Sunday, April 26, 2015

Walking and Listening to "The Map to Everywhere"

Ryan, Carrie and John Parke Davis. The Map to Everywhere. 11 hours and 11 minutes. Hachette. 2014. $22.98. ISBN: 9781478955825.

Master Thief Fin is forgettable, which works to his advantage as he spends his days stealing objects throughout the Khaznot Quay. Marrill, who lives a world a way in Arizona, loves adventure and discovering new places. Their worlds collide as they are both looking for The Map to Everywhere, each hoping that the map will lead them to what they are looking for. For Fin, it is his mother. For Marrill, it is her way back to her family. You see, after receiving devastating news, Marrill goes off for a walk to clear her head. She ends up in an abandoned parking lot that seems to be filing up with water. She is even more shocked when a pirate ship appears seemingly out of nowhere. Marrill boards the ship, hoping that the wizard on board can help cure her mother. Little does she know it will soon take her away from her family and on the adventure of a lifetime. 

John Glouchevitch's narration of this story was the highlight for me. He did a fabulous job differentiating his voice to match the different characters, each one unique to the characters personalities. He also did a nice job showing the characters emotions through his voice. I look forward to listening to him read me another book soon.

Favorite Chapter Title: Thieves at a Pie Shop

One morning as I was out walking I walked right through a triathlon. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Birds! Birds! Birds!

Birds! Birds! Birds! That is sure what if felt like as The Explorers were getting ready for their Skype visit with Molly Idle. We fell head over heels in love with Flora and loved that she did different activities (skating, fishing and ballet) with birds.While looking at her illustrations, we noticed that she uses a lot of curved lines. So we decided why not tie the two ideas, birds and curved lines, together? Each child choose a bird that that they wanted to learn more about and then did some research on it to decide what they would do with our birds, ala Flora.

The kids were super excited and we decided that the best way for us to learn about our birds was via PebbleGo. They loved how easy it was for them to find their birds and that there was a lot of information about each of the birds they had selected. The read aloud feature of PebbleGo made the process even easier and more fun.
After they had learned about their birds and learned their birds behavior and movements, they decided what they would do with their birds. For example one group learned that the kingfisher could dig with their feet so they decided that they would build sandcastles together. After learning that robins migrate, another group decided they would travel around the world with their bird. Since owls are nocturnal, the owl group was going to look at the moon and stars together.
Once it was decided what they activity was, I made book covers ala Flora and the kids began to draw themselves with the bird, doing the activity they had chosen however, they had to draw using curved lines like Molly Idle does. They were also only able to use colored pencils since that is what Molly uses. We talked about pressing hard like she does so that it looks more like paint than colored pencil.
Here is just one of the finished products.
This activity was a great way for the kids to learn a new skill (using PebbleGo), learn about an animal and create an illustration in a style they were learning about. We had a blast!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Walking and Listening to "Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters"

Hale, Shannon. Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters. 7 hours and 21 minutes. Audible. 2015, $17.95, ISBN 978-1619634855.

Excited to be returning to home to Mount Eskel and her family after a year away, Miri's excitement quickly vanishes when the King summons her just as she is about to depart. The King explains to Miri that she is needed to travel to Lesser Alva to begin a Princess Academy there, training three of the King's distant cousins to be princesses. The King believes that by having one of his cousins marry King Fader, a war between the two countries will be avoided. After making an agreement with the King regarding Mount Eskel's ownership, Miri agrees and travels to Lesser Alva. While Miri was aware that Lesser Alva was swampy, she was not prepared for the conditions that Astrid, Felissa and Sus, the King's distant cousins, live in- alone in a home with no furniture, having to forage and hunt for their meals since someone had been stealing the allowance the King was sending them. Miri quickly realizes that getting these girls to learn the information that she needs them to will be a lot harder than she ever imagined and that she will need to be creative in doing so. However, time is not on Miri's side as Lesser Alva is invaded by Storean soldiers. 

I enjoyed listening to Mandi Lee's reading of this audiobook. While there were only slight differences in the vocalizations in the sisters' voices, their personalities shined through making it easy to identify which sister was speaking. I really enjoyed listening to Miri because her emotions always came through in her voice which helped to emphasize what type of person Miri is and how she believed in doing what was right, standing up for what she believed in and helping others.

I switched my walking route up a bit while listening to this book, walking closer to school than home.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

April Bulletin Boards

The old saying goes, "April Showers Bring May Flowers." This April though our showers aren't bringing us flowers, they brought us a giant POETREE instead. Which is fitting since April is Poetry Month.
Greg is rockin' the latest in Spring fashion, bunny ears, a feather boa and chick medallion. Unfortunately, he isn't loving his new look.
As a child I was obsessed with a book that repeated the phrase, "I'm thinking about eggs" over and over again. There is no better time than Easter to highlight books on eggs.
One of my all-time favorite authors is celebrating her 99th birthday this month!Happy birthday to Beverly Cleary!
Earth Day is also celebrated in April, so why not feature books on sustainability.