Tuesday, September 20, 2016

This Week In The Library

In The Library This Week:

For our Kindergarten friends, we read books about Grandparents in honor of Grandparents Day this past weekend September 11. We shared the books:

                                     The Hello Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
Not only is this book a Caldecott winner, it is a precious book about the relationship between grandparents and a grandchild. The little girl (also the narrator of the story) leaves her Mom and Dad and runs over to her grandparents house.  But before she walks in the door, she passes by the “hello, goodbye window”.  Through this window, she sees the amazing things that await her in the kitchen of her grandparent’s house.  The illustrations in the book are eclectic and almost child-like, which only adds to the appeal of the book (in my opinion).

What Grandma's Do Best/What Grandpa's Do Best by Laura Numeroff
 This two-in-one book (from the author of  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books) is perfect for grandparents.  Half of the book is about what grandmas do best (play hide-and-seek, take you for walks, paint, go on picnics, take naps with you…)  and then you flip it over and the other half is about what grandpas do best.  The text is exactly the same for both books, but the illustrations show the grandparents doing these things in different ways (for example:  one page says “make you a hat” and the grandma is shown knitting a hat while the grandpa is making paper hats out of newspaper).  I actually think this is brilliant because it shows that the same activity can be new and different depending on who you are doing it with!  Each of the pages features a different personified animal pair.

These books were a big hit with our kinders. We talked at length about all the fun things we do with our grandparents.

First Grade friends read the story A Bad Case Of Stripes by David Shannon. We then got creative and started thinking and brainstorming some of the things that we like and who might care for us when we are sick.

Golden Ticket Store

 Our Golden Ticket Store is going very well and I am seeing a lot of positive behaviors.  I have a picture of my friend and I after she went shopping. Oh yes, she was very excited! I kind of love being a part of something that makes them so happy and excited.

My Reads


This week I finished reading The Couple Next Door by By Shari Lapena 
Oh my goodness, this book just blew me away! Just when I thought I'd worked it all out nicely, everything changed. 

With their babysitter cancelling on them, Anne and Marco leave their baby, Cora, at home and they "pop" next door for a dinner party. It'll be fine, they have the baby monitor with them and they go to check on her every half hour and they're only next door. What can possibly go wrong?

Quite simply, they arrive home to find the front door open and the baby gone. Anne goes to pieces, Marco freezes, Anne recovers and the police are called. It is then up to Detective Rasbach to try and piece together what actually happened that night. Did the parents cover up a crime, is one or both of them responsible, is it a third party? It leaves you guessing until you think you know and then plot twist and surprise. 

With most of the suspects being inconsistent with their stories will Rasbach be able to cut through the noise, work out truth from lies, and bring the case to a close?

I really liked this book. It grabbed my attention from the very first page, held on tight and wouldn't let me go until the very last. I was completely invested by all the twists and turns, secrets and lies and some delicious family dynamics specifically between Marco and his in-laws.

I believe that this is a new genre for this author. If this is the quality for her first effort, I really can't wait to see what she serves up next time.


My next swap is one of my favorite swaps with Chaotic Goddess Swaps. It was one of the first swaps I was involved in.

Your Swap Objective

Send a spook-tastic package of goodies to your Halloween-loving partner.
Note: This swap is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

Package Requirements

  • Halloween related goodies
  • At least 5 Items
  • Value of $20-$40

Important Dates to Remember

  • Sign-Ups Start: Monday, September 19th
  • Sign-Ups End: Monday, September 26th

Happy Reading,
Tula Shamhart

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What's Happening In The Library....

Library Lessons:

This week in the library we continued to review manners in the library and how to care for books.
Kindergarten heard the wonderful story by Judy Sierra Wild About Books. We also finished up stories from our wall characters. What a fun week!  First Grade classes heard the stories of Mrs Watson Wants Your Teeth by Alison McGhee
 We then created our own class book. What would Mrs. Hoffman look like as a 300 year old Alien?
Ha! Lots of fun pictures in this book.

We also, shared Grandpa's Teeth by Rod Clement.  This book is always so much fun to read aloud, such wonderful voice. A great way to introduce first graders to the genre of mysteries. I always pull a bunch of mysteries out after we read this book.

We shared a character education day with our 1st grade classes and shared the story of Horton Hatches The Egg By Dr. Seuss and discussed caring in the library. The students did an amazing job of sharing their ideas.

What I am reading:

This story takes place in New York and I love that. Jack Harris' wife was murdered several years ago and although he says he has moved on in his life, mainly because of his teenage daughter, Buckley, he clearly has not. His file cabinets are full of case files relating to the man who he feels was responsible. When that man is shot dead, along with two others, during Jack's attempt to meet a woman he met online, he is their prime suspect.

Olivia Randall used to date Jack back in the day. They were together several years until Olivia did something that has left a tarnish of guilt on her life ever since. When she sees that Jack has been arrested, she decides to represent him as his lawyer. She knows Jack is innocent. But the man she used to know, or thought she knew, may not be the same.

Filled with twists and turns, The Ex flashes back to Jack and Olivia's past to help authenticate their current relationship and provide contrast to the differences of how they have changed and grown over the years. While this is important to the story, it doesn't deflect from the current events of Olivia delving into the investigation to prove that Jack is innocent.

While I wasn't surprised by the ending, I was surprised with the repercussions of some character decisions on the facts of the case. Or in this case, the lack of...in some instances. I didn't connect with any characters, which really bothered me because I really didn't care who did it. But I had to know why, so I continued my journey with The Ex.

If you're looking for a standard murder mystery, then The Ex is worth a go. But if you're looking for the darker side of a thriller, you won't find that thrill here. 3 stars for me.

My Secret Sister had this series on her wishlist and when I bought her one of the books, it brought me to read about the series and I was done. I devoured the first 2 books in 3 days.

The Selection by Keira Cass This is a YA novel 
In a world where everything is determined by social castes, America was born a five, one of the lowest castes. This year, a Selection will be held to find a bride for Prince Maxon. America's mother thinks that having her daughter participate will be the solution to all of their problems but America doesn't want to participate for one simple reason, she is secretly in love with Aspen. The only problem is that he belongs to an even lower caste and so her parents prohibit her from marrying him. She ends up applying for the selection, sure that she will not be one of the 35 chosen girls, so you can imagine her surprise when she is the one picked from her district. This is where the heat of the competition starts; complete with friendship, jealousy and of course a little sabotage.

The concept of the book was really great. I know many associated it with The Bachelor,. The dystopian element in it was also quite good and reminded me of The Hunger Games. I found the history element in this book to be interesting. Also, the rebel attacks to the palace added more depth to an otherwise typical YA dystopian romance.

However, what really made me fall in love with this book were its characters. America's character was so down-to-earth and kind that you couldn't help liking her. She cares for the other competitors and even her maids. She even gives tips to her friend on winning over the Prince. I also found the fact that, while the other girls went for the most glamorous dresses, she always opted for the simplistic style that she felt most comfortable in. Through out the book she was the character you rooted for.

Maxon was so swoon-worthy and all he wanted throughout this competition was to fall in love. I thought that he would be arrogant, but from his first meeting with America, he stole my heart.

The only downside to this book, for me, was Aspen's character. I found him to be quite arrogant at times and really didn't understand why America had fallen in love with him. We do get a backstory, which enables the reader to learn how America and Aspen's relationship started. which made me him a bit more likable.

Overall, I felt that this book was like candy floss; fun, colorful and leaves you with a smile. I simply could not put this book down and couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel! So....I did!

 I enjoyed The Selection so much I had to go right into book 2 The Elite. I was skeptical because of the things I about the complete lack of world-building. This remains a problem for me after reading The Elite.

In The Elite, we find America as one of six final girls in the selection and her heart is torn between Prince Maxon and Aspen, her ex-boyfriend who works as a guard in the castle. She goes back and forth, back and forth, never able to fulyl commit to either one.  She is unsure about becoming a princess and the political ramifications that could have. She discovers some hidden truths about her country's history which color her decisions.

On the plus side for characters, both Maxon and Aspen were stronger love interests this time around and we continue to find out more about each of these characters which lends to the depth of the characters. Which enables the reader to understand why America is truly so perplexed with her decision. 

I also really enjoyed the other girls in The Elite. They each had their place and even surprised me from time to time. Some of them sabotaged, lied, and even fought. I really loved the dynamic between these ladies.

I really enjoyed this story as well. I will read the next novel The One .

I have a couple of ARCS(advanced reader copies) to read and review for our Books On Tour group. I have Falling over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick that I am just finishing up and The Graces by Laure Eve This is a book I have been hearing so much about. I can't wait to read it.

Happy Reading,
Mrs. Shamhart