Monday July 8th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult reads! The #IMWAYR community is a fantastic community of readers with many wonderful titles to share.

I found some wonderful picture books this week. Here are my favourites:

The #1 hit of the week in my house was definitely . . . 

Betty Bunny Didn’t Do it written by Michael B. Kaplan and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch I adore Jorisch’s work and loved the first Betty Bunny title so I was excited to read these other books in the collection. I “test read” these books out on my own children (10 years old x 2) Well . . . this book was SUCH a hit that my son talked about it for days – almost to the point of telling strangers about it. He didn’t go that far but he did tell people on the soccer field, our old neighbour and even his Grandma (after pulling the phone out of my hands and reading her the whole book over the phone). This book, he assured me, was a great book to read. I quote:

“Mom, this book has great morals. Well, maybe not for adults but for kids :-)”

Now I’m not sure what he means by morals . . . considering what my children seemed to learn from this book:

  • Telling very tall tales is charming and creative and not an avoidance of responsibility
  • Admitting that a statement is an honest lie is incredibly funny
  • Claiming that coming clean with the whole entire truth would hurt one’s feelings is a brilliant way to avoid telling the truth!

An interesting look at what it means to be honest. Much humour. Much charm. Much to repeat and relive!

betty bunny didn't do it

Betty Bunny Wants Everything written by Michael B. Kaplan and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch We liked this title as well although it doesn’t rate as high as the Betty Bunny story above. Betty Bunny is just a little too precocious. Seems like it was going to be a wonderful book to talk about consumerism and smart money strategies but it just . . . wasn’t. Still worth reading even to have those discussions of – does Betty Bunny take it too far? Does she really learn anything? Are characters always likeable? Even when you loved them in another story?

Betty Bunny eants Everything

Oliver and his Alligator written and illustrated by Paul Schmid What happens when you swallow all of your anxiety (well – have your alligator do it for you . . . )? Then there is nothing to be afraid of and things get a little dull! Deals with first day of school nerves in a very creative way!

oliver and his alligator

Tea Rex written and illustrated by Molly Idle A T rex for tea? Perfect! Thought the small talk was divine and the illustrations absolutely charming.


Can I play Too? written and illustrated by Mo Willems All Elephant and Piggie books are huge hits in my classroom. I still find some that I haven’t read and it is always such a pleasant surprise. This is one of my new favourites. Love the creative ways these characters try to be inclusive in their games. There is humour but also some pretty awesome modelling of how to play.


A Big Guy Took My Ball! written and illustrated by Mo Willems Again, Willems creates a winner.

A big guy took my ball

The Epiplectic Bicycle written and illustrated by Edward Gorey First published in 1969 but I just discovered it. Odd. Quirky. Many shades of absurd. Find it and experience a number of mysterious adventures.

Epiplectic Bicycle

More Bears written by Kenn Nesbitt  and illustrated by Troy Cummings Since I am always quite delighted when there is a bear (or two or three) in a story, I was particularly pleased that the narrator of this little tale was persistently encouraged to include more bears! Can see this being a very amusing read aloud.


My nonfiction reading was from the Amazing Animals series by Kate Riggs– I blogged about it here.


In novels . . .

My Happy Life written by Rose Lagercrantz and illustrated by Eva Eriksson A special little read that tackles some big issues: friends moving away, grief, sadness . . . So often we don’t find issues like this handled in a beginning chapter book for young readers. I appreciated the fact that there was space for thinking and discussion (thinking this would be a great read aloud in a primary classroom) and that it breathed resiliency and learning life lessons. And I adore Eva Eriksson as an illustrator. 


The Center of Everything written by Linda Urban I just finished this book this morning and I feel like I should have cradled it under my arm all day. Sometimes a book is small but powerful. This book isn’t long. It takes place over the course of a day. But it is written in a way that it holds big space in your thoughts and your heart. Reminds us that all of the little moments make up our very large lives. You never know which moments will shape you. Such a beautiful middle grade read that I will be putting in the hands of many young readers. This book is sad but soothing. There is grief but yet, reading this book is kind of like healing. A snapshot into the life of Ruby Pepperdine that speaks to a part in all of us. A quiet WOW book.

center of everything

I also read 2 adult novels

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult Powerful.


Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane Mystery. Detectives. Corruption. Grit. So not my usual read but was in the mood.

Gone Baby Gone cover

Next up? I am starting Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. My children and I are more than halfway through Torn Away by James Heneghan. A huge TBR pile stares at me but not sure what will be the other books of the week yet. It’s summer . . . and so hopefully it will be many of them!

16 thoughts on “Monday July 8th, 2013

    • Thanks Gigi. Betty Bunny is quite the character! I have been hearing abut her on a daily basis as my children quote lines from the book! My Happy Life is quite a lovely little title. Swedish.

  1. Hi Carrie! I was just telling a future teacher that your blog is a Go To for book recommendations, especially picture books! Yours is the second blog I’ve read today that has glowing reviews for Center of Everything. I initially heard a poor review of this book from a fellow reviewer, but now I’m quite, quite curious to read it for myself! Happy reading this week!!

    • Wow, thanks so much for the compliment. I do love discovering new picture books! I think you will find The Center of Everything to be quite wonderful. It is so well written.

  2. I really enjoyed the Center of Everything as well. Have you read her others? I love how you described it as “a quiet WOW book”–that’s exactly what it is. I think I also missed Can I Play Too?, so I’ll have to check that one out. Love all your picture book recommendations!

  3. Loved The Center of Everything and thought Small As An Elephant was well worth reading, Carrie. I’ll look for the “can I play” Elephant and Piggie. I too love those books! Thanks for so many good books to look for!

    • Hi Linda – I had a difficult time going to sleep last night as Small as an Elephant has hooked me! It is wonderful. I’m about half way in. The Center of Everything is still resonating with me. So well done.

  4. The Epiplectic Bicycle sounds like a great title. I love Paul Schmid’s books. his illustrations are so adorable! TCOE is getting so much buzz these days!

  5. I too love Paul Schmid’s books–Oliver is in the TBR list. So glad you like The Center of Everything. Didn’t you mention on Twitter that you gave it to your daughter? If so, what has been her reaction? It’s slow and thoughtful pace might be hard for some readers.

  6. Hi Carrie,
    Today when I picked up my reserve books from the VPL, the clerk was shelving a NEW Elephant and Piggie book in the reserved section. I nearly tore the book out of the poor man’s hand but restrained myself. A Big Guy Took My Ball! looks to be another great read. I love these so much! Few other books have such power to get kids reading! (PS, I’m a Frog! is scheduled for release later this year.) Sigh…

    • I agree – you just can’t go wrong with Elephant and Piggie titles! I am an absolute fan – much because I see the joy these titles bring children on such a consistent basis!

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