Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

30201160

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts.

Julia is still mourning the loss of her beloved dog Ramon when her mother signs Julia and her younger brother Randy up for a local university production of The Wizard of Oz.  Julia is quite short for her age, so her mother is certain she will be cast as a Munchkin.  Reluctant at first, Julia becomes more and more enamored with the various people involved in the semi-professional production.  The director, some of the actors, and a few of the tech crew have been hired from out of town; some are college students; the rest, like Julia, are from the local community.  Julia acknowledges not only her own “shortcomings” both at school and at home, but is realistic in her assessment of other people as well. The reader will grow along with Julia as she learns about life and the world around her through this classic production. A must read for students who love to act, as well as for those who feel they are average in a world of “stars.” I loved the main character Julia SO much and I think I took a liking towards her right from the beginning due to her love of her dog! Highly recommended for grades 4 & up!

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

28114411

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“SOME PIG,” Charlotte the spider’s praise for Wilbur, is just one fondly remembered snippet from E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. In Some Writer!, the two-time Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell his story, from his birth in 1899 to his death in 1985. Budding young writers will be fascinated and inspired by the journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. This authorized tribute is the first fully illustrated biography of E. B. White and includes an afterword by Martha White, E. B. White’s granddaughter.

Some Writer! is one of the best biographies, for kids, that I have ever read!  Seriously! E. B. White is one of my most favorite authors.  If you don’t know the name, he is the author of the iconic Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, among many others.

The mixed media approach calls for the reader to slow down to observe all the details and sweet emphasizes, that E. B. White did himself. It’s filled with maps and collages that connect to the stories/chapters included of his life. There are thirteen chapters, among them, White’s beginnings and his work for The New Yorker magazine, his three books, and his collaboration on a new edition of The Elements of Style. His love of solitude and being in nature is evident in nearly every chapter. A beginning page, for children’s use especially, is a full-page picture of a manual typewriter, and an explanation of how it works. There are pages of actual pictures of White’s manuscripts, some hand-written, some typed; and a page about boat building, which is a surprising thread throughout the book. He was given a canoe by his father when he was young, and when the family spent summers in Maine. And, among others owned, late in life his son built him another one. (His son became a boat builder!) He spent much time canoeing and sailing on the water, observing, thinking about life.

The whole thing is a masterpiece. It’s so lovingly and expertly written and illustrated – capturing White’s essence perfectly.  For any literary lovers, this is a must for your personal library!  I cannot wait to read a few more books from E.B. White such as a book full of letters.  A beautiful, exceptionally written book that is a gift to us all!

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson

164532.jpg

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

What happens to the leaves on a tree when autumn and winter comes around the corner? Well, that is what we are about to find out! “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves” is a children’s book  and it is about a young fox named Fletcher who tries to save a tree’s leaves from falling off during autumn and winter. “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves” is a cute story about the beauty of changes in weather that I am sure that many children who are interested in knowing what happens to the trees during winter and autumn will easily enjoy for many years!

Each morning, Fletcher would come out of the den and explore the world, but then he realizes that the tree’s leaves were turning gold and beginning to fall off the tree. Fletcher than goes to the tree every day to keep the leaves on the tree; however, when winter came, Fletcher noticed that all the leaves were starting to fall off more rapidly than before.

Fletcher is very worried. He tells the tree he’ll help. But when the very last leaf falls to the ground, Fletcher feels as though he’s let down his friend . . .until the first day of winter, when Fletcher sees that his tree has turned into a shining, glittering surprise.

Bug in a Vacuum by Mélanie Watt

25241965.jpg

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Melanie Watt has done a fantastic job combining a great children’s story with an underlying life lessons.  This book has fantastic, humorous pictures to go with the story of a fly that inadvertently gets sucked into a vacuum. In silly ways, the fly goes through the five stages of grief.  Parents can keep it simple for the little ones, or engage older children in discussion about the feelings we often go through when something bad happens to us. Perceptive readers will notice the dog experiencing loss only slightly less dramatically than the bug! I read this to my story time group and they were genuinely sad for this fly!  An interesting concept for a children’s book!  I will tell you that the story DOES have a better ending than the beginning of the book for the Fly!

The League of Beastly Dreadfuls (The League of Beastly Dreadfuls #1) by Holly Grant

22105019

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A creepy Victorian house, secretive aunties, and a great escape combine in this debut that is part Mysterious Benedict Society, part Roald Dahl. Join the League. . . 

We meet Anastasia a average almost 11 year old who’s parents die in a freak vacuum accident and her great aunties come to take her to their home in St Agonys insane asylum. between a creature in the woods, attacking poodles, a biting gardener and being locked in her room at night Anastasia`s life is turned upside down but all is what it seems and Anastasia is about to learn how horrible the world can be.

The pacing both in action and humor is perfect, and the narrator not too clever for its own good. Full of adventure and excitement, The League of Beastly Dreadfuls is a fast-paced and highly entertaining read. The story mixes the perfect amount of dark and quirky with comic relief and enjoyable characters. The writing flows wonderfully and pulls the reader in expertly, making this an excellent choice for reluctant readers.  something strange is going on at the asylum. Anastasia soon begins to suspect that her aunties are not who they say they are……

This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs by Gary Paulsen

25111131.jpg

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

If you do not know who Gary Paulsen is….then we can’t be friends….I supposed we COULD, but you must read his books!  Gary Paulsen is the Newbery Honor–winning author of Hatchet and Dogsong . In this book he shares surprising true stories about his relationship with animals, highlighting their compassion, intellect, intuition, and sense of adventure.

Gary Paulsen is an adventurer who competed in two Iditarods, survived the Minnesota wilderness, and climbed the Bighorns. None of this would have been possible without his truest companion: his animals. Sled dogs rescued him in Alaska, a sickened poodle guarded his well-being, and a horse led him across a desert. Through his interactions with dogs, horses, birds, and more, Gary has been struck with the belief that animals know more than we may fathom.

His understanding and admiration of animals is well known, and in This Side of Wild, which has taken a lifetime to write, he proves the ways in which they have taught him to be a better person.

I found this book in Juvenile non-fiction section at the library and due to that fact, the book to me was too short!  I want to hear more of his stories other than those I have already read!  I highly suggest you read about the very interesting life of Gary Paulsen!  You will wonder where and when did he have time to write over 200 books?  A fantastic author and person to read about!

The Best Man by Richard Peck

28251377

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Richard Peck, a Newbery Medalist, has written us readers a novel about gay marriage from a kid’s point of view!

Archer is a 6th grader who has a great life full of friends, family and wonderful teachers.  He soon finds out that his uncle Paul is about to marry another man.  The man he is going to marrying just happens to be Archer’s favorite student teacher.  Not only that, but Archer is to be the ring bearer!

The big talking point of the book will be that Archer realizes that his favorite uncle is gay, but this really wasn’t main point of the story. Yes, the uncle gets married to a man, but this was addressed in such a supportive and accepting way that it was never an “issue”. It’s just a part of life, no big deal to him.

This is a great book that emphasize the importance of family, no matter what the circumstance thrown their way.  A controversial topic handled with honesty, humor, and insight.   Richard Peck is an excellent story teller, the mundane and everyday ordinary lives of his characters are so real and well written!