It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.
Here are Etta’s and my reads this week-
Thornhill by Pam Smy
“All I wanted was a friend.”
I love a good mystery so I was so excited to read Thornhill. At first, I was overwhelmed by the length of the novel, about 530 pages, but Thornhill is unlike any other book I have ever read.
Not only is the novel told in two different time periods, 1982 and 2017, but also it is written in two different forms. In 1982, a 12 year old Mary tells her story about living in the orphanage Thornhill through her journal entries. Fast forward to 2017, a young girl named Ella has just moved into the house near the now vacant and dilapidated Thornhill. What is fascinating about Ella’s story is it is solely depicted in haunting black and white drawings. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put Thornhill down and pretty much read it in one sitting.
Towards the end of the novel, Mary’s and Ella’s stories begin to intersect and the harrowing ending gave me chills that remained long after I finished reading, which is precisely what a good thriller should do.
Special thanks to the author Pam Smy for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of Thornhill.
To read my full review, please click here.
It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor
Everyone knows the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, but what if Jack actually questioned the narrator during the telling of the story? Readers young and old will love this fractured fairytale where Jack cries when selling his dear cow Bessie Cowpoke McPinwheel, admits that beans give him gas, and complains that the beanstalk is too high. Oh and on his way up the beanstalk, Jack sees Cindy (Cinderella, of course) who invites him to a ball. Needless to say, the narrator is NOT happy with Jack’s interruptions.
Jack finally meets up with the giant and you know how the fairy tale ends or DO YOU? Will Jack’s commentary change the ending? Etta and I highly suggest you find out for yourself by reading It’s Not Jack the Beanstalk! Reading this modernized fairy tale was such fun at home that I know the experience will be even more fabulous when I read it aloud to students. Can’t wait for the follow up It’s Not Hansel and Gretel!
Hamsters Don’t Fight Fires by Andrew Root Illustrated by Jessica Olien
Hugo is a hamster of many talents, and he has always wanted to be a firefighter. His small stature though seems to be a barrier in attaining his goal. Luckily, Hugo’s friend Scarlett reminds him that you should never be afraid to try something new. Courageous Hugo takes Scarlett’s advice and convinces the fire chief to let him join the team. Unfortunately, Hugo has a rough start in his firefighter training. Just as he is ready to give up, an emergency call comes in. Will Hugo step up and show he has the bravery and talent to be a firefighter?
Hugo is a great role model for students because he demonstrates that size does not matter when you have courage, for even the smallest animals can make a difference. Not only is the book’s message powerful, but also the colorful and action packed illustrations will delight young readers.
Special thanks to Andrew Root for his giveaway on Twitter, which allowed me to win a copy of the book. Etta was so inspired by Hugo that she is ready to join the North Creek Fire Station!
EngiNerds by Jarrett Lerner
12 year old Kennedy (Ken for short) is not particularly fond of the name EngiNerds, which is the group of about a dozen boys including Ken who hang out during lunch and share a common interest in science and technology.
The story begins when a mysterious box addressed to Ken is delivered to his front porch. Thinking it is a present from his retired engineer grandfather, he enlists the help of his best friend Dan to get the heavy box into his house. Filled with lots of metal and no drawing of the final product, Ken and Dan start building. The boys get interrupted when Ken’s dog Kitty goes missing. After they locate Kitty, Ken and Dan return to the house to discover that the metal thing they were building is a robot and it actually built itself. Getting up the courage to communicate with it, the boys find out the robot’s name is Greeeg and it wants to be fed com-EST-ib-ulls, which they decipher is food.
One would think having your very own robot would be the coolest thing in the whole world but when it devours pretty much all the food in your house and then shoots a cube out of its butt, one may reconsider. Readers should prepare themselves for a comical and entertaining story about how Greeeg along with a small army of robots wreak havoc on the EngiNERDS’ town.
As a reading specialist, I am excited to share this book with students. The hilarious novel is under 200 pages and comprised of short chapters; therefore, it will appeal to my reluctant readers. It will also delight other readers for who can resist flatulent robots? Can’t wait for the second epic EngiNERDS adventure!
A sidenote: Etta wants all readers to know that unlike Kitty, she would have eaten the pizza. Don’t all dogs love pizza?
Little i by Michael Hall
Poor Little i’s dot falls off and lands in the sea. Without a dot, Little i looks like a number, rather than a letter. In an effort to find his dot, Little i goes on a journey across the sea and lands on an island. Little i immediately encounters other forms of punctuation. Michael Hall’s word choice is perfect, for the exclamation marks are exciting and very, very loud! Little i also pauses as he admires a garden of commas. Does Little i ever find his dot? Readers will be pleasantly surprised at the ending.
Little i was a perfect read aloud for my kindergarten classes last week. Using Tanny McGregor’s Comprehension Connections, I shared the reading salad with students and how real readers think while reading the text and illustrations. Children were able to make good connections because Little i explores the themes of growing up and a sense of belonging. Children also could make connections identifying letters and sight words. Highly recommend this engaging picture book for young students to teach and reinforce letters, spelling, and punctuation.
Click here for video of Little i’s ABC song courtesy of Harper Kids.
Etta and I thank you for reading! AROO! Have a great week!