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    #51209 - 07/24/09 03:49 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: Taminy]
    shellymos Offline

    Registered: 08/20/08
    Posts: 847
    Loc: New York
    Great Thread....don't have tons to mention that hasn't been mentioned yet.
    Recent books DS5 has read include: Three Tales of my Father's dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. It's actually three separate books as well..but there is one with them all together. It's a neat book about a boy who sets out to save a baby dragon who is being held captive by animals to transport wild animals back and forth between islands. He goes to rescue the dragon with items in his bag and has to go through many obstacles and interactions with other animals. I can't remember which things happen in which books since we read them all together, but they were all pretty good. Not sure reading level...maybe 3rd grade.

    Currently reading the invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. It is quite interesting. DS got it as a gift for his recent birthday. I would guess reading level is 5th grade....but he can read it fine and introduces lots of new vocabulary. Also tons of great pictures. It's an interesting book because it goes back and forth between pictures and text. Here is the synopsis (I cut and paste since we are only 2/3 through the book.

    ORPHAN, CLOCK KEEPER, AND THIEF, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

    #51260 - 07/26/09 09:06 AM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: shellymos]
    minniemarx Offline

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    kcab, Frenchie says he doesn't remember those ones very well at all, I'm afraid--the ones he liked best were the Famous Five and the _______of Adventure ones (this was 50 years ago, mind you! We are old parents....and his parents long since donated all his childhood books to the church jumble sale). The only Blyton I've ever read were one or two of the Noddy books, which I disliked, as I recall...but different strokes for different folks, I guess.

    oli, interesting about Emil and the Detectives--another of my husband's childhood favourites. Jean Webster wrote Daddy Long Legs, didn't she? I loved that one as a girl (and our copy was one my grandfather gave to my grandmother when they were a-courtin', with a sweet inscription--it always added a particular flavour to a re-read of that book).

    Taminy, I like the looks of the Melendy books--thanks for the tip!

    Another of our summer's books is Penelope Lively's "The Voyage of QV66" (1978, repr. Jane Nissen 2005, ~175 pp, illustrations by Harold Jones, grade 6ish? reading level). All five of us loved this one. This book, I would say, is unique--it's a post-apocalyptic comedy, talking-animals road story. England is covered with flood waters, all the humans are gone, and a few animals are left. One small group of them (Pal the dog, Ned the horse, Freda the cow, Pansy the kitten, Offa the pigeon, and Stanley the nobody-knows-what [he's a monkey]; they are later joined by the Major, a parrot) set off by boat on a journey of discovery, to learn what they can about what Stanley is, and if there are any other creatures like him in the world. They have lots of adventures and get into plenty of scrapes, which they work through in various inventive ways, always looking out for one another even when they are profoundly exasperated with each other. Although hilariously funny, it's in many ways a very serious book, inviting the reader to consider large questions, most notably how one might find a place to belong in the world.


    #51427 - 07/28/09 10:05 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    minniemarx Offline

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    We read a gorgeous book today: "The Old Man Mad About Drawing," by Francois Place, translated by William Rodarmor (David Godine, 2004; you should look at Godine's list in general, as he prints very beautiful books: ). It's a profusely illustrated biography of the famous Japanese artist Hokusai; in the story (which takes place in 1850), he is 90 years old, and takes a young boy named Tojiro under his wing. Tojiro is an orphan who has been ill-treated by his guardian; his time with Hokusai changes the entire direction of his life.

    It's essentially a picture book, but an unusually long one (106 pp), and it might be just the ticket for a young advanced reader who still enjoys having lots of illustrations along with the story. There's plenty to like here: the reader not only learns about Hokusai's life and art, but also about Japanese culture (for example, Shintoism and Buddhism, Kabuki theatre, Sumo wrestling, the samurai, etc.) and the craft of engraving and the business of publishing. Hokusai is a brilliantly inspirational example of someone who never stopped learning; he looks forward to being 100 or 110, by which time he will have advanced still further in his art.

    Most of the (very lovely) art is by the author, but there are also several reproductions of Hokusai's work, which my children loved. Everyone scuttled off for drawing pens and paper after we read this story today, which I always view as a good sign.

    Hope this will suit someone!


    #51434 - 07/29/09 03:49 AM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    chris1234 Offline

    Registered: 06/27/08
    Posts: 1897
    OMG Minnie!!! Thanks so much for posting this. DS9 loves Hokusai, since seeing an incredible show of his work in D.C. at the Freer. We brought home the catalog, and he has a great poster in his room; we enjoy spotting prints of his Great Wave /aka one of the views of Mt. Fuji...the book sounds totally inspirational.

    After reading in the catalog that Hokusai sometimes signed his name as 'Man gone Mad with Pictures', it just made me laugh and think about my son who draws everything/anything he's excited about.
    Hokusai, a man who created 1000's of works of amazing art, many of them iconic even in the West, died wishing he had a few more years to become a 'real painter'. He is an extremely interesting character, and ds is very much into books with more pictures than words so I'm hoping this will be a winner. thanks again! smile

    Edited by chris1234 (07/29/09 03:51 AM)

    #51463 - 07/29/09 09:44 AM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    chris1234 Offline

    Registered: 06/27/08
    Posts: 1897
    Originally Posted By: IronMom
    But Sponge Bob - he's still alive and kicking. (Excuse me whilst I barf).

    Originally Posted By: minniemarx

    BOO SpongeBob, Hiss, Moan....

    PS again--A friend gave Harpo a SpongeBob "book" (I use the term loosely, you understand) for his second birthday, and I just couldn't read the thing--Bob was supposed to be having a garage sale, and that pink thing, whatever it's called, was helping him move stuff out of his cave to sell; Bob, greedy thing, decided he couldn't part with any of his possessions because he was all about the stuff! Nice message. We changed it to Bob and the pink thing gathering up all their stuff to give to the St Vincent de Paul, and then we just threw the silly volume away.

    I have to say, well....we've had a Spongebob book or two which has been actually *good*.
    Ds wanted to join a book club, and picked the nickelodeon one from the scholastic catalog. I figured we'd get a few of the books and I'd cancel, which did happen, but the few we received contained several Spongbob books. The best one incorporated story lines from several fairy tales, and even refernces to Shakespeare.

    I am a goof, and really go for the Spongebob-esque humor on the show, and the books were ok by me. Especially the one I describe (If I lay my hands on it, I will post the exact title). Anyway, while all the other books (Jimmy Neutron and some other show I can't remember) were very uninteresting/badly written, the Spongebob ones stood out as B's in a field of C's (or much worse).

    The materialistic message you describe seems a bit unusual for Spongebob, typically the guy is just ridiculously ethical to the point of being a huge pain in the rear
    ....and then even more unrealistically, everything works out for him because he 'did the right thing'. wink
    It's likely with a franchise that big, their 'message' might be straying a bit.. wink wink

    The show can be repulsive (ick-humor) and I would never have watched it but for ds introducing it, but it does have it's moments.

    Edited by chris1234 (07/29/09 09:45 AM)

    #51465 - 07/29/09 09:58 AM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: chris1234]
    minniemarx Offline

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    Ooops, sorry Chris--I didn't mean to offend! I've never seen the show (we don't really do TV), and the only book I've seen is the one we had--so I guess the moral of the story is not to comment on what I don't know much about!

    I guess it's sort of a bugbear for me personally, partly because of the dumbing-down of our public library, and partly because the only thing adults who don't know the kids well (ie barber, dentist, etc.) ever use as conversational gambits are things like SpongeBob and Bob the Builder and other stuff to which my guys have had no real exposure, and they are left hanging there with this deer-caught-in-the-headlights look (and I'm afraid I'm not willing to change our parenting decisions around pop culture and the relentless commercialisation of childhood just to make chatting with the barber easier). Why does no one ever ask them if they've heard any good jokes lately, or what kind of games they like to play?

    Anyway, sorry...But glad the Hokusai book looks good to you!


    #51477 - 07/29/09 11:54 AM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    chris1234 Offline

    Registered: 06/27/08
    Posts: 1897
    Not at all offended, just wanted to defend my poor Spongebob laugh

    I know I definitely check the freebie/discard bin outside our library and have been simultaneously appalled/delighted with my finds! (I mean, do we have to chuck 'Persuasion'????)

    I agree completely with how kids can feel like they're in a foreign country in their own classroom/community if they don't have all the latest tv knowledge...for better/worse we've started down the slippery slope and here we are. For our ds it has helped to have more things in common -- but he doesn't have 2 bro's with great senses of humor!! smile
    I love the sense of freedom your boys seem to have in your posts,
    something we've tried to cultivate in our ds...showing him how cool it is to really be yourself and I think he gets it, definitely, but it's hard out there in elementary school, so we've accepted his push-back on a lot of the popular stuff.

    Many thanks for all the great references in the past and for the one on the H. book! you've done it, I've gone off researching the intellectual underpinnings of Spongebob and found:

    Interesting to note, I think, the creator is previously an educator in the field of Marine Biology, and then also an animator. Voila, Monsieur Spongebob.
    "Hillenburg wanted his lead character to possess similar qualities to famous funny men like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin- both of whom played innocent characters"

    My apologies to this thread for going Sooooo far afield from the area of amazing book recommendations. But I figured no way was I gonna start a new thread just for S.B. blush

    Edited by chris1234 (07/29/09 12:15 PM)

    #51485 - 07/29/09 04:00 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: chris1234]
    renie1 Offline

    Registered: 05/04/09
    Posts: 229
    Can someone on the board recommend some high quality picture books for younger kids who read at advanced grade level. My DS7 just finished first grade, reading level is about R-S for guided reading or about 5-6th grade. He will read chapter books if they are intensely interesting, but continually requests picture books. He even asked if i could get chapter books tha have illustrations on every page!! (tall order).. My local librarian told us there were lots of picture books designed for older readers but we've only found a few at this point. Patricia Polacco seems like a good fit but the story i picked quickly for him is too mature (deals with Holocaust)..


    #51488 - 07/29/09 04:39 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: renie1]
    minniemarx Offline

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    Irene, here are some that my boys liked:

    "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night," Janet & Allan Ahlberg (Puffin, 1994); very witty, story-within-a-story structure. Young Italian boy captured by brigands, spins tall tales to keep the bad guys happy. Pictures every page!

    Also by Allan Ahlberg (can't lay my hands on it right now, sorry for the incomplete info) and longer, is "The Better Brown Stories," with an even more sophisticated structure. A storybook family discovers the writer who is telling their story, and asks for revisions, with unpredictable results. Lots of pictures.

    We love the illustrator Beth Krommes. "The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish," by Jacqueline Martin (Houghton Mifflin, 2001, 48 pp), is a beautiful and interesting book. It's based on a historical incident; an Inuit family is on a Canadian Arctic Expedition ship in 1913 that gets stuck in the ice for several months. The story of their survival and rescue is well-researched and inspiring. Pictures (gorgeous ones!) on every page.

    Another Krommes book, this one with Lise Lunge-Larsen, is "The Hidden Folk: Stories of Fairies, Dwarves, Selkies, and Other Secret Beings" (Houghton Mifflin, 2004, 72 pp). Well-told and beautifully illustrated traditional tales, with a picture on at least every two-page spread.

    (Speaking of folklore, you might also try the d'Aulaire Norse and Greek mythology collections--lots of pictures there).

    Another classic story you might look for is Kenneth Grahame's "The Reluctant Dragon." Sadly, this is most often seen abridged, but I believe the old edition with the Ernest Shepard illustrations is not abridged. Grahame's prose is challenging.

    Do you like poetry? There are some lovely poetry picture books out there, with more fun in the language than you see sometimes in prose for this age. My kids liked, for instance, Charles Causley's "The Tail of the Trinosaur" (Jane Nissen, 2006, about 80 pp, and pictures on every one!), Dennis Webster's and Kim Webster Cunningham's "Absolutely Wild" (David Godine, 2009, about 40 pages, with the most fabulous woodcuts), and David Frampton's "Mr. Ferlinghetti's Poem" (Eerdmans, 2006, more wonderful woodcuts, for which I'm a big sucker!).

    Anything there? You might also investigate the Hokusai biography I mentioned on the previous page; also my lads really like Tintin on days when they want stories with lots of pictures.

    Hope that helps!


    #51489 - 07/29/09 04:45 PM Re: The Ultimate Book Thread? [Re: minniemarx]
    Belle Offline

    Registered: 03/15/08
    Posts: 435
    DS6 loves the Rosco Riley series and has now found Captain Underpants and he loves can you not love attacking toilets with teeth :-) He also loves any of the Roald Dahl books...his favorite movie when he was 4 was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I am thinking about starting him on some of my favorite series (Lion, Witch, Wardrobe...Prince Caspian) and these are way out of his league but was one of my favorite series of books...Madeleine L'Engle's books - A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time....I LOVED her books.

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