Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fictional update

I realize I’ve been writing a lot about nonfiction these days.  In part, because I am reading a little less fiction, in part, because I'm preparing for workshops highlighting curriculum materials and information books that education students want to see related to their content areas (math, science, etc.), and in part, I feel a little guilty reading too much fiction during the academic school year because I like it and that’s all I really want to do.

But if doesn’t mean I‘ve stopped altogether.

Here’s a short list of some recent highlights:

Picture books:

Dogs by Emily Gravett (823 G788D PIC BK)
I’m a fan of Emily Gravett.  So, no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed this affectionate look at various dog breeds.  Loved finding out that the narrator was a cat.  (Suggested for preschool to grade 2.)

Interrupting chicken by David Ezra Stein (823 St338I PIC BK)
A very funny take on the whole bedtime ritual between father/daughter chickens.  As Father reads a nightly fairy tale, Little Red Chicken cannot help herself, interrupting every story to warn the characters about imminent peril, ending every story rather abruptly. The End. (Suggested for grades K-3).  A 2011 Caldecott Honour Book.

 My father is taller than a tree by Joseph Bruchac (823 B83M PIC BK)
Story-in-rhyme about diverse fathers playing, working, and loving their sons in various activities.  Lovely illustrations.  (Suggested for preschool to grade 3.)

 A pirate’s guide to first grade by James Preller (823 P915P PIC BK)
It’s the first day of grade one and everything becomes a high-seas, pirate-adventure as a six-year-old buccaneer boards the bus, heads to school and finds an understanding “old salt” of a teacher who goes by the name of Silver. (Suggested for grades K-3.)

White noise by David A. Carter. (535.6 CaW 2009 PIC BK)
Okay. Not really fiction but too good to not mention here.  Another fabulous pop-up creation by David Carter that combines incredibly elaborate paper pop-ups with intriguing ways to incorporate sound, too.  (Suggested for everyone.)


Graphic novels:
Binky the space cat by Ashley Spires (823 Sp48B FIC)
What to do with an indoor cat that might have cabin-fever?  Meet Binky.  An adventurous, brave cat who aspires to go where no cat has gone before – space, the final frontier.  But what about his human family, left behind?  Who will fend for them?  Quirky and fun.  (Suggested for grades 2-4.)

Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale (823 H135C FIC)
I had really enjoyed the first in this series, Rapunzel’s Revenge, and had looked forward to reading this one.  Though good, I didn’t get into it quite as quickly as the first and found it took awhile to connect with Jack.  Has an original plot and think it will work for both boys and girls. (Suggested for grades 4-9.)

Fahrenheit 451: the authorized adaptation by Ray Bradbury
This is the graphic novel version of the classic novel.  I really enjoyed it. Not having read the novel I can’t compare the two but reviews from Amazon suggest that fans will like this one, too.  (Suggested for grades 10 and up.)

Flight explorer, vol. 1 (823.008 FlE 2008 FIC)
A collection of short, fantasy stories for younger readers from various authors/illustrators.  (Suggested for grades 4-8.)

Kin: Good neighborsby Holly Black (823 B564K FIC)
Had read about this one from other blogs and was intrigued.  The first in the series, it sets up the characters and setting for this fantasy.  A family of three includes a mother (unbeknownst to her daughter, who is a fairy) who disappears, leaving her father to deal with the suspicion that he is responsible.  Very atmospheric and creepy.  Looking forward to the next one. (Suggested for grades 8 and up.)

Pinocchio, Vampire slayer by Van Jensen (823 J453P FIC)
A very twisted rending involving characters from the original story but extending out into the realm of the very strange when Pinocchio is cast as a vampire killer. And, let me tell you,  he's the puppet I'd hire to get the job done (watch out for the nose, is all I'm saying). First in series.  Not sure I’ll follow up with others.  (Suggested for grades 8 and up.)


 Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (823 W538B2 FIC)
Sequel to Leviathan which I found very original (1914, Darwinists and Clankers in a parallel universe).  This one was a little slower but continues the story logically and maintains elements of suspense and tension.  I will look for the third installment.  (Suggested for grades 6 and up.)

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (823 An243F FIC)
This one was recommended by a friend who has also enjoyed other books by Anderson.  I did enjoy this historical novel and can see tie-ins with another nonfiction book, The Secret of the Yellow Death by Suzanne Jurmain. (Suggested for grades 5-10.)

Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Lots of good blog buzz for this one and it’s won a few good awards, too.  Futuristic (bleak, of course. Any other kind?) story that has engaging characters, great plot that moves along with enough tension to keep you until the end.  First in series which I will continue to read.  (Suggested for grades 7 and up.)

Now back to more non-fiction.


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