April 23, 2010

Check it out!

Check out the following books available at ISE Library.

Maybe a Bear Ate It! by Robie Harris
At bedtime, a young "boy" who cannot find his favorite book imagines the various creatures that might have taken it from him.
Booklist starred (December 15, 2007 (Vol. 104, No. 8))

Preschool-Grade 2. The story is familiar: a child’s precious possession is lost, causing all kinds of angst. In this version, the art is the story, with just a few well-chosen words to emphasize or clarify what’s happening in the pictures. A whiskered critter (possibly a kitty) clad in striped pajamas (even his ears and tail are covered) is ready for bed. He climbs among his blankets with his book and his stuffed toys, which include a bat, a shark, and a bear. He opens his book and reads, a look of total rapture on his face. But in the midst of a yawn, the book disappears. Chewing on the corner of his blankie, he mourns its loss. Has it been stolen by a bat? Swallowed by a shark? Eaten by a bear? What really happened, as children will discover, is not nearly as exotic. Plain white backgrounds allow Emberley, who obviously knows how toddlers move and react, to concentrate closely on his character, whose every beautifully calibrated movement and feeling blasts out across the page. The picture of the kitty gleefully skipping across an empty white expanse with found book in hand is priceless. Even adults will be hard pressed not to smile. Pair with Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny books.

Lower School
My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco
After losing running, climbing, throwing, and burping competitions to her obnoxious older brother, a young girl makes a wish on a falling star.
Booklist (Vol. 91, No. 2 (September 15, 1994))

Ages 5-8. Polacco's story of her childhood rivalry with her brother Richard harks back to growing up with grandparents in Union City, Michigan, and catches competition at gut level. Her grandmother, Bubbie, whom readers will recognize from other Polacco books, doesn't seem to know how rotten Richard is. Polacco conveys the passionate intensity of conflict--trying to pick more berries, eat more rhubarb, and stay on the merry-go-round longer--as well as the abiding love beneath it. The figures of the children are intense and full of motion, and the facial expressions are beautifully accomplished. Surrounding it all are Babushka-clad Bubbie's comforting love and warm hugs.

Middle School
The Invention of Hugo Cabaret by Brian Selznick
When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized.
Horn Book starred (September, 2007)

Over a sequence of twenty-one double-page wordless, illustrated spreads, a story begins. The tale that follows is a lively one, involving the dogged Hugo, his ally Isabelle, an automaton that can draw pictures, and a stage magician turned filmmaker. The interplay between the illustrations and text is complete genius, and themes of secrets, dreams, and invention play lightly but resonantly throughout.

Upper School
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a youn g German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.
Kirkus Review starred (January 15, 2006)

When Death tells a story, you pay attention. Liesel Meminger is a young girl growing up outside of Munich in Nazi Germany, and Death tells her story as "an attempt-a flying jump of an attempt-to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it." When her foster father helps her learn to read and she discovers the power of words, Liesel begins stealing books from Nazi book burnings and the mayor's wife's library. As she becomes a better reader, she becomes a writer, writing a book about her life in such a miserable time. Liesel's experiences move Death to say, "I am haunted by humans." How could the human race be "so ugly and so glorious" at the same time? This big, expansive novel is a leisurely working out of fate, of seemingly chance encounters and events that ultimately touch, like dominoes as they collide. The writing is elegant, philosophical and moving. Even at its length, it's a work to read slowly and savor. Beautiful and important.

1 comment:

  1. Kadri, thank you for sharing some of the gems of our library collection.

    The third graders and I read "My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother" by Patricia Polacco as part of a unit on writing memoirs. It was a great mentor text for this kind of writing, one that the kids were able to relate to and laugh at.

    My husband and I read aloud "The Invention of Hugo Cabaret" by Brian Selznick, and we enjoyed the clever combination of drawings and text. I have thought about sharing this with the third graders during our unit on inventions, but have held off because I think the story may be a bit complex. Any thoughts?

    I also enjoyed reading "The Book Thief," which is filled with some of the most interesting language. The imagery and events in the book are moving, and at times difficult to read, but there are so many good topics for discussion here.

    Again, thank you Kadri, for highlighting the books in our collection. I can't wait to discover more from future posts.