I have to start off by saying I love this book! I think everyone can related to this character in one way or another. I definitely can! "Crankenstein", by Samantha Berger is a fun story to use around Halloween, although it can be used at any time. Crankenstein wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and is in a BAD mood! He is so ill that all he can say is "mehhrrrr"!! Throughout the story, things that make him angry keep happening and ruining his day. His mom makes him pancakes for breakfast and he has only one drop of syrup! His popsicle melts because it is too hot outside. He waits in a forever long line just to figure out he is not tall enough to ride. It's way too cold on Halloween, and then he breaks his toy. Just when you think Crankenstein is going to lose his marbles, he meets a GIRL crankenstein. It doesn't make him angry like we would think. It makes him laugh! Now Crankenstein is happy. But for how long? I used this book in a second grade classroom to show that the author uses illustrations to help us understand more about what the story is telling us. Some things are not written in the story, but by looking at the illustrations, you know what the author is telling you. We read this book at the carpet and the students were able to make the "mehhrrr" sound with me. They loved being included in the story. I also did an opinion writing activity about if they agreed with the reasons Crankenstein was mad or not and why. I also included a craft where the students got to make their own Crankenstein face and glue it to their writing. This book has endless activities to go along with it. Overall, this is a fun and interactive book.
Guided Reading Level: I
ATOS Reading Level: 1.7
I was introduced to this book several years ago and it has been a favorite since the day I read it. "A bad Case of Stripes", by David Shannon, has a wonderful message to send to children about being themselves no matter what others think. Camilla Cream, the main character, is getting ready for school one morning when she looks in the mirror to see herself covered in rainbow stripes! She had no clue why she looked this way and it took lots of doctors, poking, probing, and pills to NOT figure it out! She thought she was doomed to look like this for the rest of her life until a sweet, little, old lady comes to her rescue. Camilla soon figures out that the reason for her stripes is because she is not being true to herself. You will have to read this funny and gut wrenching story to find out what it is that she's trying to hide. This story can be used in any elementary classroom as an activity to spread the word about always being yourself no matter what some people may think. Nothing is more miserable than playing a part in life and not enjoying yourself for who you are!
Reading A-Z: K,P
ATOS Reading Level: 3.8
I didn't read Skin After Skin, so the last new PsyCop book I read was Spook Squad which was FOREVER ago. To say that I've been impatiently awaiting this book is not an exaggeration, and it did not disappoint.
This is around the time in most long-running series where the author runs out of steam (if they hadn't already) and just start phoning in their books. Not JCP though. She keeps this series fresh, keeps finding new ways to challenge her characters and push their boundaries, and keeps delivering hilarious commentary on the absurdities of life. (Vic vs smartphone is my new favorite.)
I loved seeing Vic in this new environment at the FPMP. He finally starts to realize just how toxic things were at the precinct when his new coworkers are not only nice to him but actually excited to work with him, and some are genuinely in awe of him. It's a lot for him to adjust to. Along with that, he has a new assignment unlike anything he did when working homicide and he has to figure out how to work with Darla.
Darla is a great addition to the cast, and her history with Vic has a lot of possibilities for exploring not just their shared pasts but their ever-changing understanding of what it means to be a medium. Jacob also does some growing here, though not quite to the degree as Vic. He is not okay after the events in Spook Squad and has some anxiety to deal with. It's the first chink in his armor that we've seen and it brings him more down to Earth in his view of psychic abilities.
As for the mystery, the perp was pretty obvious from the get-go, and while we expect Vic to be clueless and obtuse, I was rather bemused that Jacob didn't start asking the necessary questions sooner. Thankfully, the mystery isn't the sole focus here. Vic's got his mediumship project and he's also starting to unearth some memories of his childhood and realizing that his fuzzy memories don't mean what he always expected they did. But they all tie together and it opens this whole new realm for exploration in future books.
After what feels like a millennium, I have read The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and I totally get the hype now. Oscar Wilde's play focuses on two men who independently of the other have invented alternate personas that allow them to cut loose without (hopefully) any repercussions. One of the men has created Ernest who is by all rights a scoundrel and his creator has finally decided to do away with him so that he can settle down and get married. The problem is that his friend (the other deceitful man) has decided to take on the mantle of Ernest so that he can win the heart of a girl that he's just met. (I recommend reading this in one sitting because otherwise you're liable to get confused.) Wilde uses word play and absolutely ridiculous circumstances to discuss the folly of youth and poke fun at the whims and fancies of people who believe they are really truly in love even if they don't truly know the other person. For instance, the two women of the play are determined that they will only marry someone named Ernest but as it turns out no one is named Ernest there is a bit of a kerfuffle. After all is said and done, no one comes out on top and everyone is depicted as foolish and unimpressive. It was thoroughly amusing and I guess now I'll have to see the movie that was based on it. :-P If you haven't read it yourself and you'd like a quick, fun read this will do just the trick. 9/10
And yes the title of this post is true. I was staring at the book's title and then it hit me: "Oh because it's about two men proclaiming to be Ernest and they do it will all earnestness." *facepalm*
What's Up Next: The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
What I'm Currently Reading: The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers