Thursday, April 28, 2016

Wanna Giggle??? Review: I Won a What??? by Audrey Vernick

Title: I Won a What?
Author: Audrey Vernick
Illustrated By: Robert Neubecker

The hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy who tries to win a goldfish and winds up with FAR more than he bargained for. Fans of Sparky will flip for this whale of a tale!

I have to win this goldfish.

My parents won’t let me have anything fluffy. Or shaggy. Or feathery. Or that eats mice.

But finally, tonight, they say I can keep anything I win at the goldfish booth.

And I win!

Just not a goldfish.

I win…


What a super cute and fun book! I really enjoyed it even giggling at a few parts.  When my son saw it we had to read it together and he giggled too.  Why?  Ok the idea of going to a fair thinking you'll win a cute little goldfish only to walk away with a whale!! And of course just thinking of the absurdity of that makes you giggle in more! Think of keeping a whale as a pet.  Wouldn't that be a riot.  Now wait don't send PETA after me I'm thinking of the way it's done in this book - where you keep it in a pool in your back yard and he loves it! It's just one of those stories that takes a concept so far that the absurdity of it just takes into the realm of pure silliness.  

I could see using this book in the classroom and having students pick an animal that could keep as a pet and write about it using this book as a mentor text.  I think it would it be so fun.  

Final thought - Fun book that you can giggle over.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Picture Book Review: More Than Enough: A Passover Story by April Halprin Wayland

Title: More Than Enough: A Passover Story
Author: April Halprin Wayland
Illustrator: Katie Kath

In this story told in spare, lyrical prose, a Jewish family prepares for their Passover seder, visiting the farmer's market for walnuts, lilacs, and honey (and adopting a kitten along the way!), then chopping apples for the charoset, and getting dressed up before walking to Nana's house. The refrain throughout is “Dayenu”—a mind-set of thankfulness, a reminder to be aware of the blessings in each moment. At Nana's, there's matzo ball soup, chicken, coconut macaroons, and of course, the hidden afikomen. After opening the door for Elijah and singing the verses of “Chad Gadya,”Nana tucks the children in for a special Passover sleepover.

I really adored this book!  I'm not Jewish but my husband is, and when I showed him I had been sent this book for review his eyes lit up.  He's used to me getting books, but this one really made him take notice.  

I loved how simple it is yet shows exactly what dayenu means.  As someone who doesn't know the Jewish faith as well, the book was a wonderful way for me to understand what dayenu means and more about Passover.  Even though I've celebrated Passover with my husband for the last few years, after reading this book I have a better understanding. When I hear dayenu I'll more fully understand why it's said and what it means.  I couldn't ask anything more from a book!

The story uses many of the words you would hear at Passover - charoset, afikomen, the four questions, matzah balls and more.  They are used in a way that children who aren't familiar with them would see them as natural.  Of course they might have questions, but the book doesn't stop the story to define these words.  I liked that.  

Another wonderful aspect of this book is the illustrations.  They are so pretty.  The colors are soft but detailed enough to expand on the words.  Here are some pages from the book:

Love them all! 

Sidenote: The family adopts a kitten during the story, and I adored that! It was just a cute aspect!

In the end: A nice gentle story about the celebration of Passover.