October 2008


This is NEWS I can get excited about.  Flat Stanley is a staple in many classroom.  He is read to students, he goes home with students, and is a going to become a world wide traveler.  I read on Sara Pennypacker’s site (see post from yesterday) that she has taken over the writing of the Flat Stanley books.  I wonder if Flat Stanley will every borrow Stuarts cape?  Maybe he will get a nickname from Clementine.  I can’t wait to see where Stanley travels and hear about his adventures.

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Stuart has just moved to a new town and EVERYTHING is going wrong.  His box of treasure were mistaken for trash, he has no friends, and school starts in three days.  What if he is the shortest kid in his class?  What if he has no friends?  This is all TOO much for Stuart… he needs an adventure to get his mind off his troubles.  Where can you find an adventure?  Stuart decides that all the super heroes have adventures because they are wearing a cape.  Stuart needs a cape.  Stuart staples 100 ties together and the adventures begin! 

I love the understated humor in this book.  I love Stuart.  I want a cape made of ties!  Well done, Mrs. Pennypacker!  Sara Pennypacker is also the author of the Clementine books. Clementine is a little girl with a lot of spunk.  Clementine and Stuart would be great friends. 

The Stuart books and the Clementine books are great books for the second and third graders who need to move beyond the first start easy books but they are not difficult.  There are engaging illustrations that are important to the story line.  I would love to see more from Sara Pennypacker.  I hope she is working on some sequels with both characters.

Getting to know Mississippi Beaumont (Mibs) and her family was an unexpected delight.  I thought that because of the lower reading level this book would not hold my attention and the characters would be a bit dull and flat.  But, happily that was not the case with this book.  Mibs and her family and friends are believable, full of life, and interesting.  I thought I would do a quick read to see who might like the book and found that I can excitedly recommend it to anyone. 

Mississippi  is just about to turn thirteen.  And at that magic age Mibs knows she will be getting her savvy.  When her brothers got their savvy’s one cause a huge black out with electrical sparks while the other was the cause of a hurricane.  In fact, the family had to move to keep this brother far away from water until he could gain control of his savvy.  When Mib’s dad is injured in an auto accident, she believes her savvy will be healing power. Mibs is sure her touch will wake her dad from his comma.   In order to get to her dad’s side Mib (and her entourage) stow away in the van of a bible salesman.  Mibs discovers her savvy and it is not what she thought it would be.  Along the way she learns to find her voice amid all the other voices clammering for attention.

zwani.com myspace graphic comments It is the perfect time to get out a travel book and follow the map to a new place you have never seen.   I have just such a book to read.  We get a free book from the Reading Is Fun representative when the school sells 10 books from their display.  It is a nice way to get free books for the library and a great way for the staff to get bargins on books.  I am so glad we get a chance to see these books.

Backroads and Byways of Missouri:  Drives, Day Trips, and Weekend Excursions by Archie Satterfield

This is not the kind of book you snuggle up with and not get up until you are finished.  And that is fine.  This book serves it purpose well.  Backroads and Byways of Missouri is the kind of book you pick up when you are ready to travel.  Each chapter takes you on a trip from one part of Missouri to another.  Along the way you find out the interesting histroy you would not have known without this book as a guide.  I am from Doniphan, Missouri so my interest was peaked when I saw the name General Doniphan. I knew the town was named after him but I did not know the rest of his story.  At one point in the general’s career he stood up to his commanding officer and refused to execute a group of Mormans.  Besides the history, this book tells about Bed and Breakfasts and small hotels along the way.  It also tells about some selective shopping areas. The next time you are going on a trip in Missouri come to the library and check out this book.  You will enjoy a bit of history and find some great places to stop along the way.  

 

Ba

Newbery Honor Book

Newbery Honor Book

 

WARNING:  This book is laugh out-loud funny.  Students, if you plan to read The Wednesday Wars while others are working or taking tests, think again!  You might find yourself in big trouble!
Holling Hoodhood doesn’t know what hit him.  For some unknown reason, his seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Baker, has demanded he meet with her every Wednesday after school.  The only reason Holling can come up with to explain this extreme punishment is that Mrs. Baker HATES him. 
No one in his family has any explanation (or sympathy) for his situation.  Mom can only say that Mrs. Baker is a nice lady; Dad’s only advice if for Holling NOT to upset her.  Dad’s architecture firm is bidding on The Baker’s Sporting Emporium.   Holling even lowers himself to ask his sister for help.  All he gets from her is a bit of sarcasm (and the advise to move to California.) 
And so, the Wednesday wars begin.  Holling is determined to endure (for the sake of the family business he may one day inherit.) Mrs. Baker, for her part, is determined to keep Holling busy.  First, he is made to clean the classroom.  When that doesn’t work out too well, Mrs. Baker changes tactics.  Now, she will kill him with Shakespeare! 
Holling Hoodhood is truly a like-able character.  Not that he doesn’t get into his share of trouble in his escapades.  Mrs. Baker is full of surprises too.  Just when you think you know her, she comes up with some surprises all her own.  Holling’s lively sense of humor, the witty dialogue and all the mishaps along the way make this one book that you will keep you laughing all the way to the end. 
Beyond the humor, this book tackles some important issues.  Set in the era of the Vietnam war, the peace marches, and flower children, these important issues find a way to  reach in and touch the innocence of the community and Holling’s family.