Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Compleat Cast of Characters in Literature

says right on the cover: "EVERY CHARACTER EVER"

very cool book; lists over 8000 characters and what books they appeared in. almost reads like a school yearbook, just flip through some pages and see who you recognize -- oh yeah, I remember him.... It would be nice to find one like this that focuses on children's literature, with maybe a little more on each character's info. I'll keep looking.

Friday, August 24, 2007

math books

who knew people would want to write books about math?

G is for Googol Schwartz
alphabetical math terms/concepts; good illustrations, bad jokes, ideas for students to relate to concepts, various grade levels

Tiger Math Nagda and Bickel
graphs; picture graphs for comparisons, pie chart (part of a whole). easy to follow, clear graphs to give students ideas to create their own

Math Curse Scieszka, ill. Smith
funny, jokes; good for intro to math/fractions/word problems, then review during or after unit to solve the problems; could use each page for fun parts of assignments to each math concept.

A Three Hat Day Geringer, ill. Lobel
read to younger as counting book/beginning reader; intro to “3rd” “4th”

Math Appeal Tang, ill. Briggs
how demoralizing and depressing -- I’ll cop to being confused by algebra, but elementary counting riddles???? yikes…. oh, thank goodness the answers/explanations are in the back! Clever, cute illustrations, concept is pattern recognition and counting skills.

Roman Numerals Adler
Roman numerals… hence the title.

Fraction Action Liddy
real life examples and good visuals (mostly food) of fractions and sets

How Much is a Million? Schwartz, ill. Kellogg
explanation/comprehension of mill-,bill-,trillion, and how the examples were calculated (1 gallon water per 1” goldfish) -- good for encouraging questioning of “facts”

Thursday, August 16, 2007

the Number Devil

The Number Devil A Mathematical Adventure
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Ok, kind of a strange text book. A kid actually looks forward to going to bed at night and dreaming of... math!!! Normal children dream of Nintendo, superheroes, Hanna Montana, but this one does math problems in his sleep.

It's actually a cool book; I did not understand all the concepts and explanations, but I don't have to understand it to teach it, do I? There are lesson/game ideas to make math "fun" and it's a different way to introduce and explain decilmal, factorials, and dividing by zero... some kids could probably get a lot out of it just from the engaging story, and learn something almost accidentally.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Roll of Thunder

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Mildred D Taylor (1976)

Newbery Medal 1977

Quality. Very engaging, lots of directions to go with discussions on race and interpersonal relationships, plus room for predictions -- what happens next?

Trollbridge Yolen and Stemple (2006)

fun, entertaining, but too many characters to keep track of.. is she the hero, is he? And where did the fox go for half the book?

Dangerous Book for Boys

very cool book, bought several for friends and nephews before my son's birthday finally rolled around and I could give one I could borrow back to read... turned right to page 109, "Girls" -- I sense the influence of the author's wife, since the rules include "it is important to listen" and "avoid being vulgar" -- what are we teaching our children?!?!?!?
...but you can download cool merit badges (to gluestick to the bookcover?) at

Harry Potter

I'm glad it was not only better than I thought it would be, it was very, very good. It made me glad I read it, and glad that my children read it as well.