Book reviewer extraordinaire!

Posts tagged ‘Book Challenge’

Another Challenge

I love my students. I really do. You would think they would learn; however, not to challenge me to a reading competition. Ms. Jones’ fourth grade class has challenged me to read and take AR quizzes on the Carole Marsh Mysteries: Real Kids, Real Places Series (the US cities set), which currently encompasses forty books. We do not have that many in our library at school but we have a great many of them; twenty three in all. If this was the school beginning instead of ending they might have a chance, but as it stands … I am clearly going to kick some fourth grade bum.

Oh, the kicker is, after they challenged me I let them know they only had until the 30th of the month to get it done as all books are due back in the library at that time. I am on my third book … if I don’t do anything else I will finish the remaining three I brought home tonight. Fortunately, I do have a life that consists of a family, a home, a garden, and a few other priorities!

I have read so far:
The Mystery at Kill Devil Hills
The Mystery on the Mighty Mississippi
The Ghost of the Grand Canyon (reading now)

So, why do I do it? My students need a taste of other cultures. They need an understanding of US history outside of the “four walls” of their small community. This is why I like these books. Students get to learn a little about other places. I might challenge another group to read the other series that focuses on places around the world.

The kids love Geronimo Stilton so maybe these will encourage them to learn about what lies beyond their minute boarders.

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A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Author Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, per...

Author Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, personally autographing books in the A Series of Unfortunate Events series at an event promoting the books sponsored by the South San Francisco Public Library in South San Francisco, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a fan of this series by Scholastic. When it came out, I bought the first book, A Bad Beginning, at the Scholastic Book Fair to see if it was appropriate for my daughter to read. It was, but I did not care for it at all. Too negative. I found no quirky humor to it and I chose not to read any more. My daughter; however, loved the first one and proceeded to read the entire series, as did my students! Sometimes, you just can’t tell what kids will like!

Well, jump nearly ten years later and I have been challenged to read the entire series before my student finishes them. He is way ahead of me. I am struggling to read them because I do not like the style of book. A couple of my coworkers (classroom teachers and teaching assistants) have gotten in on the challenge as well. They are all ahead of me. Shameful! I am the library teacher.

You see, the main characters are these three kids (Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire) who, in the first book, become orphans as a fire burns down their home and their parents inside. They are then given to a distant relative to be cared for, but instead, he plots to marry the oldest child, Violet, and then kill off the children. To be fair it is written in such a manner that it sounds worse the way in which I wrote it than the way the author, Lemony Snicket, writes. Violet is a mechanical genius, Klaus is a reader of anything and everything, and the baby Sunny does not speak but has four incredibly sharp teeth she uses to bite through a number of hard items. He does write well, using big words and offering definitions, of which I am a fan. Just not the negativity behind it, but what do I know, many of my students love the series!

Just so you know, the children are “saved” from the relative, Count Olaf, but it does not end with the “happily ever after” of most kids books.

Book 2, The Reptile Room, which I just finished, places the children in a new home with “Uncle Monty” who is an herpetologist. A snake scientist, as if you didn’t know. Uncle Monty is awesome and the children are so happy they finally breathe a sigh of relief. They should have known better.There is NO happily ever after in this series. Whatever begins well, does not end well.

These are not my cup of tea but I cannot let this student win, we have a ten-dollar bet going on here! Yep, he bet me ten bucks he could read all 14 books in the series before I could. He is winning. You see, I have a life, a second job, a book study, a husband, family obligations, etc. Yeah, excuses, legitimate ones, but still. So, I must stop blogging and start reading so I can whip his skinny behind and win my 10-bucks!!

UPDATE: 10/2/2013

Book 3, The Wide Window. Same premise. The orphaned children are delivered to a new “relative” to be cared for and Count Olaf shows up to ruin the not-so-happily-ever-after. A new twist is the relative in question is afraid of her own shadow and instead of protecting the children she runs off to hide and save her own skin. Count Olaf is thwarted by the children and the indomitable Mr. Poe, her parent’s attorney and executor of the estate.

Still not sold on the series.

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