Saturday, May 10, 2008

Is this time really to spare?

Ranger's Apprentice: Book Three: The Icebound Land, by John Flanagan. I remembered enjoying the previous books rather more than this one: the langauge here feels a bit more forced; the book seems rather long, though, at the end, not much has happened to really further the plot. I suppose I'm being too hard on the book-- I'm sure 14-year-olds will absolutely love it.
and going back to work, here are some books, one of which I will present to my class:
Doctor De Soto, by William Steig. I'm looking for a picture book for grades K-2 or 2-4. I'm afraid most books for that age group will be too long for the assignment, but I will time this and the others when I get home.
This book is wonderful. It uses special language-- not exactly everyday, but by no means arcane. It's beautifully worded and would sound good read aloud. The illustrations are quite funny.
Don't Fidget a Feather!, by Erica Silverman; illustrated by S.D. Schindler. I wasn't originally impressed with this book, but the story grew on me. I'm considering using it for two reasons: 1) it does have repetitive phrases that have almost a refrain feel, which works well for reading books aloud, and 2) I think children will be able to identify with character who go to great lengths to try to be the best at something. The illustrations have a few funny elements that an audience might enjoy.

The Huckabuck Family and How They Raised Popcorn in Nebraska and Quit and Came Back, by Carl Sandburg; illustrated by David Small. I'm afraid this one is far too long for me to use, but it is an excellent book. The illustrations are not exactly ralisitic; they are cartoon-y enough to be fun, but real enough for the serious bits. The main thing about this story that makes it great for sharing is the repetition of sounds, words, and phrases all throughout the story; whenever the family is listed, the author lists each individual separately: "Jonas Jonas Huckabuck, and his wife Mama Mama Huckabuck, and their daughter Pony Pony Huckabuck" (unpaged). I'm going to have one of these in my library.
When Sophie Get Angry-- Really, Really Angry..., by Molly Bang. This book has two different awards, and it is certainly something worth looking at-- young children need models to help them deal with difficult emotional situations. While it's good that the character can take time to cool off and feel at peace with the world, I'm not sure how I feel personally with tantrums and storming out.
The illustrations are magnificently done for this work: totally unrealistic and a true riot of color, they perfectly reflect the emotion of the character and truly help tell the story.

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