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Category Archives: Friendship

Book Review: A Weekend With Wendell

I like to review books I haven’t read but after having taught first grade for five years I have so many “old favorites” that I just have to include.  This is one of those books.  I am a huge fan of Kevin Henkes.  His illustrations are adorable, the stories are packed with fun and usually include a great “teachable moment” and topic for discussion (no wonder I loved to read them to my students). Wendell is a spunky little mouse with a lot of zest for life (a.k.a. rambunctious).  He comes to spend a weekend at Sophie’s house, however, he will only play games if he gets to make all of the rules.  When they play house, Sophie has to be the dog.  When they pretend to work in a bakery, Sophie has to be the sweet roll.  Wendell proceeds to wreak havoc for both Sophie and her parents and she can’t wait until he goes home.  After finger painting with his peanut butter and jelly and writing his name with toothpaste on the bathroom mirror, Sophie and Wendell decide to go outside and use the hose to clean up.  This time Sophie decides to make all the rules.  Will Sophie and Wendell ever learn how to get along?  A great book to read when problems arise between friends and discussing what it means to be a good friend and how to play well with others.

Title:  A weekend with Wendell

Author/Illustrator:  Kevin Henkes

Publisher:  Greenwillow Books

ISBN:  978-0688140243

 

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Book Review: Tinker and Tom and the Star Baby

An amazing artist that claims to have started drawing when he was two years old, David McPhail is a well known and loved illustrator/author.  His water colored illustrations and use of animal characters create his signature style and both are included in this wonderfully imaginative story about a boy, a bear and a star baby from outer space.  Tinker and Tom can’t sleep and while staring out at the stars spot a bright star that falls into the backyard.  When they go to investigate they find a baby star inside of a spaceship.  Tinker and Tom must work together to figure out a way to get Star Baby’s ship running and return the baby to its mother.  I love the idea of a baby star that actually looks and acts like a real baby.  Both the story and sweet illustrations evoke a warm feeling of childhood dreams and believing in the impossible.

Title:  Tinker and Tom and the star baby

Author/Illustrator:  David McPhail

Publisher:  Little Brown and Company

ISBN:  0-316-56349-8

 

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Book Review: Splish, Splash, Splat!

If you haven’t read any of Rob Scotton’s books about Splat the cat, they are a must read!  Splat is one of the most adorable cats I have ever seen (and this is coming from a dog only kind of gal).  Splat is dreaming of candy fish when he is (rudely) awoken by his mom insisting that he takes a bath.  Splat hates the bath, in fact, he hates water of any kind.  As the day progresses, Splat is increasingly filled with dread.  Spike is coming over for a play date and according to Splat, he is mean, calls Splat names and breaks all of his toys.  At school, Splat has to go swimming and he forgets to wear any swim trunks!  However, the end of the day finds Splat actually having fun in the pool and finding out that he has more in common with Spike than he realized.  This is an adorably sweet book and a great read for any little ones with a fear of water.

Title:  Splish, splash, splat!

Author/Illustrator:  Rob Scotton

Publisher:  Harper

ISBN:  978-0-06-197868-5

 
 

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Book Review: Poggle and the Treasure

ImageWhenever I read anything pirate related I can’t help but think of my friend’s adorable 4-year-old son.  He loves pirates and books and I think he may enjoy Poggle, the cutest dragon I’ve ever seen.  Poggle and his best friend Henry spend the day playing pirates on the beach when they discover treasure!  The mysterious treasure turns out to be an egg and Poggle and Henry must find a way to keep it warm in order to find out what hatches.  An extremely cute story line about two best friends with appealing illustrations.  I hope to read more from this relatively new author/illustrator.

Title:  Poggle and the treasure

Author/Illustrator:  Michael Evans

Publisher:  Egmont

ISBN:  978-1-4052-4811-2

 
 

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Book Review: When You Reach Me

This is one of those books that go on the “I can’t wait to read it aloud to my Little Lucy” list.  A middle grade novel that tells a tale of friendship.  The genre is hard to pin down, part science fiction and part mystery.  The setting is 1979 in the Upper West Side of New York city and a sixth grade girl, Miranda lives in a small apartment with her single mother who has just found out that she will be a contestant on the “$20,000 Pyramid” game show.  Miranda’s neighborhood is filled with interesting characters:  her best friend Sal, who lives in her building but suddenly stops talking to her after getting punched walking home from school, Jimmy, the deli shop owner that allows Miranda and her friends to work during their lunch hour and has a piggy bank full of $2.00 bills, and the crazy man on the corner who shouts out weird words and sleeps with his head under the mailbox.  Miranda is trying to piece together some odd notes that appear asking her to do things and telling her about events that haven’t happened yet.  Meanwhile she makes some new friends along the way.  This is a highly engaging novel, with the opportunity for great discussion and children will love trying to solve the puzzle and fit each piece together as they read.  It is not surprising that this book has won a Newbery Medal.

Title:  When you reach me

Author:  Rebecca Stead

Publisher:  Wendy Lamb Books

ISBN:  978-0-385-90664-7

 

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Book Review: Where Things Come Back

This debut novel by John Corey Whaley has been making its way onto all kinds of must read lists that I have come across.  It is the winner of both the Michael L. Printz award in young adult literature and the William C. Morris Debut award from the American Library Association. While it is a darkly comic book, Whaley does a remarkable job of creating realistic, multidimensional characters and weaving together different story lines to create a unique story about religion, family and friendship.

Cullen is a 17-year-old boy growing up in a small Arkansas town where somehow, despite best intentions, everyone seems to end up coming back, stuck in this small town.  Now even the supposed extinct Lazarus woodpecker has come back, but amidst the woodpecker frenzy Cullen’s 15-year-old brother goes missing and everyone is left wondering if he will ever be found and make his way back.

There was a sense of foreboding and suspense that propelled me through this book.  I enjoyed the sprinkling of book titles that Cullen dreams up and records throughout such as, “#78:  It Is Not a Sin to Kill a Woodpecker” and “#82:  Five A.M. Is for Lovers and Lawn Ornaments”.  I think young adults will identify with Cullen as he struggles with how to relate to others while wading through a family tragedy and growing up in a small town.  Like many others, I look forward to reading more by this new author.

Title:  Where things come back

Author:  John Corey Whaley

Publisher:  Atheneum Books for Young Readers

ISBN:  978-1-4424-1333-7

 

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Book Review: The Hunger Games

I actually read the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy two summers ago.  However, with the release of the movie tomorrow (I have tickets for a 10 a.m. showing!) I thought it the perfect time to promote this fantastic book!

In a futuristic world of North America, Katniss must fight to the death in order to survive the Hunger Games and provide her family and district with the food and money it desperately needs.  The annual Hunger Games, a televised event watched by all, are a punishment to the districts for a rebellion attempted years ago.  Now each year a boy and a girl from the twelve districts are chosen to compete by surviving in the wild in a gladiator-style fight.  Will Katniss survive on her own?  Will she be able to kill Peeta, the boy from her district who once saved her family from starving?  This book is a fast paced and filled with, not only suspense, but questions about political tyranny, love and friendship.

“The Hunger Games” is by far my favorite book in the trilogy, but I highly recommend reading all three books.  I have to admit one of my favorite aspects of this book is the enticing love triangle (also why I loved the Twilight Saga) that is set up between Katniss, Peeta and Gale.  I happened to read this book while in the middle of my graduate program for Library Science so I have an extensive amount of materials I created to accompany this book.  Check out my practicum website to find a week-long Hunger Games Program for Middle School, readers advisory, and a book talk accompanied by a promotional Glog.
Title:  The Hunger Games
Author:  Suzanne Collins
Publisher:  Scholastic
ISBN:  9780439023481
 

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