Saturday, May 27, 2017

8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos

8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chao. Vivian Vande Velde. Illustrated by Steve Bjorkman. 2011. Holiday House. 68 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Being a squirrel is the best thing in the world.

Premise/plot: One day a squirrel named Twitch ends up INSIDE the school. How? Why? Well, Twitch was seeking to outrun an OWL and a dog. Twitch had until then only been acquainted with the school pets through the windows. Now, he finds himself in need of a lot of FRIENDS and ADVICE. Why? Well, the dog--the principal's dog--follows him INSIDE as well. (The owl doesn't!!!) Soon, both are trapped by the closed doors. The dog remains in pursuit of the squirrel; the squirrel has to be quick, quick, quick. The end result is a LOT of laughs. Each chapter is narrated by a different animal.

My thoughts: This one was so much fun. I didn't expect it to be so FUNNY and enjoyable. I think the alternating narrators makes this one even better than it could have been. Almost every chapter has something worth quoting--worth sharing--to draw in reluctant readers. I think this would be a great read-aloud in the classroom.

For example,
A squirrel mother teaches her young all they need to know by the end of summer, but human children spend five years in School. Five years is long enough for a squirrel to grow very, very old, so it's a good thing we're faster learners. And the humans aren't even truly finished in five years!
Ms. Walters never talks about being in first grade, so I think she may have skipped first grade, too. But she does talk about last year's second grade class. I'm smart enough to know that means Ms. Walters was kept back. But I am polite enough not to mention it.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
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  • fantasy
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I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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