Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo - 5 stars
One thing I love about DiCamillo's books is that she respects the intelligence and feelings that children have. She knows they are not too young to have experienced grief, fear, love -- some of life's deep issues. Her books encompass all of these real life issues and do it in such a sweet, endearing way. I think it must make a child feel so happy to know that their feelings are being respected; also being portrayed realistically.
Flora and Ulysses does this so beautifully. The language is one of the beautiful aspects of the book. She doesn't talk down to kids, either. She uses big words, knowing they'll figure out some things from context. I hope they learn to love language through reading DiCamillo's books! I am a huge DiCamillo fan!
This book is very touching and sweet and funny. There are laugh-out-loud moments and poignant moments. All in a book written for kids... but adults, please read it, too. You won't be sorry.
because of mr. terupt by Rob Buyea - 3 stars
A new teacher comes to a 5th grade class. Seven kids in the class take turns telling the story of how the year goes. It's engaging. The seven kids are a good cross-section of personalities that one sees in a classroom. Mr. Terupt does a nice job of helping them learn personal responsibility. Sometimes I felt a bit whammed over the head with the message, but I think a child will enjoy this book and be inspired by it. [P.S. Many reviews at goods(dot)com give this book 5 stars. Give it a shot.. you and/or your kids might be wowed by it, too. I give it 3 stars, but it might be that I was reading it directly after a DiCamillo bombshell and so had some really high standards in mind. Who knows.]
There is a reason I am reading children's books which I will explain next Friday. Stay tuned!