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review 2018-02-21 22:46
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom - Bill Martin Jr.,John Archambault,Lois Ehlert

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault is an excellent book for young readers. This is an excellent way to introduce or review letters and colors. All the letters of the alphabet are written in order and a variety of colors (both primary and secondary) are on every page. I especially like that the book also has a story line to follow so readers don't even notice that the book serves an instructional purpose as well.


I would read this out loud to my class and ask students to say the letter sounds every few pages. I would especially focus on letter sounds that may be difficult for my students to say. In first or second grade I would ask the students to create their own coconut tree and instead of writing letters on them, they could write their sight words. 



Lexile Measure: AD430L


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review 2018-01-18 01:38
Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation - Mark Teague


For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

Interesting story. I enjoyed the epistolary style, but I could see how it may not resonate with young children. The story is really driven by the letters so it may be a bit confusing. The wording is often vague so I think it is suited for more advanced readers than very young ones. 

This is a surprisingly dark story in my opinion. Although I did like the placement of the idea that cats should be kept indoors to protect small animals. 

Good overall.
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review 2018-01-17 17:05
Letters to the Pianist
Letters to the Pianist - Frances Mayes

In war-torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the bombing of their family home but their parents are believed to be dead, buried under the rubble. They don't know that their father has been taken to the hospital with amnesia. Years later, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist who looks exactly like her father. The only way to find out for sure is to write him a letter, and as the pianist's memories surface, his new life begins to fall apart.

I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. I did like the early days - with the Goldberg's as a whole, and as poor Ruth had to stay with aunt Fenella and uncle Harry while her younger siblings went to stay with aunt Betty. The characters were okay. The concept was interesting. I liked the setting. But I found it long and drawn-out. Once I put the book down I didn't really want to pick it back up. I'm happy it's over and now that it is I seem to enjoy it more looking back on it than I did while I was reading it.

I won a copy through LibraryThing. Thank you to BHC Press for my copy.

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review 2018-01-08 19:52
Letters from Father Christmas ★★★★☆
Letters from Father Christmas - J.R.R. Tolkien,Derek Jacobi,John Moffatt,Christian Rodska

What a treat these letters must have been for Tolkien’s children! Father Christmas (and buddies) corresponded with them throughout their childhood, telling all about his home at the North Pole and including thrilling adventure stories of marauding goblins.


Audiobook version via Audible, competently read by multiple performers. I think I’d prefer to have this in a bound copy, so I could also appreciate the illustrations that decorated the letters.

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text 2018-01-03 10:08
Looking back on 2017
The letters of Herman Melville - Herman Melville,Merrell R. Davis,William H. Gilman
A True Novel - Juliet Winters Carpenter,Minae Mizumura
Wir - Евгений Замятин
Der Glöckner von Notre-Dame - Else von Schorn,Victor Hugo
What the Hell Did I Just Read - David Wong
Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
Сердешна Оксана - Григорій Квітка-Основ'яненко
The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo - Oscar Zeta Acosta,Manuel Acosta Sero,Hunter S. Thompson
The Revolt of the Cockroach People - Oscar Zeta Acosta,Marco Acosta,Hunter S. Thompson
Ein so langer Brief - Mariama Bâ,Irmgard Rathke,Rolf Italiaander

Hey there! I hope everyone had a fantastic start into 2018!


I always like to take the first days of January to look back and recap what I read in the past year – which books did I love, which ones did I like ok and which ones did upset or disappoint me. So here we go – quick and dirty!


Books I loved

There were a lot of books which I really liked in 2017, so I wrecked my brain to distil the three absolute best of the best for you:
My favourite book must have been The Letters of Herman Melville – interesting, well written and as an highlight I recommend reading the letters he addressed to Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Another one of my favourites was A True Novel by Minae Mizumura which I binge read in 11 days despite the sheer amount of nearly 900 pages. And last, but definitely not least was the mother of all dystopian novels We by Evgenij Zamjatin.


Books I was disappointed in

Luckily, in this category there were not that many books to choose from. The biggest letdown and as I can remember also the most exhausting one to read must have been The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, which is sad, because I expected so much more from this classic. What the Hell did I just read was no favourite of mine neither, although this did not come as a surprise, because David Wong’s books are gradually declining in quality. And since I mentioned We as one of the best books, I have to admit that 1984 wasn’t really a good one, despite its status as the dystopian novel par excellence.


And some honourable mentions

Сердешна Оксана as the first (and so far only) book I read in Ukrainian, So long a letter as a fascinating account of the life of African women and both books written by Oscar Zeta Acosta (The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo and The Revolt of the Cockrach People), because Acosta proves that even lawyers can be amazing writers and fight for what is right.

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