Sunday, September 29, 2013

Not Just a Witch by Eva Ibbotson

Daniel’s parents, brainy professors, don’t pay him any mind (except for the times when they check his mind to see if he’s smart enough? Is he the best in school?)
Daniel, unfortunately, is ordinary. Well, not completely. He takes up with a coven of witches, who also aren’t ordinary. They all mean well, but often get muddled.
Not Just a Witch is broad comedy. There’s a devilishly handsome villain who hoodwinks two of the lonely witches and uses their talents for terrible purposes.
The vocabulary can be challenging, but it’s worth it. Illustrations help the struggling reader keep going.
So, if you know anyone age 6 and up, who needs a charming “pick me up,” pick up Not Just a Witch.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

By Mary Sullivan

Sooner or later, my sense of humor is going to be outed. If Ball doesn’t do it, nothing will. You don’t have to be a mangy dog lover or have only a one word vocabulary to love this. You DO have to have a mind that loves to roam along with a dog whose entire purpose in life to play ”ball.” Ball: One day in the life of a dog. I can’t think of a better book to share with a beginning reader.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Page turner!

Strong Female character
Middle grade and up
By Matthew Kirby
I won’t tell you what happens. Hmmm, does its title Ice Fall gives a hint? Add a punch of power (the power from Nature and a band of Viking berserkers). A king leaves behind his family in a protected fjord while he fights a war. No one knows of their hiding place, they think. However, a traitor is in their midst. The number of characters in Icefall is small. But they tell a big story: treachery from the one you trusted most, the struggle from girlhood to adulthood, and the importance of choices. This book gave me the sense of what it must have been like to be Viking.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Not a lot happens in More Spaghetti, I Say. Sister ignores brother so she can eat spaghetti. She eats too much, and feels sick. Now, she wants to play. But now brother ignores sister. He wants to eat spaghetti! Rhyme, repetition, and simple plot…it’s the perfect book for a Skype read. You’ll have it memorized by the third reading. Plus, the illustrator has made brother and sister monkey expressive and appealing. Its rhythm and plot line reminded me of Dr. Seuss (which is a good thing!)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

                                       A penguin and a boy hugging. Who needs words?
Well, Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers, does benefit from a few. Without them, how would you know that a penguin shows up on a boy’s doorstep? That the boy himself has to take him back to the South Pole Or, that when the boy does return the penguin (by rowing across oceans), the penguin is still sad? Homesickness wasn’t the problem. It was loneliness. Jeffers writes with his tongue-in-cheek and gives the book a special flavor. Yummy!