Monday October 12th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This photo was taken to highlight a favourite read of the week: Bears Don’t Read by Emma Chichester Clark. You might notice (spoiler alert) that students covered up the n’t with a sticky note after we finished the book!

Monday October 12th, 2015 There's a Book for That

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 novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.


Blogging has been a challenge lately so I missed last week 😦

I have done a few posts in this last while. Celebration posts have been a necessity.

On the blog:

Celebration: This and that

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Nature, Oh wow

Celebration: The things I have needed

Books I loved:

Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel

This book is absolutely stunning. I have plans later in the year to do an art project with this title. Each page has a poem (four lines each) and a painting of a child as one of twelve totem animals. We learn about the aspects of each animal that are honoured. Bear is brave. Fox is clever. Owl is intuitive. Danielle Daniel has a beautiful website to explore.

Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox Monday October 12th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Secret Pizza Party written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

I really do enjoy this author/illustrator duo. An ode to pizza and the crafty ways of a racoon. Lots of fun.

Secret Pizza Party Monday October 12th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Chicken Dance written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Dan Santat

Silly, silly, silly. Dancing chickens. A barnyard talent show. Some stiff competition. Hilarious.

Chicken dance Monday October 12th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Ninja Red Riding Hood written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat

Rhyming text. Girl power. Some pretty hip ninja moves. This title has lots to offer young readers.

Ninja Red Riding Hood Monday October 12th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Woodpecker Wham written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Wonderful as always from Sayre and Jenkins! I have a special fascination for woodpeckers so found this book particularly interesting.

Woodpecker Wham! Monday October 12th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I don’t often read adult novels. I always say it is because getting lost in adult dramas often makes me feel a little hopeless about the world. But this was exactly the book I needed in the last week – a title that I could get lost in. Lots of drama, lots of mystery, lots of sadness. I was happy that none of it was mine.

Big Little Lies Monday October 12th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 55/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 342/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 16/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 64/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 39/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.


This week’s topic? Ten Fairytale Retellings I’ve Read/Want To Read

I decided to focus on books I have read and loved: 5 of my favourite picture books and 5 of my favourite MG/YA novels. I love fairytales and stories with nuances of fairytale elements. But, I am very particular. It is a pleasure to share what I consider to be some of the very best in this list.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Picture Books:

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma written by Diane Fox and illustrated by Christyan Fox

Hilarious. Kind of like having a backseat driver “helping” tell a story. Annoying for the narrator. Amusing for the readers. Little Red Riding Hood like you have never before heard it.

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and GrandmaTop Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Princess and the Pig written by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Poly Bernatene

This lovely little read manages to link to many classic fairy tales while telling a great original story and poking fun at just about everything! A pig and a princess switch places and the happy ending is not what you might predict.

Princess and the Pig Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Me and You by Anthony Browne

Browne tells simultaneous stories, letting us into the world of Goldilocks while at the same time we revisit the familiar story about the bears.  On the left, sepia images of the little girl, out on an errand with Mom and then suddenly, lost. Her story is wordless, told just through the images. On the right, we follow little bear and his Mummy and Daddy as they head out for a walk and then return home to find a stranger in their home. A version of the Goldilocks story that we are very familiar with. This story blurs the absolutes of fairy tale right and wrong and introduces a lovely element of empathy.

 Me and You Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat

Certainly not the Three Little Pigs story we thought we knew! A fan of pig power? Girl power? Stories where the bullies don’t win? This book delivers! Kiya!

 The Three Ninja Pigs Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be by Mini Grey

This book is told from the perspective of the pea! A pea, who plays quite an active role in the outcome of this tale . . .

 mini Grey Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That


Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Such an interesting twist on the fairytale we know. Loved reading this aloud to my class. Why is this book so special? The children loved the whole idea that this was the “back story” of a well known tale. They felt they were in on some secrets! And what characters! We were rooting for Rump. We loved Red and the Trolls and Nothing, the donkey! We all agreed that the King and the Miller were terrible. The pixies fascinated us. Children begged and pleaded for me to read this book at every possible free minute of out day.

 Rump Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Prince of the Pond by Donna Jo Napoli 

The story of the Frog Prince but told from the perspective of the pond and the frogs. The prince is now a frog and must adjust to pond life and to talking like a frog. It is more difficult than it seems. Certain sounds aren’t possible thus, The Frog Prince is De Fawg Pin. Learn a lot about frogs. And their life cycle. Meet Jade, Pin’s mate. Despise the hag. Root for the froglets! Read this aloud to a group of children and prepare for spit out your milk laughter. Chortles. Giggles. Guffawing. The first in a trilogy.

 The Prince and the Pond Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Breadcrumbs written by Anne Ursu

Inspired by the classic story The Snow Queen with all kinds of modern everything. Yet magical fantasy that feels utterly timeless. Read this to my children who loved the mix between fairy tale and real life and all of the references to stories and books they knew. Beautiful as a read aloud – the words just come off the page, swirl around and we are immersed in the book.

Breadcrumbs Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

I became quickly hooked on all things Shannon Hale after reading this book and went on to read the complete Books of Bayern series. Fast paced. Lots of magic. Fantastic characters. The perfect book to get lost in.

 The Goose Girl

Cinder written by Marissa Meyer

Honestly, I was surprised by how addictive this story was for me. I thought it would be a light read but I was drawn in to the drama and intrigue despite suspecting some of the secrets unveiled late in the novel quite early on. Futuristic, fantasy/sci-fi with fairy tale elements and high drama.


What are your favourite fairytale retellings? 

Monday January 28th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Link up to Jen and Kellee’s meme to share all of the great reading you have been doing from picture books to young adult novels.

I tried to limit my picture book list to my top 5 books of the week. That didn’t exactly work out . . . But I did keep it under 10!

The Beasties written by Jenny Nimmo and illustrated by Gwen Millward I found this book quite delightful and when I read it to my class, it cast a magical spell. All about how the story telling of the Beasties helps a little girl settle into her dreams each night in her new big bed in her new room. Eventually, she realized her own imagination can help soothe her into sleep.


The Insomniacs written by Karina Wolf and illustrated by The Brothers Hilts What if you travelled many timezones away and your night and day became all mixed up? What does a life lived at night look like? In this story, it is full of beautiful night blooming cactuses, night beetles, astronomy and moonbathing . . . The perfect blend of a slightly absurd story and stunningly imagined illustrations make this a beautifully unique book. Might not appeal to everyone. I adore it and want my own copy.

insomniacs cover

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat This fractured fairy tale was a huge hit in my classroom. We loved the martial arts, the energetic rhyme and super pig power! Read more here.

3 ninja pigs (1)

Oh, No! written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann Finally, I got my hands on this title! A perfect book to use to highlight paying attention to the details in the pictures. Can see this being a very popular and requested story time book! I think I would have no problems reading it over and over!


Charley’s First Night written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury A story of a little boy and his puppy’s first night at home. Absolutely sweet. This little Henry is the keenest, most attentive new puppy owner out there. Full of love and care.


Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff Oh, this book is just so lovely! It celebrates colour, nature and the special bond between baby bear and Mama. This is a wonderful book to gift someone with a young child. A beautiful book to revisit often.


Oliver by Birgitta Sif Love these illustrations – they match a gentle story that celebrates a child who is really his own person. But sometimes, we are ready to share our world with someone else who moves through life with their own style.


I also read the fantastic Lulu Walks the Dogs written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Lane Smith These Lulu books celebrate voice – Viorst is one funny narrator, Lulu is deliciously spunky and Lane Smith rounds everything out with his brilliant illustrations. I liked this book as much as the first Lulu and those were some big shoes . . .

lulu walks the dogs

I finished two novels this week. Both were on my must read list of 2013.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson Such a well written novel giving us an intimate view into a young woman’s courageous attempt at securing land in the unforgiving Montana prairie during 1918. Hattie reminds us that we discover what is big and grand inside of us by living the simple and often arduous day to day tasks amongst people who are doing the same. A book of relationships, challenges and beauty. While it certainly took me a while to get to this book (considering it was a Newbery honour book in 2007), at least it will be fresh in my mind when Hattie Ever After is released next month!

hattie-big-skyOn the Road to Mr.Mineo’s written by Barbara O’Connor I adore Barbara O’Connor. I smile when I pick up any of her books. Barbara O’Connor has a way of letting the world slow down. She tells us stories of people, long days, longing, fussing and forgiving where the journey is as important as the destination. As always, I love how her books highlight kid adventure and big personality in small place settings. Calm. Soothing. Happy. Who would think a one legged pigeon could cause such a fuss? Everyone wants him, some are convinced they need him and the chase is on. Reminded me of the feeling in Oliver Jeffers’ This Moose Belongs to Me of how an animal really belongs where it belongs, and not necessarily to anyone.

on the road to mr. mineos

Just started reading Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood, a book I’ve been wanting to read for ages so I am very excited!

The Three Ninja Pigs

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat was   our BLG book this week! Thank you to Pearl for sharing it with us. This was certainly not the Three Little Pigs story we thought we knew!

3 ninja pigs (1)

This was one fun fractured fairy tale! A not to be missed adventure!

Instantly, we were charmed by these three pigs who were not about to let a big mean wolf boss them around. The fact that they went to Ninja School? Absolutely fascinating!

Each pig chose a different martial art to practice. Akido, jujuitsu and karate! Wow, we were intrigued. Santat’s illustrations are so engaging and the students all strained to get close up looks of the pictures. All of the action scenes, the bravado, the humour has huge kid appeal and we were hooked completely.

Unfortunately, the first two pigs had not paid enough attention to the learning and practice necessary to become masters of their chosen martial art. Neither could overpower the wolf. When Pig Three announced that she was a “certified weapon,” a hush fell over the room. The wolf might have tried to be brave as he hurled a few choice insults at the pig, calling her bacon and claiming not to be intimidated, but we knew he was scared. And so he should have been. Pig Three was a keen student. She was ready to take on this wolf and realizing he was outrivaled, the wolf retreated, making the third little pig a hero!

There was some surprise that the third pig was female. One student interrupted, “Hey! Hold on! I didn’t know there was a girl.” But while students were writing their reviews, a few girls mentioned to me that they were happy that the smart pig was a girl pig. When I read this book to my own children, my daughter cheered at the end. “Yes! Girls! They are full of determination!”

A fan of pig power? Girl power? Stories where the bullies don’t win? This book delivers! Kiya!

Student reviewers respond:

Vicky: My favourite part was when the third pig showed karate to the wolf. I was thinking about the Three Little Pigs Book. This was funnier. Why did the first pig and the second pig not listen?

Shereese: That was funny when pig #1 fell asleep. I like when pig #3 was learning.

Ethan: The first pig fell asleep and he did akido. The second pig did jujitsu. He did a little better than that first pig. The first pig did better than every pig and the wolf too. I like the end. It’s a happy ending.

Pheonix: Pork Chop! Pork Chop! I like that part best.

Gracie: My favourite part is when the wolf says to the third pig, “Yo Bacon! I’m not scared of you.” It’s funny. But why did the first pig fall asleep? And I liked that the third pig was a girl! 🙂

Giovanni: That wolf started to shake!

Andrew: My questions: Why did the first pig fall asleep? Why did the second pig left the dojo? The third pig did all of her training. I learned I should listen.

Heman: It was funny when the first pig fell asleep in the middle of training. My favourite part is when the third pig scared the wolf away. The third pig did karate!

Kala: It reminds me of a karate kid movie. The wolf is being naughty. I like that they went to school.

Ashley: My favourite part was that the pig fell asleep. It was funny so much! The number three pig was good at listening. The wolf seems mean to the pigs. I like the number three because she listens so much.