Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (11.10.14)

Every Monday bloggers all over the web participate in an effort to share books we have read and what we are excited about digging into. Thanks to Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee & Ricki at Unleashing Readers for hosting us all!

What I Read this Week (and last):

Life on Mars, by Jennifer Brown
(Bloomsbury USA Childrens, August 4, 2014)
     Arty and his family have always been space people. The stars have guided them in everything from shared experiences to naming their children. Arty's whole identity is rooted in his love for space and an experiment to communicate with alien life on Mars. Which is why it is such a blow to his world when his father looses his job at the observatory and finds a new Las Vegas, the city of lights. In the time Arty has before the move, he pursues his mission and gets stuck staying with the creepy man next door, who turns out to be more meets the eye.
     Readers will appreciate the worries and fears of Arty, a well-framed middle child with a strong passion for science and only two really close friends with whom he shares his time. The deeper questions that come from changing dynamics in his long-time friendships, an unexpected friendship with his ailing neighbor, and his confusion over attending to his passion versus his love and commitment to his family provide student readers plenty of opportunities for reflection and discussion.

The Terrible Two, by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
(Amulet, January 13, 2015, ARC courtesy of NetGalley)
     When Miles Murphy prepares to attend his new school as the new student, he decides to be known to his classmates as the prankster. Yet, from the moment of his arrival, Miles discovers and is reminded that there is already a prankster in his new school. When his straight-laced new student buddy, Niles, reveals himself as the first prankster, Miles declines the offer to join forces, initiating a prank war. When at last Miles rethinks his decision, the two unite to execute what might be the biggest and best prank in school history.
     The humor and quirky feel of this book and it's characters are just exactly the flavor that will be appealing to intermediate readers. For the students who try to cause trouble to the students who WISH they could cause trouble, the antics of Miles and Niles will keep them turning pages, chuckling to themselves all the way. 

All the Answers, by Kate Messner
(Bloomsbury USA Childrens, January 27, 2015, ARC Courtesy of NetGalley)
     The publisher has requested that reviews of this book only be posted in another month, but I couldn't keep myself from reading. You won't either. Don't hesitate to pre-order.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce, illustrated by Joe Bluhm
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012)
     Mr. Morris Lessmore's story takes an unexpected turn, and he finds his way again with the help of books. In caring for the books in the library, he discovers the magic that books can take him anywhere. All the while, Mr. Lessmore pens his own story daily, and when he ages and must say goodbye, the treasure of his own story is left behind for a new reader to discover.
     William Joyce and Joe Bluhm have together created a gentle gem that invites readers into a world representative of what it means to be in relationship with books. Though the story can stand on it's own, there is so much symbolic meaning that readers-kids and adults alike-cannot help but walk away feeling a connection to this book.

Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads, by Bob Shea, illustrated by Lane Smith
(Roaring Brook Press, October 7, 2014)
     When the Toads come to town, they wreak havoc. Everything would be in danger, if not for Kid Sheriff Ryan, who arrives upon his tortoise. With his deep knowledge of dinosaurs and their skills for robbing banks and stagecoaches, he outsmarts the Toads and rids the town of their trouble. 
     Kids are going to find this book wonderfully amusing as they consider each of Kid Sheriff's moves in attributing the trouble to dinosaurs. Bob Shea's writing carries a heavy western dialect that will have any reader bringing voice and character to their read of this book.

Going Places, by Paul A. Reynolds, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, March 18, 2014)
     The wait is over, and "Going Places" kits are distributed to all the students in Raphael's class. Eager to win the race, he dutifully sets to making his car according to the directions in the kit. When he curiously checks out his classmate Maya's progress, she sparks in him the encouragement to think more creatively about his "Going Places" vehicle for the race. What the two create together far surpasses what their classmates have made by following the directions.
     In typical Reynolds' fashion, Peter and Paul Reynolds have teamed up to bring us another beautiful masterpiece that encourages and celebrates the spirit of uniqueness, individuality, and creativity. 

Imani's Moon, by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Hazel Mitchell
(Mackinac Island Press, October 14, 2014)
     This beautiful picture book will be featured here on my blog tomorrow (and will host a giveaway, too!), so I won't say much more now. Come back tomorrow for a special feature!

See more about Imani's Moon in my Author/Illustrator post, including how you could win this book!

What I am Currently Reading:
Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor , by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Brian Biggs
(Harry N. Abrams, August 19, 2014)

What I am Reading Next:
All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven
I Survived True Stories: Five Epic Disasters, by Lauren Tarshis
How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel, by Jess Keating


  1. You had a wonderful week of reading! I'm looking forward to sharing Going Places with my students this week. (We're a week behind on Global Read Aloud!) The Terrible Two sounds like one I must get--thanks for the review.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I really liked The Terrible Two. I wondered to myself, more than once, about the process these guys have for writing. It's intelligent and playful writing, all at once.

  2. We are now very curious about All the Answers. Can't wait for it to be published.

    1. With good reason. I'm having trouble picking something else up!

  3. What a list of books! I've been heartbroken that a teacher borrowed The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, and it has gone missing. Unfortunately, he was the first reader. I'm certain the Kate Messner book is a delight as everything else she writes is.

  4. I absolutely agree, Cheriee. I, too, love all of Kate Messner's work. She has many titles due out in the next few months, and I'm looking forward to all. I appreciate the variety in her work!

    I'm sorry to hear Mr. Morris Lessmore has walked away. But, don't you think that is what he would have wanted for his book? I always have mixed feelings when my favorites go "missing."

    Thanks for visiting. Happy reading!

  5. Oh wow, Imani's Moon looks gorgeous indeed. I haven't read anything by Kate Messner yet, but I've been hearing great things about her writing. I loved Fantastic Flying Books - a librarian friend of mine has been raving about the app that comes along with the book - you may want to check that out as well. :)