Picture Book Saturday: The Skunk by Mac Barnett


The Skunk


When a skunk first appears in the tuxedoed man's doorway, it's a strange but possibly harmless occurrence. But then the man finds the skunk following him, and the unlikely pair embark on an increasingly frantic chase through the city, from the streets to the opera house to the fairground. What does the skunk want? It's not clear—but soon the man has bought a new house in a new neighborhood to escape the little creature's attention, only to find himself missing something...




The Skunk appears on the 2016-2017 Sunshine State Reader list for young readers this year. To prepare for book clubs, I decided to give it a try. To be honest, I am not entirely sure what gave this book so much appeal when I have read some amazing (and very deep) picture books. At first glance, this is a cute story with comic-like illustrations. The story is fun to read and will make kids giggle. There wasn't much to really make you think or spark a discussion, except for maybe the ending when the man in the tuxedo realizes he misses the skunk.


Anna Dewdney passes away

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_iGTwxhtEOmc/S93qfyYufiI/AAAAAAAAGlM/eQRIPEeoMfw/s1600/llama-llama-red-pajama.jpg 

My heart aches and my eyes keep leaking... 



The Llama Llama books were a staple in my house for years as my youngest son learned to read. They made bedtime extra special as he would snuggle under the covers while I read. When a new book in the series came out, he would get so excited about going to the book store to get a copy.

And when it came time to clean the book shelf in his room to make way for larger, more grade appropriate book, the Llama Llama books never moved. They have a permanent spot on his shelf, even at 9.

So when I woke up this morning to hear that one of our favorite authors has passed away from brain cancer, I was devastated. Maybe it's because I am still grieving the loss of my beloved grandmother, but this news felt like the wound was ripping open again. I am deeply and profoundly affected by the loss of Ms. Dewdney. I am sad I never had the chance to meet her, as she was scheduled for a school visit when she was diagnosed. For obvious reasons, that visit was canceled. But I did manage to get a signed copy of one of her books from a friend, who did meet her years ago. That book is on my bookshelf, safe and protected.

Publishers Weekly has a beautiful obituary for Ms. Dewdney, but I warn you. It will make your eyes leak. Ms. Dewdney was an advocate for literacy and reading to kids, but she also fought to teach life lessons through her stories. Llama Llama learned that it's okay to miss his mama, go to school, and how to deal with bullies-- and we learned right along with him in this house. Her characters captured my son's feelings and facial expressions perfectly. Maybe that's why I loved the books so much and feel such a great loss. When I read the Llama Llama books, it was like reading my son's story.

But as the obituary states, Ms. Dewdney wants us to continue reading to children. If you have not read her books, I encourage you to. Also, check out the website, ran by the publisher, for the Llama Llama books for additional resources and activities. It is charming, and I think captures the whimsy of these books and the author's spirit perfectly.







Minute Review: Wizard at Work (Vivian Vande Velde)

Wizard at Work


The wizard has big summer plans: To garden, fish, and nap. The only thing better would be if he had someone nice to share the days with. But the only people who show up want him to rescue yet another princess, lift the usual vile curse, confront a fearsome ghost, deal with a pack of magical hooligans, harvest a crop of golden cucumbers, and on and on. . . .
With everything he has to do, it's no wonder the wizard is all by himself! Who'd want to help him do all of that?



Readers will enjoy four short stories that weave a delightful tale of a wizard that just wants a break. Throughout the tales, readers can expect to encounter familiar characters and stories, but don't be fooled. There are definitely twists along the way. Wizard at Work is a quick read and suitable for readers in grades 1-3. Simple ink drawings correspond with the stories throughout the book to help younger readers visualize what is happening. 

I think this book would make a great read aloud in class or a bed time story. Each chapter is a new story, so they could easily be read one at a time


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