Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Book Report: Porcupine’s Pie by Laura Renauld

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Porcupine’s Pie

Written by Laura Renauld

Illustrated by Jennie Poh

Beaming Books, 2018

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I’ve never used Capri Sun in a recipe before reading this book. Yes, that has something to do with the adorable Porcupine’s Pie!

Porcupine is getting ready for Fall Feast Day. She checks her cupboard for ingredients for her famous Cranberry Pie and heads to the river to wash cranberries. Along the way she meets her friends who have famous recipes as well, but these friend are missing ingredients. By the time Porcupine gets to the river, circumstances have changed and she is no longer able to make Cranberry Pie.

Instead, once her friends arrive at her home, Porcupine makes a new treat, Friendship Pie (recipe included).

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Porcupine’s Pie is full of sharing, kindness, and friendship. I’ve wanted to read it since it was born, but had to wait for it to arrive at my library. (Let me tell you a trick: Most libraries have a way to request new titles. I LOVE this feature. I requested Porcupine’s Pie a few months ago. Now I have a brand new copy in my hands to enjoy.)

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I read Porcupine’s Pie with my grands the other day. My granddaughter immediately jumped up, ready to bake a Friendship Pie. But alas, their larder did not have all necessary ingredients. So Nana went shopping and last night we made Friendship Pie.

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Where does Capri Sun fit in? The recipe calls for cranberry juice (or a favorite juice). On the first night when we first looked in the fridge, there was a big container of apple juice. So Nana did not purchase more juice. ONE DAY later, when we prepped the recipe, the juice was all gone! That happens in families with three kids. The only similar ingredient to be found was Capri Sun. Well then. I can now say I’ve cooked with Capri Sun!

Porcupine’s Pie gets two thumbs up! Add this one to your fall/friendship/sharing themes.

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Book Report: BRIGHTLY BURNING by Alexa Donne

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Brightly Burning

By Alexa Donne

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018

 

Excerpt from book jacket:

“Stella Ainsley leaves poverty behind when she quits her engineering job aboard the Stalwart to become a governess on a private ship…But no one warned Stella that the ship seems to be haunted, nor that it may be involved in a conspiracy that could topple the entire interstellar fleet.”

Add to that nineteen-year-old Captain Hugo (aka love interest/person of interest), murder attempts, possible marriage, and personal risk for Stella, and you have an excellent mystery adventure set in space. Post ice age space, where all humans have jettisoned from Planet Earth to live in spaceships above the frozen landscape.

I was hooked from the beginning chapter to the final words. Brightly Burning is a fast read. At least I read it quickly! Memorable characters, mysteries and escalating tension, and a unique setting kept me glued to the pages. Though Brightly Burning is written for teens, readers of all ages will enjoy the captivating world created by Alexa Donne.

I received a copy of Brightly Burning from Alexa Donne, through Literary Rambles  and Natalie Aguirre. Thank you both very much for a great read!

 


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via School Visit Resources

Writerly Tip:

When I discover a blog post that I know will be very helpful, now or in the future, and need to keep the information, I often repost it to my blog. I’m not always good recalling which blog posted the article I want to revisit, especially when I only remember the gist. But when I repost to my blog and tag it for my categories, I can refer back to it as needed.

Plus, unlike a printout of the post, the live post gives me access to the live links. Instant gratification!

Thanks so much, Writers Rumpus!

Does you have any tips for organizing online resources?


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If you know me from my teaching days, or kid-caring days, or church days, you know I’m all about books, language, and literacy. Not too long ago, a friend introduced me to Barefoot Books. My grands LOVE the little videos and songs that go with the different stories.

Barefoot Books is coming out with another great tool for story building, language, and literature: Build-a-Story Cards. I love these! Characters, settings, and objects cover wordless adorable colorful cards. Some characters show emotions to help create story conflict. Playing with these will be loads of fun!

Head on over to Tara Lazar’s blog to see photos and more explanation of these new literacy tools. The first set is a fairy tale theme. Fun times ahead!

Thanks, Tara, for giving us the heads-up on these Build-a-Story Cards!

via How Do You Build a Story? Play Cards! (plus a giveaway)


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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

By Dusti Bowling

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2017)

 

I won a copy of Dusti Bowling’s chapter book Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus from Literary Rambles.

What first attracted me to this book was the title. I could just imagine what type of events a cactus would stoically attend, though I knew the book was not about those fascinating plants.

What attracted me next were the characters and the setting. Having grown up in Arizona, I looked forward to reading a book set in the starkly dry and hot desert. The book has a captivating cast of diverse characters. I loved reading of friends Aven (born without arms) and Conner (spits at people when he eats) and how they manage their disabilities. The strength and courage of Aven compelled me to cheer for her and will inspire others who struggle with any type of disability. Family issues, a mystery discovered in an old out building, and facing ones’ own fears come together in a nicely written page-turner.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is a great read for any young (or old) person. Compassion, understanding, and acceptance of diversity will develop as readers live alongside Aven and Conner. I found that Bowlings’ book gave me the viewpoint of someone living with challenges and how they faced daily life and difficult situations. Readers will see that they can do anything if they put their mind to it!

Well done and great read!


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Reading for Pleasure

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How many of you read for pleasure? (“Me, me!” she shouts while waving her hand crazily in the air.)

A paper book? An e-reader story? A tale that lets you escape to a new land, new people, new problems? (Yes, please!)

Oh, the books we can read! Too many books, not enough time, right?

Consider this poem I wrote for a course:

This pleasure,

While reading,

Gives me a poetic mind.

Gobbled, devoured,

Digested words and tale.

Spit out to be

Read again.

Again.

And again.

Dissected, applied to life,

Reassembled with

New understanding.

Reading for pleasure;

A necessity as is

Air, water, food.

I pick up again

The feast of words

To consume the story

Each book tells.

 

Tell me, tell me please!

What book are you reading right now? What’s your favorite book? What chores have you neglected to read just. one. more. page? (…dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting)

I’d love to hear the tale of the words that let you escape.


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Terrific Tongues! Picture Book Review

Vivian Kirkfield recently shared a great post about this wonderful book, Terrific Tongues! Written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jia Liu, Terrific Tongues! is sure to engage, amuse, and educate young readers.

I mean, really, what child do you know who doesn’t love playing with or sticking out his or her tongue? I can’t wait get my hands on this one. Thanks, Vivian, Maria, and Jia! Congratulations!

Click here to visit Vivian Kirkfield’s blog and read more about Terrific Tongues!


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Frankenbunny – Picture Book & KID KANDY

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Frankenbunny

Written by Jill Esbaum

Illustrated by Alice Brereton

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2017)

 

Sibling rivalry, picking on the youngest, evil plans, plans thwarted, scary premise – Jill Esbaum delivers them all in Frankenbunny. Wonderful characters, setting, and interactions. The illustrations perfectly add to and tell the story.

I won a copy of Frankenbunny from Jill Esbaum and Picture Book Builders. I couldn’t be more excited!

The power of suggestion. It really packs a punch, doesn’t it? When big brothers tell Spencer about Frankenbunny, he doesn’t believe them. At first. But after many conversations, Spencer becomes convinced that monsters are real.

Or are they?

You will have to read Frankenbunny to find out the truth of the matter.

KID KANDY

Make Your Own Frankenbunny

Supplies: paper scraps, scissors, glue sticks, markers, construction paper

1. On construction paper, draw the scariest Frankenbunny you can!

2. Add clothes, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, fingertips – everything – by cutting up paper scraps and gluing them on.

3. Finish up with markers.

Show off your Frankenbunny! I bet it scares everyone!

P.S. I’d love to see your Frankenbunny! Ask a parent to help you post a picture of your artwork in the comments. Wow! I can’t wait!

 


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Storystorm 2018 Day 5: Corey Rosen Schwartz Begs, Borrows & Steals (from herself, of course)

Corey speaks like a true recycler, digging out past files, lists, notebooks, and manuscripts…and then hunts out the perfect idea for a new picture book project from old materials. Corey also suggests that we writers keep our eyes and ears open when we read other books, sing songs, watch TV, and repeat those nursery rhymes. One never knows when inspiration will strike!

Thanks, Corey, for the great tips! Thanks, Tara, for putting together Storystorm 2018!

via STORYSTORM 2018 Day 5: Corey Rosen Schwartz Begs, Borrows & Steals


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Storystorm 2018 is Here! For You, Writers

Today begins the first day of Storystorm! January is a month for new beginnings. That includes brainstorming ideas and making lists for future writing projects: picture books, chapter books, poems, early readers, blog posts…

Let’s do this, my friends. Follow the link below to read the post of the day. Be sure to sign up and comment to be entered to win writerly prizes. 🙂

Ready, set, go! First idea. Check.

via STORYSTORM 2018 Day 1: Urania Smith Loses Herself