Monday March 17th, 2014

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 novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

Picture books I enjoyed this week:

How to Hide a Lion by Helen Stephens 

I found this picture book so endearing. It is truly about a little girl attempting to hide a lion in her house. The lion’s expressions are hilarious. Love the old fashioned feeling of the illustrations. Would be the perfect book for story time.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bits & Pieces by Judy Schachner

Shhh. Confession: I am not a fan of Schachner’s popular Skippyjon Jones series. I love the illustrations but the stories just don’t do it for me. So I went into this book with some skepticism. I was quite pleasantly surprised. The illustrations are lovely and the story is ideal for cat lovers everywhere. It really speaks to the eccentricities of animals and the absolute love their owners have for them. Sweet.

bits & pieces #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual by Kate Samworth

I think this book is a must own. I featured it in my Nonfiction Wednesday post this past week. Gorgeous art. Odd in the most delightful ways.

Aviary Wonders Inc #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay

Travel time and various seasons with a little boy who plants a seed. Soon that seed is a tree. The light in these illustrations is incredible.

If You Hold a Seed #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

How Martha Saved her Parents From Green Beans written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Mark Fearing

Lots of silly. Ideal for children who love drama, clear bad guys and big doses of humour. Martha must save her green-bean-consumping-pushy parents from a wild band of green bean hooligans who have captured them. Maybe just too silly. Maybe not.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge

I am in such awe of Lita Judge. She delivers information about dinosaurs through beautiful illustrations and interesting facts. Each dinosaur featured here is drawn next to something that children already know to allow them to imagine the exact size of the dinosaur. For example, the velociraptor was only the size of a modern day dog. The image shown is of a velociraptor on a leash near by a dog also out for a walk. Engaging and endearing.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Other reading? After reading an impressive seven novels last week, I only finished one this week. Basically, this is because I have been healthy (nothing like being sick in bed to get lots of reading finished) and busy with parent teacher conferences and my children’s events. But, if I could only read one novel, this was a fantastic read!

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I am quite hooked on these Lunar Chronicles and look forward to getting my hands on Cress, the final book in the trilogy. I was impressed how both Cinder and Scarlet played key roles in this novel. Like the first in the series, it was highly entertaining – full of dramatic twists, lots of action and fascinating characters. All of the characters link together beautifully.

*Updated: I just discovered that there is actually going to be a fourth title in this series called Winter to be released in 2015! Excited!

Scarlet #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I have just started Allegiant and another wonderful stack of #MustReadin2014 titles including Better Nate than Ever in my pile of reads for this break.

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 20/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 133/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 9/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 42/65 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Bird Assembly 101

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

NFPB 2014

This book is swoon worthy! And seriously odd at the same time.  Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual by Kate Samworth

Unique and in many ways is difficult to categorize. It is a picture book. That’s an easy one. Beyond that – it gets interesting. There is a fantasy element to it and it does have a “fiction” feel. But I love books that blend genres. I am calling this a nonfiction title as well. It’s part instruction manual. Part bird anatomy. Part a warning to avoid bird extinction. All of these things fall in the nonfiction realm*. Thus, I have decided to share this beautiful book on nonfiction picture book day!

*Not everyone will agree but I think the instruction manual aspect tips it over the edge to favour my creative license on categorization. And heck, I’m writing this blog . . .

#NFPB2014 There's a Book for That Bird Assembly 101


Quickly head over to Seven Impossible Things and take a peek at the inside images.

So what can you learn from this book – set if you look carefully at the title – in 2031? How to build your own bird of course! This book includes an order form, details about all of the parts and some helpful assembly instructions. Always keep balance and proportion in mind seems to be a big theme.

Beyond patience and optimism, this handbook explains, you will need the right parts. And right parts are here in gorgeous, colourful glory. With details beyond your wildest imagination. Like impressionist tinted feathers, Persian designs on the beaks and Wattles and Combs with names such as Beethoven and Aphrodite. (Haven’t gone to look at the inside pages? Go! See link above)

The delight and hilarity in creating quite preposterous birds is tempered by the underlying feeling the reader has throughout: What if such a catalog was actually real? Necessary? The book jacket warns:

. . . that it’s not really a catalog at all. It’s a dark and funny look at what might happen if we let natural habitats disappear.

Favourite pages for me?

  • The two page spread about Flight Patterns. Choose wing shape carefully for the type of flight you want your bird to be able to accomplish
  • The images for Steps 3 and 4 Attaching the Tail and Attaching the Legs
  • Troubleshooting pages which features questions (with attached images) and answers such as what should one do if the bird has been taught to sing an annoying song and won’t stop. The answer, if you are curious, suggests attaching a full set of wings and “sharing” your bird with the world! (In other words – fly far away and sing to someone else!)
  • The end pages are gorgeous drawings of bird parts.
  • And not a page at all, but please peek under the book jacket!

My advice? Find this book and savour its creative energy. Think about how to have fun with this is in the classroom. I’m thinking art projects, some of our own question and answer writing . . . And then? Head outside. Watch for birds. Celebrate their natural beauty. Their form and function. Their freedom and wild natures. Their song.

In case you, like me, were wondering just what else Kate Samworth has done . . . this is her first book. Her website is here.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 41/65 complete!