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Module 15: The Hunger Games

Module 15: The Hunger Games

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Collins, S. (2008). The hunger games. New York: Scholastic Press.

Summary

The Hunger Games depicts the life of Katniss Everdeen as she faces the Hunger Games, a fight to the death competition designed by the capitol. Life in North America is different in the future, Panem has replaced it and is divided up into districts controlled heavily by the capitol and President Snow. Katniss takes on both the Hunger Games and the capitol in this thrilling book.

What Did I Think?

I truly enjoyed this book and was engaged from the moment I started reading until I finished the book. It was one of those books that I was able to connect fully with the characters and the story and when it ended I was immediately looking for the next in the series. While the topic is serious and geared for older students, it also offers readers a different perspective on life.

Reviews

Booklist starred (September 1, 2008 (Vol. 105, No. 1))

Grades 9-12. This is a grand-opening salvo in a new series by the author of the Underland Chronicles. Sixteen-year-old Katniss poaches food for her widowed mother and little sister from the forest outside the legal perimeter of District 12, the poorest of the dozen districts constituting Panem, the North American dystopic state that has replaced the U.S. in the not-too-distant future. Her hunting and tracking skills serve her well when she is then cast into the nation’s annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death where contestants must battle harsh terrain, artificially concocted weather conditions, and two teenaged contestants from each of Panem’s districts. District 12’s second “tribute” is Peeta, the baker’s son, who has been in love with Katniss since he was five. Each new plot twist ratchets up the tension, moving the story forward and keeping the reader on edge. Although Katniss may be skilled with a bow and arrow and adept at analyzing her opponents’ next moves, she has much to learn about personal sentiments, especially her own. Populated by three-dimensional characters, this is a superb tale of physical adventure, political suspense, and romance.

Horn Book starred (January, 2009)

Katniss volunteers to represent her district in the Hunger Games, a compulsory, government-sponsored reality-TV show from which only one of twenty-four teenage contestants will emerge alive. A fierce, resourceful competitor, Katniss also displays great compassion and vulnerability. The twists and turns are addictive in this compulsively readable blend of science fiction, romance, and social commentary.

Library Lesson

A book talk using this book as the starting point would be a great way to introduce other stories of the dystopian genre such as DivergentThe Maze Runner, and Lord of the Flies. A book talk would be an excellent way to introduce students to new titles and using Hunger Games as a hook would be an effective way to peak their interest.

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Module 14: Take Me Out of the Bathtub

Module 14: Take Me Out of the Bathtub

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Katz, A. (2001). Take me out of the bathtub. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Summary

This is a book of silly songs and nonsense that kids will love. Familiar songs such as Take Me Out to the Ballgame are presented in new ways that will keep kids laughing.

What Did I Think?

Students love the nonsense that fills this book. Each page is yet another version of a song they know and the new versions are more likely to create a class full of singers. The rhyming patterns help with hearing the sounds of words and the music that can be heard in every day conversations.

Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Songwriter and television comedy writer Katz provides ludicrous lyrics to 14 traditional tunes, offering playful parodies on some familiar routines. To the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” a boy wearing roller skates claims he has been soaking so long in the tub that he “used one, two, three bars of soap/ Take me out… I’m clean!” Other amusing entries include “I’ve Been Cleaning Up My Bedroom” (sung to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”), in which a girl tidies her room by shoving all of her belongings “out the door,” which Catrow (She’s Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!) interprets quite literally (he shows her bureau, goldfish, etc., piling up in the back yard), and “Give Me a Break” (sung to the tune of “Home on the Range”), introducing a child whose library book is long overdue. A few songs do not scan so well (e.g., this verse set to the tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”: “My brother flicks peas with his fork and/ They zip down my shirt with a splat/ Next I see a big piece of pork land/ On my head like it’s a new hat!”). But the subjects (a sibling with a stinky diaper, a youngster who refuses to go to bed, a cranky poodle think “Yankee Doodle”) teamed with Catrow’s outlandish illustrations, as hyperbolic as the words, will have kids giggling as they sing. Ages 2-6. 

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5-This hilarious collection goes straight to the heart of playground humor. What made “On Top of Spaghetti” such an integral part of popular culture is what makes these selections so equally successful. Well-known songs like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” become-with a wink, a poke, and nod-“Take Me Out of the Bathtub,” “The Yogurt Flies Straight from My Brother,” and “I’ve Been Cleaning Up My Bedroom.” Some of these transformations are so clever that kids will want to burst into song immediately. Imagine your next patron singing, “Oh give me a break/`Cause I made a mistake/And my library book’s overdue” to the tune of “Home on the Range.” The watercolor illustrations are equally entertaining, with exaggerated features and situations giving them a cartoon look. “Go Go Go to Bed” depicts an exhausted mom slumped in a chair with toys and a child literally bouncing off the ceiling above her. There’s something here to tickle most funny bones.-Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Library Lesson
Many of the songs could be put to music and sang along with movements or props. The book could also be included with other poetry books during a unit on poetry.

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Module 13: Magic Treehouse: Midnight on the Moon

Module 13: Magic Treehouse: Midnight on the Moon

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Osborn, M. (1996). Magic treehouse: Midnight on the moon. New York: New York: Random House.

Summary

In the eighth Magic Treehouse book, Jack and Annie are sent into space, in the future, to find the last M thing to free Morgan and discover more about the magic treehouse. Jack must use his keen observation skills and Annie her courage in order to find the item and return to the treehouse and home. 

What Did I Think?

Predictable, but entertaining nevertheless, this book continues the mystery of the magical treehouse. The characters are engaging and the story has enough suspense to keep most children wanting to read more and more. The trip to the moon was no exception.

Reviews

Children’s Literature – Marilyn Courtot
Eighth in the series, Jack and Annie are off to the moon to find the fourth item in their quest to free Morgan le Fay from a magic spell. In previous adventures, the brother and sister team had obtained a Moonstone, mango, and a mammoth bone, but what were they supposed to find on the moon? In addition to the adventure and a touch of suspense, kids learn some facts about the moon. The pattern of these books is similar, and they offer both entertainment and education.
 
Library Lesson
Many of the Magic Treehouse books have a nonfiction companion book about the same topic. This particular book has a nonfiction companion titled Space that could be used in conjunction with the fiction title. Students could listen or read both books and create a retelling of the fiction book with an accompanying report highlighting facts learned about the moon.

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Module 12: America’s Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Enderle

Module 12: America’s Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Enderle

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Adler, D. (2000). America’s champion swimmer: Gertrude Enderle. New York: Harcourt.

Summary

This is the story of Gertrude Enderle who swam the English Channel in 1926. She was not only the first woman to accomplish the feat but also beat the existing men’s record. The story is well told and the pictures create the sense of being in the past. Gertrude Enderle’s achievements are inspiring and encouraging.

What Did I Think?

This book reminded me of Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride because they both evoke a sense of the past and both highlight extraordinary women during times when women were expected to be anything by extraordinary. Gertrude Enderle’s story demonstrates bravery and courage. The story begins by explaining that a woman’s place was thought to be in the home but that Gertrude’s place was in the water. I enjoyed the way she learned to swim and believe that many students would connect with her fears and be inspired by her determination.

Reviews

Publishers Weekly (August 22, 2005)

“Text and art offer a compelling, in-depth account of the adult Ederle’s crossing of the English Channel,” said PW. “Kids will dive right in.” Ages 6-9. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4-This picture-book biography covers the life of Gertrude Ederle, highlighting her world-record breaking, long-distance swims. In 1926, women were thought to be the weaker sex, but this indomitable young athlete broke the men’s record by two hours when she swam the English Channel. Fascinating tidbits about her 21-mile swim will entice readers: “She floated on her back and ate chicken and drank beef broth.” For her victory, she was rewarded with a ticker-tape parade and a letter from President Coolidge calling her “America’s Best Girl.” More information about her life is appended. In the acrylic paintings, characters with large bodies and small heads, suggesting Depression-era art, are set on impressionistic backgrounds. The pictures of the swirling, rough water add fluidity and motion, and the perspectives that show the small figure of the swimmer in the vast sea capture the immensity of Ederle’s endeavor. Attractive formatting and large type make this story of achievement as effective and as inspiring to read aloud as this team’s Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man (1997) and The Babe & I (1999, both Gulliver).
Jean Gaffney, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, OH 
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Library Lesson
This book would be an excellent addition to a display celebrating the achievements of women. It could be highlighted during Women’s History Month along with titles such as Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride and Basketball Belles.

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Module 11: Basketball Belles- How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map

Module 11: Basketball Belles- How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map

Macy, S. (2011). Basketball belles: How two teams and one scrappy player put women’s hoops on the map. New York: Holiday House.

Summary

Introduces Agnes Morely and her teammates who played in the first intercollegiate basketball game played in 1896. The book focuses on the play by play of the game and in the end concludes “that a lady can be tough and strong as well as refined and polite”.

What Did I Think?

I enjoy reading about the courageous women who paved the way for women of today to be treated equally with men. As a former basketball player, I also enjoyed the play by play descriptions of the game and the way the women were portrayed. While the story was excellent, it leaves much more information desired about women’s basketball. I was pleased to see a bibliography of additional resources on the topic.

Reviews

Library Media Connection (August/September 2011)

Women’s basketball is gaining popularity thanks to the dedication of countless players and coaches. Macy chronicles the very first intercollegiate women’s basketball game between the University of California-Berkeley and Stanford University in 1896. The narrator is Agnes Morley, who was sent to Stanford to acquire an education and social graces, but instead acquired a love of the game of basketball. James Naismith’s game was adapted for women by dividing the court into three sections; female players could not travel up and down the court. Macy captures the competitive spirit of the teams and their desire to win. The narrative is accompanied by colorful, bold illustrations, the vivid uniforms pop off the page. The players’ body language and facial expressions are portrayed realistically; large illustrations cover double-page spreads. An extensive author’s note gives additional background information, and a timeline of women’s basketball provides a historical framework. A list of books and places to visit offers additional opportunities for learning more about this fascinating subject. Basketball Belles is a treasure and would be a welcome addition to a school library collection. Susie Nightingale, Educational Reviewer, Lawrence, Kansas. RECOMMENDED

School Library Journal (April 1, 2011)

Gr 2-5-In 1896, female athletes faced two foes: their on-court rivals, and the rigid code of ladylike behavior. In this engaging picture book, Macy recounts the first basketball game played between two women’s college teams through the eyes of a participant, Stanford’s Agnes Morley. High-spirited Agnes grew up on a New Mexico cattle ranch, where “getting dirty came with the territory.” Since it was considered not “proper for women to perspire in front of men” by the UC Berkeley team, the game took place before an all-female crowd. In a comedic intermission, two male workers came out to repair a basket; in Laurel and Hardy-like fashion, one stared so much, he almost knocked the other off a ladder. Playing guard, Agnes wondered how she could prevent her taller opponents from scoring and found herself in an intense struggle. With the players confined to rigid sections of the court, the game hinged on the outcome of two foul shots. Collins’s colorful, exuberant digital illustrations capture all the high-spirited drama and fun. Macy adds authenticity with a fact-filled author’s note. This excellent book offers plenty of teaching possibilities, and it should delight a wide audience.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Lesson
This book could be used to kick off a research project on the topic of famous firsts. Students could choose from a list of famous firsts and begin finding informational books about their topic. Students could create a topic web to highlight the important facts about their famous first.

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Module 10: Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride

Module 10: Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride

Ryan, P.M. (1999). Amelia and Eleanor go for a ride. New York: Scholastic Press.

Summary

Based on the true story of the night Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt made history by leaving a White House dinner and going on a flight around the city.

What Did I Think?

I enjoyed the way Amelia and Eleanor are defying the traditional role of women in the time period and find a way to make history and make a memory of their fun together. The large pictures are realistic and help to convey the time period. Their friendship and courage is brought to life in a book that inspires everyone to dream.

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (1999)

Ryan and Selznick skillfully blend fact and fiction for a rip-roaring tale of an utterly credible adventure. On April 20, 1933, Amelia Earhart had dinner at the White House with her friend, Eleanor Roosevelt. Amelia’s description of flying at night so entranced Eleanor that the two of them, still in their evening clothes, flew in a Curtis Condor twin-motor airplane and were back in time for dessert. Eleanor herself had studied for a pilot’s license, but had to be content driving instead. Selznick has created marvelous graphite pictures, with slight washes of color, for scenes based on accounts and descriptions of the evening, right down to the china on the White House table. Using a slightly exaggerated style and a superb sense of line and pattern, he plays with varying perspectives, close-ups, and panoramas to create a vivid visual energy that nicely complements the text. There is sheer delight in the friends’ shared enjoyment of everything from a formal dinner and fine gloves to the skies they navigated. A final historical photograph shows the two on the plane that night.

School Library Journal (September 1999)

Gr 1-4 Ryan imaginatively expands on a true historical event in this intriguing picture book. While dining at the White House in 1933, Amelia Earhart convinces Eleanor Roosevelt to join her on a night flight to Baltimore. The two women marvel at the sights and the excitement from the air. After landing, they sneak away for one more adventure, as this time, the First Lady treats her friend to a fast ride in her new car. The fictionalized tale is lively and compelling, and the courage and sense of adventure that these individuals shared will be evident even to children who know nothing about their lives. Without belaboring the message, the author clearly conveys how the “feeling of independence” that both women treasured was a crucial part of their personalities. Selznick’s larger-than-life pencil drawings add considerably to the spirit of the tale. He captures the glorious beauty of the night flight and the beauty of the city below. Varied perspectives and background details consistently draw readers’ eyes. An author’s note clearly defines which elements of the story are factual. The women were actually accompanied by two male pilots, but the author decided that it made it “much more exciting” to imagine that they were alone. “Almost all” of the dialogue comes from historical accounts. The title stands well on its own, but will also work as an excellent inspiration for further reading about the lives of Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart. Steven Engelfried, Deschutes County Library, Bend, OR

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Library Lesson
This book could be used along with other nonfiction titles about Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt. Students could use an online timeline program to create a timeline about one of the famous women.

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Module 9: Young Cam Jansen and the Library Mystery

Module 9: Young Cam Jansen and the Library Mystery

 

Adler, D.A. (2001). Young Cam Jansen and the library mystery. New York: Viking.

Summary

Cam Jansen helps solve the mystery of where dad lost the shopping list. He uses his photographic memory to help retrace their steps.

What Did I Think?

I found the book to be an easy read but entertaining and appropriate for young readers. It is a great series for beginning chapter book readers because the chapters are short and the mystery keeps them turning pages. Before they know it they have finished their first chapter book! Cam Jansen is a good role model for problem solving and creative thinking. Some of the writing is a little basic but still good for early readers.

Reviews

Booklist (May 1, 2001 (Vol. 97, No. 17))

Gr. K-2. In the seventh Viking Easy-to-Read story about Cam Jansen, Cam once again uses her photographic memory to solve a mystery in daily life. It’s a scenario many kids will recognize. Dad’s lost the shopping list. Did he leave it in the library where he and Cam and her friend were reading mysteries and checking out books? Did he drop it as they came to the supermarket? The scenes of the library and the store are bright and busy, and readers will catch the excitement of playing detective by looking closely at the details in their own daily lives. They will also see that mystery stories are fun.

Horn Book (Fall, 2001)

When her dad loses the grocery list, it’s up to Cam Jansen and her photographic memory to find it. Color illustrations parallel the text–providing support for beginning readers. However, somewhat clunky writing and a bland mystery make for a disappointing addition to the popular series. A visual memory game is included.

Library Lesson
The Cam Jansen website at http://www.camjansen.com/index.htm is a great resource and includes information about books, the author, and includes some brain teasers and games. There is also information about an author visit from David Adler which would be a great way to kick off a mystery series in the library.

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