Book reviewer extraordinaire!

Archive for April, 2013

The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy

English: Detail of a vintage patchwork quilt s...

English: Detail of a vintage patchwork quilt shows dye rot in one of the fabrics. Over time, heavy metals in the dark colored dye used for the pattern have caused the fabric to disintegrate, leaving the batting showing through. Taken at the Pajaro Valley Quilt Association show at the Santa Cruz county fairgrounds in Watsonville, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Woman with a Patchwork Quilt, Works Progress A...

Woman with a Patchwork Quilt, Works Progress Administration Craft Project, 1935 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Patchwork quilt

Patchwork quilt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grandma is making a patchwork quilt from bits and pieces of fabric snipped from discarded old clothing and leftover material from sewn special occasion items. Tanya is curious as to what Grandma is doing and Mama just sees a mess. When Grandma becomes ill, Tanya takes over. She understands why Grandma makes the quilt from bits and pieces of her family‘s clothing. Mama and Tanya’s brothers help out a bit as they see how hard she works to complete the quilt for Grandma. The surprise comes at the end when Tanya realizes something is missing from the patchwork quilt and when the quilt is finally finished.

Lovingly written about the concept of family and how it used to be recorded, “in the olden days” before everyone could read and write. Also about the necessity of creating something from discarded materials, letting nothing go to waste, and reusing items to save money and provide for the family. Memories are made from loving hands.

My students listened to this story and had great questions. I found that they still understand the concept of creating an heirloom and putting pieces of themselves into a family history. I adore books such as these because my students need to understand that just because something CAN be bought doesn’t mean it SHOULD be bought.


I’m Not Bobby! by Jules Feifer

Cover of "I'm Not Bobby"

Cover of I’m Not Bobby

Bobby is a naughty little boy. He does not answer when being called. Instead, Bobby uses his imagination to hide from his family and runs away to keep from being found. He imagines himself a lion, an astronaut, anything to keep from having to be “Bobby.”

My students enjoyed the repetition in the sibling calling “BOBBY!” and Bobby’s response “I’m NOT Bobby!” I did not feel it was a moral tale as the boy was not doing what he should but the students knew he was “gonna’ be in trouble” when he finally went home. Good story to teach use of imagination!

Overall; however, I did not care for the book because of Bobby’s disrespectful behavior. I know I am supposed to enjoy the imaginative behavior of the child but this made me uncomfortable because we have an issue in education today where students lack respect for each other and for adults. It is one of our biggest problems in education! I don’t want students thinking it is okay to behave this way. So, I use it as a “don’t do” book more than teaching imagination when it comes to my students. When we get past the respect issue and more on to use of imagination, I bring it back out!


David’s Drawings by Cathryn Falwell

** spoiler alert **


David likes to draw. He likes to draw what he sees. On the way to school, David sees a tree and finds it beautiful. When he gets to school, he draws what he sees. His classmates decide the drawing needs more and David allows them to add their own touches. He titles the piece “Our Class Picture” and hangs it on the bulletin board. On the way home, he sees the tree again. At home he draws the tree and his sister says it needs ‘something.’

I loved this book because of its simple messages. It appears David is quiet and reflective about his drawing but open to others’ interpretation. At home, his interpretation is perfect.

The Wild, Wild West by Geronimo Stilton

Geronimo Stilton, fraidy-mouse extraordinaire, is traveling to the Wild West! Geronimo is the editor of the local newspaper. He is a calm mouse. He is a mouse who enjoys sitting at home, listening to classical music and drinking a nice cup of hot cheddar cheese tea.

Geronimo learns to rope and ride in the Wild West and he stands up to the town bullies. In the end … well you have to read the book to find that out.

I enjoyed reading this Geronimo Stilton book as it addressed Native American tribes to some extent, delivered great vocabulary regarding horses, and actually threw in a little twist at the end. Stilton fans will love reading this book.

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