It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/19/2018 #imwayr

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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!

Garbage-IslandGarbage Island: The Nearly Always
Perilous Adventures of Archibald Shrew
Fred Koehler
October 9, 2018
Boyds Mills Press

I was thrilled to win this book in a giveaway conducted by Unleashing Learners. Mr. Popli is responsible and dependable. As mayor, he wants his island to thrive in peace. It’s clear that every action he takes is carefully planned in an effort to keep the animals of Garbage Island safe. Archibald Shrew, on the other hand, is impulsive and reckless. However, he is incredibly gifted in his ability to make things from nothing. Archie looks at a pile of garbage and only sees possibilities. But he does tend to break a lot of rules and constantly find himself in trouble with his community.

While there are multiple other characters with well-developed personalities that add depth to the story, these two friends carry this book, providing both meaningful and humorous dialogue from start to finish:

“Archibald,” said Mr. Popli.
“Didn’t I suggest that we install the steering mechanism on the inside?”
“Yes. Yes, you did.”
“Is it okay if I choose this moment to say I told you so?”
“Only if it makes you feel better about our upcoming death.”
“I think it might.”
“Then by all means, go ahead.”
“I told you so.”

The dialogue is such fun to read and the story provides a good backdrop for discussions of having empathy for an enemy (or someone very different from us). The detailed descriptions of the islands, of various inventions, and of the other animals and insects, coupled with the occasional black and white illustration, had me fully involved in this tale. The story has a sequel on the way and I, for one, intend to follow-up to see where Garbage Island takes us, next! My thanks to Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Learners and to Boyds Mills Press for doing the giveaway that allowed me to win this book. If you visit the publisher’s website, they have an PDF Educator’s Guide (look for it in GREEN) that you can download to help guide classroom discussion.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

Dragons-in-a-BagDragons in a Bag
Zetta Elliott
October 23, 2018
Random  House

This is a highly imaginative urban fantasy. The story begins just as Jaxon’s mom is heading to court to appeal an eviction notice. She drops him off at “Ma’s” house, as she asks her to watch him for the day. Jaxon, not knowing any difference, refers to the elderly lady as “grandma.” But he was completely wrong on that one. Jaxon learns that his mom grew up with Ma when her own biological mother needed help. But what he’s about to learn about Ma will blow his (and maybe your) mind. This is fast-paced tale featuring magic, time travel, dragons, dinosaurs, undiscovered family, and plenty of mystery to go around. Book number 2 in this series is scheduled to come out in 2019!

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

Saving-WinslowSaving Winslow
Sharon Creech
September 11, 2018

Louie’s father brings home a sickly newborn mini donkey and Louie is just sure he can nurse the donkey back to health. We quickly learn that Louie was born pre-mature weighing in at only 3 pounds. The hospital and his parents had to work hard to keep him safe until he was old enough to go home. Because of this history, there seems to be a special connection between he and the newborn donkey.  Louie names the donkey Winslow, and by helping the tiny donkey he’s comforted when thinking about his older brother, Gus (who is in the army far, far away).

Louie makes a new friend named Nora. But Nora is very awkward around Winslow and initially seems obsessively certain that the donkey is going to die. We discover that Nora has experienced painful loss and that she actually wants Winslow to do well. She’s just nervous about getting attached: “You get attached to something and it always gets taken away!

This is such a heartwarming story weaving together family connection, friendship, dreams, loss, hope, a tinge of romance, and one amazing mini donkey with a severe fight for life.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.


Fiddlin’ Sam
Marianna Dengler
Sibyl Graber Gerig, illustrator
September 1, 1999
Rising Moon

As my class has been selecting picture books appropriate for studying music, I’ve come across some really wonderful children’s books — old and new. This one is from the late 90s, but definitely worth sharing. Fiddlin’ Sam is a very talented man, so incredibly gifted that he could fiddle away others’ worries, cares, and even their pain. Throughout the story, Sam comes to know people all over the Ozarks. He faces joy and he faces hardships. And he just hopes that he will find someone to pass his gift on to before his life is over.

“This ain’t a gift, Son.  It’s a loan. You gotta pass the music along.”

The illustrations are stunning — some up-close images look almost like a photograph. The artwork was was done in watercolor on paper. I’ll provide two examples, below:



You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.

Brilliant-DeepThe Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s
Coral Reefs: The Story of Ken Nedimyer
and the Coral Restoration Foundation

Kate Messner
Matthew Forsythe, illustrator
April 3, 2018
Chronicle Books

This nonfiction picture book shares the work that Ken Nedmyer has done with the coral, starting from when he first became interested as a child, all the way until his adulthood. Nedmyer eventually figured out a way to replenish failing reefs by planting coral he had grown. The back of the book includes a lot more information that will be interesting to both child and adult, so don’t miss it!


You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

To Be Read:

I’m a little over halfway through WUNDERSMITH (almost 300 pages in) and I WANT ALL THE NEVERMOOR BOOKS TO BE PUBLISHED NOW!!!!! I thoroughly enjoyed book #1, but I’m digging #2 just as much, if not MORE! I’m so excited to hear there are still 7 more books to come after this one. I’m also hoping to start THE BELOVED WILD, a new historical fiction book by Melissa Ostrom. Isn’t that cover breath-taking?!


22 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/19/2018 #imwayr

    1. I totally understand. I’m also leery of series that are compared to Harry Potter. Having just finished book #2 this week, I am now ready to start over and re-read both books again before book #3 is released. And while I started out reading this series through the library, I’ve now purchased both for my personal at-home collection. I have very limited shelf space in my home, so I’d say I’m pretty attached to this series. I sure hope the movie is well-done!


  1. My library still does not have Garbage Island. I’ll need to find it elsewhere & it sounds great, Shaye. thanks for ones new to me. I need to read The Brilliant Deep & will look for Fiddlin’ Sam. It does look good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was so glad to find The Brilliant Deep via our Overdrive e-library. I like that I can open the picture books on my laptop so that I can blow the photos up large enough to enjoy. Thanks for visiting, Linda!


  2. I saw Zetta Elliott walking down the hall at NCTE and I really wanted to go fangirl (her picture book, Bird, is one of my very favorite PBs ever), but I contained myself. I wanted to get Dragons in a Bag because my library doesn’t have it. But I never got my hands on a copy. I need to read Saving Winslow too! Just put in a request at the library. Happy reading this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you don’t mind e-books, both Dragons in a Bag and Saving Winslow are available on Overdrive (which you have access to through CPL). And congrats on continuing yourself — a HUGE battle won! LOL Glad to hear you had a wonderful time at NCTE. I keep reminding myself that “one day” I’ll be able to start up those conferences again. It’s just not that time of life for me. Boo! Hope you’re having a wonderful Thanksgiving Break, Elisabeth!


  3. I too won Garbage Island in a giveaway and it’s in my TBR stack. Thanks for sharing review. I am hopeful for some time over the Thanksgiving holidays to make a dent into my stack. Saving Winslow is another title that I must read. Never enough time. Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving Shaye!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t wait to talk about The Beloved Wild to anyone who will listen to me. I finished it on Saturday morning around 9am and couldn’t start a new book all day — just had to sit and think about it for a while. Thank you for dropping by, Lisa!


    1. Am I allowed to admit that I always thought that was a picture of a dog on the front cover of Saving Winslow? How in the WORLD did I miss that it was a tiny donkey?! LOL Thanks for swinging by, Sue. Hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday!


  4. The art in Fiddlin Sam is beautiful. I’ve got a hold on The Brilliant Deep and am really looking forward to it.
    Wundersmith is on order at my library. I’m trying to decide if I should put a hold on it now or wait for the audiobook to become available. That’s how I read the first one and generally when I switch format the book doesn’t work as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m BEYOND excited about the Nevermoor series!! Wundersmith was so very good — I’m even ready to read it again in preparation for book #3. And I understand about switching formats. I try to constantly listen to an audiobook alongside a hardcopy book and the narrator makes all the difference. I’ll have to see if our Overdrive library has an available copy of the Nevermoor books so I can hear the narration a bit. In any case, I just purchased the set for my home library — I like them that much! Thanks for visiting, Cheriee!


    1. Oh Aaron, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on Nevermoor. Truly! I am anxious to see what they do with book #1 in the movie, too. I understand they hired Drew Goddard to write the script to book #1 — hopefully his vast experience in the world of fantasy will bring this world to life on screen. I bought both book #1 and #2 to the series (for my home library) and can’t WAIT to share them with my children.

      Liked by 1 person

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