Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kid Konnection: A Little Something for Everyone

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I'm going to share with you a hodgepodge of books for kids of all ages!

Summary: On a teeny little farm, in an itty-bitty coop, a very small hen laid a big, giant egg. And out of this egg came one big, humongous . . . something. "It's big!" clucked the little rooster. "It's enormous!" clucked the small chicken. "It's an elephant!" peeped the smallest chicken. "Run for your lives!" they cried. No matter how they try, these clueless chickens can't make sense of the gigantic new member of their family—until he saves the day. With wacky, laugh-out- loud humor and silliness to spare, this BIG twist on the classic Chicken Little story lends a whole new perspective to what it means to be chicken. -- Chronicle Books

CHICKEN BIG by Keith Graves is one funny book. The humor must be perfectly geared towards six year old boys (or maybe just my six year old boy), but Booking Son thought this book was hilarious.

I have to admit that I kind of agreed with my son. I giggled quite a bit too when we were reading this "Chicken Little with a twist" story. Chickens don't exactly have a reputation for being the brightest creature, and the chickens in this book certainly reinforced that belief. The entire chicken family was utterly ridiculous in their claims about Chicken Big, and they couldn't have been funnier. Poor Chicken Big was accused of being an elephant, a squirrel, an umbrella, a hippo, a sweater, and a cow. Obviously these chickens weren't very bright, but in all fairness, he was a very big chicken!

I not only thought the story was cute, but the illustrations were precious too. The book included many pictures along with different types of text and speech bubbles. I thought the Chicken Big character was adorable as were the other members of the chicken family. And I loved the picture on the last page when he was finally invited into the coop -- it reminded me a bit of Clifford the Big Red Dog.

I just loved CHICKEN BIG! It's a great story for kids and parents alike!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book.

Summary: The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals -- the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, "oily" Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with "peace, love and a sense of fun" -- apart from and forgotten by people.

But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland.

With the Professor's help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart's desire.

Julie Andrews Edwards, star of stage and screen, has written a unique and beloved story that has become a modern classic.
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is sure to continue to delight readers everywhere. This edition includes a new foreword by the author.-- Harper Collins

As many of you know, the Tweeny Bookwords read THE LAST OF THE REALLY GREAT WHANGDOODLES by Julie Andrews Edwards as our August selection. As much as I adore Julie Andrews (and I really, really do), it kills me to say that I didn't love this novel. It wasn't that the overall messages about imagination weren't fantastic, but the presentation was kind of lost on me. Plus, I admit that this genre with make-believe characteres isn't my cup of tea.

I think one of the issues I had with this book is that it was probably aimed at a younger audience than our 5th and 6th grade girls. I could be way off base with this because quite a few of the girls liked the book, but I thought the book would be better appreciated as a read-aloud story for 8-10 year olds. I also thought that the messages, albeit good ones, were rather heavy-handed and a little too obvious for today's tweens.

Now that brings me to my next thought about this book...I thought it seemed rather dated. Since this book was written almost 40 years ago, I wonder if it came across as more relevant back in the day. I have to think that today's tweens are more sophisticated readers and have higher expectations for fantasy books -- I mean they grew up on the Harry Potter books for goodness sake!

Overall, this wasn't my favorite book that our book club has read; however, many children will be charmed with this story!

Summary: It's off-season at the Jersey shore, when the boardwalk belongs to the locals. Rosie is 15 and her sister Skate is 16. Their dad, an amiable drunk, is spending a few weeks in jail while their cousin Angie looks after them in their falling-down Victorian on the beach. Skate and her boyfriend Perry are madly in love, inseparable—until now, when Perry goes off to Rutgers. Rosie is shyer than Skate, but she’s drawn to Nick, a boy in their Alateen group. What happens to Rosie and Skate in a few tumultuous weeks is deftly shaded, complex, and true. Readers will be caught up in each girl’s shifting feelings as the story plays out within the embrace of their warmhearted community. -- Wendy Lamb Books

When I first saw the cover of ROSIE AND SKATE by Beth Ann Bauman, I was immediately attracted to it because I thought it looked like the Jersey Shore. And then, when I read the book's description and realized that it did take place at the Jersey Shore, I thought it would be perfect to read during my summer vacation guessed it -- the Jersey Shore. Based on the cover, I thought the book might be a good beach read; however, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the short, but very powerful, novel.

This novel beautifully shows how Rosie and Skate, two very different sisters, dealt with their father's alcoholism and jail time. The chapters alternate between the girls' stories (each in their own voice), and I thought the author did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of each character. I have to admit that this novel wasn't an easy read for me, despite its short length, because I felt so much sympathy for both Rosie and Skate. Both girls handled their pain in very different ways; however, it was apparent how much each one was affected by circumstances outside of their control.

I loved the pure honesty in this novel especially as it pertained to the sisters. Even though the girls were caught up in so much pain, they both showed signs of such strength and resilience. As a mother, I really enjoyed how the girls not only discovered things about themselves, but they also came to appreciate each other!

ROSIE AND SKATE would make a wonderful book club selection for teens or even mother daughter book clubs. The topics in this novel would be best appreciated by more mature teens, and I do think many of the issues will stimulate some valuable discussion. Some of the topics that I found worthy of additional thought include father/daughter relationships, sister relationships, first love, dating, loss, alcoholism, healing, acceptance and forgiveness.

ROSIE AND SKATE received starred reviews by Kirkus Reviews and Booklist, and I definitely recommend this novel.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this novel.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


rhapsodyinbooks said...

The book for which I left a link is a YA novel about a girl with an identity torn between America and India.

Aaron's Books in Lititz said...

Just posted our first Kid Konnection review- Up & Down The Scratchy Mountains. ~Sam :)

Laura Fabiani said...

I think my son too would love Chicken Big. And Rosie and Skate sounds like a powerful read. Too bad you didn't enjoy the Jule Andrews book.

Alyce said...

Rosie and Skate sound good! I hadn't realized that Julie Andrews had a second last name (obviously from marriage?).

pinkflipflops said...

Hey! I reveiwed 2 YA books this week, Dark Song by Gail Giles (out in September) and Glass by Ellen Hopkins!

bermudaonion said...

Chicken Big sounds like so much fun! I love a book that you can read to a little one and giggle along with them.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

So glad to see that Aaron's Books has joined with Kid Konnection reviews!

CHICKEN BIG looked very funny, Julie; I'm glad to know it met your expectations.