Monday, June 20, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey as a way to share what you have read and/or reviewed in the past week. It's also a terrific way to find out what other people are reading.

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers have given this meme a children's literature focus: picture books, middle grade novels, etc. They "encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting the other bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.


Summer time - an the readin' is easy! It's so nice to have time to relax a bit and read! Most mornings I can sit out on my deck and make new friends in New York, Louisville, or Colby, North Carolina! It's getting hotter and there's sudden rainstorms, but then I just take the reading indoors!

Whether on your patio, or by the pool, or at the beach, or on your sofa - I hope you've had some time to unwind and relax with a good book.  Here's what I've been reading this past week: 

Middle Grade Novels

I had the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for this review. I really enjoyed the first book in the Rip and Red series, so I was excited to get a chance to read the second book. Rookie of the Year did not disappoint, it was just as awesome as the first book.

This book picks up right where the first one left off. But, even though this is the continuation of a series, the book would be a fine stand-alone book for someone who hasn't read the first one. Bildner does a nice job of bringing readers up to speed on the characters, Mr. Acevedo's fifth grade classroom, and then moves the story forward smoothly.

There's a new student in the classroom, Tiki. Her family is from Egypt, and because her father has a job that requires him to move frequently, this is her fourteenth school. Rip has a rough time getting used to her outspoken style, especially when she becomes a starter on the school basketball team.

Rip is used to being the leader of the team, but when Tiki becomes the starter and Rip becomes a member of the "Bench Mob", there's a bit of tension. For readers who love sports, there is a lot of great basketball action. I know that I'll have several students who will love this book because of that.

The book, like the first one, has lots of great ideas for teachers as well. Lots of good book suggestions and project ideas. It would be so much fun to teach on a team with Mr. Acevedo!
The Thing About Leftovers by C. C. Payne

Wish by Barbara O'Connor 

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie (Eleanor #1) by Julie Sternberg, Matthew Cordell (Illustrator)  
This is a nice fiction novel in verse for readers who are just beginning to read chapter books. Eight year old Eleanor's first babysitter, Bibi, is moving away. Eleanor is heartbroken and has to learn to accept a new babysitter. The illustrations, by Matt Cordell, really help support the text and lend a comfortable feel to this book.
Picture Books

The Sword in the Stove by Frank W. Dormer  
Kind of dark humor, I'm not sure I would share this with very young or sensitive children. But the humorous text and illustrations are in line with books like A Hungry Lion by Lucy Ruth Cummins. This might be a good book to use when talking about inferencing skills and drawing conclusions.

Chicken in Space by Adam Lehrhaupt, Shahar Kober (Illustrator)  
This is a cute picture book about, Zoey, a barnyard chicken with a big imagination. She's determined to go into outer space and she convinces her friend, Sam (a pig), to go with her. Even though there are plenty of obstacles, including not having a spaceship, Zoey refuses to give up her dream. The digital illustrations are colorful and humorously detailed, so that young readers will enjoy reading this one. 

This is a terrific picture book for all readers, whether you need glasses or not. Douglas is a nearsighted dog, whose eyesight is getting worse. Finally his owner takes him to an eye doctor. Lots of kids need glasses and this book uses humor to show that things will look amazing once they get the right lenses.


This is a wonderful picture book that has a great message about patience, practice and perseverance. The little boy in the story wants to become an origami master after one of his classmates' mother showed him how to fold a paper crane. But he had to practice and practice (with many failures) before he got the hang of it. The author has included directions on how to fold a paper ladybug.  

This is a terrific picture book biography of Lonnie Johnson, the man who invented the Super Soaker water gun. This inspiring story tells about Lonnie's attempts to invent things, including a robot that won awards at a science fair, as a youngster. Then he went on to be an engineer for NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But it was his invention of his water gun that will probably draw the most interest from young readers. I love the message of hard work, creativity, problem solving and perseverance in this book. I definitely need to get my own copy of this book for my classroom library!

Dump Truck Duck by Megan E Bryant, Jo de Ruiter (Illustrations)  

This is a cute picture book that shows kids a busy construction site with big pieces of equipment operated by ducks. The ducks are building a playground and working together as a team. The illustrations are adorable.

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat  

This is a fun picture book that will have readers turning the book upside down and looking around for a barcode scanner. The long car trip to Grandma's house seems like it's taking a million years. With a little imagination, you can travel backwards and forwards through time. Anyone who hates long car trips (including my husband) will certainly be able to relate to the young man in this book. The illustrations, rendered in pencil, crayon, watercolor, ink, and Adobe Photoshop, are boldly and humorously detailed. I need to get a copy of this book for my classroom library, for sure!

The Best Days Are Dog Days by Aaron Meshon  

This is a cute picture book about a day in the life of a French bulldog and his human companion. The story is told from the dog's point of view. According to the title page, "This book was dictated by Chubu the French bulldog to Aaron, while he sat on Aaron's lap. Aaron first sketched the story with pencil and painted the scenes with Liquitex acrylic paint. The hand lettering is first created on paper with pen and ink and then scanned, colored, and layered into the final art digitally."  

Dorothea's Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth by Barb Rosenstock, Gerard DuBois (Illustrations)  

This picture book biography is a fascinating account of the life and work of Dorothea Lange, the famous photographer of the Depression. Dorothea had her own struggles after a bout of polio left here with severe mobility difficulties. Written in the present tense, the author offers readers a glimpse of how Dorothea viewed the world, especially those who suffered from lack of employment, food, or homes. This is definitely a book I would like to have in my classroom library.

This fascinating nonfiction picture book uses photography to show us animals that use bioluminescence to survive. There is enough information about each animal and a bibliography to make this book a great starting point for further research. 

Friend or Foe: The Whole Truth about Animals That People Love to Hate by Etta Kaner, David Anderson (Illustrations)  

I love this nonfiction picture book! It takes all of the animals that either scare us or gross us out and lays out the good and the bad facts about them. The humorous illustrations will make this a hugely popular book in my classroom library.   

Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel 

This is a lovely picture book that might be a good starting point for research or discussion about totems. 

One Day On Our Blue Planet . . . in the Savannah by Ella Bailey  

This is a lovely nonfiction picture book that shows the interdependence of the animals living in the African savannah. The focus of the book is on a lion cub, and the author takes us through a typical day for this animal. The colorful illustrations and narrative style text make this a good starting point for young readers who want to learn more about animals of the savannah.

This is a nice picture book to teach young readers about service dogs and how they help kids in places like the Ronald McDonald House. In a world where we work to teach children about empathy and kindness, this is a book that will touch even very young readers. The illustrations, rendered in pencil and charcoal and digitally, do an awesome job of showing readers what the Ronald McDonald House is and what it's like.  

This picture book is so much fun! Readers of all ages will spend a lot of time staring at the pictures, picking up on all of the clues and cameos from their favorite nursery rhymes. Little Boy Blue quit his job blowing his horn and now is working as a detective. Little Miss Muffet is missing, and it's up to him to figure out what happened. The illustrations, created using pencil sketches and Photoshop, are crammed with characters from a long list of Mother Goose rhymes.  

This funny picture book listing the reasons not to have a pig parade will surely get a lot of laughs with young readers. There's a lot to consider when planning a parade, and the hilarious text and illustrations will convince you (if you needed convincing). 





  1. Wow! What a great assortment of books. I'll be adding some to my next elementary media center order. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  2. Great picture books this week! The Thing About Leftovers sounds intriguing. I'm definitely going to have to check that one out!

  3. You always amaze me with the volume of reading you do!
    The Thing About Leftovers sounds good, I'll have to check it out once it pubs. Wonder if it will be ok for 4th graders?

    1. I'm teaching a 4/5 split next year, and I think this book would be totally fine. Even though the main character is a 6th grader, there are plenty of things a 4th grader could appreciate. I really like that this book does not have any language or inappropriate themes for elementary kids.

  4. Amazing number of books, Jana, of which I know a few. I loved Mogie! I've noted some, will look for The Thing About Leftovers. Thanks for so many good ones!

  5. Fantastic book suggestions. I have only read a few, so I plan to see how many of these I can find at my library. The Rip and Red series looks fun.

  6. Great list of books! I want to check out Douglas, You Need Glasses. :)

  7. Thanks for sharing so many great books! I think Mr. Acevedo in Rip and Red is one of my favorite literary teachers - I love that reading is highlighted in the book through his character.

  8. Thanks for sharing so many great books! I think Mr. Acevedo in Rip and Red is one of my favorite literary teachers - I love that reading is highlighted in the book through his character.

  9. You are reading so much! There are so many books on here that I love (Eleanor, Duck, Detective Blue, Dorothea) and others I really want to read (Whoosh, Are We There Yet?, Glow). Going to add to my TBR :)

    Happy reading this week!

  10. I thought Dump Truck Duck was adorable. My son really loves it and asks me to read it very often! I hope you have a fantastic reading week!

  11. You have read some of my favorite picture books this week. I also read Dorothea's Eyes last week and think it is stunning. Rosenstock is just an amazing writer. I still haven't read the first in the Rip and Red series, but I have read and loved Like Carrot Juice on a Cookie. In fact I loved it so much I bought the whole series for our library.

  12. I just reserved Friend or Foe at our library. Can't wait to read it!