Tag Archives: Peter Brown

This Week’s Book Talks 1/23-1/17

29 Jan

I was only at school for three days, but managed to squeeze in eight books. I am crafty that way.

First, I shared the DC Comics I got last Friday night.

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I spent much of Friday getting these ready to add to my classroom library (while the kids worked on their Ancient Sumer test) because several students were chomping at the bit to read them.

Thursday, I talked about a book I’d hoped would be on the Newbery list.

 

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Friday, I book talked a 2017 Sibert Honor Book.

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Next week, I get to teach my first full five-day week since November!

Going Wild

3 Jun

In 2014, Peter Brown’s Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, saw a tiger shedding his civilized clothing and dainty manners to GO WILD!

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In his first novel for middle readers, The Wild Robot, the opposite occurs.

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A robot is washed ashore on an island, after a cargo ship is wrecked. Accidentally activated by sea otters, Roz, the robot, begins exploring her environment where she is seen as a monster.  After an accident in which she kills a mother goose, she adopts the  gosling she has orphaned. In her efforts to be a good caregiver to the gosling she names Brightbill, she begins to make inroads into the animal community. Roz learns skills from the animals she encounters: care of goslings from a mother goose, house building from a beaver. In turn, she learns to love and becomes a vital member of the island community that she considers her home.

The book seems simple, but it really speaks to the heart of what it means to be human. Roz doesn’t fit in at first. She begins as “other”  but becomes an integral member of society because of the connections she makes with the island’s inhabitants. It reminds me of the fox from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince who wants to be tamed.

“No,” said the little prince. “I am looking for friends. What does that mean–‘tame’?”

“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. It means to establish ties.”

And later the fox says,

“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox.

So it is with Roz and the animals on the island. Ties are established and the “monster” is tamed.

Alas, the idyll is violently disrupted when robots come to the island, seeking the cargo that was lost at sea. The ending is more realistic than happily ever after, but I think it makes this story more powerful. As Mr. Spock once philosophized

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Live long and prosper, Roz!

 

 

A picture Book Round Up

18 Aug

I was in Powell’s the other day and read a few picture books. They always have lovely displays and I find books I have on hold at the library and others I didn’t even know I wanted to read. Here are a few things I read.

I picked this one up because I thought it was a biography of Julia Child.

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But if you look carefully, you will see that this book, written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Julie Morstad, there is a comma in the title Julia, Child. Inspired by the idea of Julia Child, this book is about butter, friendship and the art of childhood. Julia and her friend Simca love to cook but have no wish to turn into big, busy people who worry too much and watch too few cartoons. They decide to create a feast for growing and staying young. A playful, scrumptious celebration of the joy of eating,the book celebrates the importance of never completely growing up, and mastering the art of having a good time.

With the start of school around the corner (I have a 2-day training this week !) I have started wearing my mouth guard at night because stress and worry cause me to grind and clench my teeth while I sleep. Right now, I bet kids are wondering and worrying about which teacher they will get in a few weeks. Some will be disappointed, but most will find out that the scary/mean teacher they didn’t want isn’t as bad as they feared. Peter Brown tackles this feeling head on in My Teacher is a Monster.

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Bobby thinks his teacher is a monster, but a chance meeting in the park transforms their relationship.  By the time the two separate, Bobby is no longer quite as afraid if Ms. Kirby as he originally was, and the illustrations show how she has morphed from monster to human being.

A random book that pleasantly surprised me was Ninja! by Arree Chung.

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True ninjas can overcome all obstacles. And our protagonist, Maxwell, does his best, using his rich fantasy life to share his suggestions for becoming an awesome ninja as he goes on a mission for milk and cookies. Funny and heart-warming, this book celebrates imagination and the love of family. Chung has a website full of fun activities kids can do after reading the book.

Be yourself: Standing out or blending in

4 Oct

Tigers. They are significant features in two new picture books about being yourself. They both remind me a little of Mo Willems’ Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, which is my favorite Mo Willems book.

In Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown, the situation is quite the opposite of Naked Mole Rat’s dilemma.

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All the animals wear clothes, walk on their hind legs, mind their manners and act, well, civilized. Mr. Tiger feels the need to cut loose a little.  He takes baby steps at first.

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Then he really runs wild.

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Well, haven’t we all felt a little constrained sometimes? Maybe you’ve never wanted to run naked on all fours, but I bet you get tired and just want to ROAR once in a while. I do.

And then we have the strange case of Maude Shrimpton in Lauren Child’s Maude The Not-So-Noticeable-Shrimpton.

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She is a quiet soul, surrounded by a flamboyant family. Can you see her? Second from the end.

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Instead of getting her the quiet, calm goldfish she wanted for her birthday, her family got her a tiger. Oh my!

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Let’s just say, it doesn’t go well for her flamboyant family members. Maude ends up OK because “Sometimes. Just sometimes, not being noticeable is the very best talent of all.”

It would be fun to read these to your class, then have them write a story about a person who ran wild or didn’t stand out.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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