Module Two: Tuesday

Book Review Blog, Episode Two – David Wiesner’s Tuesday.

Book Summary: Strange occurrences happen in somewhere, U.S.A., around eight on a Tuesday evening. Frogs are chilling on some lily pads in their pond when all of a sudden one of the plants begins to levitate with the creature still resting on top of it, and all of this happens in three illustrated panels before the title page. Wiesner takes the reader along with the amphibians in their adventure with animals, buildings and townsfolk throughout the night. This seems to be the first time this event has occurred because the frogs and town’s inhabitants all seemed to be surprised by the events.

APA Reference: Wiesner, D. (1991). Tuesday. New York, NY: Clarion Books.

Impressions: While writing the citation I saw that Wiesner’s illustrations are all watercolor. That astounds me because of how nice, neat, detailed and precise every picture is. Despite having roughly nine words (I counted the times, like 11:21 p.m., as one word) I spent more time looking at every single page and drawing than I had on other illustrated books with stories, dialogue, and conflict. This is the kind of book a person could spend a couple hours perusing to find all of the little details they may have missed on first and second read-throughs. It also made me laugh because of the frogs’ actions and facial expressions. Tuesday is just fun for all readers, and it was refreshing to review something enjoyable instead of something that made me angry (see my first book review on the blog).

Professional Review:

Dooley, P. (1991). Tuesday (Book). School Library Journal, 37(5), 86. Retrieved from EBSCOhost via the UNT Library’s article search.

As the full moon rises over a peaceful marsh, so do frogs on their lily pads levitating straight up into the air and sailing off, with surprise with some laundry, hovering briefly before a TV left on. A dog chases one lone low coasting frog, but is summarily routed by a concerted amphibious armada. Suddenly the rays of the rising sun dispel the magic; the frogs fall to ed but gratified expressions. Fish stick their heads out of the water to watch; a turtle gapes goggle-eyed. The phalanx of froggies glides over houses in a sleeping village, interrupting the one witness’s midnight snack, tangling the ground and hop back to their marsh, leaving police puzzling over the lily pads on Main Street. In the final pages, the sun sets on the following Tuesday–and the air fills with ascending pigs! Dominated by rich blues and greens, and fully exploiting its varied perspectives, this book treats its readers to the pleasures of airborne adventure. It may not be immortal, but kids will love its lighthearted, meticulously imagined, fun-without-amoral fantasy. Tuesday is bound to take off.

Library Uses: This will probably be the only time I apologize for this, but it’s difficult for me to figure out library uses other than displays, storytimes, and book talks because I’m still barely into the program and haven’t had much time with my mentor. With that being said, I would use this book to show younger students how to tell stories with little to no words. I would also use it to show art students the awesomeness of watercolors.

Module One: Harriet the Spy

Book Review Blog, Episode One – Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy.

Book Summary:

The story follows sixth-grade “spy” Harriet M. Welsch as she spies on people in her neighborhood. Her life is thrown into disarray when her nanny, Catherine “Ole” Golly, moves to Montreal to marry her fiance. Things get worse for Harriet when she drops her notebook during a game of tag, and one of her best friends reads it aloud to their classmates.

APA Reference:

Fitzhugh, L. (1992). Harriet the spy. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Impressions:

I did not like this book and am unaware of why it’s a classic. Harriet is a snot-nosed little brat who barely grows throughout the story. Yeah, she has absentee parents who are too concerned with their work, appearances, and social life to raise Harriet, hence the full-time nanny, but Ole Golly seems to have brought Harriet up correctly. Despite Golly’s strict rearing, Harriet is a punk. She bumps into the cook (also a full-time employee) on a daily basis and doesn’t stop or apologize. Harriet writes down awful things she observes or speculates about her neighbors and classmates, then publishes them in her school newspaper! It’s irresponsible journalism on her, and her editor’s, part for not fact-checking Harriet’s stories. Not only does she write awful things, but she does and says deplorable things to her classmates when they rightfully turn against her. I cannot stand her character because of how terrible she is.

I struggled to finish the book because of how much I disliked Harriet. The story has no real plot to me; it’s just looking at Harriet’s life at these moments in time. Conflict really doesn’t arise until what feels like halfway through the second book (the book itself is broken up into three books of unequal length). The lack of a Major Dramatic Question so late in the book makes it tough to keep reading, but I trudged through it.

Another reason I disliked it is because it doesn’t speak to me one way or the other. I wasn’t raised in or around 1964 (I’m apparently a millennial), spies don’t necessarily pique my interest (unless it’s Michael Weston from Burn Notice), and I am not a female. A former co-worker of mine loved the book for the opposite reasons. Also, since Harriet is affluent, I developed a quick dislike for her and her parents (I hated Gatsby and I quit Bonfire of the Vanities halfway through because of all of the rich people and their fancy problems).

The plot is fairly believable, but most of the stuff Harriet does as a spy would get a kid shot (especially in Texas), arrested, or get CPS called on their parents if it took place nowadays. It’s easy to read versus a difficult text. I don’t like to tell people to stay away from certain things, or even recommending with my reasons, because I would rather they experience it and form their own opinions without my bias, and I don’t take exception to that with this book. Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book or it won’t reach a different reader, but if I HAVE to give a recommendation, then I would say don’t bother.

Professional Review:

Schmitz, T. (2001). Characters you can count on. Horn Book Magazine, 77(5), 557-567. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

In sharp contrast to the kinder, gentler eras represented by the Moffats and the All-of-a-Kind Family is the sophisticated, entitled world of Harriet M. Welsch and her friends Beth Ellen and Sport. Delacorte is publishing new editions of the three novels by Louise Fitzhugh in which they appear: Harriet the Spy (1964), The Long Secret (1965), and Sport (1979). Harriet the Spy is a genuine classic that holds up to re-reading, but time has not been kind to the other two. Harriet the Spy was a groundbreaking novel, featuring a rude, incredibly inquisitive heroine who threw tantrums, mocked her parents, and alienated her classmates with her obsessive note-taking and candid opinions about their personal habits. She also happened to be extremely funny. Louise Fitzhugh’s unsentimental portrait of Harriet paved the way for writers like Judy Blume to present contemporary children grappling with hitherto unmentionable problems.

Library Uses:

The book could be used to highlight classic children’s literature or female protagonists. If I were to go farther and out of the box, then I would highlight the dialogue Fitzhugh uses when Harriet drops eaves on her parents. Several words are replaced with the word mumble to show that the adult is either using profanity, a word Harriet doesn’t know, or something she can’t quite hear while listening in on conversations.

Captain Chuckles

One of my reading improvement students told me she’s starting to enjoy The Fifth Wave despite its slow start. I told her I was glad, but then I asked if she read Looking for Alaska, and she said yes. I told her it was a banned/challenged book and explained why after she asked. She recalled her reading experience and didn’t think it should’ve been banned or challenged. Then, as she was taking a drink from her water bottle, I told her Captain Underpants was also a banned book, and she almost spit out her water all over the table. She continued to laugh hysterically (the loudest I’ve heard her laugh all year) and turned red. I’m glad she could see the ridiculousness of book banning, especially one such as the commander of undergarments.

Got Books?

I haven’t blogged since my first entry a month or so ago. Work (finishing a yearbook on top of four additional preps is like a marathon), grad school, and grad school group projects seemed to occupy all of my time, but I’m back now.

During an online chat with my classmates and professor, we discussed getting kids into the library to read and how we can do that. I thought of something similar to the Got Milk? campaign in the 90s and early 2000s but with prominent students. My professor brought up several good points about how there are some pitfalls tied to that approach. One being those kids are already popular (QB, cheerleader, valedictorian, etc.), so why showcase them yet again. It could also lead to bullying because kids can be mean. I was a little disheartened because I thought it was a great idea, and those negatives are real possibilities. However, I’m not giving up on the idea, and she offered some realistic alternatives to avoid those problems.

My professor said that any students who would like to volunteer for a similar campaign are more than welcome to do so, and that gives students who may not receive a lot of exposure their chance to shine and share their favorite book with a larger audience. The Got Books? campaign can also be done with faculty members since we shouldn’t be bullied, and it’s important to model that behavior for our students.

Something my school’s library is doing is the Libraries are for everyone campaign.  They created simple graphics with people of all genders and colors reading a book. It’s simple, elegant, and it gets the point across. They’re also created several in Spanish and, possibly, French and German (the other two foreign languages offered on our campus). I think something like that is just as effective as my idea, but it feels more inclusive to me, which is good. Since they’re graphic art, you don’t have to rely on photographing students, so you’re including the diversity in the artwork. What if the only students who came forward were of the same gender and skin color? Then it looks like the library is exclusive rather than welcoming, and that’s the opposite of how I want students to feel about their school’s library.

Great ideas seldom hatch fully-developed and ready to be implemented on the first thought; they take extensive revising, editing and growing before they’re ready to be presented to more people, and I have to remember that and stay positive when I neglect to think about possible negative outcomes or pitfalls.

Great article with cute video proves why it’s important to read to children

Swartz, A. (2017, January 12). This 4-year-old got a special visit to Library of Congress because she loves books so much. Retrieved February 03, 2017, from https://mic.com/articles/165267/this-4-year-old-got-a-special-visit-to-library-of-congress-because-she-loves-books-so-much#.vhZ9f8PeR

Originally seen on Facebook but tracked down on actual website.
This article (a video is in there) demonstrates just how important and crucial reading is. I remember my mom reading to me and my brothers all of the time. Halloween was one of the best times of the year because of all the neat books she found. Few were actually scary (except for Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, and I’m talking about the ones with Stephen Gammell’s illustrations), but they were just fun because they would glow in the dark or be pop-up books. One of my favorites was Jan Pienkowski’s Haunted House because of how colorful and interactive it was. My family and I went to Fright Fest at Six Flags Over Texas, and in the kid’s section of the park was a recreation of Pienkowski’s book for children to go through as their haunted house. It was unbelievable how they brought the book to life, like having octopus tentacles hanging over the ranch-style sink that was overflowing with soap suds and bubbles while the other appendages did dishes.
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I’ve had this book since I was YOUNG (probably my blond mullet days). “Harold” still unnerves me to this day.

I digress, but reading to young children every single day is paramount for their future education, and four-year-old Daliyah Arana is proof of that. Read the article and watch the video to see how well this kid pronounces words and reads.