It’s Monday! What are you Reading?
I enjoyed a week of reading fractured fairy tales to my class – various versions of The Princess and the Pea inspired fun art projects like the one on the left.
Now that I am finished report card writing, I was also able to settle back into some indulgent quiet reading time and managed to finish 3 novels!
And, as always, all of my library visits allowed me to discover a variety of fantastic picture books!
Join Jen and Kellee’s meme to share all of your reading from picture books to young adult reads.
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys I absolutely adored these characters and the chance to dive into this book and be immersed in New Orleans in the 1950s. There is much to this novel – mystery, a sense of history, questions of what makes family and how deep loyalty can go. I loved that even though Josie was in many senses abandoned by her mother, she was treasured by so many others.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King This is now my third A.S. King novel and the only thing I don’t like about her is that she hasn’t written more books. I would give this title to my once teenage self and say, “Read this and realize the wonderful strength and wisdom of youth.” King hardly paints fairy tale scenarios. Lots is challenging. Much is ugly. Living and learning and making mistakes run through her titles. In this book, like others, I found the parent child relationship fascinating. My only criticism, is wow, there is a lot of teenage cruelty highlighted. Not saying it wasn’t believable, but heavy. Loved Vera. Loved her journey. Loved her strength.
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool I have heard a lot of buzz about this novel in the last few months and so was excited to finally begin reading it. Unlike many others who weren’t wild (or at least not Newbery wild) about Vanderpool‘s debut novel Moon over Manifest, I loved it. But while Moon was gentle and meandeiring and about the big pictures in the small town, this book requires you to settle into it with your guard up. This book is clearly an adventure and a mystery and a layering of story upon story so at times it doesn’t really matter what is real and what isn’t. There is much sadness in this novel. It’s a novel of loss and finding one’s way. It’s a story of trying to figure out grief. It’s a story of figuring out how the universe connects and what our part in it is. It is also just very much a story of two boys. Early and Jack. What they give to each other and what they learn on their quest. Like other reviews I’ve seen, I think that “navigating” this novel requires a slightly older reader. I can see reading it aloud to my children and stopping to talk and discuss much. I think that while I am now finished reading this book, it isn’t quite done with me.
My favourite picture books of the week:
Something Beautiful written by Sharon Dennis Wyeth and illustrated by Chris K Soentpiet A really emotional story. A little girl searches for her something beautiful amongst surroundings of graffiti, homelessness and a courtyard full of trash. The artwork is stunning – vibrant, colourful and true to life.
The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas by Tony Wilson and illustrated by Sue deGennaro I love fairytales. Many fractured fairytales, not so much. They are too often just “too done” and lose so much in the mixing up. Some though are fresh and fun and the twists take us to new perspectives worth thinking about. This is one of those worth a read fractured tales because it pokes fun at the “sensitive” ( I call it high maintenance) princess who is supposedly the ideal “wife to be.” Prince Henrik is instead looking for someone who shares his interests ( hockey, camping) and who had a nice smile. The “princess” he finds is actually an old friend and someone who he can actually enjoy his time with. A fun story and great inspiration for some Princess and the Pea art projects that we hope to finish this week. (See an example of stage one above)
Peep! A Little Book about Taking a Leap by Maria Van Lieshout A sweet simple book about courage. It depicts all of the up and down emotions associated with fear and then the courageous leap . . .
Kitty and Dino by Sara Richard So this is my “Wow!” discovery of the week! Nearly wordless, this book explores the new pet in the house theme. But, this book feels like nothing you might have read before. First of all, the new pet is a dinosaur who has come to share the house with Kitty (who is really having none of it). Second, check out this dinosaur!! The book is part graphic with illustrations inspired by Japanese ink paintings. Stunning. Wild. Gorgeous. Third, when Kitty finally does warm up to the idea of another pet in the house, the dinosaur/Kitty interactions are divine. Pure joy and beauty in this book!
Baboon by Kate Banks and illustrated by Georg Hallensleben I enjoyed the rhythm of the language and the soft gentle story of little baboon and mother exploring the world. With each new thing he discovers, little baboon thinks he has discovered the way the world is until he discovers another animal or aspect of his habitat that teaches him something different. Mother Baboon is always wise and reassuring. For example, when little baboon watches a turtle, he remarks,
“The world is slow,” he said.
“It can be,” said his mother.
An Island Grows by Lola M. Schaefer and illustrated by Cathie Felstead The ideal information story book for young readers – lyrical text and striking illustrations explain how an island forms over time. There are more details in the back of the book to enhance further discussion.
I am currently finishing Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky with my student book club and plan to start The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth as my next novel.
What are you reading?
Enjoyed your review of Navigating Early! And Peep! looks interesting. I love books with a positive message.
Thank you Earl! I really enjoyed that novel a lot. Peep! is definitely a face your fear, you can do it book!
That was a great review of Navigating Early. It took me a while to get into that book, but loved it after all. The Princess and the packet of frozen peas looks hilarious. I always learn about so many new books from your blog. Enjoy your week!
Thanks so much Gigi. Another book I loved this week but didn’t include as it wasn’t a new read for me was Mini Grey’s The Very Smart Pea and the Princess to be I blogged about it here: https://thereisabookforthat.com/2012/03/18/mini-grey-adoration/ It is another fantastic fractured fairy tale. I shared it this week with my students too!
Well, Carrie, you just added quite a few more to my wish list. The picture books you featured look terrific, & I already know I need to get to Out of the Easy and Navigating Early. Which one first, I’m not sure. I have others before them. I guess it’s a good dilemma, right? Have a great week!
Which book next is my favourite problem! I loved both titles. Depends which mood you are in. Contemplative? Then Navigating Early. In the mood for drama and mystery? Out of the Easy. Hope you also have a fantastic reading week!
Now I can’t wait to read Navigating Early! Chris K Soentpiet – he is just an amazing illustrator, love the books he creates. Especially when he’s partnered with his wife Yin… quite the team as well.
I was really excited to read Navigating Early too and it really didn’t disappoint. Just fantastic. Yes, Soentpiet is incredible!
Kitty and Dino does sound like a fun find! I’m excited to pick up Sepetys’s Between Shades of Gray this week; I’ve heard it’s emotional but terrific. Glad that your reading is slipping back into the rhythm you love!
Thanks so much Lorna. Kitty and Dino is just delightful – shared it with my kids today and they LOVED it. So much fun to imagine a dinosaur as a pet/friend. I adored Between Shades of Gray – but whoa, be prepared. Highly emotional. Quite disturbing but an amazing story!
You are one ahead of me in A.S. King books. I still need to read The Dust of 100 dogs and Everyone Sees Ants. She is amazing.
I too need to read The Dust of 100 Dogs. I just requested it at my public library. And then I will have to wait until she writes more . . .
Wow! Fantastic book selection this week! I too loved OUT OF THE EASY. I’m definitely going to check out SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL.
Something Beautiful is a very touching book – very close to home for me as many of my students live in high poverty area and surroundings are not all beautiful . . .
Looks like you had an amazing reading week! I loaned Out of the Easy to my mom, and she hasn’t read it yet. I’m going to have to hi-jack it back from her soon!
Something Beautiful sounds beautiful. I need to find that one!
Happy reading this week!
Definitely get it back! It’s a great one. Funny I just leant Between Shades of Gray to my Mom! A great author that can be read at all ages!
Yes! Between Shades of Gray is the reason I loaned Out of the Easy…my mom absolutely loved the story and writing, so I wanted her to read more of Ruta’s work.
Hi Carrie, I pinned quite a few of the book covers here – especially the picture books, as they all look amazing. I have a feeling I’d love Something Beautiful. I’m also excited to note that you enjoy most (not all, as you pointed out) fractured fairy tales. We devoted an entire theme to just fractured/postmodern fairy tales and we even came up with a list which you might want to check out: http://gatheringbooks.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/list-of-fractured-fairy-tales/ – Kitty and Dino also looks positively charming.
I really have to find Navigating Early soon – loved reading your thoughts about it – sounds like my kind of book. Lately, I find that the universe is telling me something, I just can’t figure out what (haha).:)
Thanks for the comments Myra! I will definitely check out your fractured fairy tale list. Thank you! Kitty and Dino is just wild. Really worth finding. You would like it – we seem to enjoy the same sort of “oddish” titles 🙂
You shared some really great picture books! I’m definitely going to look for some of these. I have Out of Easy to read but haven’t gotten to it yet. I agree with what you said about Navigating Early and I think that definitely an older student would be a great audience. i also agree with what you said about Vera Dietz. That is one insanely intense book. Super heavy stuff.
Thanks Jen. A.S. King is quite incredible. Her characters hook you pretty much instantly and then whoa . . . what a ride she takes you on.