Reading, Reviews, Lists


My fifth grader (D) finished reading Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain books. He has been trading them back and forth with his friend at school (J). He was excited to find some books he liked that also count for AR points. “What am I going to do now?” he wailed. I said we’d try to find him something else he’d like just as much. “It has to be mythical … have treachery … and fighting.” Hmmm. I found Cry of the Icemark and he was satisfied for the moment. We’ll see whether it takes. This morning while he waited for me to get up he picked up Robyn Hood Black‘s new book, Wolves. “It’s interesting. I like the pop-ups.”


He and his sixth grade brother (N) also spent some time with Donna Bowman‘s Big Cats. It is in the same series as Wolves, has similar paper engineering, and fun facts. Donna and Robyn are members  of the Southern Breeze region of SCBWI and we’ve been meeting up several times a year at conferences for years now. Each launched her book at the recent SpringMingle’09 in Atlanta. My boys always meet me at the car when I come home from a conference, asking for the books. These are definite winners!


Wolfsnail earned a spot on the Best Science Books of 2009 as compiled by The Miss Rumphius Effect. It is very nice for my book to be inlcuded on lists like this one. I know teachers and curriculum specialists pull books from such “best” lists to use in their classrooms and curriculum writing. In another review, on Brian Wilhorn’s Help Readers Love Reading blog  says: “Readers will pay close attention to the text, learning about wonderfully gross things like mucus and slime and tentacles. … Young boys might think they can climb up and ride these carnivorous monsters, when in reality adults are only 1.5 – 3 inches long. The end of the hunt is especially cool. The wolfsnail stretches to reach the next leaf, finds its prey, attacks (as a snail would…there’s no pouncing here), and dines. Finally, there’s a close-up of the now empty shell. Wolfsnail was named a Geisel Honor book in 2009. While very different from this year’s Medal winner, Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems, it is equally as deserving and engaging to young readers, but in a completely different way.” Read the whole review, including a conversation with his resident 7-year-old, here.

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