It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 3/23/15


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

On the blog:

  • A curation of good online reading from last week
  • A celebration of Fridays, my once-again favorite day of the week
  • A book review of several recent titles I’ve read for grown-ups
  • A round-up of recent nonfiction picture book reading
  • A slice of life about my writing process

In reading:

My son’s interest in picture books continues! It makes me so happy to read a big pile of picture books with him. Today, I’m highlighting seven of my favorites from last week:

cecil the pet glacier

Cecil the Pet Glacier is probably not a book for everyone. It’s an oddball little story about Ruby, who longs to be normal. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of normal on display at her home. Her mother designs and wears tiaras; her father creates topiaries; and her best friends are three identical dolls named Jennifer. She dreams of getting a pet, but nothing normal like a dog or cat will do for her parents. On a family trip to Norway (her mother brings a different tiara to wear each day), Ruby is adopted by a very sweet little glacier. Her mother insists on bringing Cecil the glacier home with them, and it follows Ruby around longingly while Ruby ignores it. When one of the Jennifers gets left out in a storm, Cecil rescues her and Ruby suddenly finds some value in her unusual pet. Giselle Potter’s illustrations are brilliant. If you like quirk, you will certainly like this book.

buried sunlight

I would never have believed that anyone could explain fossil fuels to me in a way that makes sense, but Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm managed to do it. Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth is a very informative and readable book as well as a very important book. A lot of complicated scientific information is presented with great clarity and simplicity. I would have been happy to leave this book with nothing more than a basic understanding of how fossil fuels were created, but I left the book with much more than that. The authors explain how our use of fossil fuels is changing our environment and persuasively argue that we need to drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and look for alternative sources of energy. An absolute must-own for every classroom and library.

mr putter and tabby pick the pears

Mr Putter and Tabby Pick the Pears is another near-perfect easy reader from Cynthia Rylant. This one might be my second favorite in the series.

any questions

Prolific picture book author and illustrator Marie-Louise Gay draws on her experiences presenting at schools to create Any Questions? The school children she has met have MANY questions about her, her work, her process, and, especially, how she comes up with ideas. Any Questions? is an interactive story between Gay and some of her readers as they work together to create a picture book. This is a wonderful examination of how artists come up with their ideas and develop creative projects.

little red riding hood

Red Riding Hood gets the James Marshall treatment. There are the usual Marshall idiosyncrasies that make the story special, but it’s also still very much the Little Red Riding Hood story that you know.

otto's orange day

Otto’s Orange Day is a fine entry-level graphic novel from Frank Cammuso and Jay Lynch. When he frees a genie from a magic lamp, Otto’s one wish is that the whole world be turned orange, his favorite color. At first it’s just as wonderful as he imagines, but problems quickly arise, and there are several obstacles to turning the world back into its many hues.

zen ties

I have no idea how I managed to miss Zen Ties until now. It’s another gorgeous and thoughtful title from Jon Muth featuring Stillwater the panda and introducing Stillwater’s nephew, Koo, who speaks in haiku. Stillwater encourages the children to help out a grumpy neighbor, and of course lessons in compassion and connection are learned by all.


13 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 3/23/15”

  1. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    I absolutely adore all of Muth’s Zen books. So wise and beautiful.

    And yeah, Cecil the Pet Glacier is probably the strangest picture book I’ve ever read. What did your son think of it?

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      My son was a bit put off by it. Quirk isn’t really his favorite thing. It probably didn’t help that I kept cackling because the book was just so awesomely weird.

  2. Michele Avatar

    That was quite the collection of picture books! I added a few new titles to my list. I think Zen Ties is my favorite. I saw there is a new one coming out this fall!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      A new Muth book! How exciting! I still need to buy Hi Koo. I read it quickly at an airport bookstore, of all places, but need to sit down and take more time with it.

  3. Cheriee Weichel Avatar

    I just adore Molly Bang. I fell in love with her because of My Light. She was in Vancouver for a VCLR illustrator’s breakfast a few years ago. (I dressed up as the sun) She said that these nonfiction titles are her true passion. They don’t sell well so she funds them from the sales of her fiction works which do make money. She sure does make complicated topics easy to understand, and her images are just so stunning.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I hadn’t realized this was a series until I got to the end of Buried Sunlight and saw pix of the other titles. Must get them now! I’m very excited to learn more. I am surprised the nonfiction titles don’t sell as well!

  4. Linda Baie Avatar

    Interesting collection, and will look for the James Marshall, Elisabeth. Love his books! Cecil looks interesting too. Who would have thought anyone would write about a pet glacier?

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I was pleased to find another couple of Marshall fairy tale titles this week.

  5. carriegelson Avatar

    I love that you continue to highlight books featuring Mr. Putter and Tabby. I do love them so! Milly Bang is truly incredible. I have got to get my hands on this one! Happy picture book reading!

    1. carriegelson Avatar

      oops – Molly 🙂

    2. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think you will really like Buried Sunlight–it would be great in your classroom too. So much to think about and discuss. I think we have just one Mr Putter & Tabby left to reread.

  6. Myra GB Avatar

    I love the Zen series of Jon Muth – very thought provoking. Love the look of Buried Sunlight and how fossil fuel is presented in an accessible manner – that I’d like to read and find out for myself. Lovelovelove Giselle Potter and I like quirk! So will check out Cecil The Pet Glacier. 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I know I’ve seen other books by Giselle Potter. I need to Google her. I loved the unusual art–perfect match for the story. Not every illustrator could pull off this particular story!

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