Friday, August 24, 2007

The Top 50 Books That Got Us Hooked on Reading!

The non-profit organization First Book has released its poll of the top 50 children's books that got us hooked on reading. I am happy to see Nancy Drew at number one as I wanted to be that powerhouse of a woman but I'm sorry to see no Roahld Dahl. Which leaves the question, what books got you hooked?

Here's First Book's results:
  1. Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
  2. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  3. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  5. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  6. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  7. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  8. The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey
  9. Go, Dog, Go! by P. D. Eastman
  10. Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman
  11. Curious George by Margret and H. A. Rey
  12. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  13. The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper and Loren Long
  14. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  15. Dick and Jane by William H. Elson
  16. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
  17. The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope
  18. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  19. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  20. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  21. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
  22. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  23. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  24. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  25. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  26. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
  27. Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
  28. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  29. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  30. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  31. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  32. The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon
  33. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
  34. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  35. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  36. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
  37. The Baby-sitters Club by Ann M. Martin
  38. Horton Hears A Who by Dr. Seuss
  39. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  40. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
  41. Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Songs
  42. Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol
  43. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
  44. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  45. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  46. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  47. The Bible
  48. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  49. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  50. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Booksprouting Review: Would I Ever Lie To You? by Caralyn Buehner

Would I Ever Lie to You? by Caralyn Buehner

Illustrated by Jack E. Davis

Reading level: Ages 4 - 8

Hardcover, 32 Pages

Published: May 2007

Estimated price: $16.99 USD

“Would I ever lie to you?” is a story about a boy and his older cousin, Ed, a child who is notorious for telling all sorts of outrageous things. Ed’s cousin finds it difficult distinguishing between what is a lie (“your dessert is poisonous”) and what truth there is to Ed’s words (“Aunty has no teeth”). He finally turns the tables on Ed one day by making him the butt of a practical joke.

Author Caralyn Buehner writes her boys-will-be-boys story in rhyming lines, which seems appropriate given the sing-song nature of the teasing between Ed and his younger cousin.

Younger siblings will identify with this humorous yet honest portrayal of what it’s like to be the geeky – and gullible – younger sister or brother.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

BookSprouting Review: Flotsam by David Wiesner

Flotsam by David Wiesner

Reading Level: Ages 4-8

Trade Paperback, 40 Pages

Published: September 2006

Estimated Price: $17.00 USD

I admit that growing up, I had two picture books in my library. Perhaps my parents never saw the point in them and I also confess that I rarely took them off the shelf after initially receiving them for Christmas one year from family friends. I suppose that is why I was so surprised to pick up Flotsam and find myself completely awestruck by the power of this story which is only told through its illustrations. A young adventurer goes to the beach with his parents to discover an old camera lying on the sand with the film still inside. Once the film is developed, the pictures can be described as nothing short of magical! I could have looked at them for hours and told 100 different versions of the story to myself. Each time I glanced through the pages, my imagination seemed to take hold of a new way of interpreting the scenarios on the page. This book would be a treasure to any child or adult alike. It's a Caldecott Medal Book for a reason!

5 out of 5 sprouts

Thursday, August 2, 2007

BookSprouting Review: The Radish and the Shoe by Louise Jalbert

The Radish and the Shoe by Louise Jalbert

Reading Level: Ages 5-8

Paperback, 32 pages

Published: January 1991 as The Diverting Tale of the Radish and the Shoe, Re-issued February 2006

Estimated Price: $9.45 USD

The Radish and the Shoe are the best of friends and love living together in their home, a book, which they also share with the elusive letters, who busy themselves all day with making words. The cast of characters of this beautifully illustrated story is as creative as the poetic narrative: after their home is destroyed by a belligerent pair of scissors, the radish and shoe must rebuild their book, little by little, and do so by composing a new story and cooperating with the letters.

I was originally drawn to this story after reading the back flap of the book in which author and illustrator Louise Jalbert describes how she was inspired to pen (and paint) a tale for children. Jalbert had been dissatisfied with the poor selection of literature geared towards kids and believed that authors should be creating stories that give more credit to the power of a child’s imagination. The book’s elegant illustrations reinforce the importance of imagination when reading: artist Jalbert uses abstract watercolor paintings (as well as calligraphy) to tell her story.

5 out of 5 sprouts

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Continuing the agony

So, is writing a story supposed to be as agonizing as it is for me? Am I alone on this one? Does anybody else experience this? I'm not talking about writer's block - I'm talking about the simple, lazy at my core, I'd-rather-listen-to-music-on-Pandora-than-write-this-story type of agony. When I actually muster the discipline to sit down and begin to write, the lines flow and the story develops rather quickly. Some are amazed that I pen as quickly as I do. I, on the other hand, am constantly wondering if it's any good, no matter how fast or how slow I write!

Yesterday was a day of some discipline, so I have uploaded a few more pages to the story. Check it out here: Samuel's Umbrella. Please let me know what you think - and if you think there is any hope. Please, be brutally honest. I'm not interested in wasting my time on something that I'm ultimately not any good at. If there are seeds of potential, then let me know that too.

OK, writing this blog has given me some renewed discipline - I'm off to write a little more!! Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

BookSprouting Review: The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper

The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper

Illustrated by Gabi Swiatowska

Reading Level: Preschool-2nd grade

Hardcover, 32 pages

Published: March 2007

Estimated Price: 16.95 USD

I hate to give away too much about the plot of a book but The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper is about...the golden rule! The story consists of a sweet dialog between a young boy and his grandfather after they see the rule graffitied across a wall. My favorite part is when the grandfather explains the different ways the golden rule is described in religions from Christianity to Buddhism. Gabi Swiatowska's illustration are beautiful and add an almost dream-like quality to the innocence of the text. Empathy, respect, and general consideration for the well-being of others is encouraged in this sweet and simple story. Scenarios ask the reader to consider how one should treat a new child at school and whether wars would exist if we all lived by the golden rule, making this a perfect tool to teach a vital lesson. After all, as the book explains, it all starts with us!

4 out of 5 sprouts

Saturday, July 28, 2007