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review 2015-10-12 15:36
Somebody Catch My Homework
Somebody Catch My Homework: Poems - David L. Harrison

10/9/15 ** A hysterical series of poems about the tribulations of school. The voice (and deliberate use of non-conventional English) enhance the poems' humor.


After enjoying the poems for their own sake, they could provide a valuable springboard for discussing the "rules" of language and when/why authors might choose to "break" those rules. 


"My Excuse" and "Ralphy" could be especially good for drawing students' attention to irregular verbs.


"My Advice" could be used as an example of idioms ("eat a horse").

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review 2015-10-12 15:23
Splish Splash
Splish Splash - Joan Bransfield Graham,Steve Scott

10/9/15 ** A delightful series of poems about water in all it's many forms: sprinklers, ice, steam, the water cycle, popsicles, sprinklers, ponds, brooks, etc. 


The word play, rhymes, and rhythms are compelling in their own right. The book would also be an interesting addition to an elementary class's study of the water cycle or states of matter.


The third poem, "Ocean," would also serve well as a short text on inferences - figuring out where the narrator is and using the pictures and textual cues to support one's assertion.

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review 2015-09-26 13:18
Fish in a Tree
Fish In A Tree - Lynda Mullaly Hunt

9/24/2015 ** Given the buzz I've heard from educators I respect about this book, I expected to feel a punch in the gut. I thoroughly respect the message, but I wasn't especially struck by lyrical prose.


At first glance, I felt this was simply an homage to teachers, and that the primary audience would be teachers. However, I think many kids would connect with the feelings of alienation conveyed by the protagonist. Though not all kids struggle with reading, many feel that they don't fit it - because they don't do sports, or feel geeky, or don't have the right clothes. 


As a read-aloud, this book could be the flint that sparks important conversations about kindness, acceptance, and celebrating everyone's ability to think outside society's boxes.


Read-alike books might by Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper or Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

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review 2015-09-19 00:41
The Wolf's Chicken Stew
The Wolf's Chicken Stew (Goodnight) - Keiko Kasza

Delightfully told - Wolf realizes that the chicken and her chicks make better friends than dinner. A timeless story of giving for selfish reasons, but realizing that the giving can bring unsuspected joy.


Just the write balance of predictability - through repetition and illustrations - with challenging words. Perfect for early independent readers.

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review 2015-07-05 14:49
Enigmas of History: Mysteries of the Maya
Enigmas of History: The Mysteries of the... Enigmas of History: The Mysteries of the Maya - Editorial Sol 90, S.L.

In my efforts to learn more about the Maya, this has been my favorite book so far. It is full of rich details about specific aspects of Maya culture, including three specific archaeological sites. There are also chapters on the ball game, science & math, the codices, and possible reasons for the decline of the civilization.


In multiple cases, including the outcomes of the ball games and the possible causes of the civilization's decline, the editorial staff presented several theories, explaining that historians disagree. However, this book continued to present the traditional three periods in Maya history, something that some archaeologists now contest (see Harris, Nathaniel; the National Geographic book Ancient Maya: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of the Maya's Past.)


A major flaw of this book is that World Book seems to only sell it as part of a set. I would like to own it, but anticipate difficulty locating an individual copy.

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