Tuesday, September 18, 2012

RI Mock Newbery 2013 - October reads

(I will be adding to this post as I make it through the list ... favorites at the top)

Three Times LuckyThree Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Convoluted mystery set in a small town with kooky residents, written with fantastically vivid language. Examples:
- "I wouldn't say stole, but I did borrow it pretty strong." (later referred to as a "surprise borrowing")

- "The cafe relaxed."

- "I hear whispers the way a knife-thrower's assistant hears knives."

- Rumors "swirl like ink around an octopus."

- He looked "like time had grabbed his face with both hands

- "My earth found its axis and my starts found their sky."
I will be voting for this one to stay on the list for now.

 The Lions of Little RockThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm glad I stuck with this one. At first, I was kind of turned off by Marlee and her assigning people drink personalities and her loving math and her not speaking. But I grew to really like her, especially when she began making her first few acts of defiance.

I also liked that I learned about a facet of the Civil Rights Movement that I wasn't aware of before. The hypocrisy and bigotry made me want to scream, and the hatred that went into threats against children ... wow.

Some stock characters, some unlikely events, but a good book.

The Year of the BookThe Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sweet depiction of a bookish girl experiencing growing pains, including a friendship crisis and an "embarrassing mom." Would be interesting to see if students made the inferences to figure out what's happening at Laura's house before it's spelled out. I have read almost every book Anna refers to ... will have to put "My Louisiana Sky" on the list.

May B.May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not as "poetic" as I think a book in verse should be (otherwise you're just kind of sticking returns into the middle of your sentences). But would be great to hand to any Little House fans, especially those who are reluctant readers. Were the plum trees on a creek bed a shoutout? I was surprised the hay and flour lasted as long as they did ...

Summer of the Gypsy MothsSummer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had a really hard time getting over the premise.

The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the WorldThe Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World by Mary Losure
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Meh. A somewhat interesting episode written crisply, but it just kind of lies there. I'm still fuzzy on motivation. I did find it interesting that the "authorities" could only conceive of tampering after exposure, not that what was actually in the photos might be pretend. And that class attitudes meant that they dismissed Elsie and Frances' ability to successfully execute any tricks.

Complaint: I think that ANY photo mentioned in the text should be included as a visual, not just described. The entire book is about photos, so show them to us!!

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