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Written & Illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann
Candlewick Press 6/09/2015
32 pages Age 4—8
“Rose wants to get a star on Mrs. Benson’s blackboard, but sometimes her mind wanders, she doesn’t always know the right answer, and her reading-aloud voice is too quiet. When it’s time to make a thank-you card for an artist who visited her class, Rose makes an amazing card—but also covers herself and her desk in paint and supplies. Will Mrs. Benson be able to see her creativity and passion through all that mess? Is it possible to get a star for something other than answering questions and having a tidy work space?” [inside jacket]
Poor Rose, she tries to answer the questions Mrs. Benson asks the class, she tries to read aloud in a strong voice, and she tries her best to keep her desk neat and tidy—even getting to school early to clean it up. No matter what Rose tries to do, she never gets a star on Mrs. Benson’s blackboard and boy, does Rose want that star. Rose’s attention span is not what it should be. She would rather doodle and daydream. Then an artist named Mr. Sullivan talks to the class about art and being an artist. Afterward, Mrs. Benson asks her students to make thank you cards for Mr. Sullivan. Rose decides to make a “super-gigantic card with paintings on both sides.” It is a beautiful card. But when Rose was finished making her card, her desk was a BIG mess! And Mrs. Benson has just called out Rose’s name in that big, deep voice teachers use when someone is in trouble. Will Rose ever get a star on Mrs. Benson’s blackboard?
I love this story. Every kid wants that gold star on their paper, or in Mrs. Benson’s classroom, on the blackboard. Rose in no exception, but the harder she tries the more she figures she’ll never see a star beside her name on Mrs. Benson’s blackboard. I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard is an inspiring picture book for those kids who find they operate much easier from the right side of their brain. The illustrations are beautiful and capture the classroom setting with a multicultural group of students. The illustrations are a combination of ink, gouache, and digital collages. The gentle humor depicts Rose’s predicament as she tries and tries to please her teacher and get that elusive star. Rose’s thank you card expresses the joy of those children who lean toward the artistic and I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard is a testament to the value of being different in a world that values rules and order.
I WILL NEVER GET A STAR ON MRS. BENSON’S BLACKBOARD. Copyright © 2015 by Jennifer K. Mann. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.
Learn more about I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard HERE.
Starred Review—Publishers Weekly
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, by Jennifer K. Mann, and received from Candlewick Press, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I got the best compliment ever last week: "That math problem was really fun! That was the best day in math so far this year!"
It was this problem from Robert Kaplinsky: "How Much Money IS That?!"
Learn some tricks for reading the Units of Study, whether you're new to the units or have been using them for many years.Add a Comment
5 Stars Back Cover: When Stubby Pencil Noodlehead is forced to stand in front of his class to explain why he is late for school every day, the resulting tale is more than the teacher bargained for. Stubby’s story of pirates, pygmies, mastodons, and more, turns classroom order to chaos, and has yhe teacher begging [...]Add a Comment
We all had a favorite teacher, yes? They did really neat, cool things that we remember well after our school days. My most “cool” teacher was when I was in third grade. He taught us to knit, make bread, sprechen Deutsch (as well as sing Bach Fugues in German!), tumble, and make lye soap. And that’s also the first time I did a comic strip–and fell in love with cartooning. His name wasn’t Mr. McCool, but it may as well have been.
Having taught classroom myself for a number of years, I know how hard the job is. So godspeed to all you teachers out there, prepping for the new year!Add a Comment
The first six weeks of school is about providing structure for students. Teachers who are too lenient never seem to gain control of their class while teachers who are too rigid risk the… Read MoreAdd a Comment
It's always a joy to learn with Majorie Martinelli and Kristi Mraz. In this interview, they share some excellent advice on using charts to support independence in the classroom.Add a Comment
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This week my colleagues and I are writing posts that we hope will make your life a little easier. We’re sharing some ways to work smarter, not harder.Add a Comment
This week my colleagues and I are writing posts that we hope will make your life a little easier. We’re sharing some ways to work smarter, not harder.Add a Comment
Wallis, Michael. (2011) The Wild West: 365 days. New York, NY: Abrams Press. ISBN 978-0810996892 All ages.
Publisher’s description: The Wild West: 365 Days is a day-by-day adventure that tells the stories of pioneers and cowboys, gold rushes and saloon shoot-outs in America’s frontier. The lure of land rich in minerals, fertile for farming, and plentiful with buffalo bred an all-out obsession with heading westward. The Wild West: 365 Days takes the reader back to these booming frontier towns that became the stuff of American legend, breeding characters such as Butch Cassidy and Jesse James. Author Michael Wallis spins a colorful narrative, separating myth from fact, in 365 vignettes. The reader will learn the stories of Davy Crockett, Wild Bill Hickok, and Annie Oakley; travel to the O.K. Corral and Dodge City; ride with the Pony Express; and witness the invention of the Colt revolver. The images are drawn from Robert G. McCubbin’s extensive collection of Western memorabilia, encompassing rare books, photographs, ephemera, and artifacts, including Billy the Kid’s knife.
This is one of the neatest books I’ve seen in a long time. The entire family will love it. Keep it on the coffee table but don’t let it gather dust!
Every page is a look back into history with a well-known cowboy, pioneer, outlaw, native American or other adventurer tale complete with numerous authentic art and photo reproductions. The book is worth owning just for the original pictures. But there is more…an index of its contents for easy reference too! Not only is this fun for the family, it is excellent for the school or home classroom use too. A really fun way to study the 19th century too and also well received as a gift. I highly recommend this captivating collection! See for yourself at the Litland.com Bookstore.Add a Comment
Brown, Bea (2011) Wally the Cockeyed Cricket. Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61777-106-4. Recommended age 8 and under.
Publisher’s description: When Wally the Cockeyed Cricket finds himself trapped in Mrs. Grumpydee’s kitchen, he sings a sad song and Mrs. Grumpydee’s locks Wally in a jar. When the jar is knocked over and shatters, Wally the Cockeyed Cricket sings a different tune.
Read it—see it—listen to it! The great thing about books from Tate Publishing is that you do not need to choose between print and audio formats because books have a code that permits you to download the audio version on MP3 too! The print version has beautifully captivating illustrations. Yet the young man (ok, he sounds young to this old reviewer!) reading the audio does an excellent job at it. A great enhancement to teach reading to little ones :>)
Of course, the most important reason to consider adding this book to your child’s bookshelf is because they will enjoy the story! As evidenced by its title, Wally looks a little different than most crickets. He doesn’t think anything of this difference and is happy as can be. Until, that is, he unfortunately wanders into Mrs. Grumpydee’s kitchen! Captured, bullied and made a public spectacle, Wally never loses courage or confidence. Helped with the aid of a complete stranger, he is rescued and makes a new friend. Virtues exhibited are courage, justice and friendship. A feel-good story where the good guys win! Great parent-child sharing, Pre-3rd grade class or homeschool, bedtime reading, gift giving, therapy use, and family book club! Grab your copy at the Litland.com Bookstore.Add a Comment
Warren, Jill. (2011) Abe’s Lucky Day. Outskirts Press Inc. ISBN 978-1-4327-7305-2. Age 8 and under.
Publisher’s description: Any day can be a lucky day. Abe is a homeless man who lives in the alley behind a bakery and winter is coming. What will happen on his lucky day that will change his life?
Introducing us to the varied faces of distress and homelessness, Abe’s Lucky Day reminds us that , while food, warm clothes and dry beds feel great, helping others feels even better. Illustrations permit the child to imagine themselves in the story, and so can feel the heartwarming rewards of selflessness…definitely good for your Litland.com family book club or a preschool classroom. Part luck and lots of kindness, Abe’s Lucky Day infuses a desire for kindness and generosity into its reader’s mind and heart, and is sure to strengthen bonds within the family reading it as well :>) Great for gift-giving, pick up your copy in our Litland.com Bookstore!Add a Comment
Manno, Mike (2010) End of the Line: A Parker Noble Mystery. Five Star Publishing of Gale, Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1594148637. Litland recommends of interest to adults, acceptable for older teens.
Publisher description: When former banker R. J. Butler is found murdered on a city transit bus, police take little time making a connection with the embezzlement at his former bank. But is that the motive for his murder? State police detective Sergeant Jerome Stankowski and his persnickety “partner,” Parker Noble, are called to investigate and run into a host of possibilities including a trophy wife on drugs and an ex-wife desperately needing a church annulment R. J. was blocking..
The second installment of the Parker Noble series, End of the Line, is a fun yet engaging, quick-paced detective mystery. Parker Noble may be the genius who solves the crimes, but it is Detective “Stan” Stankowski’s antics both on and off the job that lighten the story. Truly a man’s man, Stankowski enjoys girl watching while being easily manipulated by his somewhat-girlfriend Buffy the reporter. He tries to juggle dating 3 girls at the same time, each end up having a role in solving the mystery. Meanwhile, the contrast of Parker’s rigidly-ordered life to Stan’s adds color, and both humor and clues surface throughout the story just often enough to keep the reader alert. My favorite dialogue pertains to Parker’s dog, Buckwheat Bob the basset hound, who listens to talk radio while Parker is at work:
(Stan) “I take it that the human voice is soothing for him?”…(Parker) ”Not really, he likes to listen to the political talk”…”You don’t think he understands all of that, do you?”…”Don’t know, Stanley. All I can tell you is that he’s turned into quite a Republican.” LOL!
A cozy mystery written for adults, it would probably have a PG rating if a movie: use of the bird finger; one suspect referred to as tramp, hussy, nude model; Buffy pressuring Stan into taking a vacation together. However, Stan remains chaste in his girl-chasing and the story is focused on the relationships between all the characters, which adds depth, interest and a few chuckles along the way. A fun story available in the Litland.com Bookstore.Add a Comment
Bradley, Alan. (2010) The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag. (The Flavia de Luce Series) Bantam, division of Random House. ISBN 978-0385343459. Litland recommends ages 14-100!
Publisher’s description: Flavia de Luce, a dangerously smart eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders, thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey are over—until beloved puppeteer Rupert Porson has his own strings sizzled in an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. But who’d do such a thing, and why? Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What about Porson’s charming but erratic assistant? All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can’t solve—without Flavia’s help. But in getting so close to who’s secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head? (Bantam Books)
Flavia De Luce is back and in full force! Still precocious. Still brilliant. Still holding an unfortunate fascination with poisons…
As with the first book of the series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, we begin with a seemingly urgent, if not sheer emergency, situation that once again turns out to be Flavia’s form of play. We also see the depth of her sister’s cruelty as they emotionally badger their little sister, and Flavia’s immediate plan for the most cruel of poisoned deaths as revenge. Readers will find themselves chuckling throughout the book!
And while the family does not present the best of role models (smile), our little heroine does demonstrate good character here and there as she progresses through this adventure. As explained in my first review on this series, the protagonist may be 11 but that doesn’t mean the book was written for 11-year olds :>) For readers who are parents, however (myself included), we shudder to wonder what might have happened if we had bought that chemistry kit for our own kids!
Alas, the story has much more to it than mere chemistry. The author’s writing style is incredibly rich and entertaining, with too many amusing moments to even give example of here. From page 1 the reader is engaged and intrigued, and our imagination is easily transported into the 1950’s Post WWII England village. In this edition of the series, we have more perspective of Flavia as filled in by what the neighbors know and think of her. Quite the manipulative character as she flits around Bishop’s Lacy on her mother’s old bike, Flavia may think she goes unnoticed but begins to learn not all are fooled…
The interesting treatment of perceptions around German prisoners of war from WWII add historical perspective, and Flavia’s critical view of villagers, such as the Vicar’s mean wife and their sad relationship, fill in character profiles with deep colors. Coupled with her attention to detail that helps her unveil the little white lies told by antagonists, not a word is wasted in this story.
I admit to being enviouAdd a Comment
Here it is! The book of the day challenge, to recommend a new book or related media every day in 2012. January is complete, and attached for handy download–just click on the above link. February is on the way! “Friend” Litland Reviews on Facebook to see daily recommendations as they post. http://facebook.com/LitlandreviewsAdd a Comment
We’ve created lots of new content this February to help you extend the experience of reading our books long after the last page has been turned. Here are some of our newest resources to go with our titles:
Free Classroom Guides for:
-First Come the Zebra
-John Lewis in the Lead
-Honda: The Boy Who Dreamed of Cars
-George Crum and the Saratoga Chip
-The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby
-Poems to Dream Together/ Poemas para soñar juntos
Discussion Questions for Irena’s Jars of Secrets
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