Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Worm and What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?


The Worm is the second book in Elise Gravel's Disgusting Critters series. It is a non-fiction picture book for lower primary readers which integrates basic factual information with cute cartoon illustrations and fun hand-drawn fonts. This series will be sure to appeal to even the most reluctant young readers and would be a great addition for Foundation and Year 1 classrooms exploring the needs and external features of living things in biological sciences. My seven-year-old son laughed out loud at the hilarious artwork, so I will be looking out for the other books in this series: The Fly, The Slug and The Rat, as well as the next two books The Spider and Head Lice which are due out next year.

I had only heard good things about Steve Jenkins books, but I had not ever actually read one myself, so I bought What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? You know a book is truly wonderful when you begin reading to one child and your other two children are drawn in by the excited giggling and they creep over to listen too! All three children delighted in guessing what animal each body part might belong to and they were very interested in the more detailed information provided at the end of the book. Who knew that horny devils could squirt blood from their eyes?

Thursday, August 14, 2014


"I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse". 

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

Wow, this is a powerful book that will stay with me forever. I actually hugged it to my chest when I finished reading. This book is so thought-provoking, it opens your mind and definitely your heart. It made me laugh and it made me cry (more than once). The characters are described vividly, making them easy to relate to and connect with. I loved how the story begins with Auggie's point of view, but then jumps to the perspectives of the other main characters. I think it is this feature that evokes empathy but enables this book to be transformed into the inspirational story that it is, a story which promotes resilience and kindness.

I've given this book to my 10-year-old daughter to read, she is almost half-way through. She's a sensitive soul and we are having deep discussions about the way people react to others through their words and body language and how sometimes we might hurt other people even when we don't mean to. I can tell she is particularly touched by the morality issues and how difficult it is to stand up for your beliefs when peer-pressure is a major factor. I wish that every upper-primary student would read this book, it is impossible to read without reflecting on your own actions.

One of my favourite features of Wonder was the inclusion of precepts, or rules to live by. The one that spoke to me most was "When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind"  - Dr Wayne Dyer. The precepts in the book would provide great conversation starters for deep reflection and discussion. I really liked the teacher, Mr Browne's suggestion for student's to write their own precepts and send them to him.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rump - The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

Rump #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff to my daughter who is in Year 4. It puts a new spin on the traditional fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin and is told from the perspective of twelve-year-old Rump, who is the butt of everyone's jokes. There's lots of humour, magic and adventure. It would make a perfect middle-primary read-aloud which is sure to capture the attention of young listeners from the very first sentence "My mother named me after a cow's rear end".  

Friday, August 8, 2014

A New Journey

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My name is Christine and I am studying to become a primary school teacher. I adore children's literature and I am passionate about finding ways to incorporate books into all areas of learning. This blog provides a place for me to record and share some of the books I have been reading with my children, as well as lesson ideas and reflections from my journey of learning about teaching.