Tag Archives: Betty Hicks

Eggstraordinary!

24 Jan

Growing up, we had a number of interesting events in New Hamburg, Ontario, most notably the Fall Fair and  the Mennonite Relief Sale. One year, maybe it  was two years, the town held an Eggstravaganza, celebrating all things poultry. We had an egg factory in town and a turkey farm just outside town. No one I knew raised backyard chickens, though.

I have several friends here in Portland that have chickens in their backyards. Occasionally, I am the recipient of their eggstraordinary bounty. They usually have white schools, but I’ve received gifts of fresh chicken eggs in a variety of hues.

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The difference between fresh and store-bought eggs in flavor and yolk color cannot be overstated. Fresh eggs are more infinitely more flavorful. Their yolks are a vibrant orange, compared to the pale yellow of a store-bought egg.

Budding chicken farmers and elementary aged readers will love Kelly Jones’  Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer.

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Publisher’s Summary: Twelve-year-old Sophie Brown feels like a fish out of water when she and her parents move from Los Angeles to the farm they’ve inherited from a great-uncle. But farm life gets more interesting when a cranky chicken appears and Sophie discovers the hen can move objects with the power of her little chicken brain: jam jars, the latch to her henhouse, the entire henhouse….

And then more of her great-uncle’s unusual chickens come home to roost. Determined, resourceful Sophie learns to care for her flock, earning money for chicken feed, collecting eggs. But when a respected local farmer tries to steal them, Sophie must find a way to keep them (and their superpowers) safe.

Told in letters to Sophie’s abuela, quizzes, a chicken-care correspondence course, to-do lists, and more, Unusual Chickens is a quirky, clucky classic in the making.

I loved this book! It reminded me a little of The Worm Whisperer  by Betty Hicks,which was one of my favorite 4th grade read alouds,  and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz.

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If you have a 3rd, 4th or 5th grade reader, you might encourage them to pick up any of these three books.

My favorite time of day

17 Dec

We do all our heavy work before lunch: reading, Writing, math, Social Studies. Science, Health. The kids go to lunch at 12:10 and, because they have Specials immediately after lunch, I don’t see them again until 1:35. They come in, we fill out our planner and I do read aloud.

Read aloud is my favorite time of day. We’ve read four books since September:

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We finish Flora and Ulysses by Friday, and begin a new book when we come back in January.

I chose The Doll People when I heard there was a 4th book in the series. The boys in my class were skeptical, but I asked them to give it a chance and, of course, they loved it. In fact, we are writing letters for the Library of Congress’ Letters about Literature contest, a couple of boys are writing about that book. Just the other day, I said “Sock it to me” and I was rewarded by a chorus of mini Aretha’s. They learned about the RESPECT song because of The Doll People.

The fourth book is The Doll People Set Sail.

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Goodreads Summary:Annabelle Doll, Tiffany Funcraft, and their families are whisked out to sea when the Palmers accidentally place them in a box destined for charity donation. And it turns out they’re not alone-there are plenty of other doll people on the ship, too. After traveling thousands of miles, will they be able to find their way home?

The summary sounds a bit like the last Toy Story  movie, but this is way better. fans of the three previous books won’t be disappointed and, readers who haven’t read those books will bo OK, although I always recommend reading things in order because it makes more sense. Although I was disappointed that Brian Selznick is not the illustrator, Brett Helquist does an excellent job capturing the essence of the Doll/Funcraft family adventures.

If you are looking for a good series to give a middle reader, this is an excellent choice.

Read Aloud is My Superpower

21 Oct

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Read aloud is one of my favorite times of the school day. I’d forgotten that, not having had my own classroom for six years.  This year’s class is a handful. but they love read aloud too!  It is the one time there are no side conversations and my class LOVES to  have side conversations.

The first book I read to the this year was The Worm Whisperer  by Betty Hicks. I knew this class was special because they referred back to events and characters in it when we were talking about other things. One day, just before we left for a long weekend, I was talking to them about being sure not to forget their homework, which led to a discussion of having a regular homework time.We talked about how plans sometimes change on long weekends, so they should have their regular plan in place, but have a back up plan just in case. One student piped up and said “You shouldn’t be so rigid that you can;t break your own rules.”, or something to that effect. I asked where they learned that and they said, “From Ellis’ teacher in The Worm Whisperer.”  I was impressed.

We read Dear Mr. Henshaw next, which they loved, though they were a little hesitant to leave The Worm Whisperer  behind. A couple of kids have borrowed both of those books to reread them on their own.

Friday we started The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin. I wanted a book with a strong female lead and was reminded of this one by the recent publication of the 4th book in the series. The boys were not impressed by the cover. Too girly. By the time I reached the family sing-along I had hooked them. The Doll Family was son gong from Greatest Hits of the Sixties. I think it was my own singing of  R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and particularly the “sock-it-to-me ” chorus that really grabbed their attention. Apparently they didn’t know the song, so I played it for them, doing some silly movements with my head and hands. Just as the song finished, the principal was doing a walk-through with the custodian and the fire marshall. We all had a good laugh at that.

I enjoy watching their faces move from skeptical as I begin a new book, to entranced when I’ve hooked them.  I think read aloud might be my superpower.

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