Friday, April 28, 2017

Walking and Listening to "Fuzzy"

Fuzzy  by Tom Angleberger and Paul Dillinger
Recorded Books
4 hours, 33 minutes

Narrator: Erin Moon

Max is absolutely beside herself, a robot will be coming to their school. Sure, there are already several robots at her school. There's a robot vice principal, a robot librarian, but this new robot, this one is special. This robot, Fuzzy, will be joining as a student, the first robot student to attend any school, anywhere. However, when she comes to face to face with him, he collapses and crashes down to the ground. Not exactly the first impression she had in mind. Before he collapsed though, Fuzzy had seen how Max had navigated the hallways to get to him, and was so impressed that he and the members of the Robot Integration Program ask for her help. Thrilled to be helping, Max and Fuzzy go just about everywhere together. Unfortunately, this is getting Max into trouble. You see, Vice Principal Barbara is watching and listening to everyone at every possible second, issuing d-tags for any and all infractions and instantly notifying your parents of what you did. Walk down to the hallway without permission, d-tag. Late for class by a millisecond, d-tag. Max is racking them up left and right. To make matters worse, she is failing the weekly upgrade tests all students are required to take. Max is completely confused by this, she is studying, she feels confident taking the tests and week after week she fails. Fuzzy is concerned too. But, after scanning her most recent test and seeing that she only answered one question incorrectly, he is sure things are turning around for her. Sadly, they are not and Max's most recent test score come back at 62%. Fuzzy is determined to get to the bottom of this. He better hurry though, because the Robot Integration Program has other plans for him.

This is a fun book. It has everything in it that kids love, it has some humor, some intrigue, friendship, robots, a robot showdown, and a glimpse as to what the future could possibly be like. Erin Moon does a great job of character vocalization, making each one distinct so the listener can easily identify them. She kept the story moving along at a nice pace. I personally enjoyed the shout out to Mr. Schu I mean who wouldn't want a character named after them?! Sign me up for that!

The stephanotis is in full bloom on my walks.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Walking and Listening to The Crooked Sixpence

The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell
Listening Library
9 hours 19 minutes
Narrator: Jayne Entwistle

Returning home from the hospital after their grandmother has taken a fall, Ivy and Seb are shocked to find that their home has been broken into and turned upside down. It gets even crazier when a feather begins to write on the wall, "We can see you know." Before they can even wrap their heads around what is going on, a strange carriage parks outside of their home and the men in it (The Underguards) try to capture them. Not knowing what is going on and with no parents insight, Ivy and Seb make a run for it and end up in Lundinor. Things don't get any easier for them there. They are navigating a whole new world full of uncommon objects all while trying to stay out of sight of the Underguards and encountering people they never knew existed before. The greatest challenge they are facing though is a race against time. Ivy and Seb have less two days to find the great uncommon good, which people believe their grandmother has, or else their parents will be killed. 

I always enjoy listening to Jayne Entwistle narration. Her voice is always very calm and peaceful, keeping a very steady pacing throughout the book. While her character vocalizations are just slightly different, it is easy to follow along and I was never confused as to who was speaking. I look forward to sharing this book with the fantasy loving children in my library.

Bikes at the beach

Saturday, April 8, 2017

We Met Author & Doodler Booki Vivat (IN PERSON THAT IS!)

The fourth graders and I were beyond excited to meet author and doodler Booki Vivat! Not only did we get to meet her IN PERSON, but we got to share ideas for doodles, asked her a bazillion questions, saw some of her planners, had a chance to hear her read the first chapter of Frazzled and some of us even had a chance to eat lunch with her. Needless to say, we had the best time!

Booki started off by sharing with us a little about what Frazzled was about.
We then played a game of True or False with her to learn what she and her main character Abbie have in common. I hate to brag, but we were expert drum rollers! During the game we got some writing tips. Did you know that if you write about something you love, people begin to give you that thing? Booki shared with us that she loved pastries, just like Abbie, and after reading her book people realized how much she loved them and gave her pastry after pastry for her birthday! What a genius idea!
We were able to see how her art all began, going back to kindergarten! She then shared how 
it transformed to doodles that she sent back and forth in notes to her friends.
We learned how her school planner transformed from a place to write down homework assignments to what they are today and how that got her a book deal! We are so glad it did!
Booki then talked to us about how she decides what she is going to draw for each of the pages and how she decides what it is in the story that she wants to highlight. She discussed with us the different ways she shares Abbie's emotions. We were then able to pick some emotions that Abbie would feel, shared different scenarios and Booki began to draw.
It was amazing to see her work! She shared with us that she loves to write never-ending h's. She says that she keeps waiting for her editor to tell her that she's made too many, but they never do, so she just keeps making them. The students thought that was hilarious.
These are just a handful of the finished pieces. The classroom teachers fought over who was going to get which picture to hang in their classroom.
What else did we learn from Booki? The best day of her life was when she got her book deal. She has spilled soup in her backpack and would trade gummy worms during lunchtime with other kids for things in their lunches. She loves to watch tv and movies and travel. She has written parts of the first two Frazzled books while on vacation in tropical places (Thailand and Hawaii). We got a sneak peek of the next Frazzled book. Can you figure out what it is about? We had some pretty wild ideas.
During our time with Booki, some of the fourth grade students were able to eat lunch with her. Since it was such a small group they were able to draw with her and really examine her planner. She had the kids write down a word (basketball, swimming, fishing) and then draw two emotions to go with it. It was neat to see what the kids drew while she was writing and drawing her own. Here are some pictures from our luncheon.
Thank you so much Booki for spending so much time with us. We loved meeting you, hearing about your books and drawing with you. You have inspired us all to write and doodle. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Fantastic Foxes and Shooting Stars Meet Lauren Trashis (Via Skype That Is!)

The Fantastic Foxes and Shooting Stars are huge fans of the I Survived series, so when they found out that they were going to have a chance to meet Lauren Tarshis they were beside themselves. Our Skype began in a whisper as Lauren was sneaking out of a meeting and down the hallway to her office at Storyworks. The kids loved this!
Once she was in her office, the questions been to fly. We wanted to know all sorts of things, including which I Survived  was the hardest to write. It is her latest one, which she had just finished the day before we met her! It is about the American Revolution. She shared that it was challenging because she knew so little about it and had no idea that the biggest battle had been in Brooklyn. She spent a year on the book, reading 33 books, watching dvd's, speaking to experts. Here's a sneak peek of the cover!
When we asked how she comes up with the characters she shared that she originally thought that her children and their friends would be the inspiration. She quickly realized that she had to build them from scratch, that they were like Lego's and you had millions of pieces that you had to put together and then take apart. All the characters also have to start with a  problem, a really bad problem. But by going through the events they are going through, they will get back to what they missed and closer to their family.
We know that Lauren likes to visit the places she is writing about. She says it's exciting to go to places that she already knows a little bit about. She loved visiting Joplin, Missouri. She was asked by the people of Joplin to write about the tornado, she became very attached to the city and visited twice. One of the kids asked where she would want to visit if she were writing a new book about World War One. The answer is below.
What other cool things did we learn? People send book ideas suggestions to her all the time. She looks at what time periods and events she has already written about and looks to see if there are any gaps. She likes to go back and forth between natural disasters and war related events. She also looks for events that we should know about, but are also fascinating. She usually spends 6 months on a book. She wants the readers of her books to go on a journey through time, where they hear what the cannons or muskets sounded like and smell the pork cooking over a campfire. Even though her dad was a writer and wrote non-fiction, Lauren never thought she would be a writer. We are so grateful that she did.
Thank you Lauren for sneaking out of your meeting to meet with us. You inspired us!