Sunday, November 29, 2015

Walking and Listening to "Serafina and the Black Cloak"

Beatty, Robert. Serafina and the Black Cloak. Listening Library. 2015. 

Hidden in the basement of Biltmore Castle is Serafina, Chief Rat Catcher. No one knows of her existence except her father who has warned her to stay out of sight of others. However staying hidden becomes impossible after Serafina sees what horrifying things a man in a black cloak does to a young girl one evening  Immediately telling her father what she has seen, he doesn't believe her, thinking it's just one of her stories. Serafina knows what she has seen and while out investigating she meets Braden Vanderbilt, who tells her of another child who went missing two weeks earlier. Convinced the events are linked, Serafina and Braden decide they need to figure out who is behind this before more children go missing.

Cassandra Castle narrates this book, keeping her voice at a fairly even keel throughout. There are slight changes in tone to show emotion but for the most part, things seem to stay intentionally slow and steady to build anticipation and lead you further down the story path.

I took this picture one morning while out walking. I loved the driftwood structure and tree someone had created.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Explorers Meet Anna Kang and Christoper Weyant (via Skype that is!)

Back in October one of our kindergarten teachers asked for some books that talked about size since some of the children in her class were making comments to others about their height. Instantly, I  thought of You Are (Not) Small. After she read the book to her class, they had an amazing discussion and she shared with me what an impact the book had on her students. I immediately emailed Anna Kang and asked if she would be free to Skype with us about her book. She immediately said, "YES!" and said that her husband would love to meet the kids as well.
The Explorers were beyond thrilled to learn that they were going to meet with the author and illustrator of their favorite book. "I never met an author before!" one of the Explorers shouted after finding out the news.
They immediately began to come up with questions for Anna and Chris. "How do you come up with the ideas for your books?" "How old were you when you wrote your first book?" "What do you guys do when you finish writing a book?" (I wish I had gotten that answer on tape, it was great!)
Here is the answer to their question, "How long does it take to make the pictures?"
We also loved getting to meet their two daughters and having them be a part of our Skype session. When the Explorers found out that one of their daughters was in kindergarten just like they were, they invited her to join the class. They also loved it when their older daughter showed them the answer to the question, "Where are the hidden names in the books?"
Another question the children had was, "Can we get a sneak peek of your new book?" Anna quickly grabbed her advance copy of Can I Tell You a Secret?" and read the class the first few pages. We can't wait to see how it ends!
We ended our Skype session with Chris teaching us how to draw one of the characters from You Are (Not) Small and That's (Not) Mine. 
Thank you so much Anna, Chris, Lily and Kate for spending time with us. We had an absolute blast learning from you!

November Bulletin Boards

I know, I know, November is almost over and I haven't shared our latest bulletin boards. They have been up all month, yet I was a bit slow to photograph them.
The giant bulletin board was created to honor of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
For the back bulletin board we decided to focused on all things Fall.
Happy Birthday Margie Palatini!
November is Picture Book Month! You should celebrate by reading as many wonderful picture books as you can!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Walking and Listening to "The Nest"

Oppel, Kenneth. The Nest. 3 hours 25 minutes. Simon and Schuster Audio. 2015, $8.99, ISBN 978-1442391260

Ten days after Steve's baby brother was born, "she" arrived.  "She" came to him in his dreams and told him that she was there to help Steve's newborn brother who is very sick. Steve soon realizes that this is not an angel that he is talking to, as he originally thought, but rather the wasp queen. She tells Steve that she and her workers can help the baby, replace the sick one, as long as Steve agrees to help them. Wanting to protect his family and help his brother, Steve agrees but soon thinks he's made a big mistake.

I wish I had read this book rather than listened to it. If I had read it, I would have been able to enjoy all of Jon Klaassen's amazing illustrations that accompany this book.

Gibson Frazier kept his voice at an even keel the entire reading of this book. His voice remained flat and calm which I think was important for this story and increased the creepiness factor.

One morning while I was out walking the sky was full of the most amazing colors, unfortunately, this picture doesn't do it justice.