Monday, June 02, 2014
Three Bird Summer/ Another Day as Emily
First of all, congratulations to Dena at Batch of Books for winning Bart King's The Big Book of Superheroes! I have to admit that Armchair BEA was a great learning experience-- I learned WHY people are so enthralled with social media (Instant feedback! Comments! People liking me!), but also learned that I cannot focus on social media for more than four days. Just considering BEA wrapped up before moving on to the 48 Hour Book Challenge this weekend!!
Today's social media whirl should definitely include:
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday at Anastasia Suen's blog.
St. Antoine, Sara. Three Bird Summer
May 13th 2014 by Candlewick Press
Adam loves to spend the summers at his grandmother's cottage in the Minnesota woods, especially now that his life in suburban Chicago is different now that his parents are divorced. Things are different at the cottage, too-- his father won't be coming, nor will his obnoxious cousins, and there is a new girl his age with whom he is expected to socialize. Adam would rather sit on the dock and read old books from the cottage, but Alice turns out to be decent, and he starts to step outside his comfort zone a little bit, canoeing on his own and being more adventurous. His grandmother's mental state seems precarious, and she keeps leaving him notes addressed to "G" that are somewhat romantic in nature. When he and Alice find out that "G" left a treasure hidden somewhere in the woods, they try to find it in the hopes that it will somehow help.
Strengths: The more I think about this one, the more I like it. It's a good book for both genders, and while it is fairly slow paced, has enough romance and intrigue in it to keep a student turning the pages. The twist at the end with the identity of "G" and the treasure is really quite brilliant, even if it's sad. This would be especially good for boys who like to read romances, or who can read more introspective books.
Weaknesses: The mystery element is somewhat weak, and there could have been a little more action.
Spinelli, Eileen. Another Day as Emily
May 13th 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
In this novel in verse, Suzy is miffed because her younger brother gets all the glory for calling 911 when Suzy's friend and neighbor, the elderly Mrs. Harden, collapses. Suzy stayed and held her hand, but no one cares about that. Suzy isn't getting along all that well with her friend Allison, and after Suzy is assigned Emily Dickinson for a summer project, she takes her research one step further and starts to try to be a recluse like Dickinson, not seeing anyone and trying to wear all white dresses. This is harder than she thinks it will be, but in the end, she figures out what is important in life.
Strengths: This might be just the ticket for fourth grade girls who are obsessed with Emily Dickinson and who are fighting with their friends and hate their families. The emotions are all spot-on for the younger age group, and the illustrations are nice. I like Suzy's relationship with Mrs. Harden.
Weaknesses: The verse is more like chopped up prose (their are so few novels in verse that really are well done), and I think that Emily Dickinson stopped being so appealing to girls back in the late 1980s. My friends and I all had her Collected Poems, but the appeal seems to be gone now. I don't see this doing well in my middle school, but perhaps it would do well at the elementary level.