Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Book Bags: June 18

Not exactly off to a great start, missing last week's Book Bag #2 post, but the fam has been shipped back to California and Nebraska, so I'm back to report on which of the 46 library books we'll be trucking back to the library today:
  • Mugger, in all the excitement of being booted out of his room (due to the houseful of family), has hardly touched a book from his library bag. Besides the Elephant and Piggie books I mentioned last time, he's only read (and re-read as he likes to do) Shawn Sheep the Soccer Star by Erin Mirabella (a former Team USA cyclist.) If your little soccer nut needs a lesson on sportsmanship, this would be the book for you. However, even though he's not dipping much into the library bag, he has been reading to his sister daily: How Do I Love You? by P. K. Hallinan was a Valentine's Day present 2 years ago from Grandma and Grandpa. Mugger has been proud not only to figure out words like "enough" and "impossible" but to also tell his sister he loves her by reading a book to her.
  • Bug turns all houseguests into her own personal storytellers, so she's been through plenty of books in the last week. She's still well into Tedd Arnold and Amy Krouse Rosenthal, as I mentioned last time, but we learned that we're not big Rosemary Wells fans, which was somewhat of a surprise, seeing as how the library has Max as a special guest at next Thursday's shindig. Oh well, there are certainly plenty of other characters for Bug to fall in love with! Once such character I found a rather odd choice, but last week, she insisted on checking out Jake Stays Awake by Michael Wright for the second time. The illustrations don't appeal to me at all, but Bug loves the rhythm and the silliness as Jake tries out different locations around the house for a family bed. Bug was also on a train kick this week, so there were plenty of readings of Down by the Station and Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo, but we've had better train books. There were several more books in Bug's rotation this week, but I'll save them for next week if they make the repeated readings cut.
  • Having other family to entertain the kiddos this week meant I got to do a bit more reading as well. I finally got around to reading J. K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and while it certainly doesn't have the excitement of Harry Potter, the tales are good. Glad I checked it out rather than rushed to buy it though. Sara Pennypacker's Clementine was an extremely quick read (less then 45 minutes), but this snapshot of Clementine's week and her efforts at paying attention were cute. I could see this easy chapter book being a great read aloud in a squirmy primary classroom.
  • My reading this week did uncover 2 gems, the first being Half Magic by Edward Eager. I don't know how I missed this one as apparently it's a classic from 1954 and is the first in a series of 7. I would have been all over this one in my Narnia days! I only found it now because of a review of Laurel Snyder's Any Which Wall (which looks fantastic!), so I wanted to find out who Snyder was paying tribute to. At any rate, Half Magic was good enough that I'm placing my hold on the next book in the series now.
  • The other gem of the week was Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry. Rarely have I come across such strong characters in kid lit and such honest spiritual development. This book so clearly portrays both life on an eastern Oregon ranch and life with a parent deployed. This book was so good, that I'd love to see it up for Newbery consideration. An outstanding first novel and an outstanding coming-of-age story.
  • Finally, if you're looking for a read outside of kid lit this week, I have to recommend A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. Part autobiography, part cookbook, this one is going on my wish list and I don't even like to cook. Yep, this book was so good, it made me want to cook.
For a peek in other people's book bags, head on over to today's post at The Well-Read Child.


  1. I do love to cook, and I like Molly Wizenberg's columns in Bon Appetit magazine, so I've been wanting to read "A Homemade Life." Glad to hear it's good. Same with Beedle the Bard--on my to-read list.

    I am pretty sure I read "Half Magic" as a kid. It sounds familiar. But it's been a long time. I might need to read it again.

    Have you started "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" yet? I tried to get it from the Albany library but it was checked out.

  2. I checked Hallinan's book and realized that we have one book of the same author - ABC I Love You. It was Anna's favorite for a while, so now I just have to look up the one you mentioned. Thanks for good tips!

  3. Hi Jen-- Just picked up "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" this morning, so I'll be digging into it soon...

    And Teaching..., glad to hear you have another favorite Hallinan. I'll have to check the one you mentioned as How Do I Love You? is the only one we've read.

  4. Half Magic is a fun book. My post is here.

  5. Hey there!

    So good to hear people are discovering Eager! Be warned that his books aren't quite a series. there are 2 different "sets" of books. The Half Magic Kids and the Magic or Not kids are two different sets of kids. And then the kids in Knights Castle are a third crew, only you should read that book AFTER the Half Magi/Magic by the Lake books. Because there's a secret!


  6. Argh! I've been reading them chronologically and just finished Knight's Castle while camping last weekend. Wish I had known...

  7. And Laurel, I just have to say that I think it's totally cool that an author hangs out on the blogs of us "lesser folk" :) Just got Any Which Wall today after I got my library to buy it, so I'll be sure to pop over and let you know when I've posted a review :)