Monday August 20th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Participating in Kellee and Jen’s meme celebrating books read from picture books to young adult selections is such a pleasure. There is so much to learn in what everyone is reading and blogging about.

This week I read a number of fantastic picture books. I had a difficult time trying to narrow my favourites to the top five to keep this post to a reasonable size! But here they are – my top 5 picture books of the week:

Sector 7 by David Wiesner. I love Wiesner’s books but for some reason I had never read this one. When I found it at the library the other day, I was delighted. I am always using wordless books in the classroom  (I posted about using wordless books in the primary classroom here) and so love finding new titles to share. This book celebrates creativity, imagination and the endless possibilities in the clouds!

Footprints in the Snow by Mei Matsuoka was in a pile of books I had ordered from Scholastic last year and hadn’t yet labelled. When I read this book I was pleasantly surprised by the clever twists. First we meet Wolf who has been reading books about wolves and realizing that wolves are always portrayed as (yes, you know what’s coming) nasty, scary and greedy. He sets out to write his own book that depicts Mr. Nice Wolf acting in only lovely ways. He continuously meets animals that seem only to have met stereotypical awful wolves and they run from him. Finally a duck indulges Mr. Nice Wolf in a bit of a conversation and . . . Here’s the twist you might not have expected . . . I won’t spoil it! It’s worth finding a copy and having your own little chuckle as you read this book.

So I’ve decided that Sarah Stewart and David Small simply have not created enough picture books together. Very soon there is going to be a week where I can’t include a Stewart/Small title here and on that day, I will be very sad. This week I read The Library. All about book love and devotion. Nothing more needs to be said.

My next two favourites were sent to me in a box of “bookly delights” by a book loving friend.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce I absolutely adored this book – it fast became a favourite picture book. I love that it is so whimsical, the illustrations lure you in and you feel entangled with all of the books in the pictures. Amazing. But it also reads beautifully. I read it aloud to my two children and it was so smooth, so lyrical. Cannot wait to share this with my class this fall.

Cats’ Night out written by Caroline Stutson and illustrated by Jon Klassen. This was the first picture book that Klassen illustrated and it is so fun. I love the colours – all of the dark browns, blacks and shadows. Across each page dance cats. Cats with such serious smug expressions like they are saying, “We certainly don’t see you, dear reader,  up here doing the fox trot so elegantly in evening dresses or tuxedos.” The text is rhyming and one soon realizes that this is a counting book. Counting by twos! What fun and if you look carefully you can find numbers hidden in each illustration. A book that deserves multiple readings and begs to be shared with a friend to search for numbers, marvel at the pictures and reread the poetic text.

In other reading . . . .

I read Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. This is a mystery novel that is so much more. There is definitely a mystery which keeps it fast paced and highly energized. But wow, the characters! The other story lines going on! The idiosyncrasies of a small town and its inhabitants. The power of family no matter how it is defined. If this isn’t on your TBR list, add it!

I also read The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin. Loved Kevin Cornell‘s illustrations. There were lots of funny parts in this story but I worried that it might possibly too difficult for early readers (this is an early chapter book) to follow. Different chapters are told by different characters and I didn’t think it was always clear who was who. Maybe I’m wrong. I will see how some readers handle it this fall.

I also read Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet: The Cloud Searchers (Book Three) While I am always so impressed with the art work in Kibuishi’s Amulet books, all of the battle scenes are not my thing. But if it is your thing (my son adores these) these books are pretty amazing.

 I am still reading The Search for Wondla to my children and we started listening to The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Exciting!

10 thoughts on “Monday August 20th, 2012

  1. This is a wonderful list of books, & I especially like that I can probably find them all at the library! I just checked out The Library yesterday-looking forward to it! Three Times Lucky sounds so very good! Thanks for all the good reviews!

    • The Library is a wonderful title. And yes, Three Times Lucky is a must read. I am still smiling about parts of the story.

  2. I loved The Search for Wondla. Was excited to read the sequel this summer. The False Prince was awesome as well. My students love the Amulet series, I’m hoping for more soon. 🙂

    • My whole family is listening to The False Prince. It made the 90 minute wait at the border painless as everyone was so engrossed in the story. Thank goodness for audio books on road trips.

  3. Isn’t David Wiesner wonderful? His illustrations are so very detailed.

    The Library, Trouble with Chickens, and Fantastic Flying Books are all on my TBR list, but I haven’t gotten my hands on them yet. Soon, I hope!

  4. Hooray for Weisner! The Library is in my book bag this week from the library . . . I’m excited to read it. Stewart and Small are a lovely pair, aren’t they? I’m excited to see you liked Three Times Lucky. It totally sounds like a book my almost 11yo daughter would like. And over at my blog, you mentioned you did The False Prince as a family audiobook. I like the sound of the story, but wondering what it entails that has some people classifying it as YA. My youngest is 8yo . . . and we’ve done some of the earlier Harry Potter’s and The Emerald Atlas, so I’m guessing she’d like the storyline. What are your thoughts?

  5. Lorna My children are nine / almost ten (twins) and both adored Harry Potter – I read the entire series to them except for the last book which they each read by themselves. We are about a third of a way through The False Prince and so far it is very calm/except for one scene where there is a quick murder. The characters are older but there is a lot of humor so far – lots of laughs from the back seat. My guess is that she would enjoy it. We haven’t listened for a few days as we have been doing lots of sightseeing but my daughter has been talking about the story a lot. Hope this helps!

  6. Wow! You have read a lot! I love it. I totally want to check out Footprints in the Snow to see what the twist is! I have the Fantastic Flying Books on my list to read. I’m excited for that one. It looks great. I love Cat’s Night Out. Such a fun and jazzy book. I have the first Amulet book but have never read any of them…I better do that! I keep telling myself I will.

    • The Amulet books are not totally my thing but my children and students were such fans that I felt I needed to keep up. I have the fourth one to read as well. I was so pleased with Fantastic Flying Books. So happy that I own it!

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