Sunday, March 31, 2013

Taking Stock - March

Total Posts: 29
Total Books Read this Month: 36
Total Books Read this Year: 110

Audio Books: 8/ 17 ytd
Debut Author: 2/ 4 ytd
Mount TBR Challenge: 4/ 9 ytd

Picture Books: 13/ 28 ytd

The Good: According to Goodreads, I continue to be right on track for my 2013 Reading Challenge. I coincidentally opened and closed my month with a Burleigh biography! I increased the time I spend reading with my ears. I got a couple of debuts under my belt, albeit picture book debuts, but they were both fantastic!

The Bad: I read 36 but reviewed only 8. A few days ago, I learned that my go-to children's indie book store is closing. So sad but the good news is that the owner will be able to continue to provide books to the schools they supply! Yay! Mary has hand-sold so many winners to me over the years. I'm glad she'll still be available to me.

The list:

75. George Bellows: Painter with a punch! by Robert Burleigh (3/1)
76. Stink and the Freaky Frog Freakout by Megan McDonald (3/1)
77. How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen (3/3)
78. The Price of Freedom by Dennis and Judith Fradin (3/4)
79. Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass (3/5)
80. Zombie Makers: true stories of nature's undead by Rebecca L. Johnson (3/7)
81. Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek (3/7)
82. Phoebe & Digger by Tricia Springstubb (3/7)
83. Sophia's War by Avi (3/8)
84. My Life in Pink and Green by Lisa Greenwald (3/10)
85. The Long, Long Journey: the Godwit's amazing migration by Sandra Markle (3/11)
86. Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going (3/14)
87. What Really Matters for Struggling Readers by Richard Allington (15)
88. Ashfall by Mike Mullen (3/17)
89. Voices of Ancient Egypt by Kay Winters (3/17)
90. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (3/17)
91. FaceSpace by Adrian Chamberlain (3/18)
92. Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight by Marthe Jocelyn (3/18)
93. Survival at 120 Above by Debbie S. Miller (3/18)
94. Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay (3/18)
95. Monsieur Marceau: actor without words by Leda Schubert (3/19)
96. Peanut by Ayun Halliday (3/21)
97. His Name was Raoul Wallenberg by Louise Borden (3/22)
98. BZRK by Michael Grant (3/22)
99. Follow, Follow: a book of reverso poems by Marilyn Singer (3/22)
100. Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier (3/23)
101. Forest Has a Song by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (3/23)
102. The Templeton Twins have an Idea by Ellis Weiner (3/24)
103. The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins (3/25)
104. Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass (3/30)
105. Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn (3/31)
106. Light in the Darkness: a story about how slaves learned in secret by Lesa Cline-Ransome (3/31)
107. Look Up! Henrietta Leavitt, pioneering woman astronomer by Robert Burleigh (3/31)
108. Cat Talk by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest (3/31)
109. The Boy and the Airplane by Mark Pett (3/31)
110. Brick by Brick Charles R. Smith (3/31)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cover Coincidence(s) Hearts and Trees Edition

It's Saturday, so it's Stacking the Shelves time. I posted my haul earlier and began clicking the links on Tynga's Reviews to see what other bloggers got. 

One of my first stops was The Twins Read and that's when I noticed that every one of their books had a heart of some sort on the cover!


 Their blog featured the cover on the left. The American cover is on the right. Perhaps one of the rose petals is heart-shaped?

Hearts on covers is not new, nor is it particularly rare. I just thought it was fun that all the books they received this week had a heart of some sort on the cover.

As I continued to visit other stacks, here's what I found on Books Bones and Buffy - trees:

And these reminded me of this book that arrived this week in a box of review books for my book evaluation group.

What cover coincidences have you noticed lately?

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga of Tynga's Reviews. Pop on over there to share your new books and ogle what other bloggers got.

This week was a budget-buster but they were all pre-ordered. I had actually forgotten about them so opening the two boxes was a bit like opening presents on two afternoons this week.

Oblivion by Anthony Horowitz. (Gatekeepers #5) 590 p. Scholastic Press, April 1, 2013. 9780439680042.

I enjoyed this series despite the fact that each installment seemed to take forever to come out. I don't have the luxury of rereading a series so I hope that some recapping is in this hefty volume. I might just have to donate it to my library before I read it because I have an eighth grader making his way through the series now.

Pieces by Chris Lynch. 168 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, February 2, 2013. 9781416927037.

This one has been out for a while, but I ordered it at the same time as the pre-orders, so I had to wait since I'm all about free shipping. I am really looking forward to reading this one. Lynch does more in 168 pages than most authors do in, um, 590.

Iceman by Chris Lynch. 152 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, March 5, 2013. 9781442460027.

Of course, I had to buy this reissue (published a month after its sequel - well, companion, but, never mind) 1. because I don't have it in my library and 2. even if I did, the cover of the out of print version is ghastly.

Period 8 by Chris Crutcher. 276 p. Greenwillow Books/ HarperCollins Publishers, March 26, 2013. 9780061914805.

At last! A new book by Chris Crutcher. 'Nuff said.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. 262 p. Roaring Brook Press, February 5, 2013. 9781596438002.

Sadly, I never got around to reading Sedgwick's Printz Honor-winning, Revolver. This one is getting such uniformly spectacular reviews that I simply must read it. And, isn't that cover amazing?

Clementine and the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. 150 p. Disney/ Hyperion Books, March 5, 2013. 9781423123576.

I have adored this little third grader since her first book released in 2006. I was in a K - 8 school then. I read the first chapter aloud to all the students, including the older grades. I used it as an example of voice. When I made the move to my present school (5 - 8 middle), I was tickled to find Clementine on the shelf. They don't circulate much but I'm glad she's there.

That's it for me. I continue to drown in books and couldn't be happier. What's new with you?

Happy reading.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Spine Poetry

Travis Jonker, over at 100 Scope Notes, is collecting book spine poems for a gallery. They're challenging and fun to create. I have been discovering books on my shelves that I had forgotten were there!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which we share the titles of books whose release we are eagerly awaiting.

Vote by Gary Paulsen. 144 p. Random House Children's Books, May 14, 2013. 9780385742283.

Publisher synopsis: Kevin Spencer, the hero of Liar, Liar, Flat Broke, and Crush, has a knack for tackling big ideas and goofing up, so what's next? Politics, of course! He's running for office, and his campaign is truly unique.

Gary Paulsen books are pretty popular at my library, but this series is particularly popular. I think it's because the books are fast and funny.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's theme is top ten books I recommend the most.

Ack! Much of my day is spent doing reader's advisory with kids. Sometimes, they come in with those dang lists that a program spits out supposedly based on a combination of their reading level and their interests (don't get me started) and there is no reader's advisory. Hopefully, I have some of the books on the spit list. Many of the titles are fairly old and not only not in my collection but not readily available through InterLibrary Loan. 

Sometimes a student comes in in saying, "I need to find a (insert genre here). That's fine. I can work with that. My favorite is when the student has no idea what they want to read. That interview can take some time and usually begins with me asking, "What was the name of the last book you really liked?" as well walk the shelves.

Here's a list of the latest books that I have either made an effort to booktalk to larger groups of students or sent out email blasts to staff:

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Admittedly, there will not be many middle school students sophisticated enough to handle this one although I did have one eighth grade girl (the very one I imagined would read it) read it and rave about it. Quite of few of my colleagues have read it.

Butter by Erin Jade Lange
I Swear by Lane Davis
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass

Picture Books:
! (Exlamation Mark) by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
Phoebe & Digger by Tricia Springstubb

Monday, March 25, 2013

Non-Fiction Monday: His Name was Raoul Wallenberg: courage, rescue and mystery during World War II

by Louise Borden. 136 p. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, January, 2012. 9780618507559. (Purchased.)

Raoul Wallenberg may not be the first name that comes to mind when contemplating righteous gentiles of the Holocaust, but students of the Holocaust would do well to learn about him and this gorgeously designed biography introduces the man memorably. 

Mr. Wallenberg was born into a wealthy family in Sweden. He never knew his father, who died of cancer three months before he was born. His fraternal grandfather Gustaf Oscar Wallenberg, who was at one time Sweden's minister to Japan, influenced Raoul's life immensely. It was he who arranged for Raoul to become a "citizen of the world." It was Raoul, with his insatiable curiosity, appreciation for the arts and intense interest in history and people who fulfilled his grandfather's wishes. 

The pace of this verse biography is leisurely in the beginning, and accompanied by many photographs of family and places. It took me a while to get into the rhythm of the "verse." It seemed to me to be more chopped up and artfully arranged sentences. I did a lot of rereading before I adjusted. 

At times, I also wished for more detail, like more than one line about his father dying of cancer or the one line about his step-father, Frederik von Dardel. But this is a minor and purely personal quibble. 

Tension definitely ratchets during the last half as Borden describes Sweden's role during World War II and the plan to send Mr. Wallenberg to Hungary. This reader was awed by the audacity of Mr. Wallenberg as well as his courage and commitment to rescuing Jews. 

Several pages of back matter provide more information about Mr. Wallenberg and the family he left behind. The author got to visit Sweden and interview family and friends. She provides a two-page bibliography, recommends several video recordings.

This unusual biography may take a little hand-selling to students, but should be recommended for any social studies unit on the Holocaust or the subject of righteous gentiles.

Other blog reviews:
The Children's War
Nonfiction Detectives
Ms. Yingling Reads

Non-Fiction Monday is hosted this week by Anastasia at Booktalking#Kidlit.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier

Illustrated by Suzy Lee. 40 p. Chronicle Books, January, 2013. 9780811867832. (Purchased.)

I'm a little late to the party with this one. Lots of great things have been written already, and I'm not so sure I have anything to add. Except, grab this little cutie and a favorite cutie of the small person variety, cozy up on a couch and dive right in. Be prepared to do it again and again.

It's a concept book, a sort of book version of nesting dolls. Someone somewhere described it as a cumulative story. Ah... not quite, but I see it. It has also been described as meta-fiction, so do add it to your pile of examples if you're a teacher. Do add it to your collection if you are an elementary school or public librarian. Do add it to your collection if you have a youngster at home. Heck, add it anyway because it's fun.

View the book trailer here. Visit the author's website here. Visit the illustrator's website here.

Other blog reviews:
100 Scope Notes
Waking Brain Cells

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What's New? Part 2.

Oops! I nearly forgot about my anniversary presents! Yesterday was my 28th anniversary. My hub/ best friend sent me a lovely budding azalea and a cute little violet, which would've been quite enough really. We went to our favorite restaurant with two of our sons plus one girlfriend and shared appetizers and generally pigged out. It was a quiet, low-key, fun evening filled with conversation.

When I turned down my covers later, I discovered six wrapped books, which turned out to be these:
Hahahahaha! I need another cookbook like I need another book, in general.

Last week, I jokingly told my husband that I was giving him a cookbook for our anniversary. I do 99.9999...% of the cooking in our household. 99% of the time, I enjoy it immensely. It helps that the boys are appreciative eaters (as long as I don't serve vegetables and experiment too wildly). When I don't feel like cooking, we order in. Hence the hysterical laughter when I opened, What the F*@# Should I Make for Dinner?

It used to be that he would do the barbecuing and make the pancakes or french toast when we planned Sunday morning family breakfasts. Somehow, I've taken over those duties as well. I can't remember the last time he cooked. So, while I waited for a prescription to be filled in my local pharmacy, I browsed the gift section and discovered a cookbook entitled, One Pan, Two Plates, which, we almost are. He's all about simplicity, so I thought the cookbook might inspire him...

Back to the stack.

Three of the cookbooks are gluten-free cookbooks. I've been cooking gluten-free for the past five years, ever since #4 son was diagnosed with celiac disease. It helped that we weren't a family who ate many processed foods, so the transition was fairly seamless. All pastas and flours were replaced. G-free breads are served for son and the rest eat regular crusty breads but everything else is g-free. I did very well w/o any g-free cookbooks for four years as one really just needs to substitute the gluten ingredients in any regular recipe. But, last December, I broke down and purchased the cookbooks of the authors of a blog that I follow and discovered a few others that intrigued me. And now these. 

I will pull out the recipes that interest me and most likely pass the books on to son, who moved out of the dorm and into an apartment this year because his college does not offer enough g-free options and he came home last spring, um skeletal. He's in an apartment close to campus this year, has a Wegmans close by and a good friend who loves to cook and he's been experimenting in the kitchen. 

The fifth is called, Esquire: Eat like a Man. Hahahaha! So apt. Besides the cat, I am the only female in the house.

Finally, the last cookbook: Bride & Groom: first and forever cookbook - probably being returned although I love the romantic sentiment. It's a bit too basic for someone with 28+ years of cooking under her (expanding) belt.

I'm such a lucky gal.

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga of Tynga's Reviews. Pop on over there to share your new books and ogle what other bloggers got.

It's a poetry/ picture bookish haul this week. Remember, one is never too old for picture books!

For review:

Forest Has a Song: poems by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater. Illustrated by Robbin Gourley. 32 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 26, 2013. 9780618843497. 

Publisher synopsis: A spider is a “never-tangling dangling spinner / knitting angles, trapping dinner.” A tree frog proposes, “Marry me. Please marry me… / Pick me now. / Make me your choice. / I’m one great frog / with one strong voice.” VanDerwater lets the denizens of the forest speak for themselves in twenty-six lighthearted, easy-to-read poems. As she observes, “Silence in Forest / never lasts long. / Melody / is everywhere / mixing in / with piney air. / Forest has a song.” The graceful, appealing watercolor illustrations perfectly suit these charming poems that invite young readers into the woodland world at every season.


Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier. Illustrated by Suzy Lee. 40 p. Chronicle Books LLC, January 1, 2013. 9780811867832.

Publisher synopsis: What will you find when you open this little book? A fun story? Sweet characters? Enticing pictures? Yes! But much more. Open this book and you will find...another book...and another...and another. Debut author Jesse Klausmeier and master book creator Suzy Lee have combined their creative visions to craft a seemingly simple book about colors for the very youngest readers, an imaginative exploration of the art of book making for more sophisticated aficionados, and a charming story of friendship and the power of books for all.

Follow Follow: a book of reverso poems by Marilyn Singer. Illustrated by Josée Masse.

Publisher synopsis: Once upon a time, Mirror Mirror, a brilliant book of fairy tale themed reversos – a poetic form in which the poem is presented forward and then backward – became a smashing success. Now a second book is here with more witty double takes on well-loved fairy tales such as Thumbelina and The Little Mermaid.
Read these clever poems from top to bottom and they mean one thing. Then reverse the lines and read from bottom to top and they mean something else - it is almost like magic!
A celebration of sight, sound, and story, this book is a marvel to read again and again.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you? 

Happy reading!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Flash Reviews - Phoebe and Digger and Puffin Peter

Once upon a time, this blogger reviewed everything she read. The reviews weren't particularly long, nor were they particularly well-written, but they were a record of her reading. She started blogging when shortly after switching schools, she learned that the hundreds of annotations she put on the first school's website were wiped out with a keystroke by the webmaster who replaced her. 

A little over a year ago, she began a quest to read a book a day. Since she reads much faster than she writes, and still doesn't write all that well, reviews/ posts fell, nay plummeted. Indeed, she has read 98 books so far this year and have reviewed only 20. Pitiful.

Hence, the idea for "Friday Flash Reviews."

First up:

Phoebe & Digger by Tricia Springstubb. Illustrated by Jeff Newman. 32 p. Candlewick Press, March 26, 2013. 9780763652814. (Peeked at a review copy)

"When mama got a new baby, Phoebe got a new digger." Phoebe and her Digger, yellow and vaguely reminiscent of Mike Mulligan's Mary Ann, worked very well together making noise (to drown out the baby noises) and mayhem (digging through the garbage, vrooming after the cat). 

I'm well past needing a "new baby" book and five years past having students young enough to read one to, but I would so buy this one for my home library. Move over Lily, Phoebe's aggressive digging promises to upend nearly everything in the house and garden, so Mama decides the whole family would do well to go to the park. Unfortunately, a little cry baby crosses Phoebe's path, so she scares him, setting off wails of terror, which turns out to be a secret signal that causes all the babies in the park to wail much to Phoebe's delight. 

Her delight comes crashing to a halt when a bigger kid decides that she wants Digger. Poor Phoebe. Poor Digger! Mom to the rescue.

The text is too delicious, with humor for those large and small. The illustrations just about steal the show though. I adored Jeff Newman's nearly wordless book, The Boys and this one might just nudge The Boys from my heart. Sly good humor is conveyed with mere lines. Make room for Phoebe and Digger.

Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek. 40 p. Candlewick Press, March 26, 2013. 9780763665722.

I will admit that I'm a sucker for puffins and pufflings and, well nearly any cover with a bird on it. But puffins are just too adorable. They are the most endearing of birds and I have several children's books about them in my personal library. This cover is just "aw-inducing." How can one resist a bright yellow cover? How can one resist this little guy?

This is a sweet story about friends lost, then found. Oh, and the power of communication as Peter's description of Paul painted a variety of different pictures in the mind of the rescuing whale.

I loved the energy of the illustrations and the expressiveness of the animals. A fine addition to any collection.

Book Spine Poetry

Travis Jonker, over at 100 Scope Notes is collecting book spine poems for a gallery. They're challenging and fun to create (and don't always make sense). I have been discovering books on my shelves that I had forgotten were there!

For this week's poem, I intentionally sought out titles I could pair with my audio reread of one of my favorite books of all time, Fat Kid Rules the World. Here's what I came up with:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which we share the titles of books whose release we are eagerly awaiting. 

Fyre (Septimus Heap series # 7) by Angie Sage. 720 p. HarperCollins Publishers, April 16, 2013. 9780061242458.

Publisher synopsis: Now that Septimus, Jenna, and Beetle are fourteen years old, they have assumed larger roles in their Magykal world. Beetle is the Chief Hermetic Scribe of the Manuscriptorium and Jenna will soon be Queen, but Septimus is still battling the remnants of the Darke Domaine, which will remain until the power of the evil Two-Faced Ring is destroyed forever. To accomplish that, the ancient Alchemie Fyre must be relit—a task that sends Septimus to the very origins of Magyk and Physik, testing both his skills and his loyalties to ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand and Alchemist Marcellus Pye.
In a journey that encapsulates the entire Septimus Heap series, Septimus continues to discover who he is and expand upon his Magykal power and skills. fyre [sic] weaves together every character from the series and incorporates many of the Magykal places from each book. Written with Angie Sage's distinctive humor and heart, Fyre is the grand finale that celebrates the greatest Magyk of all: When the Fyre inside is kindled and when the Time Is Right, anything is possible.
Just yesterday, one of my fantasy-loving fifth graders returned Darke. He wore that expression I have come to recognize and call, "last book blues." He plowed through the series one after the other after I suggested that he might like them. He's a strong reader who will surely test my Reader's Advisory skills. He's also rather reserved so my only indication that he liked the books was the fact that he devoured the entire series. I must seek the lad out today and inform him of the news. Perhaps I will be rewarded with some expression of gladness.
I don't know if you noticed, but this one weighs in at a whopping 720 pages! Granted the smallish, square design and liberal white space make these books appear longer than they actually are, but this is mammoth! I haven't yet read Darke, so I'd better get hopping!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's TTT theme is books I just HAD to buy but haven't yet read. Ahem, that would be TOM, the tbr "pile" that fills four book shelves. 

How can I choose just ten? Oldest? Nah, those are on the bookshelves in my bedroom. It's 6AM and the hub is sleeping. Ah, I just spied a title, right from my computer chair and my reaction was, "You haven't read THAT yet? You dope!" So, here are the ten in the order that I found them:

From top to bottom:
1. 8th Grade Super Zero by Olugbemisola Rhuday Perkovich
2. Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
3.The Boneshaker by Kate Milford
4. King of Ithaka by Tracy Barrett
5. My Brother's Shadow by Monika Schroder
6. Virals by Kathy Reichs
7. Bongo Fishing by Thacher Hurd
8. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
9. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
10. Miss Perigrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

I know!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Science Bus

Warning! Long post ahead!

If it's March, it's time for the Rutgers Science Bus to park in the teacher's lot for three days, usually Tuesday through Thursday, for three grade levels. Last week was "science bus" time for grade seven. How is this related to a blog about children's literature? Another off-topic post, Brenda? Not quite.

Students in grades five, six and seven attend the science bus. It is a fully equipped science lab on wheels, staffed by science students from Rutgers. There's a curriculum menu for the middle school science teachers to choose from and the Rutgers teachers need what amounts to two class periods to present the lesson and give the kids (in groups of 20) hands-on experience. 

For grades five and six, this is not a problem as fifth graders spend full mornings with one teacher, who teaches social studies and language arts and afternoons with another who teaches math and science, or vice a versa. Sixth graders spend three periods a day with their language arts teachers (morning or afternoon), three traveling between social studies, math and science and one "special," art, music and physical education. 

Seventh graders do have two language arts periods each day, but they are split, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Additionally, most, not all take Spanish once a day, so the seventh grade team devised a special schedule. Since the grouping of students is a bit random and since a student might not have their regular LA teacher, nor take Spanish, nor have the "special" on a particular day, the classes could not continue its regular academics, but had to have some sort of educational value. There had to be eight different places for them to spend two consecutive periods.

Here's where I come in and this is what I did with them. The Friday before Science Bus week, I visited each language arts class to explain what they needed to bring to library on their library day.

I told them to, "think of your favorite picture book from when you were small. The picture book that you asked to have read to you or that you read over and over. The one that, when you see it today, elicits a, "Oh! I LOVED that book!" Find an image of it online and drag it to a word document." 

Next, think of your present favorite novel, the book that you rush to your friends saying, "OMG, this is the BEST book!" Find an image online and drag it into the word document." Then I showed them my sample, saying, "Both covers need to fit on one word document, like this."
Five O'Clock Charlie by Marguerite Henry is one of my favorite books from childhood. It is in tatters, but well-loved by me and still in my possession. Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner is my new favorite YA of 2013. But, you already know that. I wanted the students to come in with the covers to save time and ink. My two printers are old and slow and glitchy. 

I have plenty of neon colored paper, markers, glue and a collection of those cool scissors that cut patterned edges. Physically cutting and pasting, as well as coloring has value, yes, even in seventh grade, but to add a bit of academic oomph, while the students were decorating, they also needed to come up with blurbs for their books. 

But first, they needed to know what blurbs are. I decided to segue into the lesson by reading them my new favorite picture book, Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. One is never to old for picture books and this one is a gem that would be as at home in a middle (even high school) library as it would be in a pre-school or elementary school library. 

I had as much fun reading it the eighth time as reading it the first. Each group gamely listened and everyone was delighted, though I must say many of the puns went right over their heads. 

Next, I showed the equally delightful book trailer and stopped the trailer to discuss each of the three starred reviews that were blurbed. I won't go into detail about the back and forth we had or which was my favorite and which didn't appeal to me, but the kids started to get what I was after. 

Then it was time for the Maggot Moon trailer. There was just one blurb on this one, but both the blurb and the trailer were so brilliant that I spent some time discussing it with each class. 

Finally, I showed them an example of how blurbs were extracted from reviews first by showing the blurb, in this case, Pie by Sarah Weeks, from the Scholastic web site, then by showing the full reviews in NoveList K - 8. (I chose it because the blurb that was chosen was from one of my SLJ reviews and waited to see if anyone noticed, teehee.)

Once they got to work creating their own blurbs and accompanying art, there was lots of energetic buzz in the room. Table-mates brainstormed blurbs, shared their titles and described why they chose them. Everyone seemed happy and interested in each other. It was satisfying and fun. 

I usually put all the pieces up on the bulletin boards each year and frequently spot students in all grades perusing the titles. This year, my boards are covered with fifth grade Ancient Civilizations projects, so I think I will string the "Then and Now" pieces together and hang them from the ceiling like neon mobiles.

I brought home a folder filled with my favorites, but this post is already way too long, so here are four particularly photogenic ones. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga of Tynga's Reviews. Pop on over there to share your new books and ogle what other bloggers got.

I belong to a group of school and public librarians who review books. We meet quarterly to share our reviews and choose a new bunch to review. We are a collegial and unfortunately dwindling (thanks to budget cuts) group of dedicated readers who donate tons of free time to read and write reviews for books that we then donate to our libraries to shore up collections (shrinking budgets again) thanks to the generosity of publishers. 

I just stopped to reread the last paragraph and feel I must insert that I feel like the luckiest librarian alive because I do get time to leave my library to attend meetings. My budget is comparatively generous and, while it has not increased in five years, has not decreased. I am aware that others are not so lucky.

Back to the books. Here's my stack:

I will dispense with my usual practice of copying and pasting publisher synopses as it will make for a rather long post, but there are one or two that I'm particularly pleased about snagging, so there may be some commentary.

From top to bottom:

FaceSpace by Adrian Chamberlain. 114 p. Orca Currents series. Orca Book Publishers, March 1, 2013. 9781459801509.

Sidetracked by Deb Loughead. 129 p. Orca Sports series. Orca Book Publishers, November 1, 2012. 9781459802506.

The New Normal by Ashley Little. 222 p. Orca Book Publishers, March 1, 2013. 9781459800748.

Rotten by Michael Northrop. 246 p. Scholastic Inc. April 1, 2013. 9780545495875.

Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun by Liz Kessler. 272 p. Candlewick Press, February 12, 2013. 9780763658243.

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner. 279 p. Candlewick Press, February 12, 2013. 978076366531.

Pip and the Twilight Seekers (a Spindlewood Tale) by Chris Mould. 170 p. Albert Whitman & Company, March 1, 2013. 9780807565537.

Hide and Seek by Kate Messner. 240 p. Scholastic Inc., April 1, 2013. 978054541978.

The Wild Boy: the real life of the savage of Aveyron by Mary Losure. Illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering. 170 p. Candlewick Press, March 26, 2013. 9780763656690.

Sneaky Art: crafty surprises to hide in plain sight by Marthe Jocelyn. Candlewick Press, March 26, 2013. 9780763656485.

Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams. Illustrated by A.G. Ford. 32 p. Candlewick Press, December 3, 2012. 9780763652296.

Paul Thurlby's Wildlife by Paul Thurlby. 32 p. Candlewick Press, March 26, 2013. 9780763665630.

Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares. 40 p. Candlewick Press, February 12, 2013. 9780763656461.

Commentary: Readers of this blog might recognize Maggot Moon as I have already read, reviewed, and marked it as a favorite of 2013. This past week, I book-talked it to the entire seventh grade and many expressed an interest in reading it. I hoped that I would get it and almost didn't. Another reviewer picked it up pretty quickly but ended up putting it back. Lucky me.

I thought I had featured Rotten in a Waiting on Wednesday post since I pre-ordered it back in February. I'm a sucker for dog stories and I really enjoyed the author's last book, Plunked

Great bunch of books, eh? That's what's new with me. What's new with you? Happy reading!