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review 2018-02-17 10:04
Playing Beatie Bow
Playing Beatie Bow - Ruth Park

An Australian YA book from the 80's, this was a RL book club read.  Though not science-fiction so much as historical time-travel, the book feels akin to the Australian equivalent of A Wrinkle in Time.


Abigail is an unhappy 14 year old, bitter and bratty after her parents' separation.  She spends time with her next-door neighbour, Justine, helping her out by taking Justine's two kids to the playground, where the youngest, Natalie, likes to watch the other kids play a game called 'Beatie Bow'; a cross between Bloody Mary and tag.  Natalie and Abigail notice another child that only watches, the 'furry girl' that stands in the shadows.  One day, Abigail sees the girl and approaches her, then gives chase as the girl runs away.  As she runs down the street, she suddenly finds herself in 1873, stuck there until she helps the furry girl, who turns out to be Beatie Bow, and her family figure out how to save the family 'Gift'.  


More than a few of my friends here consider this a beloved classic, so imagine my chagrin when I showed up to book club and had to admit I didn't like it.  Fortunately, I wasn't alone.  The book has a lot going for it: the writing is beautiful, the setting evocative; Park puts you in Sydney in 1873, and let me tell you, it's filthy.  Park won the Australian Book of the Year Award in 1981 and it was well deserved.  


But...I don't like time travel books, I'm not a fan of the dark edge so prevalent in even Australian YA, and most unfortunate of all, I didn't like a single character in this book.  Abigail was a spoiled, whiney, brat; Beattie Bow was too ornery to be considered charming and the rest didn't get enough page time to be anything other that friendly shadows.  Abigail's first love was just too trite; I couldn't buy it, it was all too neat and pat (although to be fair, I might have totally bought it when I was 12). 


The book is a worthy read, I just wasn't the right audience for it. 

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review 2018-02-02 22:38
I love Pete the Cat!
Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes - Eric Litwin,James Dean

"Pete the Cat: I love My White Shoes" is just one of the great Pete the Cat books. I was introduced to these stories about 5 or 6 years ago and have loved them ever since. All of the Pete the Cat books can be found on YouTube with several readings and songs to go along with them. I love these books because Pete always looks at the bright side of things and shows children how to be positive even in hard situations. I Love My White Shoes is about Pete stepping in large piles of numerous things that turn his white shoes different colors. But does Pete get upset? "Goodness no!" This is a catchy phrase in the story that can be used in the classroom for a number of things. With younger grades, it can be used when doing transitions. For example, if the teacher says, "Do we run?", the students could respond, "Goodness no!" and so on. Another fun activity that can be done, and I actually did this in a class, is have the students continue on with the book except they come up with their own pile of something for Pete to step in and decide what color it would turn his shoes. This is great for younger grades to practice creativity and colors! This could be done independently or with a partner/small group. They could write it down and illustrate it as well. If they are struggling with writing and spelling, they could just draw it out.


Lexile: AD460L

Suggested Grade Level: K-2

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review 2018-01-31 22:12
No Words!
Tuesday - David Wiesner

"Tuesday", by David Wiesner is a picture book with no words. This opens the door for so much creativity. This book would be a great writing prompt for students. Each page could be assigned to the students to write a story on what they think is going on or going to happen. They could also make predictions about what they think is going to happen. The beginning of the book starts with saying its Tuesday around eight o'clock and the rest is up to you. The author mentions different times throughout the story to give the reader a sense of the time of day it is. This would be a lot of fun to see what they students come up with. You could list questions like "where are they going", "what are they doing", "are they on a mission", to prompt any student who may be having trouble. I would use this book for an grade for creative writing and using their imagination. You would get difference responses for all grade levels. 


There is not a reading level for this book that I could find, but the recommended age level is 4 and up.  

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review 2018-01-30 04:31
Hoppy's Big City Adventure - Gabrielle Grice,Jubayda Sagor ,Eve Arroyo

Hoppy has a lot of friends who warn him on his travels.  There is a storm coming, and he does not seem to care.  He just wants to sit on his lily pad in the sun.  


If a storm is coming, where is the sun?  This story is a cute adventure about choices, paying attention, and listening skills.  I found that is was clever, funny, and has great pictures.  This was a great add to my bookshelves for reading to my favorite kids!  I give this book a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!



***This early edition was given in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-01-26 19:43
A Book of Feelings
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings - Jo Witek,Christine Roussey

This book of feelings is a great way to portray feelings to younger students. It goes through all different kinds of emotions all of us feel at some point and gives a description of how you might feel when you feel that particular emotion. This opens an opportunity to discuss those feelings are how we may handle them in the best way. After introducing this book to the class, the teacher could create a board with several of the emotions on it. Create and name tag and laminate for each child and as the students come in everyday they can choose their name and stick it under the emotion they are feeling that day. This can let the teacher know who may have had a rough start to the morning and those that are 100% that day. Also after reading the book, the teacher can have a template in the writing station, or during a time allotted for writing, that asks the students how their heart feels and why. Have them illustrate their writing when they are finished. This would be great for the beginning of the year while you are getting to know your students or around Valentine's day. Several activities can be done with this book.


Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 2.7

Flesch Reading Ease: 87.3

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