Tag Archives: kate dicamillo

Weird Dream

11 Jan

Last night I had a weird book dream. It was a good dream, just weird.

I dreamed ( or dreamt ) that Mo Willems called me. That alone is weird, but he wanted me to review Kate Di Camillo’s almost wordless picture book La La La.

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In this weird dream, I not only spoke with Mo on the phone, but I also spoke with Kate in person. After this dream, I feel I am on a first name basis with both. It was a good dream and very vivid. I can’t share more than this  brief description of my dream with you, but you can read La La La. Maybe it will fill you heart with hope and a song.

Publisher’s Summary: “La la la . . . la.” A little girl stands alone and sings, but hears no response. Gathering her courage and her curiosity, she skips farther out into the world, singing away to the trees and the pond and the reeds — but no song comes back to her. Day passes into night, and the girl dares to venture into the darkness toward the light of the moon, becoming more insistent in her singing, climbing as high as she can, but still there is silence in return. Dejected, she falls asleep on the ground, only to be awakened by an amazing sound. . . . She has been heard. At last. With the simplest of narratives and the near absence of words, Kate DiCamillo conveys a lonely child’s yearning for someone who understands. With a subtle palette and captivating expressiveness, Jaime Kim brings to life an endearing character and a transcendent landscape that invite readers along on an emotionally satisfying journey.

This Week’s Book talks 12/4-8

8 Dec

Monday: In anticipation of an author visit to our school library by April Henry, I booktalked her only book in my classroom library, The Body in the Woods.

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Tuesday, I chose Kenneth Oppel’s The Boundless,  just because.

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Thursday, I booktalked Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. A lot of kids had already read it, but they all loved it.

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Friday: I learned from a student that she’d seen the movie and TV versions of  The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, but never read the book. I had to remedy that!

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Hooray for Baby Lincoln

27 Jan

I was a Baby Lincoln when I was young. I was the youngest (by 4 minutes) and very shy. In fact, I was so shy, my parents thought about giving me an extra year at home and letting me start school in grade one. Fortunately, they decided to let me try out kindergarten and boy, did I find myself!

Baby Lincoln didn’t find herself in Kindergarten. She has never managed to come out from the shadow of her older sister, until now.

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We learn the back story of the Lincoln sisters and Baby’s real name!

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Publisher’s Summary: What if timid Baby Lincoln broke free of her bossy sister and set off on an unexpected journey? Kate DiCamillo presents a touching new adventure set in Mercy Watson’s world.

Baby Lincoln’s older sister, Eugenia, is very fond of telling Baby what to do, and Baby usually responds by saying “Yes, Sister.” But one day Baby has had enough. She decides to depart on a Necessary Journey, even though she has never gone anywhere without Eugenia telling her what to take and where to go. And in fact Baby doesn’t know where she is headed — only that she was entirely happy in the previous night’s dream, sitting aboard a train with a view of shooting stars. Who might Baby meet as she strikes out on her own, and what could she discover about herself? Will her impulsive adventure take her away from Eugenia for good?

A lovely story of self discovery.

Florence and Raymie Nightingale

27 May

You know, reader, that I love Kate DiCamillo.

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I put Raymie Nightingale  on hold at the library when it was still “On Order” and waited patiently for my turn. I took a deep breath before starting, fearing for a moment, I might be disappointed. I can tell you now, that I was not, though I wondered at times how all the disparate threads would be woven together. Like many of her books, there is a sadness to Raymie Nightingale, but there is also hope. Raymie, like Flora, of Flora and Ulysses,  lives with her Mom and hopes that her dad will return. From an elderly neighbor, she learns about the human soul, and thinks a lot about how her soul waxes and wanes as good and bad things happen. As she makes new friends and endeavors to performs good deeds, Raymie Clarke will touch your heart.

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Publisher’s Summary:Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

I was a few chapters in before I wondered why the book was called Raymie Nightingale when the main character was named Raymie Clarke. I will not tell you, but I hope you will read the book and discover the answer.

Random book thoughts

9 Apr

I’ve been reading a lot for the Morris award lately and haven’t read as much else outside of school. At school, however, a lot is happening, so, I thought I’d share some of what I’m up to and thinking about.

Last week, a Scholastic order came in which included a paperback copy of Kate DiCamillo’s Flora and Ulysses.  It perplexed me at first. Something was not right. Then I realized they had changed to color of the cover. When I first  read the book, and when I read a student’s copy tot he class, it was fairly pink. The new cover on the paperback is more blue. It got me wondering if they’s changed it to encourage more boys to read it.

Before:                                                      After:

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In Reading, we are looking at nonfiction text right now and talking about a whole host of things. I’m using  Mosquito Bite by Alexandra Siy and Dennis Kunkel, as my intentional read aloud,

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My kids are so excited about this book. I’ve only read the first third but they are begging me to not do other work so they can hear the rest. Yup, I hooked them!

Finally, I just started R. J. Palacio’s Wonder, for my after lunch read aloud.

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This is not really on anybody’s radar. A few kids said they seen the book, but hadn’t read it and didn’t really know anything about it. PERFECT!! They loved Auggie’s voice from the start and I can see them wondering about what he looks like. We are looking for clues that the author is leaving for us.

Cooking with bassets #SOL15

28 Mar

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 “It is a truth universally acknowledged,

that a single cook in possession of a good recipe,

must be in want of a basset hound.”

In an effort to pursue my goal of having healthy lunches on hand, I went to the kitchen to make soup. The cook in The Tale of Despereaux  says “And when times are terrible soup is the answer.” She also goes on the say, ” There ain’t no point in making soup unless others eat it. Soup needs another mouth to taste it another heart to be warmed by it.” Kate DiCamillo, you are a poet.

And so, I found myself in the kitchen yesterday morning with a helper. Notice the active stance I had to take. There was no moving Fiona, who was hoping for some droppage. Here’s what she wanted.

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Yes, carrots and parsnips. As a kid, parsnips horrified me. As an adult, I find them delectable. I like them roasted and they make fabulous soup. Today’s soup was carrot parsnip. I started with a pot full of vegetable stock.

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Added the chopped carrots and parsnips, along with some salt and pepper.

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Brought it all to a boil, then let it simmer for about half an hour. At they point i took it off the heat and let it cool a bit before using the immersion blender. And voilà!

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Several lunches for the freezer. I did take a little taste and it is quite delicious. Take that high cholesterol and blood sugar!

A Talent for Poeticals

22 Jan

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“Leroy Ninker was a small man with a big dream.” He wanted to be a cowboy. Alas, he worked at a drive-in and all he could do was watch cowboy movies. He had the gear: hat, boots, lasso and tracking abilities. But he lacked a horse.

When he finally gets the gumption to look for a horse, it is love at first sight. Maybelline is old and eats a lot of grub. She gets lonesome quick and “is the kind of horse who enjoys the heck out of a compliment”. But love at first sight is a powerful thing and Leroy and Maybelline ride off together, after a few poetical compliments.

Thins go swimmingly, until a thunderstorm occurs and Leroy forgets the third rule: Maybelline gets lonesome quick. Leroy quickly turns on his cowboy tracking skills to find his beloved happily munching grass on Deckawoo Drive. Yippie-i-oh!

In a similar vein to the Mercy Watson  series,  Leroy Ninker Saddles Up is the first book in a new series by Kate DiCamillo. I am excited about this because I anticipate a whole farmyard worth of animals ending up on Deckawoo Drive, home of Mercy Watson, porcine wonder. DiCamillo has just the right touch on these early chapter books. They are funny, but touch on serious themes. If you loved Mercy, you will certainly love Leroy & Maybelline.

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.

ALA Youth Media Awards

27 Jan

WOW! I got up 15 minutes earlier than usual today, so I’d be showered and have coffee when they announcements began. And I made a second pot of coffee part way through. Here’s what I am most excited about:

THE NEWBERY: Flora & Ulysses!!!!!  and  The Year of Billy Miller  was an honor book.

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THE BELPRE AWARD: Niño Wrestles the World  and Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass!!!

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SCHNEIDER FAMILY AWARD:  A Splash of Red  and  Rose Under Fire

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YALSA NONFICTION AWARD:  The Nazi Hunters

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What an emotional morning. I have to go and present to 4th grade teachers now,all wired on caffeine and excitement.

My favorite books of 2013

31 Dec

Although I still have a stack of books to read, here are my 2013 favorites so far:

Picture Books (Fiction)

UnknownThe Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

UnknownThe Mighty Lalouche byMatthew Olshan

Unknown-2Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

UnknownUnicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

Picture Books (Non-Fiction)

UnknownHoop Genius: How a Desperate teacher and a rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy

Unknown-1On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne

Chapter Books 

UnknownThe Center of Everything by Linda Urban

UnknownCounting by 7’s by Molly Golberg Sloan

UnknownFlora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

UnknownThe True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathy Appelt

Unknown-1The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Graphic Novels

UnknownBluffton by Matt Phelan

UnknownOdd Duck by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon

UnknownRelish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

YA Lit

Unknown-1Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

UnknownReality Boy by A. S. King

imagesA Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

UnknownWinger by Andrew Smith

UnknownYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Adult Lit

UnknownLoteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano

Unknown-1The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

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