Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Calvin Coconut: Zoo Breath by Graham Salisbury, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

It's research time in Calvin's class, and they have been charged with completing a primary research project with his partner Julio.  What should they research?  They decided to research stinky items and an attempt to remedy Streak's (Calvin's dog) horrible dog breath. 

What ensues is lots of fun...and lots of stinky things!

What I Thought:
Another great Calvin Coconut book!  He is such a lovable fourth grader and I have a great time discovering his world!  (And he lives in Hawaii...that doesn't hurt things!)

This book is laugh-out-loud funny and at times you'll shudder at the stinky things Calvin breath, dog droppings, and even a sewage pipe.  (As he watches the toilet get switched out!)   Calvin is also dealing with everyday problems...a teenage friend who stays with them and helps watch Calvin and his sister, a little sister, classmates, divorced parents...

This is a delightful book that kids will eat up!  Go Calvin!

Highly recommended.

Want to see more?  Check it out on Amazon: Calvin Coconut: Zoo Breath by Graham Salisbury, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Read and Share Stories About Jesus by Gwen Ellis

A board book featuring 13 different Bible stories for young children.

What I Thought:
These are wonderful Biblical stories for children.  The author adapted the stories for young children very well and even included a discussion question for the adult and child to talk about with each story.

The cartoon illustrations are bright, colorful and correlate very well with each story.  One thing I found odd was the characters' noses...they seemed to be puppet-like and glued on their faces.  I found that distracting.

However, I thought the stories were excellent and the discussion questions correlated nicely and provided a great discussion starter for life application of the moral of each story.  


Want to see more?  Check it out on Amazon: Read and Share Stories About Jesus by Gwen Ellis.

Reviewed from a copy provided by the Thomas Nelson Publisher Book Review Bloggers program.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don't) by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Michael Emberley

Miss Brooks loves books and wants her students to love them too!  But our narrator doesn't like books so much...they are too flowery, furry, or even yippety. 

But she has to bring a favorite book to class for Book Week.  Will our friend find a great book?

What I Thought:
I must have this book for my collection because Miss Brooks rocks!  I love her enthusiasm for books and her love for learning. 

And I hope to be just like her one day! 

I love that the little girl isn't such a fan of books...she's your typical reluctant reader.  But she FINALLY finds a book she adores and is excited about! 

Great illustrations and just a fun, relevant story.  There IS a book out there for everyone!


Want to see more?  Check it out on Amazon: Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don't) by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Michael Emberley.

Reviewed from a public library copy.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Animal Crackers Fly the Coop by Kevin O'Malley

Who doesn't like a good joke?

Apparently some farmers.

All these animals want to do is share jokes with their farm friends, but their farmers don't see the funny, they only see the animals not doing their farm jobs!  So one by one, they run away from their farms and run into each other...telling some great jokes along the way and even saving the day!

What I Thought: 
Such a fun book, and I will be using this soon with some older grades in my new school job!  (I'm thinking we'll read this book, talk about joke/riddle books and then maybe have our own little comedy club.)

The jokes are so corny, they are funny and I know kids will appreciate that.  There is a lot of double meaning jokes too that are much appreciated. 

This is a book you'll want to check out!


Want to see more?  Check it out on Amazon: Animal Crackers Fly the Coop by Kevin O'Malley.

Reviewed from a public library copy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee

When the baby arrived, it was apparent who was boss.

He set up shop right in the middle of the house, called endless meetings, had many demands while enjoying all the perks...and all without the ability to say a single word!

Until one day...

What I Thought:
Another new favorite!  This book is beyond adorable!  This book is the perfect gift for new parents or'll give them a tongue-in-cheek glimpse of what they have to experience! 

The illustrations give the story that extra boost...I love the facial expressions on the boss baby...he's so determined while his poor parents look overwhelmed and exhausted.

A fantastic book you won't want to miss!

Very highly recommended.

Want to see more?  Check it out on Amazon: The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee.

Reviewed from a library copy. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 American Library Association Youth Media Awards

Here are the award winner announced this morning!
(I think I got them all.  If you see any errors, please let me know!)

Newbery Honors:

Dark Emporer and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by
Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm

Newbery Medal Winner:

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Caldecott Honors:
Dave the Potter illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill
Interrupting Chicken written & illustrated by David Ezra Stein

Caldecott Medal Winner:

A Sick Day for Amos McGee illustrated by Erin Stead, written by Philip Christian Stead

Printz Honors:
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick
Nothing by Janne Teller

Printz Medal Winner:
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor:

Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow: the story of a young Jimi Hendrix illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, written by Gary Golio

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Medal:
Dave the Potter illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill

Coretta Scott King Author Honor:
Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Yummy: the last days of Southside Shorty by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DeBurke

Coretta Scott King Author Medal Winner:
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamiliton Practitioner Award for Lifetime Achievement:
Henrieta Mays Smith from the University of Florida

John Steptoe Award for New Talent:
Author Award: Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon
Illustrator Award: Seeds of Change illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler, written by Jen Cullerton Johnson

Geisel Honors:
Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin
We Are in a Book by Mo Willems

Geisel Medal Winner:
Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award

Peter Sis

Alex Awards:
The Reapers Are Angels by Alden Bell
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant
The Radleys by Matt Haig
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray
The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Didn't Have to by DC Pierson

Batcheldor Honors:
Departure Time by Truus Matti
Nothing by Janne Teller

Batcheldor Medal Winner:

A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux

Belpre Illustrator Honors:

Fiesta Babies illustrated by Amy Cordova written by Carmen Tafolla
Me Frida illustrated by David Diaz, written by Amy Novesky
Dear Primo: a letter to my cousin by Duncan Tonatiuh

Belpre Illustrator Award:

Grandma's Gift by Eric Valesquez

Belpre Author Honors:

Ole!  Flamenco by George Ancona
The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba by Margarita Engle
90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

Belpre Author Award:
The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sis

Carnegie Medal:
The Curious Garden

Margaret A. Edwards Award:
Sir Terry Pratchett

William C. Morris Finalists:
Hush by Eishes Chayil
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber

William C. Morris Winner:

Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston

Odyssey Honor:
Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green

Odyssey Medal Winner:
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

Schneider Awards:
Children--The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Lynne Avril
Middle-- After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
Young Adult-- Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John

Sibert Honors:
Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring by Jan Greenburg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca
Lafayette and the American Revolution by Russell Freedman

Sibert Medal Winner:
Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot by Sy Montgomery, illustrated by Nic Bishop

YALSA Award of Excellence Finalist:
Janice Joplin: Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel
They Called Themselves the KKK: the birth of an American terrorist group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
The Spies of Mississippi: the true story of a spy agency that tried to destroy the civil rights movement by Rick Bowers
The Dark Game: True Spy Stories by Paul B. Janeczko
Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions and Debates by Jill Rubalcaba and Peter Robertshaw

YALSA Award of Excellence Winner: 

 Janice Joplin: Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel

Stonewall Award
Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green
Freaks and Revelations by David Willis Hurwin
Love Drugged by James Klise
The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award
Tomie DePaola

ALA Youth Media Awards 2011

Snow Day, snow day!


I was kind of sad about not being able to watch the live feed of the 2011 ALA Youth Media Awards this year because I would have a class in the library (my very first!), but we got 3-1/2" of snow yesterday.  So, no school and I get to watch the announcement! 

It's always an exciting morning for me because I like to see if I did a good job with my collection development (when I was at the public library) and we have the books in our library already.  If we don't, we've got to get those ordered!'s who I hope wins...
Caldecott--Jon Muth for City Dog, Country Frog
Newbery--One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia....though Mockingird by Kathryn Erskine will be in the running too
Geisert--We Are in a Book by Mo Willems

The rest I'm afraid I don't have enough knowledge to make a good guess.  So I'll just wait and see what happens! 

You can watch live by clicking here:  There will be lots of flurry on Twitter and I'm sure facebook will have lots of action too.  I'll post back after the announcements are made the winners and my thoughts!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Bedtime for Bear by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

It's a sleepover for Mouse and Bear, and that surely means an interesting night for this unlikely duo.

What I Thought: 
I'm a fan of Mouse and Bear and thought this book was another great installment about these characters. 

Bear requires complete silence when he sleeps and Mouse disturbs his sleep, Bear gets frustrated.  But in the middle of the night when Bear hears noises, it's Mouse who calms his fears.  A sweet, fun story!


Want to see more?  Check it out on Amazon: A Bedtime for Bear by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Ch-ch-changes in 2011

Life has taken quite a turn lately!

First...I have finally graduated with a M.S. in Information Sciences.  I'm proud to add this to my M.A. in Education, and I have dubbed them "the twins." 

It's not a great picture, but you can see it's real!  

Next, I made the difficult decision to leave my beloved position at the public library and accepted a position with a local elementary school as their school library media specialist.  The public library has had a lot of drama going on all that I have absolutely no control over, and when the school position came up I decided to apply.  When that job came through, I decided it was time to jump ship.  It was a hard decision and caused a lot of sleepless nights and so many tears!  I'm usually not much of a crier but I bawled a lot making this decision. 

Now that the decision is made, I am super excited about my new position.  It is going to be different in many ways, but the root is the same: to encourage kids and families to fall in love with books and reading! 

I'm looking forward to an exciting 2011! 

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Wrapping up 2010

2010 is over? 

But, but...I didn't meet my reading goal! 

(Photo Credit:

You know what?  That is okay.  I knew last January it would be a long shot and in August I knew there was NO WAY that I would reach my goal.  I did read 55 wonderful books. 

1. Gooney Bird and the Room Mother by Lois Lowry
2. The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang
3. Where the Mountain Meets the Mood by Grace Lin
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
6. Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Plum Fantastic by Whoopi Goldberg
7.  The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin (ARC)
8.  Slob by Ellen Potter
9.  The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O'Connor
10. Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford
11. Smile by Raina Telgemeier
12. Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
13. Oggie Cooder by Sara Weeks
14. Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
15.  The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
16.  Band Geeked Out by Josie Bloss
17.  Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan 
18.  Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
19.  God's Promises for Boys by Jack Countryman and Amy Parker
20.  A Brand-New Me! by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
21.  Lawn Boy Returns by Gary Paulsen
22.  Pictures of Hollis Wood by Patricia Reilly Giff
23.  The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
24.  Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
25.  Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell 
26.  Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (again!)  See my review here from when I read it in 2008. 
27.  Lincoln and His Boys by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by P.J. Lynch
28.  Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (again). See my review here from when I read it in 2008
29.  The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan 
30.  Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
31.  Willow Run by Patricia Reilly Giff

32. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
33.  Clementine, Friend of the Week by Sara Pennypacker
34.  House Rules by Jodi Picoult
35.  Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
36.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
37.  Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
38.  The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (again)
39.  Heaven by Angela Johnson
40.  Sweet, Hereafter by Angela Johnson
41.  Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half by Steve and Annette Economides
42.  The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
43.  If I Stay by Gayle Forman
44.  84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
45.  Oogy: The only dog a family could love by Larry Levin
46.  Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes
47. Bobby the Brave (Sometimes) by Lisa Yee
48.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney 
49.  One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
50.  Two Times the Fun by Beverly Cleary
51.  Crunch by Leslie Connor
52.  Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo, Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile
53.  Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Shane Prigmore
54.  Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes
55.   The Memory Bank by Carolyn Coman and Rob Shepperson

Hey, I'm proud!  Not bad for a girl finishing up a graduate degree and putting together her first home, right?  Right!

I am trying again in 2011! 

However, I've made a more realistic goal of 75 books.  You can check out my goals and keep up with my progress here  or by clicking the "Watch Me Read--2011" tab at the top of the page. 

So in 2011, let's all read a good book.  I'm excited!