EXTRA YARN by Mac Barnett

Posted January 21, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Award Winners, Book Reviews, For Younger Children, Mrs. Raymond's favorites, New Books 2013 school year

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imgresIt’s winter, and we’re all trying to stay warm…plus have a few laughs. I’ve been reading EXTRA YARN by Mac Barnett in lots of my library classes. It is an award-winning  picture book fable about a little girl named Annabelle who lives in a dreary black and white town. She finds a box full of yarn of every color and knits sweaters for everyone in town, plus the pets and the houses, but the yarn never runs out! When a greedy archduke sails in from across the sea and steals her box of yarn, you might think that would be the end of her yarn adventures. The ending puts a smile on everyone’s face, and reinforces the notion that good always triumphs over bad, and kindness can transform a community. EXTRA YARN will give you a warm feeling on a cold winter day.

The Christmas Truce of World War I

Posted December 16, 2013 by cpslibrary
Categories: Book Reviews, For Older Children

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Last year I discovered these three books about the famous Christmas truce that happened during World War I.  In varying degrees of illustration and text, all three books tell the amazing true story of the Christmas Eve in 1914 when the British and the Germans stopped fighting, sang Christmas carols together (in different languages),  exchanged small gifts and conversation, and even played a rousing game of football.  My fifth grade classes have truly had their eyes opened by this gem of a story, which gives us a glimpse of peace and humanity in the midst of the harsh, violent realities of war.

The “BOO” books by J.H. Lee

Posted November 26, 2013 by cpslibrary
Categories: Book Reviews, New Books 2013 school year

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What are the most popular books in the CPS Library lately?  The “Boo” books by J.H. Lee.  Basically they are pictures with captions of this adorable Pomeranian who has been groomed to look like a teddy bear:

When Bella, a second grade student, asked me if I had any books “about the dog who looks like a teddy bear”, I went to the internet and quickly found what she was talking about.  I now have two copies of each of the books, and they are checked out the minute they come back.  Sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy a picture book that make you say “awwwwww” on every page.

Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Halloween

Posted October 29, 2013 by cpslibrary
Categories: Class activities

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By the time we get to the end of October, I am usually pretty tired of reading spooky stories.  Today in Mrs. Lavoie’s third grade class, I decided to try something new and different.  I showed them ED EMBERLEY’S DRAWING BOOK OF HALLOWEEN

ed emberley

and told them if they followed the simple step-by-step directions, they could produce Halloween masterpieces!  If I could draw THIS:

Photo Oct 29, 2 40 10 PM

then I figure ANYONE can!

By the end of the class, everyone had completed a spooky picture using the simple instructions.

Photo Oct 29, 11 47 35 AM

Makenzie’s apple dolls

Posted October 25, 2013 by cpslibrary
Categories: Class activities

It is that time of year again, when I read THE APPLE DOLL by Elisa Kleven and the students all say they want the directions to make their own apple doll at home.  It’s a lot of work, but usually one student will show up a few weeks later with a doll.  This year, it was Makenzie in Mrs. Lee’s second grade class.  She made THREE dolls with her grandmother.  Imagine my surprise when she brought in this fancy box, untied the lid, and unveiled these creative masterpieces!

GALAXY ZACK series

Posted October 18, 2013 by cpslibrary
Categories: Book Reviews, New Books 2013 school year

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galaxy zackHave you ever wondered what it would be like to live on another planet? Are you interested in what the future might be like? The “Galaxy Zack” books might be a good series for you!

In this new  easy chapter book series, a boy named Zack moves with his family from Earth to a planet called Nebulon. The sky, land, and water are different colors than on Earth, the cars fly, and the Nebulites speak very differently. Zack is nervous to move and he thinks no one will like him at school. He has to get used to everything on Nebulon.  There are amazing gadgets; for instance, when Zack pushes a button, his bed comes down from the ceiling at night!   There’s  an Indoor Robotic Assistant (IRA) that is wired throughout the house and does almost everything for Zack and his family.   There are fun pictures on every page, making these books great for beginning chapter book readers, but they would be great for a family read-aloud, too.

New Year, New Books!

Posted September 12, 2013 by cpslibrary
Categories: Book Reviews, New Books 2013 school year

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Welcome back to another wonderful school year.  It is my 19th here at CPS, and it feels just as exciting to start a new year as it did 19 years ago.  Of course there are always plenty of new books to read and share, and  I will highlight a few of my favorites here.

water castleTHE WATER CASTLE by Megan Fraser Blakemore

When Ephraim’s dad suffers a stroke, his family moves back to the Water Castle, their ancestral home in MAINE.  There is  a legend that the Fountain of Youth exists on the grounds of the castle.   Follow Ephraim and his friends on their quest to find the amazing healing water.  This book combines history, science, mystery, and family secrets in a very exciting way.   If you are a fan of THE SECRET GARDEN, you may find some similarities in this book.

spy campSPY CAMP by Stuart Gibbs

Hurray!  A sequel to SPY SCHOOL!  These are two great books about 12-year-old Ben Ripley who receives a surprise visit one night from a famous spy, informing him that because of his amazing math skills he is needed at a special school for CIA spies-in-training.  The first book chronicles his first year at this school, full of dangerous and humorous situations.  The second book, SPY CAMP, finds our young hero at the summer camp run by the spy school.  He is the target of SPYDER, the enemy spy group, and he spends the summer trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, who are trying to recruit him to “the dark side”.  He receives help again from  Erica,  the smart and pretty top student at his school.

esacpe from...ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY by Chris Grabenstein

Do you like games and puzzles?  Full of library humor and positive vibes about reading and games, this book is a fun twist on CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.  Kyle, an avid games, and 11 other sixth graders win the chance to spend the night at their town’s brand new futuristic library, designed by the world’s most famous game maker, Mr. Lemoncello (who bears a striking resemblance to Willy Wonka).  The library, which takes up half a city block, has holographic projections, hover ladders to help you reach books that are on bookcases three stories in the air, an IMAX theatre, and an Electronic Learning Center.  The night the children spend there is full of amazing fun and games.  In the morning the doors remain locked, and the eccentric Mr. Lemoncello announces a twist no one was expecting:  the children must all use what they find IN the library to find their way OUT of the library. They will have to use their wits to decipher clues and solve riddles leading them to an alternate exit.