Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Ellie McDoodle New Kid in School The never ending quest to find the perfect book for every student August 24, 2008

Ellie McDoodle New Kid in School by Ruth McNally Barshaw is a fun new cross breed of books that has been gaining popularity. I would describe it as a cross between a journal (think Amelia’s Notebook) graphic novel (Babymouse).

Ellie has just had to move to a new town and is facing the tough “new kid to school” blues. Fortunately she has her journal, where she chronicles her downs (and some ups).

The author does a great job of capturing common struggles for new students: people messing up your name, mean kids teasing, the job over meeting a new friend.

I also like how the author captures some common issues of pre-teen students-relationships to teachers, trying to communicate/protest a school issue that seems unfair, and even touches on how to act with people with special needs.

This the second Ellie McDoodle book. I bought the first one for my daughter (just started fourth grade) in my quest to find a new favorite book for her (her current is The Magic Half by Annie Barrows). I’ve always prided myself on being able to match books with students, turning reluctant readers into book lovers, and being able to help make connections for children between different books that the already read and ones that might be the “best book they haven’t read”.

Unfortunately, but probably predictably, my daughter is my toughest sell. It drives her crazy when we go the library and parents and other kids will come up and ask me about books (it is a small town where almost everyone recognizes each other).

I really like Interview with the Author at the end, told in the same style as the novel.

A great addition for a classroom library!


Great new Read Aloud Kenny & the Dragon

Filed under: books,kidlithosphere,read alouds,school — bestbookihavenotread @ 1:50 am
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Kenny & the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi grabbed by attention at the bookstore for its great cover illustration and secondly I recognized Tony DiTerlizzi of the Spiderwick series. It grabbed me by with the first sentence and kept me pulled in through the entire story. What I think I loved most was how I could visualize reading the story aloud to a group of students and how mesmerized they would be by the story.

Kenny, a young rabbit, happens to live on a farm where a dragon has taken up residence. Kenny expects to get to have an up close look at something he has only read about, kind of like the hummingbird he had studied for a school report. Little does he expect to find a kindred spirit. With Kenny’s love of reading and his active imagination, his only friend prior to the the dragon, Grahame, was a elderly bookstore owner. This same elderly friend, also turns out to be the king’s highest ranked dragon slayer!

As a teacher of intermediate students, finding a chapter book that still has compelling illustrations, has been difficult to do with as much regularity as I would like. This book falls into the niche and I can imagine a teacher of any age-group having fun reading this aloud, complete with the voices.

I think it would be fun to read this book aloud and then share the inspiration picture book The Reluctant Dragon and have fun comparing similarities and differences. It would also be fun to share some of the fairy tales that Kenny and his two friends enjoy so much.

I just had an ah-ha moment that I didn’t have while reading the book, the author of The Reluctant Dragon’s author is Kenneth GRAHAME (maybe that’s not so much of an ah-ha, but a DUH moment).

Tony DiTerlizzi does have a nice blog-my favorite part being his Friday Fan Art work that he posts! What a neat thing for kids to see-authentic children’s artwork posted on an author/illustrator website.