It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 6/12/17



Slam was one of the first YA novels I read as an adult, shortly after I first started teaching high school. My students were OBSESSED with basketball, and I was looking for something to booktalk. I liked Slam a lot, but I don’t think I fully appreciated Myers’s artistry and craft until I read it aloud to my son. Voice is so strong in this novel, and there is an elegance to Myers’s writing that comes from clarity and rhythm of language and sentence. In terms of plot and character, this book features several of my favorite things in YA: involved parents; tricky friendship problems; a soft ending that doesn’t tie everything up with a neat bow. Slam himself is a bit of a blow hard and often doesn’t seem like he has much depth as a character, but then he makes a thoughtful observation about his neighborhood, interacts sensitively with his little brother, or expresses concern about his old friend, Ice, and we realize there is more to him than slam dunks and trying to hook up with the girl he likes.

letter to my teacher

A Letter to My Teacher is a beautifully written love letter to teachers. The author of the letter reflects on her experiences in second grade as a student who struggled with school, but her teacher always found gentle and loving ways to include her and teach her. The final spread was a warm, fuzzy, feel-good surprise.

pig the pug

The illustrations alone had me laughing. That is one homely pug! The story rhymes, which is usually the kiss of death for me, but I didn’t mind it here. Greedy, selfish Pig gets his comeuppance at the end in a rather violent scene that will probably lead to some hilarious one-star reviews on Amazon. An amusing little story that would make a fun read-aloud.

colettes lost pet

I’m not quite sure what to think of Colette’s Lost Pet. New to town, Colette lies to the first kid she meets, telling him she’s looking for her lost pet. The lie grows with every new child she meets, and pretty soon an entire town of kids is helping her look for her entirely imaginary pet. In the end, it becomes obvious that her pet isn’t real, but the kids don’t seem to mind; in fact, they are eager to hang out with Colette again so they can hear more exciting tall tales. I thought the book would have worked better if Colette’s lies had been a little more obvious and entertaining. I’m just not sure that a bunch of kids who have been sent on a wild goose chase all over town after an imaginary pet would be quite so accepting of the lies unless they were dazzlingly over the top. Arsenault’s art is quite charming, though, so this is definitely worth a look.

secret life of squirrels

I found myself mesmerized by The Secret Life of Squirrels and as much as I wanted to stop reading (because once you get over the fun of photos of squirrels interacting with little sets, it’s a boring story), I just couldn’t quite. The back matter was interesting–how to take good nature photos and how the author/photographer gets those crazy photos. (Peanuts! Squirrels really love peanuts, apparently.)





10 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 6/12/17”

  1. D-Claire Avatar

    My kids love Pig the Pug. The rhymes are better than most!

  2. Michele Avatar

    I loved the illustrations in Colette, but the storyline really bothered me. I needed there to be some resolution to the made up story. I appreciate imagination and inventing stories, but this seemed to go too far.
    Do you have another WDM book lined up to read with your son?

  3. cweichel Avatar

    I’ve read about those squirrels books and enjoyed looking at her photographs online. They are pretty amazing.
    More WDM makes me smile. I really need to read more. It has been so long since I read Monster that I probably need to read it again.

  4. Ricki Ginsberg Avatar

    I completely agree about The Secret Life of Squirrels. My son absolutely loved the book and didn’t care what the story was, ha! I really enjoyed the back matter and thought it was such a neat idea!

  5. lindabaie Avatar

    I am often impressed with Walter Dean Myers’ books, and this one is new to me. I’m glad to know about it, Elisabeth. I’ve seen others talk about the “Colette” book and it doesn’t sound like one I would appreciate. Interesting plot! Thanks for the others, too.

  6. Elizabeth Avatar

    Pig the Pug! I’ll have to look for that one. This week Owen is obsessed with “Pug & Doug”, as well as those crayon books… Have you read The Circus Ship? That’s a rhyming book I like, because it only contains one awkward rhyme; the rest is readable without veering into singsong. And the pictures are great!

  7. Jeanie Cullip ☕️ (@C0FEGRL) Avatar

    A Letter to my Teacher looks like a great gift for my friend entering her first year of teaching 2nd grade! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  8. lessmannctcnet Avatar

    I am reading Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi. He writes about a group of teenagers in a futuristic, dystopian society, filled with difficulty and a constant quest for survival.

  9. Crystal Avatar

    Pig the Pug is sooo hilarious. I felt the same way about Secret Life of Squirrels. I found the back matter more interesting than the actual text, but the photos were mesmerizing. 🙂

  10. muhrsite Avatar

    Thanks for the idea with Slam. I am always looking for books that I can possibly turn young men onto. I went directly to Amazon and ordered it.

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