Monday, January 21, 2013

What Are You Reading?

So I've made some progress with my 2013 Book Challenge. I'm on book #17. I know that some TL/SLMS have been posting on Mondays what they've been reading, so I thought I'd join in.

Here are just a few of the books I've read so far this year:

The Universe of Fair by Leslie Bulion

This is a book that I requested and downloaded from NetGalleyI really enjoyed this book. It took me back to my childhood days of getting a day off for the fair. I could almost taste the corn on the cob and pronto pups as I read the description of how Miller, his best friend Lewis, and the "Pest Pack" made up of Miller's six year old sister and her two neighbor friends made their rounds at the local fair. I loved that the main character was a bit of a Science geek, but still very much an eleven year old boy who just wants to have fun with his best bud. It's a tale of adenture, mystery, and even of growing up. In short, it was definitely a good read.  I know some 3rd-5th graders who would love to read this book.

Lulu and the Dog from the Sea by Hilary McKay

This was another download from NetGalley.  I wasn't very impressed with the writing of this book. It seemed to jump around a lot in voice which made it difficult to follow. And for this to be an easy chapter book, being difficult to follow couldn't be a good thing for young readers. I think the idea of the story is cute...finding a stray dog while on vacation, a dog who ends up "saving" one of the characters and thereby wins its way into the family's heart...pure gold.  But the execution needs work.  Having said that, I still think that my 2nd and 3rd graders would enjoy this book and would want to read more in the series so I would invest some money into a few books in this series.  Lulu seems like a fun character and her and her sister's adventures would make for a fun read.                 

Dreamland by Alyson Noel

I was very excited to read the next book in the Riley Bloom series and couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. I was a little disappointed in the storyline this time, although I understood that in order to get the bigger picture of what the "Here and Now" looks like and how it operates, it was necessary to have Riley take this adventure. It was a bit graphic at times and much less nicer than the beautiful picture that has been painted of the "Here and Now" in the first two books, but I guess that everything good must have an opposite evil.  I just hope that the next book has Riley traveling to earth to visit her sister or other lost souls again. That's the storyline that hooked me and pulled me into this series.  Even though I was a bit disappointed in this book, I am still looking forward to reading the next book in the this series, Whisper.  

How to Treat a Book by Amanda St. John

Loved this book! I will definitely be using it for Media Center orientation lessons with Kindergarten and first grades as well as a refresher for 2nd grade. It covered everything from how to take a book off the shelf, to using bookmarks, to keeping your books safe when you aren't reading them, and what will happen if you don't. Cute and informative.

Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man by Kumar Sathy

This again, was a book I was able to download through NetGalley.  First, let me say, that I love the idea of a fun book that teaches test taking skills based on national standards, but I found this book incredibly hard to follow. The storyline seemed to jump around a lot and I didn't care too much for the gross humor. There seemed to be a lot of stories within the story that just didn't make the story flow very well.  I am sure it is meant to capture the attention of young readers, but as a teacher, I would not use this book to teach with because of the "ick" factor. I did like the "silly standardized test questions" at the end of each chapter and think those could be helpful, but don't think that all the slime, mold, and just plain grossness is needed in this story. The fact that a chicken nugget is talking is enough to get the attention of a young reader.  I also think that having the standards listed in parts of the story is distracting to the reader. I would suggest putting those in a teacher's copy and leave them out in a student's or reader's copy of the book. It takes away from the flow of the story. Overall, I like the idea behind Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man, but I think it needs some work.  I will be interested in seeing if some of the issues I found distracting are addressed in the next book.

So what about you?  Have you rad any good books lately?

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

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