Archive for June 2011

ELVIS AND OLIVE by Stephanie Watson

June 22, 2011

I sat in the backyard yesterday and read this fun tale of an unusual friendship. Natalie is “perfect” and has  a nice, loving family, while Annie is the new “tough” girl who just moved in with her rather uncaring uncle. The girls meet in the first days of summer vacation and give each other secret names, Elvis and Olive, and begin to spy on the neighborhood. At first Annie (Elvis) reminded me a bit of Pippi Longstocking, with her outlandish stories (lies) and absent parents, but she lacks Pippi’s sweet and funny essence. In fact, there were a few times at the beginning of this book where I almost stopped reading, because I wasn’t sure I liked Elvis and what she was getting Olive to do. I’m glad I kept reading, though,  because their neighborhood spy mission ended in a very satisfying way, and I thought the author did a very good job of describing a street full of people that I would love to know. For older elementary school girls, this book will make you think about family, friendship, and how to treat people. There’s even a tiny bit of romance!


June 16, 2011

“And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.”    From The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

That is one of my favorite quotes from a children’s book: what a wonderful way to describe a happy feeling! I hope you CPS students woke up this morning feeling the boundless possibilities of the summer days that stretch out in front of you. Make the best of them!


June 15, 2011

What an emotional day: today school got out, and there were SO MANY hugs and tears…I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an emotional last day of school in my 14 years as a school librarian.

The amazing thing for me this last week of school has been the INCREDIBLE EXCITEMENT from so many students about checking books out for the summer. My fiction shelves are literally half empty. Many kids checked out 20 fat novels, which is pretty ambitious for ten weeks of reading time! So I say, LET THE READING BEGIN! It is time for sitting in the backyard, at the beach, in the treehouse…wherever you feel happiest, and opening those wonderful books and losing yourself in the stories.  I certainly intend to do just that tomorrow.

And don’t forget to check in with me when you finish a book:  I would LOVE to hear how your summer reading challenges are going.  I have made a page called SUMMER READING (check out the pages on the right sidebar) and I look forward to hearing about your reading progress throughout the summer.  Imagine my surprise to open my computer this afternoon and see that four wonderful fourth grade girls have already left me messages today on various posts…CPS students are the best!


June 11, 2011

Here’s a winner for all you dog lovers out there. Kevin Pugh is a 12-year-old  couch potato: his favorite things are eating, watching tv, and playing video games. Kevin’s father used to be a star player for the Chicago Bears, and he would really like his son to do something more athletic than play video games.  To please his father, Kevin agrees to go to  football summer camp with humorous and disastrous results.    When Kevin’s pudgy, lazy dog Cromwell sees a dog agility contest on tv one day, everything changes for the Pugh family. Cromwell suddenly wants to go for walks all the time, leap over hurdles, and run and jump through tire swings:  maybe Kevin has finally found the motivation to get off the couch.  Can Cromwell become the athlete?  Will Kevin’s father ever lighten up? Read this humorous, suspenseful book about a boy’s summer of change.