Posts tagged ‘read aloud’

DISOBEDIENCE IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE….

Wasted Wood

Written by Brock Eastman

wASTEDWOOD

I struggled to decide what rating to give this middle grade novella; I decided to go with four stars because the writing is appropriate for its intended audience. The dialogue is on point for thirteen year old Hudson and his friends. Lots of adjectives and onomatopoeia to keep the story interesting as well as those illustrations of the tree troll.

Hudson is a typical teen; he loves to play video games and test the limits with his parents’ rules. Hudson gets grounded when he comes home late because he took a short cut and trespassed on Mr. Gilbert’s property nearly falling off the bridge in the process. Of course that wasn’t the whole story, Mr. Gilbert had called his parents catching Hudson in a lie. Hudson doesn’t take long to decide to sneak out and join his friends for their camp out.

Orin, the neighborhood bully and his friends, come across Hudson with his friends in the woods. They dare them to trespass on Mr. Gilbert’s property to prove that they are not afraid of the legend that a Tree Troll exists. When they take the dare; the real adventure begins. Soon the Dark Demon appears. Is the legend real? All the teens including the bullies must struggle to survive. What will happen to the boys? Will their parents and Mr. Gilbert find out?

Lots of adventure, danger, paranormal and coming of age issues combine to make the novella appealing to the middle grade audience. Despite the fact that there is lots of passive voice and the writing style could be sharper, this is a tale well worth reading for the eight to twelve year old target audience. The author has developed a set of discussion questions for each chapter, which makes the book a good choice for a classroom read aloud and discussion.

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SINK OR SWIM

CHILDREN’S BOOK:DIARY OF OSCAR RABBIT: FUNNY, ILLUSTRATED BED-TIME STORY- READ ALOUD……

OscarRabbit,pic

Written and illustrated by Melinda Kinsman

New series of books featuring a young boy named Billy and his collection of stuffed toys who live on the top of the wardrobe in his bedroom and are affectionately referred to as The Top of the Wardrobe Gang. Previous rhyming books in the series have featured their adventures in writing books for kids, which they turned to as a diversion to pass the time of day when their owner Billy went to school. In this new series, members of the gang will allow readers a glimpse into their daily diary entries.

Oscar Rabbit narrates in the first adventure. He is upset that the gang’s writing schedule is going to be disrupted because a new swimming pool in town is about to open. Billy is really excited not only for himself, but especially for his cousin Ben because this new pool is accessible to the disabled. Ben is wheelchair bound.

The Top of the Wardrobe Gang are determined to swim in the pool with their human friends. Oscar knows that stuffed animals will sink, but his friends refuse to be dissuaded. He writes in his diary about how Billy’s grandmother makes them all bathing suits and brings them cookies. Finally, opening day arrives. What will happen to the Gang? They seem determined to ignore the truth.

This book is targeted for readers ages four through eight. Preschoolers will read through the clever illustrations. Beginning readers will enjoy story written in short paragraphs of text with just enough challenge, but not overwhelming for new readers. They will delight in the activities provided at the end: matching, mazes, simple math, and find the differences. An answer key is provided for self-checking. Wonderful value for the story entertainment and enrichment activities to extend learning. Highly recommended for young readers, teachers and parents.

THE COURAGE TO TRY

Dearie: A Tale of Courage (Chapter Books Book 1)

Written by Gita V. Reddy

Dearie,pic

Beginning chapter book of approximately thirty-five pages which is just right for a new or reluctant reader. The protagonist is a deer named Dearie. At first, it appeared that Dearie was too weak and frail to survive. Beating the odds, he soon grew strong and fast. As time went on, a bigger problem surfaced. Whenever danger appeared, Dearie froze. He could not respond to danger. That put the rest of the herd at risk.

Despite the pleadings of his mother, it is agreed that Dearie must leave the herd to learn how to overcome his fears and master the skills needed to survive. Dearie must face wild boar, wolves, lions and crocodiles. Will Dearie find his courage, and more importantly, will he ever rejoin his beloved herd?

This is an animal coming of age story that teaches children we all must not be afraid how to learn to be independent. Simple pen and ink drawings accompany the short chapters. I think the plot begins a bit slowly; the real story unfolds halfway through the book in Chapter 5. Recommended as an independent read for eight to ten year olds or for reluctant readers who feel challenged by the length of most middle grade chapter books. Short enough to be used as a read aloud classroom discussion.

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NIGHTY NIGHT

5 Minute Bedtime Stories for Children (1)

Retold by Beatrice Wood

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The author is not trying to reinvent the wheel, but to collate and abridge a nice assortment of stories from around the world in five to seven minute segments. Just the right size for a busy mom or dad for a bedtime story read. They are suitable for school age children ages six through twelve and are not meant for toddlers or preschoolers. While all of them have familiar themes to many cultures; ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes” will probably be recognized by all readers.

I think my favorite of these ten is the one titled, “The Story Without an End.” It tells the legend of a king who lived in a time before there were printed storybooks. This king had an insatiable appetite for stories. After a while, his subjects ran out of stories to tell. The king promised that whoever would tell a story that did not end could marry the princess. Unfortunately, if the story ended, that storyteller would be thrown in jail.

One day a poor farmer showed up with the promise of a story without end. But first the king had to promise to listen to the end. After receiving that promise from the king, the farmer began his tale, which was so cleverly crafted that it went on for months. When the king could take it no longer, he begged the farmer to stop telling his story. So the farmer married the princess and eventually ruled the kingdom.

Each story is accompanied by a black and white pencil drawing to complement the tale. This is a nice touch and provides encouragement of more discussion on the topic of each story. Creative and novel way for parent and child or teacher and child to share a short read aloud. Look forward to reading Book 2 in the collection.

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SAFARI GONE WRONG

Lost in Lion Country

Written by Blair Polly and D.M. Potter

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This book is an interactive adventure for children age ten and above. The setting is Serengeti National Park. A young boy traveling in a Land Rover on safari is our protagonist. He is standing beside the truck taking photos when suddenly it zooms off. No one appears to notice that he is missing. Suddenly he is alone being chased by hyenas faced with his first decision. Should he climb an acacia tree or follow a dried creek bed to get out of viewing range? At the end of each chapter, the reader is given the opportunity to determine the outcome of the story. Each section has two choices. Readers may decide to go back and change their mind or reread the story an entirely different way.

Students will enjoy being in control of the outcome of their adventure. The author provides tips on how to navigate the story on different types of devices. The size of the chapters make them perfect for teachers to use as a short classroom read aloud over a period of several days. Topics are interesting for adventure lovers, environmentalists, animal lovers and enthusiasts of African culture. Highly recommended for reluctant readers. The complexity of text is just right for middle school readers, but is not condescending. As an adult, I found it pleasurable to read as well.

LESSONS THAT NEED TO BE LEARNED

Fairy Tales For And About Kids

Written by Alexei

Translated by Katerina Lejkova

Illustrated by Galina Krylova

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This book of approximately forty pages contains seven fairy tales translated from Russian. For that reason, the language is a bit awkward in a few spots but does not seriously inhibit the story. A few of the tales center around little boys. Willie is a little boy who gives an eccentric old man directions and is rewarded with three wishes. The boy meets up with his friends and uses his wishes foolishly and learns a lesson the hard way. Another tale involves a young boy named Brian who is thought to be a simpleton but later undergoes an experience that turns the tables for him. On the other hand, Tom is a boastful boy intent on bullying the other children and forcing them to comply with his demands. One day his mom and a dog named Pluto prove to be his undoing. A boy and a wicked dog named Molly have a series of adventures that lead to bold actions by another little boy. Sam, a very superstitious little boy misses out on a lot of fun until a little girl named Kate teaches him how superstition is ruining his life. A lazy boy named Lukas spends his summer days watching TV, lying in bed and eating through a tube because he is too lazy to get up. He will have to learn the hard way that being lazy just leads to unhappiness. I think my favorite story is the one about the big trains and the little trains. In this tale, the large trains believe that might makes right and the spend their time quarreling with the little trains over who is more important until both parties realize they are both necessary. Unlike most fairy tales, many of the characters in this collection are boys and the setting is often in a large city.

All of these stories teach life lessons for children, and maybe for some adults! They are charming if nontraditional. There are a few illustrations which add to the appeal, but unfortunately they are a bit small on the kindle version. These short stories make up small chapters so the book is useful as a beginning reader. Parents could use the chapters as bedtime stories; teachers might approach them as short read alouds. Refreshing and different selection for anyone who enjoys fairy tales. Recommended for children age seven and older.

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TEA-TIME TRAVELS

Mrs. Trimble’s Magic Tea-Pot!

Written and illustrated by Steven-Watson-Morris

MagicTea-pot

This book is really an early chapter book which could also be used as a classroom read aloud or bedtime story. All the stories center around Mrs. Trimble, her assistant Rose and her twin nephews, John and Jack. Mrs. Trimble owns a tea shop where she serves tea and delicious home baked cakes. While working one day in her shop, suddenly a giant cloud of smoke arose and a giant tea-pot appeared in the center of the shop. A wizard wearing a pointed cap adorned with stars popped out. Walter the Wizard needs her help because the king’s cook is ill, and he is in need of someone to bake cakes for his party. They all climb into his tea-pot and are whisked away to the kingdom where Mrs. Trimble saves the day by baking the cakes. Walter is so grateful that he gives her a magic tea-pot as a gift that will take her anywhere in the world she wants to visit. The magic words are magic teapot backwards—“Top eat Cigam!” So begins the magical adventures of our characters.

In the first book of adventures, they decide to visit a spooky house and some ghosts where they meet Arthur Halloween, they take a trip to the moon and visit four purple men who are in need of polishing dust to keep the moon shiny and then visit another moon to gather supplies, convince a greedy dragon that he is eating too much and needs to go on a diet, and visit a land of dwarfs where Jack and John receive some surprise birthday presents. Mrs. Trimble even manages to confront an ogre and rescue the key to the city for the mayor. Perhaps my favorite adventure involves her ingenious solution to save the day when Santa Claus is unable to deliver presents on Christmas Day because his reindeer are sick.

There are just enough black and white pencil drawings to hold the interest of young readers just getting accustomed to longer story books. I like the mixture of conversation and prose. Neither one overpowers the other so that the story flows

The Further Adventures of Mrs. Trimble’s Magic Teapot!

Written and illustrated by Steven-Watson Morris

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So delighted that the author is giving us a sequel. In Book Two the reader is treated to seven more magical adventures. This time the reader will meet a one-eyed giant, a silver snake, a naughty goblin, the Easter bunny, an alien planet, some bubbles, and a castle of dreams. The children will learn through Mrs. Trimble that we should be kind and understanding toward others even when others are angry with us, but she also teaches us that when we are naughty like the goblin, we need to undo the harm we have done to others, apologize, and make restitution for our mistakes. When Mrs. Trimble meets the Dream Maker, she learns how to drink hot chocolate as well as tea and sees how sweets can be turned into healthy fruits. What child would not like to have a bubble adventure! Mrs. Trimble and the twins are astonished when the Easter bunny oversleeps one year; they must rescue him and save the day! In their last adventure the stalwart group get to land on the Teapot planet where everything is shaped like a teapot, and where they are introduced to Earlgrey who will restore the magic to their teapot. To return his kindness, Mrs. Trimble will leave them with a special gift of her own. As in the first book, there are delightful pencil drawings. At the end of the book, readers will find a special bonus, coloring pages that feature all the characters in the book’s stories.

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