Big Kids

Get to know John Rocco!

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Are you a fan of the cover art for Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and The Heroes of Olympus series? 

Image of The Lightning Thief book cover  Image of The Red Pyramid book cover Image of The Lost Hero book cover

Then discover the illustrator, John Rocco, who has also written several books of his own, including Blackout, a 2012 Caldecott Honor book.

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to hear John Rocco give a presentation at the Mazza Weekend Conference. He was such an entertaining speaker, and some of his more memorable stories involved a shellfishing boat, Whoopi Goldberg, the movie Shrek, and his childhood with a lot of curly hair.

To learn more about this talented author/illustrator, visit his website or check out some of his books below:

Gardening for Kids

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Now is a great time to get started on a gardening project. It's great exercise, you get to play in the dirt, and you can learn some things about nature! There are lots of gardening activities to try, from growing your own fruits and vegetables to attracting birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to your backyard. Don't worry if you don't have much outdoor space - lots of gardening projects don't need much space at all.

Check out the titles below to get started on your gardening adventure!

A Snicker of Magic

When Felicity and her family move back to her mother's hometown of Midnight Gulch, Felicity hopes her luck will change. Having spent her entire life wandering from town-to-town with her mother and sister, Felicity wants nothing more than to settle down and stay in one place. In Midnight Gulch, Felicity finally makes a friend and meets family she never knew before, and while she begins to build roots for herself she also learns of a curse that has driven all of the magic away from the town. Felicity believes there is still a snicker of magic left in Midnight Gulch and she and her new best friend Jonah set out to break the curse, believing that when they do, Felicity and her family might just stay.  

Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss

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March 3, 2014 marks the 17th year of celebrating the National Education Association’s “Read Across America Day” and Dr. Seuss’s birthday. To help support this occasion, the Lane Road Library is hosting a Dr. Seuss Craft day on Wednesday, March 5 at 4:00 for children ages 2 and up. Stop by to make your own “Cat in the Hat” hat and a Lorax finger puppet. Check out the following links for more ideas on how you can celebrate at home!

                                  

http://www.seussville.com/Educators/educatorReadAcrossAmerica.php

http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm

 

 

Fractured Fairy Tales

Sue's picture

You probably know the storyline of a few fairy tales, like Cinderella, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Princess and the Pea. If you like those tales, you might want to try reading some fractured fairy tales.

What is a fractured fairy tale? It is a fairy tale that has been changed in some way from the original tale and given a twist:

  • It might be told from a different character’s point of view. In Nobody Asked the Pea by John Warren Stewig, we hear the tale of The Princess and the Pea through the eyes of various characters, including the pea.
  • The author might change the seting of the tale, like the story of Three Triceratops Tuff by Stephen Shaskan. Instead of taking place on a bridge, this version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff takes place in the Cretaceous period, where three dinosaur brothers must outsmart Tyrannosaurus Rex in order to get some food.
  • It might take a character from an original tale and put him or her in a new story. In I Thought This Was a Bear Book by Tara Lazar, Baby Bear has to help Prince Zilch from Planet Zero get back to his own book.  
  • The ending might be different from the original tale's ending, such as this version of Little Red Riding Hood -  Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf by Rachael Mortimer. Little Wolf, who doesn't want to be a Big Bad Wolf, is sent to catch dinner and meets Red Riding Hood along the way and together they come up with a solution
  • It might be a mash-up of various fairy tales, like The Great Fairy Tale Disaster by David Conway. The Big Bad Wolf is tired of blowing down houses and tries to find a relaxing fairy tale, but ends up making a big mess for Cinderella, Rapunzel, and other fairy tale characters.
  • They are often laugh-out loud funny, like Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella by Tony Johnston. A dashing Bigfoot prince searches for his Bigfoot princess. Rrrrrella would be a perfect match, but first she must get past her ugly stepsisters.

 

There are so many fairy tale adaptations to choose from! Click here for more fun (and usually hilarious) tales.

 

 

Juvenile Fiction Selection: Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

Sophie Brown and her family have just inherited a farm from her great-uncle Jim.  Her father has recently lost his job, her mother is a busy full-time writer, and they have all just moved from the city and have no experience with farming.  Sophie finds a funny little chicken while exploring the farm and begins correspondence with a woman named Agnes of the Redwood Farm Supply company.  Soon Sophie is learning all she can about chickens through trips to the local library and through Agnes's letters.  Something is really different about great-uncle Jim's chickens though and more keep showing up on the farm every day, as well as the mysterious Ms. Griegson who keeps trying to steal them.  It's up to Sophie to keep her new chickens safe and to convince her parents that she is up to the task of being a chicken farmer.  Written entirely in letters to her recently deceased great-uncle Jim and beloved Abuelita, as well as to Agnes of Redwood Farm Supply this is an odd and adorable story about starting over in a new place, making friends, and supernatural chickens!  To accompany this great story are adorable illustrations of all the silly chickens.  (Grades 4-6 School Library Journal)

Surviving the Family Road Trip

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Does your family argue over who gets to pick the music on long car trips?  Do you need a cure for the “Are we there yet?” blues?  Pack a good supply of family-friendly audiobooks for your next road trip. Audiobooks are entertaining as well as educational. Children will be exposed to a wide variety of literature and improve their listening skills.  And, you can add to the experience by trying some of the following fun activities.

  • In-Car Casting Calls: Try making up new voices for your favorite character.  Act out a few scenes.
  • Geography: If the book's setting is real, discuss how far away the location is, how you could travel to get there, what the weather would be like, etc.  If the location is imaginary, have fun making up these details.
  • Listen for Clues: Periodically stop the audiobook and have everyone guess what's going to happen next.  
  • Create the Sequel: When the book is finished, have everyone make up a different ending.  Or, imagine what would happen in a sequel.  
  • Interview the Author: What would you ask the author about the book?  What questions are left unanswered?

Listening to audiobooks and playing these games will make the car trip seem shorter and offer a terrific way to involve the whole family in a lively discussion.

Here are some favorite audiobooks for family listening.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
read by the author
(3 hours 16 minutes)

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
performed by a full cast
(4 hours 57 minutes)

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
read by Lynn Redgrave
(13 hours 31 minutes)

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath
read by the author
(4 hours 30 minutes)

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry
read by Jim Dale
(approx. 9 hours)

Great Books for Newly Independent Readers

Dana's picture

Scholastic has a new early chapter book series called Branches. These books are great for newly independent readers with high-interest content and illustrations on every page. Some books are formatted as early chapter books while some have more of a graphic-novel feel. There are thought bubbles, graphic panels, and funny pictures to keep your young reader engaged. The levels vary but are generally intended for readers in kindergarten through third grade.  I love to recommend these to parents who are looking for a a begining chapter book for a child just ready to take a step away from early readers. To find specific levels and a list of all the series you can visit the Scholastic website at http://www.scholastic.com/branches/ or click on the links below to reserve a copy today!  

 

Spirit Animals!

Sue's picture

Do you like the 39 Clues books? If so, you might want to try a new series called Spirit Animals. Just like the 39 Clues, each book will have a different author and you can join in the adventure online.  

In Spirit Animals: Book 1 Wild Born, four young heroes discover the special connection they each have with a wild animal and set out on a dangerous quest to save the world of Erdas.  

Want to know more about it? Watch this video of Brandon Mull, the author of Book 1, or visit the Scholastic website and create your hero and summon a spirit animal of your own!

 

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