Thursday, March 29, 2012

Down by the Cool of the Pool by Tony Mitton, Early Literacy Anchor Book Unit submitted by Janine

This story is written in an add-on format which helps early learners with sequencing of stories.  As the story adds animals that join frog at the party in the pool, each has his/her own action including dancing, flapping, wiggling and stamping!  There are many types of sentences for teachers to take apart and explore with students as well helping cue for expressive voices.

The illustrations in this book are superbly eye-catching and colorful.  The text is full of sight words and also rhyming words. There is repetition,

 "Down by the pool in the cool of the day, frog cried, 'Wheeeeee! Can you dance like me?"
I love the wonderful beat to this text!  Yeah Tony Mitton!
Tony Mitton's book page is at the following link:

If you haven't checked-out Tony Mitton's books, you will be surprised at how many beautiful selections there are to use in your classroom!                                                                                                          
Janine's book unit can be used in PreK-Grade 2 classrooms depending on your level of differentiation.
Many thanks to Janine!  MWAH! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Princess In Love-Princess Diaries Book 3 Lexile 880

Summary from Meg Cabot's website at: 

"Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo may seem the luckiest girl ever. She's a princess, for starters. She also lives in New York City. And while she's no supermodel, mirrors do not crack at her reflection. Best of all, she finally has a boyfriend.The truth is, however, that Mia spends all her time doing one of three things: preparing for her nervewracking entrée into Genovian society under the slave-driving but elegant Grandmère, slogging through congestion unique to Manhattan in December, and avoiding further smooches from her hapless boyfriend Kenny.All she wants is a little peace and quiet. and a certain someone else to be her boyfriend. For Mia, being a princess in love is not the fairy-tale it's supposed to be. or is it?"

  Tara's review using Peck's Questions:
1. Reread the first paragraph of chapter 1. What’s in it that makes you read on?
The first paragraph in this book states what assessment is due for princess Mia’s English class and some of the hundred clubs that go on around the school. Then it goes on about her paper and what she wrote about. At first I thought it sounded really boring but I still read on because I wanted to know if she was in other clubs and what they do. It starts off on how she thinks her life is over because her mom is having her algebra teacher’s baby. She wasn’t sure what she thought about having a litte brother or sister but, later on in the book she didn’t think it was that bad.

2. Would this book make a good T.V. series? Why or why not?
The first two books in this series were already made into movies. The books have more detail than the movie but still the main points. Even though I thought the movies were great, I still think the books were better because of all the action that took place. Though in the movie Mia is almost an adult and in the book she is only 14. I think because there are so many books in this series, they could easily be made into a television series as well.

3. How is the main character different than you?
The main character in this book is the princess of Genovia, but I’m not. She’s 14 and a freshman. We are very different but we still have things in common. We both get excited over random things. She is more happy than me when good things happen, and when she gets frustrated with her grandma she doesn’t want to talk at all. I DO like to talk... :)

H.I.V.E.-Escape Velocity by Mark Walden Lexile 990

The book trailers by Mark Walden are perfect for tween and teen readers. Check out the You Tube book trailer below for H.I.V.E.~Escape Velocity!

Here is a brief synopsis from the book jacket:
"The Higher Institute of Villainous Education is in grave danger.  Dr. Nero, its leader, has been captured by the world's most ruthless security force.  It's up to Otto to save him, but first he must escape Nero's sinister replacement and H.I.V.E. itself.  Then Otto faces the ultimate challenge-to  break into M16-something no villain has ever succeeded in doing." 
 Check our Mark Walden's website at:                

Trent and Tara pick 3 of  Richard Peck's discussion cards for tweens and teens when reviewing their books.  Here are Trent's responses:

1. Why is the story set where it is?
I believe that this story is set at this setting because it is a syfy book. The setting is at this facility in the middle of the ocean and is an island that is a school to teaches teenagers to be the worst that they can be. This setting is where it is because, in my mind, I believe that nobody would look for a school on a island that has a volcano on it. (By the way the school is inside the volcano. If you want to know more I would recommend reading the first books in the series. Even if you are older this book is great for all ages. These books are about villains.)

2. Reread the first paragraph of chapter 1. What’s in it that make you want to read more?
The first paragraph of the book makes me intrigued because it says, “It was early morning in London and while the other pedestrians bumped and jostled with each other, this man and women seemed to emit an invisible aura that kept the crowds from getting too close.” This really popped out to me and I had so many questions before I kept reading on. Some of the questions were...Who are these people? Why are people avoiding them?

3. How is the main character different than you?
The main character, Otto, is so far different from me. He has white hair and I have blonde. The really big difference is that Otto can go into his mind and control mechanical devices such as computers. I call it T.P.C. which stands for telepathically paranormal control.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chase Against Time by Steve Reifman Lexile: 700

Welcome to Trifecta Book Reviews!  
Today, we launch the first review of our new blog site reviewing  books for all ages of school-age students.  Our goal is to deliver book reviews to you from the viewpoint of a tween, a teen and a reading teacher in between!  We hope you will find our reviews helpful in selecting books for yourself, your child or your classroom!
Theresa, Tara and Trent

   Chase Against Time by Steve Reifman was a delightful mystery to read as it had an old-fashioned charm highlighting the detective skills of Chase Manning, a fifth grade student at Apple Valley Middle School.   Chase’s orchestra was going to present a Spring String Thing concert to raise money to support the music program that was in jeopardy because of music cuts.  A beautiful cello was donated to be auctioned in hopes that it would fill in the funding gaps to continue the Honors Orchestra Program at their school.  Chase’s biggest dream was to play the cello in the Honors Orchestra.  The cello was stolen and the mystery began…Chase Manning, junior detective was on the job! 

This debut mystery by Steve Reifman contains easily identifiable elements of a mystery plot including  a crime, suspects, easily followed events,  a nicely written red herring and a happily ever after conclusion to the crime.  Chase Against Time had a neat connection for me as a reader in that I played the violin starting in elementary school.  It gave me a few flash-backs when reading!  As a reading teacher, I would use this book as an intermediate age read-aloud to walk through the elements of a mystery.  Chase Against Time would also lend itself well to a book club setting. 

Parental Information:  This book was clean, having no blood, violence or sexual content to interrupt the flow of the events in this story.  This is a genuinely nice, easy read for intermediate children.

Bonus:  As I am graphic organizer believer, feel free to download the Elements of a Mystery Graphic Organizer to use with your classroom or child at home.  Click the link.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Images for the Blog Only