Friday, March 30, 2012

Booktalk: Machines Go to Work (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2011-2012)

[Have the following pages tabbed: fire truck/cherry blossom; the action news helicopter page; the tugboat page.]
[Open to double-page spread of the cherry blossom trees.] Oh no. There’s a fire truck under those cherry blossom trees. Please tell me they are not on fire. [Open page flap.] Oh! It’s a kitten stuck in a tree. The firefighter is setting her free.
[Turn page to action news helicopter.] The Action news helicopter is getting to the scene. [turn page to stopped traffic.] Has there been an accident? [Unfold flap.] No accident. A little family of ducks is crossing the road: so all traffic has stopped.
[Turn to tugboat page.] That is an awesome tugboat, but it seems to be in a huge hurry. [Turn page] How do you fit a huge container ship like that under a bridge? [Unfold flap.] The bridge went up, and the tugboat led the ship.
Read more stories like these in Machines Go to Work by William Low.
Machines Go to Work by William Low. 1 v. (unpaged). Henry Holt and Co., 2009. Booktalk to primary grades. Virginia Readers’ Choice for 2011-2012.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Booktalk: Otis by Loren Long (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2011-2012)

[Show page {7-8}]. Can a tractor be a mom or a dad to a baby cow? Take a close look at this picture. Here we have a sleeping tractor. His name is Otis. He works hard all day in the fields, and at night he sleeps in the barn.

One night a scared baby cow, called a calf, could not fall asleep. The poor little calf was all alone, so Otis made some tractor noises and the baby calf fell fast asleep. After that the calf followed Otis the tractor everywhere. [Show pp. {11-12}] They played in the hay, they ran in circles together, and they’d sit under the apple tree and watch them farm. They were the best of friends.

[Turn the page, to the big yellow tractor.] Gasp. What’s this? Oh no, please tell me Otis is not being replaced. He’s such a good and loyal tractor! He’s always worked so hard on the farm! That new tractor is huge and scary looking! And what’s going to happen to the little calf if Otis isn’t around? What do you do if someone tries to replace your best friend?

Otis by Loren Long. Unpaged. Philomel Books: 2009. Booktalk to primary grades. Virginia Readers’ Choice for 2011-2012.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Booktalk: The Odd Egg (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2011-2012)

[Hold up cover.] This is you. You’re duck. You found the coolest egg _ever_. It’s huge, white, and covered with green spots. You’ve never seen anything like it.
 [Turn to the first page.] All the other birds have laid their own eggs. Parrot clearly _loves_ hers. Owl is sitting on hers, reading a book at the same time. And then there’s sparrow, who appears to be talking to her egg.
 [Turn to next page.] But you know that your egg, as huge and weird as it is, is the most beautiful egg in the whole wide world. So what if they’re laughing at you? I mean, who cares?
 But seriously. What happens to an egg this huge? Does it hatch? Does it erupt? Is it real? And can you, a small duck, really take care of such an odd egg?
 The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett. 2008: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. Unpaged picture book. Booktalk to primary grades.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Booktalk: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2011-2012)

It can be really embarrassing if you inadvertently think out loud. Much of the time, you really don’t want other people knowing your private thoughts. But for Todd Hewitt, a young teen, everyone else is privy to your thoughts: all the time. Your thoughts are broadcast out loud, in what’s called Noise. It’s almost as if you have speakers broadcasting what you’re thinking. Zero privacy: try keeping a secret.

Todd lives in a settlement called Prentisstown, which is part of the New World, a world without women, all of whom died. Todd has never seen a woman when we first meet him. His parents are dead, and he’s been raised by two of their male friends. Todd’s closest friend is his dog, Manchee, with whom goes on walks. In one of his walks, Todd encounters a physical presence: silence – an absence of Noise, a freedom from it. It has a powerful effect on him, and when he goes back to town, he leaks his secret about what he experienced through his Noise. Todd’s adopted parents are scared to death for him and urge him to leave Prentisstown immediately. From reading their Noise, Todd can tell that he is very grave danger. All he’s got is his dog, his knife, and a book of his mother’s which he can barely read. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. 479 p. Candlewick Press: 2008. Booktalk to high school. Virginia Readers' Choice, 2011-2012.