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review 2018-09-08 05:39
Today's Forecast: A Storm of Pancakes!
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Judi Barrett,Ron Barrett

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs takes the reader on a journey to the unpredictable town of Chewandswallow, where breakfast, lunch, and dinner fall from the sky! The story begins when Grandpa sits down with his grandchildren to tell the best tall tale ever. He tells of all of the delicious food that the townspeople eat and how they go outside with their plates and utensils for each meal. As the story unfolds, we learn that the town begins to encounter some bad weather when portions increase and things like overcooked broccoli and a pea soup fog begin to blow in. The townspeople are frustrated and the sanitation department can no longer keep up. Things get out of of control and the citizens of Chewandswallow realize that they must abandon their once delightful town.

 

Children have enjoyed Judi Barrett's classic book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for over 30 years, and honestly, it never gets old. The book is silly and fun and allows children to activate their imagination. 

 

There are many possible lessons and activities that could incorporate a read-aloud of the story which include:

 

  • Compare/Contrast Venn Diagram (Students compare the town of Chewandswallow to the town that they live in)
  • Science lesson on weather 
  • Compound words
  • Sentence prompts

 

Lexile Level: AD730L

 

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review 2018-06-13 23:13
Spirit Week Showdown - audiobook
Spirit Week Showdown (Magnificent Mya Tibbs) - Eda Kaban,Crystal Allen,Sisi Aisha Johnson

 

I'm only wearing five braids to school today.

 

- First Sentence

 

Mya is excited for Spirit Week and she is counting down the days with her braids. When she gets to one, it will be time for Spirit Week. But the partner picking doesn't go her way and she ends up with Mean Connie Tate (the school bully) for a partner instead of her best friend Naomi.

 

As Mya would say, "good gravy." And she says that often as she tries to navigate friendships, bullies, and Spirit Week challenges. Mya learns a lot about people and about judging others by what you hear about them. She is a perky little girl and easy to like, even though she doesn't always think things through before she acts. Mya is a strong personality, but she desperately wants to repair her friendship with Naomi - even though Mya didn't really do anything wrong. The flavor of Texas really comes through in the writing. In the audiobook, the narrator does a fantastic job of sounding like a Texas girl with attitude. 

 

I think grownups reading this book will easily recognize the characters for who they are, but kids might be a bit surprised by the ending. The story is engaging and certainly humorous at times. You can't help but laugh about some of the phrases that Mya comes out with. Girls will enjoy this one.

 

Recommended to: 3rd-5th graders who like stories about friendship and triumphing over adversity.

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review 2018-03-30 19:07
Pax
Pax - Sara Pennypacker
Pax is a fox that has been raised by a young boy, Peter, since he was found abandoned as a young kit. When Peter's father enlists in the war, he is sent to live with his grandfather. His father insists that Pax be set free in the wild.
 
Shortly after arriving at his grandfathers house, Peter runs away to go find Pax. He doesn't get very far before he injures his leg and can barely walk. He is found by Vola, a gruff and stern woman who suffers from PTSD who now lives as a hermit. She sets his leg and agrees to let him stay with her until his leg is healed. During this time they learn so much from each other and form a very special bond.
 
Pax waited for Peter until his hunger and thirst forced him to leave his spot by the road. He encounters several other foxes and they teach him how to be wild again, but his thoughts never strayed far from Peter. The story alternates between Peter and Pax's point of view. I love the way the author gave Pax and the other foxes a voice without humanizing them. It was interesting to see the world from their perspective.
 
The illustrations throughout the book are beautiful and capture the mood perfectly. 
The ending was not what I had expected. It wasn't a bad ending, just not the happy reunion I was hoping for. I won't spoil it but just know that Pax does live and he and Peter do find each other. It is a story of heartbreak and healing, loyalty and love. 
 
-Bobbie
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review 2018-01-16 22:52
I Didn't Do My Homework Because... - Benjamin Chaud,Davide Cali

A cute compilation of absurd excuses; also the illustrations are adorable.

 

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review 2017-11-06 17:46
Dragonfly Song - Wendy Orr

This was kind of a hard book to review, mostly because it almost falls between genres. It's classed as an upper Middle-Grade historical fantasy, which, that's not wrong . . .

 

I felt like it had more of a classic children's fiction feel to it. It's coming-of-age, and also a sort of epic hero's journey, straddling children's lit and YA in a way that's often done more by adult literary works. It touches on many 'big ideas': deformity, religion/society, acceptance, adoption, trauma, bullying, disability, purpose/identity, fate . . . The format is creative and unique. The story arc stretches from the MC's birth to age 14 and is told in omniscient third person varying with passages in verse.

 

I'm not sure if there was a meaning to the alternating styles; at some points, I thought the dreamlike verse passages were meant to show the MC's perspective in a closer, almost experiential or sensory format as an infant, a toddler, a mute child . . . but then that didn't necessarily carry through, so perhaps it was more to craft an atmosphere for the story.

 

The setting is the ancient Mediterranean, and the story picks up on legends of bull dancing. The world feels distinct, grounded and natural, without heavy-handed world-building. It's a world of gods and priestesses, sacrifice and death and surrender. Humans seem very small within it, and as a children's book, it's challenging rather than comforting. There's death and violence and loss, handled in a very matter-of-fact manner, so I'd recommend it for maybe ages 10+, depending on the child. It's not gratuitously violent or graphic, but it's a raw-edged ancient world where killing a deformed child, having pets eaten by wild animals, beating slaves - including children - and sacrificing people as well as animals to the gods is just part of life. 

 

I was very kindly sent a hardcover edition via the Goodreads Giveaways program, and the book production is lovely. It has a bold, graphic cover with some nice foil accents, a printed board cover (which I prefer for kids books due to the durability), fully illustrated internal section pages, and pleasant, spacious typesetting.

 

Confident, mature young readers will find this an engaging, challenging and meaningful read with an inspiring story arc and some lovely writing. Hesitant readers and very young readers will probably find it a struggle. I'd give it 5/5 as a product, 4/5 as a literary work and 3/5 as kid's entertainment.

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