Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Room with a Review: The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Title:  The Wig in the Window

Year Published:  Available June 18, 2013

Author:  Kristen Kittscher

You May Know Her: As a debut author!

You May Find Her: At her website and on twitter at @kkittscher.

Review You May Not Have Seen:  The author being interrogated by two precocious investigators!

The Delta/Plus

The Wig in the Window is debut author Kristen Kittscher's forthcoming middle-grade mystery and like most good tales of intrigue, this one is a page-turner!

Seventh grade "spies" Sophie (public school attendee) Young and Grace (home schooled BFF) Yang have made it a habit of putting their noses their neighbor's business and this time it seems, they have tangled with the wrong perp.  Dr. Charlotte Agford, Sophie's very own middle school guidance counselor, exudes just the right amount of "ick" that gives Sophie and Grace massive heebie-jeebies.  But could it be that Dr. Agford is just "Dr. Awkward" when it comes to counseling her young students or is there more to the story?

I will not lie.  Like Sophie and Grace's first encounter with the doings of Dr. Agford, I based my opinion of The Wig in the Window on appearances (the cover), with not much evidence to support my request for an ARC.  The alliterative title was also a draw.  But in this case (hahaha), judging a book by its cover was not a false lead. The mystery starts out with a rather embarrassing comedy of errors which is definitely a red herring: people, this book gets serious and by the end I was doing that thing I shouldn't do...kinda skimming the text because I couldn't take the suspense.  WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?  {Oh, assuming anything DOES happen - not spoiling a mystery is so hard!}

Along with being a fine mystery, I also liked the theme of friendship throughout the book.  As so many middle-school students know, friendships evolve, change, and some dissolve over time.  Sophie and Grace go through similar ups and downs with which many students, especially girls, will identify.  The character of Trista Bottoms was one of my favorites in the book and there again, Kittscher reminds us that appearances can be deceiving.

So in wrapping up the case, no pressure, Kristen, but please get on with book number two in the series. We'll be waiting!

This book gets five out of five dog ears from me!

{Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with a free ARC of The Wig in the Window, no strings attached.}

***Update!  In the spirit of passing it forward, leave a comment on this post with the title of your favorite MG mystery and I will randomly draw a name.  The winner will receive the copy of my well-worn ARC!  Wheeee!  Please leave comments by Friday, April 26th, 8:00 p.m., Eastern.***

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pocket Poems Activity with A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes

I have to confess I have not been keeping up very well with National Poetry Month.

Probably because my school celebrates poetry in February, but no matter!

Every month is poetry month!

Yesterday I did an activity with my second graders that, um, I did with them last year as first graders.

They were very forgiving and hey, they came up with some new pocket poems.

I always enjoy reading them - they are so clever!

Start by reading A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes:  A Pocket Books by Liz Garton Scanlon.

Then, copy and cut these strips, having the students create their own pocket poems.  

Here are some great examples from my second graders:

A Desk is a Pocket for Your Pencil 
A Body is a Pocket for Your Life
A Book is a Pocket for Your Learning
A Head is a Pocket for Your Brain
A TV is a Pocket for Your DVD

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mrs. Lodge's Shelve-It Book Alpha Order Game!

A few weeks ago I found this great game created by Mrs. Lodge and her husband, er, Mr. Lodge! LOL!

Well, I finally got to it this week with my third graders and they LOVED it!  They were literally lining up to play it after we had already played it as a class.

Thank you, Mrs. Lodge!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Library Lessons - Cheers and Jeers

We've had a few cheers and jeers so far this week during Library.

Let's start with the Jeers, shall we?

I decided to have my fifth graders create spine poetry with Newbery award-winning titles as a sort of poetry/Newbery unit mashup.  Meh.  The problem was that limiting students to the Newbery titles limited their creativity.  Here were two of my favorites, however:

Lessons Learned:  Next time allow students to choose books from the entire library collection.

There were more Cheers this week, however.  My students LOVED LOVED LOVED...

There Goes Ted Williams - Written and Illustrated by Matt Tavares
and so did I!  LOVED this book by Matt Tavares!  A great read for celebrating opening day or any day.

And finally, to coordinate with their animal unit, I did this Animal Mystery activity with my kindergarteners and the book A STICKLER ON STILTS:  A ZOO ANIMAL MYSTERY.  I revealed each clue as I read each page and the students would tell me what they thought and why.  The kids loved it and all their hands were waving frantically right before they told me the answer!

Did you have any Cheers or Jeers this week?

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