Welcome back Monday! And yay for What are you Reading? on Mondays! I’m glad to have motivation to keep reading books directly related to my students. I’m usually knowledgeable about new titles that are out there, but this meme has really encouraged me to seek out new titles and rediscover some favorites that (yikes!) I’ve never read. I’ve got a fall/October/monster theme going on today. To see what other readers are posting about in the Picture Book, Childrens’ Book and YA world, check out Teach Mentor Texts to see what’s happening this week. I know I can’t wait to see what I need to read next!
First up, one of my favorites and always worth a re-read. That giant, too tall for the short-shelves, Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems. I admit, I am a fan of ANY book that requires me to read and refrain from breathing. The kids love it. Fox in Socks, Double Trouble in Walla Walla, and Leonardo. They get such a kick out of it. Leonardo is a monster failure. He is big, but he just doesn’t have any features as scary as some of his monster companions. He keeps trying and finally succeeds in making a little boy cry. Except, the boy was having a really rough day and probably would have cried if he were handed candy. It’s all okay though–the story is really about friendship, and that’s what Leonardo gets in the end. When I taught with Leonardo one day in first grade, we created monster pictures using a spinner of body parts. One little boy said to his teacher, “She kept picking noses!” Best. Line. Ever.
In my Junior Library Guild order for October, we got the title Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown. Carrots aren’t creepy they’re just a good snack. And Jasper can’t get enough of them. He eats carrots all the time. Until one day he starts to think they have started to follow him. He can’t prove it, but there are strange shadows and he just has a feeling that those creepy carrots are out to get him. In desperation he finds a solution that solves his problem as well as solving the problem that the carrots had been having behind the scenes of the story. A great one for opposing viewpoints! While I was reading Creepy Carrots I had a sense that it was similar to my favoritest of favorites by Dr. Seuss. What Was I Scared Of? is one I love to read in the fall to get the Seuss love going early in the year.
When I was in Barnes & Noble browsing I noticed Creepy Carrots on the display! Woot! I love it when JLG picks a winner! Next to it was the intriguing title The Insomniacs by Karina Wolf and Brothers Hilts. I confess to reading the entire thing in the store. I’m too broke to do more than window shop until pay day. The Insomniacs are really a family suffering from a severe case of jetlag. They arrive home (or move–read it in the store and can’t remember!) after being 10 time zones away. Everyone has trouble adjusting. They’re sleeping too late, getting up at the wrong times, hungry when it’s not mealtime, etc. To solve their problem they do some research and discover that there are some animals very good at sleeping: bears. Off they go into the woods to find some bears for advice. Instead, they find a wonderland of nighttime nature. Everything in the woods is so alive! The family decides to try night life for themselves and discover that they love it! As I read this one, I was reminded about the Mars rover Curiosity and the family that switched to Mars Time to stay on the same schedule as the dad who is on the Mars team. (I had no idea that a NASA team like that determines their work schedule based on the time it is where the space vehicle is!)
Have you seen the Madeline parody about Frankenstein by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale? Oh-my-fabulous! It’s a complete mirror of the Madeline story of the monsters in two straight lines, etc. etc. The bit when they call the doctor because Frank is lying too still cracks me up. They dial “FrankenSTEIN-ONE-ONE.” (The bar is low for my sense of humor when it comes to picture books.) In the end, all of the monsters want to be just like Frank–with a new head and two screws at the neck.
And finally, Bedtime for Monsters by Ed Vere is very similar to the Going on a Bear Hunt song. It’s nothing spectacular, but I was done with Going on a Bear Hunt when I was eight. I’ve never used it to teach with and I never plan to. But, I can handle anything with monsters!