Sunday, March 1, 2015

{#sol15} 1/31

hosted by Two Writing Teachers

Thank you for joining me on this Slice of Life writing journey. It's my first attempt at the month-long challenge though I have posted stories on Tuesdays once in a while. 

Who am I?

Wife and mother
Overgrown Child
Chocolate eater
Tea drinker

Review: Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes

Title: Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
Pages: 32
Review copy: Digital ARC via publisher
Availability: On shelves now

Summary: Enter an enchanted land of mythical creatures where manticores reign and ogres roar. With a unique twist on traditional rhymes, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes presents a darker approach to these childhood classics, and yet the sing-song nature of the poems renders them playful and jovial at the same time. Little Witch Muffet is not frightened by a silly, little spider; she adds him to her stew! If you enjoy mischief and have a penchant for the morbidly hilarious, the rhymes will satisfy your mythological curiosity. The book also includes a "bestiary" with information about the book's legendary creatures.

Review: A troll, witch, manticore, zombie and ogre may not be the characters you expect in a nursery rhyme, but that's who you will find here. This is the perfect nursery rhyme collection for the fantasy lover as it features many unusual beasts.

When I heard the words Monster Goose, I immediately thought of the book of that title by Judy Sierra and figured that this concept had already been done. For those thinking the same thing, what sets them apart the most would be the illustrations. In this book, the illustrations are much more sophisticated. To see a few examples of the art, check out the Animoto below.

The artwork is a definite draw here, but the text is also fun by itself. The authors include a reference to each original rhyme with the titles so readers will know the "tune." If a creature is unfamiliar, there is also a bestiary at the end providing a description and its origin. The rhymes are slightly creepy and paired with the lush illustrations, this will be a fun title to share.

The only issue I have is the inclusion of a variation of 'Eenie Meenie, Miney, Mo!' I am just old enough that it is impossible to hear any form of that rhyme without a racist word popping into my mind. I could have done without that reference.

With only fourteen rhymes, this is actually a short book, but if fantasy is dear to your heart, this is one you'll want to see.

Saturday, February 28, 2015


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 week.

* I was able to binge watch Downton Abbey this week. I don't really watch television as a general rule. I used to watch Survivor sometimes when my whole family was watching it years ago. The other show I watched was all of the Dr. Who episodes (except two my daughter said I could skip) in preparation to watch the fiftieth anniversary special with her. I watched about a season a week for that. This weekend our public library is having a Sunday Tea in honor of the end of the fifth season. I love tea and wanted to go the party so I have been watching the first two seasons at a rapid clip.

* Our staff had another Fabulous Friday activity. This time it was a White Elephant exchange. I forgot so didn't participate, but still got a bellyful of laughs watching them open their gifts at the end of the day.

* Despite technical difficulties (we had to use a cell phone to hear her), some of our second grade students were able to Skype with our former ELL teacher who has moved away. It was wonderful to see her beautiful smiling face.

* We also had our Fancy Lunch this week at school. The lights were dim, we had little battery operated tea lights, paper on the tables for drawing and soft jazz playing. Students and staff were dressed in fancy clothes too. One of the students informed me that we should definitely NOT schedule the next fancy lunch on a spaghetti day. He had a point. There were a few splotches on clothes.

* Our Battle of the Books team participated in the state competition. They did miss a few questions, but they had the highest score that any team has gotten at our school the whole time I have been coaching. They were awesome. It was cool to get to work with them.

I'm off to the library. It's a beautiful day though we are still only sitting at twelve degrees. The sun is shining and we may even get to twenty this afternoon. Oh, and there are girl scout cookies in the house. That's a celebration in itself. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge

Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more non-fiction. I am thankful that she has this challenge because I know I have read more nonfiction texts as a result.

Women's History Month is just around the corner and here are some of the books I typically highlight in my library. I spent the afternoon pulling some of these amazing books for our display. Are there some picture books that you love to share in March or anytime of the year that feature women? If you want to know more about the titles, visit my women's history shelf at Goodreads. Also, the Amelia Bloomer Project has some amazing titles.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Slice of Life - Minneapolis

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 then give feedback to at least three other bloggers.

My exchange student and I packed a lot of stuff into our Sunday. We got up and left the house around 8:00. We made it to St. Paul around 11:00. Our first stop was the Hmong Village Market. I bought an outfit, a bracelet, and a ball (the ones used for ball toss at New Year's). There is always so much to see there. I was disappointed that the bookstore Hmong ABC wasn't open yet. I always stop in there, but I knew we would visit at least one more bookstore that day, so we headed out to our next destination: The Mall of America.

We had a fun time exploring the mall. I had no idea that one time around the mall was a little over half of a mile, but that is what we learned on the Internet. I soon got a text from a loved one asking if I knew that the mall was under a high security alert. Ugh. We stayed anyway. The threat of terrorism hung over my head a bit, but I figured it was probably more likely that we would have a traffic accident on the way home. 

We also went to a waterfall to have a bit of a winter adventure. We had to hop across to get underneath the icicles, but it was cool to hear the water behind the ice. It was gurgling back behind me. There was steam and warm air in that cave. That actually felt wonderful since the high that day was -2 and the wind was blowing.

Our next stop was the Cowles Conservatory in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Due to the frigid temps, we skedaddled into the conservatory and looked at the Spoonbridge and Cherry from the toasty warm entry way. The frost designs on the windows were swirly and amazing. Walking among the plants with the snow and ice outside made me feel like we were getting away with something.

Our final stop was Birchbark Books. The owner, Louise Erdrich, was there to do a reading. They were having an open house so there were refreshments. I bought a nice pile of books and even read a few. After she read a bit, we were running out of steam and needed to head home.

I'm glad we got to experience so many wonderful things together. I was also quite happy to get home  and sink into a chair.

Monday, February 23, 2015

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 shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

The Past Week: 

Due to an amazing weekend, I don't have time to tell about the books I read this past week, but most of them are reviewed on my Goodreads shelf if you want to know more about any of them. My favorites of them all were Hello Ocean, Sweetest Kulu, and Sugar Hill closely followed by Zombie Baseball Beatdown and In My Family

Have a great week filled with wonderful reading!

Friday, February 20, 2015


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 week.

Here are some of my reasons to celebrate.

* My husband and I got to go to a Valentine's Day couples event. We spent time with other couples, talked alone and had a candlelight dinner too. The time together was a special treat.

* I enjoyed my Zumba classes this week. I'm thankful for the fun times with great ladies.

* A few of us were able to explore the construction in our school. Wearing a hard hat made it feel special. We saw some of the new spaces in the addition to the building. Walking around in a partially completed building is certainly a cool opportunity. Do I dare mention the negatives though? The fumes and the noise have been rough this week.

* To keep up our spirits during construction, we are having Fabulous Fridays. Today the fabulousness  was a potato bar at lunch. Having lunch together as a staff is definitely worth a celebration.

* I have students who love reading. Seeing smiles on their faces as they check out books and read will never ever get old.

* We got a book order this week with some awesome books like Sweetest Kulu. Opening the package and pulling them each out was like getting presents.

Fry Bread!!
* I'm on a team from my school that is participating in Culturally Responsive Practices training. Our homework this month was to attend a community event. Last night several of us went to a family fun night at Nį Tanį Hocira (Three Rivers House). The event began with food - and it was delicious. I am a big fan of fry bread. The food was amazing, but the best part was the conversations. I met a language apprentice, much like the one featured in the video below.

The apprentices and their mentors are working to keep the Ho-Chunk language alive. The families at the event were creating family trees using Ho-Chunk words for mother, father, etc.... I was also able to reconnect with some who have been great resources for me in the past. The evening was a lift to my spirit.