Monday, April 30, 2012

Extra Yarn


I had seen Extra Yarn displayed on a shelf at our library for weeks.  Last week I finally decided to bite and took it home.




It is a rare gem.  Absolute storytelling and artistic perfection.  Next time you're out, grab a copy for yourself, or give it as a gift .  You will not be disappointed.  And someone, please, give these people an award.  #sodeserving

Friday, April 20, 2012

today, (i pulled out my e.e.)

Lately I've been devouring dystopian novels.  One day soon I'll give you the run-down.  But tonight I just wanted to smile about an unexpected by-product.  In most of the fictional societies I've been living in this month, writing and music are heavily censored.  Living in their world renewed an old love for me.  Poetry was reborn. In a hushed, magical way.  The beauty of a string of words, the draping of a phrase.  Words resurge, more than words.  I pulled my e.e. cummings from its shelf, opened to my favorite page and drank it up.



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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Squids Will Be Squids


My kids are too young for this book of fables; I, apparently, am not too old for it.  I found it too funny not to pass on.  It was way over the head of my 3 and 6 year-olds, but I think an older crowd would embrace the hilarity.

The tried-and-true duo of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith had me at their dedication page.   I'm so jealous of funny people.


Pick up Squids Will Be Squids if you have some elementary school kiddos at home, just waiting for a good snicker.  I won't tell if you pick it up just for yourself either.  (I think I did).

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Other Scieszka and/or Lane Smith titles we have enjoyed around here.  (Matthew thinks Math Curse is hilarious):

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bumblebee Boy for the boys

If you want to know what my boys are in love with this week: this is it.  The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy by Jacky Davis and David Soman.  I believe it's an offshoot of the Ladybug Girl series.  This book is another example of the mystifying nature of boys.  Though the story is a true-to-life depiction of the daily relationship between my two boys and I like the illustrations, I still didn't personally fall in love with this book.  But Matthew and Nolan did; so we read it over and over.  Even better, Matthew reads it aloud to Nolan over and over.  And they both love every minute of it.

The reason:  repeated phrases like, "Bum ba bum bumm!" followed by choppy sentences about action and adventure.  The same reason compels them to Superhero books and Robot Zot! by Jon Scieszka and David Shannon.  I don't get it, but I get that they do.

Anything that brings my night-and-day brothers together gets a double thumbs up from me.
{From Robot Zot! by Jon Scieszka; Art by David Shannon}

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wiesner Week: June 29, 1999

June 29, 1999 is my Wiesner favorite.  I think.  (It's hard to decide).


In this one, David Wiesner tells the story of a thoughtful girl who launches an airborne science experiment.  After sending lots of vegetable seedlings into the air, she waits to discover how the atmosphere effects her flying garden.  The students in her class are in awe.  Not long after the launch, enormous vegetables begin to fall from the sky, all over the country.  It's headline news.  The girl is astounded...until she notices that some of the vegetables falling from the sky are not ones that she planted.  Her wonder turns to confusion.  Where did the rutabaga come from?  And the radishes?  What is going on?



Though its a little reminiscent of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs , I love the premise of this one, and its air of mystery.  The detailed drawings make the story believable, and the little twist of humor at the end is icing on the cake.


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Click below to read my other Wiesner reviews:
Intro:  {Wiesner Week}
Day One:  {Sector 7}
Day Two: {Tuesday}
Day Three:  {June 29, 1999}

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What's your favorite Wiesner book???

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wiesner Week: Tuesday


Be warned:  after reading David Wiesner's Tuesday , Tuesdays may never be the same. .  

The plot of Tuesday is simple.  One Tuesday evening, frogs find themselves airborne, flying through the neighborhood on lily pads.   Their flight of fancy starts around 8:00 p.m. and by 5:00 a.m., after hours of adventure, they find themselves drifting back to earth.  Lily pad evidence is strewn about town, leaving crime scene investigators scratching their heads, clueless about the night's strange events.



You'll have to see the book, but I'll give you a clue:  the ending is a play on When Pigs Fly.  You might want to peek out your window tonight -- because, it is Tuesday, and you just never know...


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Click below to read my other Wiesner reviews:
Intro:  {Wiesner Week}
Day One:  {Sector 7}
Day Two: {Tuesday}
Day Three:  {June 29, 1999}

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What's your favorite Wiesner book???

Monday, April 2, 2012

Next in the queue

Deciding what to read next is like a choose your own adventure.  When you've just finished a book you'll love forever, the choice can seem daunting.  There are so many possible directions.  Do I read something funny to counteract the weightiness of what I've just read?  Do I read another series by the same author?  One with similar themes?  Just another fabulous book with no connection at all?  Tough call.

In between The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I fit in The Giver.  After Mockingjay, I devoured Gathering Blue in a day.  Finishing the rest of Lowry's dystopian Giver Trilogy makes logical sense, but the third novel is not available at the library right now.  

Today marked a first for me:  the first time I ever put books on hold at the library.  Here's what's in the queue for me:

1.  The Messenger by Lois Lowry (3rd book in The Giver Trilogy)
2.  Divergent by Veronica Roth (supposedly similarly themes as The Hunger Games)
3.  Matched by Ally Condie (again, similarities to The Hunger Games)
4.  Gregor the Overlander (1st book in Suzanne Collin's Underlander Series.  i.e. same author/different series).

So I guess I'm continuing on this dystopian road.

Tonight, because I don't have any of these books in my hand yet, I started down another path.  I'm reading Number the Stars, another Lois Lowry novel.  Set in 1943 Denmark, the story of the evacuation of the Jews from Denmark is told through the eyes of ten-year-old friends, Annemarie and Ellen.  So far it is surprisingly good.  I find myself wandering over to the book, wanting to sneak in a few pages at inopportune moments.  A sure sign of something good.  I love that Lowry is telling an aspect of WWII that I am completely unfamiliar with.  In that way, it ties in so well with The Book Thief, my favorite read of last year.  

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What are you reading?  What book or series should I be sure not to miss?

Wiesner Week: Sector 7


I'm kicking off Wiesner Week with one of my favorite David Wiesner books -- Sector 7 .  It conjures up childhood memories of living in Detroit, enjoying lazy summer days with my sister and my friend Lisa from across the street.  Laying on our backs on a small hill in her front lawn, feet pointing to the sky, the clouds were our playground.  


Sector 7 begins with a boy on a school field trip to the Empire State Building.  Out on the observation deck, with visibility very low, a feisty, rapscallion of a cloud steals the boy's hat and scarf, then takes him on an unforgettable tour.  The cloud carries the boy up to Sector 7, a cloud factory in the sky.  Here the boy gets himself into a bit of trouble.  A group of clouds, bored with their mundane designs, coax the boy into sketching new blueprints for them.  The clouds love his drawings; Quality Control does not.  After being ejected from Sector 7, the boy returns to his class.  But evidence of his adventure is all around him.

As a lover of words, it took me awhile to warm up to wordless stories.  Now they are a new kind of friend.  I love that the reader must immerse himself into the artwork to engage the story.  While I typically prefer loose, sketchy illustrations, David Wiesner is the best-of-the-best at visual storytelling.  Forgive the cliche, but when Wiesner paints pictures, they truly are worth a thousand words.

We read Sector 7 on a blue-sky day and then wandered outside for a cloud-spotting excursion.  It's the kind of day that I file away in my memory banks with a smile.


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Click below to read my other Wiesner reviews:
Intro:  {Wiesner Week}
Day One:  {Sector 7}
Day Two: {Tuesday}
Day Three:  {June 29, 1999}

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What's your favorite Wiesner book???

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wiesner Week

Recently I found myself asking:


Then I brought a stack of his books home from the library, and after a day of "reading" his almost wordless stories with the boys, I took back almost every jealous thing I ever thought about the guy.   He rocks.  I'll let him keep his medals and not begrudge him his winnings.

So, in honor of Mr. Wiesner and his fabulousness, I declare this week Wiesner Week around here.  I'll be reviewing one book a day for your reading pleasure.   You can all feel free to tell me you knew he was cool a long time ago.  It's okay -- I can take it.  And I probably deserve it.

Click below to read my review:
Day One:  {Sector 7}
Day Two: {Tuesday}
Day Three:  {June 29, 1999}

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What's your favorite Wiesner book???