On the blog:
- A slice about what I do when my son gets in trouble (hint: it involves ice cream)
- A slice in the form of a letter, Dear Trauma
- A slice about my son’s school label, Bad Kid
- A list of Early Morning Gratitudes
- A slice about an unexpected new venture, homeschooling
- A manifesto for slicing
- A slice about what I wanted to be when I grew up
Al Capone Does My Shirts is a marvelous read-aloud! It’s the first Newbery book my son has chosen as a read-aloud, and after we finished, he said he thought maybe we should look for more of those stickers. Yes! Please! For me, everything works in this book: the characters are interesting, richly developed, and flawed; the setting is pure genius and so believably rendered; the plot is plenty page-turney; and the sentence-level writing is strong. And that ending. Wow. So glad this is a trilogy. We’re well into Book 2 now. This series has also provided plenty of fodder for inquiry and web searches–AND the suggestion of a family vacation in San Francisco from the boy who never wants to leave the house. YES!
Thank You and Good Night is a charming bedtime story by Patrick McDonnell. It ends up being a little too sweet for my taste (and there’s rhyme, too, which put me off), but the illustrations are adorable and I could see this becoming a favorite with young readers.
Toys Meet Snow is picture book perfection for me. Just the right amounts of sweet and quirk. Some unexpectedly beautiful lines that really resonate paired with Paul Zelinsky’s fantastic artwork (Plastic’s Snow Angel is so funny) make this my favorite picture book of the month so far. I haven’t read Jenkins’s chapter book series about the toys, but now I want to!
Deborah Underwood’s Cat series is so clever. There’s a quick plot to Valentine Cat and a nice story about making friends and being open to new experiences. Cat is wonderfully cranky and sly at times. I love how he dramatizes some of our less charitable and kind impulses but always comes around and does the right thing in the end. Claudie Rueda’s illustrations are a perfect fit for this story.
Richard Collingridge’s Lionheart is a must-see for the illustrations (that cover! And that cover only hints at some of the wonders within), but the story and writing did not work as well for me. The text was unnecessarily wordy at times, and the story didn’t feel fresh. But the illustrations!
Salina Yoon’s Be a Friend is a lovely interpretation of the theme of friendship. This is a quiet story that crept up on me and resonated more fully than I expected afterward.
As you might expect from that cover, If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON’T! is a hoot. So much to look at and enjoy in the illustrations, and the story line is delight. This would be a terrific read-aloud.