Friday, January 27, 2012

The Grimm Legacy

The Grimm Legacy

I loved, loved, loved this 2011 Texas Lone Star book.  It has magic, mystery, and even a little mayhem.  What if all the items from your favorite fairy tales were actually real?  In this book, they are!!  What if you could get a reply when you asked,

"Mirror mirror
on the wall
who will win
the race this fall?"

That's all it takes!  Just ask in rhyme or near rhyme and the mirror will answer...well, sort of answer, you may have to solve a riddle yourself to figure out the answer. 

Here is the Scholastic booktrailer  for The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here is a fantastic example of a Prezi presentation.  This one uses a timeline format for MLK.  If you keep clicking through, you will even hear his famous speech!  I found it on Prezi's website as a featured education prezi...  What a neat tool for students to use for a culminating activity after reading a biography.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Texas Bluebonnet List

The 2012-2013 Texas Bluebonnet list is complete!  The Texas Library Association creates this list for grades 3-6 to encourage reading.  If you read 5 of the books listed below, you can participate in the big vote. 
Here is their list with annotations.
Read Five Then Decide!

Thunder Birds
Arnosky, Jim. 2011. Thunder Birds: Nature's Flying Predators. New York: Sterling. Trade: 978-1-402756610.
Jim Arnosky and his wife traveled all over the country, observing and researching these majestic birds of prey. Filled with scale models of the wings, feet, and bills of these beautiful, fearsome hunters, this book is sure to engage readers with chatty, fact-filled text and gorgeous paintings.

Just Being Audrey
Cardillo, Margaret. 2011. Just Being Audrey. Illustrated by Julia Denos. New York: Balzer & Bray. Trade: 978-0-06-185283-1, Library Binding: 978-0-06-185284-8.
Author Margaret Cardillo and illustrator Julia Denos bring the best qualities of Aubrey Hepburn to life for a new generation of readers. Just Being Audrey gives you an insightful and delightful view of the icon as a young girl, an actress, and a celebrity who used her notoriety to do good.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale
Deedy, Carmen Agra and Randall Wright. 2011. The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale. Illustrated by Barry Moser. Atlanta: Peachtree. Trade: 978-1-56145-595-9.
Carmen Deedy and Randall Wright combine their talents in writing a delightfully British cheese-loving cat and literate mouse “tale.” Barry Moser’s drawings contribute images of the characters and settings that you will have a “dickens of a time” forgetting.

Under the Mambo Moon

Durango, Julia. 2010. Under the Mambo Moon. Illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. Reinforced: 978-1-57091-723-3, E-book: 978-1-60734-278-6.
On summer evenings, Marisol works at her father's music store. Through the stories and memories shared by friends and family who stop and visit, Marisol experiences the music and dance of Latin America.

Clever Jack Takes the Cake
Fleming, Candace. 2010. Clever Jack Takes the Cake. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books. Library Binding: 978-0-375-95697-3, Trade: 978-0-375-84979-4.
Jack decides to bake a cake to please the princess, who has everything, on her birthday. Though several mishaps and just plain bad luck ruin Jack's gift, they do not stop him from giving the princess the most clever gift of all.

Zita the Spacegirl
Hatke, Ben. 2010. Zita the Spacegirl. New York: First Second. Trade: 978-1-59643-695-4, Paperback: 978-1-59643-446-2.
What would you do if you found a strange egg-shaped device with a red button in a meteoroid crater? Zita and her friend Joseph discover it leads to an adventure in an unknown land on the brink of destruction in Hatke’s first full-length graphic novel.

Hamster Magic
Jonell, Lynne. 2010. Hamster Magic. Illustrated by Brandon Dorman. New York: Random House. Trade: 978-0-375-86660-9, Library Binding: 978-0-375-96660-6, Paperback: 978-0-375-86616-6, E-book: 978-0-375-89672-9.
When six-year-old Celia mistakenly makes the wrong "hamster wish," she and her siblings must go on a journey to find the Great Hamster to reverse the spell. A night of adventure brings the family closer together while convincing them that perhaps having to move to a new house isn't so bad after all.

Misty Gordon and the Mystery of the Ghost Pirates
Kennedy, Kim. 2010. Misty Gordon and the Mystery of the Ghost Pirates. Illustrated by Greg Call. New York: Amulet Books. Trade: 978-0-8109-9357-0.
Life in the town of Ashcrumb is anything but ordinary, especially if your parents own a store called the Dearly Departed Antiques Store and drive a former ice-cream truck with D.E.A.D. on it. Misty stumbles upon a mystery about the town’s secret past that is full of ghosts, pirates, and an adventure into the unknown.

Lupica, Mike. 2010. Hero. New York: Philomel Books. Trade: 978-0-399-25283-9, Paperback: 978-0-14-241960-1 (Puffin), Audio-CD: 978-0-14-242819-1.
A departure from Mike Lupica’s normal sports-going fare, Hero tells the story of Zach Harriman who, after his father’s death, begins to live up to his own potential on levels that he didn’t know were possible or even existed.

Benjamin Franklinstein Lives
McElligott, Matthew and Larry Tuxbury. 2010. Benjamin Franklinstein Lives! Illustrated by Matthew McElligott. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. Trade: 978-0-399-25229-7, Paperback: 978-0-14-241935-9.
Benjamin Franklin never died – believe it or not, he was placed in suspended animation and was just found by Victor Godwin, science geek extreme. Readers will enjoy the mystery and excitement of visiting this futuristic history filled with humorous one-liners and mock 18th century illustrations.

Ruth and the Green Book (Carolrhoda Picture Books)
Ramsey, Calvin A. 2010. Ruth and the Green Book. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books. Library Binding: 978-0-7613-5255-6, E-book: 978-0-7613-6218-0.
Playwright Calvin Ramsey recalls a more obscure part of history in his account of “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” which guides travelers to businesses that serve African Americans. Floyd Cooper’s muted shade illustrations encourage readers to enjoy the trip with Ruth and her family through 1950s America.

Selznick, Brian. 2011. Wonderstruck. New York: Scholastic Press. Trade: 978-0-545-02789-2.
Rose is running away from home – to her mother and brother – while Ben is searching for his father with few clues to go on. Set in two different times and written in two different formats, Brian Selznick merges these parallel stories in a climax that explores deafness and the miracle of family.

Aliens on Vacation
Smith, Clete Barrett. 2011. Aliens on Vacation. Illustrated by Christian Slade. New York: Disney Hyperion Books. Reinforced: 978-1-4231-3363-6, E-book: 978-1-4231-4750-3, Audio-CD: 978-1-4558-0134-3.
What a surprise when Scrub realizes that his grandmother’s Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast has some very interesting, yet weird-looking guests. If you liked the movie Beetle Juice, then you will love this book!

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie
Sternberg, Julie. 2011. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie. Illustrated by Matthew Cordell. New York: Amulet Books. Trade: 978-0-8109-8424-0.
Eleanor is crushed when Bibi, her beloved babysitter, must move away to care for her elderly father. As she adjusts to life without Bibi, to a new babysitter, and to the start of the school year, Eleanor finds that change isn’t always as sour as pickle juice on a cookie.

Scarum Fair
Swaim, Jessica. 2010. Scarum Fair. Illustrated by Carol Ashley.Honesdale, PA: Wordsong. Trade: 978-1-59078-590-4.
Spooks and monsters and creeps, oh my! Beware…the Scarum Fair has arrived, with poems that will make you laugh or cry. Take a ride on the Scary-Go-Round, and maybe a bowl of cat hair stew may be found!

Hot Diggity Dog: The History of the Hot Dog
Sylver, Adrienne. 2010. Hot Diggity Dog: The History of the Hot Dog. Illustrated by Elwood H. Smith. New York: Dutton Children's Books. Trade: 978-0-525-47897-3.
This fast-paced picture book takes the reader on a madcap journey through the hot dog’s history from the ancient Romans to its modern vegetarian reincarnation. Cartoon art and sidebars set a rapid pace for all the fun facts about this popular kid food!

Postcards from Camp

Taback, Simms. 2011. Postcards from Camp. New York: Nancy Paulsen Books. Trade: 978-0-399-23973-1.
Michael’s first experience at sleep-away camp starts out as a very scary affair. He sends out a slew of urgent letters and postcards to his Dad in the hopes he will be rescued from his alien counselor, his prankster bunkmates, and the constant rain. His quick-witted dad replies with cool encouragement, reminding him that he met some of his best buddies at camp. As expected, all ends well!

Warner, Sally. 2011. EllRay Jakes is Not a Chicken. Illustrated by Jamie Harper. New York: Viking. Trade: 978-0-670-06243-0, Paperback: 978-0-14-241988-5 (Feb 2012).
Short on size (no pun intended) but long on personality, EllRay Jakes navigates the pitfalls of 3rd grade, including Jared the bully; and in doing so, he becomes a great example to readers who have ever faced or are now facing similar challenges.

Play, Louis, Play!: The True Story of a Boy and His Horn
Weinstein, Muriel Harris. 2010. Play, Louis, Play: The True Story of a Boy and His Horn Frank Morrison. New York: Bloomsbury. Trade: 978-1-59990-375-0.
Play, Louis, Play, by Muriel Harris Weinstein is a swinging biography of jazz great Louis Armstrong told from the point of view of Louis' companion – his horn!

Escape Under the Forever Sky
Yohalem, Eve. 2009. Escape Under the Forever Sky. San Francisco: Chronicle. Trade: 978-0-8118-6653-8, Paperback: 978-0-8118-7874-6.
Lucy’s mother serves as the United States Ambassador to Ethiopia where she keeps thirteen-year-old Lucy close to home for protection. In Eve Yohalem’s first page-turning adventure, kidnapped Lucy must rely on her courage and knowledge of survival to escape and make it home safely.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Texas 2 x 2 List

The 2012 Texas 2 x 2 list is now complete!
 The Texas Library Association creates this list of 20 books to encourage reading among the 2 year olds - 2nd graders!
Here is their list with annotations.

No Dogs Allowed!
 Ashman, Linda. No Dogs Allowed! Illustrated by Kristin Sorra. Sterling. ISBN 978-1-4027-5837-9. $14.95. Ages 4-8. Welcome to Alberto's restaurant…unless you're a dog, a cat, a bunny, or ANYTHING with fur, feathers, or scales!
No Sleep for the Sheep!
Beaumont, Karen. No Sleep for the Sheep! Illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic. Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-15-204969-0. $16.99. Ages 4-7. A sheep wants nothing but to go to sleep in the big red barn on the farm, but each time he closes his eyes, another animal moos or neighs to come in.

The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man
Chabon, Michael. The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man. Illustrated by Jake Parker. Balzer+Bray. ISBN 978-0-06-191462-1. $17.99. Ages 5-8. A young superhero describes his awesome powers, which he then demonstrates as various foes arrive on the scene.
Wiener Wolf
Crosby, Jeff. Wiener Wolf. Disney Hyperion. ISBN 978-1423413983-6. $15.99. Ages 4-7. Wiener dog’s easy life has lost its luster. So when the call of the wild comes, he answers! Weiner Dog becomes...Weiner Wolf.

Crum, Shutta. Mine! Illustrated by Patrice Barton. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-375-86711-8. $16.99. Ages 2-5. Two young children and a dog learn about the troubles and triumph of sharing.

Cat Secrets
Czekaj, Jef. Cat Secrets. Balzer+Bray. ISBN 978-0-06-192088-2. $16.99. Ages 3-6. Important secrets about how best to live a cat's life will be revealed only to those who can prove that they are genuine cats.

Ehlert, Lois. Rrralph. Beach Lane. ISBN 978-1-4424-1305-4. $17.99. Ages 2-5. The narrator describes discovering how Ralph the dog can talk, appropriately saying such words as "roof", "rough", "bark," and "wolf".

Dog in Boots
Gormley, Greg. Dog in Boots. Illustrated by Roberta Angaramo. Holiday House. ISBN 978-0-8234-2347-7. $17.95. Ages 4-8. After reading "Puss in boots", a young dog decides to try a variety of shoes, only to find the perfect footwear is right under his nose.

Perfect Square
Hall. Michael. Perfect Square. Greenwillow. ISBN 978-0-06-191513-0. $16.99. Ages 4-8. A perfect square is torn, punched with holes, and crumpled but finds with each transformation that it can be something new and just as happy.

The Woods
Hoppe, Paul. The Woods. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-7547-9. $16.99. Ages 4-7. Being afraid of the dark doesn't mean being afraid alone. When a boy can't find his favorite stuffed bunny, he bravely heads into the woods to look for it.

Red Sled
Judge, Lita. Red Sled. Atheneum. ISBN 978-1-4424-2007-6. $16.99. Ages 2-8. At night, a host of woodland creatures plays with a child's red sled.

I Want My Hat Back
Klassen, Jon. I Want My Hat Back. Candlewick Press. ISBN 978-0-7636-5598-3. $15.99. Ages 4-8. A bear almost gives up his search for his missing hat until he remembers something very important.

Same, Same But Different
Kosteciki-Shaw, Jenny Sue. Same, Same But Different. Henry Holt. ISBN 978-0-8050-8946-2. $16.99. Ages 4-8. Pen pals, Elliott and Kailish discover that even though they live in different countries they both love to climb trees, own pets, and ride school buses.

McDonnell, Patrick. Me…Jane. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-04546-9. $15.99. Ages 3-8. Holding her stuffed toy chimpanzee, young Jane Goodall observes nature, reads Tarzan books, and dreams of living in Africa and helping animals.

That's How!
Niemann, Christoph. That’s How! Greenwillow. ISBN 978-0-06-201963-9. $16.99. Ages 2-5. A very imaginative boy answers a girl's questions about how different kinds of vehicles work.

Ray, Mary Lyn. Stars. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane. ISBN 978-1-4424-2249-0. $16.99. Ages 4-6. Explore the wonder of stars, whether they are in the night sky, on a plant as a promise of fruit to come, or in one's pocket for days when one does not feel shiny.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
Rinker, Sherri Duskey. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-7782-4. $16.99. Ages. 2-8. At sunset, when their work in done for the day, a crane truck, a cement mixer, and other people pieces of construction equipment make their way to their resting places to go to sleep.

Rocco, John. Blackout. Disney Hyperion. ISBN 978-142312190-0. $16.99. Ages 4-8. A boy and his family find magic in a summer blackout.

Edwin Speaks Up
Stevens, April. Edwin Speaks Up. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Schwartz & Wade. ISBN 978-0-375-85337-1. $16.99. Ages 4-8. Before his family leaves the grocery store, Baby Edwin makes sure their grocery cart contains the last ingredient needed to make his birthday celebration complete.

The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
Vamos, Samantha R. The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred. Illustrated by Rafael López. Charlesbridge. ISBN 978-1-58089-242-1. $17.95. Ages 5-8. A cumulative tale of a farm maiden who, aided by a group of animals, prepares "Arroz con Leche," rice pudding.

Saturday, January 14, 2012



Hidden, by Helen Frost is a 2012-2013 Lone Star book.  The main character, 8 year old Wren, is in her mom's van when it is stolen.  She remains hidden during that frightening ride to who-knows-where.  For two days she remains hidden in an old boat in the garage until she figures a way out.  This man who stole the van, who is an abusive husband, and a father of an 8 year old girl, did not intend to become a kidnapper. 

Darra, his daughter, and Wren meet again at a summer camp 6 years later.  They spot each other instantly and both have their own side to that fateful day.

Wren's chapters are written in free-verse.  I always think that makes a fast and fun read!  Darra's chapters are written in a style made up for this book.  After you finish this book, don't pass up the page at the end called Diving Deeper: Notes on Form, as the author tells you how to find another hidden part of the story...very interesting!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

11 Birthdays

11 Birthdays (11 Birthdays, #1) 11 birthdays by Wendy Mass is a cute read about Amanda and Leo who share the same birth date.  They have always had a combined birthday party, until this year.  They have not spoken since their 10th birthday.  Amanda's birthday is not all that she expected and she is glad it is over, glad to go to bed for the night.  Until...she wakes up to her birthday all over again!  I know, I know, who wouldn't want to relive their birthday...but over and over?  And why? You will have to read about this charming town of Willow Falls.

If you like this one, there is also Finally - when Rory Swenson finally turns 12 and 13 Gifts - when Tara has a big surprise on her 13th birthday.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever (Book 2)

School's Out - Forever (Maximum Ride, #2)
If you like series books, these are perfect!  They follow the same 6 kids on their flight through life as they try to save the world or not...and as they try to find their real parents or not...  In this book, Max is duplicated as part of the ploy to catch the flock.  The real Max is put in a chamber that deadens her awareness, her senses.  Will she escape?  Will the flock figure out that their leader, Max, is an impostor?  There is also some progress made on the parent-finding side of the story.


Crossed (Matched, #2)
A  sequel to Ally Condie's Matchedit picks up right where Matched left off.  As Cassia is deciding who she will spend her life with; Xander, as the Society has matched her with and who has been her best friend, or Ky, who she is falling for.  Unexpectedly, Ky gets taken in the middle of the night and Cassia decides she must make it to the Outer Provinces if there is any chance of saving Ky before his certain death.  Will she find him in time?  Will she find the rebels?  Will they ever gain freedom back? What about Xander, will he turn up once again?

I am now going to have a really tough time waiting for Ally Condie's third book!  I don't think it comes out until November, 2012!  Yikes!!

Here is the book trailer, thanks to Penguin Young Readers.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (Book 1)

The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, #1)

This was the choice that my 15 year old son and I compromised on as our audiobook pick for our road trip to Marble Falls for Christmas.  It was about 4 hours long, so it was the perfect length.  This is a series that I have heard so much about, I am glad I finally know what it is about too.  Who hasn't ever wondered what it would be like to fly?  There are six kids in this book who have wings, yes wings, and they can fly!  There is a lot of mystery going on and I don't want to spoil any of it.  Let me just say that these six kids, are led by 14 year old Max, are on their own, and have super-human powers.  There are others who have super-human powers too...and they are after the kids, known as "the flock".  A whole lot of action is around every corner and the flock fights or takes flight!  Turns out that there are 7 titles in this series, as of this posting.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012



Another fantastic novel in words and pictures by Brian Selznick (author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret)! I was wonderstruck by this story just as Mr. Selznick said he was when he went on a backstage tour of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  He said he knew then that he would have to write a book set there (p. 630).

This book takes you on two adventures, one through words and the other through pictures.  They are set 50 years apart but run parallel until they intersect paths.  This is what had me in such awe.  What a creative genius!   It is full of mystery as Ben, who lives in Minnesota and dreams of wolves, but longs to find his father, and Rose, who lives just outside of New York City and dreams of a mysterious actress who she keeps a scrapbook about.

It is also a story of family, love, and special objects for collecting, not for their monetary value, but their sentimental value.  We learn about museums, curators, and cabinets of wonders.  What would you put in your cabinet?  It would be a fun activity to make your own cabinet of wonders or your own museum box, like Ben's.  You could either plan it on paper or actually make one.  You could even make a model of something which includes hidden objects from your life, like the New York City model. 

A Cabinet of Wonders

Brian Selznick's illustration of a Cabinet of Wonders

What a Way to Start the New Year!

I am so very excited!  I won the drawing for the January 1st Grand Prize over on Edifying and Edgy and their Holiday Break Reading Challenge.  My blog has not been working for the last two days, so I didn't get to say a big THANK YOU!! 

I really enjoyed looking at everyone elses daily entries.  You all have wonderful blogs and I love reading all the great things you say about so many books.  Enjoy another great year of reading!!