Posted tagged ‘Humorous’

FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo

February 28, 2014

flora_cvr_usatoday_rev-3_4This year’s Newbery Award, given to the most distinguished book for children by an American author, goes to FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo.  The author of many popular books such as THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX,  BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, and the MERCY WATSON series, this is a smart, heavily illustrated story with a lot of humor and heart.

Flora is a lonely girl.  Her mother spends all her time writing romance novels, and Flora doesn’t see her father very much (her parents are divorced).  Flora reads a lot of old comic books about “the great Incandesto”, a superhero.  One day she looks out the window and sees a squirrel getting sucked into the neighbor’s vacuum cleaner.  Flora saves the squirrel, who now seems….different somehow.   Has he become a superhero?  How will Flora’s lonely life change because of this squirrel named Ulysses?

THE TEACHER’S FUNERAL by Richard Peck

May 30, 2013

FuneralI’m reading this book with two Literacy Groups now, and it is such a funny,  beautifully  written book.  It takes place in the early part of the 1900’s in the rural midwest.    Russell and his brother Lloyd find out on the last night of summer that the teacher of their one room schoolhouse  has died. For today’s children, that would be a very sad event,  but for these boys and the five other students in the tiny country school, they feel  like they’ve won the lottery.  Maybe school will be cancelled for good! But when they find out who the new teacher is, they almost wish that mean old  Miss Myrt Arbuckle wasn’t dead after all.   Once you get used to the author’s “down home” style and you figure out what all the old fashioned terms mean (privy, buggy whip, drawers, crick, etc.) you are in for a real treat as you go through the school year with Russell and his classmates.    The characters are so colorful,  you will find yourself laughing out loud. And you might even wish you went to their school!

LITTLE BLOG ON THE PRAIRIE

December 6, 2012

little blogThe “little house” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder were my favorites when I was in grade school.  My best friend and I used to play in the woods behind our houses, pretending we were Laura and Mary.  When I saw this book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it!  I read it last weekend and loved it.

Genevieve (Gen for short) and her family are spending the summer at Camp Frontier, with 4 other families.  They must give up their cell phones, ipods, and modern clothes and conveniences so that they can live an authentic 1890’s life.  That means eating only what they can grow (lots of beans!), using an outhouse, wearing heavy clothes and a bonnet in the sweltering heat, learning to milk a cow, and spending an entire day each Monday washing the family’s clothes in a tin washtub.    The entire family is a little overwhelmed with the changes.  Things start looking up for Gen when she becomes interested in the boy at the farm next door AND when she starts texting her friends back home on the cell phone she sneaked in to the Camp.  For older students who might wonder what it would be like to live in the “old days”, this is a fascinating, fun, and suspenseful  read.

Mia’s book shout out #2

February 2, 2012

Fifth grade book lover Mia shares her favorite books

“Happy 50th birthday,  Phantom Tollbooth!”

Do you ever think that a book can be really boring because there’s just something you can’t quite reach? Well then you won’t like the Phantom Toll Booth exactly for that reason. So after reading this, think about it, because if you read it at a younger age, you could still read it again and get more out of it.  But I’d still recommend reading it when you’re ten. It’s perfect – especially if you like words .  Or if you’re 7 and you are just into adventure and you can understand simple wordplay.

Have you ever wondered where letters, words, phrases, sentences, numbers, terms, expressions, and equations come from? When Milo finds a Phantom Tollbooth in his room, Milo decides to see what it can do, since he has nothing better to do. Milo hops in his little car and suddenly finds himself speeding along a highway, on his way to Dictionopolis. On the way, Milo encounters a trip to the Doldrums and Expectations and meets his journey companion Tock, a watch dog. Upon arriving in Dictionopolis, Milo discovers the silence between two regions, Digitotopolis and Dictionopolis. There, Milo is destined to rescue and return the fair Rhyme and Reason. Will Milo be able to save the fair Rhyme and Reason so fairness will return to the land?

I found that this story was so funny that I didn’t want it to end, but the great part of this is the wordplay and characters. Take the Which, for example, and look at how I spelled her name. She’s not dangerous, right? Only witches with the T are dangerous.

The Phantom Tollbooth is a hard book to know when to read because if you read it too early you won’t be able to understand a good part of this book, but it would still be a good adventure. If you are interested in reading this book it is located in the “J” section of the CPS Library. Have fun reading! The Phantom Tollbooth has been making people laugh for 50 years and hopefully many more!

Oh, What a Christmas! by Michael Garland

December 17, 2011

I guess it’s time to talk about Christmas books! OH, WHAT A CHRISTMAS! by Michael Garland has been a huge hit in the three kindergarten classes this past week. After Santa takes off in his sleigh full of toys, the reindeer harness breaks and the sleigh falls to earth and crashes into a barn full of animals. Guess who’s going to pull the sleigh now? This book is illustrated in dramatic, humorous, illustrations, and the expressions on the faces of Santa and the animals makes the kids howl with laughter. The text is very funny, too. Check it out!

Milo: sticky notes and brain freeze by Alan Silberberg

October 4, 2011

Here’s a book review by a fifth grade student in Mrs. Conrad’s class, Emily:

This is the fifth time Milo has moved!  Milo doesn’t think it will be the last time, though.  After all, it seems to Milo that moving is part of his life.

Milo’s family is a little, well, strange.  Sure, he has a Dad.  And a sister, of course.  But….they’re probably not like yours.  But what about the mom? Well, she had cancer and she died.  The main part of this book is about Milo figuring out how to deal with the fact that his Mom is gone.  Milo feels lost without a full family.

There are three people who make him feel better:  his best bud, Marshall, makes him laugh.  Hillary, his next door neighbor, knows how he feels and makes him feel safe.  A neighbor lady who has lost her husband teaches him that even if somebody close to you is gone, there are ways to keep them “alive”.

It sounds like this is a really sad book, but it is also very funny.  For instance, Milo is “in love” with Summer Goodman, and one of the first times he sees her he is buying SUPER SOFT TOILET PAPER!  How embarassing!  He and Marshall have a nice, funny friendship that reminds me of the way boys really do fool around.

This isn’t a graphic novel, but it does have a lot of sketches that are fun to look at.   I recommend this book to anyone who likes realistic stories about love, life, and family.

NEW BOOKS FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR

September 12, 2011

School is well underway, and it’s about time I shared some of the new books in the library collection that I read this summer.  I’m really excited about a lot of them, but I will start with my favorite.

How would you like to be the only girl in town?!  In THE TROUBLE WITH MAY AMELIA by Jennifer Holm, May Amelia is THE ONLY GIRL in her small farming community in Washington State.   And she has seven brothers!  Holm continues the story of this spunky, strong-willed girl and her family whom we first met in OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA (a 2002 Newbery Honor book).  The year is 1900 and life is hard for these  pioneers, who are mainly Finnish immigrants struggling to make it in their new country.  You will get a strong sense of what life was like in this time period: the hardships of farming, the danger of working in the lumber mill, the desperation of leaving home to start over in a new country.  If you think historical fiction is boring, this book is NOT:  May Amelia’s personality jumps off the page and she has a humorous way of dealing with almost everything.

THE FAST AND THE FURRIEST by Andy Behrens

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.

TUNNELS!

May 31, 2011

As I was finishing up PENNY DREADFUL by Laurel Snyder last night, I realized it was the fourth book I’ve read this spring that features a tunnel  as an important part of the story.   That got me thinking about a blog post, so here we go:

PENNY DREADFUL by Laurel Snyder is about a ten-year-old girl whose life changes in very big ways when her father quits his job and the family  leaves their mansion and their wealthy lifestyle in the city for the little town of Thrush Junction, Tennessee.  She has never had a friend before, or an adventure;  and suddenly she is surrounded by unusual characters and situations.  At the end of the book she finds herself in a TUNNEL, searching for the legendary hidden treasure….will she find it?  Will she stay in Tennessee or return to New York?  This is a great summer read with a slightly “old fashioned” feel.

THE TUNNEL OF HUGSY GOODE by Eleanor Estes

This book is set in New York in the 1970’s and features a neighborhood full of kids of all ages who have fun without video games (not invented yet!) or television.  If you are wondering how that is possible, check it out and read all about the boys who discover a TUNNEL running under their street.  What do they do there? And what on earth does the RACCOON have to do with it all?!

F IS FOR FREEDOM BY Roni Schotter

This one is more serious and historical.  Set in Vermont in the late 1800’s, it deals with a family who helps aother family of runaway slaves reach freedom in Canada.   The ending is very suspenseful, as  Amanda, the imaginative young daughter, has the opportunity to save the day because she knows of a TUNNEL that may keep the runaways safe from the slave catchers.  Find out if she is successful by reading this enjoyable, exciting historical fiction book.

THE PRINCESS AND THE GOBLINS by George MacDonald

A fantasy classic that has been loved for 150 years,  this book tells the story of Irene, a princess, and her friend Curdie who works in the mines.  There is a lot of exploration of the TUNNELS in the nearby mountain, tunnels where Curdie and his fellow miners make their living and which just happen to be populated by some pretty gruesome goblins with a plan that involves Irene.  This book has one of the most interesting grandmothers that I have ever had the pleasure to read about in a children’s book.  Check it out and see what an important role  Irene’s lovely, magical grandmother plays in this exciting adventure.

THE PINBALLS by Betsy Byars

December 6, 2010

I have just finished reading THE PINBALLS by Betsy Byars in all three of my fifth grade classes.  It is a realistic  story about three children, who each  have their own “issues”,  coming together at the same foster family.  We have all enjoyed the emotional ups and downs of watching Carlie, Thomas J., and Harvey bond into a family.

FIFTH GRADERS who have been listening to this story all fall:  write me a comment telling me your thoughts about the book…where do you think the three children will end up in ten years?  Will they be successful adults?  Will they still be “pinballs” or will they be trying to put their lives together?  Who was your favorite character, and why?  (You don’t have to answer all these questions; they are just to get your creative juices flowing!)  I will make one of Carlie’s famous mayonnaise cakes for the class with the most comments!