Looking for a book for tweens or boys? The protagonist is Dash, a twelve-year-old, living on the moon with his family in the first colony from earth to make the moon their home. In between narrating about the horrendous bathrooms and the tasteless food, Dash reveals that he thinks a death of an older scientist was not an accident. When he approaches the head of the colony and his parents, they tell him that they think he is wrong and that he should drop it. They think the scientist had mental issues and that he caused his own accidental death. Things get more complicated when a Zan, a mysterious woman who says she’s working with the space agency, arrives on the shipment rocket and tells Dash that he is on target and to continue investigating secretly. She can’t be seen with him, but she will make contact with him when she can. Other characters give some good laughs with food flying through the air and fights with moon gravity allowing the victims to literally rise above the bullies. One family is there because they paid billions to be in the first colony. They and their children are obnoxious and create some interesting situations for the other kids and adults.
This is a great science fiction read that is entertaining for all ages. The science parts of the story seem like what it could really be like to live on the moon some day. Nothing is perfect, but the moon colonists must not complain or tell the nitty gritty or funding could be lost. Phone calls to earth can be made, and the kids are required to make video logs to share with the world as everyone is watching the real life reality show set on the moon. I couldn’t put it down. The ending was a surprise and I can’t wait to read the sequel.
What a creative and thought-provoking, rhyming book for both adults and children!
As an elementary school librarian who reads books aloud to children every day, I can see this one as a book that will capture their attention because there is substance here that will connect with their prior knowledge to make this book worthy of their time. I predict that this title will be on several award lists this year. Readers are challenged to use their imaginations to repurpose and recycle objects that they own or discover on their path.
The illustrations, created by Terri Murphy, and names of the characters are multi-ethnic featuring children of all races. The expressions show joy, contentment, and pure fun as they “ramble” around the neighborhood. Even the kid who makes fun at first is motivated to join in the fun.
Text-to-Self: Can you think of something you have re-used as a pencil container? Ever made a jewelry box from an egg carton?
Text-to-Text: Oliver by Birgitta Sif; Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
Compare and Contrast: How is each “find” similar and different from what they imagine it to be?
Mental Image: Can you imagine the “find” being what they imagine it to be?
Predicting: Try predicting what the items on the last page might be used for. There is an illustration, but no text so the reader has to use his or her imagination to infer or predict what these could be used for.
Synthesis: Can you think of other things their “finds” could be? Can you think of something you see that could be like something else? Think about the places you like to play and what you have played with there. I remember as a child playing house inside a group of Cedar trees where there was a small clearing in the middle of them. It was like nature made me my own playhouse.
Extension: Do a search on the Internet to find how people have repurposed what might be trash to some people into useful or artistic objects.
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.
Schema: Goldilocks stories
Text-to-Text: Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Drawing Conclusions: Find text evidence to support the conclusion that the dinosaurs were setting a trap for Goldilocks.
Synthesis: Can you think of any other morals for the story?
Compare and Contrast: the original story with this one.
Characterization: Find the text where Goldilock’s character is described.
Point of View: The dinosaurs point of view is not the innocent one of the bears, but one of calculating prey looking forward to setting a trap for delicious, chocolate-filled Goldilocks.
Text-to-Text Connections: Superman
Personification: The eyeball is given human qualities; the jello can slurp
Metaphor: comparing his cape to a red rocket, his mask to a dark night at midnight
Context Clues: Vocabulary in the story: photon: a type of radiation: the character sends heat rays from his eyes
Thermovulcanized: a process that freezes then melts a rubberized object to make it tougher
Drawing conclusions: we inferred that when he changed to his normal self that he is the man that looks like Superman, but at the end we realized we were stereotyping the hero because he turns out to be the little boy in the illustration. At the end notice his shadow looks like the Superman character though…is the shadow his imagination? Was the man his dad?
Author’s Purpose: To persuade, inform, or entertain?
Schema: football scoring rules
Text-to-Text Connection: Turkey Bowl by Phil Bildner also takes place many years ago.
In this full color picture book, the author shares the story of Roy Riegels as historical fiction. The real life lesson is that we all make mistakes, but we shouldn’t let a mistake destroy our ability to move forward and achieve in the future. The story tells how Roy continued to be great athlete and a successful businessman and did not let his big mistake and label of “wrong-way Riegels” color his future in a negative way.
Author’s purpose and Point of View: Written in third person, the author tells the real life story of Roy Riegels.
Cause and Effect: Because Roy ran the wrong way, the effect was that his team lost their big game.
Drawing Conclusions: We can draw the conclusion that Roy did not let his mistake ruin his life because he continued to be successful.
Schema: alphabet, vowels, spelling
Text-to-Text Connection: Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood
Cause and Effect: Because X changed his mind, the effect is the alphabet stayed the same.
Drawing Conclusions: The letters draw the conclusion that each letter has an important part to play when they begin exploring the roles of each other.
X is the narrator of the story written from a third person POV. Students will relate to the story about X and how he wasn’t happy wear he stood in the alphabet. The author explores the role of each letter and the important parts they each play. The confusion of spelling with the “i before e except after c” rule as well as plural words that change f to v as in calf and calves make the other letter realize that all of them have a certain and necessary role to play. The illustrations are very colorful and the book is in a graphic novel format with large text.
There is a short animation of the book on You Tube.
Schema: blaming something on someone else
Definition of Scapegoat
In rhyming text the author shares the story about very mischevious Jimmy and his goat, P. Petunia Oat.
Sequencing: What did Jimmy blame on Petunia in order: eating his coat, throwing away the TV remote, blowing his nose in the tote, breaking the boat, shaving the goat’s thoat
Reader’s Theater: This book would be a great reader’s theater with a part for the goat and a part for Jimmy.
Author reads his book in Spanish on You Tube.
Characterize Jimmy and Petunia based on the text and illustrations.
Drawing Conclusions: What conclusion do you come to about what happened to Jimmy’s coat?
Point of View: The author’s POV is third person.
Schema: The original story of the three little pigs
Compare and Contrast: the original story with the modern one
Personification: the robot
Characterize the robot and the wolf in the original story
The story of the Three Little Pigs meets the space age in this new twist on the original story. The three aliens all find homes in space, one on a rover, one on a satellite, and the third one on Mars where he builds a sturdy house. The planets are illustrated in order from the sun so a reader could gain some reinforcement of space learning as the book is read. This would be a support for a compare and contrast unit. The illustrations are colorful and add humor to the story.
Schema: Ghosts, New Orleans, beignets
The story is set in New Orleans and is about a family who opens a restaurant that is haunted. Fred, the ghost is a little timid and all of his attempts to scare people off only make the place more interesting to them. The main character, Marie, a child of the new owner, figures out a way to make him stay and be happy. They make a messy room for him where he feels at home, and they make a dessert, Powdered Ghosts Puffs, in his honor. The illustrations support the text and will be enjoyed by children especially on Halloween.
Cause and Effect: Because Fred couldn’t have a messy place to stay, the effect was that he was planning to leave.
Because Fred made the food fly around, the effect was that the people in the restaurant liked the atmosphere even more.
Drawing Conclusions: How did Marie draw the conclusion that Fred would stay if they made him his own space?
Text-to-Text Connections: obeying parents
Text-to-Text Connection: Harold and the Purple Crayon
Large font and colorful, but simple drawings make this a super read aloud. The plot sequence lends itself to teaching predicting. A young boy is about to draw when his mother says that no one draws on this particular day, Doodleday. He disobeys and begins to draw a fly which flies off of the page and is huge! He then draws a spider to eat the fly, then a bird to eat the spider. The text-to-text connection with There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly will be noticed. Young listeners will love the story and art.
Cause and Effect: Because he draws a fly, the effect is that he must draw a spider to eat the fly…
Because he disobeys his mother, the effect is the disasters that occur.
Predicting: What will he draw next? Do you think he will draw on Doodleday next year?