Friday, May 30, 2008

Oggie Cooder
By Sarah Weeks
Most enjoyed by 3rd through 5th graders

As you read this review of 'Oggie Cooder', you'll want to have a piece of American cheese in hand so go ahead and grab a piece from the fridge, I'll wait.'re back already? Unwrap that cheese and get ready 'cuz here comes Oggie.....

Oggie Cooder is a unique boy who loves his dog Turk, says Prrrr-ip! Prrrr-ip! when things are going his way, and can charve cheese. Yes, that's right, charve. As in carving and chewing a piece of cheese into a specific shape. Oggie has taught himself to charve cheese into the shape of every state in the US. No one knows Oggie can charve; it's been his own secret for ages, something he does when he gets nervous or worried. But someone sees Oggie charving one day and decides that this special talent cannot stay secret for much longer. That someone happens to be Donnica Perfecto, a girl in Oggie's class who has never had time for Oggie until now. Donnica spies a poster for a Hidden Talents contest, one that will fly her to Hollywood if she wins. And Donnica is sure to win if only she can convince Oggie to teach her to charve. Oggie is more than willing, thrilled that Donnica is interested in his special talent. But Oggie's friends grow a little suspicious of Donnica and end up proving to the judges who has the real charving talent.

'Oggie Cooder' is a fun read, one perfect for long summer days with nothing to do but read and practice charving. By the way, is the piece of cheese in your hand looking at all like the state of Texas right now? How about Illinois? See, you can't read about charving without trying it for yourself! So next time Mom or Dad head to the store, ask them to stock up on cheese. With a copy of 'Oggie Cooder' in one hand, and a piece of cheese in the other, you'll keep busy on the long, lazy afternoons that lay ahead!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Couple of Boys have the Best Week Ever
By Marla Frazee

If you're looking for a book to kick off your summer, start with this one. 'A Couple of Boys have the Best Week Ever' is what summer is all about. Eamon and James are spending a week with Eamon's grandparents Bill and Pam down by the beach so that the boys can go to nature camp. As Bill drives them to camp each day, they let Bill know just how boring camp is. At bedtime, the boys share a blow-up mattress while Bill and Pam worry that they'll be lonely. When they do have some free time, the boys spend it meditating and strolling the beach as bored as can be. Or do they?

What makes this book such fun is the illustrations. In good books, the illustrations support and add to the story. Here, author and illustrator Marla Frazee's boys tell us just how James and Eamon feel but her pictures show us the complete opposite of what they say. Do you think James and Eamon are scared and lonely in the downstairs bedroom by themselves? Look at the picture and see for yourself! What about nature camp - did they really sit around all week with nothing to do? Look at the picture and see for yourself! And when it's time to go back to school in August, will you be like James and Eamon, ready to tell everyone how boring your summer was?

You can find a copy of 'A Couple of Boys have the Best Week Ever' at the Woodstock Public Library or you can request it from the Marengo Public Library. This is the perfect summer vacation read!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chicago Tribune's Read & Write Project

Looking for a great way to share what you read with other kids? Check out the Chicago Tribune's Read & Write project. Each summer, the Chicago Tribune invites young people to write a book review about their favorite book. The Tribune selects some of the reviews to publish in their weekly Books section on Saturdays during the month of August. What an excellent way to share what you read with others! Two years ago, a Zion student had their review published in the Tribune. Will we have another student get selected this year? Why not try your hand and see? I'll be on the lookout for Zion student reviews come August!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Summer Vacation is Here! (well, almost)

Only 5 more days of school left and it's summer vacation (OK, as a young person pointed out to me earlier, only 4 1/2 days because of early dismissal on Friday so it doesn't count as a full day). No more worksheets or memory work or spelling tests.

that does not mean we stop reading! No, no, no! Summer is the best time to load up on all of the books you were too busy to read during the school year! The funny books, the scary ones, and especially the looooong books. Try to spend a little time each day reading. Read outside, inside, on vacation, at the park, anywhere you go this summer.
The Zion library blog goes into vacation mode starting today. I've been putting together my summer reading list for a few weeks now and it's quite long. If I get to most of the books on the list, I'll be lucky. I'll continue to blog about what I read but these won't just be titles from the Zion library. I'll feature some of the great reads I find at area libraries, including the Marengo, Woodstock, and Harvard libraries. If you can't find the books you read about here at your library, ask the librarians and they will be happy to order a copy of the book for you from another library. Summer days, here we come!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Could Do That!
Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote
By Linda Arms White
Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Hilary Clinton is running for our president this year thanks in part to the hard work of many women who came before her. Women who made sure all women had a chance to vote, run for public office, and even run for president. Esther Morris was one of those women.

'No' and 'I can't do it!' were not words in Esther's vocabulary. No matter what challenge faced her, Esther said 'I could do that!' and did. She helped care for brothers and sisters when her mother died and opened her own hat shop. Shortly after marrying and having a son, her husband died. That didn't stop Esther from moving to Illinois to try to claim land in her own name. When that failed, she opened another hat shop, remarried, had two more sons, and eventually moved to Wyoming territory. There, Esther finally decided that if men could vote, so could she.
Esther organized a tea party to persuade local legislators to give women the vote. When the state legislature took up the issue, Esther campaigned for it and eventually watched with pride when the governor signed a bill into law allowing women to vote.

As you'll see when you read 'I Could Do That!', Esther is a great role model as one who wouldn't let what others thought stop her. She's someone to thank today as women head off to the polls to vote!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Go to Bed, Monster!
By Natasha Wing
Illustrated by Sylvie Kantorovitz
Most enjoyed by Preschool through 1st Grade

Lucy is not ready for bed; she's ready to draw. She pours out her crayons and creates a monster from simple shapes who comes alive to play. The two play until Lucy is sleepy, but Monster wants no part of going to bed. Even when Lucy draws him a bed, a drink and a cuddly teddy bear, the Monster still wants to play. When Lucy pulls out something special, though, the Monster is ready to snuggle. Can you guess what that something special is?

This is the perfect bedtime story for a little one who NEVER stalls when going to bed. Try it and see if it works!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Helen's Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller's Teacher
by Marfe Ferguson Delano
Most enjoyed by 4th through 8th graders

Into a world of silence and darkness, one ray of hope shone. But this ray couldn't be seen or heard; it could only be felt. That ray of hope was Annie Sullivan. For deaf and blind six-year-old Helen Keller, Annie's hands became her salvation, forming letters into young Helen's hands to teach her about the world she couldn't see or hear. Helen's hands on Annie's lips and throat gave Helen a chance to hear sounds she couldn't. Teacher Annie Sullivan gave Helen Keller a chance at a life as normal as could be offered to a deaf-blind person at the turn of the 20th century.
Annie Sullivan is the focus of 'Helen's Eyes' a photobiography full of fascinating pictures of Annie and Helen and their life together. Helen was six when she met Annie and had already been blind and deaf for four years. She was uncontrollable, a strong-willed girl who wouldn't obey but was curious about the world around her. With Annie, Helen met someone just as strong-willed as she, who wasn't about to admit defeat in the face of a child.
Annie herself had had a difficult childhood. Orphaned and abandoned to an asylum not known for it's comforts, Annie lost her eyesight while young until an operation restored it enough so that she could learn to read and write at 14. Graduating from the Perkins School for the Blind, Annie was offered the post of teacher to Helen. Determined to succeed with the little girl, Annie taught Helen the manual alphabet, unlocking the world and creating a relationship that would last until Annie Sullivan died with Helen holding her hand.

Annie's story is fascinating. Her dedication to Helen was life-long, a commitment that many questioned but most marvel at today. If you're looking for inspiration, check out 'Helen's Eyes'. I think you'll find Annie Sullivan to be a person to respect, admire, and yes, even look at as a role model.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Written and illustrated by Melanie Watt
Most enjoyed by Preschoolers through 3rd graders

Cats love attention, any time and any way. It seems they can be quite demanding about it, too. I once had a piano teacher who owned a Siamese cat that loved to walk in front of my piano music whenever I was trying to play. The teacher thought it very funny but I didn't because I usually lost my place and had to start over again.

Chester is a lot like that cat except he wants the author, his owner, to write a story about him and not the mouse she's trying to write about. He keeps interrupting the story, marking up the pictures with his own doodles, and adding his version to her writing. It looks like Chester will win the battle until the author turns the tables and creates a story about Chester that he doesn't like one bit. You'll love the last two-page picture of Chester! If you have a cat at home who rules the house, you'll recognize Chester right away!

You'll find that 'Chester' provides lots of inspiration for you to write your own story. Instead of a mouse and a cat, can you think of another animal pair that might not want to be in each other's story? Perhaps a fox and a rabbit, or a frog and a fly. Now how would they go about interrupting each other's story? I'll bet you can come up with some fun situations for your animal pair, just like Chester and the mouse! Try it!