Thursday, June 25, 2009

Book Bags: June 25

Here's what's headed back to the library today:

Bug has polished off a giant stack that includes the following:
  • Grandpa Loves by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
  • The Quiltmaker's Journey by Jeff Brumbeau and Gail de Marcken
  • The Friend by Sarah Stewart
  • Just Enough by Teri Daniels
  • All the Places to Love by Sarah MacLachlan
  • Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant
  • Tools by Taro Miura
  • Out of the Ocean by Debra Frasier
Can you tell we were in serious reading mode this week? We were having a bit of withdrawal after the relatives left-- should have picked up The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant! Besides these titles (most of which hung around for just one week's readings), Bug is finally letting go of Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane and Fairy Houses... Everywhere! by Barry and Tracy Kane. She and her brother have just become interested with the idea of building little structures out of little found bits outside. Fairy Houses has plenty of inspiration in the narrative of one child discovering the possibilities of imagination while ...Everywhere! is full of photos to inspire your young architect.
As for Mugger, besides reading all of his sister's books, he found 3 new favorites this week. He's big into the early reader shelves of the library, so after polishing off another Clifford the Big Red Dog and a Henry and Mudge, he made friends with Morris the Moose by B. Wiseman. I don't know if you remember Morris from your own childhood reading, but he always reminded me of Bullwinkle-- there has to be a connection there somewhere! Since Mugger had an end of the year kindergarten field trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium he also had a great time exploring Captain Barnacle's Aquarium by Edward Miller, full of "fun, fishy facts" in a great retro illustration style. The hit of the week for Mugger, though, would have to be Jack and the Box byArt Spiegelman, a Toon Book, meaning it's a comic book/graphic novel for early readers. Mugger always wants to read the funnies in the Sunday paper, so this strange little story was a good way to teach him some of the conventions used in comic strips not found elsewhere in print. Head over to Amazon for the reviews and you'll see that they're all over the place-- I think the novelty of this book is either highly appealing (like it was for Mugger) or will just seem odd.

Then there's my bag. I polished off 3 juvenile novels this week:
  • The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull: So the moral of the story is "Never take candy from a stranger," but this is no simple bedtime tale. In fact, this one had me up late to read "just one more page!" The adventures of 4 kids armed with magical candy become quite dangerous as they figure out who to trust. As gripping as this one was, I felt a little let down by the ending-- the kids were so resourceful in how to use their magic powers all the way through, but in the end the hero had to be rescued from his own ingenuity. Minor quibble though -- still a great read.
  • Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach: if you love mysteries and a good conspiracy theory, then this tale of sixth-grader Hero Netherfeld is for you. The daughter of a Shakespeare scholar, Hero is the lonely new kid at school. She soon finds out from the elderly neighbor that her house might have a million-dollar diamond hidden inside. The most popular eighth-grade boy in town is interested in the mystery, too, and all 3 learn that people, including Shakespeare himself, might not be who they seem to be.
  • Masterpiece by Elise Broach: another great mystery and tale of friendship by Broach, this time the unlikely story of the friendship between a lonely boy and a beetle whose ink drawings are uncannily similar to those of Albrecht Durer. The beetle's artistic skill leads to quite a climax even though the boy and the beetle cannot actually speak to each other. This, too, was a page-turner and left me wanting more by Broach-- I think I now have a favorite juvie fiction mystery author!
To see what other families are reading this week, head on over to The Well-Read Child.

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