Friday, February 11, 2011

Mickey Moonbeam by Mike Brownlow

Mickey is excited. Quiggle is finally coming for a visit, but a distress call from his friend leads him to a nearby asteroid on a rescue mission. The problem is, when Mickey gets to the asteroid, he can't find his Quiggle anywhere. Turns out, Mickey and Quiggle have never met in person--only on video-phone. Turns out, locating his friend isn't the only problem Mickey needs to solve.

I used this book in my lesson with 2nd grade genre lesson. Lots of good synonyms for the word "big" make for a fun discussion of synonyms and antonyms. The illustrations were vivid and engaging and easy for my students to see, whether in the front row or the back row--and that counts for a lot in a read-aloud setting!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

One of my parents at school brought this to me to read. When my son saw it, he snatched it up, read it, then immediately asked for the sequel. From the first chapter, I found myself swept into Katniss' world and her struggles to survive in District 12, a Post Apocalyptic Appalachia that finds itself on the bottom of the Panem food chain. After the death of her father in the District's mines, Katniss takes on the role of provider for her tattered family. When Prim, Katniss' young sister, is selected as one of the District's "Tributes" to the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place, launching her into a world that pits twenty-four young people, two from each District, against each other in a televised to-the-death reality show designed to entertain the pampered elite of the Capitol and to keep the subjugated Districts mindful of their place in the new order of the world. Her hard-won survival skills may mean the difference between life and death for Katniss--and for those she cares about.

I absolutely cannot wait to dive into the 2nd book.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Dogku by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Tim Bowers

Written entirely in haiku, each two-page spread is graced with colorful paintings of a family who invites a stray pup into their home, and his subsequent 1st bath, naming, introduction to the kids, sadness at their leaving on the big yellow bus, subsequent boredom and ensuing mischief and finally with an edge-of-the-seat ending that leaves the reader wondering if this adorable pup has found a home or if he'll end up at the pound. SPOILER ALERT: this adorable tale has a tail-wagging good ending.

What a great way to introduce haiku! Could also be used effectively for discussions on predicting what will happen next, interpreting untold events from illustrations, and a wonderful lead-in to creative writing efforts.