Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Break

It's here! Winter break is here! It's been a wonderful school year so far, but I must say that I am looking and feeling a little ragged around the edges and could definitely use some r&r. I won't be online much over the break, but I thought I'd join this challenge at least in spirit because I do plan on reading a ton over these next two weeks.

Books that I have checked out from the library:
Bright young things /
by Godbersen, Anna.

Catching fire /
by Collins, Suzanne.

The exiled queen /
by Chima, Cinda Williams.

Extraordinary /
by Werlin, Nancy.

How to say goodbye in Robot /
by Standiford, Natalie.

The hunger games /
by Collins, Suzanne.

The Mockingbirds /
by Whitney, Daisy.

Nightshade /
by Cremer, Andrea R.

Revolution /
by Donnelly, Jennifer.

The sky is everywhere /
by Nelson, Jandy.

You all know how long I've been meaning to re-read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Because I still have a borrowed copy of Mockingjay, well, mocking me, in fact. So, those three are top priority.The rest will be left up to my moods. :)

Have a splendiferous holiday season! (Did you catch that kidlit reference?) See you next year...


Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Blogger Holiday Swap!

Can I just say that this has been the best Monday off of work ever? Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but oh boy, did I have a lot of housekeeping to do today! While I was busy making flight & hotel reservations, my mailman happened to knock on my door and drop off this box of holiday goodness. :)

Thank you to Smash from Smash Attack Reads! for all of these goodies!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Filling in the gaps

During my clicky clicks from blog to blog over the weekend, I stumbled upon this fantastic idea.

Choose 100 books. Books to "fill in the gaps" of your personal literary canon. Books that most people have already read (or perhaps just say they have), and you have not. Books that you truly have been meaning to read but have avoided because of their daunting length or exalted literary status or an array of other excuses that just will not do. Books that every person "should" read.

Of course, I was inspired. This is exactly what I need! Sure, GoodReads is fine and well for keeping track of newly released books that I want to read right now, but what about all the others that I just never get around to? So, I decided to make my own list. And I will slowly fill that gap, one book at a time.

According to Vasilly and Moonrat, the challenge is supposed to last 5 years from the start date. Ha! There's not a chance in the world that I can read these hundred books in merely 5 years, considering the amount of kidlit and YA reading I do. Even giving myself 10 years would still mean that I'd have to finish 10 books a year, which is a little less than a book a month, which again, is not realistic given my reading habits. What to do, what to do? I'm honestly not much for long-term planning, so this is very new territory for me.

My goal: I don't yet have 100 books on my list - I'm about halfway there. But since it's such a long challenge, I'm okay with that, as I'll be continuously adding books to it. I do plan to check in every year around this time, the winter holidays, to assess my progress. If I read a handful of these books in one year, I think I'll be satisfied with that.

I'd love to know if anyone else is doing something similar. Or if there is a group out there committed to doing this challenge and encouraging each other along the way. The book blogosphere is ginormous - it's sometimes hard to figure out who's reading what and what challenges are hot. If I so obviously missed the "host" of this one, let me know, please!

Without further ado, my list of books to fill in my personal reading gaps:

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

White Noise by Don DeLillo
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston


The American by Henry James
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Beloved by Toni Morrison

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Nineteen Eight Four by George Orwell

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak


Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
Housekeeping by Marilyn Robinson

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolsoy
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy


Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 



We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

What do you think? Am I crazy? Are there any other "classic"-type books you'd recommend?


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
published October 2010 by Random House
272 pages (hardcover), YA

Dash hates Christmas. He can't stand the throngs of bipolar people who'll be spreading yuletide joy one minute and cursing you in a certain department store the next. He's surly and snarly, but he's a teenage boy, so he's partially entitled. Lily, on the other hand, is full of Christmas spirit, baking the most delicious and inventive holiday cookies and creating her own caroling troupe. Both teens are on their own for Christmas this year, which inevitably leads them to one another. When Lily's brother devises a plan to get Lily's goody-two-shoes bum out of the house and into the real world for some adventure and excitement, what Dash finds from these two is a red notebook in his favorite bookstore, daring him to do the same. So begins the correspondence between Dash & Lily.

I'll get the unfair comparison out of the way first - I'm a big fan of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist as well as Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List, so I knew that I would enjoy this book as well. Levithan and Cohn write alternating chapters in each of these books, and they're quite good at it. Remember when I said that I love author collaborations? I really, really do. I feel like there's more character development there somehow, but I suppose it's just because there are two narrators and the reader gets to know them both fairly well. At any rate, Dash & Lily are just as memorable as the previous, and I'm rather happy for it.

Coincidentally, here's my favorite quote from Dash:
I was attempting to write the story of my life. It wasn't so much about plot. It was much more about character (p.198).
So, the story is about a boy and a girl who do not know each other in person but only through the dares they write to each other in this red notebook. From the bookstore to Santa's lap to a wax museum and much more, these two teens not only dare each other to do silly and annoying things but they also open up and share parts of themselves in their writing. Do I want to go buy a red notebook and try the same? You bet! It's fun and a little reckless - the idea is hopelessly romantic and does require you to suspend disbelief in order to properly enjoy it.

As with any author pairing, I was curious to see which character I would prefer. It took me a little while to decide, but I think Dash is my guy. Although Lily's sweet and innocent self was adorable, I had just a bit of trouble reconciling how sheltered she was in New York City. Not to say that everyone in the city is harsh and jaded - well, maybe I am a little. I'm not from there, so what do I know? But for that reason, Dash made more sense to me. And I'll be honest, I totally would have had a crush on him in high school. His unabashedly nerdy love affair with words is hot.

Though this book was told in two voices, there were quite a few supporting characters that stood out too. Dash's best friend Boomer, his ex-girlfriend Sofia, Lily's brother Langston, her great aunt "Mrs. Basil E," her cousin Mark and a few others. Through their eyes, the reader learns more about Dash & Lily, which does say something about a person's character, no pun intended.

So, there it is. Stick this entry into Wordle, and you'll get what I look for in a good novel: character. It's almost comical how many times I used that word. But that's what I enjoyed most about this book, even though the dares were fun too. It's definitely an appropriate read for this time of year - I appreciated it during our first snow! Go pick it up and pass it along to a teen over the holidays. They might not admit it, but they will definitely eat it up.

Three purple crayons for an enjoyable story with excellent characters.

Around the blogosphere:
Eating YA Books ; Guys Lit Wire ; Pure Imagination ; Chick Lit Reviews ; Book Aunt


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Reading Recap

Goals, Goals, Goals
I was right - not much time for reading this month. I had trouble choosing which novel to read first, so I didn't read any, well all but one. I squeezed one by Simone Elkeles in because I was so enamored with her presentation at ISLMA. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but I just didn't have the brain capacity for it. And The Hunger Games trilogy? Sitting on my coffee table. Calling to me. Begging, pleading, hoping that I'll re-read and read them. I will. Really. 

What I Read & Why 
Because being a good blogger means following through on those reviews
BookBox: embed book widget, share book list
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
The Adventures of Ook and Gluk by Dav Piley
Zoey Zeta and the Sisters of Power by Robert Simon 

Because I bought a boat load of picture books for my library with a generous grant
BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

Because part of my job lets me read to and for kiddos
BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

Because I didn't spend very much time at the public library this month
BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

December Dreams 
So, that's a lot of picture books in November. I need more YA in my life. Please, December, give me more time and energy to read novels. I miss it! I won't even begin to name what books are sitting in various piles around my house because I'll just be sad in January to see all those I did not read. Let's just say that I'll read more than I did this month! The snow will force me to cozy up to some good books, right?


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Adventures of Ook and Gluk + Scholastic Giveaway

The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future by Dav Pilkey
published August 2010 by Scholastic
176 pages (hardcover), middle grade graphic novel
*copy received from publisher

Meet Ook and Gluk, best caveman friends who are always falling into adventures. They like playing the part of brave heroes, saving a dinosaur from sinking into quicksand, a cavewoman from an unappealing marriage to the Chief, and the whole of civilization from a man out to destroy the world to make a buck.

All I have to say is - kids are going to eat this book up. They'll rip it up, for sure. There are Flip-O-Rama pages in this book, which create seemingly animated scenes, that are destined to be torn to shreds. I'll be taping up those pages in advance.

As for the story, I have many mixed feelings. Obviously, the spelling irks me. Perhaps it's meant to be easy to read, to mimic kids' invented spellings, or whatever - I just don't think it has a place in published works. It gives students the idea that spelling really doesn't matter, and while I'd love to hop on that bandwagon, it's not exactly socially acceptable. But I digress.

What I absolutely loved about this book can be found in the following pages:
You see those arrows on page 9? I love them. Towards the beginning of the book, there were a few arrows to direct the reader to follow the story in the correct sequence. This is much appreciated because contrary to popular belief, not everyone just knows how to read comics.

I also liked the friendship between Ook and Gluk and their ease of making new friends. They had good hearts and wanted to help people, which is nice. But the violence! And the language! A bit too much name-calling for my taste - and I say this because I hear it every day in school, and I can't stand it. Another nasty habit I'd not like reinforced, thanks. The violence is minor, I suppose, but not really, because a kick or a punch is still violence, and again, I don't want to see it in school. But that's just my perspective. Maybe kids are just desensitized to it and won't even notice it the way I did (which I also think is sad, by the way), I don't know.

Anyhow, it seems like this book brought out a whole lot of social commentary in me, and I don't mean to sound so old and cranky. Know that kids will like it and will want more of it. And I do think there was a balance of what I liked and didn't like in it, so I'd certainly put it in one of my student's hands and hope for the best!

Three purple crayons from me - I suspect five from the kiddos. :)

But that's not all! Along with sending me a shiny new copy of Ook & Gluk to review, they are also hosting a ginormous holiday giveaway. I'm sure you've seen these delectable prize packs among other kidlit blogs (I know I have!), so here I am offering you yet another chance to win this boatload of great holiday reads. Here's what Scholastic has to say about it:

Give the gift of reading to your child this holiday season! Scholastic books make the perfect stocking stuffer for any child on your list.
We have a HUGE prize pack filled with the most popular children’s books in the marketplace to offer one lucky reader! Titles include CAPTAIN SKY BLUE, IT’S CHRISTMAS DAVID, OOK and GLUK as well as TONY BALONEY, ODIOUS OGRE and I SPY CHRISTMAS A CHRISTMAS TREE!
Seriously, check out those books! To enter, you must have a U.S. mailing address. And that's about it. 

Fill out the form below for a chance to win! Contest ends Wednesday, December 8, 2010. 


Sunday, November 28, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

Kristi of The Story Siren is hosting the third annual 2011 Debut Author Challenge, which highlights new authors who write middle grade or young adult books. The challenge is simple - read 12 books by a debut author in 2011. Kristi has spreadsheets and lists a-plenty on her blog (and on Goodreads), so finding books and authors should be a cinch. The hard part is narrowing those choices down!

2011 Debut Author Challenge participant information:
  • The objective of the DAC is to read at least twelve novels from Young Adult or Middle Grade Authors. While twelve is the minimum there is no maximum limit! I encourage readers who can read more than twelve to do so!
  • Anyone can join. You don't have to be a blogger, and you don't have to live in the United States. 
  • You do not have to have an blog written in English to participate. 
  • You can join at anytime. The challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.
I'm going to attempt this challenge this coming year because I was secretly jealous of those participating in it this year. I was afraid of the time commitment, but honestly, I bet I've read at least five 2010 debuts this year without even realizing it! With a little concerted effort, I know I can manage twelve. :) This will be a good way for me to stay on top of the YA scene too, since the bulk of my YA reading lately has been catching up on series or making sure I read the new one from [insert beloved author here]. As much as I love my K-5 kiddos, the time I spend with them and reading books for them leaves me wishing for and wanting more YA lit.

Here's a list of 2011 debuts that I'm contemplating reading. I'll update it throughout the year to reflect what I've actually read.

And what did I actually read? It's shameful, really. I only managed to read 3 debut novels this year. But many are still on my to-read list! The year flew by, what can I say?

I read...

XVI by Julia Karr (review)

Across the Universe by Beth Revis (review)

Divergent by Veronica Roth (review)

I think I'll join the challenge again in 2012 and make a concerted effort to read more than 3 debuts!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Haul-idays!

Chronicle Books is hosting quite the fantastic contest for the holidays - they're giving away $500 worth of books to one lucky blogger and one lucky commenter. How absolutely wonderful!

So, of course I chose the books below for my library. A few of them I will most certainly purchase (like Chicken Big!) if I don't win, but the majority will just have to wait for another day and time when money grows on trees in library courtyards. :) It's a pleasant dream, isn't it? Wish me and my students luck!

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

ETA: After visiting some other blogs entering the contest, I noticed that there's a handy Wishlist on Chronicle Books' website that you can use. Not that I spent a ridiculous amount of time composing my bookboxes or anything. Or even more time going back to create a Wishlist. Okay, maybe I did. Here's my Wishlist, including 2 more books because I was a little under $500. Don't make my mistake! Create a Wishlist! Or if you're too lazy and actually like the books I chose, just comment here and you're entered.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
published December 2008 by Walker & Co
368 pages (paperback), YA

We all know the story - good girl falls for bad boy. She's popular, rich and college-bound, the envy of all her friends. He's in a gang, living on the poor side of the tracks, and hoping to at least graduate high school. Inevitably, the two must spend their school days together as chemistry lab partners. On their first day, they're forced to introduce each other to the class:

"This is Alejandro Fuentes. When he wasn't hanging out on street corners and harassing innocent people this summer, he toured the inside of jails around the city, if you know what I mean. His secret desire is to go to college and become a chemistry teacher, like you, Mrs. Peterson."

Brittany flashes  me a triumphant smile, thinking she's won this round. Guess again, gringa.

"This is Brittany Ellis," I say, all eyes now focused on me. "This summer she went to the mall, bought new clothes so she could expand her wardrobe, and spent her daddy's money on plastic surgery to enhance her, ahem, assets. Her secret desire is to date a Mexicano before she graduates."
I don't read a whole lot of realistic fiction or romance for that matter, but I quite enjoyed this one. Perhaps it's because I saw Simone Elkeles speak at ISLMA last month, and she was just so bubbly and hilarious. Perhaps because the trailer for this book is genius and fall-off-your-chair funny. Or maybe because I read it over a long weekend traveling to visit a friend. It made for great airport and plane reading.

One thing Simone mentioned when she talked about her writing career is that she was never great at school and she never saw herself as a writer or even reader. But a trip to the public library and a handful of romances later changed her mind. She loves the happy ending that all romances promise and deliver, and that's what she tried to do with this book. Personally, I could have done without the happy ending, especially in a YA romance, but I liked the rest of the story enough to be okay with it. Brittany and Alex are three-dimensional characters, with complicated family stories and even more complicated friendships, with thoughts and feelings so at odds with each other that they're constantly fighting and trying to figure out what's right. Simone's passion and general emo qualities shine in this book. Honestly, that's what I love most about teens and books for teens - the raw emotion and incessant need to question everything.

So, four purple crayons for a fantastic if predictable story. I smiled and laughed and wanted to hug someone when I was finished reading it. :)


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


So, I sort of became an aunt last night. I say sort of because my sister surely didn't have a baby, but my cousin-in-law did - and our families are so close that I think aunt is a fitting title. Anyhow, I need help choosing books for this little one!

I have a hard enough time finding books for kindergartners that I am just completely clueless when it comes to baby books. I know that board books are in, especially textured ones. Simple pictures. Not a lot of text. I guess? I really don't know.

Please offer your suggestions of favorite books for babies!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Zoey Zeta and the Sisters of Power by Robert Simon

Zoey Zeta and the Sisters of Power: Family Secrets written by Robert Simon, illustrated by Tomomi Sarafov
published April 2010 by Zeta Comics
unpaged (paperback), children's graphic novel
*received from publisher

In this first story of Zoey Zeta and the Sisters of Power, Zoey the scientific genius, middle sister Ella the indestructible, and youngest sister Lexi the supersonic are getting ready for an activity-filled summer vacation when evil villain Dr. Impossible thwarts their plans and puts the country-most importantly kids and their parents-on lockdown. But these girls are superheroes; well, they will be, at least, once they come up with a name and a plan to stop Dr. Impossible.

I quite enjoyed this full-color graphic novel aimed at elementary girls who like superheroes too. The dialogue is smart, as shown by one of my favorite lines, "Parents are cautioned not to weep openly or uncontrollably in front of their children," (in reference to Dr. Impossible taking control of the media world). Because it's aimed at a young audience, I was afraid that the text may be too difficult for my students especially, but I don't think that's the case. Where the language is a bit more sophisticated, the illustrations clearly support it so that the story is not lost. The panels are easy to navigate and the colors just pop right off the page. I'm intrigued by the story, but I'm disappointed that it's separated into three parts. It was over before I really got into it.

Here's a part of the letter I received from the author/publisher about the creation of this comic:
I created Zeta Comics to address the lack of science fiction for young girls. You see, fairies are great but they're not cool. Not unless they're packing molecular disintegrators. Girls need more imaginative, science and engineering based fiction and fun. That's where Zeta Comics is positioning its stories and characters. Get ready for an action-packed adventure starring three powerful little girls with big powers, big attitudes and big adventures.
I'm just going to pretend he didn't bad-mouth fairies there. Because you all know my fascination and love for fairies. Mmhmm.

Anyhow, I plan on sharing this book with my students, and we'll see how it goes! From me, it gets three purple crayons. Solid but too short.


Monday, November 1, 2010

October Reading Recap

Did I read more for myself? Yep, I think so. Could always read more, though. Especially since the bedside stack has now split into two for fear of falling over. Oy. Public library, how I appreciate your 4-week loan period and generous renewals. I pretty much decide what I'm going to read based on what book cannot be renewed because it's requested by someone else. Tonight's selection is Blameless because it's due on Wednesday!

What I Read and Why 
Because reading for me makes me happy 
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
To the Nines by Janet Evanovich
The Body at the Tower (The Agency #2) by Y.S. Lee
A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Because the public library buys EVERYTHING
What is Money, Anyway? by Jennifer Larson
A Fairy-Tale Fall by Apple Jordan
The Earth Book by Todd Parr
Flora's Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall
Thanks a Lot, Emily Post! by Jennifer Larue Huget

Because Halloween has so much read-aloud potential
Pumpkin Town! by Katie McTy
Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligot
The Halloween Kid by Rhode Montijo
Hallowilloween by Calef Brown
The Monster Princess by D.J. MacHale

 Because they're nominated for the Monarch Award
Oh, Theodore! by Susan Katz
Help Me, Mr. Mutt! by Janet Stevens
Abe's Honest Words by Doreen Rappaport
Dog and Bear by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

 Because I bought them for my library
Lots of Spots by Lois Ehlert
Big Babies, Little Babies by DK Publishing

Did I really only blog three times in October? I need to get better at blogging quicker. These entries take me hours on end. Anyhow...

Clockwork Angel was by far my favorite. The first book in The Infernal Devices series, which is a prequel to The Mortal Instruments series, all books that I have loved. Tessa finds herself at the Institute in London after being imprisoned by demon sisters, with the new knowledge that she's a Downworlder with the unique talent of shape shifting. Woo! Need I say much more? :) 

Just read How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles this weekend because I went to one of her sessions at the Illinois School Library Media Association's annual conference on Friday. She was so full of spunk and spark that I immediately rushed to my mom's public library to get one of her books to read - this was the only one on the shelf. And I rather enjoyed it. I love her easy style - she absolutely writes how she speaks, and it works for her. Can't wait to read more from her!

Not much else to say that I haven't said here, here, or here

November Aspirations
Honestly, I'll be surprised if I get any reading done in November. So much to do! I said that I would revisit The Hunger Games and Catching Fire during Thanksgiving break so that I can finally read Mockingjay, but I don't know that I'll have much free time while visiting family. I do plan on reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because I just got it from the library after waiting months on their holds list. I'm not about to give it back without reading it! Also looking forward to Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld and The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima, both sequels to first books in a series. And I want to read everything Simone Elkeles has written because she's refreshingly honest, funny, a tad silly, and so full of life and emotion. OH! And Harry Potter 7, Part 1 comes out this month?! Goodness gracious, there's no way I'll have time to re-read it. Best I can hope for is to re-watch #6.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Big Babies, Little Babies

Big Babies, Little Babies
published April 2010 by DK Publishing
64 pages (hardcover), children's nonfiction

You and your kids will ooh and ahh and mostly aww your way through this book. I surely did! This collection of animal babies is all about the photographs. Each two-page spread features a different baby, including bears, dolphins, elephants, giraffes, penguins, monkeys, and much more. The photographs (a collection of stock images) drive the text in this book, with thought bubbles for the babies and captions that describe a small aspect of the baby's life.

The details in this book are what really sold me on it. And the organization. Each spread contains a large, bold, unique title with two or three sentences of description. The rest of the text is written in a smaller font size and serves as caption or thought bubble. Also, the spreads contain a dominant background color which is pulled from the images and also serves to outline the text and photo boxes. The page numbers wouldn't be complete without a paw print, webbed foot, or other stamp to match the  animal.

I have every intention of sharing this book with students in the library as a read-aloud. I probably won't read the whole book, or every single word on each page, but I will definitely hit some of the especially aww-worthy pages. This one might even work well using a document camera to project it on the board for enlarged images. Tie into teaching about how to read nonfiction text, what's a caption, text box, photograph, etc. Oh, the curricular connections are endless.

Check out more Nonfiction Monday posts at the round-up, hosted this week at Write About Now.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monster picture books

The Scariest Monster in the World written by Lee Weatherly, illustrated by Algy Craig Hall
published September 2009 by Boxer

This monster would be hugely scary if he didn't have one little dilemma - he has the hiccups. And the poor thing just doesn't know what to do about it! He tries everything he can think of, but there's one cure that he can't try on his own - scare the hiccups away! Looks like he'll need some help with this one...
Big Scary Monster by Thomas Docherty
published July 2010 by Candlewick

Big Scary Monster loves to play BOO! at the top of the mountain where the animals are small and afraid. But they've learned to hide from the monster, so he wanders down the mountain to find other animals to scare. Trouble is, the animals at the bottom of the mountain are rather large and like to play BOO! too. Frightened away, the monster heads back up the mountain in search of someone to play with. Lucky for him, the animals are understanding and know that he just needs a friend.

Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
published September 2005 by Hyperion

Is this everyone's favorite lovable monster book? It sure is mine! Leonardo is, you guessed it, a terrible monster. He's never been able to scare anyone. Until one day. He spies a weak-looking boy, and he finally works up the courage to do it. He scares the tuna salad right out of this boy! Success! But he's not feeling very good about himself. Indeed, he decides it might be better to befriend the boy instead of scare him.
Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott
published July 2010 by Walker & Co

This book has been making the blog rounds and for good reason. What a wonderful idea for a monster story! In a very matter-of-fact tone, we meet a boy who has inherited his father's profession, that of a barber. But the boy's shop is only open at nighttime, when the monsters come out, because, hey, monsters need haircuts too. The monsters are generally wary of humans but they know the boy well, so he's okay. Except that one night, it seems that a human stumbles in for a haircut... How will the monsters react?

The Monster Princess written by D.J. MacHale, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
published August 2010 by Simon & Schuster

Every little girl wishes she could be a princess, and monster little girls are no exception. Lala the gnome sets out for the castle and finds the princesses' room empty - oh, what luxury! She tries on dresses and jewels and stares at her pretty reflection in the mirror. But when the princesses discover a monster in their room, they are none too happy... until Lala shares how much she'd like to be a princess just like them. A sweet story with a "love yourself" message at the end.

Welcome to Monster Town by Ryan Heshka
published July 2010 by Henry Holt & Co

When the sun sets, it's time for the monster day to begin. Each page describes "a day in the life of..." - for example, "The ghost writers cover the news" and "King Kong climbs tall buildings as he makes them." Interesting premise and vivid illustrations, but I wished for more of a storyline.

Got any monster favorites of your own? Please share!

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