Friday, December 15, 2006

Reader: Mr. Putter and Tabby Write the Book

On a cold, snowy day, Mr. Putter decides to write a mystery novel. He has everything an author needs–"a soft chair, a warm fire, and a good cat"–except for an idea for the plot. After coming up with a title, he is ready for a break (he "spent three minutes on his title and four hours on his snack"). Then, of course, it's time to take a nap. This happens for three days and finally Mr. Putter decides to write a list of "Good Things" ("Yellow cats," "Cinnamon toast," etc.) instead of a mystery. When he finishes his masterpiece, he takes it next door to his friend, Mrs. Teaberry, who gives it a rave review.

In this accessible easy-to-read book, Rylant provides all of the right ingredients: a sense of humor, a believable depiction of a realistic situation, and a true understanding of friendship. Kids who like this easy reader will be pleased to know that there are several other equally lovely books in the series.

Easy Reader
Grade 1-3
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Nonfiction with CD: Poetry Speaks to Children

This book of poetry includes poems by beloved authors like Roald Dahl, Robert Frost, and Dennis Lee. You can read the poems while you look at the detailed coloured pencil pictures, or you can listen to the poets read their own work on the accompanying CD. The audio tracks are an excellent way to bring poetry to life for kids, and these poems are funny, thought provoking, and whimsical in turn.

Nonfiction with CD
Grades k-7
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First Fiction: Larger-than-Life Lara

Laney Grafton is at the bottom of the fourth-grade pecking order until 300-pound Lara joins the class. But when the teasing and practical jokes land on Lara, she turns the other cheek with a smile and rhymed couplets, reaching out to other students with an uncanny knowledge of their names, talents, and concerns.

This story will pull you in with its great writing and realistic characters. Narrator Laney shows how difficult it can be to stand up for someone when you're feeling beaten down, while Lara is an incredible but believable example of self confidence and dignity. A great exploration of grade school bullying, teasing, and standing up for oneself.

First Fiction
Grades 2-4
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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

First Fiction: Ivy and Bean

The moment they saw each other, Ivy and Bean knew they would never be friends. Ivy wears perfect pink dresses and is always neat and clean, while Bean likes to run through the mud and stand on her head. But when Bean plays a trick on her sister and has to hide-quick!-Ivy comes to the rescue with her wand, some face paint, and a bucket of worms. Will they end up in trouble? Maybe. Will they have fun? Of course! Kids who like Junie B. Jones will love these two best friends.

First Fiction
Grades 2-5
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Graphic Novel: To Dance

This beautiful graphic novel is the true story of a Puerto Rican girl's journey to become a ballet dancer. Even at six years old, Siena knows that she wants to dance. The lovely comics show how she practices and sacrifices to attain her dream of becoming a student at the American School of Ballet in New York. There, she performs in many ballets and practices under some amazing teachers.

The story also shows how Siena's focus on ballet affects her family and home, and how events at home affect her performances. The end is bittersweet, as Siena must retire due to an ankle injury, but she says that later in life, she began to dance again, because "dancing fills a space in me". A beautiful and realistic look at the life of a young dancer. Recommended reading for anyone interested in performing arts.

Graphic Novel

Grades 3 and up

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Novel: Endymion Spring

This fast paced new book could become the Da Vinci Code for kids. It begins in the winter of 1452, where Endymion Spring toils in the workshop of Johann Gutenberg. A strange man appears on the doorstep, carrying a secret chest marked with dragons and serpents, and offers Gutenberg a tempting but deadly deal; a mountain of gold in exchange for the use of the newly invented printing press. Endymion can't resist lifting the lid of the chest, and he finds something that makes him flee towards Oxford.

Fast forward to Oxford in the present, where Blake and his sister Duck are staying with their mother while she studies at the famous Bodleian Library. Wandering through the shelves, Blake finds a mysterious book called...Endymion Spring. Blake and his sister are swiftly drawn into a race where they attempt to bring together all the fragments of the book before they are found by the Person in Shadow. They must discover who is friend and who is foe, as the book leads them into the subterranean depths of the library's forgotten stacks.

Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Grades 5 and up

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Monday, December 04, 2006

First Fiction: Keeker and the Sneaky Pony

The thing Keeker wants most in the world is a pony, so she is absolutely thrilled when her parents buy Plum for her birthday. Unfortunately, the last thing lazy pony Plum wants is a little girl. Will Keeker ever get to ride that sneaky pony? Find out how these two learn to work together in this short, funny chapter book.

Grades 2-4
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Saturday, December 02, 2006

First Fiction: Ruby Lu, Brave and True

Ruby Lu, Brave and True, by Lenore Look, is a wonderful first chapter book for beginning readers. Ruby is a spunky Chinese American kid who loves everything about her life; kindergarten, her baby brother Oscar, doing magic tricks, and visiting her GungGung and PohPoh on the bus. But sometimes Ruby's life is not so great. Oscar spills the beans about her magic show secrets, and her mother makes her go to Chinese school on Saturdays! Scariest of all, Ruby is going to have to share her room with her cousin Flying Duck, who is moving from China. Will Ruby and Flying Duck get along? Can Ruby learn to love Chinese school? Find out more in this lovely, easy novel.

Grades 2-4
Click here to go to the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue!