Thursday, May 31, 2012
I enjoyed Okay for Now and think it is a good story which will keep the reader interested to the end. I personally was disappointed in the ending, both with the father and the (girl)friend but there are too many strengths to this novel for these two events to write the novel off for me.
A Tale Dark and Grimm was an interesting read for me. I liked the way the audience was addressed directly and I felt that the humour in these portions of the novel would engage some of my more reluctant readers. I found it to be accessible for my junior high students and even some reluctant readers. I liked the connections to fairy tales I feel I could make and extend with students either as a class or as individuals.
Overall though A Monster Calls gets my vote as I can't even find the words to fully explain just how fabulous I think this book is. To me, it is true literature.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
See you all next year!
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
SO..........since I don't have anyone to argue me down, I'm going to say that I totally agree with Dia's post on May 24th. I'm picking A Tale Dark and Grimm. (Feel free to smack me down, but you'll have to cybersmack me because I have a dentist appt. I can't get out of and will have to miss the May 31st meeting - sorry!)
I'm picking A Tale Dark and Grimm because I think it is the book that would appeal to the widest audience (I can hardly wait to read it aloud to my 7's next fall). I also think it opens up a whole new world of exploring the original Grimm tales, which may especially appeal to my German Bilingual students here. I agree, however, that it would be a bit young for high school students.
Unfortunately, I find that the majority of my kids are not quite into realistic fiction, and although I passed my copy of A Monster Calls along to a family who has experienced a recent loss, I don't think I would tackle it as a whole class read aloud and would likely recommend it to only select students. It is definitely the better written piece of literature, and I don't mind at all if it wins! Okay for Now was maybe more of a high school read, I think. Again, I had the same feelings as others have stated with the ending, but I did love the artwork!
Monday, May 28, 2012
Then it was between Okay for Now and A Monster Calls. Having read Okay last round, I was quite set on championing it to the finish. I really enjoyed reading this story, even with the feel good happy ending bits like the remorseful father, kicking cancer girlfriend, and accepting Vietnam vet brother.
And then I read Monster, and had to concede to the stronger story. Visually appealing, well written, and metaphorical to boot. I have since shared it with a few of my colleagues, because it was such a touching story. I think I even shed a tear at the end. But just a small one, and very quickly, so no one could see. I enjoy teaching a number of texts that involve nasty things happening to young children ("A Modest Proposal", "Celebration", Popular Mechanics", Tsotsi), so when a story really captures me, I can only bow down to the talents of the author and be grateful I had the opportunity to share his/her world for awhile.
So I am plugging for A Monster Calls, and fingers crossed it makes the final cut!
A Monster Calls was a better book whether reading it with a class, or reading it on your own. The other books were good, but not as good!!
We both enjoyed the voice in Okay for Now. It was a decent story up until the abrupt turn-around of the dad - without any rhyme or reason. A Tale Dark and Grimm was an amusing and entertaining story but we felt it should have moved along more quickly at the end.
A Monster Calls was beautifully written, spanned all ages and is our choice for the winner.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
1. Grimm would make an amazing read aloud
2. This would be a great book for exploring that time when you begin to realize that parents and adults may not be all wise and knowing
3. It was funny and gory which would make it go over really well with a certain segment which includes me.
Having said that, A Monster Calls is luminous and well done though I still believe best when brought in and guided by a teacher. Okay for Now soared at times but ultimately crashed for me with the abrupt change of the dad - but I'd still gladly put it in hands and lit circles if asked. When it is all said and done I'll vote for A Monster Calls and spend a part of my summer reading Mal Peet's book: Life: An Exploded Diagram as it beat a Monster Calls in School Library Journal's Battle of the Book. Who knows maybe that shows up in our list next year....
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Now we've heard the murmuring...nothing could beat such and such, how could you think such and such, what is the best book and just what the heck is the criteria for picking anyway? All of this unsureness pleases us because as all good teachers know there is no right answer which is why many of us ended up doing this zany work.Pick your book and support it. Maybe it is the best book for kids to pick up and read, maybe its the best book to work with kids on in the classroom, maybe its the best book for you.
All comments welcome and all of our thanks goes out to our fantastic bloggers who are this close to getting books for work - yeah!
Deadline for your final SMACK of this school year is MAY 31st.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
A Monster Calls
Sad, Dark, Depressing
Struggle, Death, Understanding
Brave, Truth, Life Lessons
(I liked and hated it!)
Human monster Dad
Teens and broken family
Abuse, real life
The real monster Dad beats the Tree monster.
Split! Winner for me!
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Struggle to SPLIT from abuse
Struggle to forgive
Slows my reading to savour
The monster lessons
I read Split first and I really liked it. The tension was crazy at the end and I felt myself wanting to shout at the characters to get moving near the end when they go back for Mom. It was sad and mature but a book that could be dived into by many. It was my first pick. Then I read A Monster Calls.....darn that Arlene for picking such a book! It is just ridiculous. I cried at the illustrations and the words. Nothing anyone else hasn't said already. However, I will say I found the Henry character a little forced but still it is so good! That's the problem. Would a kid say it was that good? Once again I sit on the edge of spectacular book but spectacular kids book?
The easy thing here is my vote isn't going to go against 5 others. In that case just for the above reason - accessibility I vote SPLIT.