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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chalk by Bill Thomson

Super realistic paintings enhance this surreal story as 3 children find a bag of magic chalk and get more than they bargained for. The double-page spreads and wordless format will make Chalk a favorite to read again and again.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Justin Case by Rachel Vail

Justin, the third grader in Justin Case, is a big worrier. His diary takes us through his 3rd grade year, as he deals with being in a class without his two best friends, and having a teacher who is scary to him. His family gets a dog, and he hates taking him on walks because Qwerty the dog pulls on the leash; he isn't any good at sports; and he is afraid of all sorts of things. This is a gentler version of life than that in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, with less irony but more than a touch of humor. Justin grows throughout the year. An insightful, enjoyable and accessible read, with a New York City setting. (245 p.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Star in the Forest by Laura Resau

Zitlally's parents are immigrants from Mexico. When her father is deported back to Mexico, she is so sad that she stops trying to fit in with the popular girls at school. She finds a dog tied up in a car junkyard, and befriends it and feeds it. She comes to believe that the fate of the dog is connected to her father's fate. Star in the Forest is a lovely, gentle story of friendship and standing firm, with a ring of truth. Includes a note on immigration and a glossary of Nahuatl and Spanish words. This book reminded me a little of Pam Munoz Ryan's Becoming Naomi Leon, but for a slightly younger audience. (149 p.)

Today I Will Fly! by Mo Willems

Are you looking for easy first-reader books for your child to read to you? How about if they're laugh-out-loud funny and will motivate eager rereading?

Then you need to try the Elephant & Piggie books, Mo Willems' comicbook-like series for young readers. Elephant Gerald (you'll pardon the pun) and Piggie like to play together. However, misunderstandings happen even with the best of friends!

Dialogue is printed in word-bubbles: pink for Piggie and gray for Gerald. That means your child won't be distracted by confusing quotation marks, or repeated he said/she said. But evocative drawings and fonts teach the reader emotive reading, or even yelling. YOU will LIKE IT!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Falling In by Frances O'Roark Dowell

On the day that Isabelle begins to hear a persistent buzzing noise, she is sent to the principal's office by her teacher. While awaiting her turn, she opens a closet door and tumbles into another world: a world of children on the run from a child-eating witch. When Isabelle and a younger child meet a kind woman living alone in a cottage in the forest, Isabelle feels so comfortable and familiar: but who is the woman? Falling In is an interesting, well-written, unusual fantasy about an outsider in a strange world, with a good dose of suspense. By the author of Dovey Coe and Chicken Boy. (245 p.)

As Simple as It Seems by Sarah Weeks

When Verbena learns of her biological parents' offenses, it makes her feel mixed up and worried that she has inborn badness. When a summer neighbor mistakes her for a ghost, she pretends to be one. This oddly begun friendship gradually helps her find her sense of self returning.

As Simple as It Seems by Sarah Weeks

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Interrupting Chicken is silly, funny and richly illustrated.

A parent and child read some favorite fairytales, but the little red chicken gets very involved in each story!

My 1st-grader giggled all the way through this, and asked for it again.