Monday September 23rd, 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 crowd always has so many fantastic titles to share.


The picture books I adored this week:

The Lonely Book written by Kate Berhheimer and illustrated by Chris Shelban

A story that tells many stories of how relationships with books can be so special. Sometimes a book is beloved by many and passes from hands to hands to hands. Sometimes a book’s qualities are treasured by one for any number of reasons. And sometimes a book, worn and well read, finds the best place to be and the reader who is most in need of its magic.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Sing . . . sing a song . . . lyrics by Joe Raposa, story in pictures by Tom Lichtenheld

Yes, this is a book of that song Sing, Sing a Song. Starts off wordless. Our frustrated little bird demonstrates perseverance and finds some confidence after being serenaded by a joyful guitar player. Full of happiness and smiles. Just a lovely little book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Worth watching the video on youtube:

Tommaso and the Missing Line by Matteo Pericoli

One sentence summary: Tommaso goes in search of a line that has disappeared from a beloved drawing.

Wow. This is a book that asks to be shared and discussed. In big ways. With big questions. What inspires art? Does a piece of art contain a piece of the inspiration? Do things exist differently in our memories? Can art capture a memory? Can it prevent it from fading? Love this book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I am the King by Leo Timmers

Part of why I was drawn to this book is that it is very pink but appears to not be a pinkish book (it isn’t) and also because last year my class fell in love with Timmers’ book The Magical Life of Mr. Renny so I was curious. This is an interesting book. Maybe one that on first read might not seem so interesting but then when you think about the potential questions it might inspire, its interest level elevates. Various animals find a golden crown and convinced it fits them perfectly, each announce, “I am the King!” The next animal finds that assertion preposterous, dons the crown (in a totally different way) and claims “King” status for themselves. Finally, the crown lands at the feet of Lion. Lion puts the crown on his head and all of the animals cheer that “Lion is the King.” That is just that.

So back to the questions:

  • Do we see ourselves vastly differently from the way others see us? Better? Worse?
  • Does competition prevent us from celebrating our potential for more?
  • Do some people (lions in this case) just command respect? How?

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Wumbers written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

What an amusing mixture of numbers and words to communicate little stories scattered throughout this book. Lots of fun! I just wished a coherent story ran through the entire book. Still, I passed this to a student last week and he was instantly hooked on deciphering the text.

Wumbers #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

In nonfiction:

Is This Panama? A Migration Story written by Jan Thornhill and illustrated by Soyeon Kim I reviewed this book earlier this week here.

Is this Panama? #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Tushes and Tails by Stephane Frattini

A hugely engaging nonfiction title ideal for an interactive read aloud experience. Who belongs to which tush and/or tail? It is not as easy as it many seem to guess. Under each lift the flap, one is rewarded with more information about each animal – enough to learn something new, not too much to lose the momentum of guessing, checking and discovering.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Queenie:  One Elephant’s Story written by Corinne Fenton and illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe 

A story about a gentle elephant captured and put in a zoo. This book tells the story of Queenie, but really forces the readers to think about zoos, animals in captivity and our obligations to them and treatment of them. Made me think of Eve Bunting‘s The Summer of Riley and the questions around whether a dog should be euthanized or not based on its actions in particular circumstances. Can see this book being very powerful shared with an older primary or an intermediate class.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Mimi’s Village And How Health Care Transformed it written by Katie Smith Milway and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

Part of the Citizen Kid series of information story books that talk about real world issues and how they affect children around the world. This book teaches readers all about what life is like when basic health care and disease prevention is limited. Set in Kenya, Mimi’s reality before a village health worker becomes attached to her village is one where she and her family lack clean water, appropriate nutrition, and protection from diseases. Simple things like mosquito netting to sleep under have huge impact.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Other reading:

Bean Dog and Nugget: The Ball, an early graphic novel by Cherise Mericle Harper

Delightfully silly. My class adores this little graphic story.

Bean Dog and Nugget #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Boris Gets a Lizard an early illustrated chapter book by Andrew Joyner – part of the Branches series of books by Scholastic 

Boris desperately wants his own Komodo Dragon. He is what you might call obsessed. What is his clever plan to have his own Komodo Dragon, if even temporarily? And does his plan succeed? I can see my younger readers being interested in this title. Full colour pictures and manageable text.

Boris gets a Lizard #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library written by Chris Grabenstein

A fully engaging middle grade mystery/adventure  – even more perfect for book lovers and avid readers. Many have talked about connections to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and certainly this book has those wonderful elements of unexpected adventures set in a fantastical location with twists and turns on every page. I really liked this book. Think I would like it even more if I shared it with a class of children. I can imagine those reading this aloud to a classroom are having a delightful time of it!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up ? I am loving the novel Jinx by Sage Blackwood (and I really love saying the name Sage Blackwood, it’s so beautiful). Now that we are settled back into school routine and bedtimes, I am happy to have some dedicated evenings to continue reading The Fire Chronicle by John Stevens to my own children. We have been doing a lot of nonfiction picture book reading over the last few weeks and need to delve back into this novel that we were so excited about at the end of the summer.

Have a great reading week everyone! And if you are so inspired, check out this post and add your #5words: In 2013/2014 I will be . . . Loving the comments 🙂

The Magical Life of Mr. Renny

Our BLG reader Magnus brought us a story that celebrated magic and prompted us to think about what really makes us happy: The Magical Life of Mr. Renny by Leo Timmers.


Mr. Renny is an extremely talented artist. But he cannot sell any of his work at the market. He is so hungry and desperate that he wished his painting of an apple didn’t just look real but was real so that he could eat it. (“I’ll pay him a hundred if I could,” one student muttered) A stranger appears and poof, the apple was real. Mr. Renny looked around, all of his paintings sprang to life. So imagine what this meant . . .

First, Mr. Renny fed his belly. He painted a hotdog, a milkshake and a multi-layered cake! “He could paint himself a restaurant,” suggested one student. But soon, Mr. Renny started to think beyond. A car to help him travel Europe. “Whoa, that car became alive!” And then a ship to sail the sea. But soon he wanted to get back to shore to paint more. He couldn’t stop thinking of all the things he could make real. Paint, paint, paint. Mansions, limousines, a silk suit, cavier, a blimp . . . (Magnus had to explain a lot of words new to us “What’s a canvas?” “. . . cavier?” “. . . a mansion?”

But then Mr. Renny had a visitor. Rose from the market came to see him and wanted to buy a painting. He had nothing to sell her. It seemed he was no longer a painter. But rather a collector. Rose inspired Mr. Renny. He brought back the stranger and made a request.

“I want to paint an ordinary picture again. One that doesn’t come to life.”

The stranger isn’t surprised. Maybe Mr. Renny isn’t the first to recognize that getting everything you want is not the route to happiness. 🙂 Mr. Renny gets his wish and all of his riches disappear. He happily sits down at his easel and paints Rose the perfect painting.

“You’re back!” Rose smiled.

And he was.

While this book did allow us to recognize that things do not make us happy, it also let us imagine for a little while some things that we would love to draw and have come to life. It gave us the chance to dream.  A few moments of wishing on a Wednesday morning felt kind of fun!

Student Reviewers Respond:

Kala: When it was almost at the end he made all the real things disappear. After when he painted nothing came back alive.

Arianne: I like when he made a rose. I would have painted a kitten. I will paint a horse. I will paint a dog. I will paint a pig and a barbie.

Andrew: My favourite part was when all Mr. Renny paint came to life. A stranger came. It was not real. Why did no one buy Renny’s paintings? I would have painted a gelato store because I love ice cream!

Kevin: My favourite part was when Mr. Renny give a rose for Rose. I wouldn’t paint a monster because it is too scary.

Ashley: Whatever he painted came to life. I would paint a house and it would have five rooms. He could paint skipping rope and a school and shoes, a bike,  a big car and a big Christmas tree.

Vicky: My favourite part was when Mr. Renny painted a rose for Rose. A strange man turned Mr. Renny’s paintings in to life. I would have painted a limo because I could drive in it.

Kelvin: When the man had real magic powers that is my favourite. When the man snap his fingers the painting came to life. Rose said you are not a painter anymore. That was sad.

Ava: Whatever he painted came to life. The man snapped his fingers and all of his paintings came to life. It was magical.

Heman: My favourite part was when Mr. Renny’s paint came to life. I would have painted my own castle because I could have my own room. Why did nobody buy Mr. Renny’s paintings?

Jorja: He is painting a rose to Rose. The paintings came to life and the painting was magic.

Kassidy: I like when things came in to life. I would have painted a dog and a cat if my paintings came to life. I like when he painted a rose for Rose. It was silly when the elephant had a stoller with some water melons.

Pheonix: My favourite part was the part that was he turn all his paintings to life.

Giovanni: I like the part that made things made to life. I would paint a monster truck. I want to play one.

Brian: My favourite part was when whatever he painted came to alive. Why are paintings so expensive? I would paint a Ms. Gelson because I like her.