., frogs can live and grow." This will help young readers make the connection of what we humans can do, rather than just sharing the factors that are endangering frogs. 

Within the illustrations below the text, there is an enlarged illustration and a text box giving more detailed information about the text above.  
Higgins Bond's illustration are incredibly detailed and realistic and work with the text perfectly to convey this important message.

At the end of the book there is a section listing ways children (and adults) can protect and help frogs such as leaving the frogs alone in their environment and not purchasing frogs from pet stores. 

The end papers include maps of the US and the shaded regions of different frog species. 
A Place for Frogs should have a place in every K-5 classroom and library.   

Possible Companion Texts

Read what others have to say about A Place for Frogs

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's Monday,What Are You Reading? February 1, 2016

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

Here is what I managed to read this week.
 Yes, another wonderful (practically) wordless picture book from Bill Thomson. Coming in March 2016. 
An interesting version of the classic fairy tale. 
Coming in April 2016.

Currently Reading 
This upcoming middle grade novel by Leslie Connor has me hooked! Coming in March.
My friend Paula Bourque has published this book on close writing aimed at helping educators to be able to help students read their writing more critically. Reading this one slowly to really digest it.

What are YOU reading friends?