Mr. Wuffles!

I took the photo, but obviously this  image credit--and the others in this post--goes to David Wiesner.
I took the photo, but obviously this image credit–and the others in this post–should go to David Wiesner.

posted by Beret Ages:  5-10+

Three-time Caldecott Medal winner David Wiesner has done it again. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he is known for crafting wild tales of new worlds–using few words, if any–with enough detail and complexity to appeal to readers of all ages. Mr. Wuffles is no exception.

Brief Synopsis:

Mr. Wuffles is bored. Mr. Wuffles is cranky. Substandard toys line the halls, untouched, as he searches half-heartedly for something worthy of his attention.

But what’s this nestled amongst the fake mice, feathers, and string?

Continue reading “Mr. Wuffles!”

Maybe the Best Book Ever

posted by Gina

You guys. Seriously. This is the most amazing, fabulous, wonderful, crazy-pants-happy-making thing I have ever read. Or read recently. How has no one told me about this book? How did it take me almost ten months to find out about it??

Fear not, those of you who have also been in the dark, I bring you the joy, the wonder, the THIS-IS-SO-AMAZINGNG-NESS of …

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

lemon

Continue reading “Maybe the Best Book Ever”

Book Review: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

From iwalmartimages.com.
From iwalmartimages.com.

posted by Beret

Ages: 7 to 107

This book is miraculous indeed.

It is simply worded, beautifully illustrated, and hits like a sledgehammer.

Don’t be fooled by the flowery font on the cover, the sweet pencil sketches, or the gentle cadence of the first chapter. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is not a Hallmark commercial. It is not for the faint of heart. It is the sort of book which, when read aloud, makes your child look at you sideways and say, “Why does your voice sound tight and strange?”    Continue reading “Book Review: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”

Life After Harry Potter – Part Three

posted by Gina

Brace yourself, fantasy lovers – for this, the third post-Harry installment, I’m throwing a lot at you. Ready? Fabulous.

We’ve mentioned the majesty that is Jane Yolen before, so perhaps you’ve had a chance to explore the wonder that she has bestowed upon the world. If you haven’t come across Wizard’s Hall, however, now is the time.

Continue reading “Life After Harry Potter – Part Three”

Life After Harry Potter – Part Two

posted by Gina

Let’s take a moment and talk about this woman:

julie-andrews-05

Julie Andrews. Actor. Singer. Movie Star. Broadway Star. Golden Globe, Academy Award, Emmy, and Grammy Winner. Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp. Also … author.  Did you know?

If you’re looking for fabulous fantasy, look no further than The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles.

9780060218058

Continue reading “Life After Harry Potter – Part Two”

Life After Harry Potter – Part One

posted by Gina

I know you’ll be shocked to hear me say this, but we will not speak of the films here. I am not a fan of books made into movies. I will not tire you with my various rants (way to take away all of Ginny’s awesomeness, movie people) or go on a teacher tirade (nothing’s better than a series that inspires struggling readers). We will merely discuss the BOOKS.

Now that that’s out of my system, let’s chat.

Not all readers embrace this genre, but for those who found themselves captivated by all that is wonderful about Hogwarts, let me help you out with what to give your magical reader next. Continue reading “Life After Harry Potter – Part One”

Book Review: No Talking

From vvmsmedia.edublog.org
From vvmsmedia.edublog.org

posted by Beret

Age Range:  Grades 2 to 7-ish

Last year, Gina introduced me to Andrew Clements with her review of Frindle. I read it to my kids and we were hooked…but unfortunately, we found it hard to find the right follow up from Mr. Clements.

I found Room One and Extra Credit on the library shelves, but for some unknown reason, my girls refused to check them out. We tried Lunch Money, but gave up three or four chapters into it. It was too practical. In fact, it felt as if it were written specifically for teachers to use in math class.

Note: Gina completely disagrees!  Loves this book!  Thinks it’s delightful!

We tackled A Wrinkle in Time and a couple of Jerry Spinelli books instead.

It took months before we were ready to give another Clements book a go. Something about this one caught my eye, however. It has occasional entertaining illustrations. It is smart and funny. The type is generously-sized, and the chapters are short.

AND, IT IS FABULOUS.     Continue reading “Book Review: No Talking”

Gina’s Favorite Halloween Reads

posted by Gina

It just doesn’t seem right to love books and to love Halloween and not post about Halloween books on Halloween. I realize nothing can top Beret’s Ghost Cake with Flaming Eyes, but as I spent much of today thinking lovingly of the picture books I proudly displayed in my classroom library each October, I thought, why not share? All contain little to no nightmare-inducing possibilities and are just as delightful for adults as for kiddos.   Continue reading “Gina’s Favorite Halloween Reads”

If You Liked A Wrinkle in Time …

Then I have something new for you.

posted by Gina

Remember A Wrinkle in Time?  I mean, what a great book.

Vintage cover, from my childhood.

Many elementary teachers still trot this out for book club or circle reading (I sure did), so your young person might be familiar already. How I loved (and still love) misfit Meg, with her temper and her glasses and her grim determination.

And, of course, the story – the mysterious strangers, the long-lost father, the journey to other worlds, the terror of IT, and the power of love.  What more could we want?  Continue reading “If You Liked A Wrinkle in Time …”

Special Needs, Spectacular Reads

posted by Gina

One of my greatest challenges as an elementary school teacher was finding the kind of read-aloud that appealed to my entire class and motivated my students to read the same or similar books on their own. Skill levels in my classroom ran the gamut from a student who was reading high school books to another who didn’t know the alphabet.  Interest in school ranged from the reluctant student I saw maybe once a week to the always-there, always-early.  I had stereotypes on both ends of the gender spectrum, and those who defied every one.

In addition, the constant question: where to find the protagonists who reflect my students?  Where can my students who struggle find themselves as the hero?  Continue reading “Special Needs, Spectacular Reads”