Monday, January 23, 2017

MMGM- The Someday Birds

26800718If you haven't heard, the Newbery Honor books were Ashley Bryan's Freedom Over Me, Gidwitz's The Inquisitor's Tale, and Wolk's Wolf Hollow. The winner was Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

I haven't seen Freedom Over Me, but the other books didn't seem like anything that would appeal to my students. I did buy the Gidwitz, but the children who have checked it out have brought. It back after the first few chapters. Oh, well. At least now I can say that I've been to ALA Midwinter, and there were some nice moments that I will post about tomorrow.

Pla, Sally J. The Someday Birds
January 24th 2017 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Charlie likes things a certain way, and stress makes him resort to self-comforting activities like washing his hands repeatedly. His mother is dead, and his journalist father has recently been badly injured in Afghanistan. His grandmother is taking care of him, his older sister Davis, and his younger twin brothers, but when an opportunity to send the father to a hospital in Virginia, she leaves the children with a friend in California. Of course, the friend becomes unable to watch the children after the grandmother has left, and the four prove themselves to be incapable of watching themselves. Enter Ludmila, an odd character who has been hanging around their father's hospital room. Not trusting her, Davis inveigles her boyfriend to drive the family to Virginia, but they have an accident in Las Vegas. Ludmila comes to their rescue, and the group spends the rest of the book having a fairly enjoyable road trip and finding out secrets about Ludmila's past and her involvement with their father.

Strengths: Road trip books ALWAYS do well in my library, and their just aren't enough of them. Ludmila's story, and the information about the war in Bosnia, was very interesting, and her ties with Charlie's father were convincing. Sad, but not maudlin. Davis and Charlie were also interesting characters, and the portrayal of Charlie's OCD/Asperger tendencies was done naturally. Lots of fun adventures and interesting places (Wall Drug, the Field Museum, etc.).
Weaknesses: I wish that Charlie's eccentricities had been labeled. I'm never sure what the correct stance on this is, but Charlie is definitely not neurotypical, and it would be helpful to know. If Charlie were at my school, we would probably refer to his as "on the spectrum" and seek some sort of support for his behaviors. 
What I really think: Another review called this oddly endearing, and I feel the same way. I love the cover. This will be a hit with readers of How To Avoid Extinction, Far From Fair, and other books with problems that are faced with optimism and resilience.

28686894Williams, Marcia. The Tudors: Kings, Queens, Scribes and Ferrets!
October 11th 2016 by Candlewick Press
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

This brightly colored, comic book style is "told" to us by Arthur Inkblot, scribe of Queen Elizabeth's court, and his ferret, Smudge, who adds information in the borders of the pictures. Each page covers a topic of history of this era, such as the Wars of the Roses, Christopher Columbus, or Palaces and Potties. Along the bottom of the pages, there will be asides such as how sewage was treated of the state of medicine. There are a lot of humorous anecdotes in the style of the You Wouldn't Want to Be Books. 

Each page is stuffed with facts and intricately drawn pictures. This is the sort of book that the right child will spend days poring over, making it a good choice for extended travel or lengthy visits with less than exciting relatives! Be prepared to make a stop at a library at some point for a more informative nonfiction book that might be needed to answer questions that arise about a variety of British monarchs and practices!

More useful for pleasure reading than research, this book lacks any kind of table of contents, index, or bibliography. It is the sort of book that appears in museum gift shops and makes a more useful present than giant pencils or "funny hats of history"!


  1. The Someday Birds sounds interesting. I didn't realize road trip stories were so popular with kids. Sounds like there is a lot to this story with his mom's death and his dad's illness too.

  2. I would say even the font on the cover of The Someday Birds is oddly endearing. I think it can be empowering to people to have disabilities/differences labeled in a story.

  3. The Tudors looked like a fun book. How thrilling to have been at ALA! (I was cheering alone in my kitchen.) Several of my (female) students really loved The Girl Who Drank the Moon (as did I). The Inquisitor's Tale is a bit slow to build but worth it for sure. I didn't think much of Wolf Hollow and Freedom Over Me is definitely one of those books a teacher would use / make you read but not one a kid would pick up on their own.

  4. I really want to find The Tudors. I'm a big fan of that period of history thanks to an amazing AP European teacher. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I do struggle sometimes with book awards, especially books awards for young people. While I have nothing but respect for the very experienced grownups who decide the awards...the winners aren't always books that I can get into young readers hands!

  6. Honestly, I just don't get Wolf's Hollow. I haven't read the other winners so I will try to get to them eventually. The Someday Birds Looks interesting so I've added it to my ever expanding list of books.

  7. Thank you for the recommendation of another book involving a child on the autism spectrum. Not always easy to find. And, thanks for suggesting others. I'm always searching.

  8. I loved Wolf Hollow actually; reminded me of a sad ballad that I wanted to listen to over and over. And my students who have read it, and Inquisitor's Tale, loved it. I haven't read Barnhill's book yet, but I hope to get to it. However, the beauty of all this is that we don't have to agree :) Check out my post on Wednesday to see the books my students wanted to win :)

  9. I also love the cover of The Someday Birds. And I also agree that road trip books can be loads of fun. I know I've thought dreamily of hopping in an RV and hitting the road!

  10. I will add The Someday Birds to my list! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Anonymous2:29 PM EST

    I was very surprised with the winners this year. Seeing the titles of Newbery's I noticed I hadn't read any of them or even had any interest in them but I want to get a copy of Freedom Over Me.

  12. Anonymous2:12 PM EST

    That sounds like a neat book. Great review! :D