Genre- Realistic Fiction

Title: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridgewilfrid

Author: Mem Fox

Publisher: Kane/Miller Publishers

Date: 1984

Age Level: Primary (K-2)

Summary: “A small boy tries to discover the meaning of “memory” so he can restore that of an elderly friend.”

Strengths: I enjoyed the use of white space in the illustrations. The use of white space really makes the reader focus on the text and the accompanying illustrations. I think it gives you a better connection to the close relationship Wilfird and Miss Nancy have. I also thought the idea of the story being centered around a young boy making friends with the elderly in a home is unique. I liked this aspect of the book and I think it could be good for the younger grades to see how they could help their community even at a young age. I enjoy Wilfrid’s curiosity and determination to figure out what “memory” is and retrieve Miss Nancy’s memory.

Concerns: I thought it was strange how all the things Wilfrid chooses to bring back Miss Nancy’s memory back actually do. Every single one makes some connection to Miss Nancy. I didn’t like how the book didn’t explain the capacity of memory. Miss Nancy retrieves a few memories, but she has still lost a lot and I don’t think that is clear to readers, expecially if they are not sure what “memory” is.

Classroom Use: I think this is a great book for the younger grades. I feel that a lot of students have grandparents they might relate this book with. They are also at an age when they are discovering new words and their meanings everyday. I think this would be a good story book just to read for fun to the students.

Published in: on March 3, 2009 at 2:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Title: 7×9= Trouble7x9trouble

Author: Claudia Mills

Publisher: A Sunburst Book

Date: 2002

Age Level: Elementary (3-4)

Summary: “3rd grader Wilson struggles with x’s tables in order to beat the class deadline”

Strengths: I love that this book is directed to an audience of many that have this same problem. I thought the book was about a school subject that haunts many students.  It was a story told in a fun exciting way that will capture many students attention.

Concerns: The only concern I had was all the different plots going on in the book at once. There is Wilson and his x’s tables, Wilson and his relationship with his brother, and the missing class hamster. I think this takes a bit away from Wilson’s success from completing his x’s tables.

Classroom Use: This would be a great book to offer to those struggling in math or any other subject for that matter. Wilson shows true determination to finish his x’s tables before the deadlines. He has a lot of obstacles along the way, but he gets through it.

Published in: on March 3, 2009 at 2:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Title: Because of Winn Dixiebecause-of-winn-dixie

Author: Kate DiCamillo

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Date: 2000

Age Level: Elementary (3-4) or Upper (5-6)

Summary: “Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Flordia and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie.

Strengths: I really enjoyed reading this book, so much that I read it in one sitting. I love the relationship between Winn-Dixie and the people of this small town. I like that Winn-Dixie creates relationships between Opal and people of the town. At certain parts, I found myself laughing because of the personality DiCamillo gave Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie brings people together from the town that usually wouldn’t get together. This book overall is a great read!

Concerns: The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the fact that it didn’t explain a lot about Opal’s mother. I would have liked some more information about her. Also, I wish there would have been some kind of confrontation with Amanda about her brother Carson. I thought it was just kind of mentioned then dropped.

Classroom Use: This would be a great book for a book discussion. It would be great in small groups or in large groups with the whole class. I would assign chapters and then do activities pertaining to the chapters read just to be sure everyone is keeping up. The language is easy enough for students to read alone. They could read the book and then do some kind of project, presentation, or skit.

Published in: on March 3, 2009 at 2:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Title: Amazing Graceamazing-grace

Author: Mary Hoffman

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

Date: 1991

Age Level: Primary (K-2) or Elementary (3-4)

Summary: “Although classmates say that she cannot play Peter Pan in the school play because she is black and a girl, Grace discovers that she can do anything she sets her mind to”

Strengths: I think this book is great for children. Children love to imagine and role play they are someone else and Grace does this in the story having so much fun. I love the basis behind the book, that you can do anything you set your mind to no matter the color of your skin. I think this is great for the classroom, because there probably will be a problem like the one in the book. I like when Grace performed all the other students voted for Grace and showed acceptance of her in an unlikely role.

Concerns: I think it might be a hard book to introduce to young kids. Younger kids are so interested as it is and after they heard this story they might ask more questions about being an African American. If there are African American children in the classroom it could make them feel uncomfortable.

Classroom Use: I think this book could be just a book to read to students during anytime. I think it would be especially useful if there were issues with differences in a teachers classroom. With classrooms becoming so much more diverse these days, this book might be a helpful way to address the issue to students. We are all different and unique in our own special ways.

Published in: on March 3, 2009 at 2:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Title: A Corner of the Universea-corner

Author: Ann M. Martin

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.

Age Level: Upper (5-6)

Date: 2002

Summary: A young girl named Hattie discovers an Uncle she never knew about. This particular Uncle has mental problems that her family seems to not understand. Hattie develops a friendship with Uncle Adam. They teach each other valuable lessons throughout the book. This book is a Newberry Honor book.

Strengths: I loved the book. I liked that Ann Martin added Uncle Adam with mental problems. I think some students do not have any experience with this and with inclusion classrooms being so prevalent it is a good thing to know about. I like the relationship between Hattie and Uncle Adam. They both help each other realize things. I think it is special because nobody else in the family seems to know how to deal with the situation. 

Concerns: The idea of a mentally retarded Uncle who acts more like a child than the grown adult man that he is might be hard for some readers to understand if they do not have a personal experience in this area. Their might be a lot of questions about some of the behaviors Uncle Adam has or does throughout the book.

Classroom Use: This book would be great you upper elementary readers. It is a good book to have as a choice for the readers to do a book discussion or literacy circle.  I would recommend it for girls, but it would also be a great book for special education learners. I think it is something they could relate to.

Published in: on March 3, 2009 at 2:41 am  Comments (1)