Once Upon a Story
September 1, 2014

 

For me:

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

E. Lockhart

I am relatively new to the Lockhart scene, but now am working my way through her works. She writes with such clear voice, and startling realism. It would be nice if everything in life were wrapped up neat and pretty. But it’s not, and Lockhart clearly recognizes this.

The Meaning of Maggie

Megan Jean Sovern

Only a few chapters in. Again, a novel about dealing with the not so pleasant life. This time a young girl’s experience with her father’s illness, which will forever change her family.

For the kiddos:

 

Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance

by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Continuing our journey through the Ivy + Bean books with my 5yo. This one regarding dance, commitment, running away, and a giant squid was a hit. Bonus points for the cleverly woven From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler references.

 

 Chu’s First Day of School 

by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex

I’m so glad that Chu is back just in time to accompany my child to her first day of kindergarten (!!). This book, as title suggests, addresses a child’s common fears about starting school, but still features Chu doing what Chu does best. And if you don’t know what that is… I’m not going to be the one to ruin it for you. But my 5yo remembered 🙂

Flora and the Penguin

by Molly Idle

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and hear Molly speak at National Book Festival this past weekend. She is just as beautiful, inside and out, as her books. My daughter, already a Flora fan from the first book, is thrilled with the signed copy I brought home for her. We’ve read it several times already, and she keeps it at the end of her bed to read after lights-out. No better endorsement than that!

Happy Monday, Friends!

 

 

July 14, 2014

 

For me:

The Night Gardener

Jonathan Auxier

Perfectly chilling, with an classic storytelling feel. Irish immigrant children, an old house, a family literally wasting into nothingness. I have so much more to say about this book, and if I get the chance, I will. For now, if you’re the type who likes something dark and twisty, this is wonderfully written.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Khaled Hosseini

What?! An adult novel? Why yes, I do sneak one of those in every once in awhile. Actually, this is the third time I’ve started this book and I’ve always had to put it aside for some other commitment. I’m finally sinking into it, and it’s fantastic, as are Hosseini’s previous novels. So many characters coming together in the most unexpected of ways.

For the kiddos:

In addition to Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine series, which we are reading our way through, my 5yo has recently declared that she wants to start reading books all by herself. Which is great. Except that we’ve been reading chapter books aloud for months, and so she’s developed a taste for stories with slightly more complex plot structure. ‘Hop on Pop’ just isn’t cutting it.

So on an excursion to our local indie bookstore Hooray for Books! I searched around and came across this series from Penguin Books for emergent readers.

Bake, Mice, Bake!

We picked up Bake, Mice, Bake and a Ladybug Girl text, both at the upper end of Level 1.  She’s not quite reading them independently, but I was surprised how many words she did know, and how quickly she picked up on words she didn’t after just a few repetitions. It won’t take long before she is reading them independently.

AND BOY IS SHE PROUD OF HERSELF!

A new milestone is on the horizon.

 

Happy Monday, Friends!

June 23, 2014

Time for our weekly roundup! And we’ve been exploring a mix of old and new this week.

We took a mini vacation, a long weekend at the beach. And while the kiddos aren’t quite old enough for me to read on the beach (someday!), the fact that we’re all sharing a hotel room means that “bedtime” comes early for the adults. And that I got some reading time of my own in this week.

For me:

Attachments

Rainbow Rowell

I first fell into Rowell’s writing with Eleanor and Park, which I’m still chewing on. I’m now going back and reading what I missed. While lighter in tone than E&PAttachments made me smile and was the perfect vacation read.

For the kiddos:

Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Wild Chicken

Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Wild Chicken

Christine Pakkola, illustrated by Paul Hoppe

I recently picked up this ARC (book is slated to release September 2014) because I thought it might be a good one to read with my 5yo. We’re only a few chapters in, but so far it’s a winner. We’ve been working our way through the Clementine series, knowing that it will eventually come to an end, so I’m excited to find this series from Boyds Mill Press that has a similar feel.  Spunky female lead, loving, but appropriately unusual family, real, solid friendships. This is only the second book in the series, I’m hoping there will be more.

The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm

by Paul Bright, illustrated by Jane Chapman

This reminds me of Karma Wilson’s Bear books (same illustrator), but not in verse. Cute bedtime story, fairly predictable ending, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Elephants Cannot Dance

by Mo Willems

The 5yo has long since been a Mo Willems fan, especially Elephant and Piggie. And now the little one, at 2.5, is catching on to the fun. I love that these are books that both will sit and giggle to together. I think Elephant and Piggie may be our first real family storytime series.

 

Happy Monday, Friends!

June 2, 2014

It’s June! It’s warm! We can go outside!

Which after this last never-ending winter, we’re doing.  A lot.

Also, Virginia humidity is coming.

So, outside it is.

And squeezing in a few books, too.

WWere Liars

E. Lockhart

I’ve been having some good discussions about this book!  Have you read it? What did you think? (But NO SPOILERS!)

The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw

Christopher Healy, illustrated by Todd Harris

The last in this trilogy that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

Clementine: Friend of the Week

by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee

The 5yo and I have been reading our way through this series. She loves the quirky Clementine. I’ve even caught my husband listening in and laughing out loud a few times.

Beezus and Ramona

by Beverly Cleary, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

I bought this box set at Christmastime. The 5yo and I read the first book, but it might be a little old for her yet. Didn’t quite capture her interest, though she didn’t complain, either. I think we’ll hold off on reading the others for a bit.

The Change Your Name Store

by Leanne Shirtliffe, illustrated by Tina Kugler

Who hasn’t wanted to do this, at some point? I have a whole post about this book, AND a copy signed by illustrator Tina to give away later this week!

Oh, and speaking of giveaways:

Today’s the last day to enter to win all THREE Franklin School Friends chapter books by Claudia Mills.

Click the picture below to be redirected to the giveaway!

Happy Monday, Friends!

March 31, 2014

Happy Monday!

What better way to get things moving on the new site than with a weekly roundup?

Here’s what new in our rotation this week:

Blanket & Bear, A Remarkable Pair

Blanket and Bear, A Remarkable Pair

by L.J.R Kelly, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka

It was the illustrations that drew me to this book, and the inside is just as beautiful as the cover. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as in love with the ending. So I’ll just gaze fondly at the pictures until it’s time to return it to the library.

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Not Last Night, But the Night Before

by Colin McNaughton, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

Nursery rhymes have always been a hit with my oldest, and she loved the cameo appearances of all her favorite characters in this rhyming story.

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The Invisible Boy

by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton

This is one of those books that’s beautiful in every detail.  We borrowed it, but I’ll be adding it to my library.  Pay special attention to the use of color to complement the emotion of the text. Amazingly done.

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The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark

by Deborah Diesen, pictures by Dan Hanna

The opportunity for shared chanting is great in these books.  I’m not sure my daughter is fully captivated by the story, but she loves being able to “read” along.  They always remind me a little of the Rainbow Fish books.

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Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake

by Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

More on this book later this week, so I won’t say anything for now 🙂

The next two are series I’m starting with my oldest (who will be 5 in two weeks) :

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Clementine

by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee

I borrowed the first book in the series.  She liked it so much that she couldn’t wait for me to go back to the library to get the next one, so we’re now reading the second-to-last book because we already owned it and it was instantly accessible.

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Ivy and Bean

by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

A little bit of naughty, a little bit of nice, all rolled up into one best friends package.  I think my little reader sees a little of herself in both Ivy AND Bean.

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When You Reach Me

by Rebecca Stead

This MG wasn’t one I read with the kiddos, but on my own on the recommendation of several trusted writer friends. I finished in about 3 days, only because I couldn’t stay up all night to read it straight through. The following morning, I hopped on Twitter and sent this message out:

And to be honest, that’s STILL all I’ve got. Just read it.  And then think about it. And then get back to me and see if you can articulate better than I can.

March 10, 2014

Happy Monday!

We seem to be at that stage where both my kiddos are fully enthralled with their own favorite series and characters.  Check out our reading this week:

Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy's Tres Charming Chapter Book Box Set

Nancy Clancy series

by Jane O’ Connor, illustrated by illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

My daughter got the above box set for Christmas this year.  She has been Fancy Nancy obsessed for awhile, to the extent that we’re planning a Fancy Nancy themed 5th birthday party for next month. We had pretty  much exhausted all the Fancy Nancy picture books, and she was ready for something a little more involved.  Nancy Clancy is the chapter book version, and features a slightly older version of the “fabulous” character (2nd grade, I think?).  We just finished the third book last night and she’s already begging for more. I think there’s only one more, so Jane O’ Connor, please get writing! 😉 In the meantime, if anybody has any suggestions for something similar, please send them my way!

 

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Little series

by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace

This series was also a Christmas gift, for my 2yo.  BY FAR his favorite book in the set is Little Oink. There are nightly refrains of, “Read book about pig! Read book about PIG!” We’ve read the other two as well, but something about that pig book….

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Sheep in a Jeep

by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margot Apple

And then there’s this one. My children both now have this memorized (as do I).  In fact, last week my son (who is still not sleeping through the night thankyouverymuch) woke me up at 3 am with an excited, “UH OH! THE JEEP WON’T GO!” from his room.  So I’m glad, I suppose, that if he’s not sleeping through the night, he’s at least reading during his early morning playtime?  This book has to be in his bed each night. He won’t go to sleep without it there.

That’s all for me this week! I’m actually hoping to sneak off to the library alone tonight to do some browsing without having to worry about where each child is and whether or not the toddler is on a mission of destruction. Bliss!

Happy Monday, all!

February 3, 2014

Happy Monday!

This week has been reading and rereading the  CYBILS shortlist.  There are seven books on the list, and while I can’t share my favorites with you, I can certainly encourage you to read them all.  Winners will be announced on February 14th!

15953632If You Want to See A Whale

by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

16650266Count the Monkeys

by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell


17352907 The Bear’s Song

by Benjamin Chaud

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Sophie’s Squash

by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

17262290

Journey

by Aaron Becker

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Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

by Peter Brown

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Open This Little Book

by Jesse Klausmeier

 

How many of these have you read?  Any favorites amongst the group?

Happy Monday, friends!

<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=”http://www.teachmentortexts.com/search/label/IMWAYR#axzz2ZY9ewTAI”><img class=”aligncenter” style=”border: 0px none;” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-31S4x0H5Lzs/UcZ4hKabgOI/AAAAAAAAFeU/ovdom1uRi4c/s1600/IMWAYR.jpg” width=”300″ height=”282″ border=”0″ /> </a></p>
Happy Monday!

On January 1st, the<a href=”http://www.cybils.com/2014/01/the-2013-finalists.html” target=”_blank”> CYBILS shortlist was announced</a>.  Which means that this month, I’m busy reading, debating and ultimately selecting a winner in the picture book category with my fellow second round judges.  So this week’s reading has been centered around the shortlist titles.  And while I can’t tell you what I think of them, I can certainly share them with you!  Maybe you have a favorite?

Here’s what we’ve been reading this week:
<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15953632-if-you-want-to-see-a-whale?from_search=true”><img class=”aligncenter” alt=”15953632″ src=”https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1355111071l/15953632.jpg” width=”250″ height=”317″ /></a><strong>If You Want to See A Whale
</strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead</strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16650266-count-the-monkeys?from_search=true”><img class=”aligncenter” alt=”16650266″ src=”https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1360564793l/16650266.jpg” width=”250″ height=”250″ /></a><strong>Count the Monkeys
</strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell</strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>
<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17352907-the-bear-s-song?from_search=true”><img class=”aligncenter” alt=”17352907″ src=”https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1365398833l/17352907.jpg” width=”250″ height=”376″ /></a></strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>The Bear’s Song
</strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>by Benjamin Chaud
</strong></p>
I also read
<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17331434-the-year-of-billy-miller?from_search=true”><img class=”aligncenter” alt=”The Year of Billy Miller” src=”https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1372042428l/17331434.jpg” width=”250″ height=”365″ /></a></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>The Year of Billy Miller</strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>by Kevin Henkes</strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”>This is a quick, fast paced read that covers the year of second-grader Billy Miller.  Billy’s voice is so clear in the narrative, and something about him is so lovable, reading it as a parent makes me want to give him a giant bear hug.  Kids, meanwhile, will relate to his frustration with his sister, his desire to stay up all night, and his fretting over a school assignment that forces him to make a tough, personal choice.</p>
&nbsp;

That’s all for me this week!  Happy Monday, all!

January 13, 2014

Happy Monday!

On January 1st, the CYBILS shortlist was announced.  Which means that this month, I’m busy reading, debating and ultimately selecting a winner in the picture book category with my fellow second round judges.  So this week’s reading has been centered around the shortlist titles.  And while I can’t tell you what I think of them, I can certainly share them with you!  Maybe you have a favorite?

Here’s what we’ve been reading this week:

15953632If You Want to See A Whale

by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

16650266Count the Monkeys

by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell


17352907

The Bear’s Song

by Benjamin Chaud

I also read

The Year of Billy Miller

The Year of Billy Miller

by Kevin Henkes

This is a quick, fast paced read that covers the year of second-grader Billy Miller.  Billy’s voice is so clear in the narrative, and something about him is so lovable, reading it as a parent makes me want to give him a giant bear hug.  Kids, meanwhile, will relate to his frustration with his sister, his desire to stay up all night, and his fretting over a school assignment that forces him to make a tough, personal choice.

 

That’s all for me this week!  Happy Monday, all!

January 6, 2014

Happy Monday!  And Happy 2014!

Here’s what we’ve been reading this week:

15814465

Nugget & Fang: Friends Forever–or Snack Time?

by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Michael Slack

16045047

Penguin on Vacation

by Salina Yoon

17262289

Dinosaur Kisses

by David Ezra Stein

This is the most popular book in our house this week.  It demands many, many, DAILY readings, and now my kids are running around the house giving (WHOMP!) dinosaur kisses.  So far, all furniture (and children) have survived 🙂

 Once Upon a Memory

Once Upon A Memory

by Nina Laden, illustrated by Renata Liwska

This book just released at the beginning of December, which I’m hoping is why it has sort of slipped under the radar at this point.  I have to give it a little moment in the spotlight.  The text follows a distinct pattern:

Does a feather remember it once was… a bird?

Does a book remember it once was… a word?

There were several moments of discussion for us as we read (“How was a chair once a tree?”), but it was the illustrations that captured my visual heart.  Not only are they beautifully done, but pay attention because two-becomes-0ne in the end, both in text and visuals.  I don’t know whether this book will get more buzz or not, but I’m doing my part to encourage you to find and enjoy. It’s a quiet book, but I firmly believe those have their place on our bookshelves, too.

 

And finally, after the kids were in bed, I read

17910570

 Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

by Karen Foxlee

A more detailed review coming on this soon, but it’s a Snow Queen fantasy story you’ll want to keep an eye out for when it hits shelves at the end of the month.

Happy Monday, all!  Stay warm!

December 23, 2013

Happy Monday!

My kids are in full-on holiday crazy mode.

It’s noisy.

So between all of the craziness, I’m sharing with you a few of our holiday and winter reads and then I’m off to do that ONE MORE THING that actually turns into TWELVE MORE THINGS.

1343084My Penguin Osbert

by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Remember when I told you about last year’s Santa fail?  If you can relate to that post, you can relate to this book.  But also THE ILLUSTRATIONS.

756342Bear Stays Up for Christmas

by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

17261177 Big Snow

by Jonathan Bean

 1227446

Clear Moon, Snow Soon

by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Guy Porfirio

This one, written in verse, didn’t come trippingly off the tongue for me.  But my daughter didn’t seem to notice.  She’s asked for it several times.

 

552144Great Joy

by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

I think I might read anything that these two put out together.  Beautiful story, beautiful images.

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 by Amy Hest, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

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The Polar Express

by Chris Van Allsburg

And unrelated to either picture books, or holiday books, I finally got around to reading this:

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Those of you who have read it, this one is going to stick with my for awhile, isn’t it?  When I realized where the ending was going, I actually had to put it down for a few days because I just couldn’t do it.  And then I picked it up, and finished it, and I’m both heartbroken and awed.

That’s all from here on this rainy, almost-Chrismas Monday.  Have a wonderful week, friends!

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