Quote of the Month

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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happily Ever After

Some of the most beloved stories, those most remembered into adult years, begin with, Once upon a time... and close with happily ever after.  In fact, in my experience, those seven words have an almost universal effect on listeners; people know something out of the ordinary is going to happen in-between.  When Once upon a time is read or said, anticipation grows, listeners lean in or move closer.  At the sound of happily ever after, there is always a collective silent or audible sigh.

Have you ever wondered, though, what happens after happily ever after.  Do The Three Pigs start a construction company specializing in earthship homes?  Does Little Red Riding Hood become an activist for the protection of wolves?  Do Hansel and Gretel open a health food store? Or as in Goldilocks and Just One Bear (Nosy Crow, an imprint of Candlewick Press, August 14, 2012) written and illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson does what you least expect happen?

Once upon a time, there was this bear.
One minute, he was strolling in the woods,
all happy-go-lucky...
The next minute, he didn't have a crumb-of-a-clue
where he was.

In fact, this bear has gotten so far off course, he is no longer in the woods.  He is smack dab in the middle of a noisy, busy city, standing on the sidewalk in front of an apartment building.  He's pretty shaky at this point so he strolls into the entrance of Snooty Towers only to be more confounded by the revolving door.

Seventeen-floors-up later he is glancing into someone's cozy penthouse.  The peace and quiet are exactly what he needs as soon as he satisfies his hunger cravings.  These people certainly have terrible taste in porridge.

Their chairs are prickly, screechy and not quite as comfy as a real bed. On the third try he finds the perfect spot, a bed fit for a lost bear, for drifting off into dreamland. As you can imagine when the daddy person, mommy person and little person return home the longed-for solitude is shattered.

Who could have been drinking from the fishbowl?  Who sat on the cat? And who, yes who, is sleeping in the little person's bed?  Picture if you can when recognition dawns on two members in this group.  The tables are turned in a most delightful way.

The upbeat, you'll-never-guess-what-happened-next narrative penned by Leigh Hodgkinson is a welcoming invitation into the bear's adventure.  Comparisons, descriptive words and phrases, and the grouping of threes leave little doubt in readers' minds, they have entered into the world of fairy tales, albeit a much more modern one.  Humor, the appropriate exaggerations, placed at the perfect point to compliment the pace are the crowning touch.

Unfolding the matching jacket and cover offers astute observers a possible hint of the story's outcome; the red line from the bear's boot moving left to the back, winding through the forest where we see a golden-haired girl eating a bowl of porridge. Opening and closing endpapers, done in shades of blueprint blue, each different, show maps of the bear's trips to, and from, the city, marked by dotted lines from points A to B. An opening page of leaves, in a variety of unusual colors (lime, pink, navy blue, turquoise) scattered around a tree stump, bear's empty boots on top, with three birds perched on them, surrounded by white space provides a peek into the color palette used throughout the book.

Hodgkinson's clever, masterful use of mixed media not only extends the storyline but tells a tale not told by the text.  This chair is too ouchy shows bear trying to sit on the arm of a cactus.  Although she alternates between two-page spreads, single pages (some crossing the gutter), singular close-ups of bear grouped together, the flow is flawless.  Exquisite detail can be found at every turn of page; the leaves on the first page are part of the pattern on the little person's bedspread, the stores in the city have names such as Wolf's Clothing Boutique, The Coffee Beanstalk and The Ugly Sisters Beauty Parlor, the bear is always carrying the spoon or it can be seen in the illustration, the special text types used with certain words and at the conclusion the look on the cat's face is definitely wary unlike the happy grins worn by others in the room.

Walk with bear into fractured, fairy tale fun of the first order in Goldilocks and Just One Bear.  Author/illustrator Leigh Hodgkinson's writing and illustrations work beautifully together in a bright, spunky, funky sort of way.  Links to Hodgkinson's website and blog are embedded in her name.  Follow this link to Nosy Crow's page for some inside views of the book.  This link is to the Candlewick Press website for another glimpse inside the book.  I knew the illustrations in this book were outstanding, so I checked the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal longlist for 2013 and it was there!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Twitterville Talk #81

Twitter was fairly quiet this week as people were enjoying the time with family and friends celebrating the holidays plus lots of reading.  Still there were lively discussions about books being read; much sharing of titles.  Xena and I are wishing each and every one of you a very Happy New Year!  Don't forget to look for the giveaway question and keep reading.

Enjoy this video clip by author/illustrator Matt Traverse (Helen's Big World reviewed here) in the continuing series by Candlewick Press, We Believe In Picture Books!  This is a man who loves life and his work.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this tweet and this year-long tribute to children's literature.

For those that champion the cause and understand the value of libraries this video is priceless.

Thanks to the New York Public Library for this tweet and for producing this informative, supportive and passionate video.

This is an outstanding resource listing some of the best books published and read during this past year, 2012 Nerdy Book Club Award Nominations.  Not only is Donalyn Miller one of the co-founders of The Nerdy Book Club blog, an educator in Texas and the author of The Book Whisperer but she has compiled these nominations in a Slideshare with annotations.

For the first person to leave in the comments three of the wives and husbands both having books in the nominations (three sets of two) I will send them a copy of Lane Smith's Abe Lincoln's Dream and Each Kindness written by Jacqueline Woodson with illustrations by E. B. Lewis.

Sending out a huge thanks to Donalyn Miller for all she does for the reading community.

Just in case you were wondering...'Hunger Games' Disney Infographic:  What If Your Favorite Characters Lived in Panem?

Thank to HuffPostTeen for this tweet.

This is an interesting infograpic on Social Media in 2012: Month by Month

Thanks to Jane Hart, independent advisor on Social Learning & Collaboration for the tweet and post.

Author of historical fiction title, May B. released in 2012, Caroline Starr Rose is asking for guest bloggers for National Poetry Month in April 2013.  Contact her via Twitter @CStarrRose .

All year long we readers have been treated to special posts simultaneously at Mr. Schu's Watch. Connect. Read. , the Nerdy Book Club and at Michigan fourth grade teacher, Mr. Colby Sharp's blog, sharpread in celebration of new titles.  These Sharp-Schu Trifectas have been gathered together by Mr. Schu.

Thank to John Schumacher, teacher-librarian, a 2011 Library Journal Movers & Shakers and blogger at Watch. Connect. Read. for these tweets.

Going out on a limb, they're calling the best for 2013 already---Best Books of 2013?: Our Picks For The Year's Biggest Reads  Look and see what children's and young adult books made the list.

Thanks to HuffPostBooks for this tweet and post.

Ten Digital Story Projects posted at Free Technology for Teachers seems to have some tested, good ideas ready for use in the classroom. 

Thanks to Richard Byrne for this tweet and post.

For fans of Marissa Meyer's Cinder, the prequel short story, Glitches, is free for a limited time only.

Thanks to Macmillan Kids for this tweet.

Interesting debate going on in The New York Times The Opinion Pages Do We Still Need Libraries?

Thanks to teacher-librarian and blogger at NeverEndingSearch, Joyce Valenza for this tweet.

These are some of my favorite tweets and quotes of the week.  Enjoy.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Don't Look Now But It's The...

Even before all the scientific studies, we knew in our deepest selves the power of laughter; feeling an overall sense of well-being the harder and longer we laughed.  Shared laughter with children, students, is the best of the best; the sound of their immediate joy, heavenly.  Having a sense of humor fine-tuned to the slightest nuance in a narrative or picture makes them the perfect candidates for the enjoyment found in a good story.

The popularity of graphic novels has thankfully grown by proverbial leaps and bounds in the past several years.  Their ability to hook those reluctant to read, with tightly woven narratives (some wordless) and artwork stunning in layout, design and detail, is a source of pleasure for all who want to bring more members into the reading community.  When looking through the nominations for the 2012 Nerdy Book Club Award for graphic novels, Bird & Squirrel On The Run! (Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic) written and illustrated by James Burks caught my eye; a title already on my TBR pile.


Zooming through the trees the delight of Bird is obvious as he extends joyous greetings to one and all.  Nearby Squirrel is on a mission scurrying with infinite care from point to point, ever alert to danger, to get one final acorn for his winter stash.  All is well until Bird swoops down and nearly scares him to death.

Speaking of death...Squirrel is sure vigilance is necessary to:  1. keep the Cat from enjoying him as a meal and  2. make sure he has enough acorns stored to fend off starvation during the winter. Squirrel turns down all invitations to fly with Bird determined to make it home with his last load.  But Bird flies back into his life much sooner than he thought he would.

Due to his devil-may-care curiosity Cat is now hot on Bird's tail.  Squirrel becomes a reluctant hero but looses all his food.  Circumstances have left Squirrel with no choice.  He has to travel south with Bird.

Neither the raging waters of a river and waterfall, the thunder and lightning of a ferocious storm, the deepest dark of an underground home, the vicious attack by a swarm of bees, the sudden cold of snow showers, the dangers of a slithering snake nor the horrors of a hungry hawk can dissuade Bird from his over-the-top optimism.  Squirrel, on the other hand, is nearly paralyzed by his persistent pessimism.  Of course Cat, in possession of at least some of those nine lives, is constantly prowling ready to pounce when they least expect it.

This clash of personalities with danger lurking around every corner leads to a humorous adventure that's an action bonanza.  The tenuous friendship of Bird and Squirrel (more on Squirrel's part than Bird's) is tested again and again.  Readers will be on the edge of their seats wondering if the two can, however briefly, assume some of the other's personality traits in order to complete their trip.  Will they be able to plunge with pleasure into the Great Unknown?

Within the first few pages the stark contrast of descriptive dialogue written by James Burks for his characters leaves no doubt in the reader's mind as to how each views life.  The non-speaking role (except for some loud meows) of Cat as an adversary heightens the differences between the two.  The playful, sometimes taunting, even sarcastic, verbal exchanges provide for laugh-out-loud moments.

Here is a single example after they've driven off a bridge into the river.  Bird begins the conversation.






Using bright realistic colors Burks brings us panel by panel, page by page, into the madcap escapades of these two seemingly mismatched pals.  The first two pages with the goggle-clad yellow Bird zipping up and down and around the trees zooming in and out on his flight pattern sets the stage for the ensuing events. Following his pure delight is the furtive, frightened, overly cautious movements of the blue acorn-helmet wearing Squirrel intent on reaching his goal undetected.  Their squarish body shapes (not to mention Squirrel's head looking like a nut when he wears the helmet) add to the comedic effect.  When the plump feline enters the scene with the exaggerated mouth size, an emotional impact is guaranteed.

The looks on all the characters faces, the combination of eyes, mouths and general body language, are hilarious.  Extra details endear readers to the duo; Squirrel having a red bike with a cart attached for hauling nuts, Bird wearing a sink plunger as a hat when they begin their journey.  Then too, there's the faint trail of smoke coming from the Cat's tail hours after he's struck by lightning.  Lucky for Bird and Squirrel, without their knowledge, Burks has given him troubles of his own.

Who doesn't love to laugh?  Written and illustrated by James Burks Bird & Squirrel On The Run! is pure fun; perfect for readers of any age.  Shared troubles on the road south bring about changes, all for the good of a friendship founded and forged on differences.  This is one graphic novel not to be missed.

For more information about James Burks follow the link to his website embedded in his name above.  Here is a link to a page on his blog for drawing Bird.  I thought Bird's idea of a theme song for the friends was pretty cute, so here is a link to my version of his tune.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Across The Ocean Blue

 The experience of reading The Perfect Storm:  A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger is forever etched in my mind.  Junger had constructed the truth so well, I was compelled to consume every written word as quickly as possible, as if I were reading the latest adventure thriller.  The same can be said of historical fiction.

When a reader feels a part of the place, time and people through the careful combination of known facts within the narrative, the author has truly brought the past into the present.  Documentation exists regarding Nicholas Young, the smallest member of the crew sailing aboard the Endeavour with British explorer James Cook on his first voyage.  Author Michael J. Rosen has written Sailing the Unknown: Around the World with Captain Cook (Creative Editions), with illustrations by Italian artist Maria Cristina Pritelli, so readers can relive the journey through the eyes of one who was there.

19 August 1768, Plymouth
Once there's a fair Wind,
Endeavour will leave England for a Continent
None has mapped---None knows exists.
She will not return soon---if She returns.

If Someone finds this Journal
my Name was Nicholas Young,
11 Years of Age.

An apt description of the crew numbers, their positions and their quarters follows.  Beginning with the day they set sail Young documents events, moods, opinions, and weather with descriptions using each of his five senses.  We readers hear, see, smell, taste and touch as he does.

When the crew is seasick we feel queasy.  We pause in our reading to listen intently for the scuttling of rats and cockroaches.  As first-time sailors are dunked three times into the ocean by rope for crossing the Equator, it's hard not to hold your breath, sputtering and shaking your head when air replaces water.

Sometimes Young will write an entry within a few days of the previous one.  Other times a month or more will pass before we are privy to life aboard the Endeavour again.  Geographical locations reached  are added to certain daily notations; Canary Islands, The Equator, Rio de Janeiro, Tahiti, New Zealand. 

Amiable interactions with the Tahitians are duly noted especially the addition of Tupia and his servant Tayeto to the crew when they leave.  He speaks in detail of the less than cordial welcome with the Maori and native Australians.  Discord among the crew, disease, nearly sinking on the Great Barrier Reef, and more sickness, the sight of strange plants and animals are painstakingly recorded before home, England, is sighted.

Michael J. Rosen's skill as an author is to convey much with a few chosen words; each ideal for depicting a moment, a memory, a characteristic, a scene and the importance of each.  Rosen constructs the day's recollections using the the language and writing style of that particular time period given the education of the writer.  As we read these journal entries of Nicholas Young, each painting a clearer, more complete picture of life aboard the Endeavour, we become the shadow of Nicholas Young.  Here is a single sample.

Day 151
Howling Squalls and Snow---Endeavor is a Bottle
tossing on angry Swells. We rope down Everything---
Thrice Captain cannot steer Her through the Straits.

According to a short biographical sketch, illustrator Maria Cristina Pritelli prefers hand working using a mixed airbrush with acrylics technique to create her pictures.  In this title the effect is a stunning portrayal of life at sea, and of lands, flora, fauna and people discovered.  The jacket flap opens to complete the front visual sans text with Nicholas Young perched upon a mast.  The cover and endpapers are in tones of brown with a smooth matte finish replicating that of a journal.

Following the introductory foreword the title pages are a map of this first voyage seagulls flying as Young walks across the page carrying a trunk with a portrait of Cook placed in left bottom corner.  Alternating between single framed pages with text opposite (small drawings enhancing the narrative) and double-page spreads with a liberal use of various shades of blue, readers are at sea with the Endeavour crew.   The tiniest of details add to the depth of our understanding and an appreciation for those 1,056 days spent away from home and those 40,000 miles traveled.  Perhaps my favorite illustration is of their third Christmas celebrated without friends or family, sadly death has visited them again.. We see Endeavour in full sail small through the clouds upon the water as if we are birds looking down.

Sailing the Unknown:  Around the World with Captain Cook written by Michael J. Rosen, with illustrations by Maria Cristina Pritelli, is an engaging, lively recreation of the years spent with James Cook aboard the Endeavour through the voice of Nicholas Young.  I highly recommend this title as an excellent example of historical fiction and as an incentive for further research about this particular voyage.  If the study of European Explorers is a part of your State curriculum, as it is in Michigan, this book should be at the top of your list.

Links embedded in the names of the author and illustrator will take you to their websites.  There is a two page resource and activity guide linked here.  This link will take you to the publisher's website so you can see inside the book.  Here is a link to a simple Annotary I created about Captain James Cook.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tools Of The Trade: Annotary

Believe it or not, research to me is akin to going on a treasure hunt.  Give me a topic and I get lost in another world.  One of the best things we can teach our students is to access, evaluate and organize information that best answers predetermined questions.  We not only want them to be independent learners and users of information but to be creative in their sharing and collaboration.  When confidence replaces frustration particularly on a subject of interest they might even have as much fun as I do.

Toward the end of November Heather Moorefield, education librarian at Virginia Tech and former chair of the American Association of School Librarians Best Websites for Teaching and Learning mentioned on Twitter an application that was launched in May 2012.  This free site offers users (13 years or older) the ability to bookmark pages, highlight portions of those pages, add notes and share with others.  Annotary bills themselves as: the best way to keep track of what you read. 

When opening to the home page across the top you can select Explore, About, Search, Login or Sign Up.  If you choose Explore you can look through Public Bookmark Feeds, Explore Collections, Explore Groups, a Random Collection or a Random User.  The About section explains the formation of the site and its developers.  A keyword can be typed into Search to check for previously created Annotary collections.

You can sign up using your Facebook account or by entering in a first and last name, email address, user name (which becomes your unique URL) and a password. As soon as this is completed a welcome email is sent and you are requested to add the Annotary toolbar browser extension to either Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.  When the extension has been added your dashboard, homepage, opens.

There are two ways to begin: go to a web page and click on the Annotary button to open the toolbar or on the right-hand side of the screen click on the green Add New Bookmark button.  Before beginning please note that you can click on other buttons, Create Collection or Create Group found in the same section.  A running tally of collections, bookmarks, groups and people in your network is shown beneath these options.

If you click on the green Add New Bookmark button another window pops up asking you to add the web page URL, any notes and a collection name.  After a bookmark has been added to a created collection the collection page appears.  A collection can be edited, deleted, printed or shared. (An individual bookmark can also be edited, shared and sorted.)

When the Annotary button on the browser toolbar is clicked at a website the same options are available as well as creating a new collection.  On the side of the window are icons representing adding a bookmark, highlighting, sharing the highlighted page, seeing highlights of others and going to Annotary.  

A page must be bookmarked before it can be highlighted.  When a portion has been highlighted a small note pops up.  If you wish to delete a portion or all of the highlighted area a tiny trash can appears at the end of the highlighted section so this task can be accomplished.

When you go back to the collection any of the pages which have been highlighted will have a yellow line running down the left side.  When the Share button is selected you can share this collection via Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn.  It can be sent to others using Gmail, Yahoo mail, Hotmail and AOL Mail.  A unique URL is created for each collection.

While I used this tool to simply gather websites about snow, snowflakes, Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley and the making of virtual snowflakes, I can see using it to not only collect resources for more specific projects (author or genre studies) but also to create an online scavenger hunt writing questions in the notes which can be answered using the highlighted text.  Here is the link to my collection titled Snow.

This web 2.0 application has all the features which make it advantageous for use; simplicity, ability to group similar pages in collections, highlighting of pertinent portions, the addition of notes and sharing are all pluses.  I recommend Annotary for use in gathering resources about any topic of interest for individual or group use.  Creating groups within your account allows for easy collaboration.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Twitterville Talk 2012 Christmas Edition

In the last few days much good cheer has been sent over Twitter.  Everyone has been sharing resources and greetings with one another.  Have are some of the most memorable for you to enjoy this year and tuck away for use in years to come.  Merry Christmas everyone from my home to yours.  Xena and I wish you the very best.

I never get tired of seeing how creative people are with books.

Who knew about this?  I can't wait to share this with my students.

The magic of Christmas just gets better and better.

Yes, Virginia...

Tracking the route of Jolly Old Saint Nick...

Author/illustrator Jon Klassen spreading joy...

Lovely lights around the world...

Illustrator Carson Ellis...

Truly a wonder of wonders in the world of children's literature this year...

Another way to follow Santa Claus on his journey of journeys

Adorable holiday greetings from author/illustrator Tad Hills

I've read quite a bit about this but interested to listen to this later on today.

I have to add this tweet, even though I highlighted it already, because I completely agree with what Mr. Schu says and because Mr. Schu is like Santa Claus all year long to all readers everywhere.

This man never rests when it comes to sharing resources.

This appeared on Twitter a day after Christmas but was good enough that I have added it.

Here's author/illustrator Peter Reynolds favorite Christmas story video.

This is going to be an annual read for me.  I have never read anything quite as beautiful as this.
Click on the tree to read the letter.  Thank you Martha Brockenbrough.

Hound Dog Christmas

It's Christmas Eve.  Cinnamon, herbs and evergreen scents perfume the air.  Lights reflect off an ornament-filled tree as carols softly play.  Stockings are hung by the chimney.  Nearby cookies cover a plate next to a glass full of milk, waiting for a nighttime visitor.

There are not many evenings where anticipation runs higher.  Those special creatures who share our homes sense something out of the ordinary is in the works; knowing exactly what to expect unless this is their first December.  But then again, surprises come in all shapes and sizes as one particular basset hound discovers in Charlie and the Christmas Kitty (Harper) by Ree Drummond with illustrations by Diane deGroat.

Well, howdy!
Charlie the ranch dog here, reporting from
the country.

The ever-helpful (in his mind) Charlie is back with his energetic friend, Suzie, and his tiny, constant companion, a chipmunk.  More of a supervisor than a worker, the lovable, loyal, laid-back basset basically likes to sleep despite his title of King of the Ranch.  Overseeing the bringing in and decorating of the tree has him all tuckered out.

The dinging of a bell startles him out of his snooze.  What's this new furry being?! It's...it's...it's...a rabbit!  No, rabbits don't meow.  Ah, shucks...it's a kitty!

This new state of affairs has caught Charlie completely off-guard.  There's only one thing to do.  A nap should solve this problem; perhaps it's only a dream.

Well, it's not a dream.  Despite all his attempts to make the best of this situation he is persistently pursued by this feline who clearly wants to be his friend.  Kitty finally hits the right spot, finding what Charlie needs after a hard day's work on the ranch.  Ahhh...What?! Oh, no!

Charlie's first person narrative has a very distinctive voice as a canine member of a ranching family relating the events of a not-so-typical day.  Ree Drummond clearly understands Charlie, presenting his outlook with ample humor.  His thought processes and sleep-oriented solutions will elicit grins and giggles.

Illustrations created using Winsor & Newton watercolor paint over digital art by Diane deGroat capture the spirit of the season and life on the ranch.  The realistic, brightly colored front cover is a definite draw as is the photograph of Ree Drummond holding Charlie on the back with the added detail of the kitty batting the bowed bell attached to the barcode. Rich, red endpapers followed by Charlie clad in a Santa hat beneath the title get readers ready for some Christmas cheer.

Alternating between double page spreads, single pages and insets on a page, combining Charlie's perspective with more panoramic views, readers feel right at home.  All the added details enhance and extend the text; the cattle in the background, one looking right in the window as the tree is decorated, Christmas stockings with Charlie's and Suzie's pictures on them, the chipmunk sleeping with Charlie often under his ear.  The expressions on Charlie's face are portrayed so well even without the text we readers know his mood, his thoughts.

Whether you read the first book, Charlie the Ranch Dog (Harper, 2011) (reviewed here) or not, Charlie and the Christmas Kitty will be a Christmas favorite of dog and cat lovers and fans of The Pioneer Woman.  The combined talents of Ree Drummond and Diane deGroat bring the everyday happenings on a ranch, through Charlie's eyes, to life in a warm and welcoming way for all readers.  On the final page is Charlie's Favorite Christmas Cookies ( for human consumption). According to the publisher's website two more titles are in the works for the summer of 2013.

Make sure to follow the embedded links in both Drummond's and deGroat's names to get to their websites.  There is a series of pages devoted to Charlie at The Pioneer Woman.  Here is a link to the Browse Inside feature at Harper to see more of the book.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Strike Up The Band!

People like parades.  Whether it's on a grand scale like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City or the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, The Rose Parade, or our smaller National Cherry Festival in Traverse City or the Venetian Festival in Charlevoix, people will gather days or hours in advance, lines of chairs marking their spots.  All you have to do is watch the children's faces along the route to know how much they are loving every minute of a parade.

When a holiday coincides with a parade, it has the potential to become a tradition, a memory maker lasting a lifetime.  For decades I have enjoyed the uplifting artwork and witty writing of Sandra Boynton, first on her greeting cards, later in her books and in her music.  For the 2012 holiday season her newest release Christmas Parade (Little Simon, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing) continues, presenting her well-loved characters doing what they do best, making us smile or even laugh out loud.

BOOM biddy BOOM biddy
Biddy BOOM biddy BOOM
What's that noise filling the room?

Pig looks around, sounds are coming in from the street outside.  He runs to the window, delighted by what he sees. Stepping to the beat of his drum dressed in a Christmas uniform is an elephant, leading a line of musicians.

In perfect synchronization a row of chickens follow, notes bursting from their bassoons.  Oh, look! now large balloons are carried by jovial porkers.  Three abreast, matching hippo drummers march...plus one small cat.

Tossing holly confetti into the air, red-nosed reindeer walk with a jolly ole' Santa rhino.  Saxophones, piccolos, trombones and one very loud tuba round out the group.  Our window-watching pig thinks all is past until he hears a knocking at his door.  It's a spectacular Merry Christmas surprise!

With a rhyming, rhythmic beat as jaunty as the parade of animals dressed in their Christmas best, Sandra Boynton's narrative describes an unexpected treat.  An array of critters not only spread holiday cheer but introduces readers to a collection of musical instruments.  Onomatopoeia abounds.

Who wouldn't want to follow a piccolo playing mouse trailing behind a determined elephant pounding away on a bass drum?  Sandra Boynton captures your attention immediately on the front cover with her signature characters.  Endpapers feature, on a dusty blue background, endless rows of snare-playing hippos marching out from the book.

Colorful shades, mostly of greens and blues, provide a bright engaging background for her members of the parade as they march through the pages.  Varied font sizes and types accentuate the musical quality of her text.  As always the expressive, intent expressions on her characters' faces provide for the underlying humor.  The detail of the pig sitting in his chair wearing white and pink bunny slippers, holding a teddy bear, is hilarious.

Christmas Parade written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton begins as seasonal cheer you hold in your hands, but I guarantee in a few moments readers and listeners alike will begin to move if not march around the room.  It's a happening holiday happiness (complete with hippos).

This is a link to Virtual Keyboard  which will pair nicely with the ending.  If you want to expand your interest in musical instruments head over to this BrainPOP video. Embedded in Sandra Boynton's name above is a link to her official website.  The video below is a CBS Sunday Morning interview which would be wonderful to use in the classroom.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twitterville Talk #80

Snowy, blowy, wild winter weather ended the week as the holiday break begins.  Book chats, the best of the best in 2012, predictions and book recommendations galore, that's what we all love on Twitter.
Try the giveaway here as well as the previous post today.  The answers are a click away.  I don't care how many times you've won, I love giving away books. Have a wonderful evening.

This is the kind of book trailer that has you scurrying to place an order quicker than immediately.
Here is a link to the website designed for the series with several free items.

We certainly appreciate the updated 2012 Best Books Lists as well as the Book Release Calendar.

This week Mr. Schu and Travis Jonker, teacher librarian and blogger at 100 Scope Notes, revealed their Top 20 Books of 2012.  At Mr. Schu's site are all the resources for each title.  At Travis Jonker's site are the books with their blurbs.  This is a much anticipated event.  Here is the link for the final five including the previous reveals.

The first person to tell me in the comments book #5 in the list above will win a copy of Pandas and Other Endangered Species by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce, A Perfect Time for Pandas by Mary Pope Osborne, Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed with illustrations by Barbara McClintock, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth and The Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers.

The power of libraries from Sir Terry Pratchett.

Thanks to John Schumacher, teacher librarian, 2011 Library Journal Movers & Shakers, and blogger at Watch. Connect. Read. for these tweets.

I freely admit to being a fan for more than forty years of Jeopardy.  That's why this appeals to me and I imagine to all nerdy book lovers.  Can you name the authors of NPR's top 100 novels for teens?

Thanks to Alyson Beecher, educator and blogger at Kid Lit Frenzy for this tweet.

These tidbits of information would be fun to share with students or as a site to send them to do research.   Reindeer:  Twelve Fascinating Facts About These Amazing Creatures

Thanks to the National Wildlife Federation for this tweet.

The Best Videos for Educators In 2012-Part Two is a great list by Larry Ferlazzo of Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...   A link to his first set of videos for 2012 is included.

Head over to his site again for this infographic--Gift-Giving Traditions Throughout The World
Thanks for the list and these tweets.

It's never too early to start planning for next year.  This post has lots of great thoughts.  Learning About December Holidays:  25+ Ideas & Resources

Thanks to Steve Cushing of Bongo LLP for this tweet.

This an enlightening infographic you should read, 20 Facts About Twitter You Probably Don't Know

Thank to Oakland Schools in Michigan for this tweet.

A recent post on NEVERENDINGSEARCH speaks to the advantages of using Pinterest.  Focusing in on authors who pin

Thanks to Joyce Valenza, teacher librarian and blogger at NEVERENDINGSEARCH.

Author Jarrett J. Krosoczka's blog post, Make Magic, Preserve Wonder in my opinion is a must read.  He was reproduced the banner at the top of the post so people can download it for printing.  That link is here.

Thanks to Jarrett J. Krosoczka for this post and tweet.

This is a resource and a half---Author Post From 'The Nerdy Book Club' Finalists. Mr. Sharp has listed previous blog posts of the author's whose books are a part of the Nerdy Book Club Award Nominations for 2012.

This post is a must read for people who sincerely care about the power of libraries staffed with certified librarians. I have had first-hand experience in coming to libraries not previously staffed with certified personnel and more recently I've seen what can happen when a certified librarian is no longer there.  Be the change.
How to Make (or Unmake) a Reader by Linda Urban

Get ready for the January #SharpSchu Book Club.  You'll like the chosen authors.

Thanks to Colby Sharp, teacher, blogger at sharpread and one of the founders of the Nerdy Book Club, for these tweets and the work involved in the first post.

Here's another great test for those book nerds---So this is Quizmas...
How well do you know quotes from your favorite books about the holiday season?

Thanks to PaperTigersOrg for this tweet.

All of the people I follow and who follow me are well aware that they should Take your libraries seriously.

Thanks to author Jo Knowles  and blogger for this tweet.

I really like this short video by author/illustrator Peter Reynolds talking about his artistic process.

 Thanks to Candlewick Press for this tweet and their year long tribute to picture books, We Believe In Picture Books!

Let's help support Sandy Hook PTA!  Are you making snowflakes?  If so, please no words, only the beauty of a single plain snowflake.

Thanks to Susan Dee, fifth grade teacher and blogger at The Book Maven's Haven for this tweet.

One of my favorite young adult books of the summer is written by Martha Brockenbrough, Devine Intervention.(reviewed here)  Her letter titled The Truth About Santa is amazing.  Click on the tree to get to the letter.

Thanks to literary agent Jill Corcoran for this tweet.

Author John Green works non-stop to make our world better for everyone.  This is one of his Project For Awesome videos.  Prepare to be moved...completely.

Thanks for sharing this video, John Green.

This is BIG, BIG news!---Lois Lowry Confirms Jeff Bridges To Film The Giver

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

And right on the heels to the news above we hear---Tobey Maguire to Produce and Possibly Star in CARDBOARD  Cardboard is the most recent graphic novel by Doug TenNapel and reviewed here.

Thanks to Travis Jonker, teacher librarian and blogger at 100 Scope Notes for this tweet.

It's always an honor to be able to read how author's and illustrator's feel about their picture book creations.  Extra Yarn:  Author Mac Barnett's 2012 BGHB Picture Book Award Speech
Extra Yarn:  Illustrator Jon Klassen's 2012 BGHB Picture Book Award Speech

Thanks to The Horn Book for these posts and the tweet.

These are a few of my favorite thoughts from Twitter this past week.

Twitterville Talk #79

If you are regular readers on my blog you read that this post has been delayed for a week out of a deep sadness and respect for the loss of life at Newtown.

There is never a dull moment in the fields of literature and education on Twitter.  Enjoy this week's collection.  Look for the giveaways and stay tuned for another Twitterville Talk post to follow later this afternoon.  Happy weekend and happy reading.

Now, this is what I call a wonderful seasonal sensation---Yes, Virginia, That Is The Library:  Macy's Features NYPL Among Holiday Windows

Thanks to the NY Public Library for this tweet.

After years of experience as an educator you know certain things to be true, but when you read something like this you can't help but fist pump. The Science of Storytelling:  Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains

Thanks to educator Billy Spicer and blogger at Spicing Up Teaching for this tweet. 

Oh, readers one and all have known this since they could first read.  Yes, we have.  Reading 'can help reduce stress'

Author Kate Messner sent out this tweet.  Thanks.

Thousands of years old, but a cornerstone of our classic literature Aesop's Fables Interactive Book
found at the Library of Congress.

Enjoy this lovely holiday greeting from Chronicle Books.

In case you missed the #SharpSchu Book Club on December 12, 2012, Mr. Schu has gathered loads of tweets from participants who loved talking about the Lunch Lady and Babymouse graphic novels.

Many thanks to teacher librarian, blogger at Watch. Connect. Read. and Library Journal Movers & Shakers 2011,  John Schumacher.

Travis Jonker, teacher librarian, and blogger at School Library Journal, 100 Scope Notes wraps up the year 2012 Children's Lit:  The Year in Miscellanea  Travis Jonker's special insights are amazing.

Thanks for this post and this tweet.

The beauty of infographics is the amount of information presented visually and concisely.  This would be good for professional and personal reference---How to Use Creative Commons Visuals

Thanks to teacher librarian extraordinaire and blogger at School Library Journal, NeverEndingSearch, Joyce Valenza.

More incredible book sculptures make an appearance---Book Sculptures: Making Harry Potter Out Of 'Harry Potter'

Thanks to Heather Moorefield, Education Librarian at Virgina Tech and former chair of the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning.

Here's an interesting new twist on Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

Thanks to Sarah Ducharme, teacher librarian, in Budapest and blogger at Try Curiosity!

Check out the updated "Turn It Off And Read A Book" Poster (Holiday & Regular) & Bookmarks courtesy of illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi.  Be sure to read her newest title, I'm Bored, written by Michael Ian Black.

Thanks for this tweet.

The complete Horn Book Fanfare from 1938 to date has been compiled.

Here is the Horn Book Fanfare 2012 annotated with book covers.

Thanks to The Horn Book for these tweets and excellent resources.

Listen and learn---Lemony Snicket Dons A Trenchcoat 

Letters From 'Peanuts' Creator Reveal Bittersweet Romance

Thanks to NPR Books for these tweets and the interviews.

To commemorate and celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal---Interview:  Two-time Caldecott Winner Nonny Hogrogian

If you can tell me what part of the 75th anniversary Caldecott Medal logo represents the official children's book of Massachusetts and the title of the book, I will send you a copy of Mousterpiece by Jane Breskin Zalben, Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz and Home for Christmas by Jan Brett.

Thanks to contributing editor of the School Library Journal, Rocca Staino for this tweet.

I don't think I've ever heard of a marriage proposal quite like this before now---Illustrator Proposes Marriage in His Picture Book Debut

Thanks to Abrams Kids for this tweet.

My oh my---another work by Hans Christian Andersen has been discovered, Tallow Candle: Hans Christian Andersen's 'first work'

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

Infographic:  All You Need To Know About Kwanzaa

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo of Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... for this tweet.

These are a few of my favorite quotes and sayings from Twitter this week.