Happy Monday! Last week, I focused in on books that I have heard of, and know to be popular, but have never read myself. I read some great books, and am feeling a little more in the know.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
In the inaugural book of the series, we meet middle school student, Greg Heffley. His mother buys him journal to write down his feelings. To Greg, it is a journal, not a diary, no matter what the cover says! Greg warms up to the idea of journaling since he will need something for people to remember him by when he becomes famous! The journal spans one school year and chronicles the big events in Greg’s life. Greg does everything with his overly excited friend Rowley. While Greg thinks Rowley is what holds him back from major popularity, but they are the best of friends. Together they build a scary haunted house, write comic strips, become safety patrol, and almost anything imaginable.
I can see why so many kids like this book! It’s filled with a lot of middle school humor. The issues tackled in this book are typical of any middle schooler and I feel like students could relate to this book. I thought that the illustrations and font would intrigue those less interested in reading and build some confidence. It seems more like a comic book, but by the time the student has finished, they’ve read a pretty big book! Great books for kids to pick for pleasure reading. Throughout the book I wondered…how could this book be extended into other activities or subjects? I had a hard time thinking of any. Suggestions from anyone out there? All in all, a great fun book.
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
In the book, Tommy compiles a case file about the mysterious Origami Yoda. Origami Yoda is a finger puppet that resides on the Dwight. Dwight is an interesting character—he spends a lot of time alone, and rambles nonsense instead of participating in normal conversation. Dwight’s Origami Yoda is known for seeing the future and gives people advice. Tommy wants to know if Yoda is real, or if it is just Dwight making lucky guesses. Each chapter is told by a different student who had an experience with Origami Yoda. Is Origami Yoda real? It is up to Tommy to find out.
I would say that this book is aimed at the same audience as the Wimpy Kid books. It is full of middle school humor, and I think that it is fit for grades 4-7. Again, I wonder if this book could be used in the classroom, but it would be a great book for silent reading. I also thought it would be a good read aloud book. At the program I work at, we do read aloud every day, we don’t always have the same kids every day. This would be the perfect book for that situation, because it has an overlying theme, but is composed of short stories that piece together, but don’t necessarily build off each other. I might have to try it!
Darth Paper Strikes Back
In the second installment of the Origami Yoda books, Dwight and Yoda meet their worst nightmare; Harvey and Darth Paper. Harvey does not like Dwight or Yoda, and does everything he can to make life difficult for Dwight. After a certain incident, Dwight is suspended from school, and Tommy creates another case file to convince the school board to let Dwight and Yoda back!
This book wasn’t originally on my list for the week, but after I read the first book, I immediately downloaded this one onto my phone. The first book seemed pretty cheesy and predictable, but didn’t end how I expected. The second book worked out the same way! I think the author has a talent for hooking readers in. I know there are a lot of books in this series, and if a student likes the first, you’ve got them reading for quite a while! I rated the first book as four stars, but retract that and give them both fives! They aren’t the most eloquent books, but I can see some dormant readers reading book after book. And, at the end of the day, if a student is reading, life is good.
After a bulletin board falls on Stanley, he becomes as flat as a pancake. Stanley’s parents take him to the doctor to make sure he is okay. After reassurance from the doctor, Stanley begins a series of wild adventures, things he couldn’t do before he was flat. Stanley goes to California in a giant envelope, turns himself into a kite, and even helps solve a museum heist! There is never a dull moment when Stanley is involved.
This is a very cute book! I can see why so many people like. It’s a good length to be an introduction to chapter books—not too long, but in the same format. You could use this book as a chance to talk about differences and acceptance with your students. Stanley’s parent don’t make a big deal about him being flat, and Stanley learns to become accepting of it. At the end of the book, Stanley gets inflated back to his normal size, and I don’t know how I feel about that…They spend the book talking about how neat it is to be different and then he turns back to his normal self. There are more books, so I’d be interested to see where the story goes from here. Great book overall!
Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes
In this book, Pete the Cat starts school! Pete tours the school, finding all of the cool places to be.
I love this book! I think it would be great to use at the beginning of the year with kindergarteners. You could talk about the places Pete visits, and how they work at your specific school.
Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes
In this story, Pete has a brand new pair of white shoes. While on a walk, Pete steps in various things, altering the color of his shoes. Every time Pete steps in another color, he shrugs it off and keeps singing his song.
This book is ADOROABLE. I am now a fan of Pete the Cat. The text is very catchy. I think that after a read, students with very little reading ability could pick up this book and read it, using the illustrations and repetitiveness of the story. Cute, cute, cute!
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
Pete is back—and this time with a new coat! He especially likes the buttons. His buttons pop off, but Pete doesn’t sweat it!
I love the carefree attitude these books have. Pete teaches kids not to sweat the small stuff. Bonus: another catchy song! A good feel good story for early readers.