Monday July 29th, 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! These #IMWAYR posts are a great place to “shop” for new titles.

Favourite picture books from the week:

The Hueys in It Wasn’t Me by Oliver Jeffers The second title in The Hueys books by Jeffers. Sometimes an argument becomes bigger than the original source of conflict. This simple little picture book highlights exactly this phenomenon. For anyone who spends anytime with children, this story rings very true!

 It Wasn't Me There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco An emotional historical fiction title set during the American civil war. Touches on themes of war, slavery, racism and survival. Definitely for older readers.

Pink and Say There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Carmine – A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet An extremely clever alphabetical retelling/fractured tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Wander through bolded words in ABC order and Sweet’s signature artistic style – part collage, part detailed panels and so expressive. Loved the vocabulary and the fresh approach to this classic tale.

Carmine A Little More Red There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

A House is a House for Me written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Betty Fraser I simply adore Mary Ann Hoberman and her gift for rhyme. And Fraser’s illustrations make me nostalgic for childhood ease. First published in 1978, this title is one long poem about everything that can be a house. All about homes/houses for just about everything. My favourite was no surprise: A book is a house for a story.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

The Night Riders by Matt Furie One of my newest favourite wordless titles. This is some kind of adventure into the world of real and fantastical nocturnal creatures and amazing things that happen beneath the light of the moon. One of the best things about the book? The jacket unfolds into a double sided poster of images from the story. Here is a link to Matt Furie’s interview with The Beat (the daily news blog of comics news, reviews, and information) about this, his first book. 

Looking for more wordless titles? I just created a Pinterest board with all of my favourites.

Night Riders There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Bruno Munari’s ABC First published in 1960, a wonderful graphic ABC book.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Flora McDonnell’s ABC Bright, bold and beautiful. This has inspired some art project ideas . . . A study in letters, opposites and clever pairings. Each page has 2 objects beginning with a specific letter. Some of my favourites? The large giant with a tiny red glove perched on his thumb, a regal tiger with a teapot balanced on his head and a rhinoceros sniffing at a radish. So fun.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Anticipating fall book talks, I am trying to catch up on some graphic novels and early chapter book titles. This week I read two winners.

Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat written by Anna Branford with illustrations by Ellana Allen Loved the nature/science/ecology connection. Perfect for my Grade 2/3/4 readers just beginning to read chapter books. And how delightful that Violet names her ladybug Small Gloria.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Bird & Squirrel on the Run by James Burks What fun and absolutely full of silly escapades. Loved the contrast of the pessimistic and optimistic characters. Kids will love this!

Bird and squirrel There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

I also finished two novels

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater A friend passed on her ARC of this book to me. I had resigned myself to impatiently waiting for September but, I was so thrilled to read it now! Let’s just say this – I am fully just as hooked and intrigued by these Aglionby boys and the character of Blue. Intrigue, mystery, twists, upsets, revelations. This second title has it all. 

The Dream Thieves There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick Wow. This book subtly and not so subtly sneaks right up on you pretty quickly and holds fast. It is at times teary and heartbreaking, other times hilarious and witty and all the while, just plain good. A very human and honest look at a family hit hard by childhood illness and how they navigate the complicated business of hospitals, emotions and changing family dynamics. Stayed up half the night to finish this title. Now I get the Sonnenblick love. I’m in. Thank you to everyone who raved about this title to me. And yes, I am planning to read After Ever After – already requested from the library 🙂

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?


Next up? Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner and some more graphic novels in my pile!

Happy reading everyone!

Frank N Stan

When we met the book Frank N Stan by M.P. Robertson, we met a “new to us” but very experienced BLG reader, Magnus. Before we get into how wonderful this book is, we have to spend a few minutes to explore just how interesting it was that Magnus chose this book. You see, this book is about a robot of very large proportions. He towers over his creator in the most magnificent of ways! Magnus, it just so happens, does a little towering too. He is 6 foot 9! This did not go unnoticed from the seven and eight year olds amongst us! There were questions and comments and then some. Magnus handled them all with honesty, candor and lots of patient politeness! Kids don’t hold back . . .

“How come your feet are so big?” “How did you get so tall?” “Where do you get your clothes?” “Do you have a 6 pack?” “How many pounds are you?”

Once we knew everything about Magnus, we were ready to begin the story.

And what a wonderful story . . .

Frank would love a younger sibling but when his Mom said, “We’ll see” to his request, he decided to make his own brother. He built a robot and named him Stan. Stan was fashioned out of junk yard parts, sprockets, sockets and a battery. When Stan had an oil leak, one child commented quite seriously, “A robot’s blood is oil.” This robot was unusual, but we accepted him as part of the family! And the family appreciated him  for all of his help. This robot vacuums and folds the laundry. “He is being helpful like a Mom,” somebody noted.

Most importantly, Frank loved all of the fun he and Stan had! There was noise and mess and more noise! What could be better? But then a baby girl came into the family. When the story mentioned that she might be a little smelly, students had a lot to say!

“Babies do smell.” “They poo and they pee.” “No, they have diapers!” “They still smell.”

Little baby Mary liked Stan and as she grew, she could do more and more with Frank. Stan began to feel left out and finally decided to leave the family. He trudged out into the snowy landscape, sad and alone. Students were quite upset!

“Oh no, what if he cries?” “He might cry oil!” “The oil tears will go down and make him rusty!” 

Poor Stan. eventually he conked out and lost all of his power, slumped down in the snow. Back at Frank’s house, Stan was missed. Frank went searching for him. For a few moments, our room was quiet, intently listening to see if Frank found Stan out in the snowy woods. Was he found? Well . . . Let’s just say our room erupted in applause at the end!

And (spoiler alert) little sister Mary said her first word when she was reunited with Stan. What was it? “Stan!” of course. (Reminded me of the ending of Knuffle Bunny :-))

M .P. Robertson has detailed, creative illustrations that make his books perfect for multiple rereads and quiet exploration. I think this is fast on its way to being one of our class favourites!

Student reviewers respond:

Kelvin: My favourite part was the basement. Stan was sad because they didn’t like him. So he travelled. I was hoping that they would save him.

Pheonix: That was cool! So cool I want to faint. For real. I’m not joking.

Andrew: My favourite part was when Frank built Stan. Stan came alive. I was thinking Stan looks weird. What if Stan gets all rusty?

Arianne: I like him building a robot. I like at the end, it was happy.

Vicky: My favourite part was when Mary said, “Stan!” I have a question for Magnus: Can you touch the ceiling?

Heman: I like when Frank built Stan in the basement. Frank was sad because Stan went away.

Ashley: Why was he a brother and a robot? I like the title because it is a funny title. I like the book!

Grace: Why did Frank want a robot brother? I like the title because it sounds like Frankenstein.