Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday!
Between travel and family happenings, I’m still a tad lost in overwhelm this semester. However, I found just a little bit of time to read this week. YAY! Once I get out of class this morning, I can’t wait to see what everyone else is up to this week!
Louisiana’s Way Home
October 2, 2018
I was so excited to get to read DiCamillo’s new middle grade book! This is a continuation of the story that originated in Raymie Nightingale. This installment is told in the voice of 12-year-old Louisiana Elefante and picks up two years later, beginning with Lousiana’s grandma dragging her out of Florida in the middle of the night (leaving behind her dear friends, Raymie and Beverly — presumably forever). On their journey, they quickly hit one obstacle after another and eventually land in a Georgia motel where Lousiana meets a young boy with a crow. Oh my, there’s a lot going on in this story with a variety of interesting characters, each being developed in full DiCamillo detail. But amidst the many experiences and side-adventures, Louisiana’s needs remain the focus.
It was easy to fall into this story as it’s one of hope and bonding. One thing I was pleased to see in this leg of the story (that gives it a bump over Raymie Nightingale) was Louisiana encountering a couple healthy adults who truly care about HER and want to help her do whatever she needs to do. There’s something so difficult about holding in a deep, potentially dark, secret. And middle grade literature, in general, often presents the child and adult as adversaries. Nevertheless, the young reader will find comfort in this story as Louisiana discovers a grown-up she can trust in her big, confusing, and sometimes scary world.
NOTE: While we encounter characters we met in the first book, Louisiana’s Way Home could easily be a stand-alone book for anyone who hasn’t yet read Raymie Nightingale. In fact, dare I mention that I enjoyed Louisiana’s Way Home much more than Raymie Nightingale? I grew far more attached to these characters and the final pages brought me to unexpected tears. Thanks to Candlewick Press and Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book for an honest review.
Winnie’s Great War
Art by Sophie Blackall
September 18, 2018
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
A couple years ago, I read Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear — a children’s book that shares the true story behind Winnie-the-Pooh. It was a little 54-paged picture book, appropriate for a young child. However, in this new installment, Mattick takes that brief glimpse and broadens it into a complete 244-paged tale full of both truth and fantasy elements.
In this book, the reader is witnessing Mattick tell the story of Winnie to her son, young Cole. There are plenty of hard facts and dates and names of real people who were part of the true story of Winnie. And Captain Harry Colebourn’s real diary entries mark the dates and locations along the way. However, I loved how these truths were intertwined with vivid imagination. In the end, we learn that Cole is the great, great, great grandson of Harry Colebourn — he was even named after him! Such a precious story for those of us who grew up loving Winnie-the-Pooh.
Charlie & Mouse
Emily Hughes, illustrator
April 11, 2017
Found this cute little easy reader in my college library and had to bring it home — it feels chapter-ish with four distinct sections to the story, but it isn’t too wordy for a beginning reader. The text was super cute as we get to know Charlie and Mouse through humor. The illustrations, rendered by hand in graphite and with Photoshop, really complete the book. Great for predictions, too! I’ll provide one page-spread, below:
To Be Read:
I’ve just barely started the following two books this week and really hope to finish them both this week.