The Wednesday Wars

I read The Wednesday Wars for the PopSugar Reading Challenge (read a book with a month or day of the week in the title), and it just so happened to also fit in the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge as well (Newbery Award or Honor book). The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt snuck by me in that awkward time between when I was still reading Newbery Award Winners and going to grad school, so I totally missed it. Until now. While the blurb did not interest me at all (see below), the book ended up totally engrossing me.

Blurb from Goodreads:

In this Newbery Honor-winning novel, Gary D. Schmidt offers an unforgettable antihero. The Wednesday Wars is a wonderfully witty and compelling story about a teenage boy’s mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967–68 school year in Long Island, New York. 

Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling—he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.

There seems to be a lot of mixed reactions on Goodreads as to whether or not the intended audience enjoys this book, or will enjoy it, or if it’s a book adults think kids should like and read. I go back and forth on this one, as I tended to really enjoy award winners when I was at the intended age. However, a lot of my peers felt they were automatically boring books.
In the case of The Wednesday Wars, I don’t see most kids picking it up off the shelves loving it, but I do see it as a very meaningful and enjoyable read aloud and discussion in the classroom. Much of the context surrounding the Vietnam War and Shakespeare plots are foreign to 4th graders, but could lead to some excellent discussion perhaps an early appreciation for Shakespeare.

The Marvels

I started reading The Marvels by Brian Selznick back in March, and tore through the pictures. Then I got to the text and read maybe 20 pages and got bored. The book lived in my car for almost a month. I even changed my Goodreads to mark it DNF (did not finish). For some reason, however, I was drawn back to the book on Thursday.

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I stayed up way too late reading. Since it had been almost a month since I began the book I had forgotten who was who, so I kept having to flip back. In the end, I really liked it! I like the construction of The Invention of Hugo Cabret more than The Marvels (I still haven’t read Wonderstruck) since the text was interspersed with the pictures, and the pictures are really Selznick’s strength.

I don’t want to summarize too much, because I’m afraid I’m going to give away the twists. Check out the blurbs on Goodreads, but for goodness sake, don’t read the 1 star reviews. Makes me sad for humanity. So many close minded people out there.

PopSugar Reading Challenge: Book with pictures

Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge: Book over 600 pages

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: A YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ

Heartwood Hotel: A True Home

A friend of mine from grad school posted on Instagram that she was approved for a NetGalley copy of Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan and I decided I had to try as well. I am so pumped about the third installment of Crazy Rich Asians! Anyway, once I got into NetGalley (it had been a while) I poked around and found a few more books that might fit into my goals of 1) reading more juvenile books this year and 2) could fit the PopSugar Reading Challenge checklist. One of which is Heartwood Hotel: A True Home by Kallie George.

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The story centers around orphaned mouse Mona who finds herself carried away in a storm and finds refuge in a fantastical hotel called Heartwood Hotel. Readers meet sweet woodland creatures (like Mrs. Prickles the cook, Tilly the squirrel maid and owner Mr. Heartwood the badger), go on brave adventures with Mona, and learn about Mona’s family and past.


One Goodreads reviewer compared Heartwood Hotel to The Wind in the Willows, and while I see his point, I disagree. Mostly because the writing and characterizations are lacking. While Heartwood Hotel is no The Wind in the Willows it is a sweet and enjoyable read. I foresee those who like Critter Club and Puppy Place and The Saddle Club snapping these up. The fact that the book is an ARC and already a “book one” tells me publishers are also seeing the connections.

Seusstastic

As I’m sure you all know, March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and also Read Across America Day. In honor of the day, every library in my system created some sort of programming related to our favorite doctor. More details on our special programming can be found here.

 

 

Opening Song

Book:

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Dr. Seuss’s ABC: an amazing alphabet book by Dr. Seuss

Finger Play:

“One Little Cat”

One little cat on a sunny day
Put on his hat and went out to play
Two little cats when the sky turned dark
Put on their hats and went to the park
Three little cats when the sky turned blue
Put on their hats and went to the zoo
Four little cats by the kitchen door
Put on their hats and went to the store
Five little cats on a sunny day
Put on their hats and they all ran away.

Courtesy of Mel’s Desk

Book:

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Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Parachute Activity:

“I Don’t Like Green Eggs and Ham”
(to the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down”)

 I don’t like Green Eggs and Ham
Eggs and Ham, Eggs and Ham
I don’t like Green Eggs and Ham
Sam I Am!

Would you like them here or there?
Here or there, here or there?
Would you like them anywhere?
Green eggs and ham?

I don’t want them here or there
Here or there, here or there
I don’t want them anywhere
Sam I am!

You should try green eggs and ham
Eggs and ham, eggs and ham
You should try green eggs and ham
You might like them!

Courtesy of Miss Meg’s Storytime

Closing Song

Baby Storytime: 13

Opening Song:

Action Rhyme:

Open Them, Shut Them

Book:

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A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

Song:

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes

Feltboard:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Tickle:

“Eye Winker”

Eye winker (point to eyes)

Tom Tinker, (point to ears)

Nose smeller, (point to nose)

Mouth eater, (point to mouth)

Chin chopper, (tap chin)

Chin chopper,

Chin chopper,

Chin chopper, chin. (gently tickle under chin)

Shared Book:

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Baby Animals by DK

Bounce:

“Ten Fluffy Chickens”

Five eggs and five eggs,

That makes ten. (hold up two hands)

Sitting on top is the mother hen. (put one hand on top of the other, palms down)

Crackle, crackle, crackle;

What do I see?

Book:

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Hats by Kevin Luthardt

Song:

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Closing Song

with Egg Shakers

Family Storytime: Mail

Opening Song

Book:

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The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Song:

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes

Book:

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Where Does the Mail Go? By Koston Meyer

Activity:

I made foam postcards in a variety of colors. I passed out the postcards and when I called the colors the children put their postcard in the mail box. Before putting the postcards in the mailbox I had the kids point out the stamp and the address and the other bits we learned about in Where Does the Mail Go? I then took out all the postcards, pretending I was the mail carrier, and told them the mail carrier delivered some postcards to me. On each postcard I asked questions and addressed them to readers and librarians. Unfortunately, I did not make enough “readers” to pass back to all the attendees. So I read aloud the postcard questions, which include “what is your favorite book?” and “who is your favorite character?” and “when do you read the most?”

Book:

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Bunny Mail by Rosemary Wells

*I shouldn’t have even attempted this one… everyone was so riled up. As were parents. It’s been an off week here at the library for my family storytime and my colleague’s toddler storytimes. In the end, we just looked at the letters Max wrote, and I paraphrased the story, since I had enough kiddos express interest in the story.

Closing Song