It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 11/13/17

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On the blog:

  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed as you set up your schedule for #NCTE17, check out my tips for sorting through sessions.

In reading:

invisible emmie

Terri Libenson’s Invisible Emmie is the story of Emmie, an artistic middle-school girl who’s got a best friend and a big crush she’s scared to reveal and a mom who asks her a bunch of questions she doesn’t want to answer. The story is told partly through Emmie’s writing and partly through her drawings. The story was a bit slow, though it picked up considerably through the last third or so. I thought it needed one more thematic element or plot thread. But this book will likely appeal to many readers, and the illustrations are charming.

welcome

I confess that I wasn’t sure about Welcome when I first started reading it. Who is the audience for this book? The board book size and feel, the graphics and colors, and the mirrors made it seem like it really was a book for babies. But the text is very much for adults–very meta and often really hilarious. And then I got to the page celebrating all the wondrous things the new baby will get to experience in the world, and cats are very high on the list, and that was the moment I fell in love with this book. I still don’t entirely understand what to do with it beyond give it to your cool friends at their baby shower. But it’s pretty awesome.

whobert whover

Whobert, who fancies himself a sharp detective, thinks he has discovered a most shocking crime: Perry the possum is dead, and it’s up to Whobert to find the murderer. Much silliness ensues, and young readers will enjoy figuring out whodunit from the liberal clues the perpetrator left behind. (And never fear: possum is only playing dead.)

the bear report

Thyra Heder’s illustrations in The Bear Report are so fantastic–sometimes I forgot to read the words because I was so dazzled by the pictures. But the writing is really good too. It’s the story of a little girl who sneaks away from her boring homework report on polar bears to watch TV–only to have the polar bear she’s supposed to be writing about show up in her living room and usher her off to the North Pole to study bears in person. Needless to say, having an adventure with the bear himself makes the assignment so much more interesting.

cinnamon

Neil Gaiman’s Cinnamon probably isn’t every reader’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly mine. It reminds me of certain picture books of my childhood–books that took children seriously as readers, books that weren’t afraid of irony or words or imaginative leaps or poetic license. Books, in short, that weren’t afraid to have tigers eat irritating people. There are sure to be some entertaining Amazon one-star reviews. I do have some questions about cultural appropriation and want to think through that a little more carefully. Divya Srinivasan’s illustrations are magnificent.

hawk of the castle

Exquisitely illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, The Hawk of the Castle mixes verse and informational text to provide readers with an understanding of medieval falconry. The verse confused me: most spreads contain a four-line verse, but only the first two lines rhyme (and it’s mostly predictable rhyme: be, see; eat, feet). But then, verse confuses me in most instances. The informational text is written in tiny italics, which may make it hard to read for its target audience.  There is good back matter–an informative author’s note, a list of sources, and an index!

antlered ship

Ah, picture book perfection. I thought The Antlered Ship would be one to love mostly for the illustrations by The Fan Brothers, and they are sublime. But Dashka Slater’s story surprised me with its depth and resonance. I love Marco, the questioning fox, and the way his questions are answered mostly through being shared with others and being the source of wonder for all.

 

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13 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 11/13/17

  1. Loved The Bear Report and The Antlered Ship. The fox also my favorite character in Antlered Ship. And those glorious illustrations. Dave Eggers’ Her Right Foot took me by surprise. Informative and wonderful message. Bao Phi’s A Different Pond. Often-poetic words. Beautiful tale of a Vietnamese family. Finally, Dan Santat’s After the Fall. Something happens in this book that caught my breath. I love when a picture book makes me go still in wonder.

  2. I think I could repeat the above commenter’s words. Along with Town Is By The Sea, The Antlered Ship is another favorite. I love most bear books and you’re right, The Bear Report almost needs no words, but the book is lovely, too. And I did enjoy the Neil Gaiman story. He takes a different road, doesn’t he? I still haven’t read Welcome, will find it someday. Thanks, Elisabeth!

  3. The Bear Report is one of my favourites! Such a book to share aloud. The Antlered Ship is many kinds of incredible. It is going on my Mock Caldecott list. Can’t wait to hear about your NCTE adventures.

  4. Whobert Whover is a cute, cute book! I must admit that when I first saw this, I said, “Whoever” instead of Whover…oops!

    You always have great lists-

    Thank You for your suggestions too!

  5. I read The Antlered Ship to a 3rd and 4th grade class last week and had mixed reactions. The 3rd graders just loved everything. 4th graders were a bit more skeptical. I didn’t have time to get all of the opinions, but what I walked away with was they questioned the questions the fox had!
    I would like to get to Invisible Emmie at some point. My daughter enjoyed it but thought it was a bit mature for my 4th grade readers so it’s gone on the back burner!
    So ready for NCTE!

  6. I’m still confused about Welcome. Of course I was contemplating it as a book to read with babies and it completely fails in this regard. I might have to reread The Antlered Ship. The illustrations are just stunning, but the story just didn’t work for me.

  7. These are all new to me, and I’m now looking forward to most of them. I like how you give a sense of how the book feels in just a few sentences. And I laughed out loud at “verse confuses me in most instances” because that’s exactly how I feel!

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