Monday, November 29, 2010
By Scholastic Books
Includes technical notes from Han Solo as well as a detailed overview of each of the ship's main functions.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Publisher: KO Kids Books (September 15, 2010)
Reading Level: Ages 4 to 8 years
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Description from GoodReads:
Zero is a big round number. When she looks at herself, she just sees a hole right in her center. Every day she watches the other numbers line up to count: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 . . . !" "Those numbers have value. That's why they count," she thinks. But how could a number worth nothing become something? Zero feels empty inside. She watches One having fun with the other numbers. One has bold strokes and squared corners. Zero is big and round with no corners at all. "If I were like One, then I can count too," she thinks. So she pushes and pulls, stretches and straightens, forces and flattens herself, but in the end she realizes that she can only be Zero. As budding young readers learn about numbers and counting, they are also introduced to accepting different body types, developing social skills and character, and learning what it means to find value in yourself and in others.
In searching for books to use with young children to build number sense, I discovered Zero by Kathryn Otoshi. This is a companion to her book One. I was drawn in immediately by the slick black cover with silver brushstrokes spelling out the word zero. As I read through the story, I quickly realized that this was more than a numbers book. Otoshi had also created a story around self-esteem and worth. Zero is feeling inferior to the other numbers but eventually she learns that trying to imitate the appearance of the other numbers was not going to work. Zero eventually learns that she can pair up with numbers to make even bigger numbers such as 10, 20, 30, 40....100, 1000, etc.
I decided to explore how I could use this book with a classroom of kindergartners. With the book as inspiration, I played with developing three activities that supported their ability to play with both single digit numbers and counting by 10's. And then in honor of "Zero the Hero" (a regularly celebrated day within our kindergarten classrooms for every 10th day), we tried out the activities. The children loved hearing the story. The staff and I divided the children into smaller groups and rotated them through the hands-on lessons. Children were engaged and eager to learn and had a blast. This would definitely be one book that we would keep as part of our books to support math and learning.
Thank you Kathryn Otoshi and your book, Zero. It was the perfect compliment to our Zero the Hero Day.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Publisher: Amulet Books (April 1, 2010)
Reading Level: Ages 9 to 12
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Description from GoodReads:
In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel.
From the time I first purchased this book, I have had a hard time keeping my hands on it. First my niece took my copy and read it, and then one of my teacher's son swiped it from my office. Even when I purchased a second copy, it seemed that more students kept wanting to borrow it. This is a great sign for the book, but it wasn't boding well for my getting to read it. When one of my copies came finally came back, I resorted to hiding it so I could finally read it myself.
In The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Tommy is determined to figure out if Dwight is pulling a fast one on all his classmates or if his created puppet has the wisdom and insight of Yoda. Tommy is your typical sixth grader with the regular concerns about schoolwork, and whether the girl he likes actually likes him back. Dwight is a bit of an outsider or oddball among this group of students and somewhat strange. Most would say he isn't bright enough to actually dispense Yoda like advice? Should the others take his advice or stay far away?
The story unfolds as a collection of first-hand experiences that the students have had with Dwight and his Origami Yoda puppet. These snippets are sprinkled with doodles/caricatures of the students and side comments from Harvey (another student who doesn't believe in Origami Yoda). What unfolds is a series of situations that are plain hysterical. It truly does seem that Origami Yoda is wiser than his creator but will Tommy listen to the advice and ask Sarah to dance?
The short chapters, the funny scenarios, and the doodles all make for an attractive read. I was amazed how many of my independent 2nd graders readers actually devoured this book quickly and found it fascinating. My 4th to 6th graders grasped it on a totally different level but found it equally engaging. This is one of my top middle grade reads of 2010 and makes for a great gift.
Who would I recommend this to: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a great next step for fans of The Diary of A Wimpy Kid or Big Nate.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
With pop-art illustrations, a tongue-in-cheek tone, and a riot of detail, kids learn all the important aspects of Groundhog Day. And where better to learn it than Groundhog Weather School!
Professor Groundhog opens a school so groundhogs can learn to accurately forecast the weather each February. Following along with the amusing cast of students, kids are drawn in by the thoroughly engaging tale while they learn fun facts about different animals (groundhogs in particular), seasons, weather, and predicting the weather. With funny asides and a comic-style approach to the illustrations, this informational story presents a fresh look at Groundhog Day through the eyes of the animals who live it each year.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Released on: January 2011
Ages: 6 to 9
Rating: 5 stars - I highly recommend this book!
Synopsis (from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt): In this sixth installment in the Just Grace series, Grace and Mimi have a secret . . . Mimi is going to be a big sister. Then when Lily, a visiting four year old, turns into the Terrible Tutu, Grace can't escape her, and Mimi can't wait to be with her. Using all her empathy powers Grace shows Lily and Mimi the creative path towards a new friendship.
My daughters and I adore Grace and we were so glad that there's a new installment out.
Grace is so very true to herself and has a funny, sweet approach to life's problems. The diary format and the illustrations make the format easy and fun to read. The lesson within is one that I, as an adult, can be reminded of on occassion -- one of the value of friendship and family.
If you have a reader who loves Junie B. Jones, Clementine or Judy Moody, make sure you pick up the Just Grace books for them.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Adapted from the Book by: Antione de Saint-Exupery
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Company
Released On: October 18, 2010
Ages: 10 and up
Rating: 4.5 stars - I really liked this book. Go pick it up.
Synopsis (from Houghton Mifflin's website): For over sixty-five years Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince has captured the hearts and minds of its readers. The whimsical story with a fairy tale touch has sold over 80 million copies in 230 languages. This exciting graphic adaptation features beautiful, new artwork by Joann Sfar. Hand-chosen by Saint-Exupéry's French publishers for his literary style and sensitivity to the original, Sfar has endeavored to recreate this beloved story, both honoring the original and stretching it to new heights. A vibrant, visual gift for longtime fans and those experiencing the story for the first time.
Joann Sfar is a "force of nature" according to FirstSecondBooks.com and he has produced over 100 graphic novels since the early 1990s. He's just the perfect illustrator for a beloved book like The Little Prince. I shared this book with my 11-year-old son and for me it was a wonderful way to re-live a much loved story from my tween years.
A classic story like The Little Prince takes on new meaning when you read it as an adult. You understand the subtle message of how we, as adults, need to hold on to those little magical pieces of childhood that make us still wonder at the world around us. Sfar's illustrations bring a freshness to the story and make it more modern and very accessible to this generation of young readers.
If you know a reluctant reader, I would highly recommend this book for them or for youself. So go on, sit down with a cup of tea and flip through this vividly illustrated graphic novel and remind yourself that we do need to look at the world through a child's eyes once again.
Friday, November 19, 2010
She misses all appointments, never catches the train on time, and arrives at the theater either one week early or three days late.
She is related to Cinderella who was so absentminded that she completely forgot that her carriage would transform into a pumpkin and her dress into rags when the clock struck midnight.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
WOW, I'm totally late on posting our winner of the SIGNED copy of The Magnificent 12, from Harper Collins Childrens. Our winner is....
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Despite the urging of her family and the teasing of her friends, Lulu just would not give up her thumb-sucking habit. That is, until one day . . . when Lulu made up her mind to stop. And to help herself and thumb suckers all over the world, Lulu developed a program—one with steps. Twelve steps, to be exact. Join Lulu in her quest to kick the habit as she goes through the steps in this funny and insightful picture book.
Told in a light-hearted manner and filled with good humor about a universal and important concern, Thumb Love will be embraced by parents and caregivers alike. This is not an issue book but a story that will resonate with anyone who is—or was—a kid (quoted from Goodreads).
Sunday, November 14, 2010
* Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert,
* Where The Buffaloes Begin by Olaf Baker, Drawings by Stephen Gammell
* My First 100 Words, A Picture Word Book
* Animal Orchestra, A Counting Book by Scott Gustafson, Illustrated by Scott Gustafson
* M is for Maple Syrup, A Vermont Alphabet by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds, Illustrated by Ginny Joyner
* M is for Majesty, A National Parks Alphabet by David Domeniconi, Illustrated by Pam Carroll
* Z is for Zamboni, A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier, Illustrated by Melanie Rose
* J is for Jump Shot, A Basketball Alphabet by Mike Ulmer, Illustrated by Mark Braught
* A is for America, An American Alphabet by Devin Scillian, Illustrated by Pam Carroll
* Star Wars (Lego) The Visual Dictionary
* Star Wars The Clone Wars 3-D *not pictured*
* Avalon High by Meg Cabot
* Narnia I Can Read Books
What goodies did you receive this week?
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
From the most trusted name in learning comes Little Scholastic, a developmental publishing program that introduces reading to babies and toddlers ages birth to three years. Each book features rhyming, repetitive, or predictable text, interactive components, and familiar subjects—all formatted to delight babies, toddlers, and parents. Visit www.littlescholastic.com for expert advice and articles, parenting tips, book information, and more.