Monday, October 11, 2010

Read-a-thon Wrap Up

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon has come and gone.  I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day reading...okay...and napping! :)  Actually despite my lengthy detour to dreamland, I did pretty well.  My goal was to participate for 12 hours and if you count the two hours spent blogging and cheering others on I did meet my goal.  I was also able to knock some great books off my TBR pile.  Here's a recap of what I actually did read, followed by my finish line stats.  Thank you to all the cheerleaders that stopped by to keep me motivated and focused.  Ya'll are pretty creative with your cheers!

Books Read:
Because of Winn-DixieBecause of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
After meeting Kate on Friday night and hearing her read chapter one, I just had to go back and re-read this one again.  This title is without a doubt my all time favorite Kate DiCamillo book!  I completely enjoyed visiting with India Opal Buloni again as she navigated the windy road of forging friendships and discovering that "you can't hold on to anything.  That you can only love what you've got while you've got it."  This past weekend was the 10th anniversary of this Newbery Honor book's publication.

Bink and Gollie (Junior Library Guild Selection (Candlewick Press))Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee (illus. by Tony Fucile)  I. Love. This. Book.  More importantly, kids will love this book...and want to read it over and over.  It's a fabulous combination of picture book, graphic novel, and chapter book all tied into one.  It contains three episodes in the life of Bink & Gollie, each have their own distinct, unique personality,  who live in separate tree houses of the same tree.   The delightfully fun drawings by Tony Fucile are done in black and white with punches of color splashed in just the right places. A pure delight to read again and again and again!

The Dancing PancakeThe Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli (illus. by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff).  This story is about sixth-grader, Bindi, who is encountering several challenges in her life.  Life isn't easy, but Bindi finds a way to deal with the things that are thrown her way - her parents separation, the homeless woman named Grace who visits the restaurant, and even begins to notice that other people have problems too.  Bindi is a girl that readers will be able to identify with.  Written in verse, this story is a great novel for readers wanting a chapter book, but not wanting to be overwhelmed with the length of time it takes to read one.

One Crazy SummerOne Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
 Eleven-year-old Delphine and her two sisters, Vonetta and Fern, live with their father and Big Ma, their guiding light grandmother, in Brooklyn. Their birth mother, Cecile, is in Oakland, California, doing her own thing during the summer of 1968. However, against her wishes, Delphine must spend her summer vacation with Cecile. She hopes she can put together some of the mysteries of her childhood and her mother's life, but is not excited about leaving home and having to continue to take care of her younger sisters in a strange place. I must admit I probably would never have picked this book up if it weren't receiving so much 'Newbery' chatter but I am so glad I did.  Williams-Garcia does a wonderful job writing about a time period I think kids will find fascinating and educational. There's no better way to learn about about history than by viewing it through the eyes of a child.

Go Girl! #1: The Secret ClubGo Girl! The Secret Club by Chrissie Perry 
New town.  New school.  It’s all so exciting!  But Tamsin misses her old friends.  Her new classmates are cool, too, but they have a secret club with mysterious anklets.  And Tamsin isn’t a member yet.  Will one “NO” vote keep her out of the club and out of friends?  This first book in the Go Girl! series, published by Feiwel and Friends,  has been in my TBR pile for so long that I had to just get it done.  While it's simple in language and story structure, the characters are likable and believable, the kind of kids you hope your own children might befriend.  For all of these reasons, I think the series is accessible to young readers who are making their first foray into chapter books and would be a good choice for 'dormant' girl readers. 

Elvis & Olive by Stephanie Watson
Natalie and Annie, code named Elvis and Olive, become friends and decide to spend their summer spying on their neighbors. What begins as a game turns serious when their findings are revealed to the neighborhood, and when the girls discover unexpected things about each other. While the girls learn that it's sometimes helpful to reveal secrets, they also learn a lesson about the importance of privacy.  This fun, friendship-filled story is believable and easy to read. The characters are memorable and the plot is slow-paced but keeps the reader interested.  Fourth and fifth grade girls will definitely identify with many aspects of this book including secret clubs, first crushes, and finding your own identity. I'm looking forward to more from this first time author.

Time started: 11:30 a.m. October 9th
Time ended: 2:00 a.m. October 10th
Total pages read: 1,051
Time spent reading: 10 hours
Time spent blogging/commenting: 2 hours
Books read: 6

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Read-a-thon Update

Well, I started out pretty strong this morning, late...but strong!  And then...the eyelids began to droop, the book began to close...and before I knew it, three hours in dreamland had passed! read that correctly...a three hour nap took me down!  Okay, I'm going to blame it on the book I was reading.  It just wasn't catching my interest.  Now in fairness to the book, I was completely exhausted, so I won't disclose which book it was.  Instead, I'll move on to a different title after dinner and give it a second chance later.  Much later.  So here are my status so far...not real impressive...but stats none the less.  And since I've had such an amazing nap, I should be go to go for the late night hours!

Time started: 11:30 a.m.
Time now: 6:00 p.m.
Total pages read: 522
Time spent reading: 3 hours
Time spent blogging/commenting: 60
Books read: 3
A huge THANK YOU to all the cheerleaders who have stopped by!  I need keep it coming!

24 Hour Read-a-Thon

Let the Read-a-thon begin...okay a few hours late for me...but in my defense I had a late night in Boston seeing the one and only Kate DiCamillo!  Super fabulous....more about that later! Anyway, my official start time will be 11:00 a.m. (EST).   I have no special goals, except that I’d like to participate for at least 12 hours. I took part in my first read-a-thon last May and I enjoyed it immensely!  I also plan on cheering other participants along for a couple of hours. 

My reading pile includes:

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (re-read)
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Sunshine Picklelime by Pamela Ellen Ferguson
The Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli
Elvis & Olive by Stephanie Watson
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

Good luck to everyone participating...and happy reading!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Bedtime for Bear

by Bonny Becker
illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
Publisher:  Candlewick Press
Ages: 3-8
Review copy purchased for my classroom library

Poor Bear is slightly stuffy, likes routine,  and needs everything just so. His buddy Mouse is politely, joyously chaotic. When Mouse arrives for a sleepover, apparently a week early, Bear finds himself all flustered as he tries to adjust his routines to accommodate his friend’s unexpected arrival. As it turns out, Bear needs absolute silence in order to fall asleep, and, well, Mouse isn’t absolutely as quiet as a … mouse.

Becker does a fantastic job of conveying her character’s personalities through their dialog, making it easy to assume their identities while reading. Even better, the rhythm of her text makes it almost impossible to mess up the comic timing.  Denton’s wonderfully simple yet sophisticated illustrations account for at least half the humor. Bear’s expressions alone are worth the price of the book – the exasperation and frustration are palpable! 

This is Bear and Mouse's third book.   I absolutely LOVE the friendship between this unlikely duo. While this book is perfect for a bedtime read aloud,  I also love the possibilities for using all three books as mentor texts for character development with older readers and writers.    You won't want to miss the E.B. White Read Aloud Award winning A Visitor for Bear and their second book, A Birthday for Bear.  All three books are guaranteed to bring lots for reading pleasure to readers of all ages.