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J. Grambo "Teacher" RSS Feed (Indiana, USA)
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Calendar Mysteries #11: November Night (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))
Calendar Mysteries #11: November Night (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))
by Ronald Roy
Edition: Paperback
Price: $4.49
53 used & new from $1.26

4.0 out of 5 stars New neighbors, October 1, 2014
Bradley and Brian used to go next door and play with the other neighborhood kids in a huge hollow tree trunk. But the house was sold, and the new neighbors built a tall wooden fence around the whole yard to keep their big dog in. The kids were all sad that they couldn't play in the tree any more, but Bradley and Brian were even more worried than the others. They had padded the bottom of the hole in the tree trunk with hay, and both boys had left something there. Bradley had left his flashlight inside the tree, and Brian had hidden his savings bank under the hay! How can they ever get their things back? Exciting story for kids aged 7-9.


The World Champion of Staying Awake
The World Champion of Staying Awake
by Sean Taylor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.93
58 used & new from $2.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Role reversal!, October 1, 2014
Stella is ready for bed, but her three stuffed animals are wide awake! In fact, their eyes are wide open, and they are jumping on the bed. "Stoppety-stop!" says Stella. But the animals aren't ready to sleep. "I'm the world champion of staying awake!" says Cherry Pig. Stella is prepared for the situation, though. For each animal she creates an imaginary world of quiet, warmth, and safety, and they are soon asleep.

I love the way Stella creates a mini sleep-world for each of her animals. I wish I had thought of this for my own wide-eyed preschoolers! I also like the way the story is told in prose, but the imaginary sleep-worlds are described in rhyme, giving a gently rocking sound to the scene.

Jimmy Liao's watercolors show the wide-awake Frog with huge eyes open, dangling from the head of the bed, and dancing on sleepy Stella's tummy, then later, eyes closed, cuddled up to Stella in bed. A charming book for children aged 3 to 6.


A Moose That Says Moo
A Moose That Says Moo
by Jennifer Hamburg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.67
63 used & new from $3.41

5.0 out of 5 stars The ducks did what??, October 1, 2014
This review is from: A Moose That Says Moo (Hardcover)
The opening double page artwork on the title page of this picture book helps introduce this entertaining rhyming story. In it, a girl is reading in a summer back yard, surrounded by evidence of her recent play: small toy cars and animals, a little kitchen set, book, crayons, and papers with drawings on them. All these and more become the imaginative playground in A Moose That Says Moo.

"If I were allowed to invent my own zoo, the first thing I'd have is a moose that said 'moo,'" announces the girl. From here on, the menagerie is the product of her inventive mind -- sharks who read books, an ox who can cook, tigers in trees who make mac and cheese, and more. Sue Truesdell's lively watercolor, pen, and ink illustrations dance across the pages in sketchbook style, to give a sense of increasingly frenetic action.

Ideas for teachers: To use this book in a school, preschool, or home learning situation, you could first read just the rhyming text, concealing the book cover to temporarily conceal the illustrations, and ask the children to draw pictures to go with the poem. ("What would an ape dancing with a zebra look like?"

Another teaching idea would be to read the book to the children, then ask them what animals they'd like to have in their own zoo, and what unusual things they'd have the animals do. Finally, an older class could actually write out their own zoo ideas.


Call of the Klondike: A True Gold Rush Adventure
Call of the Klondike: A True Gold Rush Adventure
by Kim Richardson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.73
48 used & new from $5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Gold Rush!, September 30, 2014
In 1897, a steamship arrived in Seattle carrying miners returning from northern Canada. A crowd gathered when they saw the miners carrying large quantities of gold. It had been 40 years since the California gold rush, and men had learned some things. Gold discoveries were finite; as quickly as they appeared, they could fizzle. The only way to make money in gold was to be there at the beginning. This is the story of two men who were in Seattle at the port that day, and how they raced hundreds of other men to get to the Klondike region immediately.

Acquiring money, food, winter clothing, medicines, mining equipment, building materials, and transportation to the Klondike, 1500 miles away, was a daunting task, but Stanley Pearce and Marshall Bond managed to be on the very next steamship headed north. Their adventures, travels, and hardships are told in letters, journals, and photos, and put the reader on the front line of a true gold rush adventure.

Although adults are fascinated with Pearce and Bond's adventure, I found that middle-grade students were not. Perhaps they just don't have enough background in what hardship feels like, or perhaps they are used to historical fiction, with its dialogue and pacing, rather than historical nonfiction, which usually lacks both. Definitely a winner for adults, and selected teens 12 and older.


A Million Ways Home
A Million Ways Home
by Dianna Marie Winget
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.23
45 used & new from $8.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Danger, loss and hope for middle-grade readers, September 30, 2014
This review is from: A Million Ways Home (Hardcover)
Poppy has been living with her grandmother ever since her parents died when she was one year old. But when her grandma is hospitalized, there is no one to take her in, so Poppy is sent to live in the Children's Center until her grandma is better. The thing is, no one knows when that will be, and Poppy doesn't know how long she can stand being apart from her grandmother.

It's a hard way to live, and Poppy plans to slip out of the orphanage and go visit her grandma in the hospital. But on her way, she is a witness to a shooting, and the shooter sees her. Suddenly her life is in danger, and even the orphanage isn't safe. In an unusual and creative "witness protection" program, a police detective and a beautiful German shepherd dog help Poppy find a safe place and new hope.

An exciting and poignant story for girls aged 9-13.


Dragon Masters #1: Rise of the Earth Dragon (A Branches Book)
Dragon Masters #1: Rise of the Earth Dragon (A Branches Book)
by Tracey West
Edition: Paperback
Price: $3.61
38 used & new from $1.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy for younger readers, September 30, 2014
Drake's father was a farmer, and he would grow up to be a farmer, too. That was what he thought, anyway, until one of the King's soldiers came and took him away to the castle. Even though he was only 8 years old, the King knew Drake had the heart of a dragon, and could grow up to be one of his great Dragon Masters! It was hard to learn how to control his dragon, but with the help of a Dragon Stone that the King gave him, Drake even saved the lives of his fellow Dragon Masters.

Graham Howells has illustrated every page with lively people and marvelously fanciful dragons. First in an exciting new chapter book series for ages 6-8.


Thanksgiving for Emily Ann
Thanksgiving for Emily Ann
by Teresa Johnston
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.29
43 used & new from $2.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Limited value, September 30, 2014
Emily Ann was grumpy on Thanksgiving morning. Everyone was busy, and had no time for her, so she decided to play a trick on her parents and hide the turkey. But before she could get it, her mother called her to dinner, where, surrounded by family, she instantly changed from grumpy to thankful.

A rhyming book with a saccharine ending and no originality, yet one that will probably be enjoyed by 3- to 5-year-olds. Originality IS found in Vanessa Brantley-Newton's mixed media digital collage illustrations. Look for Emily Ann's dog somewhere in every picture!


The Runaway Pumpkin
The Runaway Pumpkin
by Kevin Lewis
Edition: Paperback
6 used & new from $25.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread...., September 27, 2014
This review is from: The Runaway Pumpkin (Paperback)
One Halloween morning, the three Baxter kids climbed the hill near their town.

"And there, upon that hillside,
growing orange, fat and fine,
the budding Baxters found a pumpkin
on a twisty, twirly vine."

While their sister watched, the Baxter boys snapped off that monster pumpkin from the vine at the top of the hill. But they didn't expect what happened next. Oh, no! It's a runaway pumpkin!

S. D. Schindler's illustrations are hilarious as the pumpkin bounces and bumps its way through the pigsty and the chicken coop, until it lands with a plop right in Poppa Baxter's plowed field. A rhythmic read-aloud picture book for ages 2-5.


The Time of the Fireflies
The Time of the Fireflies
by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.01
54 used & new from $8.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Secrets from the past, September 27, 2014
Larissa helps her parents in their antique store, but she never expected an unconnected old-fashioned phone to ring, with a ghostly voice directing her out to the edge of the bayou at dusk. The fireflies help Larissa walk across the large missing section of the broken bridge, and at the same time help her travel back in time, where little by little she discovers family secrets that have been hidden for years.

Ghosts, time travel, and a little bit of magic make this book exciting for middle-grade girls ages 8-12.


Hot Rod Hamster: Monster Truck Mania!
Hot Rod Hamster: Monster Truck Mania!
by Cynthia Lord
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.75
54 used & new from $6.36

4.0 out of 5 stars A Mini-driver in a Mega-truck, September 27, 2014
Hot Rod Hamster is back again and this time he's going to a Monster Truck Show! He rides the amusement park rides and eats cotton candy, and - oh! - can it be? Hot Rod Hamster is driving a monster truck! He can't even reach the pedals! What will happen to Hot Rod Hamster?

Derek Anderson reprises his bold acrylic paintings that make the truck show extra-exciting. The story does not have a clever ending, as the other Hot Rod Hamster books, but it will still be fun for fans of the series, aged 3-6.


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