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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet by Nick Bruel

Bad Kitty Goes to the VetBad Kitty is back in adventure number 9.  In this newest installment of the series, Kitty is back but she is not feeling well.  Usually Kitty is a healthy and energetic cat with a good appetite for food and picking on Puppy.  But not today.  Today Kitty is laying in her bed and not eating, which is a big concern because if you have have read her other eight adventures, you know Kitty can EAT!  So it's time to go to the vet.  But anyone who has a cat knows it is far from easy to get a cat into the pet crate.  Sometimes it is so dangerous that the owner make be risking his own life (okay, that might be a bit dramatic but you can get some nasty scratches). 

Bad Kitty has to get a shot to help her feel better which puts her into a deep sleep (or is she?).  Kitty is informed she had better treat Puppy better or she may not get into Pussycat Heaven.  Is it real or a dream?  You'll have to read to find out.

Kids and adults of all ages will love this new adventure.  Besides the fun antics of Bad Kitty, the reader will also learn real facts via Uncle Murray's Fun Fact pages.  And animals and humans can relate to not wanting to go to the doctor and getting a shot, right?  Who knew reading Bad Kitty could be both educational and fun!

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

NightbirdWelcome to Sidwell, Massachusetts, the home of a legendary monster.  It's so legendary that it draws tourists to the town as well as its famed Pink apples.  Meet Twig, the 12-year-old narrator of the story is who the sister of the monster.  Well, James is not really a monster.  The males of the family have been cursed since 1776, when his great-great-great-great grandfather stood up Agnes Early on the evening they were supposed to run off to be married.  Twig's mom protects her children by keeping the family secluded from most of the townspeople and events.  They live near the Mourning Dove Cottage, which was once the home of the witch.  It has been abandoned for many years.

But not now.  Relatives of Agnes Early have decided to move back into the cottage.  Twig's mom tells her not to go over there but Twig becomes friends with Julia.  James and Julia's big sister, Agate, begin to fall in love.  Besides the curse, there is mysterious graffiti being drawn throughout the town saying DON"T TAKE OUR HOME.  A developer wants to build a mall and houses in the woods near Sidwell.  The monster is being blamed for writing the messages and the townspeople are ready to hunt for the culprit.  Will they find the graffiti culprit?  Will the curse be broken?

Nightbird has been nominated for the 2017 Caudill Book Award.  Once the character of Julia was introduced, the book became really engaging.  I couldn't wait to see if they could break the curse between the two families.  I think Sidwell would be a place where I would like to live.  The townspeople seemed really nice and accepting of people.  At the end they all come together (but I won't give away the ending.

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Saturday, May 07, 2016

Rhyme Schemer by K. A. Holt

Rhyme SchemerBully  Bullied  Bystander
All of the above
Kevin feels as if his life is in perpetual turmoil. He is a seventh grader with four older brothers! Yes, he is the youngest. Yes, the siblings are all boys.
But check out the brothers names.
Paul
Philip
Patrick
Petey
Kevin
Am I wrong or is this a sign that Kevin really is left out? He is ignored by his busy parents and bullied by some of his brothers. He expresses himself through poetry- not just any poetry. He uses pages from classic books and highlights words, phrases and letters to make up poetry. The poetry bandit wants to be famous, but it backfires on him. I will not give you any hints about the person who understands him and becomes his supporter.

Awesome ideas for band names and creative poetry in a book
Go ahead and don't be afraid to take a look

     * 2017 Rebecca Caudill Award Nominee *


Thursday, May 05, 2016

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein

Mr. Lemoncello's Library OlympicsMr. Lemoncello and the Alexandriaville library champions are back in a second adventure.  Teams across America have been complaining that they were not included in the first set of games.  So Mr. Lemoncello and Dr. Zinchenko devise a new set of games - the Library Olympics.  Teams from all over the various regions of the U.S. made up of library "nerds" are invited to participate.  Kyle and his friends are nervous about defending their title. After all, Marjory Muldauer from the Midwest team seems to know everything about the Dewey Decimal System.  What if they lose?  Plus Charles Chiltington and his mother are trying to gain control of the library.  The games are in trouble when suspicious things begin happening in the library and books start to go missing.  Will Mr. Lemoncello leave Alexandriaville?  If he does, what will happen to the library?

I love how wacky Mr. Lemoncello is in both books.  Throughout the story, titles of other books are interspersed in either the game clues or the riddles the children have to solve.  It is always fun to see a name of a title I have read (or titles to add to my list that I haven't read yet).  At the end of this book, Chris Grabenstein has added a book list of all the titles mentioned in the story (77 of them!).  This would make a great read-aloud in a classroom or a bedtime story. 

Let the reading begin!


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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt

Fish in a TreeNo, this book was not written by a teacher. However, this realistic fiction is based on the true experience of the author. Her personal reading difficulty as well as a wonderful teacher is the basis of this book. Ally's daily pain and headaches due to her learning differences really come to life. She has always felt dumb because of bullying and being different. She actually is very smart. She sees the smartness in other people. Her father is deployed in the Middle East, but that is just one of her problems. This contemporary book is not just about reading difficulties or bullying. It's about being the best you can be and growing in character. (Shh- she becomes class president)

I was humbled to be able to read this book. You can sense what a struggling reader is going through. This is one of those books that has a wide range of audience. The boys and girls in this book are so real that you might wish they would be at your school. Isn't it amazing how one person can make a difference. Isn't it interesting how small changes can make a big difference.

       * 2017 Rebecca Caudill Award Nominee*


Friday, April 22, 2016

Summerlost by Ally Condie

SummerlostIt has been an entire year since the fatal accident that took Cedar's brother Ben and her father too. What's left is spending the summer in the town of Iron Creek.  No stranger to this town, a town that her mom grew up in, they must try to mend the broken pieces of their life.

One day Leo, a boy in costume, rides by Cedar's house and everything changes. soon Cedar is working with Leo at the Summerlost Theater Festival.  Their friendship grows as they piece together clue about a famous actress, whose short and tragic live is a mystery.

Must read it yourself to find out if they solve the mystery.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream by Tom Watson

Stick Dog Dreams of Ice CreamI was totally stoked when I saw that Stick Dog had not one but two new adventures.  The first one is all about ice cream.  Stick Dog, Mutt, Stripes, Karen and Poo-Poo are all back again but this time they aren't as much hungry as they are thirsty.  It is super hot outside and they are trying to find a way to cool down.  The gang discovers a sprinkler and that gives them a small cool down and some valuable water to drink but it's not enough.  The weather conditions are down right arid!  All of a sudden, Stick Dog hears music and they go and investigate the source.  They discover some foreign substance that is both a liquid and a solid (see parents - the book is education.  It talks about states of matter).  Anyways, the dogs lick up the puddles of ice cream that has dripped from peoples cones and have discovered they adore ice cream.  The gang (all right, Stick Dog) comes up with a plan to get some ice cream for the group.  Will Stick Dog and the others succeed in their mission?  You'll have to read this delicious adventure to find out.  It may leave you with a insatiable desire for ice cream.

The next adventure is entitled Stick Dog Tries to Take the Donuts.  This time the gang discovers the sugary sweet taste of donuts.  Plus Karen drinks some coffee to go along with the donuts and well, you'll just have to read what happens when she does.

I am amazed of the iron stomachs these dogs have!  They seem to be able to eat anything, including chocolate (which I had always heard was bad for dogs) and never get sick.  I just gobble these books up when they come in and the children I've shared them with do too.  So if your hungry for a good book, Chicago's own Tom Watson's Stick Dog  series is a delicious one you can sink your teeth into! Mangia!  Mangia!

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