It's Elementary!

by Jamie Forrest

From Sharon Creech January 13, 2011

Filed under: #bookaday,Opinion pieces — Jamie @ 9:13 pm

I have mentioned my experience reading Sharon Creech recently.  She has since posted two comments on my blog and today I received a copy of HATE THAT CAT.  I opened to the title page to this:  SO COOL!

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#Bookaday – January 9, 2010 January 9, 2011

Filed under: #bookaday — Jamie @ 5:29 pm

Camp Bob l’éponge

by Molly Reisner

This is my first experience reading SpongeBob Squarepants.  It is actually a pretty good little story.  It accurately portrays what can happen when power goes to someone’s head.  It also shows characters who find a creative way to tell their friend that he is annoying them.  My students will enjoy this one.

I rated this book 4/5.

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Sardine in Outer Space

by Emmanuel Guibert

This is my first Sardine book as well.  I always thought that this was a graphic novel, but it is more graphic short stories.  Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this book.    The language and the stories are simple enough for my students but the pop culture references are excellent for older readers (like me!)

I rated this book 4/5.

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Le mystère des muffins disparus

by Sheila Sweeny Higginson

I really didn’t like this book at all.  The story is fragmented and the language used is so far beyond the beginner level it was written for that my students wouldn’t understand most of it.  The only redeeming feature of this book is that the story can essentially be «read» through the pictures.

I rated this book 2/5.

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#Bookaday – January 7, 2010 January 7, 2011

Filed under: #bookaday — Jamie @ 5:19 pm

Pathfinder – by Orson Scott Card

Goodreads description:

Only his father knew that Rigg possessed the power to see deep down the paths of people’s pasts. But it was only after his father died that Rigg discovers that he has another special gift: the power to change the past. Unfortunately, with that knowledge, all certainty and safety began to melt away. Thinking of it as a coming-of-age novel at triple speed.

My review:

I really enjoyed this book.  The characters were engaging.  As each new character was introduced, I was drawn into their story without losing interest in the other characters.  The stories are interweaved in a beautiful day and nothing really seems contrived.  The ending was satisfying enough that I am not frustrated (a big plus to me in series books) but also intriguing enough to make me want to not miss the next book in the series.  Looking forward to it!

I rated this book 5/5.

 

#Bookaday – Day 12 January 4, 2011

Filed under: #bookaday — Jamie @ 9:12 am

This is another Shining Willow Award Nominee.  This is a non-fiction picture book.  I love the way this book is written and organized.  Each section starts with a silly question about a piece of clothing, such as “Have you ever seen a duck in a raincoat?”  Then it follows with the reason that people wear them.  Finally, it explains the adaptation that the animal has to allow them to do the same thing without the item of clothing.  The language is easy to understand and the illustrations strongly support the text.

The only thing that really bugged me about this book, and it bugged me enough to affect the rating, is the way the people’s noses are drawn.  Unfortunately for me, they stand out so much that they distract from the important information on the page.

I rated this book 4/5.

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This is a Shining Willow Award Nominee.  The illustrations are absolutely stunning in this book.  The story is very touching.  It is neat to see the English text right next to the Michif text.  Some of the Michif words are the same or similar to French while the Cree influenced words are quite foreign to me.  It would be a neat way to emphasize with my students how the Métis came to be.  There are also lesson suggestions at the back of the book for teachers to use.

I rated this book 5/5.

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This is a Shining Willow Nominee.  I liked this book, but for me, it was just okay.  The story is cute.  The illustrations were okay.  There is nothing really wrong with this book, It just didn’t grab me like many of the other nominees.  We’ll see what the kids say…

I rated this book 3/5.

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This is a Shining Willow Award Nominee.  The boys in my class are going to go nuts for this book.  It is about four boys who love hockey.  It is a nice story that mixes hockey with school and friendship.  The illustrations, although black and white, are really nice too.

I rated this book 4/5.

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#Bookaday – Day 11 January 2, 2011

Filed under: #bookaday — Jamie @ 9:44 pm

I really enjoyed this graphic novel.  It is really hard to say if it would be complete enough or not.  I have read the full novel, and I have a hard time not “filling in the blanks” with what I already know about the story.  I kind of wish I had read this first to be able to judge it appropriately.  None-the-less, I still really enjoyed it!

I rated this book 4/5.

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I really enjoyed this Shining Willow Nominee.  This story is very detailed and has lots of humour written into it.  This illustrations are bold, colourful, and action-filled.  I especially like how there is a main frame and a film-strip type frame down the side of most pages.  I also really like how there is narration, speech bubbles and lots of onomatopoeia words throughout the book.

I’ve included one of the pages of this book below for you to get a sense of the amazing illustrations and layout of this book.

I rated this book 5/5.

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This is a Shining Willow Nominee.  For those of us who grew up with “For Better or For Worse”, the loveable dog Farley sets the mood right away in this lovely book.  This is another circular book that ends where it starts and I love books like that!  I particularly like how the author uses colour and spacing in the words to differentiate between narration and the smells.  The illustrations are throwback to the FBoFW comics we know.

I rated this book 4/5.

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This is another early chapter book, just right for my third graders.  This is the story of a young boy just learning how to ride his bigger two-wheeler.  Although he can ride, he does not feel confident enough to navigate the busy streets to school.  He decides to chance it.  On the way to school he gets into a little trouble with his lack of control, but on the way home is is forced into some heroic “olympic” riding to save a young friend.  Very cute story.

I rated this book 4/5.

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Yet another early chapter book.  This book was extrememly well written with lots of depth to the story, which is unusual in an early chapter book with lots of visual support.  This is the story of a girl as she discovers that being friends with only one person can lead to being very lonely, especially when that one friend has other friends too!  I really enjoyed this book.

I rated this book 5/5.

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#Bookaday – Day 10 January 1, 2011

Filed under: #bookaday — Jamie @ 10:03 pm

I have had this book on my TBR list for awhile now.  It took me a while to start reading, though, for some reason.  However, once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop.  This was one of those books that make me wish I could read faster.

I absolutely fell in love with Miranda who is just a kid trying to survive and figure things out.  The difficulties with her best friend Sal and her love of Madeline L’Engle took me back to my own youth.  Although the main characters are of middle school age, it is not one of those books where I feel like I need to be that age to identify with the story.  Nor do I feel like I need to remember the late 1970s to be able to identify with the setting.  Nor do I feel like I need to like mysteries or science fiction to enjoy the story.  Everything about this book seems sort of seemless and timeless; no need for labels or categories.  It is just a great book.

I rated this book 5/5.

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#Bookaday – Day 9 December 31, 2010

Filed under: #bookaday — Jamie @ 10:14 pm

Another hit in my books!  This is the 5th book in the Lunch Lady series.  I really enjoyed the story as well as the small details added to the illustrations.  I particularly like the tools that Lunch Lady and Betty use (like the “Fancy Ketchup Packet Laser”.  The Breakfast Bunch have become a favourite to both me and my students!  They will be very excited to add this to our collection.

I rated this book 5/5.

 

 

 

 

 

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Although this book trailer only shows the first two books in the series, I thought I would include it, just because!  Enjoy.


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I am going to be reading two books in the Amulet series tonight.  Here is a book trailer for the first Amulet book where the author talks about the story.


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This is the second book in the Amulet series.  I am really enjoying the storyline and I really like the illustrations.  The only thing that held this graphic novel back from being a 5 is the fact that there was one particular scene that SCREAMED Star Wars.  It was the scene where Leon is trying to train Emily in the forest.  This automatically made me think of Yoda training Luke.  It is not a bad thing, I just have difficulty with story lines that remind me that obviously of other authors’ works…

Still, I really enjoyed it and I will be starting book three right away!

I rated this book 4/5.

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Once again, I enjoyed this book.  However, with this book, I feel like the story is getting more mature and a little darker.  Like with the Harry Potter series, I feel like my students (in third grade) could easily handle the content of the first two books but would require more maturity to appreciate this third in the series.

On a different note, the illustrations in this book are stunning.  The two page spreads with no words were so breathtaking that I just looked at them for awhile before moving on to new pages.  I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

I rated this book 4/5.

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I have done a lot of reading about working with students who are difficult.  More and more in our business, our students are coming to us with challenges that we were just not trained to handle and our support systems within schools are becoming less and less available.  Almost all of the reading I have done is about the strategies available to me to use with the students either in prevention or reaction to students’ behaviour.  They have been valuable reading and have added to my bag of tricks.

This book was different though.  This book was more about me, as the teacher, than about the students.  Although the book in no way excuses student behaviour, it challenges the reader to reflect on what we bring to the conflict.  It is written on the premise that the only behaviour we can truly control is our own.  It goes through several examples of how our words, behaviours, tone of voice, past experiences and attitude can affect our interactions with students.  This book gives helpful suggestions of how we can become aware of these things and change.  In the end, it also gives the reader permission to let some things go…

I rated this book 5/5.

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This is my last post for 2010!  Happy New Year everyone!  Thanks for reading with me.