Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Math Curse

Scieszka, J. and Smith, L. (1995). Math Curse. New York: Viking.

LS5360: Bluebonnet
And yet another favorite pulled from the home shelves. Our kids really liked this one when they were little because it was silly and fun, but at the same time, they remembered the story and tools. It’s sneaky like that, and even though you can easily start reading the book to a four or five-year-old, a twelve-year-old might get a completely different perspective, equally valuable to that of the young ones.  I love math and have always preached that math is everywhere, so it’s nice to have a believable resource, as we all know kids rarely believe their parents.  The illustrations go hand-in-hand with the storyline, and they are fun and funky in the use of graphic media and some of the collage-like illustrations.  The illustrations give a sense of bombardment with images, numbers and data strewn across the pages. And just as the story starts to resolve itself, so come the illustrations, less chaotic and more orderly. Until the teacher throws out her final line about science!

The Tequila Worm

Canales, V. (2005). The tequila worm. New York: Wendy Lamb Books.

LS5360: Pura Belpré

What a great coming-of-age story, with so many messages about remembering what’s important – family, education, values, determination.  Sophia is a great role model and Canales’s use of imagery makes the description of life as a Mexican-American really pop – the descriptions and explanations of Day of the Dead and Quinceanera celebrations are so vivid!  The writing style is simple enough that a reluctant reader won’t get discouraged, but it’s also engaging enough – thanks to the details – to keep the hungry reader engaged, though the characters weren’t overly well-developed.  

Owl Moon

Yolen, J. (1987). Owl moon . New York: Philomel Books.

LS5360: Bluebonnet

The painterly media of watercolor really works harmoniously with the story of a little adventure in New England country living.  The figurative language along with what I would say is realism/borderline expressionism style of art are reminiscent of simpler times – or how life in the country can still allow appreciation of simpler lifestyles that allow for enjoying the mysteries of the nocturnal world.  The visual (and literary) imagery contribute a sense of depth into the wintery night.  It’s a very soothing book to read and even cooling when it’s over 100 degrees just beyond the walls around me.