Friday, March 30, 2012

The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse

This book is based on the famous French film called   Le Ballon Rouge (The Red Balloon) which was made in 1956. It is about an only child who finds a helium-filled balloon. He can't ride the bus because of it so he walks to school. There the care taker looks after it whilst he does his day's lessons.  He is late home on account of the balloon and not being able to catch the bus, so his angry mother releases the balloon. The story continues on as Pascal attempts to recapture his bright, red treasure. Trouble strikes first at school and then again when he runs into a gang of boys. The book is filled with photos taken from the film. The setting is the Menilmontant neighbourhood in Paris. Below is the first part of the film.                   

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Boy Who Ate Fear Street by R.L. Stine

Sam is a fussy eater, he only eats food that is white. Now this includes food like macaroni cheese, milk, vanilla ice-cream and rice pudding just to give a few examples. But suddenly he finds himself eating sponges and dish washing liquid, glue, and he is even craving dog food and can't keep his hands off the autumn leaves. Sam believes it is all Kevin and Lissa's Aunt Silvia's fault. I mean she is very eccentric and is some kind of witch doctor, or so  it seems. But there is something even stranger about Sam and his family. I didn't see it coming, please let me know if you did. I must admit I am kind of hooked on these Goosebumps books now. The book collection in the cauldron under the phone that never stops ringing is growing week by week.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Worry Warts by Morris Gleitzman

Worry Warts is the sequel to Misery Guts. Keith Shipley's parents now own a fish and chip shop in Orchid Cove in Queensland and are still worried about money. Keithy is still frantically trying to cheer them up and his new friend Tracy thinks that she can solve all their financial woes. Puppy Fat follows this book and we have all three in out little library in the classroom. Click on the link below the book image to listen to the first chapter  to hear author Morris Gleitzman reading from his own book and see what you think:

The Cat's Out of the Bag by John Kahn

This little book explains the stories behind some everyday expressions. If you are into idioms, you will enjoy this book. Get down to the nitty gritty, now where did that one originate?
According to author John Carn, this familiar slang phrase, meaning "to discuss essential matters", arose in the United States in the 1960's. The theory is that nitty-gritty refers to the unclean scalp of a person living in squalor. A layer of grit and a colony of nits or lice tends to build up under the hair in such conditions, so if someone got down to the nitty-grityy, he was originally, perhaps, scratching at his scalp with his nails. From that image came the more general idea of probing beneath external appearances to reach the underlying problems.

Other expressions such as going for a song, hook, line and sinker, chalk and cheese, win hands down, peter out, and many more are explained in this book. The text is accompanied by ink illustrations and there is a handy index at the back.

Let the cat out of the bag

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Phoenix by Nan Hunt

This is a very philosophical book and will have some readers wondering what it is that they have just read.  It is about a young girl  called Roli who lives in the Australian outback. She has failing eyesight and must make a decision soon about a possible but very risky  eye operation.  She befriends a phoenix which is afraid of fire. Both the girl and the bird are faced with difficult choices. Author, Nan Hunt, is one of Australia's best loved writers of picture books and novels for young readers.
The artwork by Junko Morimoto is just stunning. Each double page is embellished by captivating prints such as the two above. Junko is a survivor the the nuclear bomb which was dropped on her city, Hiroshima. She came to live in Australia in 1982 and has emerged as a well-known illustrator. This video clip about her experiences is well worth watching.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Life is Just a Bunch of Ziggys by Tom Wilson

Sometimes, after a bad day, this is the sort of little book you need to pick up. How could you not like little Ziggy. Ziggy is a cartoon created by Tom Wilson. Ziggy is a small, bald, bare-footed little man who seems to have no friends and no real hobbies. He does, however, have Fuzz, a small white dog, Sid, a cat who is afraid of mice, Josh, a fish...and Wack, a duck. An endless stream of misfortunes befall Ziggy and he often finds himself in some rather weird situations. If you enjoyed Snake, then this little book will most likely appeal to you. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Grandmas & Grandpas Edited by Richard & Helen Exley

All of the entries in this book were written by real grandchildren, the majority between 9 - 12 years old. They were sent in from eighty schools from all around Britain. Some of the  descriptions are accompanied by drawings. It is filled with quips, poetry and essays.It is an enjoyable read and the thing that struck me was the beautiful handwriting a lot of these children had.  Here are a few of the shorter entries:

A Grandmother is a person who will never get tired of your chatter however long you go on for.

I personally believe that grandmothers would knit until the end of the world.

My Grandmother is patient, she would have to be with me around.

Grandparents live in their own funny world where time seems to go backwards.

My Grandad is a safety shield against an angry mum.

My Grandad can fix nearly everything.

My Gran has a habit of naming things, she calls her fridge Fredda and her two wirelesses Big Willy and Little Willy.