April 26, 2018

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 2:47 am by suebe2

Wonder
by R. J. Palacio
Alfred A Knopf

I know, I know.  Hasn’t everyone already read this?  The funny thing about young audiences is that they keep growing up and moving on. That means that there are a fresh group of young readers who need to get to know Auggie Pullman.

Because of his facial deformity, Auggie Pullman is home schooled until 5th grade.  He’s just had too many surgeries to make attending school practical.  That and the fact that just seeing him is a shock.  No really.  Even when people try not to react, they do.

Auggie isn’t sold on the idea of going to school but the principal asks several of the school nicest students to show him around.  He really likes Jack and is glad to find out that he and Auggie have several classes together.  Jack is funny and kind of popular but he still hangs out with Auggie except at lunch.  But that’s okay because Summer quickly moves to Auggie’s table and soon the two of them hit it off.

Then Halloween comes around and everyone gets to wear a costume. At the last-minute, Auggie changes what he is going to where so no one will know its him.  That’s how he overhears it when Jack says that if he looked like Auggie he’d kill himself. Auggie goes home sick and wonders why Jack would pretend to be his friend.

Okay, I’m not going to relate any more of the plot.  This book is amazing.  Truly amazing.

There’s no doubt about it but Auggie’s life is tough but he doesn’t ask for sympathy. He just wants people to give him a chance.  He knows he’s hard to look at but that can’t be the most important thing about a person, can it?

This is a book about love and family, kindness and friendship.  It shows how people can redeem themselves but also how friends can grow apart and new people come into your life.  I’m not sure you get it from what I’ve written above but this book is full of hope.

That said, it is incredibly real. It shows how the health of one person in the family effects everyone and how unforeseen events can pull people together.

This won’t be an easy summer read but it would make a great family read.  There is definitely plenty to discuss and young readers will have a thing or two to say.

–SueBE

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April 6, 2018

Quackers by Liz Wong

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 4:06 pm by suebe2

Quackers
by Liz Wong
Borzoi Books/Alfred A. Knopf

“Meow.

“Quackers is a duck.”

Why does this kitten think that he’s a duck? Because he lives at the pond with the other ducks.  He even eats duck weed although he can’t understand why he’s the only one who doesn’t like to get wet.

Then a kitten comes down to the pond. It can’t believe that Quackers thinks he is a duck.  The second kitten invites Quackers up to the barn where Quackers discovers the fun of chasing mice and lapping up milk.  Quackers is less than thrilled with bathing himself.  As much fun as Quackers has at the barn, he misses the wind blowing and even, do I dare type this?, duckweed.

So Quackers spends part of his time at the pond being a duck and part of his time at the barn being a cat.  But most important?  He spends all of his time being happy.

I love that this book has such a clear message without being preachy.  You don’t have to be just like your family or your friends.  You can *gasp* be yourself.  But because it is told through story, the message comes through without being too much.  Kids will get it.

Wong’s illustrations which were created digitally and with watercolor are perfect for this story. Young readers will love the silliness of the bipedal cats who revert to all-fours to chase mice and the huggy ducks.

This would be a fun book for reading aloud to a group. Use it to launch a discussion on how young readers feel like they are different from everyone else – in their families, on their teams, or in school.  I suspect that the adult may have to launch the discussion. “My husband and son love to camp but I can’t stand it.  I’m the only one who likes to craft.”

A fun book about an important topic.

–SueBE

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