Friday, May 25, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny - A Follow-up

As I promised in Monday's post, I finished Mr. and Mrs. Bunny-Detectives Extraordinaire! by Mrs. Bunny and translated from the Rabbit by Polly Horvath.  I have to say, at first, I wasn't sure about the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, but as the story played out, I began to really understand them and enjoyed how they saved the day in the end. I also loved how Madeline grew and experienced life as a child, rather than be pushed to be the "adult" all the time by her parents.  Children need to experience life at all ages, and it was nice to see the Bunnys care for and treat Madeline as a child of their own.  She had been taking care of herself and others for so long, it was a nice break for her.  A cute story with modern day references thrown in for laughs.  A great book to read this summer!

I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, celebrating the men and women who currently serve or have served to protect our country. I know I'm especially thankful for my dad, several cousins and grandpas for all they have done. 



  

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Prairie Storms

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday! I hope this post will be a help to those who love picture books and want to share them with their own children or those they teach.


Before I begin, I would like to thank Michelle Bradford for hosting a giveaway in which I won today’s book! Also thanks to Darcy Pattison for giving away a signed copy!

PRAIRIE STORMS

Written by: Darcy Pattison
Illustrated by: Kathleen Rietz

Sylvan Dell Publishing 2011
Non-Fiction for ages 3 to 10

Themes: science (weather and animals)

Opening and brief synopsis:
Low, thick clouds dump snow, covering the prairies. Whistling winds shape and mold the snow into drifts and hollows. The prairie chicken claws into a drift, digging a winter roost.

Each two page spread features a month of the year and the weather or storms typical of that month on the prairie. A prairie animal is also featured by showing how they adapt to the storm. My favorite featured animals include the ground hog, sandhill cranes and a white tailed doe and fawn.

Why I like this book:
I loved the first section of the book featuring a prairie animal against its habitat backdrop in each spread. The illustrations are very real and pull the reader in. The back section features a “Creative Minds” educational section. Younger kids can learn so much from reading the story, while older kids gain knowledge from the excellent resources and Q&A sections in the back.

Resources:
The last six pages of the book are an amazing resource and even more can be found at http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=PrairieStorms.

Perfect Picture Book Friday is a wonderful idea started by Susanna Leonard Hill. For other “Just Right” books, visit her blog.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Mr. and Mrs. Bunny - Detectives Extraordinaire!

Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!  Today is a bit unusual for me. I'm actually only halfway through with the book I'm sharing. Because of the beautiful weekend here in Michigan, I was outside way too much and didn't get the book finished.  So, I want to share my thoughts so far and will write a follow-up post later this week after I complete the book.

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny - Detectives Extraordinaire!
by Mrs. Bunny and translated from the Rabbit by Polly Horvath
illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books 2012

The description from Goodreads:
In this hilarious chapter book mystery, meet a girl whose parents have been kidnapped by disreputable foxes, and a pair of detectives that also happen to be bunnies! When Madeline gets home from school one afternoon to discover that her parents have gone missing, she sets off to find them. So begins a once-in-a-lifetime adventure involving a cast of unforgettable characters. There's Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, who drive a smart car, wear fedoras, and hate marmots; the Marmot, who loves garlic bread and is a brilliant translator; and many others. Translated from the Rabbit by Newbery Honor-winning author Polly Horvath, and beautifully illustrated by Sophie Blackall, here is a book that kids will both laugh over and love.

I have to say, this book is definitely different from anything I have read for a while. It sucks you into a different world full of hippie parents, a sensible daughter, talking animals and a wonderful mystery.  The occasional illustrations are so in tune with the story and help my imagination as I read.  One thing to note - the vocabulary can be advanced, so I would recommend this for the upper end of the middle grade spectrum. I've even looked up a word to check its meaning!

That's all I have for now. Stay tuned later this week and I will let you know how it turns out!

For more information about Marvelous Middle Grade Monday click here.  To see my favorite MMGM links, check out the list to the right.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Bed Hogs

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday! I hope this post will be a help to those who love picture books and want to share them with their own children or those they teach.


BED HOGS

Written by: Kelly DiPucchio and Illustrated by: Howard Fine

Hyperion Books for Children 2004
Fiction for ages 2 to 5
(but I think 6-8 year-olds will find it funny too)

Themes: family, cause and effect, counting

Opening and brief synopsis:
In Sooey, South Dakota,
in a sloppy, stuffy sty,
there’s an itchy ol’ straw bed
where the Bed Hogs pile high.

Doesn’t the first stanza just beg to be read?  The book features Little Runt who is squished and squashed and just wants the bed to himself. But as he kicks out his family members one by one, he realizes he needs them and sleeping all alone isn’t as fun as he thought.

Why I like this book:
Those who follow me know that Kelly is one of my favorite picture book authors. Here's a link to a post from when I met her. This is actually her first picture book that was published. The entire story is amazing rhyme also featuring repeating and varying refrains that are so fun to read. I check this book out of the library every once in a while, just for the fun of reading it out loud.

Resources:
A variety of pig coloring pages can be found here. Other pig activity pages can be found here.

Perfect Picture Book Friday is a wonderful idea started by Susanna Leonard Hill. For other “Just Right” books, visit her blog.

Monday, May 7, 2012

MMGM: The Lemonade Crime


THE LEMONADE CRIME
by: Jacqueline Davies
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 2011

 Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday features The Lemonade Crime by Jacqueline Davies.  This is the second book in The Lemonade War Series. You can find more info about the first book  The Lemonade War in a post of mine from last fall.


The back cover of the book describes it best:

FACT: One week ago, two hundred and eight dollars disappeared from the pocket of Evan Treski's shorts.

FACT: Evan and Jessie had worked extremely hard over the summer to earn that money - mixing lemonade, hauling it all over town, standing in the hot summer sun for every nickel of business.

 FACT: Scott Spencer just bought something very, very expensive.

 ACCUSATION: Scott Spencer stands accused of the crime of stealing the lemonade money. Class 4-O hearby calls him to stand trial before a judge, witnesses, and a jury of his peers.

Will the truth come out in court? And if it does, will justice prevail?

Following the events of The Lemonade War, Evan and Jessie still can't believe that Scott stole their money. So, Jessie sets up the courtroom and assigns everyone their parts.  As the proceedings unfold, other secrets emerge and the outcome is definitely a surprise!

I love the brother/sister dynamic of these books.  Fourth grade is such a fun age to read about, too, since the boys are just starting to notice girls and the girls are starting to be concerned with their appearance and noticing the boys too. The conflict in this story is real and believable and the fact that the kids resolve it on their own is a wonderful lesson for kids to read about.  As with the first book, each chapter starts with a word and definition, this time explaining words found in the court system. Another great learning tool, but also adds to the fun. My son is reading The Lemonade War for a book report for school, and I'm sure he will enjoy this one as well!

Have a great week!  For other MMGM recommendations, check out my favorite links to the right.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Old Cricket

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday! I hope this post will be a help to those who love picture books and want to share them with their own children or those they teach.

OLD CRICKET

Written by: Lisa Wheeler
Illustrated by: Ponder Goembel

A Richard Jackson Book (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) 2003

Fiction for ages 3 to 6

Themes: honesty, behavior, animals

Opening and brief synopsis:
Old Cricket woke up feeling cranky. And crotchety. And cantankerous.
So when his missus asked him to ready their roof for winter, he came up with a clever plan. (You don’t get to be an old cricket by being a dumb bug.)

Old Cricket is full of excuses to avoid work and as his excuses get bigger and bigger, he gets himself into some real trouble and ends up right back at the beginning fixing the roof.

Why I like this book:
This is a great book to teach kids in a gentle way about excuses and being lazy. In the end Old Cricket does have to fix the roof of his house, the task he tried to avoid. I like that he doesn’t get out of it and has to face the consequences of his actions. The illustrations are wonderful and really bring the book to life.

Resources:
A two page activity guide and other ideas can be found on Lisa’s site.

Perfect Picture Book Friday is a wonderful idea started by Susanna Leonard Hill. For other “Just Right” books, visit her blog.