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.
We also had two more days of state testing. So, with the busy week, I did manage to finish the grown-up fiction book that I started reading on the plane ride down to our Spring Break condo in St. Pete Beach, Florida. I also got caught up on some picture books that I had checked out from the library before we left on the vacation. Here's what I've been reading:
Just in time for springtime weather, this adorable picture book tells the story of a little fox who's trying to play outside on a windy day. But everything he tries to do is ruined by the big gusts blowing around. Building a house of cards, playing spider in a web, playing pirate, and everything else he tries proves to be impossible. He becomes very frustrated until he thinks carefully about his situation. Young readers will have fun predicting the activity that will ultimately be successful for the little fox. I remember trying to play Monopoly on our back porch as a kid, and having to put rocks on each of the piles of money and property cards to keep them from blowing away. So I can totally relate to the little fox's problem. The illustrations are warm and engaging and help make this a fun book to share with children.
This beautifully illustrated wordless picture book tells a heartwarming story of a girl who, instead of swatting at the bee that flies through her bedroom window, gives the little insect some sugar water. As the two become great friends, they fly together spreading flower seeds around the city so that there will be a welcoming place for other bees and flying insects. As many have recently celebrated Earth Day, this is a terrific book to share with kids to discuss how we depend on bees and other helpful insects for food and flowers. There are also tips on how to help bees in an author's note at the end of the book.
Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot by Matthew Clark Smith, Matt Tavares (Illustrations)
This awesome and inspirational picture book biography tells the story of Sophie Blanchard. In eighteenth century France, people were obsessed with the idea of flying in balloons. As a young girl in a seaside town, Sophie could relate to the seabirds that ran awkwardly along the beach, but flew so gracefully in the sky. As more and more daring balloon flights were made, Sophie became more determined to take to the sky herself. This engaging book shares how she made that happen, along with the excitement, danger, and grief she experienced throughout her journey. Matt Tavares' watercolor illustrations are simply gorgeous and help pull readers into the world of Sophie Blanchard. This is a great time to share this story with youngsters, as Peggy Whitson just broke the record for cumulative time in space by an American astronaut. This book would pair terrifically with A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 by Matthew Olshan, since that flight over the English Channel by Dr. John Jeffries and Sophie's future husband, Jean-Pierre Blanchard is mentioned.
Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner, Brett Helquist (Illustrations)
Growing up, I remember playing tennis in the street in front of our house with my sister and my friends and we would always pretend to be these two tennis stars. So I was happy to see this awesome picture book biography. This book takes a look at these two by showing us their friendship in the early years of their careers and then the intensification of their rivalry. The book has a great message of unity, kindness, and sportsmanship in a fun, conversational tone that is sure to be popular with young readers. Informational notes and resources at the end of the book make it a great resource to have in a classroom library.
This rhyming nonfiction picture book shows young readers many different animals by describing their outer covering. The bold, bright illustrations are beautiful and would make this a favorite on the classroom bookshelf. As a read aloud, young children would certainly have fun identifying the animals being described on each page. This book could also be a great opportunity to compare and contrast the different classes of animals and their coverings.
This book reads like a soap opera; the characters are soooooo dysfunctional and dramatic. It was difficult for me to relate to any of the characters as they were all tangled up in so many problems caused by greed and deception. I still enjoyed New York City as the setting, and a peek into the literary world of Leo, Bea, and Stephanie. I also felt satisfied that the book ends with everyone getting their act together.