Some Suggestions

Dear Mrs. Eaves,

This took a lot of thought. I couldn’t think of anything right away, but while reading your post, Poppy did come to mind. But after looking through the bookshelf, thinking very hard, and asking my twin sister, I came up with three books:

  1. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
  2. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  3. The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl

I think My Side of the Mountain is one of the best woodland books out there. Sam, living in New York City is so unhappy that he goes out to live in the Catskill Mountains with nothing but a very small batch of supplies. In the wilderness, he learns how to survive by making meals out of dandelions, making a house out of a hollow tree and lots of other things. When I read this book in the summer after 3rd grade, I remember trying out some of the things that he did in the woods behind my house. I think 3rd graders will enjoy this read because it teaches them about the woods, but also they will connect with Sam because he is a character that you like reading about. When reading, they will be able to feel his triumphs and failures.

The next book that I think is fitting is Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl. After reading Mrs. Eaves recommendation for Midnight Fox, I realized that this has a fox, a farm, but a totally different concept. It is about Mr. Fox’s life and the farmers who live in the farm next door. A chant from the book about the farmers Boggis Bunce and Bean is below:

Boggis, Bunce, and Bean
Boggis and Bunce and Bean
One fat, one short, one lean
Those horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were nonetheless equally mean

This Roald Dahl book is about the Fox family adventures, their encounters with the crooks without good looks, and lots of other things that capture the reader and make them connect to the characters. The way this is wilderness is that they talk about Mr. Fox’s fox hole and the also go through the barn, so that might be a good learning experience for 3rd graders as well.

The last book I recommend is The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl. This story has a little bit of wilderness and woodland theme, bit mostly it is a funny and enjoyable read. I think 3rd graders will like this book because it is a fantasy type book that will capture readers. It  is about a girl who apparently has supernatural powers. She only uses this power when she gets angry and she can’t control it. This time, she’s done something very bad. She’s turned the neighbors into a group of… read to find out! 3rd graders will LOVE this book. It is fantasy, but as with all these books, readers can connect to the character with ease.

I hope my suggestions will help your class!

Good Luck,

Matt 🙂

Does anyone have any great suggestions?

  • In search of books that will help us develop as readers while exploring animals in different habitats
  • You know, integrating language arts and science…

Hi Matt (and readers of our blog),

I need some help.  This year I would describe my class of third graders as a group of readers not always sure of how to choose books to read and enjoy.  Sometimes great choices happen, but often they seem accidental.  There is a lot of wandering around the bookshelves, starting and stopping, and turning pages and pretending.  Of course that’s not true for everyone, but it is the general feel.  Because of this I find myself structuring more of our reading time with small groups.  I really want kids to know what it feels like to finish a book and to find a book that changes them.  I’ve met with some success with the first goal – not really with the second.

So that leads me to my current challenge:  What books can I select to support the range of readers in our class (from those who find Magic Tree House-like books a challenge to those who are reading and loving The Lightning Thief) AND also allow us to explore a variety of animal habitats?

Do you have any title suggestions?  I would really appreciate them.

The Midnight FoxOne idea is The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars.  It has been a very long time since I first read this book.  I’m not sure what made it pop into my head, but I am glad it did.  Right from the beginning I was hooked.  What a lead!

Sometimes at night when the read is beating against the windows of my room, I think about that summer on the farm.  It has been finve years, but when I close my eyes I am once again y the creek watching the black fox come leaping over the green, green grass.  She is as light and free as the wind, exactly as she was the first time I saw her.  .

Or sometimes it is that last terrible night, and I am standing beneath the oak tree with the rain beating against me.  The lightning flashes, the world is turned white for a moment, and I see everything as it was – the broken lock, the empty cage, the small tracks disappearing in the rain.  Then it seems to me that I can hear, as plainly as I heard it that August night, above the rain, beyond the years, the high, clear bark of the midnight fox.

I was drawn through the pages right to the end wondering how a fox and a farm could mix – they don’t always and this book is no exception.  I hope all intermediate  readers find it.  Every word is a perfect choice.  It’s one of those books – sort of sparkles.  The Midnight Fox will be one selection.  It is realistic fiction – the favorite genre of our class.  It is will be a good match for many in the class  and the book club/discussion format will help increase the understanding for those who’ll find the reading a bit  challenging.  And the flow of the language … we’ll have a great time exploring passages to see how they can inform our writing.

Beyond The Midnight Fox, am not certain of any other choices.  Maybe Poppy.  Maybe A Toad for Tuesday.  I wish I could find books with various settings – not all woodland and habitats familiar to us.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions.  I could use the help.


Mrs. Eaves

Happy New Year – Happy Reading 2012

For the last couple of New Years we have found these words from Neil Gaiman on several blogs and websites.  They are from New Year’s Eve message shared in Boston some years ago and seems appropriate to share:

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. May your coming year be a wonderful thing in which you dream both dangerously and outrageously.

I hope you will make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and you will be liked and you will have people to love and to like in return. And most importantly, because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now – I hope that you will, when you need to, be wise and that you will always be kind. And I hope that somewhere in the next year you surprise yourself.”

We appreciate his message.  We too hope you do wonderful things in this new year – things that excite you and bring you wonder and joy!  Especially… read GREAT books!


Odd and the Frost GiantsInstructions: Everything You Need to Know on Your JourneyCoraline

Vacation Reading

Hi Matt,

I hope your holiday was wonderful (how did the bake-off go?).  We spent two wonderful days with family and now… we have lots of leftovers.  I do have some great books to share with you…  I have discovered that when I am wrapping gifts, riding in the car or cooking I can “read.”  Because there was a great deal of that kind of time during these last few days I have finished listening to The Incorrigible Children of Ashoton Place – the Mysterious Howling by Marywood Rose, The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi, Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes and The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Purse by Alan Bradley.

The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1) Operation YesThe Search for WondLa (WondLa, #1)

I think you would like all of them.  The first two are the beginning to series.  There are two books about the Incorribible Children so far.  Have fun finding out about them  on the website.  The author also shares that there will be a third one soon.  The second Wondla book is due to be released in May.  That is planned to be a trilogy – think combination of The City of Ember and the-other-worldliness of Zorgamazoo.  I can’t wait to find out why Eva Nine was left in her underground Sanctuary and what fate remains for humankind.  You can find out more bout Tony DiTerrlizzi’s creation process here – it is very interesting. Operation Yes is a totally unique book. Set at the school of an airforce base where children often move in and out and life is in flux – family members are sent overseas and assigned to dangerous wartime missions, this story centers on the plan a sixth grade class develops to make a difference in the lives of veterans wounded in the war and their families.  Their beloved teacher, Miss Loupe, is among the first to benefit from their care and determination.  It is a book I am looking forward to reading again!  When you read about the author and the book you can understand more of how this book idea developed.  Check that out here.  The final book is from a murder mystery series written for adults but I am sure you will like them.  (It made me think of reading Agatha Christie books when I was your age.  My mom loved mysteries and they were always around the house.) The main character is Flavia de Luce.  She’s 11.  She lives in Buckshaw, a victorian manor, in England  in the 1950’s where she has access to a fully furnished, although dated, chemistry lab.   Flavia rides across the countryside on Gladys her faithful bicycle collecting clues and making observations the police aren’t even yet aware of.  She is a fun character . You’ll laugh at the amazing predicaments she gets herself into and out of – often solved because of her fascination with chemistry and her passion for potions.  I’ve read two in the collection  – I have two more to go and I hope there are more.

I know these are not on my list of books to review next, but I really think you would like them – others who read our blog too.  What are you reading this vacation?  Did you get any great new books?

I hope the rest of your vacation is wonderful.  I’m off to finish The Dragon’s Tooth today.

See you soon!

Mrs. Eaves

(Hi Jenny!  – Happy vacation!)


We got a great comment from someone who said they would like us to post books about poetry. But none come too mind so instead we’re going to have to post poetry about books. Enjoy!

Author Unknown

I like books
I really do.
Books with stories
And pictures, too.

Books of birds
And things that grow.
Books of people
We should know.

Books of animals
And places, too.
I like books
I really do!