Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Willoughbys

A quick read, The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry is entertaining and chock full of "old-fashion." Lowry alludes to well known stories of the past such as Mary Poppins, Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden and Pollyanna as she tells the tale of an odd couple, their 4 "old-fashioned" children, an old man and a baby. The pages are full of "old-fashioned" words: fortuitous, ignominious, glutinous, bilious, and my favorite, lugubrious. Aside from the vocabulary, which I was able to navigate with the help of Lowry's glossary of terms, the story was simple, familiar and predictable. The term parody fits the tone of this book perfectly. From the failed "Little Ruthie" candy bar, to the awful German the young boy uses ("Ach. I forgotzenplunkt. Sorrybrauten."), this story may not be as amusing to a fifth grader as it was to me. A useful biography of the "old-fashioned" stories is helpful for younger and less versed readers as they attempt to understand the references used by the characters in the book.
While I would recommend The Willoughbys, it may prove disappointing and seem very different for fans of Lois Lowry's more serious titles. Overall, this was a great read for a blustery, winter recess!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fall Favorites

School has officially started! In between graduate classes and an awesome group of new 5th graders, there hasn't been much time for reading my favorite, young adult books. But, with Thanksgiving break just around the corner, I've come up with an ambitious list of titles I am just dying to check out!

~The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
~ Football Champ by Tim Green
~ Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
~ 39 Clues book 1 by Rick Riordan

Alright, so my list is a little unrealistic (even for me). Three days off from school with report cards due Monday isn't much time. But, let me tell you, I cannot wait to enjoy a little time combing through the pages of the pile of books gathering dust next to my nightstand.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Do you have rules at your house? Are they like these rules?

* No toys in the fish tank.

* If someone says "hi" you say "hi" back.

* Not everything worth keeping has to be useful.

* Sometimes people laugh when they like you. But sometimes they laugh to hurt you.

Catherine is a 12 year old who wants nothing more to fit in. She creates these rules to help her little brother David who has autism. This summer, Catherine's life changes with her new neighbor Kristi, a special friend, Jason, and more than enough adventures with David. This heartwarming story is perfect if your life is just a little bit less than normal!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I can't believe I almost forgot the most captivating book I have read all summer,
"Hostage" by Willo Davis Roberts!!!

More than any other book I have picked up this summer I was instantly intrigued and motivated to keep reading on. The author literally had me up at night wanting to read and discover what happens to Kaci and her elderly neighbor Mrs. Banducci as they stumble upon the robbery of their new house in a "safer neighborhood," Lofty Cedars. If you are looking for a good mystery, Willo Davis Roberts is the author for you!!

The Thief Lord

While my crazy schedule hasn't made it possible to travel this summer... I've been transported to Italy in my latest read, "The Thief Lord." Prosper and Boniface, two orphaned boys, are running from their rich Aunt Esther who only intends to adopt Boniface. Early in their travels they meet Hornet, a young girl who introduces them to the Thief Lord himself. The Thief Lord cares for the children by stealing from the rich and selling goods for food, clothing and small means of entertainment. This Robin Hood type story transports readers to another world- of canals and thieves and tiny passages woven throughout the ancient city. I'm captivated by the fast action and attempts of the detective, Victor, in his pursuits to find them and ultimately receive his reward.

The New and Improved Books On Tape!

Eventhough audio books have been available since the invention of the cassette tape, I am thrilled to announce my OWN discovery of mp3 audio books!!!! Picture this.... the weather is perfect, almost 85 and sunny. There is a slight breeze and only small clouds. I'm wearing a light sundress and of course, sunscreen and sunglasses. I have a tall glass of water and I'm lounging in my favorite chaise. Instead of craning my neck and squinting at a book, I've got my earbuds in and I'm listening to "Rules" by Cynthia Lord and I AM LOVING IT! I don't have to shake out my hands because they are falling asleep, I don't have book tan lines and I am able to close my eyes and make out all the visual images of different characters and scenes that I want! I felt incredibly relaxed and truly enjoyed the experience! Not only am I half way through a great book, but I've got a healthy tan too! I can't wait for the next beautiful afternoon to take out another audio book out from the library. I can listen on walks, while painting and even in my car! Don't wait any longer... you have to try this!!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Even though the summer weather isn't quite here yet, it seems that my summer reading is still moving along. This week I managed to read a few awesome books. This is surprising because normally I'll get through one or two and sometimes they aren't really all that good. Check 'em out....
Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban (I LOVED this one!!!!)
King of Murder by Betsy Byars (really suspenseful!)
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz (I see why this became a movie, I finished it in a day!)

As for Twilight... I figure I'll pick up New Moon next time I'm at the library. It was good... but not THAT good.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What is the true meaning of Smekday?

Meet the Boovs. The smallish little alien guys that took over the world one Christmas eve and changed Gratuity's life forever. I'm not quite sure if I understand what the true meaning of Smekday is yet, but I'm thinking if I continue reading Gratuity's English papers detailing how the take over of the world has impacted her, I'm bound to discover an answer.
Science fiction is not my favorite, yet, something about Smekday has me intrigued. Critics of the book claim Smekday is hilarious. Well, in my reading so far, Gratuity meets a Boov at a mini-mart and she proceeds to nick-name him, J-Lo. While I wasn't exactly rolling on the floor laughing, it did bring a smirk to my face. Her cat named "Pig" reminded me of "Bob," my cousin's dog who was a female. I suppose I'll just have to keep reading and see what happens....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Going to Middle School?

Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf by Jennifer Holm

If you are looking for a great, fun, summer read, this book is for you! Ginny is a seventh grader who has her share of trouble. Through her lists, report cards, ticket stubs, and newspaper articles, the trials and tribulations Ginny experiences with friends and family keep the reader engaged. This book is a lot of fun and perfect for girls in 5th and 6th grade!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer Reading

Research shows kids need to keep reading throughout the summer in order to remain at their current reading level. Jim Trelease explains how to help prevent this perfectly on his website... http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/

Looking for ideas? Check out my summer reading list (so far)
Fifth Grade Books
Tim Green's Football Hero
Tim Green's latest- Football Champ (sequel to Football Genius)
The Percy Jackson series (attempting this for the second time!)
George's Secret Key to the Universe
Chasing Spirit Bear
Love, Aubrey
Any of Steve Jenkins non-fiction titles
Betsy Byars new mysteries ( the titles are escaping me right now)
Not So Fifth Grade Books
Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Something Borrowed (series of books)
Confessions of A Shopaholic (we'll see about this one)
Three Cups of Tea (I really need to force myself through this- I may buy the 5th grade version)
Dewey The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Janet Evanovich's Fearless Fourteen and Finger Lickin' Fifteen
I've got some pretty ambitious goals... I am really hoping to post more often!! Be sure to check back for more soon!

What's Up With Twilight!?

I finally caved. I officially own a copy of the book causing a vampire loving craze across the nation...... TWILIGHT.

What am I thinking? Well.... let me explain.
1. I hate scary books and scary movies. Why am I reading this?
2. I don't particularly enjoy romance.
3. Edward scares me. A lot.
4. Is Bella INSANE? (ummm yes)
5. My fifth graders loved this. I need to know why!!

SO, let the adventure begin. I'll be back in a few weeks to let you know if I feel the need to run out and buy an "I LOVE EDWARD" shirt or maybe just head to the library to pick up a copy of "New Moon." Stay tuned!