On the blog:
- A celebration of breakthroughs, even when you feel like you’re living in the movie Groundhog Day
- Reflections on the first two chapters of Digital Reading for #cyberPD
- A list of the Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015
I read a book! My first non picture book read of July, sad as that is. Thankfully, it was a good one, a wonderful middle-grade novel from Cynthia Lord. She manages to pack so much life, experience, wisdom, and understanding into her books. A plot summary doesn’t begin to do justice to this deceptively simple novel. Lord really understands the grieving child, how she strives to exercise control over her environment to keep herself and those around her safe. This is a book about coming to terms with the past, about learning to let go. It’s also about friendship and family and love and art. There were so many lines I loved:
“Giving up is admitting you’re beat and walking away. Letting go means you’re setting something free. You’re releasing something that’s been keeping you stuck. That takes faith and more than a little courage.”
“To do brave things, you don’t have to be hugely brave. You only have to be a little bit braver than you are scared.”
“What I love about art is that anything is possible. Bees can be pink. Trees can be purple. It’s like taking the world as it is and then swirling it around to show how it could be.”
Does Amy Krouse Rosenthal have any bad books? Does she even have any mediocre books? This is a clever, witty, and somehow poignant look at “one of those days”—the kind of day where nothing goes right. Each page illustrates a particular way a day can go wrong—Keep Spilling Stuff Day or You Think You’re Right But Nobody Else Thinks So Day or even Sad For No Reason Day. But every day eventually comes to a close, and the next day offers an opportunity for a better day.
A sweet picture book that shows that even the littlest dinosaur can save the day as long as he is brave and able to ask for help. The pacing was a bit off here–it took too long to get to the point, and the climax felt rushed, as the mass of text on the final two pages indicates. But still, a sweet story with appealing pastel illustrations.
I love a fractured fairy tale, and this one did have some potential, but I found it largely unrealized. Betsy is one of two shepherds in Bray Valley. The other shepherd? Zimmo, the wolf. Betsy sets out to visit her grandma and decides to take all her sheep AND Zimmo with her. When Zimmo breaks away from the group and hurries ahead, Betsy becomes certain that he’s going to eat grandma. Never mind that Zimmo is the most gentle wolf ever. The best part of the story is definitely the sheep who have plenty of things to say—both dumb and snarky.