It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 6/28/15



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

On the blog:

In reading:


Seconds came highly recommended by one of my favorite people, Kelsey Empfield, and she was right: I loved this graphic novel. It’s about a chef named Katie who is transitioning out of her first restaurant, Seconds, and into her new restaurant, Katie’s. As the name of the new restaurant indicates, Katie’s is all about its chef—she’s the owner and the chef. Unfortunately, the renovation of the cool building she’s bought isn’t going well, and the project is both behind schedule and over budget. Her life is further complicated when her ex shows up at Seconds and reminds her of the uncomfortable and possibly avoidable ending of their relationship. In an effort to make herself feel better, she hooks up with the new chef of Seconds, and while they’re canoodling in the back, one of the waitresses get burned in a kitchen accident. And then things get truly weird: after Katie gets back from taking Hazel to the hospital, she finds a little notebook and a mushroom in the room she rents above Seconds–along with instructions for undoing a mistake. Revision #1? Hazel doesn’t get burned. Result? Katie becomes obsessed with undoing each day’s mistakes, and compiles revision upon revision until she isn’t even sure who she is anymore. There’s an interesting cast of characters, including Lis, the house spirit who leaves the notebook and mushroom for Katie, plenty of plot, and a thoughtful treatment of the theme of revision. As for audience, this is an adult title, though less explicit than most adult graphic novels I read. It’s an excellent adult crossover title for older YA.

tea rex

Tea Rex. I have no idea how I missed Molly Idle’s Rex titles before this. Probably because my library doesn’t have them and even though it sometimes seems like I buy all the books, I really don’t. I’ve seen Sea Rex in many recent #imwayr posts, and I was thrilled when I saw it on display at my tiny local independent bookstore. I settled down to read it in the store. And I felt so deflated at the end. I just didn’t get it. The story was boring and the illustrations lacked energy energy, though objectively I see their appeal. Then I spotted Tea Rex and decided to try one more Rex book. Thankfully, Tea Rex is a book I can fully get behind. This time, I thought the story really worked—quite clever and entertaining—and that oddly flat quality I always see in Idle’s style was a charming counterpoint to the chaos of this tea party.

take your mama to work today

Take Your Mama to Work Today. A random grab from the picture book bins at the library, this Amy Reichert title was one of my favorites of the week. Some unforeseen circumstances result in Mama needing to take her daughter to work. After spending the day in the office, the daughter has much advice to share with the reader about what to do at the office. This might be a book that adults find more amusing than children, who presumably have little experience with offices. There is a lot of ironic humor in the advice and in the juxtaposition of words and illustrations. Nice mentor text to show effective use of second person.

miss hazeltine

Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats. I loved this one, but then I’m a sucker for a book about a crazy cat lady since I am one myself (and I’ve got the six cats to prove it). Miss Hazeltine opens her home to emotionally needy cats and tries to teach them brave kitty basics. But Crumb just can’t overcome his fear–that is, until Miss Hazeltine has an accident and Crumb is the only one who can save the day. The illustrations by Birgitta Sif are brilliant. If she and Sophie Blackall and Giselle Potter and maybe Dan Santat could just illustrate every picture book, I’d be so happy.


The Skunk. Another clever and thought-provoking offering from Mac Barnett with quirky illustrations by Patrick McDonnell. I’m looking forward to sharing this one with my students in the fall.

the hunter

The Hunter. I picked this one up because it’s set in Africa, and Paul Geraghty’s illustrations are gorgeous. It’s a bit of a tough story but worth the read. A little girl gets lost when she’s out collecting honey with her grandfather. She likes to play a pretending game where she’s a big game hunter–until she comes across a mother elephant who has been slaughtered by a poacher. Gerarghty handles this scene with great sensitivity, but it’s still hard to see the dead elephant mama. When I realized there was going to be a dead mother and an orphaned baby in this book, I tried to abandon mid-read. I mean, hello trauma triggers in a week that was already full of plenty of trauma drama! But my son wanted to keep reading, so we did. Some fantasy elements take over at this point in the story: the little girl and the baby elephant set off together to find the rest of the elephant herd. She reunites the baby elephant with its herd; her mother finds her (score one for moms!); in the end, she decides she never wants to be a hunter.







24 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 6/28/15”

  1. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) Avatar

    Great reviews, and great week! Your Celebrate post brought a huge smile to my face. What else can you say?

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I spent the whole day Friday smiling!

  2. Gigi McAllister Avatar

    Hi Elisabeth, Your thoughts on seconds definitely makes me want to read it! I enjoyed Tea with rex very much! The rest are new to me. Have great week!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Seconds was a lot of fun. Sometimes I wish every book could just be a graphic novel.

  3. carriegelson Avatar

    I loved The Skunk and can’t wait to kid test it. I am a fan of quirky and peculiar!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I was surprised by how much my college students loved Sam & Dave Dig a Hole. I don’t always love Mac barnett’s books when I read them to myself or my son, but as group reads, they are hits every time!

  4. Michele Knott Avatar

    Tea Rex is my favorite one in the “series”. Although I really enjoyed Sea Rex because of the ocean illustrations. Anything near water captures my attention. I need to read The Skunk again. I got a copy at ALA Midwinter, and that was one I just didn’t get. Maybe another read of it…

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m not sure I really got The Skunk either, but I did like Patrick McDonnell’s illustrations quite a bit, and found the whole thing intriguing. So glad I was able to read Tea Rex!

  5. Linda Baie Avatar

    Seconds sounds quite strange, but intriguing too. You’ve immediately got me thinking about revision, what I would do, then do & do, or would I? But the one I really will find is the Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats. Sounds terrific. I enjoyed The Skunk, think the style is like New Yorker cartoons, wonder if young children will like it at all, but older ones will! Thanks for the Hunter as well. I’m glad it went well in the reading. Thanks for all, Elisabeth.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Miss Hazeltine’s Home is WONDERFUL. A new favorite for sure. And a lovely message about compassion and bravery. Not to mention getting outside your comfort zone. I wonder about young children and The Skunk as well. I’ll be testing on college students so will have to look forward to reading Carrie’s blog after she shares with her students.

  6. Beth S Avatar

    I could totally see why you didn’t like the Rex books if you read Sea Rex first. Tea Rex is most definitely the best of the 3. And if you didn’t like Sea Rex you definitely won’t like Camp Rex. I thought that was the weakest one of the 3.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think I won’t bother looking for Camp Rex then. But Tea Rex was a delight!

  7. Tara Smith Avatar

    Such a wonderful selection of picture books, all of which are new to me. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Cheriee Weichel Avatar

    You have many wonderful sounding books here. I’ve added Seconds to my to read list and put it on hold at our local library. Unfortunately, Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats is not yet available. I might have turned into a crazy cat lady, but after my boys were born I developed all kinds of allergies, including to fur. Perhaps it’s for the best. Happy reading this week.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      What about furless cats, Cheriee?? Homely, yes, but still cats! I was telling my son the other day that all cats are actually beautiful–unlike dogs. His immediate counter was “What about hairless cats?” He got me there. Though I think they’re kind of cute. Six is really too many, but they are still a lot of fun.

  9. Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye) Avatar

    I need to read Seconds! I loved Scott Pilgrim and based on your review, I will love this one too.
    Added the PBs to my TBR 🙂

    Happy reading this week!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Seconds is my first O’Malley title. I’m going to look for Scott Pilgrim now. I really want to read more by him because I loved Seconds so much.

  10. Vasilly Avatar

    I’ve just placed all of these on hold at my local library. Thanks for the list! 😉

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Hope you find some titles you enjoy!

  11. Ricki Ginsberg Avatar
    Ricki Ginsberg

    Clever, quirky books are my favorite, so I was excited to read your review of The Skunk. I saw you got Circus Mirandus. I can’t wait to hear what you think about it!! Keep me posted! Have a very happy week!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Circus Mirandus just arrived last night. Hoping my son might be interested in it too. He’s bored by PBs but unwilling to move on to middle-grade right now. He’s saying he might be “too old” for nightly story. Uh-huh. Keep trying.

  12. Myra GB Avatar

    I’m very glad to see that we have The Hunter in our library – it seems perfect for our current reading theme. I also enjoyed the Skunk and pondered on the book quite a bit after reading it – I like its throwback format the most. Most of my comic-aficionado friends love Seconds – so I would most likely find that one soonest! 🙂 I also have a copy of Circus Mirandus that I am looking forward to reading.

  13. […] my original post about Seconds: Seconds is about a chef named Katie who is transitioning out of her first […]

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