8.6 It’s a Summer Monday! What are YOU reading?



All book descriptions from IndieBound–Support you independent book stores when possible:

Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she’s blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong–until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She’s not really a Murphy, but the gifts they’ve given her have opened up a new future.

My comment: I’d have to be dead not to have heard the high praise for this book from the blogs and Twitterverse. I expected it to be good. But it was great. Great. Powerful. I have some ideas to share about this book. It deserves its own post. Look for it later this week.

Tom Angleberger’s latest, loopiest middle-grade novel begins when M’Lady Luggertuck loosens her corset (it’s never been loosened before!), thereby setting off a chain of events in which all the strict rules of Smugwick Manor are abandoned. When, as a result of “the Loosening,” the precious family heirloom, the Luggertuck Lump (quite literally a lump), goes missing, the Luggertucks look for someone to blame. Is it Horton Halfpott, the good-natured but lowly kitchen boy who can’t tell a lie? Or one of the many colorful cast members in this silly romp of a mystery.

Praise for Horton Halfpott
“A positively gleeful historical mystery farce. Short chapters, a fast pace and plenty of linguistic and slapstistic humor will have young readers hoping that a sequel is planned. The scribbly pen-and-ink chapter-heading cartoon illustrations are just icing on the cake—or pickle éclair. A romp from start to finish.” –Kirkus Reviews

My comment: When I tweeted Tom Angleberger some positive comments about this book, he responded with thanks for remembering his “quiet book”. Horton took me by surprise. I was literally laughing out loud (OK–guffawing, perhaps. GOL?). There are so many clever turns of the language and playing with words. I had just read the first chapter when it was time to visit my in-laws for my MIL’s birthday. I brought it along because I thought she would enjoy hearing it read. And I was right. She chuckled right along with it, and later told me that she told her friends how great it was. Go read this book if you haven’t.


My comment: A perfect book for showing basic story structure. A pleasant setting; a difficult character; a problem; a chance to win over the difficult character.

My comment: Want to show a child the thrill of a library? This is your book.

My comment:  A beautifully-illustrated book about a boy with a stuffed grizzly who comes to life. Perhaps an early Calvin and Hobbes?

My comment: My friend David W. said I had to get this book–so I did.  Each of these explorative girl’s experiments follows a pattern: Question –> Hypothesis–> What you need –> What to do –> What happened.  The girl questions: Can a kid make it through the winter eating only snow and ketchup?  Would gerbils like bigger wheels?  Do dogs like to be covered in glitter?  Will seedlings grow if given Eau La La perfume instead of water?

Clever book with fun illustrations and diagrams. I’m going to have to find the authors’ first book, 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore!

My comment: What will newcomer Hannah do when the class picnic is on Saturday… and it’s the Sabbath? A sweet story of a struggle for acceptance and belonging, and the friendship of her school community.

My comment: Need a book besides Munsch’s Love you Forever to show a parents’ love? Perhaps a book not aimed squarely at your tear ducts? Try Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You.  It’s by Nancy Tillman, who also wrote On the Night You Were Born, a book we read to our girls quite a bit.  It feels a bit like Oh, The Places You’ll Go, and lets a child know that a parent’s love… “Never gets lost, never fades, never ends…”

My comment: I waited a long time to get this. Read it; enjoyed it; feel like there is a bigger message that I’m missing… Help, anyone?

My comment: I’m a pretty big fan of Polacco books. This one was not among my favorites.

My comment: A cat who changes from hunter to caretaker? Believe it. The best part of this book? Dan Santat’s illustrations.

My comment: George is left alone and trusted to behave. Does he? NO. But he feels bad and turns over a new leaf. Will one last temptation get the best of him? Chris Haughton is the author of Little Owl Lost, a book I need to get my hands on.

I received this ARC from Monkey See, Monkey Do bookstore. I’ll write about it in the future. Book available September 4th.

From Amazon:

I had big thoughts to match the big wind. I wondered if we find the people we need when we need them. I wondered if we attract our future by some sort of invisible force, or if we are drawn to it by a similar force. I felt I was turning a corner and that change was afoot.

In the little town of Blackbird Tree live two orphan girls: one Naomi Deane, brimming with curiosity, and her best friend, Lizzie Scatterding, who could talk the ears off a cornfield. Naomi has a knack for being around when trouble happens. For she knows all the peculiar people in town—like Crazy Cora and Witch Wiggins and Mr. Farley. But then, one day, a boy drops out of a tree. The strangely charming Finn boy. Then the Dingle Dangle man appears, asking all kinds of questions. Curious surprises are revealed—three locked trunks, a pair of rooks, a crooked bridge, and that boy. Soon Naomi and Lizzie find themselves zooming toward a future neither could ever have imagined. Meanwhile, on a grand estate across the ocean, an old lady whose heart has been deceived concocts a plan. . . .

As two very different worlds are woven together, Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech celebrates the gossamer thread that connects us all, and the great and unexpected gifts of love, friendship, and forgiveness.

IN OTHER EXCITING NEWS: My mother-in-law called me the other day and told me she downloaded an advertised book on her Nook and she keeps thinking about me and my classroom as she reads it. “It’s about a monster…the monster is a tree.”

ME: “Wait. Are you reading A Monster Calls?

MIL: “Yeah, that’s what it’s called. You’ve heard of it?”

ME: “Oh my goodness. That is one of my top favorite books of the past year…

And we talked about it for a few minutes… and more when she had finished it and I went to visit.

I love how books bring us together.

AND FINALLY: A few of us Twitter folks are having fun August 1-7 celebrating our very own #chompsticks week. How do you eat snacks while reading without getting the book dirty? Chopsticks of course. The idea was born, and each day we post a picture of ourselves eating with chopsticks–hopefully with a book. I’ve been compiling the daily collages. Good, silly, book fun. Here are a couple:


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