Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee, illustrated by Dan Santat

Bobby is a fourth grader who is having a little rough patch with his girl classmates. His best friend changed over the summer and is acting much more like a girl than he remembers. Did I mention his best friend is a girl which means that they can't be friends at school because that would be just wrong! Bobby finds himself accidentally offending the girls starting somewhat of a boy vs. girl war.

What I Thought:
This is a super fun book that I had a blast reading. Bobby is a neat character...he is the only son of a former famous professional football player and his dad is a stay at home dad who does his best. Bobby has asthma and allergies and can't do a lot of things that other kids do, like have a pet with fur. He is a kind and sweet kid who just likes to have fun!

I think a lot of kids will relate with Bobby and enjoy this novel.

Highly recommended, especially for the older elementary set.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee, illustrated by Dan Santat

Reviewed from a library copy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Revenge of the Itty Bitty Brothers: Who Shrunk Daniel Funk #3 by Lin Oliver, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

The Itty Bitty Brothers are back! When we last left them, Daniel was still working to figure out what exactly made him shrink to the size of one's big toe. The mystery is solved in this book and the boys use it to their advantage. (You'll just have to read the book to find the reason!)

Now that Daniel can control his shrinking, Pablo comes up with "Pablo's Phat Phive" in which the twins spend the whole day doing very awesome things...that only people that are inches tall can accomplish.

The finale to the "phive" is being launched in rockets that Daniel's science club are working on and launching at Le Brea Tar Pits.

Sounds like a good idea? You'll have to read it to find out!

What I Thought:
First off, how cool would it be to be the size of a big toe and be launched off in a rocket? Totally cool, and kind of terrifying.

The Funk brothers are a plain old good time, a great read. I love the entire eccentric family, and how Daniel's heart is just as big as the sky. The brotherly bonding in this book is so sweet, and you know how important these guys are to one another.

This is book three of this series, and I think readers will need to have the background story on Daniel and Pablo. Read this series in order!

Give this book to any mid-elementary/middle school reader...they'll love it! (But especially the boys!)

Very highly recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Revenge of the Itty Bitty Brothers: Who Shrunk Daniel Funk #3 by Lin Oliver, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

One of Julie Powell's greatest childhood memories is her mom making Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon for a dinner party. She also loved flipping through her mother's copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Now, Julie is quickly approaching the dreaded 3-0, her dream of becoming an actor didn't work out and she eventually accepted the invitation to turn a temp job into a full time job--as a secretary, she has a "syndrome" that makes it difficult for her to have a child, and her and her husband moved into a small apartment. But she loves to cook!

Eric, Julie's husband suggests that Julie take on a challenge and Julie decides to work through the Master the Art of French Cooking in one year, recording every success, failure, and disaster with a blog.

Along the way, Julie shares snippets taken from Julia's life.

As she works through her hefty tasks, Julie shares her life, her cooking experiences, and how Julia Child--in one form or another--changed her life.

What I Thought:
What an interesting book! I will be honest, it wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I had seen the movie before reading the book which usually is not a smart thing to do!

The movie and the book do differ quite a bit, but I think that is a great thing.

The book gets into a lot of background of why Julie took on this project, her family's feelings about her endeavor, emotional breakdowns and stories about many of the dishes both the ones to eat and the ones to clean! There are several snippets of Julia's life, mostly ones of her years before she found her cooking.

This book was kind of hard for me to get through, as I said I ruined it by seeing the movie first. (I so know better than to do that!) However, I think that it was an interesting read and I feel inspired to cook! (Maybe even try a Julia Child recipe!)

Recommended, especially for foodies!

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

Reviewed from a library copy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Roscoe Riley Rules #7 Never Race a Runaway Pumpkin by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Brian Briggs

It's almost time for the Fall Festival and the local bookstore is hosting a fun contest: Guess the Weight of the HUGE pumpkin. The winner will receive a lot of books for their school library (the number of books as the pumpkin weighs!) as well as candy, as much candy as the pumpkin weighs!

Roscoe's teacher uses this chance as a "learning opportunity" to teach about estimation. However, the lesson gets interrupted with a discussion about superstitions.

When Roscoe learns of this contest during his school library time, he is so excited! After an afternoon of clothes shopping, Roscoe's mom stops by the bookstore so they can guess.

But in the bookstore Roscoe is distracted by a black cat. Roscoe is certain that the black cat is bad luck. He never actually gets to put his pumpkin guess into the jar! The next day, Roscoe's dad takes him back...and he encounters the black cat again!

Will Roscoe be brave enough to put in his entry?

What I Thought:
Well, its no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Roscoe Riley.

This is another fantastic installment in this series. Roscoe is such a sweet character, and all boy! He has a kind heart and the best of intentions that sometimes just doesn't work out like he thought.

A wonderful book for elementary readers.

A fantastic read. Very highly recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Roscoe Riley Rules #7 Never Race a Runaway Pumpkin by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Brian Biggs.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

So sad...

One of my school friends passed along this link to a school listserv today.

I feel so sad for all the people in Philadelphia as their library will be closing on October 2 due to the lack of "the necessary budgetary legislation by the State Legislature in Harrisburg."

All branches, regional, and central libraries will be closed.

No more books (all current checked out books due back on 10/1), no more children's/teens programming, no more educational classes, no more outreach to the community.


Shame on these people in the State Legislature in Harrisburg. I hope you realize how important the libraries are to a community before its too late.

As my friend said: "Benjamin Franklin is rolling over in his grave."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Elijah was the first free child to be born in Buxton, a settlement in Canada consisting of mostly runaway slaves who found freedom by escaping from their masters and surviving treacherous conditions.

Now, at eleven years old in the year 1860 he tells readers the story of the happenings of Buxton and its cast of characters, including the "Reverend" who tricks Elijah several times, the arrival of new citizens into the settlement, school, and a powerful ending that you'll just have to discover for yourself.

What I Thought:
I listened to the audio version of this book and all I can say is WOW. This is a story that everyone should experience, whether it be via the print or audio version. The story is read by Mirron Willis and is so unbelievably well done you won't want to turn it off!

I love Elijah's story, and you will watch him bloom from a boy to a man as you read (or listen!). The story is full of boy hijinks, solid stories about numerous people and just lots of fun with a true sense of history. Speaking of history, make sure you read the afterword as Curtis gives more insight into the Buxton settlement and encourages readers to find out more about it. Which I totally plan on doing!

This is a must read.

Very highly recommended.

The book was awarded a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor and the audiobook was awarded an ALA Notable Recording and Odyssey Honor.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Book Day...

We'll be getting a couple of new books over the next few's arrival is The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks.

I ordered this book months ago when I saw that Sparks was releasing this one, and totally forgot it was coming until I got the email notification from Amazon. What a pleasant surprise!

I can't wait to read this one...I don't even know what it is about...but sadly I think it will just have to wait until winter break from school. :(

Hurrah for new book day!