Monday, July 30, 2012

What Are You Reading? Monday

Thoughts ... all reviews in limited weekly posts (like this one?) or lots of shorter posts throughout the week? I see pros/cons to both. Easier to search on separate posts. Slightly overwhelming on multiple posts. Though once school starts I won't have as much time to read. :/

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now… who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!

Our Kid Lit to YA version is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.
GREAT IDEA! Check out all of the What Are You Reading? participants for title ideas.

Dog Loves DrawingDog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh ... Dog is back. And he gets to go on a fun adventure!

This could be a fun introduction to "writing" for little ones who don't quite have the letter formation/spelling/handwriting skills to express the stories their heads can create. They may not be able to write the word "train" but they can try drawing one. Practice expressing their stories whatever way they can express them will give them the confidence and skills to transfer over to writing when the time comes.

The book could also be used in a lesson with the kids who can already write. When Dog isn't quite sure what to draw in his new sketchbook? He gets some great advice.

Must go pre-order this one right now. :]

Oh, No!Oh, No! by Candace Fleming
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one begs to be read aloud to an audience who will delight in repeating the "Oh no!"s over and over. I can hear them already

Plus I love the illustrations. My favorite is ... I think it's a lemur? I'm no animal expert but her name is Loris.

Middle Grade
Zita the SpacegirlZita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am curious to read more of Zita's adventures.
And I like the friends she makes along the way.

The City of Ember: The Graphic NovelThe City of Ember: The Graphic Novel by Jeanne DuPrau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

SQUEAL! Got to see a preview of this one.

The good ... the graphic novel style? It's totally growing on me. The artwork in this one is COOL. Managed to totally convey the sense of place without giving everything away.

The not quite as good ... for the sake of space (I would guess) some parts of the story were abbreviated. Now, if you hadn't read the original you may not even notice it. But if you HAVE read it ... I kind of felt like it left the pacing and FEEL of the story a little wanting. Examples include how fast they decipher the clues in the note. Lizzie's friendship with Looper. (Is it just me or is it so quick here it's a little untoward?) Lina telling Doon about her grandmother.

To me? It's kind of like the difference between a movie and the book. Both are different art forms and have strengths and weaknesses. So your best bet? ENJOY BOTH.

Summer of the Gypsy MothsSummer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a beautiful little story. Very well written and very different from Clementine (which is the author's work I was previously most familiar with.

Just ... sad. So very sad along the way.

One Year in Coal HarborOne Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this book was HILARIOUS in some places. I haven't read Everything on a Waffle but I have read some of her other books and she just does quirky and funny turns of phrase so well.

So ... rating for me? Four stars. I started taking some screen shots in Skitch (since you can't bookmark or make notes electronic advanced reading copies, which is how I was reading it) of the funniest lines. I was going to quote a couple of them here.

But there were so many! And having to retype everything ... no. I'll just say funny and share one. The scene where the two people are over having dinner and it is not going so well? Some of them start talking just to fill the silence. "Uncle Jack alone retained his savoir faire as if he were completely at home with people who would really be better off heavily sedated" (p 29 in the advance copy). And do NOT miss the town meeting which was, sadly, a "pastryless event" (p 118).

BUT ...
I really can't think of an elementary student to share this with. I've tried to share some of her books in our collection but haven't ever really found the student that connected with them. Who is the intended audience? The main character is twelve. Do middle school students like her writing? In terms of kid appeal a three.

The ClassroomThe Classroom by Robin Mellom
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked Trevor. The slightly nerdy total worrier is a bit overdone but that's OK. We like underdogs, don't we?

This book is set in seventh grade (which is the first year of middle school in this setting) and his best friend Libby decides they need to expand their friend horizons and hang out with other people. They will no longer be friend friends Oh. And they each have to get a date to the dance on the first day of school.

Molly? I was not quite as fond of Molly. Though you have to feel a little bad for her seeking attention like she does.

The doodles and stage directions (for some reason this is set up as a documentary ... which I don't really think was necessary but it wasn't a terrible choice, either) were kind of fun.

Wilson and Marty were two of my favorite characters.

The Candy Shop WarThe Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lots of imagination in this one. Fun little twists and turns and candy elements. Likable characters.

Just couldn't quite ever get over 1)kids breaking the rule DON'T TAKE CANDY FROM STRANGERS; 2)not quite getting Dart's role in the whole thing; and 3)the time travel explanation made my head hurt!

The White City (The Clockwork Dark #3)The White City by John Claude Bemis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A nice finish to the trilogy. Some unexpected parts ... some for the good and others less so. Still. For a random pick off the shelves I'm satisfied!

Solitary (Escape From Furnace, #2)Solitary by Alexander Gordon Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

OK. I'm starting to get annoyed now.


And still a little grossed out. It's a morbid curiosity, for sure.

Death Sentence (Escape From Furnace, #3)Death Sentence by Alexander Gordon Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I stayed up Way. Too. Late. last night reading (well ... let's be honest ... skimming parts of) this one.

Something about the story keeps me fascinated. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN. I want an at least semi-happy ending.

But there are still some gory scenes that I skip over. Ugh. And I'm still a bit frustrated--is it a spoiler if we already know there are at least two more books to say there is still NO CLOSURE?

Curious as to what this author is like in "real" life. This is one messed up story.

But you still keep rooting for the main characters. They made some BIG mistakes. But not to the point where they ever even remotely deserve what they are getting. You want the bad guys to pay for what they've done. In a court of law. Would a court of law ever be able to properly punish the warden? And ... the blacksuits? What about them?

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

I'm going to have to think about this one and get back to you. I liked some things about it. I didn't like a lot of things about it.

Still Plugging Away

In Pictures and in Words: Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration StudyIn Pictures and in Words: Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration Study by Katie Wood Ray

So interesting. Help teach little ones to WRITE by teaching them about illustration. Love it!

I See What You Mean: Visual Literacy K-8I See What You Mean: Visual Literacy K-8 by Steve Moline

Teaching kiddos to take their info and make it visual. I really do want to incorporate more of this but I have to think it through myself. I am a word person. Not a really a graph or timeline person. Maybe a diagram.

Choice WordsChoice Words by Peter H. Johnston

How we talk to kids. Yes! It matters.

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

Listening to the audiobook (cause COME ON IT'S WESLEY CRUSHER aka Wil Wheaton). Could do without some of the language in it but besides that ... COOL.

Next Up

The Last Echo
Haunting of Apartment 101
The Great Unexpected
however many Babymouse and Lunch Ladys I can get my hands on (almost done but not quite!)
perhaps a visit to B&N for some picture books?


PS Can you tell I am excited? Get them here.

PSPS And a reminder!

Go here for more info on my presentation and here for all of the webinars. You will have to give them your email so sometimes (shh!) I just delete messages they send without reading them. And sometimes I read them and they offer useful information. It's up to you!


  1. Oh my, I loved Unspoken. I thought the characters were fabulous. I can see how it wouldn't be for everybody, though. Especially that ending.

  2. Reading your comments on One Year in Coal Harbor was deja vu for me. I haven't read that one, but I HAVE read Everything on a Waffle, and had the same experience. I couldn't really decide if I liked it or not, and the book never really left my classroom shelves. Or, maybe it just never found the right reader :)


  3. Ooh! Love those sneakers! Too cute!

    Lots of great books that you wrapped up. Dog Loves Drawing looks to cute. Have you read One For the Murphys? Its on deck for me, so I suspect I'll need to emotionally wait to read The Summer of the Gypsy Moths . . . I can't wait to get my hands on Oh, No!


  4. Choice Words completely changed the way I talked to children. It's a gem of a book!

  5. I didn't realize The City of Ember had a graphic novel version. I definitely need to check that out!

  6. Sad you didn't like Zita more, I love her!
    Need to get my hands on the Ember GN and thank you for reminding me that I need to read more Korvath.

    Happy reading this week! :)

  7. I'm excited about that GN of City of Ember! LOVE the shoes- I have ones- If you ran the circus... :)

  8. Oh my gosh, you have read a lot!!! And then I read a lot when I read your post. So now I can't remember any of it unless I scroll back up. :) I'm being lazy right now at 11 pm!

    On an offnote- the only sad thing about school starting is what you mentioned above-not being able to read as much. Boo! Other than that I can't wait!! :) What about you?