Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Trailer and Review: Frank!

Title: Frank!
Author: Connah Brecon
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Pages: 32
Review Copy: ARC from publisher
Availability: September 30, 2014

Summary: 
Try as he might (or might not), Frank is a bear who is always late. And when he starts school, the trouble really begins. 

Frank has very good reasons, like the time he had to save a cat stuck in a tree and the morning he found himself challenged to a charity dance-off, and even the time he had to rescue a family of bunnies from a huge, smelly ogre.

Frank's teacher has heard enough of Frank's excuses, but what happens when a giant zombie lizard king really does attack the school? 

Sometimes there is truth to the most unusual of circumstances, and being helpful can pay off in the most unexpected ways.

My Thoughts: I have a large measure of sympathy for Frank. I am quite often five to ten minutes late everywhere I go. Things have a way of taking longer than I expect or distractions appear at the very last minute. There are surely many readers in the same boat, but even people who manage their time a little better than that can appreciate the humor in this quirky book.

The illustrations are fun and have a few hidden treasures. The first two-page spread has a store that is a "One-Stop Watch Shop" and the newspaper boy hints at things to come as he announces the headline "Reptile Rampage." The pictures are childlike and imaginative.

Frank arrives to school late every day and tells stories of wild and crazy adventures. I wasn't certain  whether readers were meant to believe them or not. As an adult, I wasn't sure I understood the subtext or the conclusion, so younger readers may be a bit confused. In the end, children will probably enjoy the silliness of the story, especially the giant zombie lizard king, and likely won't care if they know what's true or if the resolution is clear. Adult readers may be left scratching their heads though.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelfImages via Goodreads unless otherwise noted. 

The Past Week: 

I had a pretty good week of reading. I was excited to finally get to a few books that I had been hearing about, Sisters, Absolutely Almost, and The Fourteenth Goldfish. I am sure that there are students at my school that will love them. I did enjoy meeting Albie, but I was not as excited about Absolutely Almost as some of my Nerdybookclub friends. It was good though. 

I really loved On My Block: Stories and Paintings by Fifteen Artists and will be ordering it for my library. The other art book I read, When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky, was also quite good. Goal! was another interesting non-fiction book. The photographs are fantastic and the facts are fun. I enjoyed Pig Park and reviewed it over at Rich in Color.

The Coming Week: 
Currently reading
I'm listening to When You are Engulfed in Flames and One Year in Coal Harbor and am reading these other two the old-fashioned way. I am not sure what else is up next, but maybe Sugar and/or The Year of the Rat. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Celebrate!

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres has a link-up on Saturdays where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every day.

Here are some of the fantastic things that happened this week:


* A child discovered the book Stick Man's Really Bad Day and belly laughed almost uncontrollably. While he was being way too loud for the area he was in, I couldn't help but smile. I have had tears rolling down my face as I laughed while reading that book.

* I was interviewed for an article in the Fall Teaching Tolerance magazine. Eek!
* I detest getting up early, but had to take my daughter to school twice this week at 6:45 for meetings. As I was driving, I wondered if there would be anything to celebrate about this. There were beautiful sunrises, but it was still hard to be happy about being awake earlier than normal. Thinking about this post made it easier though.

* We got to see our daughter inducted into the National Honor Society. I liked learning about their four pillars: Scholarship, Service, Leadership & Character.

* We had a two fun Skype visits this week in honor of International Dot Day. A first grade class chatted with another class in Texas and a second grade class did a reader's theater of The Dot with a fifth grade class near Madison. My students were very excited to connect with other students.

* One evening I ran five miles in just under 43 minutes. That was fast for me.


* This morning I ran just over nine miles at a really cool event in along backwaters of the Mississippi. It was beautiful.

* I have had a hilarious time reading Naked! with classes at school. They love the playfulness and I love seeing their smiles.

Whew! That is a lot to celebrate. It's been a good week.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Poetry Friday


Amy is hosting Poetry Friday over at The Poem Farm today. Be sure to visit and explore the many wonderful poems and poetry related posts there. Here is my offering for the day. I wrote it this afternoon in response to my hurried week and this lovely book by Rana DiOrio that reminds me to be present.


A Lesson from My Dog

Hurry, hurry, hurry
What's the rush?
Trying, trying, trying
To fit it all in.

Sometimes I resent sleep.

Sleep keeps me
From reading all the books,
Writing all the stories,
Seeing all the places,
Connecting with all the people
But,

Sleep, sleep, sleep
Is marvelous.
My exhausted body craves it
After the hurrying worrying days.

Today I crawled across the floor
To lay down with my dog.
My body thanked me
For being still.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Slice of Life




The Slice of Life Challenge was created by the people over at the blog Two Writing Teachers. The challenge is to write about some part of your day and share it each Tuesday.



As I started out on my run, I planned to go over the big blue bridges like I had the past week. I changed course though and headed towards the art center. This lead to several discoveries. There were bird shadows painted onto the sidewalk squares. That slowed me down just in time to see this poem:


There were many poems along my way and many more sights to see that were new to me. A mural that I had been wanting to find was right there in front of me when I turned a corner.

"Confluence" mural in La Crosse
I discovered a playful pair of footprints too. 

Kiss or Hug?
The sun was setting and lights were winking on as I continued on my run. Three ducks were swimming up river and lights were sparkling on the water as I passed many people enjoying the evening.

What I loved most though was running through the Moon Gate into the International Friendship Garden where we wandered earlier this summer with our exchange student. She and my daughter embodied the spirit of the garden as they posed on the Friendship Bridge.


The garden is a place dedicated to celebrating and encouraging connections between people. We were blessed to meet our student, but it is difficult knowing we won't be together again for a long time. Still, the memories brought a smile to my face.

Changing my course for the evening brought me many moments of joy and I am thankful for that.

** All of the photos are my own, but I took them before or after my run. At the time I wished for a camera, but was also glad that without it, I could just enjoy myself and be present.

Monday, September 15, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelfImages via Goodreads unless otherwise noted. 

The Past Week:


All of these are books I would recommend. My favorites were Wild Things, Relish, Meet Danitra Brown, and Becoming Naomi Leon, but I really enjoyed all of them. 

The Coming Week: 

I am almost finished with the audio of Traveling with Pomegranates. I just started the ARC of Kiss Kill Vanish and I am looking forward to the release of Pig Park later this week. I am sure I will pick up a few other books over the course of the week. I wish you a wonderful week of reading.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Celebrate!

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres has a link-up on Saturdays where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every day.

Here are my celebrations from the past week in no particular order.


** I had two fantastic runs this week. One was along the Mississippi and the arts area in La Crosse. There are poems printed into the sidewalks and I took the opportunity to blend my love for running and my love for reading. It was a beautiful crisp evening and my run was pretty close to perfect. The other run was this morning with a good friend. We ran in the wetlands seeing ducks, geese, a blue heron, and many other fun birds. The company was even better than the scenery.

View of Capitol building from the race start in Madison, WI
View of the finish line from Capitol building
** My husband completed his second Ironman. I was a seasoned spectator so we were able to plot our way through. We saw his entire swim, found a sneaky spot near the bike transition, saw him twice out on the bike and many times on the run. We even found an awesome viewing spot from high up on the capitol building and watched the first two finishers arrive.

** Oh, the food! Yum. We had a fabulous breakfast in hobbit style. We ate before the swim portion of the Ironman and since we got back to the hotel so quickly, we were lucky enough to have second breakfast too. We stopped at a Korean market after cheering out on the bike course. There we bought ice cream treats, drinks and cookies. After we cheered some more at the run, we found a greek place for a late lunch. With more hours to go, we eventually stopped for Jamba Juice (the kids), coffee (my mother-in-law) and bubble tea (for me) and contentedly rested on a bench.

** Classes at school have been going very well. I have shared some great books with students, The Pigeon Needs a Bath, The Adventures of Beekle and Naked! along with What Do You Do With an Idea? and Meet Danitra Brown. I have enjoyed getting to know the new students and reconnecting with the others. I especially liked meeting my tech crew for the first time and preparing for our first video announcements. The tech crew students are always so eager to create.

** My daughter typically plays singles in tennis, but it was a treat to get to see her play doubles this week. It's just always a treat to see her play, but her teammate was also a librarian's daughter. That made me giggle.


** A book celebration this week was reading Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature. I laughed out loud and had so much fun while reading it.


** My husband and I got to hike for a little while in a nearby forest. This is a really nice time of the year with pleasantly cool temperatures. Our hike would have been a tad longer, but we got a call from my daughter saying that we had an exchange student coordinator at our house and had we forgotten she was coming? Yup. We had. I was sad that she had to wait for us, but truly, I was glad I had forgotten or we wouldn't have hiked and I would have spent time cleaning when the house was actually fine.

I hope you had some great things to celebrate this week.