Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero

January 13, 2012

I read this book in the morning and then was interrupted. Several hours later, I am still wondering – so is this book about a superhero and his secret life or a young boy with an avid imagination? Anne Cottringer’s story, Eliot Jones Midnight Superhero, will promote a lively discussion with your students. I guarantee your reluctant readers will be wanting this book for their personal library.

Eliot is a quiet boy. He enjoys reading and playing quietly in his room. But when the clock strikes midnight, eliot morphs into a super hero. He saves the world. Adventure awaits him as he saves the world. One major crisis arises and Eliot is on the scene.

I love the ending.

But being a Midnight Superhero is very tiring. it doesn’t leave Eliot with much energy. So by day … Eliot is quiet.”

Savorings for reading and in writing for Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero:

  • Character Description
  • Bookend
  • Magic of 3
  • Adjectives
  • Transitions between scenes
  • Repeating Structure
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Dirk Yeller

August 17, 2011

Dirk Yeller is a cowboy with itches in his britches! People are nervous around him. When Dirk asks for help, no one seems to have the solution … except for Sam. Sam is curious and begins following Dirk everywhere. He seems to understand Dirk’s energy and shows him to his quiet place – the library.

The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town by Mary Casanova shares the importance of the library and how reading can capture a variety of interests. Ard Hoyt adds more to the story on the end papers. In the front, you will see the wanted poster, including Dirk’s profile. In back, the newspaper announces Dirk and the librarian wed. What a change reading had on this character!

“And ever since, the library has become the busiest place in town, especially for folks curious, restless minds – like Dirk Yeller and me.”

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town:

  • Magic of 3
  • Voice
  • Transitions
  • Similes – “sweet as pecan pie
  • Apostrophe – ‘cuz, shootin’

Warsaw Community Public Library new book


Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book

August 15, 2011

This book is creative and fun. As the school year begins, you want to engage your students through read alouds, enticing them to revel in the joy of reading.  Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book by Julia Donaldson will grab the daydreaming child’s attention and show him a creative way to read. The reading and writing connection is linked through this storytelling text.

The end papers display a bookshelf with books, which foreshadow the events in the story. Each two page layout links one scene to the next. As Charlie begins to read those books, the reader views the illustrations through Charlie’s eyes. One story leads to another, which leads to another, and eventually circles back to Charlie reading a book. Fun! I think your boys will find this book interesting and funny.

Set in a poetic, rhythmic rhyme, the reader is carried away on an adventure in every scene. The humor sprinkled throughout will delight all our listeners.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book:

  • Circular ending
  • Transitions
  • Love of Reading – it’ an adventure!
  • Humorous
  • Foreshadowing

Haiti’s Earthquake

April 11, 2011

I have never been to Haiti, but I did live in the Dominican Republic.  The scenery is beautiful. The vivid colors Alix Delinois paints mirrors the beauty of the island – bright, vibrant, delightful.

It has been a year since the earthquake shattered Port-au-Prince, Haiti on January 12, 2010.  In the author’s note, Edwidge Danticat share the moment when the news arrived.  Born in Haiti with family still there, the news was close to her heart.

This story, Eight Days: the Story of Haiti, is about a seven-year old boy named Junior.  He was trapped in the rubble for seven days.  To survive, Junior played games in his mind, memories that gave him hope.  I believe it’s important to show children the impossible moments can happen.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Eight Days:  A Story of Haiti:

  • Connection to current events
  • Hope
  • Imagination – visualizing everyday happenings
  • Transitions – snapshot moments from one day to the next
  • Family Importance

A Cat on the Mayflower

November 23, 2008

For all cat lovers, Pilgrim Cat  by Carol Antoinette Peacock is the book for you.  It’s about a little girl named Faith and a cat named Pounce.  Faith is sailing on the Mayflower with her family to the New World, and a stray cat boards the ship, chasing a mouse.  Throughout the voyage, you get a glimpse of the struggle Faith and the Pilgrims went through.  Befriending the cat, Pounce helps Faith through some difficult times.

In the author’s note in the front sheds light on how the idea for the book began.  While visiting Plimoth Plantation, a cat was noticed by the author’s daughter.  Through research, Carol learned that cats did travel the Mayflower to the New World.  (And dogs did too.)

Savorings for reading and in writing for Pilgrim Cat:

  • Background knowledge – fun but rich read a loud; an interesting twist in regards to the Mayflower voyage
  • Magic of 3 – repeatedly used throughout the story; “On the way home, Squanto stopped suddenly.  He crouched beside a hollow log.  Wordless, he beckoned to Faith.”
  • Transition – from one setting to the next; passage of time; from one difficulty to the next