Friday, August 26, 2011

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

Pete the Cat: I Love My White ShoesPete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I learned about this book at an Early Literacy Workshop where the presenter SANG the book. Oh my goodness! This book is so much fun!

Not only that, it introduces colors, the children will enjoy chiming in on the refrain and has an excellent moral (without being didactic).

But, bottom line, this book is fun fun fun! It is essential that we use it for Joliet Reads!!!

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The Busy Beaver

The Busy BeaverThe Busy Beaver by Nicholas Oldland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good ecological message without being heavy-handed and didactic. I love the illustrations, especially the beaver's facial expressions!

Would be a good Joliet Reads choice for students in grades K-3.

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Don't Worry, Douglas!

Don't Worry, Douglas!Don't Worry, Douglas! by David Melling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great for preschoolers!

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The Bear Who Shared

The Bear Who SharedThe Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great for toddlers and preschoolers!

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The Cheshire Cheese Cat

I spent last night reading The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright, with drawings by Barry Moser.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a TaleThe Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's a fantasy (talking animals) and historical fiction (Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria make appearances). There's a cheese-loving cat who becomes friends with a mouse named Pip (who can, by the way, read). Good vs. evil, a mysterious visitor and the best cheese in London. Who knew life in a British pub could be so exciting?

This is a strong candidate for Joliet Reads, in the ever so difficult fourth and fifth grade category. Students do not need to understand the Charles Dickens puns/references to enjoy the book, but they'll be a nice bonus for the teachers reading the book out loud!

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Zombie in Love

Zombie in LoveZombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's tough for the walking dead to find a love connection. The ladies aren't impressed when Mortimer offers a box of chocolates (and worms), a real (formerly live) heart or a stunning diamond ring (still, unfortunately, on a finger).

Will he ever find his one true love?

Clearly, this picture book is not intended for the preschool set. However, I think students in second or third grade and up would find it hilarious. It's worth consideration for the Joliet Reads third graders... if we dare.

Bwa ha ha ha!!!

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The main character in YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND! by Peter Brown wakes up one day and decides she will make a new friend. No matter what. Whether any of the other animals want to be her friend or not.

This story is funny and (mostly) true to life. It would be a great choice for the Joliet Reads Preschool and Kindergarten age group. It could also be good for Preschool Storytime or possibly the I Can Read Club.

The Help

I finally read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It was just as good as everyone said.

Now I need to go see the movie. I've heard that the film is very true to the book, but has a different ending. We'll see if it measures up....

The One and Only Stuey Lewis

I read The One and Only Stuey Lewis by Jane Schoenberg in about an hour last night.

I really liked Stuey Lewis. He was a realistic character - not yet a reader but still very creative and smart. His Halloween caper idea was brilliant. I wish I'd thought of it as a child!

As for Joliet Reads... I think the kids would really enjoy it. Would the district's teachers mind that his brother calls him "Stu-pid" when their mom is not around? The brother also called him "Jerk" one time, but gets in trouble for it.

I strongly recommend that all selection committee members read this book. I will be returning my copy within the next five minutes. :-D

Monday, August 8, 2011


I love the book Pie by Sarah Weeks!

I think it could be an excellent fourth and fifth grade choice for Joliet Reads. While the protagonist is a female, it is not a girly book. Her best friend is a boy and they have adventures as they try to solve a mystery. The catch: reading the book made me hungry for pie!!!

Here's the book description from Good Reads:

"Who would leave a world-famous pie recipe to a cat?

When Alice's Aunt Polly passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily surly cat Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice.

Suddenly Alice is thrust into the center of a piestorm, with everyone in town trying to be the next pie-contest winner ... including Alice's mother and some of Alice's friends. The whole community is going pie-crazy . . . and it's up to Alice to discover the ingredients that really matter. Like family. And friendship. And enjoying what you do."


I know I know. The blog is supposed to be about books.

But I finally watched "Secretariat" this weekend. We liked it so much that we watched it twice - once on Saturday and again today.

Great story. Beautiful horses, especially the horse/actor who portrayed Secretariat. Excellent acting. Positive message. Actually appropriate for a family to watch together, including children. And now I have the gospel tune "O Happy Day" in my head, which is a good thing.

I recommend it highly.