Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Most enjoyed by Kindergartners through 3rd Graders
Super heroes are awesome. They stop evil in it's tracks and keep bad guys safely locked up. That's the case with Captain Kapow and Baron von Baddie. No matter what the Baron does, the Captain catches him and locks him up to think about his actions. This works for a little bit, at least until the Baron escapes from jail, which he does every time. Their catch-and-escape routine goes on for quite some time until one day, Baron von Baddie is able to capture Captain Kapow. His dreams have come true! Now he can be as evil as he wants to be! But is being evil fun if there's no one to catch you?
That's some food for thought for the Baron and young readers will delight in the conclusion he comes to. I hope this isn't the last adventure of Baron von Baddie and Captain Kapow!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Most enjoyed by 4th through 8th graders
Jack is back. Remember him from 'Love That Dog'? In that book, Jack was learning about poetry from his awesome teacher, Miss Stretchberry. Using classic poems, Miss Stretchberry taught Jack to love poetry and encouraged him to try writing it. Not only did Jack discover he was a pretty good poet, but the poems gave him an outlet for sharing the grief he felt over losing his dog, Sky.
In 'Hate That Cat', another year is here and Jack and Miss Stretchberry are back together. They have moved up a grade, but Miss Stretchberry is still teaching poetry using classic poems. Jack keeps a poetry journal again, but this year he has more to ponder. He's tormented by a cat on his way to school which is why he hates cats. At least he thinks he does until Miss Stretchberry brings her new kitten to class. Jack' s uncle has expressed his opinion of what poetry is and isn't, leaving Jack to ponder the question himself. As Jack listens to the poems Miss Stretchberry reads, he hears their rhythm and beat, feels their cadence and pulse. He plays with rhythm in his own poems, but he still wonders about rhythm for those who can't hear. Slowly, poem by poem, Jack reveals why he's concerned and once again, we learn something about someone very close to Jack that he can only share best through his poetry.
Even though 'Hate That Cat' continues where 'Love That Dog' left off, it can be read and enjoyed on its own. More classic poems are included and used as writing models, making 'Hate That Cat' an excellent book to use with poetry units. Jack's confidence in his writing has grown between the two books and it shows, both in what he writes and in his discussions about poetry with his uncle. The questions Jack asks about the hearing and non-hearing worlds are good for classroom discussions and will stay with readers long after the book is finished. Read what inspired Sharon Creech to continue Jack's story on her website here.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
By Gary Schmidt
Most enjoyed by 6th through 8th Graders
'Trouble' is one of the best books I read this past summer, hands down. We've added it to the Zion library collection recently so I thought it would be a good time to reprint the review of 'Trouble' I wrote this summer.
This, I can say right now, is the best book I've read this summer. Yes, there's lots of summer left so I suppose some other book might come along to take it's place, but I doubt it. Early buzz on Trouble has it short-listed for an award, like a Newbery or Printz, but whether it wins an award or not, it's still a fantastic book. 7th and 8th grade book club members take note: 'Trouble' is a title we will want to put at the top of our reading list this year.Henry Smith's father has always said that if you build your house far away from trouble, trouble will never find you. For years, this has been true for the Smith family. They are one of the oldest families in Blythbury-by-the-Sea, their home, wealth and position in town having been secured by generations of Smith's before them. Oldest brother Franklin is a star athlete in the local high school, a senior destined to carry on the Smith family tradition. He has promised Henry that together they will climb Mt Katahdin in Maine. Henry longs to go to prove to Franklin that he has the guts to do it, to earn the respect he seeks from Franklin. Trouble seems to keep it's distance from the family until one night, when Franklin is out running, he is hit by a car, loses an arm and suffers severe brain damage. Trouble has arrived.
The driver of the truck is Chay Chouan, a Cambodian immigrant from the neighboring town of Merton and a fellow student at Franklin's high school. With Chay's arrest, tensions between the two towns come to a head. But for Henry, watching his brother lie motionless in a hospital bed, the trouble he longs for most is to climb Katahdin himself, to accomplish the goal he and his brother set, the goal his brother will no longer be able to meet. As he prepares for the climb, trouble continues to dog his heels, until Henry and his family finally make peace with it.
I don't want to say too much more about the plot because if I do, I'll give quite a bit of the story away. Trust me - read this book. 'Trouble' will give you lots to think about.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Most enjoyed by Preschoolers through 2nd graders
This is a perfect story to read before you take a walk in the woods. A young bear enjoys the world around him until the first leaf falls. One by one, more leaves join the first, causing the bear to worry. He tries putting them back on the tree but it's just not the same. Feeling sleepy, he gathers the leaves and makes a den for himself. He sleeps on as the winter winds howl until spring arrives and the world welcomes him again.
Simple illustrations highlight the colors of the seasons. The short text makes 'Leaves' a great bedtime story, too. Highly recommended for the last days of fall.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Most enjoyed by voters of all ages
Today's 3rd grade read-aloud was Madam President by Lane Smith and it couldn't have been a better choice for today. The kids had already cast their own ballots for president so they were in an election frame of mind to enjoy this fun take on the presidency.
Madam President gets up early and starts her day with an executive order for more waffles, please. Then it's on to press conferences, photo opportunities, kissing babies, negotiating peace treaties and countless other presidential duties. Madam President's duties are based on the real-life duties of a president, but with a wacky spin. Take a look at the cabinet of advisers she's chosen. Mr. Potato Head for Secretary of Agriculture? Silly, but it gets the point across. We had fun trying to decide which secretaries were real and which were made up, although we all agreed that a Secretary of Pizza is one position every cabinet should have!
Regardless of whether it's an election year or not, 'Madam President' is a fun read for all voters and a great addition to any civics collection!