Saturday, July 28, 2018

More Sunshine State Young Readers Grades 3-5

I'm reading all the Sunshine State Young Reader award nominees before we go back to school (I hope!).    It's always so awesome to see the books the committee chose-they're mindful of lots of different things but I love the variety of the kinds of books they choose.  The one I read last night is a good example of that-it's called "Overboard!" and it's part of the Survivor Diaries series by Terry Lynn Johnson.  This one is the first in the series, I know I'm going to need to order the whole series, because it's great.  It's about a boy named Travis who's struggling a bit.  He was injured last year in an accident (ok, a dare) at his gym.  In the past year of recovery, he's gained weight and feels a bit traumatized.  His parents take his family on a whale watching tour near the San Juan Islands and he's learning a lot about whales and wild life when he's plunged into the water.  Luckily, the captain's daughter Martina is close by him and she gives him lots of advice about how to survive.  It's targeted towards the lower end of 3-5 spectrum of kids so it's going to be available to lots of kids, which is really good, because I think they're going to love it.  In addition to all the very interesting survival tips, there's also great information about the wildlife of the area as well.  This would be an excellent read aloud in the lower grades and a real confidence builder for some of the bigger kids.  You could also compare it to other survivor series books like Lauren Tarshis' "I Survived" series or Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbett's series "Stranded".    And here's a link to her totally awesome website-  It has lots of interesting information about her books, survival strategies and sled dogs!  It also has a survival game you can play.  Check it out!

The second one is really different from anything else that's on the list this year.  It's called "Podkin One Ear" and it's written by Kieran Larwood.  It feels like an old fashioned story of adventure, like "Redwall" by Brian Jacques or "Watership Down" by Richard Adams.  The story is told by a bard, who travels the land collecting and telling stories.  He wants to tell the true story of Podkin One Ear instead of all the made up and exaggerated tales that have been told before.  He tells of an overindulged little rabbit who is the first son (but the second child) of the chief of the tribe of rabbits. He knows he's going to be in charge one day so he doesn't work to hard learning his lessons.  His older sister is much better at that sort of thing.  One day, evil rabbits come and kill his father and send  Podkin, his sister, and his baby brother scurrying out into the countryside.  It's a wonderful adventure, full of danger, scary monsters, and surprise heroes, including Podkin himself.   The language in it is wonderful, almost poetic at times.  This would be a lovely one to try to create a map of Podkin's adventures.  This is another one I'm going to need to order all of the ones in the series, because the kids who like it are going to want the rest of them!

The last one is called "Lights, Camera, Cook!" and it's the story of four kids who are competing on a TV cooking show.  Each one has their own reasons for competing and their own strengths in the kitchen.  You get to hear from each character in text boxes that are sprinkled through out the story.  This is a good thing, because, just like on TV, the story is filled with drama-drama between the contestants, drama about food working the way you think it will or not, and drama about the adults in the story.  It's also nice if you are actually interested in cooking that there is real cooking vocabulary and skills that you can learn from the book.  There are pages in the back of the book that demonstrate knife cuts that come from the Culinary Institute of America.  I think the kids will like this one because of the big interest in cooking and cooking TV shows.  

Here's a link to a page about the book and there are videos that introduce each of the characters.

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