Followers of Fashion (Date unknown) by Delphin Enjolras (1857-1945) [x]
This was a fun read for those baseball fans that are bewildered by how baseball teams build and manage said teams. My husband enjoys watching the Oakland A's, which is the subject of this book; but like other Lewis' works, this one is more about the culture and industry than just the this one team. I honestly wished other team managers/owners see the value in at least some of the ideas of Billy Beane and apply them to their own teams (*cough* NY Yankees *cough* - yeah, maybe we could have avoided the problem that is A-Roid). I also like the fact that Lewis drags Bud Selig through the mud a little. Petty yes, but still fun reading. There was a lot of math involved and detailed descriptions of what stats actually mean, so I had a slower time reading this book than previous Lewis works.
This lovely children's book is about an elephant who feels left out because she can't do all of the awesome things that they can do. But Ellie stays true to herself and learns that everyone is different. She discovers she is really good at painting, so she paints everything she sees. This is a beautifully illustrated and inspirational book. I would use this book with younger elementary students and have them try to paint something or at least create a piece of art in class. This would be something fun to do at the beginning of the school year. And at the end of the school year, the students could paint a friend (like Ellie did in the book). I would also have the students learn to sign their name in cursive just like Ellie does.
This is a book I would read out loud to the class.
Recommended Ages: 3-6
Guided Reading: K
Lexile Measure: AD560L
I tried explaining the Caldecott Honor to a group of pre-k children the other day. (It was pretty funny.) If you're unfamiliar, the Caldecott Medal and the Caldecott Honor are awarded to American illustrators whose work is singled out by the ALA as being "the most distinguished picture book for children". [Note: This does have a bearing on this post.]
I had decided to use a different style of picture book for my storytime and I chose to use Henry & Leo by Pamela Zagarenski. Two of the books that Zagarenski illustrated have been awarded the Caldecott Honor (Sleep Like a Tiger and Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Colors). You might have guessed that because she was both author and illustrator that Henry & Leo is most likely a visually stunning book...and you'd be correct. However, the kids weren't overly impressed with the storyline. :-/ I don't think this was so much the fault of the author but more a mistake on my part for trying this out with a group of pre-k aged children (solo reading for this age would most likely work fine though). It's a bit too introspective for such a large age of young children. The story centers on Henry who has a best friend named Leo...who is a stuffed lion. To Henry, Leo is absolutely 100% alive and he can't understand why his sister and parents fail to see this simple fact. Through a series of adventures, the reader learns just how much Leo and Henry mean to each other. I encouraged the kids to point out the crowns and other little treats that Zagarenski uses in all of her illustrations (without any explanation I might add). This was everyone's favorite thing to do but none of them could tell me much about the story after we'd finished so it wasn't as successful as I would have ultimately liked. Personally, I felt it lacked the heart that I had expected based on the premise and the beautiful artwork. I recommend that you check it out for yourself because I (and the children) might be overly harsh in our judgment. :-) For the record, this doesn't mean that I won't be checking out more of Zagarenski's work just that this one wasn't my all-time favorite. 3/5