Monday, May 20, 2013

It's Monday, What are You Reading May 20, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading? A weekly themed meme connecting many bloggers around the world and originally conceived by Sheila at Book Journeys. I first learned about it at Teach Mentor Texts hosted by Jen and Kellee. I was messing around with a button Scholastic had given me and stuck it in a calendar and snapped a photo. Cool right? Now I flash this pic to kids and ask them, "What are you reading?"

This week I polished off the very sweet tale of A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff. 

My favorite character in the story was Cady, a little girl with an uncanny talent for understanding and baking the perfect cake for a person. Cady is the five time winner of a famous baking contest always beating out professional bakers and famous chefs. A Tangle of Knots includes a lovable ensemble of characters, some of them are not very nice but most of them are gifted with a special unique talent such as spitting, knitting, or matching orphans to their perfect families. If you are looking for a light hearted read filled with tasty sounding recipes, then this is your book. I am anxious to try out some of Caddy's cake recipes. Reading this book was even more fun because I read it with two other Twitter buddies @strohreads and @readerroberts, the latter, who by the way, made the Miss Mallory's Peach Cake for her family last night. Here is the recipe in the Youtube video courtesy of author Lisa Graff.

I also really enjoyed one of Graff's previous books, Umbrella Summer and how she captured the healing of two souls throughout the story. Click here to see my Kids Book Club wiki for Umbrella Summer. This was my first online kids book club which we now call our Bluebonnet Book Club. Each year I update the website with a new list of twenty books nominated for the Texas Bluebonnet Award. I update the wiki each time I present a library lesson on one of the nominees.

IDuring library lessons, I finished up our Favorite Storybook Characters unit with Mo Willems books with a focus on Pigeon. We read Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late and The Duckling Has a Cookie!?

Download the The Duckling Gets a Cookie Event Kit

We made the TP roll Pigeon and they turned out great. Students have been practicing oral story retelling so they can go home and share with their families.

Our bedtime storybooks:

Barrys Best Buddy by Renee French
Nighttime Ninja by Barbara De Costa
Tea with Rex by Molly Idle

Plaidypus Lost by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

I read any and all books by this sister team. You know the book will be wonderful.

Plaidypus lost.
Plaidypus found
This story goes around and around.

A young girl's grandmother stitches her a stuffed toy out of her grandpa's old plaid shirt-hence the name Plaidypus. The girls is so pleased with her new special toy that she promises Grandma that she will never lose him, but then she does exactly that. Not only does she lose him, she loses him repeatedly throughout the story. She forgets him at the park, she forgets him at the store, she forgets him at the lake, and then the poor creature blows out of her family's car window and ending up in tattered pieces. Plus he's kinda creepy looking to begin with. I can see this as a successful library read aloud because of the girl's carelessness with her precious toy. The kids will be horrified. I can hear them now saying "Oh no! not again!"Of course the natural question to end the story with will be "Do you think the girl will lose her Plaidypus again or try harder to keep up with him?" My money is on it getting lost again.

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Listen to Clare Vanderpool explain why she wrote Moon Over Manifest and hear her read a portion of the story at Teaching While this is a wonderful story, I just haven't warmed up to the voice actor's style of delivering the story through an audio presentation. I thought it was just me, but during a recent Twitter chat #MissRead on the comparison of print versus audio books, I discovered that other listeners had experienced the same resistance to the audiobook version of Moon Over Manifest. In fact, we agreed that in regards to audiobooks, the voice artist can make or break the story. I also love the works of Christopher Paul Curtis, especially some of his audiobooks, but I could not get into Mr. Chickee's Funny Money because of the voice actor.

Current Read

Penny Dreadful by Laurel Synder

On Saturday, I dashed to the MacDonald public library for a librarian hang out and to pick up my hold for Penny Dreadful. I am reading this as part of @MissionRead's #PageChallenge and already loving it even though I am just a few pages in. I can't wait to book talk with fellow readers.

When I arrived at the library, I noticed fellow librarian Lauren was holding a copy of Giants Beware and asked her if she was  planning to join in on this coming #SharpSchu book club on Twitter this Tuesday, May 21st.  I sent out a district wide email to all librarians encouraging them to join in. Lauren told me that she was not a fan of graphic novels but the red headed character on the cover of Giant's Beware had caught her eye and if she liked it, it would be her next Halloween costume. Cool, Claudette for Halloween. I like it! I, of course, launched into my praise of the book because it is one of my favorites and my students are ape over it. I haven't seen a copy in weeks except for the one that I begged the return of so I could brush up for the Twitter chat. 
GIANTS Beware!
Author: Jorge Aguirre
Illustrated by Rafael Rosado
First Second Books

Click here to see pages from the book.
I love this digital inking process and the cool accompanying music for Giants Beware.

Last but not least

Here is what Jennifer Green sent to me for Teach Mentor Text's Spring Book and Bookmark Swap. This was so much fun. My #Bookswap buddy was Maria Selke and I sent her The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson and I created three bookmarks for her to use because sometimes you just have to mark those very special passages you want to read again and again.

I have a big week ahead of me with library inventory beginning but since I always look on the sunny side of life that means more time to "read, before I weed" out a book. For those of you who do not approve of weeding libraries, don't worry-I make sure to get these books into the hands of children who usually do not have any books in their homes. I am also sadly out of book shelf space and already using every possible object that can hold books.


  1. I'm reading A Tangle of Knots this week! It's charming. I'm glad I read it first before I gave it to my 4th graders - I could see where it might be confusing with all of the characters introduced in the beginning. I, too, would love to make some of the cakes! :-)I didn't do the Book and Bookmark Swap, but now I wish I had!

    1. I have been struggling to keep my characters from mingling together in my mind. I was reading A Tangle of Knots, Moon Over Manifest, and starting up with Penny Dreadful. I kept thinking about what one character was doing but putting them in the wrong setting. I am planning to try a couple of the recipes out.

      You will have to join the Summer #Bookswap.

  2. A Tangle of Knots was fun and I did a little baking too Fun story and yummy too. Giants Beware is one of my favorite graphic novels. I just love Claudette. Umbrella Summer has such a sunny cover. I am putting it on my list. Have a great week of reading!

  3. Terrific blog post. Love the step by step photos of your cake prep. I wish I could get really good current audio books like you have. My public library seems to always have the same old audios and rarely anything new. Wow, that is unusual to hear me grumbling but I am starting library inventory and need a good audio to listen to. Maybe I will just move my Harry Potter July re-read up a couple of months.

  4. Seems like everyone is reading A Tangle of Knots! I just finished it this week too. I am planning to read Penny Dreadful in the next little while as well. I just started Snyder's Bigger than a Breadbox. Happy weeding! It's challenging but necessary. I need to do a big weed of my classroom library this summer. Looking forward to it although it often leads to reorganizing, new book bins, etc. Which is also fun . . .

  5. I remember you said you were going to read A Tangle of Knots during a Twitter chat this past week. It was sweet. Let me know your thoughts on both Synder books.

  6. I enjoyed A Tangle of Knots. It was my first Lisa Graff book and since then I've also read Something About Georgie (another great book). I'll be looking for more of her books for summer reading. I looked at your summer reading wiki. I've been thinking about a way to connect with my fourth graders (who will be fifth graders) over the summer with some kind of book club. I'd be interested in how this has worked for you. If you have a chance will you email me?

    1. I am emailing you today. Thanks for the comment.

  7. So glad you enjoyed Tangle of Knots -- I agree that it could be confusing with all of the characters. I read it first and then started right away on it as a read aloud to my two girls (5th and 3rd grade) and they loved it. It allowed them to gasp outloud at certain spots, and for me to clarify, if I saw somebody's face clouding over. They begged for more every time I stopped! :)

    Many of your other titles are on my TBR, including Penny Dreadful, which I think is even in the library bag, right now!

    1. I am enjoying Penny Dreadful but haven't had much of a chance to read at all this week. Tonight is the night I plan to crawl into bed early and read. (what every mother says but rarely does.)
      Thanks for dropping by.

  8. Nice: read before I weed - sounds like a job I can get used to doing! Haven't read Tangle of Knots yet, so I'm hoping I can get around to reading it. Haven't tried audiobooks yet, but I'm sure you're right in that the 'actor' reading the lines can definitely make or break a book. Moon Over Manifest was one of my greatest reads the year it came out - quite slow in the beginning, very gradual build up but one that will stay with the reader definitely for years to come. Have a great reading week!


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