It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 8/11/14


Visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to participate in the kidlit version of this weekly meme.

On my blog:

In reading, it was one of those weeks where I was reading a lot but didn’t manage to finish anything. I’m very much enjoying my current novel, Winger, and plan to finish it this week. I’m also in the middle of about ten professional development books. Luckily, there are always picture books.

cheetah can't lose

Bob Shea’s Cheetah Can’t Lose is hilarious. A great story to share with that special child in your life who must win at all costs (I’m thinking of my son here). Cheetah’s little kitten friends cleverly manage to outwit him and use his competitive spirit against him, but then they take pity on him in the end. Cheetah also contains my new favorite line:


Bob Shea is basically a genius. And as if Cheetah weren’t enough, I also got my hands on Buddy and Bunnies In: Don’t Play With Your Food.

don't play with your food

The basic plot here is similar: small fluffy creatures outwit a larger, dopier creature. But Don’t Play with Your Food might be even funnier than Cheetah. How does Bob Shea do it?? I’m going to have to buy both of these for my lending library.

hare and tortoise

Beautiful illustrations in Helen Ward’s retelling of The Hare and the Tortoise. Extensive notes at the end describe the many different animals she includes in these detailed pictures.
i am invited to a party

my friend is sad

We occasionally have to reread Elephant & Piggie books. My son (who will be going into 6th grade) is always excited when I pull an Elephant & Piggie title out of the bag. They are basically perfect–and make surprisingly good read-alouds given the simplicity and repetition of the text. Mo Willems, how I love you.

mattlandOur favorite book this week was Mattland, written by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert and illustrated by Dusan Petricic. This is the story of a displaced boy who finds himself in an inhospitable, ugly environment and begins to create his own beautiful world in response, repurposing and reimagining some of the things that make his new home unappealing. There is a powerful scene near the end when strangers who seemed to be hostile help Matt save his creation from ruin. A special story, well worth seeking out.

I squealed fairly loudly at the library when I happened to spot Wild on the shelf. I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite awhile, and it didn’t disappoint. Love the pictures, love the eyes, and love the ending.

you will be my friend

Peter Brown is another author-illustrator who can do no wrong. Lucy’s overbearing attempts to make friends are often so extreme; still, you can’t help rooting for her. A wonderful title to share in early elementary as children are developing social skills.
aviary wonders

Aviary Wonders, by Kate Samworth, is one of the stranger books I’ve ever looked at, but the longer I looked, the more I appreciated what Samworth is doing. Concept and execution are brilliant, though I do wonder if this is a book best appreciated by grown-ups. I’d be curious to hear from teachers, parents, or librarians who have shared it with actual children. Of course the images are so amazing, it’s sure to dazzle readers of any age. It’s set up as a catalog for bird lovers to build their own birds. You see, in the post-2031 world of this book, birds are extinct. The text is sly and often funny (see “Streamers for Added Grace” below as an example). But you can’t help putting the book down and feeling kind of sad.

june 29David Wiesner’s June 29, 1999 is a book I thought I had read years ago–but when I picked it up this week for a reread, I discovered that it was entirely new to me. I’ve opened it up and marveled at the pictures before but never read it. So I remedied that right away. What a fun twist at the end!


15 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 8/11/14”

  1. I have not read Cheetah, so that just went on hold at the library! That was a great quote 🙂 Our library still does not have a copy of Wild 😦 I’ll have to check a bookstore! I know what you mean about reading a lot during the week, just not finishing as much. I’m right there with you! Have a great week!

    • So funny, Carrie, because when I finished Mattland, I thought to myself, “That is a very Carrie Gelson kind of book.” Just the kind of book I love discovering via your blog! Can’t wait to see what you and your kids do with Aviary Wonders this year! The more I think about the book, the more I want to have a copy of my very own because I can think of a lot of different things to do with it in the classroom.

  2. I agree Aviary Wonders is very strange, but also a book that leads to great discussion.

    Wild has been on my TBR pile for a while but haven’t gotten it at the library yet. I think I need to remedy that. 🙂

    • Beth I brought a copy of Wild from the library and read it to my class – I made a comment that I would really like to own the book. One of my little girls said, “Well you better get one or you might go crazy.” Surprise, surprise, I bought a copy for the class!

  3. So many good books here. I’ll definitely look for Mattland and Wild, Elisabeth. Still have Winger on my list, but it won’t be soon. Thanks for all shared!

  4. It is amazing how perfect Elephant and Piggie books are while also being so simplistic. Mo Willems is a genius. (Sidenote: Love that your son still loves them!!)
    Thank you for sharing the other books–some I had never heard of.

  5. Elisabeth,
    Thank you for sharing all of these great titles! I know this is going to sound like a sin, but I have never read a Mo Willems book. I received a few at my baby shower, but I haven’t opened them yet. I have a fear that I won’t like them. Is that weird?

    • Ricki, I had to laugh when I read your comment. I had no idea you’ve never read Mo Willems!! Heresy! LOL. Given how much love Willems gets, I can see how you’d worry that you’ll open one of his books and not like it. High expectations can sometimes be disappointed. I think all of the Elephant & Piggie books are superb; I’m also a big fan of Amanda and Her Alligator and, for a real change of pace, City Dog Country Frog (makes me cry!). The Pigeon books are hit or miss for me–mostly miss–though I did really enjoy the most recent, Pigeon Needs a Bath. I don’t love the art in Knuffle Bunny (photos + cartoon drawings=just looks weird to me but I’m clearly in the minority there!) but the stories are delightful. Well. I will look forward to your taking the plunge at some point!

  6. Hi there Elisabeth, I just borrowed June 29, 1999 from our library last week, and am looking forward to featuring it for our upcoming reading theme. Bob Shea is a new to me author, and I’d be sure to find his picturebooks. WILD caught my eye – looks like my kind of books. Not sure if we have Aviary in our library yet but will be on the lookout for that one. 🙂 Have a great reading week!

    • I read one of Bob Shea’s Dinosaur books awhile ago and didn’t care for it (though this was before I read many PBs so I might read it quite differently today), so I avoided his books, but then happened to read Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great, which was one of my favorite books of the past year. Just read Don’t Play With Your Food to my son last night–he said he didn’t like it, but then he was in a bad mood. It’s hilarious! Always interesting to get different readers’ perspectives. My mom has just begun reading PBs (after I gave her Mordecai Gerstein’s What Charlie Heard) and she often has very different responses from me. Enjoy your week!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: