Library Books Enjoyed, 10/20/14

Gabby and GatorGabby and Gator by James Burks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My kids LOVE this one. Gator is an alligator who was flushed down the toilet as a youngster, lives in the sewers, and guiltily eats dogs to survive. Gabby is a smart, vegetarian, earth-friendly girl who knows what she wants, but doesn’t have any friends who understand her. They become friends pretty instantly, but both Gator’s appetite and the local animal control officer are difficulties that have to be overcome.

Some of the kids’ favorite parts: Gabby’s tuba-playing, Gator’s first dog-eating incident, and scaring off the local bully.

Annie and Snowball and the Dress-up BirthdayAnnie and Snowball and the Dress-up Birthday by Cynthia Rylant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We like Annie and Snowball almost as much as Henry and Mudge around our house, but this one has been a particular hit. Annie plans a “dress-up” birthday with her family, but her idea of dress-up and Henry’s don’t quite match up. The results are both fancy and crazy, and my kids laugh every time.

Dear FishDear Fish by Chris Gall

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My six-year-old now has a favorite author, and it’s Chris Gall. This isn’t one of my favorite installments, but my kids have enjoyed the story of fish coming to visit the local town after Peter Alan sends them an invitation in a bottle. Grown-ups and older kids can amuse themselves trying to find the “fish puns” that make up part of the drawings–I haven’t found all 10 yet!

WordGirl: Word Up: Word UpWordGirl: Word Up: Word Up by Anita Serwacki

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh, Word Girl. If I did not have such affection for all things PBS, I might be tempted to banish you from my house. But you have entered, and you have conquered my children, especially my superhero-loving-six-year-old boy, and now I am doomed to read you aloud for all eternity. At least each book comes with two separate stories, which can each be read alone.

P.S. For a superhero whose power is vocabulary, you think you’d need more than 2 words per episode to defeat the bad guys!

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Library Books Enjoyed: 10/6/14

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these.

Buy My Hats!Buy My Hats! by Dave Horowitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a cute story about two aspiring businessmen (well, a business bear and a business fish) who can’t quite figure out the secret of success. In the end, a rainstorm comes to their aid.

We reread this one several times, and I think the kids liked the ads for the protagonists’ competitors and all the conversations taking place on the pictures as much as anything.

Dog vs. CatDog vs. Cat by Chris Gall

My kids LOVED this one. I only thought it was ok at first, but it is one that seems to improve upon multiple (multiple!!) rereads. A classic dog versus cat tale that has forces the two adversaries to join forces against a common enemy. The pictures are really funny, and Mr. Gall completely knows his audience because, a week since returning this to the library, my kids are still calling “I have outdoor privileges!” and cracking up every time. This is also one of the first books to bring home the idea of liking different books by the same author, because my son has retrieved his Dinotrux book and also found another book by Mr. Gall at the library.

A Kiss for Little BearA Kiss for Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first book I had my six-year-old read to me without him having already had it read to him. He did a great job, and it was a fun story to discover together (if I’ve read this one before, it’s been a LONG time). Little Bear sends a picture to his Grandmother via Hen, and Grandmother sends a kiss back the same way. But Hen gets busy and enlists other animals to help send the kiss along. N.’s favorite part was when Frog was getting Cat’s attention to give him the kiss, and mine was when the kiss got stuck with 2 little skunks.

This last one is not a grown-up book, but it’s just one I read for my own interest, not with the kids.

I Kill the MockingbirdI Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t remember where I read a review of this one, but when I came across it at the library, the cover grabbed me. I was not disappointed. The premise (three friends decide to increase interest in the summer reading assignment To Kill a Mockingbird by hiding the book all over their state) is interesting, but it’s really the characterization and the real-life feel/details that make this book.

Some points I especially like:
-The amusing but fond descriptions of the Lucy, Elena, and MIchael’s Catholic school.
-The poignant parts about Lucy’s mom recovering from cancer are good, but not (I think) overdone, and they don’t take over the book.
-The smart, nerdy kids who know they are smart but can laugh at themselves, too.
-The little bit of romance.
-Several of the lines, but in particular, after the three use bus passes to hit bookstores all around Connecticut, “We’d never be able to pull this off in Texas.”

It was both a fun read and a thoughtful read. It’s short, and I don’t think very hard, so I think some older elementary students would enjoy it, but the protagonists are all about to start high school, and the focal point is To Kill a Mockingbird, so it’s best target may be younger middle schoolers. I think it would go over especially well with fans of E.L. Konigsburg.

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