Sunday, March 30, 2008
Title: The Sign of the Beaver
Author: Elizabeth George Speare/ read by Greg Schaffert
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication Date: July 1984
Format: Audio Book CD 3 hours 10 mins (3 CDs)
This book about a twelve year old boy, Matt, is set in the wilderness of Maine during the late 1780s. Matt and his father establish a homestead for the family, including Matt's mother and siblings, however Matt's father must return to fetch the remainder of the family. Left to face the wilds alone with an heirloom family timepiece and a shot gun, Matt faces many challenges. Losing the gun to a drifter, the crops to local wildlife, and his rations to a bear, Matt takes opts to raid a bee hive in order to add honey to his diet. His failed attempt results only in multiple bee stings and during the attack, Matt sprains his ankle while diving into the river, only to be saved by the local savages, some Native Americans who offer him assistance. In return Matt offers his only book, Robinson Crusoe, but Attean, the young Penobscot native, does not know how to read English. In exchange for food, Matt offers to to teach Attean how to read. The two establish an unlikely friendship, which lasts several months. Forced to choose between his new found friends or waiting for his family, Matt must decide between guaranteed survival and his family. The book offers a very realistic view of the expectations for a young man in the late eighteenth century as well as an historically accurate portrayal of individuals in that part of the country at that time. The audio recording is entertaining; the reader truly puts enthusisasm into the book and encourages listening.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Title: Bud, Not Buddy
Author: Christopher Paul Curtis
Publisher: First Dell Laurel Leaf
Publication Date: September 2004
Bud is a foster child living in Depression era Flint, Michigan. His mother has passed away and Bud quickly discovers that the foster care system in which he has been placed is less than desirabel. Meeting up with a fellow foster child, Bud hops a train in search of the father that he has never known except through a newsprint advertisement. Bud narrates the story through life lessons or rules that he has learned, ways in which he copes with the uncertainty of his environment. Young adult readers will identify with the struggles that Bud faces daily, particularly those from lower income families or those from foster care situations. Additionally, Bud's insights into human and adult behavior offer a unique perspective of a youngster's mature view of the world and the way that it works. Young readers will identify with Bud's insights into the ignorance and general stupidity of the adult world and its workings.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
This is a sequel to Chasing Vermeer and features characters Calder and Petra and the addition of Calder's friend Tommy, who moved away a year before, and who is jealous of Calder and Petra as they received recognition for saving the Vermeer. Tommy feels that he deserves something, as he is the "expert finder." On Tommy's first day of class, their teacher announces that the world-famous Robie House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is scheduled for demolition. The class takes a field trip to the house, and both Calder and Petra discover that there are many secrets concerning the building that they were not aware of. The trio, who call themselves the Wright 3, work to save the house.. Tommy finds a fish talisman in the Robie House garden and realizes it was worth a lot of money. Finally, after saving their own lives, they manage to save that of the house. As in Chasing Vermeer, the illustrations in this book help to give young readers something to look for, in this case a fish. As with much contemporary realistic fiction, this book deals with peer situations that will appeal to young adult readers and who can connect with characters of Calder, Petra, and Tommy who are social outcasts.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
THIS LITTLE PIGGY WITH CD: LAP SONGS, FINGER PLAYS, CLAPPING GAMES, AND PANTOMIME RHYMES (Genre: Poetry/module 4)
Title: This Little Piggy with CD: Lap Songs, Finger Plays, Clapping Games and Pantomime Rhymes
Author: Jane Yolen (editor)
Illustrator: Will Hillenbrand
Publication Date: February 2006
Colorful and engaging illustrations accompanied by lyrics and sheet music set this anthology of sixty rhymes, finger plays, and songs for toddlers and their care givers apart. Familiar games and chants are accompanied by the not-so-familiar and the compact disc features thirteen of the various rhymes and finger plays in the anthology. Children will hop, dance, sing, and chant along with the bouncy rhythms and fun accompaniament of the CD. Yolen had previously featured some of these poems and rhymes in her collection Lap Time Song and Play published in 1989 but this collection is more comprehensive and cohesive, and the CD adds additional support for the preemergent reader. Parents will appreciate the small type instructions and children will enjoy the wonderfully entertaining illustrations.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Title: Honey, I Love and Other Poems
Author: Eloise Greenfield
Illustrations: Diane and Leo Dillon
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: May 1986
This collection of poems written from the point of view of a child discuss the "loves" in her life and the daily activities. From her observations at school "Miss Allen smiled/and blinked her eyes/and plinked the piano/and pushed the pedal/And the pdeal said/SQUEEEEEEEAK!/and we laughed/But Miss Allen didn't" to her expressions of enjoyment at the manner of speech of her cousin from the south "'Cause every wod he says just kind of slides out his mouth." The illustrations of childlike chalk or pencil drawings interspersed with the beautiful charcoals of the young narrator add to the realistic and fantastical elements of the poems. These poems will touch the heart of any child.
Title: The Beauty of the Beast: Poems from the Animal Kingdom
Author: Jack Prelutsky (selected by)
Illustrator: Meilo So
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: March 2006
An anthology of various animal poems accompanied by beautiful watercolor illustrations discuss everything from insects to reptiles to fish to birds to mammals. Poems are written by a variety of authors including Margaret Wise Brown and Robert Frost as well as Marianne Moore and Jack Kerouac. The end pages are wonderful watercolors that evoke feathers and fur and the cover illustration predates the collection. Ideal for explanation as well as enjoyment, this collection is sure to grab the reader's attention for creatures great and small.