Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Twitterville Talk #106

While you are reading this post I am making the journey by car and train to the American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.  To say I am thrilled for this opportunity is an understatement.  I am fortunate to be able to attend the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder banquet on Sunday evening.  I hope to have many conversations about books and reading with colleagues I've met on Twitter, members of the Nerdy Book Club, every single one.  I am excited to able to meet authors and illustrators whose works I have admired for years.  Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend.  Take time for reading.  Look for the giveaways.

I really enjoyed reading this essay, Children's literature heroes---what they say about our times.  I'm thinking this would make for a good discussion in the classroom as well.

There is so much sharing within our PLN on Twitter.  These Summer Reading Suggestions 2013 by grade is yet another example.
To the first person who can name one of the two Newbery titles on the third grade reading suggestion list I will send a copy of White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachlan.
Send me a DM on Twitter with your answer or leave it in the comments below.

Thanks to school librarian and blogger at Great Kid Books, Mary Ann Scheuer for these posts and tweets.

Have you registered yet for School Library Journal's SummerTeen?  It's a free online event focusing on books and authors taking place on July 24th.

Thanks to Teri Lesesne, university professor and blogger at The Goddess of YA Literature, for this tweet.

In case you missed the June #SharpSchu Book Club on Wednesday 19, 2013 it has been archived by Mr. Schu.  Three beautiful wordless pictures books were discussed, The Boy and the Airplane by Mark Pett, Bluebird by Bob Staake and Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle.

They flock to him like bees to honey; our book trailer guru, Mr. Schu.

NPR's Backseat Book Club is asking for The Best Books for Kids Age 9-14? You Tell Us  Listen to the story, stop by the site and leave your suggestions.

Have you visited the Scholastic page for teachers titled Story Starters?  It's lots of fun!
To the first person who can name all the categories listed at the Story Starter page I will send a copy of The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel.  This is one of my all time favorite funny books. Send me a DM on Twitter with your answer or leave it in the comments below.

Many thanks to John Schumacher, teacher librarian, one half of the #SharpSchu Book Club, 2011 Library Journal Movers & Shakers, 2014 Newbery Medal Committee member and blogger at Watch. Connect. Read. for these tweets.

When Shark Girl was released in 2007 it was given starred reviews by four sources.  The sequel, Formerly Shark Girl had its book birthday last month, but has already received a starred review from Kirkus.  Enjoy this trailer.

Thanks to Kelly Bingham, author of both these titles and the picture book, Z is for Moose, for this tweet.

Get ready for the July #SharpSchu Book Club.  Get all the information at this link here and here.  Be prepared to laugh, be informed and enjoy both posts.

Thanks to Colby Sharp, educator, one half of the #SharpSchu Book Club, co-host with Donalyn Miller of the monthly #titletalk, co-founder of the Nerdy Book Club and blogger at sharpread for this tweet.

Absolutely amazing resource from ISTE June 24, 2013, Your School Library:  Mobile, Flipped and Curated

Thanks to Donna Macdonald, teacher librarian, tech integrationist and blogger for this tweet.

If you are looking for videos and books for all ages that address special needs look no further than this post, Styling Librarian: Connecting to books that address special needs.

Thanks to teacher librarian and blogger at The Styling Librarian, Debbie Alvarez currently residing and working in Hong Kong for this tweet and post.

There is something very special about this Nerdy Book Club post, Books Become Your Home by author Megan Frazer Blakemore (The Water Castle).

Thanks to the Nerdy Book Club for this tweet.

There is no end to the wonderfulness of new book releases---Penguin Fall Kids 2013|Preview Peek
To the first person who can tell me the title of the new book by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri, I will send a copy of Cheetah Can't Lose by Bob Shea.  Enter your answer in the comments below or send me a DM on Twitter.

Thanks to School Library Journal for this tweet.

Debut picture book author illustrator Aaron Becker unveiled his book trailer for Journey this week.  It is stunning.

Thanks to Aaron Becker for this tweet.

Candlewick Press announced four discussion guides available at this link for Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking series and for A Monster Calls.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this tweet.

Now this is very interesting...all of it...Pew Survey Shows Power of Print

Thanks to Children's Bookshelf of Publishers Weekly for this tweet.

I recently reviewed a picture book written by Martha Brockenbrough with illustrations by Israel Sanchez titled The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy.  If you would like to be entered in a drawing for a piece of original artwork send in a picture of yourself with the book.  Follow this link for more information.

Thanks to Martha Brockenbrough for this tweet.

Here are some of my favorite quotes and comments from Twitter this week.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Into The Great Outdoors

The attraction of tents, whether shaped by quilts and chairs in the solace of your home or by any number of commercial manufacturers for use outdoors in any season, is undisputed.  There is a comfortable coziness inside especially at night within the warm glow from a flashlight or lantern.  Depending on where your tent is located (bedroom, backyard, National Park or wilderness), the sounds and visitors in the night, or day, may vary.

While most people at one point in their lives have reaped the benefits of camping outdoors in a tent, there are others who never have or never will partake in this form of adventure.  They prefer the risk factor of staying home versus venturing into the unknown.  As readers of the series can probably guess, Scaredy Squirrel falls into the former category. Little does our worry-wart friend know but in Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping (Kids Can Press) written and illustrated by Melanie Watts, life has one surprise after another in store for him.

Scaredy Squirrel never goes camping.

It's too unpredictable and needs more effort than he is willing to invest.  There are six, no more, no less, problems which might arise, skunks, zippers, mosquitoes, quicksand, penguins, and The Three Bears. (Are you laughing yet?  I am.)

He's got the perfect plan for camping without ever leaving his snug dwelling.  Television guide in hand, he's made a mental list of camping and adventure shows to watch.  Hmmmm....there is one small hitch though.  Scaredy Squirrel needs to complete the successful navigation to the nearest electrical outlet. 

Mr. Ready-For-Any Disaster begins preparations.  His necessary supplies make no sense at all unless paired with the aforementioned hazards; his logic defies explanation.  His attire from head to toe including a nose plug for whiffy smells and a penny for good luck will promote happiness...he thinks.  Every detail is considered.  There is a time schedule. A map from home to goal with notes for using the supplies is an essential.

With physical training successfully finished and the weather and natural phenomenon (volcanic eruptions) monitored, our "Nervous Nellie"  skitters along his pre-determined route until...gigantic trouble looms into his vision.  Fright ensues. All plans are abandoned in light of sheer survival.  Hours later Scaredy Squirrel makes a discovery which, he has to admit, changes his outlook about the outdoors.

Melanie Watt has created in the character of Scaredy Squirrel a means to face fears with silly, super-readiness. From the first page covered in zippers containing a message:

Scaredy Squirrel insists you check your zippers before reading this book.

followed by the title page showing him, eyes closed wearing a hat with netting as a mosquito waits at the ready, readers are treated to this little guy's special brand of thinking.  With short, matter-of-fact sentences, single word labels, explanatory guidelines and comments we are privy to the process in this latest episode.  His postscript sums up the entire narrative in a nutshell...acorn specifically.

Digitally rendered illustrations in natural shades of greens, browns, rusty oranges with red accents color Scaredy Squirrel's world.  The expressions on his face whether relaxing, in conversation, fearful, determinedly planning or at ease in blissful enjoyment are fully animated, charming and hilarious.  For emphasis he may appear in a circle within another picture. Rows of squares, two-page spreads, diagrams, maps, instructions, charts, and single page visuals match the mood of the story to perfection.

All year long in the "W" area of fiction there is a gaping hole where the Scaredy Squirrel books would be shelved. They are returned and leave again on the same day; sometimes in the same class period.  Fans of the series are going to love this newest installment by Melanie Watt, Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping.  Even if you've never read a Scaredy Squirrel title, this one is not to be missed.  How could you not read this book, looking at the face on the jacket and cover?  Pair it with your other camping books, funny books or those books to be read over and over.

A link to Melanie Watt's blog is embedded in her name above. She has lots of extras, several book trailers for other books in the series.  Scaredy Squirrel has his own website linked above.  Follow this link to a couple of activity pages

Thursday, June 27, 2013

With These Hands...

Mentors, colleagues and friends can make a huge difference in shaping your reading life, offering encouragement and flinging doors wide open into unexplored worlds.  Every single time I read a nonfiction picture book I am reminded of Donalyn Miller's essay at the Nerdy Book Club, Book Gap Challenge and more recently of Alyson Beecher's Kid Lit Frenzy blog posts,  Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday.  A single, carefully-worded invitation and a weekly reminder can be very powerful for members in a reading community.

When completing the reading of many nonfiction picture books, it is with a sense of gratitude the final page is turned.  You long to personally thank the author and illustrator or author/illustrator for their efforts in bringing little known or unknown information into your world. With every reading of Brick by Brick (Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers) written by Charles R. Smith Jr. with illustrations by Floyd Cooper, I continue to be struck by the strength of the words, pictures and of the people who grace the pages.

Under a hazy,
hot summer sun,
many hands work
together as one.

As a new country, having gained freedom from British rule, the United States had a considerable amount of building to do.  One structure made would be the home of the president, The White House.  Land was cleared, stone was dug and broken and wood was sawed using slaves.

They were rented, these humans, working day in and day out in the grueling heat and bug-infested land. Their owners would collect the day's pay, twelve-hour days.  Without the use of modern engineering and machines, it was the hands of these men which completed all the necessary tasks.

Their hands held saws, chisels, hammers, shovels and pick axes working until they were raw and bleeding.  The younger slaves formed the bricks from clay, sand and water.  Mortar was made from oystershells, rock, lime and sand.  All by hand. So many hands. So much work.

Tradesmen taught the slaves more intricate craftmanship.  With these skills they were paid, money to be used to purchase freedom.  Shilling by shilling much was gained.  A home for a president built by the hands of slaves.

Thorough, meticulous research supports the solid, powerful words of Charles R. Smith Jr. The rhythm one feels from his rhyming words is truly of many hands working.  By repeating certain phrases, together as one, hazy hot sun, twelve hours a day, and brick by brick the cadence captures readers' attention, not releasing it even when the cover is closed.  Including the names of the slave workers makes this a very personal experience, unforgettable.

Beginning with the double page spread spanning the matching jacket and cover, award-winning Floyd Cooper recreates the past for readers, bringing them into the everyday lives of these slave workers.  Inside a single-page landscape featuring the finished White House provides a fitting vista for the title.  The following two-page illustration, a line of workers carrying their tools, some in shackles, voices lifted in conversation or song, provides a place for the verso and dedication.  It's stunning.

All of the illustrations, two-page paintings, edge to edge, spectacularly portray the narrative; most bringing us close to the people.  The faces, the hands, the physical fortitude and emotions shown on each individual are incredible.  The artistic technique used by Cooper forms a texture, making his illustrations seem to breathe.  I have several favorite illustrations but the one for the words:

Freedom has a price
in a land of liberty,
so slave hands toil
to no longer be property.

with the people of all ages gathered together on a grassy meadow looking upward and out is extremely moving.

I consider Brick by Brick written by Charles R. Smith Jr. with illustrations by Floyd Cooper to be a shining example of the best kind of nonfiction.  It brings the past strikingly into the present, informing with poetry and pictures that have their own kind of beauty.  Please follow the links embedded in each of their names to gain a greater understanding of the author and illustrator.

This link will take you to the publisher website to view several pages inside the book.  This link is to an interview of Floyd Cooper conducted three years ago giving insight into his process.  Below is an outstanding video book talk by Charles R. Smith Jr. about this volume.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Strolling Across The Map---Mosey

In three days the American Association of School Librarians committee for the Best Websites for Teaching and Learning will announce their selections for 2013.  Truthfully, I can hardly wait to view and use their new list.  I rely on their expertise in finding the best the web has to offer.

Last week I tried one of the thirty-two web 2.0 applications listed on Larry Ferlazzo's The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013---So Far called Buncee.  It's best described as a tool for creating slides incorporating multi-media such as images, videos, text, drawings and audio.  My review and step-by-step walk-through is embedded in the name above.

Another of the applications referenced in this list is Mosey.  According to the site:

Our Service allows users to create, view, and explore “Moseys,” which are custom, curated adventures for various locations around the world. Through Moseys, users can share with others their thoughts, notes, experiences, recommendations, reviews, instructions, and other information to piece together an adventure in a given place or location for other users to enjoy.

In making a Mosey you can document a single day or an entire trip.  What you do create is meant to be shared with others.  This application is web-based; meaning it will work on all devices.  You have the ability to search other Mosey creations.  Basic use is free for those 13 years or older.

After clicking the Sign Up button you are taken to a new window where you can register using your Facebook account or create a separate account.  You begin by entering in your email address and a password.  You continue by creating a profile with your first and last name and city. (A welcoming email is sent to your inbox immediately.)

At the next screen you are invited to update your profile by adding a picture, user handle, short bio and gender.  You can decide what to add or not.  In the upper right-hand corner are options for use.  The first is Explore.  

You can search by Moseys, Places or People.  On the right-hand side of this page is a search box for entering in keywords, a list of popular categories (Arts+Culture, Outdoors, Shopping, Scenic, Drinks, Foodie, Nightlife) along with filters, Most Recent, Most Popular, Featured and Friends.  I scrolled through nearly 200 of the previously created Moseys looking for any which might be inappropriate for users 13 years or older.  At this time I did not see any based upon the title of the Moseys.  Most featured scenic vistas and food.

Next I selected the Create button.  Initially you are asked if Mosey can access your Geolocation via your computer.  Thinking of this application in the educational setting (erring on the side of caution) I refused.  This working screen appears to be an overlay on the original screen. I entered in my location (place name or zip code) and clicked the Get Started button.

At the following window you are asked to search for a place in your location or add a custom place. On the right is a map pinpointing your place of origin.  When you wish to add a photo it comes from images already in Moseys.  At this point I am unable to add my own images. (There must be a way of doing this.)

You can keep adding places by entering new names into the search bar.  When you have all the spots you wish to include, select the Next Step button. The following screen is for creating your cover image and title.

The lines for entering in a title and description are available.  But the Select a cover image was not. After choosing Next Step you are asked to pick as many appropriate categories that fit your Mosey and estimate the cost for this Mosey.  At the third step you can share this Mosey via email or on Facebook or choose to make it private.  You can still go back to edit the last three steps before clicking the Finish button.

Upon clicking the Finish button an email is sent to you announcing the completion of your Mosey.  The site has filled in images for each of your selected spots.  Your screen will look like the image below.  Beneath this are each of the designated places with images (if available) for each.  At this time I have still not been able to determine how to replace the stock (public) images with my own.  Even choosing the edit button does not remedy this.

Above each specific location is an icon of a walking person.  When you click on that a new window opens giving you pictorial and written walking directions to get to that place from your current location. This is a huge benefit.

When you choose the Share button next to the Edit button at the top of your Mosey, you can post it to your Facebook wall, send a message via Facebook, send a tweet on Twitter or post it on Pinterest.  At this time there is no Help section other then sending in a message via the Feedback tab or using email contacts listed at the bottom of the page.  I have sent in an inquiry as to using your own images. UPDATE:  I have received a reply.  They are working on you using your own images as well as being able to embed your Mosey using HTML code.  Great news!

I can see an advantage to using this in the classroom in a variety of situations.  In our curriculum we study our community at the earlier grade levels.  It would be a great tool for the older students to use to create important places in the town for the younger students to explore on a walking trip.  Both would benefit from the experience.  It could be used to document the exploration of other geographical places in the study of history or current events.  Students can plan the trip of their dreams or a trip their favorite character from a book might want to take.  For those books read where characters travel, this tool could track that trip.

Mosey is exceedingly user-friendly.  The ease of use is exemplary.  I will update this post as soon as I receive a reply as to the images.  Hopefully I have missed the obvious.  I believe Mosey has a place in the educational setting.  

This is the link to my created Mosey, My Favorite Places in Charlevoix.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's Summer And You Know What That Means....

It seems when the last bell on the final day of school has barely stopped ringing, plans for those lazy days of summer are set into motion.  One item on the possible agenda, tending to send shivers down the spines of many children, is summer sleepover camp.  While my memories of camping with members in my Girl Scout troop are full of good times and laughter (the baked bean fight in particular), those of spending time with complete strangers in an unfamiliar setting are not quite so favorable.

When you're nine years old, faced with being away from home for the first time and missing your parents even before you've left the house, a week at camp is far from being your top choice for summer fun.  In fact, in all likelihood it's not even on the list, period.  Eleanor, who we first met in Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, has returned to experience an adventure neither she nor we lucky readers will forget for a long time in  Like Bug Juice on a Burger (Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS) by Julie Sternberg with illustrations by Matthew Cordell.

This all began one day
when Grandma Sadie called me up on the phone.
"I have a wonderful surprise!"
she said.
Right away,
the best possible surprise popped into my mind.

What sprung into Eleanor's head was not what came out of Grandma Sadie's mouth.  Eleanor has been yearning for a dog.  Grandma Sadie wants to pay for her to go to the same sleepover camp Eleanor's mother attended when she was a young girl, Camp Wallumwahpuck.  Initially Eleanor is truly excited; her friend loved camp the previous summer.

On the day before she is to leave, when she and her Mom are packing up her things to take for the week, the first hint of misgivings settles into her thinking.  On seeing the bus to camp in the parking lot the next day, her sense of foreboding kicks into high gear.  Her first walk through the gnat-infested woods on the way to her cabin, Gypsy Moth, skinning herself up pretty good after tripping on an exposed tree root, does nothing to dispel her fears.

Forced to eat nothing but lettuce, eventually with tomatoes and croutons and two rolls, only two rolls, for her meals (who would want to eat tuna drowning in mayonnaise, lasagna with spinach or drink fruit punch called bug juice?), Eleanor feels her anxiety growing.  To make matters worse she is placed in the swim class one level above beginners and has to wear a jumbo life jacket to jump on the water trampoline.  Her mattress on the top bunk is lumpy, her sleeping bag is too thin and what's that scratching on the window pane?  Oh woe, Eleanor wants to go...go home...now.

An unexpected arrival in the barn, a note on the Wall of Feelings, and stomping and soaring astonish Eleanor.  She's amazed to discover a shift in her thoughts about summer sleepover camp.  She can leave if she wants to, but will she?

Julie Sternberg has the gift of being able to put pen to paper depicting the essence of being nine years old; it's as if she's gone back in time gathering in the thoughts and words of this age group.   Surely she has had her own camp experiences to convey with such vividness the scenery, the cabins, the food, the swimming lessons, the late night walks to the bathroom, the counselors and the other campers with such descriptive clarity. In Sternberg's use of  succinct sentences and chapters, readers are transported into the realm of Camp Wallumwahpuck; mosquitoes and all.  Here are a couple of passages.

The screen door creaked when we opened it
and banged behind us when we got inside.
"Home sweet home!" Hope said.
It didn't look like home.
No rugs, no curtains, no lamps.
No couches, no armchairs, no tables.
No television, no stereo, no computer.
No colors on the walls.
Just brown wood, from floor to ceiling.
And four bunk beds, one in each corner.
And a few shelves and cubbies along the walls
under the windows.

"Candy-free?" I said.
I couldn't believe 
I wasn't going to get
a single M&M.
My friend Katie's camp had given her millions!
"So what's for snack?" I asked.
"Frozen fruit bars," she said.
"And gluten-free cookies."
I dropped my fork on my plate.
This was even worse than my flying fall.
I've got to get out of here, I thought.
I really do.

What really brings this delightful story sharply into focus are the illustrations of Matthew Cordell.  His attention to detail, knowing what to emphasize on a given page and portrayal of the characters' emotions, especially Eleanor, are adept, full of life and the right amount of humor.  He is the king of capturing the mood of the moment.

His illustrations which cross the gutter spanning nearly or all of two pages draw readers into the heart of the narrative; Eleanor and her parents loading her trunk on the bus, Eleanor standing forlornly in her cabin for the first time, or a series of tetherball games.  When concentrating on a few precious minutes his perspective alters zooming in on an object or faces; the bug flying around the fruit punch, Eleanor struggling in the lake for the first time or Joplin running like the wind to get to dinner on time.  Cordell's every line pulses with energy.

Like Bug Juice on a Burger written by Julie Sternberg with illustrations by Matthew Cordell is the joy and agony of a single week at summer camp rolled into 166 pages of pure reading pleasure.  I can't think of a better book for reading in June, July or August...or anytime you want to be nine years old again.  I love reading about Eleanor, her parents, family and friends; it's a heartwarming journey.

Please follow the links embedded in the author and illustrator names above to access their websites.  Here is a link to the Bug Juice Activity Kit.  Links to other camp books I've reviewed are here (Postcards from Camp: A Postal Story) and here (Mosquitoes are Ruining My Summer! And Other Silly Dilly Camp Songs).  And I can't think of summer camp without thinking of the song in the video below.  Enjoy.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Prehistoric Pursuit

Have you ever noticed how some grazing animals will stick their heads through a fence to eat on the other side, believing it to be better even though the food is exactly the same?  While the phrase "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" may not hold true in most instances, out of necessity animals and people have throughout time moved to better their circumstances or as a means of survival.  The struggle associated with this endeavor has found its way into folklore.

Out of the storytelling tradition in Norway comes a fairy tale of three goats, hoping to eat grass on the other side of a bridge.  The problem is the ugly troll beneath the bridge, who would like nothing better than to have them for dinner.  With a twist and a trip to the past author/illustrator Stephen Shaskan offers readers, The Three Triceratops Tuff (Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, April 2, 2013).

Once upon a time,
sixty-eight million years ago,
there lived three triceratops brothers
who went by the name of Tuff:
Stanley Tuff, Rufus Tuff, and Bob Tuff.

Hard times have fallen on the area dinosaurs; food is becoming scarce.  After a bit of a trek, the lure of fresh green goodness on the other side of a valley gets the trio's attention.  Dino two, Rufus, is more than ready to dig into the waiting feast.  Therein lies the problem; Bob, the biggest of the three, points to a nasty, rather large Tyrannosaurus Rex waiting at the bottom.

Little Stanley Tuff with the blissful energy of youth does not want to wait.  He is stopped in his tracks by the looming, sharp-toothed giant, hoping to make Stanley an entree.  The T. Rex nevertheless takes the frightened but quick-thinking dino's advice to wait for the next bigger, and thus better, Tuff to come along the path.

Clip, clomp. Clip, clomp. Clip, clomp.  Here he comes.  When the equally resourceful Rufus mentions the biggest brother of all, the greedy monster, thinking himself to be very lucky, sends him on his way also.  Bob gladly goes, heading down to meet this meat-eating menace.

Getting ready for his first gourmet gulp, Tyrannosaurus Rex is halted by Bob's suggestion of a better idea.  The farthest thing from the villain's mind, though, is an aerial view of the valley.  Herbivores triumph!

With the first line Stephen Shaskan takes readers into the world of the triceratops three; making it perfectly clear these dudes may be old, really, really old, but this story is going to have a fresh, funny edge.  His word choices, turn of phrase and repetitive lines are more contemporary, in contrast to the characters and setting, heightening, what I like to call, the laughter factor.  Vegetation is appropriately called grub, T. Rex tells Stanley, "Then scram squirt!", T. Rex says "Dinner is served..." before attempting to consume the dinosaur brothers, and more than one character says "not so fast". 

Using the same artistic technique as in his debut picture book, A Dog Is A Dog, Shaskan digitally renders illustrations closely resembling those done by block printing.  Opening the matching jacket and cover, readers are greeted by the grinning threesome, sunbursts and volcano in the background on the right and the fearsome, growling carnivore on the left surrounded by all the vibrant, leafy, lime green plants.  On the first of two title pages we see a teeny, tiny fifth character zooming around the words in a sky blue circle---a sky blue mosquito.  He loops across the next two page spread calling attention to the publishing information as the triceratops trudge beneath the title and author/illustrator name.

Alternating textures, wood grain and sponge-like, and colors, shades of green and the sky blue, the scenery showcases the vivid colors of the dinosaurs.  Heavy lines around each further focus the reader's attention on the four.  Goofy grins, furrowed brows, angry eyes and hungry snarls along with expressive hand gestures leave no doubt in readers' minds as to the state of affairs on every page.

In the distance on several of the pages we see silhouettes of a line of other dinosaurs.  In a cheerful, vibrantly colored ending, Shaskan brings everyone together.  The final design technique has the mosquito again circling... the volcano... amid the dedication and more detailed publication information.

The Three Triceratops Tuff is a playful fracturing of a tale plus a little bit more.  There is exhilarating determination on every page.  What's not to love about three dinosaurs named Stanley, Rufus and Bob!? This is one you might want to consider for a reader's theater in a folktale study along with a more traditional version.

A link to Stephen Shaskan's website is embedded in his name above.  On another page linked here, he discusses how the idea for this book came to him through three four-year-old boys.  In his kids' stuff section he has headbands of the trio to cut out and color plus a printable maze.  This link to the publisher website shows a couple of interior illustrations.  Recently updated:  Stephen now has templates for creating paper bag puppets at his link.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Twitterville Talk #105

For many people on Twitter this was their final week of school.  Virtual yipees could be heard Friday night.  It means time to work on #bookaday, recharge and relax.  For many, many people it is a time to gather with members of their PLN at annual conferences, learning together to make our classrooms better and better.  Enjoy what I have gathered.  Look for the giveaways, relax and take time for reading.  Have a great week, everyone.

Don't tell Mrs. Culver but I added this after she posted on the blog today.  I think this is the greatest video, Your Life As A Dog.  I think kids would love it.  This educator and tech guy named Larry Ferlazzo who blogs at Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... posted it.  He gets a WOOF! WOOF! of thanks from me (Xena) for this tweet.  (Yes, I read her tweets.)

Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal has pledged to post a website a week for an entire year, A Week.  The first two are extraordinary and creative.

You have to watch this heartwarming video by Timothy Basil Ering about being a father and his changes when illustrating.

Author and illustrator Timothy Basil Ering discusses fatherhood from Candlewick Press on Vimeo.

Have you downloaded your copy of the Chronicle Books poster, See Things Differently?  Each letter of the word differently is drawn by a favorite illustrator.

Have fun listening to Tomie dePaola speak briefly about books and reading.

Ladies and gentlemen, here are the book trailers for this week!

I'm always glad to read these kind of article headlines, ALA Promises Expanded School Library Advocacy in 2013-2014although for many, many students this is coming too late.

In series of videos by J. Patrick Lewis, Children's Poet Laureate, talks about Word Choice, Great Good, Bad books, Heroes, Emmett Till, and Rewriters.

This is a neat series of videos about summer reading.

The newest Celebri-Dot has been posted.  It is by the author/illustrator Tom Angleberger.  It looks like lots of fun.

Here is a reminder for all ALA 2013 attendees to not miss the exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago highlighting 75 years of the Caldecott Medal.

Mrs. P is hosting another writing contest this fall.

Wow, start making a list and checking it twice for all the author sightings and signings at ALA 2013 in Chicago.

Thanks to John Schumacher, teacher librarian, 2011 Library Journal Movers & Shakers, 2014 Newbery Medal Committee member, one half of the Twitter chat #SharpSchu Book Club held each month and blogger at Watch. Connect. Read. for an informative and fun week of tweeting.

This book, Stuck, written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers was mentioned as a good companion for The Boy and the Airplane written and illustrated by Mark Pett, a #SharpSchu Book Club selection this past week.

Sending thanks to teacher librarian, Debbie Alvarez, currently in Hong Kong and blogger at The Styling Librarian for this tweet.

This is an amazing idea---Awesome Montana Kids Comfort Shelter Animals By Reading To Them (Photos)

Thanks to Jennifer Hubert Swan, YA librarian and blogger at Reading Rants!: Out of the Ordinary Teen Booklists for this tweet.

Author Madelyn Rosenberg lists some of her favorite readers for Audio Appreciation Month on her blog.
To the first person who can name the first reader on her list I will send a copy of A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse written and illustrated by Frank Viva.  Please send me a DM on Twitter or leave your answer in the comments below.

Thanks to Madelyn Rosenberg for this tweet and this post.

Teachers Write 2013 begins this coming Monday.  The big news is Introducing The Summer 2013 Teachers Write Guest Authors!

Thanks to author Kate Messner for this tweet and post.

Author Kelly Bennett talks about picture books at the Candlewick Press We Believe In Picture Books! site.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this tweet.

You might want to put some of these libraries on your bucket list---10 Treehouse, Dollhouse, and other Truly Unique Libraries-Part I

Thanks to writer, podcast reviewer at Katie Davis's Brain Burps About Books and blogger at World of Julie, Julie Falatko, for this tweet.

The Horn Book has compiled Summer Reading Recommendations 2013 including new and some older titles.

Thanks to Reading Rockets for this tweet.

For fans of Superman, then and now, this article about the current actor portraying The Man of Steel is a must read, You Won't Believe What Henry Cavill Did Before He Was Superman.

Thanks to author, Marc Tyler Nobleman (Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman) for this tweet.

Don't forget #titletalk co-hosted by Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp has been moved to this Sunday instead of next due to the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet in Chicago.  Please note the time has been altered since this posting.  June's #titletalk will be July 7, 2013.

Thanks to Donalyn Miller, educator and author of The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, for this tweet.

Some great posts this week from Richard Byrne, educator, speaker and blogger at Free Technology for Teachers.

Four Google + How-to Videos

65+ Ways to Use ThingLink in Your Classroom

Thanks to Richard Byrne for these tweets and posts.

There is a visual post at the Nerdy Book Club this week about the value of the graphic novel.  You might want to hang this in your classroom.  Hey! I Was Reading That! by Dave Roman

Thanks to the Nerdy Book Club for this tweet.

Here's another fun read for fans of Superman, more visual than the last.  Try to Leap Over this 'Man of Steel' Infographic in a Single Bound

Thanks to Geek Dad, a blog for and written by parents from around the world.

If you are looking for another great list of books, check out Notable Children's Books Nominees -Summer 2013 #ala2013 compiled by the ALSC Notable Children's Books committee.
To the first person who can name the first title on this list I will send a copy of Deborah Freedman's new title, The Story of Fish & Snail.  Please leave your answer in the comments below or send me a DM on Twitter. (This title has been won.)

Thanks to Cathy Potter, K-5 School Librarian and book blogger at The Nonfiction Detectivesfor this tweet.

For fans of author/illustrator Jan Brett, she has her 2014 Calendar available for download at the site now.

Thanks to Jan Brett for this tweet and her lovely books.

The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards were announced this week.  The Carnegie Medal was given to Sally Gardner for her book, Maggot Moon.  The Kate Greenaway Medal was given to Levi Pinfold for his book, Black Dog.  The links to the medals are for the audio of the announcements and the acceptance speeches by each recipient.  The other embedded links are to the official websites of the author and illustrator.

Thanks to The CILIP Carngie and Kate Greenaway site for this tweet.

What an exciting idea by Sarah Mulhern Gross expanded by Joyce Valenza on her blog, Recording kids' history as readers  

Thanks for this tweet go to Joyce Valenza, teacher librarian and blogger at Neverending Search.

Text and pictures focus on the exhibit which opened yesterday at The New York Public Library entitled The ABC of It:  Why Children's Books Matter.  I sure wish I could beam myself there.

Thanks to Children's Bookshelf of Publishers Weekly for this tweet.

I know this list of quotes is a tad bit longer this week but everyone is feeling the lightness of summer.  I've included some which came over Twitter the last two days when many were attending #allwrite2013.  I hope you can learn and laugh.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Dog, A Dinosaur and a Boy's Love

On the wall in my home is a signed print by the late artist and author, Stephen Huneck.  Huneck is best known in the children's literature community for his series of Sally, a black Labrador, books. My print is of the front paws, head, chest and winged back of a yellow Labrador, nose pointed upward toward a single shining star, the laces of a dangling shoe, in his/her mouth.  The print is captioned, Dogs Have A Soul.  

If you've ever loved and lost a dog, the need to believe this, for this to be true, is very strong.  When children grow up with a puppy, there is something extraordinary about the bond formed between them and their dog.  It's as if they are the other half of one another.  Author/ artist Doug TenNapel, whose graphic novels, Ghostopolis, Bad Island and Cardboard, are extremely popular with readers, has a recently released, newer version of the title, Tommysaurus Rex (Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic) filled with king-size heart about the remarkable connection between a boy and his canine....er....prehistoric companion.

Ely, an only child, living with his parents in suburbia has grown up with a golden retriever named Tommy.  We are introduced to the characters around the breakfast table as Ely is getting ready to take Tommy for a walk to the park.  On the way to meeting his friends with their dogs, tragedy strikes.  Another dog gets away from their human, chasing Tommy out into the street where he is struck and killed by a car.

Absolutely heartbroken, Ely is comforted by his Dad that evening with the suggestion he go stay with his grandpa, helping him on the farm.  Upon arrival at the farm, amid the greetings, Ely receives the gift of a toy Tyrannosaurus Rex from his grandpa. All goes grandly, as is often the case between grandparents and their grandchildren.

The next day after hours of hard work, Ely takes a break walking around the area with his new, smaller plastic companion.  A local boy, Randy and his two buddies Shem and Beckett approach Ely.  Their intentions, however, are not friendly.

Ely takes off with them in hot pursuit running through the woods trying to hide in a cave.  Caught off guard by strange sounds within the dark cavern, he is nabbed and bullied by the three, losing his grandpa's gift too.  That night neither Randy or Ely can sleep; Randy is filled with anxiety over the absence of his father and Ely hears those same noises, heard earlier, louder and closer, coming from the darkness outside.  Who or what is out there?

Making his way through the night back to the cave, Ely frees a trapped, full-grown Tyrannosaurus Rex.  The friendship between the duo is immediate.  Of course, there is the slight problem of his size, appetite, friendship with a local black cat and fear of fire.

It's up to Ely, Grandpa and Rex to prove to the mayor of the community that he's an asset rather than a liability.  While their determination to succeed seems to be working, Randy is equally driven to make life as miserable for Ely and Rex as possible.  When Randy's efforts roar out of control, Ely's decision alters everything...except for the love he shares with Tommysaurus Rex.

Told entirely in dialogue, visual and sound effects, Doug TenNapel creates a story poignant in its sadness and happiness alike; breaking your heart and fixing it more than once. His placement of humor (and dino poop) are spot-on.  His characters are fully human; flawed but rising to the occasion when they need to be better than they think they can be.  Here is an example:

The newly acquired Rex has just eaten a cow.

Grandpa: A dinosaur is eating my cow.
Ely: They do that.
Grandpa: Mmm...so they do.
Ely: His name is Rex.
Grandpa: Ely, that's a Tyrannosaurus Rex! You can't keep him.
Ely: Oh, come on, Gramps! He's gonna be my best and only friend.
Grandpa: And don't try to give me "Weepy Eyes"! I've got my Weepy-Eye Shields up!
Ely: Aw, come on, Grandpa! We get a T-Rex dropped in our lap and you wanna get rid of it!
What kind of man doesn't dream of owning a T-Rex?
Grandpa: You've got a point there.
Ely: Look at him go! He finished all of the bowels in thirty seconds!

In perfect sync with the dialogue the graphics accentuate the emotional heartbeart of the story.  Alternating between framed panels, single page and double page illustrations and shifting perspective they captivate the reader, pulling them into the center of the action.  Numerous times the humor is unspoken but obvious.  Some of my favorites are: the series of pages when Ely first encounters Rex foreshadowing events to come, the three panels when Ely throws a stick saying fetch and Rex brings back the local policeman dangling from his motorcycle, when Ely's dad comes to his room to comfort him, lying down on the floor next to him and the uplifting final two pages.

Having read Tommysaurus by Doug TenNapel twice cover to cover and other sections a third and fourth time, I can say, in complete honesty, this graphic novel is a great read.  It is first and foremost a story of the love a boy has for his dog and in turn of the dog's love for his boy.  But, many other life challenges are raised within this story, the why of bullying, remorse, forgiveness and death.  Plan on multiple copies.