Friday, June 26, 2015

Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor

I am not familiar with Taylor's writing but I want to be. Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise is a favorite of my class, so much so that we read it twice without realizing it 'til the end and loved it both times. Evidently I will have plenty to choose from and read through!

Hoot Owl is hungry. He goes hunting. Or attempts it. Disguised in multiple ways, he hunts and hunts. The struggle immense, and eventually he feeds himself, albeit in a surprising and humorous way. Looking for a fun read aloud? This might be the ticket...

Saturday, June 20, 2015

This Is My Rock by David Lucas

This Is My Rock--one of my new fave read-alouds! I wish I had had the chance to read this to my kindergarten students and unpack it. I think they would have loved it.

Lucas is a prolific author and wrote The Robot and The Bluebird among other favorites. This new text offers a sweet entrance into cause and effect. A mountain goat claims a rock to be his, sending all other comers away. Later he realizes the loss accompanying such action and has to make a large decision about what to do next. This is a very spacious book, with few words and bold illustrations. There are many entrance points and perspectives. I love how the book flows, smooth and steady. Lucas is a master writer, making the few words he chooses to use count with every breath. He dedicated the book to his recently-deceased brother; check out Lucas' April entry on his blog to learn more:

As a child, I played King of the Mountain and never liked it. Maybe Lucas' book can help me understand why.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I loved this book! The author is a new rock star to me!! Loved the expansive storyline, the subtle character development, and the writing style. Love, love love: seriously.

Pre-WWII England: Ada is literally stuck in an apartment, unable to move through both force and disability.  She cares for little brother Jamie in the dingy, tiny apartment, whether their "Mam" is there or not. Deadbeat Mam takes the cake when it comes to negligence  and abuse. Jamie sometimes gets fed because Ada gives him her food. The mom abuses Ada because of her never-repaired clubfoot, forcing her to remain in the apartment at all times, use a bucket to go to the restroom in, and punishes her by forcing her into a small cabinet under a sink filled with roaches. With the slenderest of possibility slinking around the story, Ada and Jamie join the mass exodus of children from London. Placed together in some random single-female home, Ada begins to question almost everything she knows about life. She learns to ask the myriad of questions to help her learn, including vocabulary words like beach and ocean. She also experiences some dramatic PTSD as a result of her mother's severe mistreatment. She hears their caretaker state early on that she didn't request to care for children. But like each character in the book, time and relationships change. The final 30 pages of the book move at an accelerated rate compared to the rest of the book-- this design decision by the author is a brilliant one. I loved the leisurely pace, almost life-like, of living through Ada's eyes. If you regularly read this blog, you know that I often whip through books. This one I did not want to end, but I loved the ending!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously. It was perfect.

I will seek this author out more frequently. Her writing style is so enterable for me. This is a terrific read. I am so grateful to have stumbled across this book. And the cover: perfection!