Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Read Aloud in the DR

This is a video of me reading Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus to Miss Brewer's class in the Dominican Republic. Miss Brewer and Miss Jantzen, both Taylor graduates and current teachers at Jarabaocoa Christian, do a great job sharing literature with their students.

As always, I love the chance to read to children. Thanks Miss Brewer for recording this read aloud.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

One Year of Blogging

It has been one year since I started this blog. Hopefully each of you have found some helpful information during your visits and possibly found some new favorites. It has been fun to do this, but I feel bad when I have long intervals between posts. Thanks for your patience and for putting up with my spelling errors.

Here are a few stats from the year:
Total Postings...73
Most Postings in a Month...Dec. (9)
Least Postings in a Month...Aug, Feb, Apr (2)
Most Frequent Label...Picturebooks (30)

Rating System
5 Star books...(7)
4.5 Star books...(2)
4 Star books...(9)
3.5 Star books...(9)
2 Star books...(6)
2.5 Star books...(4)
2 Star books...(2)
1.5 Star books...(0)
1 Star Books...(1)

Country Totals (37)
1. United States (US) 1,106
2. Dominican Republic (DO) 22
3. Canada (CA) 17
4. France (FR) 11
5. United Kingdom (GB) 10
6. Germany (DE) 8
7. Australia (AU) 5
8. China (CN) 5
9. Mexico (MX) 4
10. Greece (GR), Poland (PL), New Zealand (NZ), Italy (IT), Philippines (PH) 3

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Scaredy Squirrel at Night

If you haven't read the original Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt, then I highly recommend that you do. Believe it or not, Scaredy Squirrel is ready for another adventure...night.

In this book, Scaredy Squirrel worries about bad dreams and the creatures that might be in those bad dreams...ghosts, dragons, polka-dot-monsters, etc. So he decides to make a plan so he can stay up all night; however, he will have to deal with side effects such as energy loss, moodiness, hallucinations, etc. As you can imagine, it will be an adventurous night for Scaredy Squirrel.

Once again, Watt stays consistent with her usual layout and strong illustrations.

I definitely recommend this fun book.

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Chicken Cheeks

Let me just get to the bottom line, Chicken Cheeks is a funny book kids will enjoy; however, I'm not sure that parents will find it appropriate...although I'm okay with it. This comical book shares various names for the posterior end of various animals.

The storyline is about a bear who wants to get some honey, but he is not tall enough. So the bear gets some help from various animals. Animal are stacked on top of each other until they reach the honey.

The author is comedian Michael Ian Black and the Illustrator is Kevin Hawkes. Black's word choice is creative (i.e., duck-billed platypus gluteus maximus, polar bear derriere), and Hawkes illustrations humorous.

Recommendation: I say yes, butt not for everyone!

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

The End

A Friend

We all need friends and sometimes we need certain friends for certain situations. This is the premise of Anette Bley's picture book titled A Friend.

This book will encourage students to think about all their friends and what makes each friend so special.

Bley's illustration formatting is very clever and often changes (i.e., part of an illustration may be on one page, while the completion of the illustration is on the next page).

Overall I enjoyed this book and would recommend it for the elementary classroom. Although the text is simple and more appealing to younger students, the underpinning of the story will impact all ages.

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Living Sunlight

If you are looking for a good picture book about photosynthesis, then take a look at Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm.

This book has strong information and wonderful illustrations to accompany the simple text. More detailed information about photosynthesis can be found at the end of the book. A winner all around.

Happy Reading,
Dr, Quinn

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cruise Control

Less than a year ago I read Terry Trueman's Stuck in Neutral (see December 17)...The story is
about Shawn McDaniel a 14 year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy which limits him from any voluntary movement and the whole thing is told from Shawn's point of view.

Yesterday I just completed Cruise Control, a companion book to Stuck in Neutral. In this book, Paul McDaniel, Shawn's older brother, tell his side of the story. Paul is a hard and bitter young man who is especially angry at his father for abandoning the McDaniel family. Throughout the book, Paul deals with his anger via sports, fighting, and alcohol...primarily through sports. Paul has a change of heart near the end of the book, but readers will have to see what happens.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. I thought that Trueman did a fantastic job of showing Paul's anger throughout the book. However, I had one big problem with the ending. As a high school coach for many years and someone who has been around sports his whole life, I found the state title basketball game much too unbelievable. Persoanlly the ending turned me off.

Rating: (due to the ending)

Happy reading,
Dr. Quinn

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dork Diaries: Tales of a Not-So- Fabulous Life

Rachel Russell's Dork Diaries is an entertaining read for upper elementary and middle school students. Many readers will easily connect with the protagonist Nikki Maxwell. Nikki is an eighth grade girl going through all kinds of typical middle school scenarios; however, her biggest problem is MacKenzie Hollister...the most popular girl in eighth grade.

Russell does a great job of integrating current pop culture into the book...current musical artists and YA authors, tattoos, TV shows, and more.

The storyline here is be yourself, a universal theme that many teenagers need to hear over and over.

Fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series will also enjoy this book.

Personally, I found it a fun read, and the illustrations complimented the text well. I would recommend this book.

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Friday, June 5, 2009


Ursula Vernon's Dragonbreath is a book that both late bloomers and procrastinators will be able to connect. The protagonist is Danny, a fire breathing dragon; however Danny has not matured enough to breathe fire. Danny also hasn't matured enough to complete his homework on time. After earning an "F" on a science paper, Danny decides to do some firsthand research for his "Ocean" report. Both Danny and his best friend meet up with Danny's uncle, a sea serpent, to explore the sea. During this exploration the two youngsters run into a little trouble.

Vernon mixes cartoons, illustrations, and narrative to tell this story. This book would fit under the radical change category. It is a light read that will appeal to 3rd and 4th graders.

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Day-Glo Brothers

Several weeks ago, I received a box of books to review for the NCBLA. To my surprise, one book initially stood apart from all the others...The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob & Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand New Colors written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Tony Persiani. When I first saw the cover, I immediately went back to my childhood days and remembered how excited I was to get anything fluorescent (i.e., crayons, black light posters, super balls, etc). With this in mind, off course I had to read this book first from my box of books.

Barton does a fantastic job taking the reader through the life and times of the Switzer brothers. He shares how these two brothers experimented and problem-solved to created fluorescent paint and how that paint has been used to enhance magic shows, theater costumes, Christmas displays, road signs, and more.

Persiani's retro illustrations are "highlighted" with various day-glo colors. Even the end pages use these electric colors to support this fun and informative book.

I definitely recommend this book.

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

P.S. If you would like to read an interview of Chris Barton click on this link to Lewis Harris' blog.