Monday, November 24, 2008

Review #4: Holes

Dad:  For our bedtime story, we recently spent a few nights reading "Holes" by Louis Sachar...
Gracie (age 8):  It's about digging holes.
Isaac (age 10):  It was exciting.  There were lots of parts where, at first you don't understand what's happening, but later in the book it tells you more about it.
Gracie:  Like Stanley's dirty rotten, pig stealing, great-great-grandfather!
Dad:  So that's an example where, at first you don't understand who he was...
Isaac:  Yeah - but now we know why they called him that.
Gracie:  Dirty rotten, pig stealing, great-great-grandfather!
Dad:  I like how there were a whole bunch of things that seemed separate from each other, but as the book goes on...
Isaac: ...all the stories start combining into one.
Dad:  So what happens?
Isaac:  Zero ran away from the camp because he was mad, and Stanley chased after him...
Gracie:  Camp Green Lake -- it's a terrible camp.  You would rather go to jail than that camp.
Isaac:  He was gone for eight or nine days, and there was no water or anything.  But he brought his shovel with him, and he dug a hole under a boat that said "Mary Lou," and they found some old spiced peaches...
Gracie:  Sam the Onion Man had a donkey named Mary Lou.  But Zero and Stanley thought the boat was named after a person, not a donkey.  They said, "Man, she must have been important if someone named a boat after her.  I bet she looked great in a bathing suit next to her boyfriend."  That was SO FUNNY!  I'm imagining Mary Lou in a bathing suit right now, and it is HILARIOUS!  Do you hear me people?  HILARIOUS!
Isaac:  I can tell you why the kids dig holes...
Gracie:  No!  We don't want to spoil the mystery for the listeners...
Isaac:  WHAT???
Gracie:  Shame on you!
Isaac:  People are not just going to go read the book after they read this!
Dad:  Well, they might-- that's why we're doing this!  A book review is supposed to make it exciting for people so they'll want to go out and read it themselves...
Gracie:  Yah!
Dad:  So, Lily, what did you think was exciting?
Lily (age 5):  The lizards in the book had yellow spots and glowing red eyes and very sharp black teeth and a loooong white tongue.  They like to live in holes.  And no matter what, if the lizards bite you... you will have to die.
Dad:  Oh no!
Lily:  But they don't bite you if you have onion blood, because they do not eat onion blood.
Isaac:  The ending was one of the best parts.
Dad:  Gracie was so excited, she couldn't sit still!
Isaac:  They were surrounded by yellow spotted lizards in a hole...  It made me feel worried...
Gracie:  I was freaked out.  And when I'm freaked out, I jump around and get scared.
Lily:  I remember when it was happening, I didn't move at all.  I thought there was a lizard... crawling... up... my... face...
Dad:  Any last comments?
Isaac:  It's a good book.  You really should read it.  I wish I could tell you more about it... but I can't.  They won't let me.

spitting into the hole, by Lily

Mary Lou in a bathing suit, by Gracie

yellow spotted lizard, by Isaac

Author: Louis Sachar
Published, 1998: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Review #3: "Little Hoot" and "Little Pea"

Dad:  Today's books are "Little Hoot" and "Little Pea," both of them written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace.
Isaac (age 10):  This is our first ever double Bookie Woogie!
Lily (age 5):  Little Hoot did not like bedtime because he always had to stay up late, late, late.  "Little Pea" was about a pea, and he did not like candy at all.  For dinner, peas eat candy, candy, candy.
Gracie (age 8):  I would like eating candy all day...
Lily:  Well, it's kind of weird because People always have things that are healthy for dinner and things that aren't healthy for dessert.  But in the book they switched it around.  The candy first and the dinner after.
Gracie:  They're the opposite -- all kids want to stay up late, and all kids want to have candy for dinner.
Isaac:  No they don't...  not all kids...
Gracie:  I want to have candy for dinner!
Lily:  Well, I like peas...
Isaac:  But some kids don't like vegetables, so in the story they tell it from a different point of view, so kids will understand.  Little Hoot and Little Pea are the opposite.
Lily: ...I also like candy!  I like red, orange, yellow, polka-dot, striped, swirly kind...
Isaac:  These books teach you to --
Gracie: -- They teach you to stay up late and to eat candy for dinner!
Isaac:  So...  you want to be a Mutant Pea Owl?
All:  Hahahahahahah...
Dad:  Do I ever say things like Papa Pea does?
Gracie:  Here's what I sound like: "How much tuna fish do I have to eat?"  Then you say, "Eat eight pieces because you are 8."  "WHAT?"
Isaac:  I have to eat more food because I'm 10.  Big bites too!  I wish I was 3!
Gracie:  Do you think Little Pea knows he is going to be eaten?  Like Arnie the Doughnut... peas get eaten also.
Isaac:  The peas eat spinach -- that's practically a vegetable like they are!  Why in the world would they pick that!
Dad:  Spinach isn't alive, silly boy...
Gracie:  Peas aren't alive, crazy dad!
Dad:  Sure they are -- look in the picture: they're all happy, bouncing around...
Gracie:  Uugh!  I'm never eating a pea again!
Isaac:  Little Pea must be microscopic.  All the peas in his family are already small, so he must be super tiny.
Gracie:  I think those peas live in Pealand.
Dad:  So tell everybody what the pictures look like...
Isaac:  The pictures are watercolors.  The lines are sketchy.
Gracie:  Little Pea just has eyes, a mouth, and freckles.
Isaac:  The pictures only show the things they need to show.  Like in that picture, it only has the pea and the pieces of candy on the plate.  And the words.
Gracie:  And what about his shadow...
Isaac:  Everything else is white.  This is a white world.
Dad:  That's called using "White Space"
Isaac:  I like it.
Gracie:  You don't have to draw as much.
Isaac:  It must have just taken three days to draw.
(Gracie begins flipping through Little Hoot, then points at a picture)
Gracie:  Look - that owl just died!
All:  Hahahahahaha...
Isaac:  I think he only fell out of his chair.  And the teacher doesn't care one bit.
Gracie:  He died!
Dad:  Little Hoot doesn't even need to turn his body around to look at him...
Gracie:  Owls can turn their heads backwards.
Lily:  I can do that!
Isaac:  Elijah is the opposite of Little Hoot.  Every night he always wants water...  always wants a hundred "bookies" read to him.
Lily:  If I could, I would stay up all night and watch Dad draw.
Dad: ...because I work at night sometimes.
Lily:  I like to see how you draw.
Gracie:  I would stay up late and watch Phantom of the Opera.
Isaac:  In this picture, the only person outside with Little Hoot is a bat.
Dad:  Why is a bat a good choice.
Gracie:  Because owls eat bats?
All:  Hahahahhahahah...
Dad:  I don't think he's going to eat him!
Lily:  It's because bats and owls stay out at night...
Gracie:  He's going to eat him!  Owls do eat bats...
Dad:  We already talked about some ways these two books are alike.  Are there any other ways they are similar?
Isaac:  Both the characters are "Little."
Gracie:  They are both written by the same person.
Isaac:  Both books end with a joke: "They 'owl' lived happily ever after."
Gracie:  And: "They lived hap-PEA-ly ever after."
Dad:  Do you think they'll make a third book?  What other things don't kids like to do?
Gracie:  Cleaning up!
Isaac:  They could do Little Pig!
Gracie:  Yeah!
Isaac:  It could end: "Hap-Piggily Ever After..."
All:  Hahahahahahhah...

Little Hoot's daydream, by Isaac

Little Hoot and Mama Hoot, by Lily

Little Pea's nightmare, by Gracie

pea family snowman, by Lily

Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrator: Jen Corace
"Little Pea" published 2005, "Little Hoot" 2008: Chronicle Books
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Review #2: Arnie the Doughnut

Dad:  Today's book is "Arnie the Doughnut" by Laurie Keller.
Isaac (age 10):  This is probably the funniest book we have.
Lily (age 5):  I picked it out today!
Isaac:  It's about this doughnut that got made at the doughnut store in the morning.  A person named Mr. Bing - he has a big oval head - he picked Arnie the doughnut and brought him back to his house to eat him...
Lily:  I know why Arnie has sprinkle eyebrows - Arnie is a sprinkle doughnut!
Isaac: ...when they got to his house Arnie screamed.  Mr. Bing decided not to eat him, and they made lists of things he could do instead.  But Arnie and Mr. Bing didn't like any of the ideas so Arnie left.  But after Arnie got to the 'no dogs allowed' sign, Mr Bing ran as fast as he could up to him with a new idea...
Dad:  How did Laurie Keller make these pictures?
Isaac:  They're made out of a whole bunch of different things...
Gracie (age 8):  Cut paper!
Isaac:  Paint.  Pencil.
Lily:  This part is made out of marker.
Isaac:  A stamp.
Gracie:  Cut magazines.
Isaac:  She took some kind of paper, like newspaper or something, and she put a little paint on it.
Lily:  That road is not cut newspaper...  it's made out of a map thing!
Dad: ...which is a good choice for a road, isn't it.
Isaac:  Yeah!  A map!
Lily:  So you know where to go!
Gracie:  "Where do I go?  I'll look on the road!"
Isaac:  The story has a lot of these little side things.  She makes the main story, but off to the sides there are a lot of little guys that are talking.
Gracie:  They're fun and funny.
Isaac:  Like, one guy says, "The French word for 'me' is 'Mo-wee'..."
Gracie:  Moi!
Isaac: ...then the guy says, "Arnie learned that from 'mo-wee'..."
Gracie:  Moi!!!
Isaac:  I can't say it!
Gracie:  "Moi."
Dad:  Lily, why did you choose this book today?
Lily:  Because it makes me feel happy.  And it makes me feel like I want to eat a doughnut.  A sprinkled one!
Gracie:  It makes me NOT want to eat a sprinkle doughnut!  Because of Arnie, I'm not going to ever eat another sprinkle doughnut.
Lily:  I like the doughnut with the blue frosting on it.
Gracie:  I would eat Eclair - that looks good!  Eclair looks like a yummy one.
Lily:  Arnie is in love with Apple Fritter.
Gracie:  Arnie is very dramatic: "You are trying to EAT ME!!!"  I bet Mr. Bing was shocked when he heard that...  I bet he thought, "This doughnut is magical...  This doughnut is freaking me out..."
Dad:  Does your food ever talk to you?
Gracie:  I pretend it does...  "I want to go into the big cave... Wait - it's not a cave, it's a mouth!"  Maybe when Laurie Keller was a kid, she talked to her food.
Dad:  Why don't the other doughnuts care that they are going to be eaten?
Isaac:  They know what's coming.
Lily:  They are bored.
Gracie:  They like the sound of tummies?
Dad:  Why didn't Arnie want to be eaten?
Gracie:  Well I would never want to be eaten.
Dad:  But you're not a doughnut.  You're a person.
Gracie:  I know, but still...  Arnie feels like me.
Dad:  Oh...
Gracie:  Dinosaurs eat people!
Dad:  Uh...
Gracie:  Dinosaurs don't eat doughnuts.
Dad:  What... what are you talking about?
(Laughter from all....)
Gracie:  I have no idea...
Dad:  Now that Mr. Bing and Arnie are together, do you think he will ever be able to buy more doughnuts to eat?
Isaac:  His doughnut days are over forever.  Now it's ice cream days!
Lily:  Maybe he'll buy more doughnuts to be Arnie's friends...

sprinkle sprinkle, by Isaac

Arnie the doughnut, by Lily

"Hey, that dog looks like Arnie," by Gracie

Author/Illustrator: Laurie Keller
Published, 2003: Henry Holt
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Review #1: The Dog Who Belonged to No One

Dad:  We just read "The Dog Who Belonged to No One."  It's written by Amy Hest, and the pictures are by Amy Bates...
Gracie (age 8):  Amy...  Amy...  hello Amy and other Amy!
Dad:  So tell me about this book.
Lily (age 5):  I think it's great!
Isaac (age 10):  It's about a dog and a girl...
Gracie:  A "wisp" of a girl!
Isaac: ...who were both lonely and wished they had someone to be their friend...
Gracie:  (dramatically) that makes me cry.
Isaac: ...then they met each other, so their wishes were fulfilled.  The dog's story and the girl's story were kind of the exact same.
Dad:  In what ways?
Isaac:  They both needed a friend.
Gracie:  And she lived in a crooked house - a VERY crooked house - and he had crooked ears!
Isaac:  Also, they both tried to outrun the storm.  They were both soaked to the bone.  They both went to the same house.  They both had the exact same dream.
Gracie:  They both "tucked themselves inside themselves."
Isaac:  Yeah, I think there are nice words in this book.  They are different than other words.  Like, "a wisp of a girl" and "they tucked themselves inside themselves."
Dad:  Yes, very creative descriptions.
  I just realized something about this book - I don't know if it's a coincidence or not.  But in the story the dog and the girl are alike in a lot of ways, and look at this: (flipping to the cover) Amy Hest and Amy Bates.  They have the exact same name!
Dad:  That is cool...  And what about the pictures?  This illustrator is one of my new favorite-favorites.  She's the same lady that did the pictures for --
Gracie:  Babymouse?
Dad:  No - not Babymouse.  She did the pictures for that thanksgiving book we have, "Give Thanks to the Lord."  Do you remember that one?  We just got it.
Gracie:  No.  But I remember Babymouse.
Dad:  Do you have a favorite picture from this book?
Lily:  The picture on the back.
Gracie:  Yes, that's my favorite too.
Dad:  Tell me about it...
Lily:  There's a girl and a dog with cooked ears...
Gracie:  The girl doesn't have crooked ears.
Dad:  Why is this one your favorite?
Lily:  Because he's happy, and he's cute, and he has his tongue sticking out, and his tongue is dark red, and I like dark red.
Gracie:  And I love her hat!  It looks like something from France.
(Opening up the book)  That's a sad picture, isn't it.
Isaac:  Isn't there a thing you can do with colors - to make you feel happy or sad...
Dad:  Yep...  What do you notice about the colors when the dog is sad?
Isaac:  Purple, dark blue...
Dad:  What about this happy page?
Isaac:  Yellows and whites and bright colors.  The only blue here is like... aqua.
Dad:  Do you remember what that's called?
Gracie:  Warm colors and Dark colors.
Dad:  Not dark... what's the opposite of warm?
Gracie:  Cold.
Dad:  Almost.  "Cool" colors.  So when things are happy...
Gracie:  They are yellow and red.
Dad:  And when things are sad...
Gracie:  They are blue and purple.
Dad:  You know what Dad thought was fun about this book?  They could have put a picture on this page and just plain words on the other side.  But look what they did.  There are all these neat borders around the words.
Isaac:  Oh yeah!  And they made the border into a... wagon?
Dad:  I think it's her bicycle wheels.  And what's on the pages with the dog...
Gracie:  Aww!  Dog prints!
Dad:  It's how they both move - paw prints because he walks...
Gracie:  And bicycle wheels because she rides!
Dad:  That dog in the book never got a name did he?  What do you think his name will be now that they belong to each other?  If you saw a little cutie-dog like that, what would you name him?
Lily:  I have an idea, but I don't know if it's going to be a good name...
Dad:  What?
Lily:  "Sweetie Pie" ...hee hee
Dad:  Sweetie Pie!  I think that is a good name!
Gracie:  He's an adorable dog.

Lia and the dog, by Gracie

the dog who belonged to no one, by Isaac

"Sweetie Pie," by Lily

Author: Amy Hest
Illustrator: Amy Bates
Published, 2008: Abrams Books for Young Readers
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