Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody

Wandering around Whole Foods yesterday. I spotted this book  Frankenstein A Monstrous Parody by Ludworst Bemonster. Actually, I spotted a parody of a Caldecott Honor sticker on the book that said “A CaldeNOT Horror Book”. Just had to pick it up!

frankenstein1Turns out that this book is a wickedly funny parody of the 1940 Caldecott Honor book Madeline  by Ludwig Bemelmans.  Instead of twelve little girls this book has 12 little monsters who are as imperfect as the little girls were perfect.

Ludworst Bemonster is the pen name for author Rick Walton and illustrator Nathan Hale. They decided one Halloween that Madeline would be much better with monsters in it.

The Sonoma County Library has three copies of this book.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

“Spooktacular” Picture Books for Halloween

I looked at three fairly new Halloween books published within the past two years. Halloween Night by Marjorie Dennis Murray and lushly illustrated by Brandon Dorman is a  parody of  The Night Before Christmas. It  tells the story of  some very special party preparations and the best Halloween night ever. The Sonoma County Library has several copies.

Halloween Night

Trick or Treat by Leo Landry is about another very special party preparation and some unexpected guests and making new friends. Be sure to read the front flap as well as the pages in the book. The Sonoma County Library has several copies on order.

Trick or Treat

The Monster’s Monster by Patrick McDonnell (creator of the Mutts comic strip) is about three fellows who fancied themselves to be monsters. They argued among themselves was the biggest, baddest monster. One day they decided to make the biggest, baddest monster ever. Like Frankenstein, a lighting bolt enlivened their creation. But unlike, Frankenstein, this monster was happy to be alive and grateful to his creators. Patrick McDonnell is the  Caldecott Honor illustrator of Me... Jane. The Sonoma County Library has two copies of this book.

The Monster's Monster

Minimum Day Monday

Monday, October 22 is a minimum day at Yulupa School. School lets out at 12:45 PM. There is no Schools of Hope on Monday.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Charlotte’s Web

Sixty years ago today, E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web was published. It quickly became a children’s favorite. Four years later, in a third grade class in Minneapolis, my teacher, Mrs.. Graham, started to read Charlotte’s Web to our class. At the end of the day, she read a chapter until she finished the book.  All forty (no small class sizes in those days) of us looked forward to the next chapter in Charlotte and Wilbur’s saga. We cried when Charlotte died. In the spring, Mrs.. Graham told us that since we were the best class she had ever taught, she would reward us by reading Charlotte’s Web to us again. Decades later, I had a chance to talk to her and found out that all her classes were the “best” and all her classes got two readings of E. B. White’s classic.

Charlotte's web

I read this book to my children a couple of decades later. They loved it too. In 1970,  E. B. White,  recorded an audio book. It took 17 takes for the author to read the passage about Charlotte’s death with out crying. This is a book that is as fresh today as it was in 1952. It is a story of love and friendship, life and death.

Today on NPR Morning Edition, there was a tribute to the book which includes a clip of E. B. White  reading Charlotte’s Web.

The Yulupa Library has two copies of this book and the Sonoma County Library has many copies. The county library also has Charlotte’s Web picture books.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Schools of Hope

The Schools of Hope program starts Monday, Oct 8, for the 2012-2013 school year. We have 27 volunteer tutors working with 28 first and second graders to improve their decoding and reading comprehension skills.

Schools of Hope is a United Way of the Wine Country project to help children build the reading skills to succeed in school. At the start of the 2010 school year, fewer than half of third graders in the six Santa Rosa elementary school districts were reading at grade level or above. Schools of Hope tutors provide  one-on-one half hour lessons that focus on phonics, blending sounds, learning sight words and reading skill level appropriate stories.

The stories come from the Treasures reading program at Yulupa. Once a week the stories are sent home with the student and are intended to be read at home to help reinforce their new skills. A little boost now, from teachers, tutors and parents can make all the difference in a child’s academic achievement.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Star Wars Reads

Saturday, October 6, is “Star Wars Reads” Day. It is a joint project of Lucas Films and many publishers to promote reading. The closest events to Sonoma County are in Corte Madera, Fairfield and Vacaville:

Pottery Barn Kids, 1610 Redwood Hwy, Corte Madera, from 10-10:30 AM

Barnes and Noble, 313 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera, from 1-3 PM

Barnes and Noble, 1600 Gateway Blvd, Fairfield

Vacaville Public Library, 1 Town Square, Vacaville

This is the first year for this event. You can find the website at here, their Facebook page here. You can always celebrate the day at home by reading a book with your favorite Star Wars fan.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, Clifford

Fifty years ago, Norman Bridwell wrote the first Clifford The Big Red Dog book. His stories about Clifford and Emily Elizabeth have made him one of the best selling authors of all time.

clifford-the-big-red-dog-1 You can hear a Scott Simon interview with the author at NPR. The early books (there are over 40 Clifford books) have simple text that is easy to read for beginners. The spacing between words is also helpful. The Sonoma County Library and the Yulupa Library have copies of many of the Clifford books.

Wells Fargo Center for the Performing Arts is presenting Clifford The Big Red Dog, the musical on Tuesday, October 30th at 6:30 PM. For more information and a short video check here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Guerilla Tactics to Get Your Child to Love Reading

My niece recently posted on Facebook that something had clicked with her third grader and suddenly he is excited about reading . One of the series that interests him is the Encyclopedia Brown books. Those were my son’s favorite books in third grade, too.

Encyclopedia Brown EB Lends A Hand

This got me thinking about an Imagination Soup post from last year. Melissa Taylor’s goal was for her children to  LOVE to read and the book itself was the reward. This is a goal I agree with completely and the some of the strategies she outlines worked for me with my children and grandchildren. She also explains the Five Finger Rule for finding “just right” books for beginning readers. You can find her post at Imagination Soup.

Kidsworx Creative Workshop

Saturday, October 6, is supposed to be a beautiful fall day. A great day to take the kids (or grandkids) to the Sonoma County Children’s Museum’s Kidsworx Creative Workshop located in the parking lot of Friedman’s Home Improvement in Santa Rosa. The workshop is from 9 AM to Noon. This month, kids will make “marvelous monsters” and launch them into the air, climb aboard a fire truck, learn about fire safety and play with the Museum-on-the-Go science exhibits. The workshop is free. Friedman’s is located at 4055 Santa Rosa Ave.

Last month, I had the chance to “play” with the Museum’s science exhibits. They are  fun. informative and kid-sized.