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Middle Grade Reads


Series: Minerva Mint
Title: The Order of the Owls
Author: Elisa Puricelli Guerra

Who to recommend it to:
Kids who love offbeat mysteries such as Series of Unfortunate Events and anyone who loved Pippi Longstocking, Little Orphan Annie, and Gilda Joyce

I'm not sure if the series will take a paranormal spin, but there are no paranormal elements in this one.

Why it rocks:

We have an orphan in a cool setting with complete freedom (she is "home schooled" by an absent adult), a level of danger, several interesting mysteries, and wild animals. We have a bully bad guy who is pretty scary, and three kids that get by on their wits. Lizard Manor, Minerva's home, is a character in itself. Think: Grey Gardens.

I couldn't put it down. It's charming, but not so sweet that the reader wants to brush their teeth afterward. Most importantly, it's a fun read.

Finally, diversity. Minerva is a ginger with an unknown background, her "perfect" blonde friend is far from perfect behavior wise (she's the trouble maker), and Ravi is the new kid in town.

It has long been a problem that I just never seem to have enough time to read middle grade fiction. I read a ton of YA books, my adult books for fun, and hundreds of picture books a year.....but I swear up and down that I should read more MG fiction, I bring them home, and they just sit.
Part of the problem is that I just don't enjoy MG fiction. I didn't like it when I was a kid, and I'm not crazy about it now. So much of it is formulaic, or watered  down versions of YA books. It's a tough age group.

If I have this much trouble finding books, imagine what my fourth, fifth, and sixth grade readers who pop into the library are dealing with. So many of the kids just ask for the same series over and over. Is it because they like these books? Maybe, but it's more likely they just don't want to hunt through a thousand titles when  they are not sure what they are looking for in the first place. So, without further ado, I plan to highlight some of the MG reads I feel are wow enough to recommend to the kids who walk into the library.

As a side note, I was thinking of Gilda Joyce (another truly original character I just LOVE) and what do you think:
Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator (Gilda Joyce, #1)       

Same family, or what?


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How to Make a Sharknado for Your Shark Craft

I have had an insane amount of fun this summer, but I always try to do something for Shark Week. This year I called it Shark Lab and we are making three crafts I have never done with the kids before.

But for ME, I wanted a Sharknado.
Inspired by this post, and I tried several different dish soaps and NONE of the tornadoes looked as good as they did in this lady's posts. She must have magic soap, but it really works!

Then I went to three stores to find either plastic sharks that would be light enough to float and not just sink to the bottom of the jar and/or shrinky dink material (make my own damn sharks!) Both hunts were fail, so I made them myself using  a template I cannot find again. Sorry.

 I flipped the images, cut them out, glued them together and then book-taped the hell out of them! Presto, waterproof.

The jar needed I made a small label with
"Sharknado" bookended with some fancy orange chainsaws and voila!

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Teddy Bear Storytime

Tonight's storytime followed the same format I use for all of my day storytimes as I have temporarily suspended my idea of doing storytime in reverse in order to get the kids sleepy. They only seem to run out into the library to pick out movies and books and the effect is lost. So here is what we did tonight.

Our theme was teddy bears, but our night storytime is always wear jammies, bring a lovey, and low action.

My opening song is Hello Bubbles which I learned from Read Sing Play here. BTW this woman is a storytime goddess and I have picked up many great ideas on her blog.

Story the 1st: The Red Hat by Lita Judge

 Why? Because I want to get across to my kids that books do not always have to have words in order for us to "read" them, and I want to give pre-readers a chance to feel proud they finished a book on their own. I plan to try to read or highlight at least one wordless read for the next couple of storytimes.

Flannel Board: Ten in the Bed
I used a modified versi…