It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 09/28/15

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? was initiated by Sheila at Book Journey, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus – perfect for a children’s librarian like me. This weekly roundup is a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share recommended (or not so recommended….) titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.


Title: Engineer Ari and the Passover Rush
Author: Deborah Bodin Cohen
Illustrator: Shahar Kober
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
Publisher’s Summary: Engineer Ari rushes to complete his final train ride to Jerusalem before Passover begins, but will he run out of time before getting the items he needs for his seder plate?

My Two Cents: This new book just came into my library, and though Passover is still a long way away, I knew I had to share it. I really appreciate getting books that feature different religious and cultural events, but that aren’t informational texts. There are plenty of works of fiction that feature Christmas or Easter, but it’s harder to find entertaining, fictional tales that feature other holidays. I really enjoyed this picture book – the illustrations are sweet, and the story introduces children to different aspect of Passover in a way that isn’t dry or boring. Children who aren’t familiar with Jewish traditions will need additional information, as the story doesn’t explicitly explain the history or meaning of Passover, but Pete the Cat Saves Christmas doesn’t provide much information about Christmas, either! While Engineer Ari might be directed towards Jewish children, it could have a place in classrooms as a way to initiate discussions about other cultural and religions events. It’s also part of a series, so kids can learn about Rosh Hashanah, Sukkah and Hanukkah as well!

Title: Oodles of Animals
Author/Illustrator: Lois Ehlert
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
Publication Date: 2008
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
Publisher’s Summary: In this exuberant collection, Lois Ehlert celebrates the animal kingdom with quirky, playful rhymes and bold collage illustrations that perfectly capture the spirit of each creature. Sixty-four of her favorite animal friends are here, from hamsters to monkeys, geckos to mountain goats–and with its clever combination of fact and wordplay, this stunning volume is as fun to read as it is to look at.

My Two Cents: An oldie but a goodie – this collection of paper cut illustrations and animal poems is such a lot of fun. I would love to do a craft activity based on this book, in which kids use paper shapes to make their own animals, then write short poems to accompany their creations. Ehlert uses nine basic shapes to make all of her illustrations, which makes it great for classroom use – kids can also try to identify all the different shapes that make up each animal. I’m always looking for low-budget craft materials that can re-purpose classroom materials like construction paper. This is definitely a versatile book!

Title: The Boy & The Book – A Wordless Story
Author: David Michael Slater
Illustrator: Bob Kolar
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
Publisher’s Summary: In this wordless story, a library book tries desperately to evade the destructive clutches of a little boy. What drives the Boy, however, is enthusiasm and love—not malice—and the Book eventually responds in kind, accepting his rough but worthy fate.

My Two Cents: I love wordless picture books. They are such great tools for inspiring discussion and creative expression. This picture book divided opinion among the adults I shared it with – some thought it sent mixed messages, because the child treats the book poorly, then uses tears (emotional blackmail) to get the book to forgive him for his bad behaviour. Some thought that the book may confuse children by seemingly rewarding the child’s poor behaviour. My understanding is that the boy initially mistreats the book because he is too young to know better, but once he learns to read and appreciate books, the book rewards the boy with his company. It would be interesting to see what children think of this book. What’s your interpretation?

Title: Marilyn’s Monster
Author: Michelle Knudsen
Illustrator: Matt Phelan
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
Publisher’s Summary: Some of the kids in Marilyn’s class have monsters. Marilyn doesn’t have hers yet, but she can’t just go out and look for one. Your monster has to find you. That’s just the way it works. Marilyn tries to be patient and the kind of girl no monster can resist, but her monster doesn’t come. Could she go out and search for him herself? Even if that’s not the way it works? From favorite picture-book creators Michelle Knudsen and Matt Phelan comes a story about one little girl and the perfect monster she knows is out there . . . and what happens when she decides she’s waited long enough.

My Two CentsThis adorable picture book works on several different levels. For kids, it’s a fun story about chasing your dreams and actively making them happen, as well as a reminder to always be true to your self, no matter what anyone else tells you. Theirs a similar message for adult readers, as well – as one of my coworkers said, it’s some of the best dating and life advice she’d come across in a long time! Everyone tells Marilyn that her monster (dream job/partner) will come along and find her, and that she should simply wait patiently for it (him/her) to find her. Marilyn follows everyone’s advice, changing her appearance and personality in an attempt to attract her monster. Eventually, though, Marilyn decides to take matters into her own hands, and sets out to find her monster. The message? Sitting around waiting for your dream job or true love to find you will get you nowhere – sometimes you have to make your own dreams come true! It’s also absolutely wonderfully illustrated, which just adds to the appeal.

Who says picture books are just for kids?

So, what have you been reading this week?


6 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 09/28/15

  1. I love Marilyn’s Monster, bought it for the granddaughters who loved it first from the library! Thanks for sharing the Passover book. I’ll share it with a friend who loves to keep up with all kinds of holiday books for her students. And I’ll look for Oodles of Animals. Lois Ehlert creates great books I know.


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