Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ms. Mulligan and the Enchanted Ice Cream by Tiffany Elaine

How I Heard About It:  This title came to me via the publisher.  I was intrigued by the cover.  It was a thrill to be invited to be a part of "press" tour where readers were sharing their thoughts on Instagram and their blogs.  I'm excited to share my thoughts when I first posted this review on August 14th.  

What It Is About - FIVE Things You Need to Know:  
1.  *Tabby, Dolly, and Kat are having a sleep over the night before Tabby's twelfth birthday.  When Tabby wakes up the next morning she finds herself in the body of a 25-year-old woman.  

2.  *The three girls come up with a plan and create "Ms. Mulligan" who becomes their English teacher.  Their main goal is to figure out why Tabby changed and how to get her back to "normal".  

3.  *While Tabby is in the body of Ms. Mulligan, she and her friends are lead on a journey where they find out secrets about Tabby's father, a secret society that Tabby may be a member of, and other mysterious situations.  

4.  *There are two evil sisters that are called the Black and White Sisters.  They are out to "get" Tabby.

5.  *Tabby navigates her new world as an adult, but is torn between being a kid and trying to masquerade herself someone else.  It doesn't make it easy when she sees her two best friends and the boy she likes living their life while she is a bit "stuck".  

What I Thought Of It:  The story starts off with a bang as Tabby wakes up in the body of an adult.  I will pulled into the story right from the get-go.  I got a kick out of her friendship with Dolly and Kat. Each girl was so different from the other, but they had such a special bond between them.  There was a lot presented in the story and at times I got a little confused as to how everything related.  It was fascinating to read and learn about the history of the "curse" and how it came to be put on Tabby and her family.  As with every great story, there was a perfect combination of protagonists and antagonists.  The Black and White Sisters certainly added a lot of "tension" to the plot.  I can see many readers enjoying this first "edition" of the series.  

Who Should Read It:   I don't normally like to qualify books for males or females, but I do think that the girls may be more drawn to the story than boys.  They would relate to the three main characters and all the adventures they encounter.  Fourth, fifth, and sixth grade readers would be perfect for the book.  I also think middle-school readers who enjoy a great mystery would find this an enjoyable read.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wonder Wednesday #234 (Two Favorite Things)

Wonder Wednesday - Summer Vacation

*Summer is almost coming to a close, but not before one more summer vacation.

*My wife and I are heading to Washington and Oregon.

*She has a quick business trip in Seattle and we will be spending two nights in the city.

*While she is at work one day, my plan is to wonder the city, check out the local bookstores, and of course read as much as possible.

*We are also going to spend four nights on the Oregon Coast.  I can't wait to see it as I've heard it is absolutely beautiful.

*After our four nights on the coast, we will head back to Seattle to spend a couple days with some family.

*It is going to be a wonderful way to end the summer with two of my favorite things:  BOOKS and TRAVELING!!!

*Here are the books I'm  planning on reading while there...


Monday, August 6, 2018

An Inside Look #57 (Author INTERVIEW)

An Inside Look with Kelly Yang
(Author of The Front Desk)

*During the summer of 2016, I added this feature to my blog which was called "Season #ONE".  This first season ran from June of 2016 to March of 2017.  

*I started up the interviews again in June of 2017.  It was great to get back to Season #TWO.  This season ran throughout the summer.  

*Season #THREE ran during the school year of 2017/2018.  

*It has been such an honor to connect with authors and "chat" about their novel, characters, and thoughts about the story.

*This is the SIXTH interview of what I'm calling Season #FOUR.  

*Thank you to Kelly Yang for being the Fifty-Seventh author that I've had the pleasure of interviewing.  I truly appreciate it.  

*Here are links to the first Fifty-Six interviews…



Interview #53 with Preston Norton (Author of Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe)

Interview #54 with Jonathan Auxier (Author of Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster)

Interview #55 with Sharon Creech (Author of Saving Winslow)

Interview #56 with Stacy McAnulty (Author of The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl)

*This was a novel that had so much "buzz" online that I knew I had to read it.  All of my reading friends gave the story 5 stars and raved about the story line.  I was excited when I received my copy of the book.  It was such a delight to read and was excited when Kelly agreed to an interview.  

*Kelly was kind, gracious, and giving with her answers to the questions.  It is an honor to post her responses here on the blog.  

*Here is a link to my review of Front Desk...

*Thank you Kelly Yang for writing this story for readers and taking the time to share your thoughts with us here...

Front Desk
by Kelly Yang (Released May 28, 2018)

How did you come to know Mia?
I started writing FRONT DESK in the summer of 2015, as a way to get my son Eliot (then 8) to read and to tell him about my childhood. Mia is based on me. I also worked at a motel when I was a kid, manning the front desk. I think Mia’s a spunkier and stronger version of me! She’s the version of myself I wish I had been at her age, and even now at times I ask myself, what would Mia do?

Is there anything you wish Mia would have changed or done differently in her story?
No or I would have changed it lol.

How did you research Mia and the circumstances she found himself in?
As FRONT DESK is based on my real life childhood (see author’s note), I based it on my own childhood growing up in LA in the early 90s.

What was the hardest scene to write about Mia?
The hardest scene to write was probably the jeans scene. That was just so humiliating for her and I brought me back to my own childhood, always not wearing the right clothes, being made fun of at school, etc.

Who do you think was Mia's biggest supporter and why?
I think her biggest supporter is probably her dad. He believes in her  and believes that despite all their suffering, they came to the US for a reason and that reason is Mia. Also Hank is instrumental to Mia and I love how they lean on and support each other in the story.

What do you think Mia is doing at the present time?
Probably writing books!!! :-) 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (8/6/18)

Thanks to Jen and Kellee for hosting this idea on their site.  Here is a link to the site...
Books I Read this Past Week…

Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty

*Middle-Grade Novel (4 STARS out of 5 Stars!)

My Book Review

After Zero by Christina Collins

*Middle-Grade Novel (5 STARS out of 5 Stars!)

My Book Review

Ms. Mulligan and the Enchanted Ice Cream by Tiffany Elaine

*Middle-Grade Novel (3 STARS out of 5 Stars!)

-Book Review Coming August 14th for Promotional Tour

Most Valuable Players by Phil Bildner

*Middle-Grade Novel (5 STARS out of 5 Stars!)

My Book Review

Books I Will (continue to) Read this Week

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

*My Novel Published for Adults (Audio)

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotic by David Arnold

*My Young-Adult Novel

Kids 1st From Day 1 by Christine Hertz and Kristine Mraz

*My Professional Reading

The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millweed Hargrave

*My Middle-Grade Novel

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Most Valuable Players by Phil Bildner

How I Heard About It:  The Rip and Red series is one of my favorite series to share with my fourth grade students.  Every year I "book talk" all the novels in the series and encourage as many readers as I can to read them.  I bought the final book when it was released at the end of May.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to read the story until this weekend.  I was excited to see how Phil was going to bring the story to an end.  

What It Is About - FIVE Things You Need to Know:  
1.  *Rip and Red are finishing their fifth grade year with their incredible and special teacher Mr. Acevedo.  

2.  *The boys, along with their classmates, are excited for the fifth grade graduation celebration along with their school's 25th anniversary party.  The school is even bringing in a special exhibition basketball team to perform at the celebration.  

3.  *A couple of the boys are invited to participate with the basketball team.  They are thrilled and find ways to include their other classmates.  

4.  *As the last few days approach, the class is informed that will be taking one more standardized assessment and they are not happy about it.  

5.  *The fifth graders are faced with the dilemma of standing up for themselves and take a stand or go along with "flow" and do what the administration expects them to.  

What I Thought Of It:  I read this book in one sitting and it was a complete pleasure.  I enjoy Phil's writing style and the "world" he is able to create through his imagination, creativity, and talent.  Each one of these books brought me joy and insight into the world of fifth graders.  Rip and Red are two special boys/characters that I've encountered through literature.  If I could be half the teacher Mr. Acevedo was, I would be in heaven.  This installment brought the entire year to a strong and satisfying conclusion.  I loved how Rip and Red's teacher was able to instill such wonderful life-lessons and they grew tremendously.  Of course the friendship between Rip and Red was a one-of-a-kind relationship that all young people should model themselves after.  

Who Should Read It:   I think everyone third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classroom needs to house this book and the previous three books in the series.  The story is perfect for the middle-grade reader. I have found the story really appeals to some readers that struggle finding books that they enjoy.  These books make for excellent read aloud and/or can be put in the hands of individual readers.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wonder Wednesday #233 (NerdCampMI Day #TWO)

Wonder Wednesday - BEST PD Ever!!!

*On Sunday, July 8th I packed up the rented van, piled in four of my Nerdy friends, and headed for Jackson, Michigan.

*This was my third NerdCampMI and thought it was the BEST one yet.  I had such an incredible two days.

*This "camp" always energizes me and gets me pumped up for a new school year.

*The time at NerdCampMI is a wonderful opportunity to connect with friends, meet new people, and take in a whole bunch of new learning.

*To me, it is one of the most happy places on earth.  The vibe is absolutely off the hook!!!

*Last year I brought two friends and this year we added two more friends.  It is my hope and dream to keep bringing more and more people so they can experience the magic.

*Here is a link to pictures from day #ONE - NerdCampMI Day #ONE

*Here are some images from the second day...