Best Book I Have Not Read

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

The Pioneer Woman Cooks December 28, 2009

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:50 pm
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Another category of books I love is cookbooks!
I received this new cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, and love everything about it! It has great wit and humor, great photographs, and great recipes! Check out her great blog/website. Don’t you love the graphics? It doesn’t hurt (except our waistlines) that my dear hubby also loves cookbooks and cooking. My love used to be only baking cookbooks, but it has really expanded in the past couple years.


Teacher presents December 10, 2009

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My son and I had fun picking out books for his teacher. He likes everything about his teacher (his direct words) and enjoys spending “quality time with his teacher”.  My daughter preferred that I recommend and she approve.  If you are one of their teachers, stop reading or you will ruin the surprise. 🙂

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

by Brian Floca

Atheneum, 2009

48 pages

New York Times named it one of the ten best illustrated books for 2009.

Simon and Schuster’s website says this:

“Simply told, grandly shown, here is the flight of Apollo 11. Here for a new generation of readers and explorers are the steady astronauts, clicking themselves into gloves and helmets, strapping themselves into sideways seats. Here are their great machines in all their detail and monumentality, the ROAR of rockets, and the silence of the Moon. Here is a story of adventure and discovery — a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away.”

My son loves the detailed illustrations, as well as the story of Apollo 11.

Little Red Riding Hood

by Jerry Pinkney

Little Brown Books, 2007

40 pages

My son’s second grade class has a unit of study in writing on fairy tales coming up after winter break. I love Pinkney’s work and my son loves this tale.

While this Little Red Riding Hood is true to the original and does have the wolf eats the grandmother and Little Red. The woodsman does kill the wolf with his ax and use grandmother’s sewing scissors to cut open the wolf, it’s not gory and shows no sign of the violence that is taking place.  Jerry Pinkney’s beautiful illustrations help set off this fairy tale classic. Here’s hoping this will help some of his fellow students realize that Disney did not invent all the fairy tales, as several of his classmates believe.

Fuse #8’s review

Chester’s Back

by Melanie Watt

Kids Can Press, 2008

32 pages

“A long time ago, in a faraway land, lived a cat named Chester.” This is how the new Chester book starts out. A fun addition to a writing unit on fairy tales or another book by a favorite author. Either way, kids and adults love Chester.

Greg Mortenson’s newest Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs in Afghanistan and Pakistan for my daughter’s language arts/science teacher

Sea Clocks by Louise Borden for her math teacher.

National Geographic’s Book Ain’t Nothin’ But a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry by Scott Nelson and Marc Aronson for her social studies teacher. They did a great presentation at NCTE about their book. Loved them!


wish you were dead by Todd Strasser December 9, 2009

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I hadn’t thought about the thriller/mystery genre in quite a while. I went through many a year where I LOVED reading thrillers, mysteries, true crime, etc. That interest came to an abrupt stop with the birth of my first child. Patricia Cornwell had been one of my favorite authors. I had pre-ordered her book Black Notice, hoping it would arrive before the birth of my child. I knew there wouldn’t be much time for reading after that! I remember coming home from the hospital and finding the Amazon box with the book inside. There is sat. Unread. Still. (although it’s out of the box now)

I still haven’t read a Patricia Cornwell. When double checking the title of the book I’ve had since 1999, I was surprised to learn that the author is now on #17 of the series. Black Notice was #10.  It seems funny to me that I would read the first nine the week they came out and then just be completely done with them.

The idea of crimes, thrillers, mysteries, murders had no appeal for me in any form for many years. It is only just recently that I could even begin to think about reading one.

Wish You Were Dead is the first book I would classify in the thriller category since 1999! Yikes! I hadn’t even considered that thriller/mystery was part of the YA niche. I was surprised that this is the same author who wrote all the Help! I’m Trapped series that I had for years in my middle grade classroom. That series was silly and fluffy. This first installment in this “thrill”ology was a creepy  and compelling page-turner!

Even though I wasn’t too sure when I saw the cover of Todd Strasser’s newest book (very Psycho shower), I ended up loving it. I wish that it had been out for a while so I could run right out and read the second one. No such luck.

The main character’s friend disappears out of her front yard in a wealthy, gated community.

While writing this, I was reminded of a YA novel from my own youth. It was called A Question of Survival by Julian F. Thompson and was published in 1984.  It is one of those books that I still have in my basement from my childhood that I read over and over again.  It was set at a Teen Survival Center and was supposed to teach survivalist training in case of “the worst” happening in the United States. I guess there has always been a niche for the thriller, no matter the age group. Face on the Milk Carton, Chain Letter, I Know What You Did Last Summer,


Where to get book suggestions November 9, 2009

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:02 am
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Yesterday I posted about a Hornbook editorial. If you aren’t familiar with that gem of a magazine, go over to HERE and check it out. There are many things I love about Hornbook-the book reviews, the articles, the editor’s editorials and blog Roger Reads (and rants!)

If you are starting to think about books to buy as gifts, check them out.

If you are looking for the best Christmas books, check them out.

If you are wanting to know the newest and greatest releases for kids, check them out.
Subscribe to (and read) their free newsletter and you too can become the best aunt (grandma, uncle, dad, godmother…you get the idea) ever when it comes to giving books as gifts.


A Week Flies By November 7, 2009

Filed under: book clubs,book reviews,book turned into movie — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:33 am

We’ve had three weeks where our landline would not work.

My husband took time off Monday for them to come and fix it.

They didn’t show up.

They had called that morning and left a message on our dead landline. Duh!

They arrive Tuesday night to fix it.

The phone now works.

The internet only does when it feels like it (which is not much!).

Have to wait for another appointment for them to fix it.

While not having access to internet, I’ve reclaimed several hours from e-mail answering and blogging that I’ve spent reading. Not so much kid-lit, but adult book club kind of stuff and YA in preparation for NCTE-ALAN.

I finished up The Elegance of the Hedgehog by  Muriel Barbery. LOVE IT. A definite must read! It kept being recommended by staff developers at TC last summer. They were so right!

I finished Zombie Blondes by Brian James. Don’t ask me why. My daughter did, and all I could come up with was, “Sometimes it’s entertaining to read an easy book that is kind of silly”. On the other hand, I can see tons of middle schoolers devouring it.  It’s definitely one of those YA books that is for YA, not adults who like YA.

I finished listening to City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Also YA. The first in a trilogy. I really enjoyed it, but because I was listening to it on my iPod, it took me longer than I would have preferred to get through it. I must get one of the those doo-hickeys to hook my iPod to my car so I can listen there.

I’m tearing my way through My Life in France by Julia Child and . When my book club picked this book, I really wasn’t sure I was going to read it. There is was at the bookstore Wednesday and I haven’t been able to put it down since! I shouldn’t be surprised that I love it-I do love cooking and lived in Europe myself for half a year. It has me missing those days of teaching at the American International School, grocery shopping at little stands, and trying to figure out how to stay warm in winter (but not to the extreme they had in Paris post-World War II).


Truisms, Maxims, and Other Ways You Can’t Get Your Mother Out of Your Head October 10, 2009

Filed under: authors,book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:59 am

You know those little sayings that your mother said to you your entire childhood?

The one I am often stuck with is, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all”. Now I know my mother did not “invent” this saying and it is one that most children have drilled into their heads from a young age, but in regards to my blogging life, it is one that comes up again and again. I have a really hard time reviewing books that I’ve read, but don’t have anything very nice to say. It is as if the author is my personal friend and I’m telling them their baby is ugly. It just doesn’t feel right!

Here are some examples of things I often think, but find almost impossible to put down in published word:

Don’t buy it, check it out from the library.

Don’t bother reading it-you’ll be disappointed.

Someone’s editor was not doing a good job.

Wow! Good thing they’ve won the Newbery in the past or they wouldn’t have gotten past the interns.

I will share two recent examples at the risk of bringing the authors’ wrath upon my head. Gary Paulsen’s Mudshark and Sharon Creech’s Unfinished Angel.

I have devoured everything written by both these authors. Any time I see that they have a new book being released, it is like my birthday and Christmas rolled up into one. I’m that excited! Plunking down the cost the hardcover book is not an issue when it comes to these authors. Delayed gratification and books is not my strong suit.

Creech’s Unfinished Angel is a nice story. Nice is one of those words teachers use on report cards when they don’t want to sound too negative. It doe

unfinished angel

sn’t convey much meaning.

I LOVE Sharon Creech. I’ve heard her present multiple times (although I was a little disappointed at last year’s NCTE’s talk), Walk Two Moons is one my all-time favorite books that I read over and over, Granny Torrelli Makes Soup is the best read aloud for middle grade students and I don’t think it can get any better that Love That Dog. With that said, I was a little disappointed in Unfinished Angel. It’s not a bad story, but it is as if the great Italian-accented English from Granny Torrelli and the boarding school/overseas from Bloomability is combined into a not totally tied together story.  I think you could do some fun things with it as a read-aloud, but it falls into the “Check it out from the library” category for me.


Coming Soon—Cybils 2009 October 1, 2009

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Nominations open October 1st (today)

So far on my list to nominate:

Middle Grade Fiction:

Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff

Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino

Picture Books:

Crow Calls by Lois Lowry

Posy by Linda Newbery

Young Adult Fiction:

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Scat by Carl Hiaasen