Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Slice #1

This is a new endeavor for me.  I'm so glad to have found this website, and I'm grateful for you all who take the time to prepare it.

I just wrote a blog post about the book Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo.  As I sit here in Texas, I was amazed at the connections I could very quickly come up with having grown up in Florida in the 1970s, the setting of Raymie Nightingale.  The book also reminded me of my old go-to books I enjoyed as a child; Betsy and Tacy, The Moffats, and Little House on the Prairie and how I really enjoy when I find a new book that takes me back there.  Some recent discoveries that fit that bill are The Penderwicks, A Snicker of Magic and The Poet's Dog.

Raymie Nightingale

Ramie Nightingale
by Kate DiCamillo
Published by Candlewick Press
Published date April 12, 2016

3 Friends
     3 Lives

          3 Dreams

               which all include the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition,
               but for very different reasons.

I couldn't help but fall in love with these three girls; each having to be brave, each chasing a dream, and each becoming vulnerable as their unlikely friendships evolve.

Oh, the many connections...I had to laugh out loud at Louisiana's Granny's station wagon with the brown wooden sides falling off - we had one; central Florida in the 70s - grew up on the West Coast in Central Florida in the 70's; trying to get in the paper - my best friends and I liked to get in the paper; The Flying Elefantes - childhood friend in family circus plus lived in Ringling Brothers winter quarters town; the nursing home - candy-striper in a hospital; jar of candy corn - favorite childhood candy; dad left - so did mine; baton - orange one with green tips and glow-in-the-dark stripes on the end; green shag rug - orange shag carpet; misfit dog - misfit stuffed animals; ...just to name a few.

A big plus for me was the readability with its short chapters.  I admire Kate's ability to make magic with words.  I wish I had made notes of them!

Here are some of my favorites that I remember:
     "flex her toes and isolate her objectives"
     "Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition"
     "Very Friendly Animal Shelter"
     "swampy lungs"
     "feathers and regrets"
     "Three Rancheros"

I highly recommend this book for the elementary library and for those realistic fiction lovers.  I've seen talk about Raymie in historical fiction.  I get it - but, it isn't really about an event that happened in the 70s, so I think it reads more like realistic fiction.  Just my opinion.

And a big thank you to @Loveofxena and @MrSchuReads for my copy that I won!

Summary from Goodreads:

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Key to Extraordinary

The Key to Extraordinary
by Natalie Lloyd
Published by: Scholastic Press
Published date: February 23, 2016

Summary from Goodreads:
Everyone in Emma's family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians--every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream.

For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn't want to let her mother down.

But when Emma's dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task--finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town's cemetery. If Emma fails, she'll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors . . . including her own mother. But how can she find something that's been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?

With her signature blend of lyrical writing, quirky humor, and unforgettable characters, Natalie Lloyd's The Key to Extraordinarycements her status as one of the most original voices writing for children today.

My Review:
I just love Natalie Lloyd's books. Her magical settings are so believable, I have a hard time thinking of the stories as fantasy. A Key To Extraordinary is just as sweet of a read as A Snicker of Magic, which is a book that I am always recommending to my students. I can't wait to get this new book in the hands of my kiddos.  (And - I got to meet Natalie at the Texas Library Association meeting in Houston this year!  She is just as sweet as her books.)

The phrases and names of places that Natalie Lloyd uses are extraordinary themselves (I found this to be a nice connection to the magical words from A Snicker of Magic).  I adore her world building.  First of all, Emma lives in Blackbird Hollow located by Blackbird Hollow Cemetery, where she gives tours, feels the Touch from the Great Beyond, sees  Healing Blues and hears from Telling Vines.  Her family runs the Boneyard Cafe where they cook up the best Boneyard Brew (hot chocolate - yum!)  Emma is a girl with an adventurous spirit, but she loses her mom and has to deal with the Big Empty.  (These feelings are so spot on that I wondered if Natalie Lloyd had lost a parent.  After reading her acknowledgments, I don't think so.)  For middle grade novels, I am a fan of great, happy endings despite the hardships that a character has to go through during the story.  All I will say is - Wildflower, Stars, Treasure, and Club Pancake!  I'm not about to give away the ending.

Thank you to Natalie Lloyd and Scholastic for another beautiful story...and for signing my copy!