Overdue Book Reviews!

Dear Readers,

I haven’t posted a book review in a long time. I’m going to remedy that during the break. I may even post a few. I think I’ll review Patricia Polacco’s “January Sparrow.” It was such a fantastic book. I loved it like I love all of Patricia Polacco’s book. I honestly haven’t read a book of hers that I don’t like. Others that I think I’ll review are: Applemando’s Dream, Pink & Say, Mr. Lincoln’s Way, Bully, Junkyard Wonders, & My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother (in memory of Patricia’s older brother, Richie, who recently passed). I’ll kick them out over the break. Until then!

Miss Hunnicutt’s Hat by Jeff Brumbeau

HunnicutMiss Hunnicutt’s Hat, written by Jeff Brumbeau & illustrated by Gail de Mercken, was a wonderful book. I reviewed another one of the author’s book, The Quiltmaker’s Gift. I like this author/illustrator team. I am going to find more of their books. I like their style. N-e way, on to the review.

(From the book jacket) The prim little town of Littleton is in a tizzy preparing for a visit from the Queen. So when Miss Hunnicutt steps out in her fancifully fowl-ish hat, the stuffy townsfolk are scandalized. The chicken has to go!

But plucky Miss Hunnicutt stands up for her right to wear what she likes. And when the Queen’s arrival prompts a surprising turn of events, the townspeople learn to celebrate the silly eccentricities that make life interesting.

That was the summary from the book’s author. Now, this is my summary of the book.

I really liked this book. I asked my students what they thought this book was really about and they said, “being yourself, being individual, & unique, not being afraid to be yourself, etc.”. I was quite impressed. I guess I taught them well.

Miss Hunnicutt is very proper. She never does anything wrong or out of the ordinary. The only thing she likes out of the ordinary are her hats. A lady has to have something that makes her stand out, right?

Standing out is what Miss Hunnicut does! During the course of the book, you will see the transformation of Miss Hunnicutt. Although some of the jokes may go over kids’ heads, the book is full of laugh out loud moments. (It was for me anyway!)

This books makes for a great discussion about individualism, quirkiness, standing up for yourself, and loving yourself. I recommend it as a mother and a teacher. It would make a great personal gift for anyone who is different and embraces it. As always, you can pick it up at your local library or bookstore.

How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath

Dear Readers,

It’s time for a book review. I haven’t written one in a long, long time. Well, I have one that’s worth the wait. It’s actually more than a year overdue. I’d promised a review of this book in September ’11. I wasn’t sure if I’d made good on that promise so I had to peruse my blog to make sure I hadn’t already posted a review of it. I am ashamed to say that I did not.

I wrote briefly about the concept of bucket filling last year, but didn’t continue it. I guess I just got so busy with life that I completely forgot. For that I do apologize. Now that that’s out the way, on to the review!

How Full Is Your Bucket, by Tom Rath (2007) and illustrated by Mary Reckmeyer, is a must-have book. The theme at the beginning of the book is along the lines of Alexander and Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. You can totally feel the child’s pain. But, by the middle of the book, readers are given useful tools to help turn that terrible, no good, very bad day around.Read More »

Forgetting What Works…

Dear Readers,

I am so silly. I always forget what works for me. A couple of my students have been struggling. I’ve worked in Education for 10 years now. I should have pulled from my store of knowledge. But, sometimes we can become so overwhelmed that we forget (as I did) what works for us. Once I came to my senses, I quickly made fluency folders from pages I copied from Practicing Basic Skills in Reading & Practicing Basic Skills in Language Arts by Ray Beck, Peggy Anderson, & A. Denise Conrad.

At first I only made fluency folders for the struggling readers. Then I realized that almost every student needs help in some capacity. So, although there are 7/15 students working on fluency, there are 8 students that are at or above grade level in English. However, they still have deficits. I have 4 students who need to work on appositional phrases, commas in a series, and commas for parenthetical phrases. Yes, all of that is in the book. It’s not cheap though. I looked on ebay, Amazon, & a couple of other sites for inexpensive copies, but did not find it. These books are $100. Pretty steep, but worth it. You could run a whole language arts intervention program for lower to upper elementary with this book.

So that I won’t forget this for next year, I am going to keep a FORGETFUL folder where I record my ideas that work for me. Hopefully I won’t forget where I put it! : D!!!  It’s a fantastic book. Check it out!

Cowboy & Octopus by Jon Scieszka

I have to say that this story, Cowboy & Octopus (2007), by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith was not my cup of tea. I absolutely hated it. Why am I reviewing this book then? Well, I am reviewing this because Jon Scieszka, a former school teacher, writes books for reluctant readers (read boys), and he did his job with this one.

I recently bought this book for $1 D.W. Discount Books’ going out of business sale. The price was so ridiculously good, I did something I don’t usually do, I bought it without reading it. I figured since it was Jon Scieszka, it couldn’t possibly be bad. Well, I was wrong. I read it, hated it and passed it on to Phillise, thinking my “grownupness” was getting in the way. Well, Phillise hated it too.

So, bells started going off. Jon Scieszka writes for boys. Since that is the case, why don’t I give this book to a little boy and see how he likes it. I hit paydirt when I gave it to my neighbor’s 6 year old son. He laughed and laughed his little head off.

“What is he laughing at?,” I thought to myself. By golly, he was laughing at the book. I got a further thought to try it with the boys in my class. My theory= of the fourth graders, it was my belief that two of my students would like it, since they are a bit immature; the other one, since he already has sophisticated tastes, would hate it. While the last student I was  on the fence about. I figured he could go either way.

My theories were correct. The immature ones liked it. The one I was unsure of, who I was on the fence about,  despised it. The one with the sophisticated tastes, thought it was one of the worst books he’d read. None of my fifth graders liked it. So, my conclusion is that Jon Scieszka hit it out of the park with this one. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t written for me. I am not the target audience- 5 & 6 year olds are the target audience and they love it.

So, go out and get it for your little reluctant reader. Apparently they love it!

Mind Your Manners B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra

Mind Your Manner B.B. Wolf (2007), written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by J. Otto Seibold is a fractured fairy tale of sorts. The title character, Big Bad Wolf (B.B. Wolf for short, is retired and now lives in Villain Villa Senior Center. He is up to his neck in bills. He’s fed up. His day brightens once he receives an invitation for tea. He decides to go with his best friend, Alligator.

GETTING TO HAPPY! (Sequel to Waiting To Exhale)

WAITING TO EXHALE sequel “Getting To Happy” Tour dates:

I am so happy that Terry McMillan has written a sequel to Waiting to Exhale, called Getting To Happy. She is currently writing the screenplay to be made into a movie. She’s going to be in L.A. on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @:
Eso Won Bookstore

4331 Degnan Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90008
(323) 290-1048 ***Offsite venue – DETAILS TBD Event free and open to public.

For more information, click on this link.