Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let's Take a Trip . . . To the Arctic

This week, I thought we would take a trip to the Arctic via book . . .

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester
Tacky the penguin does not fit in with his sleek and graceful companions, but his odd behavior comes in handy when hunters come with maps and traps.

Hello, Arctic! by Theodore Taylor
Greets the birds and animals of the tundra as they experience the change of seasons in their frozen northern land.

Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson
After wandering out at night to watch a magical star shower, a polar bear cub returns home to snuggle with her mother in their warm den.

Kumak's Fish: A Tale from the Far North by Michael Bania
On a beautiful Arctic morning when Kumak and his family go ice fishing, Kumak hooks what seems like an enormous fish, and the entire village gets involved.

Sailing Off to Sleep by Linda Ashman
Bedtime for a little one brings an imaginary journey to the North Pole to cuddle and play with the many animals there.

Arctic Fives Arrive by Elinor J. Pinczes
A counting book in which animals in groups of five share a hilltop to view the northern lights.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Origami Yoda

One of the most unique takes on the Star Wars movies are the Origami Yoda books by Tom Angleberger.  There are currently five books out with more coming in the future.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
Sixth-grader Tommy and his friends describe their interactions with a paper finger puppet of Yoda, worn by their weird classmate Dwight, as they try to figure out whether or not the puppet can really predict the future. Includes instructions for making Origami Yoda.

Darth Paper Strikes Back
Harvey, upset when his Darth Paper finger puppet brings humiliation, gets Dwight suspended, but Origami Yoda asks Tommy and Kellan, now in seventh grade, to make a new casefile to persuade the School Board to reinstate Dwight.

The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee
McQuarrie Middle School's students miss Origami Yoda when Dwight leaves for Tippett Academy, but he sends Sara a paper Fortune Wookiee that seems to give advice just as good as Yoda's--even if, in the hands of girls, it seems preoccupied with romance.

The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett
Dark times have fallen on McQuarrie Middle School. Dwight is back--and not a moment too soon--as Kellen, Sara, and the gang face a new Menace: the FunTime Educational Program. FunTime is supposed to raise students' standardized test scores. Instead, it's driving everyone crazy. The students turn to Origami Yoda for help.

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue
One month before the state standards test are to take place, the Origami Rebel Alliance has found powerful allies in unexpected places in their fight against the FunTime test preparation program, but Principal Rabbski has not yet declared her allegiance.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

In the Days of Yore . . .

This week I thought I would recommend some books for teens set during Medieval Times and the Renaissance . . .

The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats
In medieval Wales, follows Cecily whose family is lured by cheap land and the duty of all Englishman to help keep down the "vicious" Welshmen, and Gwenhwyfar, a Welsh girl who must wait hand and foot on her new English mistress.

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
The thirteen-year-old daughter of an English country knight keeps a journal in which she records the events of her life, particularly her longing for adventures beyond the usual role of women and her efforts to avoid being married off.

Enter Three Witches by Caroline B. Cooney
When her father betrays the Scottish king and is hung as a traitor, Lady Mary's future is bleak after she loses her only true protector and ends up locked away in the tower by the powerful and deadly Lord and Lady Macbeth.

Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper
In 1650, while Robert, a young medical student, steels himself to assist with her dissection, twenty-two-year-old housemaid Anne Green recalls her life as she lies in her coffin, presumed dead after being hanged for murdering her child that was, in fact,stillborn.

The King's Arrow by Michael Cadnum
In England's New Forest on the second day of August, 1100, eighteen-year-old Simon Foldre, delighted to be allowed to participate in a royal hunt as squire to the Anglo-Norman nobleman Walter Tirel, finds his future irrevocably altered when, during the hunt, he witnesses the possible murder of King William II.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Let's Take a Trip . . . To a Museum

A museum is a great place to spend a hot summer day.  Not only is it nice and cool, but it has lots of great interesting items to see.  So today, we're going on vacation by book to museums . . .

Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni
A visit to an art museum inspires a young mouse to become a painter.

Amelia Bedelia's Masterpiece by Herman Parish
Housekeeper Amelia Bedelia visits an art museum, where her confusion leads to surprising results.

The Shape Game by Anthony Browne
The author/illustrator describes how his mother's wish to spend her birthday visiting an art museum with her family changed the course of his life forever.

Katie and the Sunflowers by James Mayhew
While visiting the art museum, Katie has an adventure stepping in and out of five paintings by Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cezanne.  Includes information about Post-impressionism and the particular paintings and artists in the story.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Secret Codes and Decoder Rings

I am fascinated by stories of spies and their missions.  This week I thought I would share some great spy stories for kids . . .

Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus
In Nazi-occupied Norway, fourteen-year-old Espen joins the resistance movement, graduating from deliverer of illegal newspapers to courier and spy.

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
Twelve-year-old Ben Ripley leaves his public middle school to attend the CIA's highly secretive Espionage Academy, which everyone is told is an elite science school.

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur G. Slade
In Victorian London, fourteen-year-old Modo, a shape-changing hunchback, becomes a secret agent for the Permanent Association, which strives to protect the world from the evil machinations of the Clockwork Guild.

STORM: The Infinity Code by E.L. Young
In London, the teenaged geniuses of STORM, a secret organization dedicated to eliminating the world's misery through science and technology, uncover plans for a deadly weapon and race to find and dismantle it, then confront the corrupt scientist behind the scheme.

Thunder Raker by Justin Richards
Follows the misadventures of an ordinary boy, Alfie at an extraordinary school for young spies.

More Spy Stories --
Andrew North Blows Up the World by Adam Selzer
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
 Lulu's Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst
Owen Foote, Super Spy by Stephanie Greene
Shakespeare's Spy by Gary Blackwood

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Good vs. Evil -- Which Side Are You On?

Books often include plots of evil versus good.  Sometimes we root for the heroes.  Sometimes we root for the villains.  Which side do you root for in the following books . . .

The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce
The servant girl Aeriel must choose between destroying her vampire master for his evil deeds or saving him for the sake of his beauty and the spark of goodness she has seen in him.

The Cup of the World by John Dickinson
When Phaedra, a willful daughter of a baron, decides to marry for love, she sets off an unforseeable chain of events and a battle between good and evil.

The Wish List by Eion Colfer
Orphan Meg Finn's soul becomes the object of a battle between the demonic and the divine after she is killed in an accidental explosion while attempting to rob an elderly man and arrives in the afterlife to find the tally on her good and evil deeds is dead even.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
In Alagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters.

Gone by Michael Grant
In a small town on the coast of California, everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappears, setting up a battle between the remaining town residents and the students from a local private school, as well as those who have "The Power" and are able to perform supernatural feats and those who do not.

More Books Featuring the Ultimate Battles --
Abarat by Clive Barker
The Alchemist's Cat by Robin Jarvis
Flame by Hilari Bell
The Haunting of Alazabel Cray by Chris Wooding
The Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Let's Take a Trip . . . To the Woods

This week for our vacation by book, I thought we would visit the forest.  Enjoy the following stories set in the woods . . .

This Is a Moose by Richard T. Morris
Director Billy Waddler is trying to film a documentary about moose, but the moose in question has no intention of spending his life in the woods and his animal friends, who have dreams of their own, help him prove his point.

My Friend the Bear by Jez Alborough
Eddie and his teddy bear meet a very big bear in the woods, and Eddie and the big bear become good friends.

I'm Not Cute! by Jonathan Allen
Little Owl wants to be strong, smart, brave, fearsome but not cute. However, all his animal friends find that he is cute, and cannot resist telling him so.

The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore
When various forest animals discover a mysterious object in the woods, they each use it for a different purpose, until a boy reads stories aloud from it, much to the animals' delight.

More Books in the Woods --
Animals in the Outhouse by Anja Frohlich
Moon Glowing by Elizabeth Partridge
I Am So Strong by Mario Ramos
Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen