Friday, August 28, 2015

Module One - We are in a Book!

Module One - We Are in a Book!


 Book Summary
In this delightful story, Gerald and Piggie make the wonderful discovery that they are being read in a book! They also learn that they can encourage readers to say funny words like “Banana!” But what happens when the book ends?

APA Reference of Book
Willems,M. (2010). We are in a book. New York : Hyperion.

My Impressions
The Gerald and Piggie books are among my favorites! There are currently twenty four published and I think I have read them all. In “We are in a Book!” Willems employs metafiction (fiction about fiction) to help young readers understand that the characters are talking to THEM through the book! Kids love the idea that Gerald and Piggie are aware of them as the readers of the story. My granddaughter laughs repeatedly when Piggie “makes” the reader say “Banana!” over and over again. And I appreciate Gerald’s angst when he realizes the book is going to end. But of course they have a marvelous solution - just read the book again!  

What the Professionals Say
Stalwart friends Piggie and Gerald the elephant push the metafictive envelope in a big way when they realize that "someone is looking at us." Is it a monster? worries Gerald. "No," replies the squinting Piggie. "It is... / a reader! / A reader is reading us!" How? wonders Gerald. Piggie drapes herself on a word bubble to demonstrate: "We are in a book!" "THAT IS SO COOL!" Joy leads to a little bit of clever practical joking—Piggie figures out how to make the readers say "banana" out loud, and hilarity ensues—which gives way to existential angst: "The book ends?!" exclaims an appalled Gerald. Emergent readers just beginning to grapple one-on-one with the rules of the printed codex will find the friends' antics both funny and provocative: Just who is in control here, anyway? As always, Willems displays his customary control of both body language and pacing even as he challenges his readers to engage with his characters and the physicality of their book. The friends' solution to the book's imminent end? "Hello. Will you please read us again?" You bet. (Early reader. 4-8)
 (2010, August 11). [Review of We are in a book! by M. Willems]. Kirkus. Retrieved August 29, 2015, from 

A Suggestion for Use in a Library Setting
This is a perfect read aloud for preschoolers up through first grade. The kids love being able to become part of the story.  It could be included in a story time about books paired with some of the other selections such as “Interrupting Chicken” by David Ezra Stein or “But Excuse Me that is My Book” by Lauren Child. As an extra activity, it might be fun to provide them with their own speech bubbles and ask them what word they would put in the book.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Which means the first day of Grad school for me.  I am taking two classes - Graphic Novels and Literature for Youth.  That's pretty much what I will be reading for the next 3 months and that is what will (mostly) be reflected here.  Actually, part of my assignment for the Youth Lit is to write a blog with reviews.  Those will stand out because they will have the unit # at the top.  
But first - 
I finished "Ink and Bone" (#1 in The Great Library series) by Rachel Caine last night.  It's VERY good.  It starts out in an alternate universe London. Ten-year old Jess risks his life smuggling books for his father.  Real books - pen and ink and paper books. These are considered contraband.  People read and learn and have personal libraries.  But they don't own real books unless they purchase them on the black market. They own -- blanks that are filled with copies of books.  The only thing I can think of to compare it to is an e-book.  The Library (capital "L" library) controls all human knowledge. Or tries to.  It is based in Alexandria, Egypt where the Great Library of Alexandria never burned down. And Gutenberg never invented the printing press. Because that would have made knowledge to accessible to the masses which, the Library believes, would be a very bad thing indeed.  

Fast forward a few years and Jess, who spends every spare moment reading his father's illegal real books, is sent off to become a member of the Library. His father wants someone on the inside to help with their smuggling projects. But something is very wrong indeed with the Library.  Jess and his friends land right in the middle of it -- which is not a good place to be. 

It's hard to describe it without throwing out spoilers.  When I first started reading it, I thought it might have a bit of a Harry Potter flavor but that quickly gave way to more of a Hunger Games feel. But the students aren't really pitted against each other -- they are fighting whatever or whomever controls the Library.  It has lots of twists and turns - and all of it is very unexpected. Caine has done an excellent job of world-building. It has a strong male protagonist; several, actually - so I think boys and girls both would enjoy it.  Probably ages 14 and up. It gets a bit grim in places. Looking forward to the next book in the series. And to meeting Rachel Caine when she comes to my library in October!!! (squee!)

And I just discovered I am in good company because Felicia Day just finished reading this also - and she gave it five stars on Goodreads. 

I am also listening to "The Conspiracy of Us" by Maggie Hall. It's... intriguing.  The Order, the Circle of 12, the Mandate, the girl with the violet eyes...  I think I'm about 1/3 of the way through it. And again - it's really hard to say much at all without spoiling the book. "An ancient puzzle; A trail of clues; An unwanted destiny" Now if I can just fight my impulse to smack Avery....  I'll let you know more when I finish it!