Friday, October 30, 2009

Freaky Friday

A frighteningly mixed bag today, making this a Freaky Friday post! These books have nothing in common other than the fact that they're all nominated for the Cybils Awards. Rather than just including them in my Sunday Cybils post, I want to do a special review of these three as they were all offered to me, courtesy of authors and publishers, prior to their nomination, making them worthy of a special post!

Fucile, Tony.
Let's Do Nothing.
May 2009.
Candlewick Press.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Frankie and Sal have already played every sport and board game invented, baked and eaten batches of cookies, and painted a zillion pictures. What’s left to do? Nothing! Ten seconds of nothing! Can they do it? Can they act like stone statues in the park? Can they simply hold their breath and not blink an eye? With a wink to the reader and a command of visual humor, feature film animator Tony Fucile demonstrates the Zen-like art of doing nothing...oops! Couldn’t do it!

This book is really funny and would make for an interesting gift for children who often complain, "There's nothing to do!" They'll quickly learn here that there's always something that can be done... sure, it might not be the most adventureous or appealing activity, but there's always something! An interview, provided by Fucile with the book, gave me an idea!
Q: Why did you want to write a book about doing nothing? How did you get the idea?
A: I vividly remember those childhood moments of excruciating boredom. We tend to remember the interesting and exciting parts of youth, but what about those times when you feel like you are stuck in a vat of molasses? A kid experiences that with such conviction. It was horrible! That said, I think those moments can be hugely catalytic. Great ideas come out of a bored mind. Or quiet mind. The concept of nothing wasn't the impetus for the book; it was a product of the characters and situation. I visualized these two bored boys - one kind of like me and the other kind of lik my childhood friend Steve. Then I had them interact. The idea of doing nothing really sprang from these characters yapping at each other.
After reading this book, challenge your child to do something different. Be creative... use your minds! If there's nothing else to do, challence your child to think about all the things they're really doing when they're complaining that there's nothing to do!

Rosenthal, Marc.
Archie and the Pirates.
September 2009.
HarperCollins Publishers.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Ahoy, landlubbers, prepare yerselves for a rip-roaring adventure... with a shipwrecked monkey, a sweet-singing ibis, a ferocious tiger, and a band of rough smelly, no-good pirates! Coconuts fly, danger lurks, and only one clever monkey can save the day: ARCHIE!

I really enjoyed the simple story shared here! It's light-hearted, yet cleverly written and will definitely keep children focused and eager to listen! I think this book would really inspire children to show their creativity and because of that, I have created an activity that coordinates with the book. I would probably use this in collaboration with a unit on the community - as it reinforces children in thinking about how the community consists of all kinds of families, homes, and businesses that work together.

Johnston, Tony.
My Abuelita.
September 2009.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Abuelita’s hair is the color of salt. Her face is as crinkled as a dried chile. She booms out words as wild as blossoms blooming. She stuffs her carcacha—her jalopy—with all the things she needs: a plumed snake, a castle, a skeleton, and more. Her grandson knows he has the most amazing grandmother ever—with a very important job. What does Abuelita do? With her booming voice and wonderful props, Abuelita is a storyteller. Next to being a grandmother, that may be the most important job of all.

This is a wonderful book for grandparents to share with their grandchildren! It promotes the idea of storytelling, a wonderful tool to use with children when trying to share with them their heritage and stories from the past that help children see where they "came from." Not only will children enjoy this book, grandparents will likely enjoy sharing it with their grandchildren, making it great idea for a Christmas gift this year!

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to