Book reviewer extraordinaire!

Posts tagged ‘Teacher-librarian’

The Letter D

I have been reading books to my PreK and Kindergarten students. Big surprise. The authors all have last names that begin with the letter D. This week I read a great book to them called Sody Salleratus by Aubrey Davis.

I had no clue what sody salleratus was or meant, all I knew is the author’s last name began with a D and it looked cute. We actually learned that sody salleratus was also known as baking soda. This story is not really about baking soda. It is an Applachian Three Billy Goats Gruff. The Old Woman decides to bake biscuits and needs her sody salleratus. She sends Boy to the grocer to buy some, which he dutifully complies. On the way back home he crosses a bridge only to be accosted by a large grumpy bear. Once the bear eats Boy the story moves on. The Old Woman proceeds to send Girl, then Old Man, and then herself to find out what has taken them so long to return home. All are eaten by the bear. Oh, did I forget to mention that they had a squirrel living on the mantlepiece? Yep, and squirrel goes last to find Old Woman, Old Man, Girls and Boy only to discover the bear and his boasting at eating them all.

Squirrel ends up outsmarting the bear and … well, there is a happily ever after to this story that includes the biscuits, thanks to the sody salleratus, and a bear skin rug.

The kids love the repetitive story line and begin to “read” it with me. They love the roaring and growling of the bear. Sody Salleratus is a fun little tale great to share.

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What I Read To Students: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

by Eric Litwin, James & Kim Dean

At the beginning of the school year I read a variety of books to students in PK through Fourth Grade. I want to grab their attention and draw them into reading as quickly as I can and turn them into independent life-long readers.

I focus on Library Manners for my new students in PreKindergarten and Kindergarten to help them understand what it means to use a shared space and how we can use the small library well without being disruptive to others. However, there are times when we must be a little disruptive. 😀

The Book Fair is coming and we have been watching the video sent with the chairperson tool kit. My PK through 2nd grade students are loving Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons! I love the silliness of the book and how it implements math! Yeah, MATH!

My only issue with the book fair video is the singer of PtC and HFGB is the enunciation of the word buttons. I know, it may be picky but when teaching children to speak clearly, spell and read well, it is so important to enunciate. In the video, Pete is singing “My buttons, my buttons, my four groovy buttons” but it comes out like my buh-uns, ,y my buh-uns, my four groovy buh-uns. Yeah. I am going to be picky.

Dear James & Kim Dean,

PLEASE do not allow a great book and teaching tool to be degraded by poor speech!

Thank you,

Shawn Weisser, Teacher Librarian.

 

UPDATE: 10/3/2013

We are running the book fair this week and I sold out of the Pete the Cat books! All of the books I read or showcased the week before, students bought! I love that I made these books come alive for my students! I LOVE reading and turning students onto books!!

 

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.

I Love Toni Buzzeo!

Really! The woman is a genius!

I have been reading a”back to school” selection of books to my students this week and I chose Get Fired Up With Reading! for my second through fourth grade students. It never fails to inspire my students to read.They all want to have a contest and get their teachers into the dragon-head costume! Mrs. Skorupski is at it again as she challenges the entire school to read. The winning class is awarded the honor of having their teacher in the head of the dragon costume to be worn in the Read Across America parade. The top readers (measured in minutes read) in each grade level will fill out the body of the dragon.

Two girls in Mr. Dickinson’s fourth grade class battle it out while one kindergartener needs help to be the dragon’s tail! See who wins in this wonderful book that is inspiring my students to read!

Toni Buzzeo is a school library media specialist (this is what she calls herself) in Maine. She has written numerous books about Mrs. Skorupski and her devious ways to get students to use the library media center! She has also written other non-library education books that leave me breathless, such as The Sea Chest. However, I think her brilliance is in the way she inspires educators such as myself to read and explore the library.

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