Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Create your own Storytube!

It's almost time for the annual Storytube contest at the Gail Borden Library in Elgin. What is a Storytube? Children from around the country video themselves booktalking their favorite books, complete with costumes and different locations. How cool is that! It is simple to enter:
· Get your parent or guardian's permission if you are under 18
· Make your video up to two minutes long
· Feature one book in your video
· Enter as an individual or as part of a group of two to five people by uploading your video to YouTube or TeacherTube
· Enter between January 8 and February 15, 2009
· Be creative!
Get more updated details about participating at www.storytubes.info.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Picture Books for All!

Most parents love the closeness they share as they read to their children. There are those among us, however, that also read picture books for their own enjoyment--yes, I'm one of those!

In "The Boy Who Went Ape" by Richard Jesse Watson and Benjamin James Watson, it's field trip season for Alcatraz Elementary School. Benjamin has been very naughty, inadvertently releasing a chimp at the zoo who grabs his coat and hat, locks him in the cage and takes his place on the bus. You can imagine the adventures the chimp, Ms. Thunderbum the teacher, and the rest of the class has. Hint--a bank robbery is involved! Large, bright illustrations highlight the story perfectly.

"Doo-Wop Pop" by Roni Schotter is the story of five shy kids in school and the melodious Mr. Searle, a janitor who used to sing doo-wop back in the day. Mr. Searle finds just the right way to encourage his five fledglings to have confidence and believe in themselves. This is a universal issue that has a satisfying solution. A must read!

Advertised as "a petrifying parody", "Goodnight Goon" by Michael Rex is a take-0ff on the much loved classic "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown. We find a little wolfman getting ready for bed, saying goodnight to the hairy claws, set of jaws, a loud screechy bat and a black hat. For all you monster lovers out there and your kids too!

"Dimity Dumpty: The Story of Humpty's Little Sister" by Bob Graham puts a new spin on the Humpty Dumpty story. The Dumpty family works as circus performers--all but Dimity, that is. Dimity prefers to stay out of the spotlight, playing her tiny flute away from the crush of the crowds. That mischevious Humpty, while spraypainting his name on a wall, has a great fall and it's up to Dimity to find the courage to summond the help Humpty needs.

In Francesca Chessa's "Holly's Red Boots" the first snow of the season has fallen and Holly is anxious to get outside. She tries on quite a selection of items before she finds her boots. (The sombero will have you giggling!) This is a silly story, guaranteeing many laughs.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Yes! Even More Holiday Suggestions! Whew!

What a rash of good books, right?! I read two historical fictions and a fun fantasy this last weekend that I know one of your readers will fly through!

"The Floating Circus" by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer begins with two brothers in an orphanage. The oldest, Owen, is a daredevil, while his younger brother, Zach, is kind and quiet. While climbing the highest tree on the orphanage's yard on a dare, Owen falls and injures his arm, rendering it useless. After healing the two boys are put on an orphan train to the West, but Owen fears no one will adopt Zach if he has a handicapped brother and jumps from the train. With the help of a freed slave, Solomon, Owen gets a job on a circus paddleboat. All the elements of a Mark Twain adventure are here--life on the river, learning compassion and acceptance and just growing up. A marvelous, exciting book for anyone but great for your reluctant reader! Why not look up the history of the floating circus?

"The Leanin' Dog" by K.A. Nuzum. It's the 1930's and Dessa Dean has suffered a terrible tragedy. While walking with her mother in the woods , a massive snowstorm made them lose their way home. Dessa Dean's mom died as Dessa Dean lay next to her. Dessa Dean suffered frostbite on her ears and can no longer leave her house, as it brings back those memories of her mom. One day Dessa hears scratching on her door and finds a brown dog. Will Dessa Dean be able to lure this dog into the house? And will her big, gruff father chase away the dog as it growls menacingly at him? This remarkable dog will help Dessa conquer her fears, reunite her with her father, and bring back the spirit of the holidays. Again, check out the history of the 1930's while you're at it!

My last book is a fantasy called "The Fairie Door" by B.E. Maxwell. I will give you the description of the book by Amazon, as they can report it more succinctly.

"Long ago the Faerie Queen created portals between our world and hers, so that children could summon help from faeries whenever the need arose. But a wicked entity called the Shadow Knight is endeavoring to control the doors between the two worlds, and only evil can get through. It falls to two imaginative eleven-year-olds—Victoria Deveny, from 1890 Britain, and Elliot Good, from 1966 America—to thwart his plan.
The Faerie Queen dispatches the youths on separate quests to retrieve orbs of power that will ultimately defeat the Shadow Knight. Their bravery and friendship are tested as the children travel to fantastic realms and face life-threatening dangers—from dragons to flying pirate ships to a wicked sorceress queen—before they're reunited to confront the dreaded Shadow Knight." You fourth through sixth graders will be waiting on pins and needles til the sequel comes out, guaranteed!