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Book Reviews from the Children's Department Staff of the Park Ridge Public Library
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1. Good Night, Trucks!: a Bedtime Book by Brian Biggs

I have discovered that little boys’ interest in trucks begins at a very early age. Right now, one of my toddler’s favorite books is Everything Goes: Good Night Trucks by Brian Biggs. He loves to look at the colorful, cartoon illustrations of all of the trucks. The story consists of one or two trucks per spread, and it includes old favorites as well as some less familiar trucks to build a toddler’s vocabulary. I always know when my toddler finds the ice cream truck because he starts smacking his lips, and he does his best monster impression when he gets to the monster truck page. Little ones will love saying good night to all their favorite trucks.

Posted by: Liz


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2. Ribbit! By Rodrigo Folgueira

We all know that pigs say “oink” – or do they?

One morning the most adorable pink pig is discovered by the frogs sitting on a rock in their pond. Seeing a pig in their pond is very confusing to the frogs. When asked why he is sitting in their pond the pig answers “RIBBIT!” The frogs don’t know what to make of a pig in their pond who says “RIBBIT!” Is he making fun of them? What exactly does he want from them?

When other animals arrive to see the pig for themselves, they begin to laugh which only upsets the frogs more than ever. The chief frog decides that they must go find the wise old beetle who will surely know what to do about a ribbit-ing pig. When the animals, along with the wise old beetle, return to the rock in the pond, the pig is gone. In all his wisdom the beetle says, “Maybe he just wanted to make new friends.” Oh no! the frogs and other animals hadn’t thought of that!

Sure enough, the adorable pink pig has found himself some new friends. What a delight to discover who all his new friends turn out to be!

This is a wonderful book about acceptance, friendship, as well as confidence. The charming illustrations draw the reader into the story. I read it over and over – it’s just that much fun!

Posted by: Wendy


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3. Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

“Holy Unanticipated Occurrences!” is a favorite phrase in Flora and Ulysses and one I uttered after I read it. Perhaps I should have anticipated loving Flora and Ulysses as much as I did. After all, I have enjoyed every other book I have read by this prolific juvenile fiction author, Kate DiCamillo was recently named and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and the book won this year’s Newbery Award. But I had trouble getting excited about reading a book about a squirrel and a girl from a broken home. Was I ever wrong! This book is a delight.

The story begins with a vacuum, a brand new Ulysses Super-Suction Multi-Terrain 2000x vacuum that Mrs. Tickham is exploring in her backyard. When she flips the switch, a squirrel is in the vacuum’s path and is sucked inside. Mrs. Tickham screams until her neighbor and the book’s heroine, Flora Belle Buckman arrives on the scene and rescues the squirrel and changes her and the Tickham’s forever. You see, being vacuumed did something to the squirrel. It made him feel awake, special; it even gave him special powers. He could understand Flora, he had super strength, he could fly, and he could type…poetry! Flora names the squirrel after the vacuum that transformed him, Ulysses. She immediately equates her squirrel’s ability with that of her favorite comic book superhero, The Amazing Incandesto and uses the comic as a guide for maneuvering through life with a super squirrel. Told mostly in prose, the story is enhanced with comic-style vignettes that mostly give a visual depiction of Ulysses accomplishing amazing feats.

Perhaps the most amazing feat is that this book is about more than a superhero squirrel. It is about Flora dealing with her parent’s recent divorce, her parents dealing very badly with their recent divorce and their melancholy daughter, the Tickhams taking in their nephew William Spiver since he cannot deal with this mother’s new boyfriend, and a very wise neighbor dealing with the loss of her husband. All of this is packed into an extremely quick read that would be an appropriate read aloud for the whole family as long as everyone can see the pictures. The plot is exciting, the deeper issues are layered so that they are accessible to mature readers, but not disturbing to younger readers, and the character are easy to identify with. All in all, Flora and Ulysses is not a book to be missed.

Posted by: Kelly


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4. Rufus Goes to School by Kim T. Griswell

Rufus is a little pig, and his greatest wish in the world is to go to school. After all, he has a backpack, he has a lunchbox, he has a blanket. What more could he need? He explains this to Principal Lipid, but he just keeps insisting that there are no pigs allowed in school! His reasons are many – pigs track mud in the halls, they turn their drawings into airplanes, they start food fights in the cafeteria, and the list goes on and on. Well Rufus is not about to give up – he finally pulls out all the stops and brings his favorite book to school and announces that he wants to learn to read. THAT does make a difference, and even strict old Principal Lipid cannot say no to this request. Of course the children are delighted when Rufus joins their class; and of course Rufus LOVES everything about school . . . and storytime most of all. This story is delightful and has an old-fashioned quality that will appeal to young and old alike.

Posted by: Mary


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5. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

Ophelia and the Marvelous BoySome books are special. They have a plot description that sounds like many another book (girl finds herself in a fantastical situation and discovers that she must save the world), but are written in such a otherwordly, atmospheric way that even the adjectives that one might use to describe them aren’t magical enough.

Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard finds herself in a foreign city. Her father is an international expert on swords, and has been called upon to organize a gala Christmas Eve exhibition at the city’s museum. Miss Kaminski, the museum director, is very beautiful, but cold and strange, and Ophelia feels uneasy. She spends her days exploring the museum — from Culture of the Cossacks to Mesopotamian Mysteries and everything (everything) in between. In one room, though, she finds a door. That door hides a boy — a marvelous boy — who says that he has been imprisoned by the Snow Queen, and that he’s waiting for the One Other who will be able to use his sword to defeat her. He needs Ophelia to free him — an act much more complicated than just finding the key to the door.

Foxlee’s book is spellbinding; the world she creates is so compelling that I could see every detail, and what is more, believe every detail. I could see the frozen city, feel the cold in my bones, and believe in the uncanny museum, where wolves might roam the dollhouse exhibit.

Any reader would be enchanted to discover this wonderful book, and many of them might find themselves exploring the museum map on the endpapers. For all the eeriness of the museum, I would like to visit and wander its Gallery of Time, among others. Who knows what I might discover?

Posted by: Sarah


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6. Common Core Review: No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart

NoMonkeysNoChocolate_300
It can be difficult to comprehend events that take place in other parts of the world, so when an opportunity comes along to make a connection between life as we know it and another culture or part of nature it can provide a great opportunity. No Monkeys, No Chocolate provides just such a connection. In this delightfully illustrated nonfiction book, authors Melissa Stewart and Allen Young explore where chocolate comes from on an ecological level. From pods to beans and back again, Stewart and Young explain the various stages of the lifecycle of the cocoa tree and the various organisms that help along the way. Readers will learn the importance of midges, maggots, lizards, fungi, and of course monkeys in the production of chocolate. Without all of those living organisms we would have no cocoa trees. Without cocoa trees we would have no chocolate. And where would we be without chocolate? The book concludes with a concise explanation of the connection between cocoa trees and rainforest preservation and some tips to teach young readers how they can do their parts to help the rainforests as well.
In addition to the wealth of information found within the pages of this book, Melissa Stewart offers more resources on her website including a timeline of her writing process for No Monkeys, No Chocolate as well a list of other great books about ecosystems and how living organisms work together. For teachers or librarians looking for book extension activities Stewart has also created a Reader’s Theater script for No Monkeys, No Chocolate and a few other fun activities on her website.
When it comes to Common Core State Standards, this book hits the jackpot. It is a great resource for teaching informational texts in a science setting, and provides a great opportunity to meet the third RI ELA-Literacy standard for Key Ideas & Details for grades 3 through 5. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3) For even more ideas on teaching with this book, take a look at Melissa Stewart’s curriculum guide.

Just a Few of the Correlations to Common Core State Standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3
Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.9
Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3
Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.5
Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.8
Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9
Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3
Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.6
Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.9
Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Posted by: Staci


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7. Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Sarah shares the book 13 Art Illusions Children Should Know by Silke Vry: it’s a fun and fascinating look at classical–and modern!–art.


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8. How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks

How to Catch a BogleHave you ever felt like something was lurking in the darkness just waiting for a chance to slurp you up into its slimy cavernous mouth? Certainly it was just your imagination…right? Not if you ask Birdie McAdam. She’s a bogler’s apprentice and she knows all-too-well that bogles (monsters to you and me) definitely do exist, and they are devouring children all over London. Working with her mentor Alfred Bunce, Birdie uses her lilting voice to lure the heinous creatures out of their hiding places so that Alfred can destroy them with the help of the legendary Finn McCool’s sword. Birdie is proud to be a bogler’s girl, but a series of curious events is pointing Birdie’s life in a new direction, no matter how hard she tries to fight the change.

How to Catch a Bogle is a delightfully fast paced and fantastical story filled with interesting characters sure to capture the attention of even the most reluctant of readers. The characters, even the bogles, are well-developed and readers will likely find themselves drawn into this surreal version of London in the late 19th century. Jinks does a great job of bringing the ubiquitous imaginary monster-in-the-closet to life without being overly terrifying. Each of the bogles that Birdie and Alfred encounters is unique and grotesque both while alive and in its death. This book would make for a great classroom read aloud for grades 4 through 6. Or, if you have a struggling or reluctant reader in your midst, grab the superbly done audio version, pair it with the text and set him or her off to discover how much fun a book can be.

Posted by: Staci


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9. Dee Dee and Me by Amy Schwartz

Dee Dee and MeHaving a big sister is not always what it is cracked up to be, especially if that sister hogs your toys and your friends and shakes up your pet ladybug and cuts up your favorite apron to make into a purse! Little Hannah has decided that she has had enough from her big sister Dee Dee, and she decides that she will be too busy if her big sister wants to see her new apron or to have breakfast with her or to play with her. Not only that, Hannah is going to run away so she doesn’t ever have to see Dee Dee again! Unfortunately, she can’t leave until after she has a small snack and finds her teddy bear “Brown Bear”, who seems to be missing.

Much to her surprise, her sister Dee Dee has taken “Brown Bear” to sew on a new eye, which makes Hannah very happy. It is the small kindness that makes us believe that these sisters really do love each other, and they will find a way to be friends. This realistic story about sibling rivalry is so refreshing, because it is an honest look at being sisters and what that really means. These sisters are just like most sisters in that they antagonize each other and tease each other, and then they learn to take care of each other, and eventually grow together as true friends.

Posted by: Mary


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10. I’m a Frog! By Mo Willems

I am a FrogI’m just going to put it right out here – I LOVE the Elephant and Piggie books!

Gerald, the elephant, and Piggie, the pig, are best friends. Piggie tends to be frivolous, while Gerald tends to be serious. They have a wonderful friendship.

Piggie pretends to be a frog, which just totally confuses Elephant. Piggie hops around like a frog, she ribbits like a frog and she announces out loud that she is a frog. Gerald, who is a very literal elephant, says, “I was sure you were a pig. You look like a pig. And your name is Piggie.” Then he begins to worry that he, too, will turn into a frog. Oh my, he might have to eat flies!

The problem is that Gerald doesn’t understand what it means to pretend. Piggie patiently explains about pretending and then she invites Gerald to be a frog with her.

Oh, would you like to know if Gerald joins Piggie in pretending to be a frog? You should know that I NEVER give away endings!  RIBBIT! RIBBIT!

Posted by: Wendy


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11. The Year of the Baby by Andrea Cheng

Year of the BabyIn case you missed my review of The Year of the Book, I’m back with a review of its sequel, The Year of the Baby. In the first book, Anna discovered the joys (and tribulations) of authentic friendships. In The Year of the Baby, Anna gains new responsibility when her Chinese-American family adopts a baby girl from China. Anna loves her little sister Kaylee, and knows her role as big sister is important. So she feels helpless when the doctor announces that Kaylee isn’t gaining enough weight.

Everyone in the family is worried about Kaylee, and it seems they’ve tried everything to get her to eat, with no results. But Kaylee does finally begin to improve when Anna and her best friends decide to use Kaylee in their science fair project – knowing that Kaylee loves the songs Anna sings to her, the girls use the scientific method to study whether Kaylee will eat more when she’s being sung to. As it turns out, she will! She especially likes the Chinese songs that Anna, Camille, and Laura learned in Chinese language school, and the girls suspect that maybe it’s because they are songs that Kaylee heard before she was adopted by Anna’s family. Once Kaylee begins to eat more, it seems like everything comes together – she says her first words, and even attempts to sing her first song!

Author Andrea Cheng is remarkably good at capturing friendships, family dynamics, and the inner life of a sensitive child finding her place in these realms. As in the first book, The Year of the Baby is dotted with sweet illustrations by Patrice Barton. There’s also a guide to pronouncing some of the Chinese words that come up in the book, and a recipe for making steamed red bean bao zi (stuffed buns). This book, like the last, truly warmed my heart. I would recommend it to readers in 3rd grade and up looking for realistic fiction. The third book, The Year of the Fortune Cookies, will be coming in Spring 2014!

Posted by: Parry


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12. Penguin on Vacation by Salina Yoon

Penguin on VacationWith all the snow and cold weather, it is nice to dream of going somewhere warm. Penguin on Vacation provides just that escape. Penguin is tired of all the regular winter activities and wants to go someplace tropical. He heads north and finally makes it to the beach. At first the beach isn’t quite what he expected. But with the help of a friendly crab, he discovers just how much fun the beach can be. Unfortunately, his vacation must come to an end but on his way home he discovers that crab is a stowaway on his raft. They have a delightful time, and penguins shows him all the fun that can be had in the snow. Eventually, crab’s vacation comes to an end. But crab leaves behind a shell as a reminder of the beach and a promise to return. This is another sweet story about friendship.

Posted by: Liz


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13. Ant and Honeybee: a Pair of Friends in Winter by Megan McDonald

Ant and Honeybee: a Pair of Friends in WinterI have to get one last winter book in before the season ends; not that I am trying to prolong the magic that has been the winter of 2014, but there are so many great stories for children about winter that I am always a little sad to see it go. This winter, Megan McDonald and G. Brian Karas teamed up to release the second book in the Ant and Honey Bee Series, A Pair of Friends in Winter. In this early chapter book, Ant wanders out one last time before hibernating for the winter to see his friend Honey Bee. Truthfully, Ant does not want to be alone and misses his friend. He arrives just in time because Honey Bee is in a sour mood and in need of cheering up. The two get into a better mood by creating a giant sandwich and eventually snuggle in together to hibernate through the winter.

This is a perfect pick for an emerging reader looking for a story with a hearty plot and manageable text. Unlike many early readers, the story is engaging for both children and parents. The illustrations enhance the text and add details for parents to enjoy, like a funny newspaper heading on Honey Bee’s newspaper that reads “Killer Bee Attack.” G. Brian Karas is a prolific children’s book illustrator as the creator of the illustrations for books such as Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming and Big Bad Bunny by Franny Billingsley. His style varies slightly, but always includes intriguing details that leave readers pouring over pages long after they have finished reading the text. If you can stomach one last book about winter this year, I would pick up this title! Or, maybe, save it for next season.

Posted by: Kelly


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14. Odd Weird and Little by Patrick Jennings

Odd Weird and LittleToulouse, a new kid in school, is from Canada, and though Woodrow doesn’t like it that his classmates say that he is odd, weird, and little, he does have to admit that Toulouse pretty strange (he wears a three-piece suit and bowler hat to school! He sings like a bird!) and REALLY short (“kindergartener short”). But when Woodrow thinks about it, he realizes that he doesn’t mind at all. After all, Woodrow himself is pretty odd himself–he loves ‘duck’ tape, fly fishing, and is prone to stammering. Woodrow doesn’t see anything wrong with his own behavior, and he thinks that Toulouse is pretty cool. The question is: what will Woodrow do about Garrett and Hubcap, the two class bullies who have switched their attention from him to a new sitting duck, Toulouse? And what IS it about Toulouse?–there’s something about him that Woodrow just can’t figure out.

Jennings has written a deceptively slight book that tells a great story, with what I hate to call a ‘lesson’ about bullying, because that makes this book seem prescriptive. It’s not ‘a story about bullying’, so much as it is a story about what it means to be a friend, and who doesn’t like reading about friends? This book is a delightful read for anyone who enjoys school stories.

Posted by: Sarah


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15. Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Kelly shares a great new book, Locomotive, by Brian Floca. We swear we made the video before it won all the awards!


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16. Park Ridge Historic Preservation Commission 2014 Poster Contest

Hello,

There is now a blue folder at the CS desk with information and forms to hand out to students interested in participating in the poster contest.  It is on the back desk next to the Gold Sheet.  Thanks.

Mary (on Behalf of KD)

 

 


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17. Zombies and Forces and Motion by Mark Weakland

Zombies and Forces and MotionSir Isaac Newton gave us 3 of the most important laws of physics which have shaped our understanding of how our world works. Author Mark Weakland and illustrator Gervasio have now given a whole new generation of students an accessible way to understand Newton’s concepts using zombies. Yes, I said: “zombies.” We’ve all heard the apple falling on Newton’s head story and many of us can easily recall the phrase, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” but recall does not equal comprehension. Put together a graphic novel with zombies illustrating the principals of gravity, force, and motion, however, and the preverbal light bulbs will be clicking on above even your most struggling students’ heads.

Scientific concepts often benefit from the accompaniment of visual examples, and graphic novels provide wonderful vehicles by which to accomplish this union. Zombies and Forces and Motion uses humorous illustrations and popular culture to make Newtons’ laws accessible and relatable to students. In addition, one of the goals of the new Common Core State Standards is to build visual literacy skills. By the time students are in junior high, the CCSS require the inclusion of graphic novels in the range of text types, so not only does this book align with the standards for informational texts, but it also provides a great opportunity to begin developing the scaffolding for future visual literacy skills.

Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6–8 texts and topics.

Posted by: Staci


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18. Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur

Listening for LuccaSiena is not your typical 13-year-old. In fact, her differences are part of the reason that her family is moving from Brooklyn, New York, to a small coastal town in Maine. The other reason is that her three-year-old brother, Lucca, has not spoken in over a year. While Siena and Lucca’s parents are not sure what makes it so hard for Siena to make friends and Lucca to talk, they are hoping the new environment will help them both. Siena is eager to try to start over, but when the family arrives in Maine, the very thing that makes her odd kicks into overdrive. Sometimes, Siena can see the past. Generally, it only happens while she is dreaming, but increasingly she was getting glimpses of the past while awake in things like buildings that are no longer standing in New York or people in out of date clothing. The home the family purchased is right out of one of Siena’s dreams. She is familiar with the layout and can feel what has happened in this house before the family lived there. However, Siena decides this familiarity could be positive and decides to make a go of it in Maine even making some friends before school starts. Lucca loves the beach and the play group his mother found, but he still is not talking. When Siena finds a pen that belonged to one of the previous owners, the story of what happened in the house is reveled, complete with a young girl who also struggles with mutism and Siena begins to wonder if the family’s move really was the best thing for Lucca after all.

This title has historical elements as Siena becomes involved in the lives of the family that lived in the house prior to her family, including a brother entrenched in the World War II battle fields. It also blends modern day realism and supernatural elements in a thoughtful and suspenseful manner. Children who enjoy descriptive text, supernatural stories and historical fiction will enjoy this title.

Posted by: Kelly


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19. Common Core Review: The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

Leon Leyson was just a young boy of ten when Hitler came to power. By the end of World War II, however, he had experienced more hardship than many men five times his age. The Boy on the Wooden Box is his account of his life and survival during those tragic times. Despite facing years of starvation and exhaustion and being surrounded by death and despair in the ghetto of Krakow and then a Nazi work camp, Leyson survived the Holocaust. Both luck and perseverance played a huge role in Leyson’s survival, but it was his relationship with a Nazi, Oskar Schindler, which helped him the most. As the youngest member of Schindler’s list, Leon Leyson was saved numerous times from situations that would almost certainly have lead to his death.  Leon Leyson has been telling his story to audiences all over the world for years now, and The Boy on the Wooden Box finally puts that amazing story down on paper for millions to experience. It is a powerful and moving account of survival in the most dreadful of situations and the discovery hope in the most unlikely of places.

Non-fiction has been given a new life with the introduction of the Common Core State Standards, particularly narrative non-fiction. The standards require that students be exposed to more informational books over the course of their education and, as a result, there is a great need for engaging non-fiction texts. The Boy on the Wooden Box is a definite standout in the narrative non-fiction category. This book would provide a great opportunity to work on the Common Core State Standards that focus on point of view and reading multiple sources on the same subject. There are plenty of high quality and engaging informational texts about the Holocaust with which The Boy on the Wooden Box can be utilized. Some possible titles to consider would be Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, My Secret Camera: Life in the Lodz Ghetto by Mendel Grossman and Frank Dabba Smith, Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rapaport, and Hana’s Suitcase: A True Story by Karen Levine.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.9 Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.9 Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

Posted by: Staci


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20. The Templeton Twins Make a Scene by Ellis Weiner

The Templeton Twins Make a SceneComparisons to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events are unavoidable with The Templeton Twins titles, a new series by Ellis Weiner, but there are not many children who will complain about the similarities. Like Snicket’s books, these titles feature an intrusive narrator who adds levity, humor and the occasional educational lesson for the readers. As well as providing important background information and hilarious definitions of vocabulary words featured in the books, the narrator poses nonsensical “Questions for Review” at the end of each chapter that are one of best reasons to read these books.

In addition to the intrusive narrator, the Templeton Twins also contend with a delightfully evil villain like the Baudelaire children do in the Series of Unfortunate Events. The Templeton Twins face Dean D. Dean, a scorned former student of their father’s and master of disguise, who attempts to steal credit for their father’s many fabulous inventions. In book 2, Professor Templeton is working at the Thespian Academy of the Performing Arts and Science (TAPAS) to develop new spotlight technology. The invention is nearly complete when Dean D. Dean swoops in to take credit by wooing the school’s Dean and former stage actress, Gwendolyn Splendide. It is up to the twins (and their ridiculous dog) to prove the spotlight is 100 percent their father’s invention.

The story is enhanced by illustrations that are similar in style to an architect’s blue prints, cryptic puzzles, and many hilarious footnotes by the narrator. While not an entirely new concept, this book will have many fans among elementary-school aged readers and it deserves every one of those fans.

Posted by: Kelly


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21. Hands off My Honey! By Jane Chapman

Hands off My Honey!Oh, how the ground rumbles and the flowers shake and the leaves tremble when bear stomps through the forest announcing that he has a great big jar of delicious honey that is ALL his. The enormous pot of honey is in bear’s paws and he has no intentions of sharing a single drop – after all he is the scariest bear in the forest.

Mouse, the Rabbit Brothers and Mole all love honey and they set off on a mission to get some. They tip-toe through the forest, zip to the right and left, dodge thorns, whizz through brambles and pole-vault over the puddle while sneaking up on the bear. Bear doesn’t hear them until Mole splashes in the water and he growls, “What’s going on here?” The little animals are not afraid of the big, scary bear at all!

The delightful surprise ending is sure to bring smiles – along with the words “read it again!”

I loved reading this book! The large illustrations are adorable and the language is rich. Be warned: you may just crave a sticky dribble of honey after enjoying this book!

Posted by: Wendy


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22. Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty GreatPoor Goat! Everything was going so well in his life until that show-off Unicorn showed up. Now Unicorn keeps one-upping Goat left and right. I mean, who is going to pay attention to Goat’s sweet new magic trick when Unicorn is turning things into gold? What Goat doesn’t realize, however, is that Unicorn actually thinks Goat is the awesome one with his goat cheese and cloven hooves. Eventually, the ultra-cool duo comes to find that they are both pretty great, and together they make quite a team.

Bob Shea (Dinosaur vs. Bedtime) hits a home run with this hilariously fun and fanciful picture book. It is not often that a picture book gets me to laugh out loud, but Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great did just that. After I finished reading it, I then proceeded to pass it around to everyone within earshot and made them all read it as well. Shea’s witty text and adorably quirky illustrations come together to make storybook magic in this grass-is-always-greener bromance. This is one book that might just have the parents shouting, “Let’s read it again!” to their kids.

Posted by: Staci


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23. The Line by Paula Bossio

The LineWhen it comes to wordless picture books, I have to admit that I am not a huge fan, but this book is definitely the exception. This story has a sweet little pig-tailed girl who follows a simple line into all kinds of fun! The line wiggles and bends and becomes whatever the girl can imagine. It becomes a slide and a ball and even a bubble. It becomes a monkey and an audience and a monster trying to get the little girl’s cookie! No need to worry though, because the line just becomes a big old bear to scare the monster away. This wonderful book is so full of imagination and fun and will get your imagination going too!

Posted by: Mary


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24. Love Monster by Rachel Bright

Love MonsterWith Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’m on the lookout for books about love. Love Monster was the perfect find. Monster is looking for someone to love. But in a world that is filled with cute, fluffy things it’s a bit difficult for a googly-eyed monster to find. He looks high and low and just when he gives up another monster drives up. The bright, adorable illustrations add to the fun and make Monster hard not to love.

Posted by: Liz


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25. I Like Me! by Nancy Carlson

Love Monster“I have a best friend. / That best friend is me!” So begins Nancy Carlson’s classic picture book, I Like Me! Everyone can relate to the charmingly illustrated little pig who describes simply and sweetly how she takes care of herself and keeps herself happy, even when she is alone. “When I get up in the morning I say, “Hi, good-looking! / I like my curly tail, my round tummy, and my tiny little feet.” Being okay with your self can be a hard thing for people of all ages to achieve, but this book makes it seem irresistible! If you’re looking for a book to promote self-acceptance and the worth of each individual, this warm little book makes a great read aloud, one-on-one or with a classroom.

Posted by: Parry


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