The Calder Game by Blue Balliett is a mystery story linking art sculpture with intrigue. The book description reads, “When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he finds a mix of mazes and mystery…including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square.
Calder is strangely drawn to the sculpture, while other people have less-than-friendly feelings toward it. Both the boy and the sclupture seem to be out of place…and then, on the same night, they disappear!”
I thought about this book on the weekend, when I visited the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle with Mr. Hembree. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the first thing we noticed was the gigantic Alexander Calder sculpture called The Eagle. We walked around it and under it and looked closely at his signature on the side.
In this view from underneath the sculpture, you can see what looks like the eagle head or beak (or at least that is what it looks like to me)!
The last picture shows Calder’s signature on the side of the piece and the date.
I don’t think this is the Calder that disappeared from The Calder Game, but isn’t it fun imagining it could be? Here is a link to a book trailer I found for The Calder Game by Gaia, a student in Mrs Scavone’s class from June 2011.
The Calder Game is available for check out F BAL MYSTERY.
What sculpture did you see in the book trailer?
Have you ever seen an Alexander Calder sculpture before? Which one?
What piece of art would you write a mystery about?
We have a special treat today! A few weeks ago three of our former students stopped by to visit with their parents. They were here on vacation and were visiting their former teachers and friends in the Seattle area.
All of three students love to read! Lucily for them, I had just come from the American Library Association mid-winter meeting with numerous Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) of books. ARCs are copies of books that people read and review and check for errors before they are officially published. Think of them as preview copies.
It’s always fun to have a new book that nobody else has yet, so all three students went home with some new books to read for the flight back to Denmark. Mathias not only read his book, he sent us a review for the blog too!
Here is Mathias’ review of House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini. It will be officially released on April 23, 2013.
Setting: The story first takes place in Sea Cliff, San Francisco, then later in a mysterious world of adventure.
Characters: The Walker family is composed of five members.
Mr. and Mrs. Walker, were recently in a lawsuit because Mr. Walker, who is a doctor, had cut an eye into the back of his patient. They were sued by the family of the man, and used almost all their money to defend themselves.
Brendan Walker, the middle child, a computer geek and a quite smart kid. He is also very much into Lacrosse and his quick thinking saves them on several occasions.
Cordelia Walker is the oldest and smartest kid of the family. She is an avid reader and helped solve many of the problems the family were to face.
Eleanor Walker is the youngest and appears to be the most dumb. However she does show quite an appeal for helping and a very smart and quick brain, despite being dyslexic. She is also very much into horses.
Plot: A family of five are searching for a new house. Their real estate lady finds a nice house on the edge of Sea Cliff, a place known for it’s beautiful houses. At first the family is a bit worried that the house may not be as nice as the real estate lady says (their price range for houses is rather low) however they were all proved wrong. When they arrived it was a beautiful three story house, full of amazing furniture and stunning features that made the house almost seem too good to be true. This was made true when they heard the price. Their jaws dropped and they immediately decided to buy the house.
Soon after they bought the house strange things started happening. Brendan and Eleanor were seeing strange figures and shadows day after day. Brendan even thought that the statue which stood in the back had come alive and talked to him.
The next day something strange happened. First the old lady who says she lived next door comes by. Her name is Dahlia Kristoff, the relative of Denver Kristoff who used to live in this house. Brendan goes crazy on her, thinking she was the woman who had turned into the statue. After the old lady leaves the kids start doing some digging. Cordelia find out that according to a picture upstairs, she’s a 105 years old and missing a hand. Not long after the doorbell rings again. Thinking that the pizza has arrived, Mr. Walker goes over to the door and opens it. Outside stands Mrs. Dahlia again, and as soon as Mr. Walker opens the door, she steps in. Immediately she transforms. She is now bald and only a skeleton of herself. Her right hand is missing, just like Cordelia thought and she looked downright scary, especially with the brand new pair of skeletal wings that had just erupted from her back. Mrs. Walker started calling the police, but for a gust of wind that snatched up the phone and cracked it on a pedestal on the other side of the room. Then weird things start to happen. Dahlia Kristoff starts flying up, and every item currently in the vicinity start flying up. They form a vortex of flying items just zooming around the room. The two parents are knocked out by flying objects, but somehow the kids manage to stay conscious. Dahlia starts shouting about her long lost father’s (Denver Kristoff) reincarnation and suddenly everything goes black.
My Thoughts: I think this book is amazing. With all of the mystery happening in only the first instance of the story, it provides a great lead into the book. The book itself is astonishing. The idea of having an entire story based on the fusion of three books is downright fascinating. The different characters in this book are amazingly unique, in such ways that even you can’t see the events they’re going to make happen before they do. The things that happen from every angle, like betrayal, love and unexpected friendship just makes this book one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Thank you Mathias for this awesome book review! I can’t wait to buy a copy for the library in April when it comes out!
Have you ever read a book that you just couldn’t forget?
Did it make you laugh? Cry? Shout?
Today’s post is about my favorite books from 2012. These are the standout books from a year of reading. Even though I may have read them months ago, I still think about them and consider them book friends. When I see the cover, or think of a passage from the book, I get a smile on my face. Not all of these books were written in 2012, although most of them were. I am in the process of reading all the Newbery Medal winners, so one book was published years ago. All, except the young adult books are available in our library. I hope you will stop in and check them out!
Tomorrow the American Library Association will announce all of the Youth Media Awards at their Mid-Winter Conference here in Seattle. I will be at the press conference for the very first time! I can’t wait to see what books won medal and honor awards. Above any other books, I have my fingers crossed for The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Wonder by RJ Palacio.
Here are my standouts from a year of reading!
Categories: Favorite Graphic Novels, Favorite Picture Books, Favorite Non-Fiction Picture Books,Favorite Middle Grade Novels, Favorite Young Adult Novels, Favorite Audio Books
So there you are…my favorites. Not all will win awards tomorrow at the ALA conference. However, they have already won a special award in my heart because each of these books has touched me in a very personal way. I’m looking forward to lots of reading in 2013 and seeing where my reading travels take me!
Were any of these books favorites for you this year?
Is there a book I should have included?
Leave us a comment and let us know!
Do you like mystery stories?
Do you love animals?
If you do, then the Zoo Animal Mystery stories are just for you!
Each of the title in the Zoo Animal Mysteries series focuses on one animal. Through a series of clues, you have to guess what animal is featured in the book. The trick is to solve the mystery before the animal is revealed at the end. You can read more about the zoo animal mystery series on the Capstone Press website.
Our 2nd and 3rd grade classes used those fun books as the structure for their own Zoo Animal Mystery stories.
First we researched facts and took notes. Then we wrote out our sentences for the story. We typed the stories on powerpoint and added Creative Commons photos to illustrate the pages. The projects from Mrs. Kassel-Day, Ms. Valenta and Mrs. Staples class are featured in this post.
What animal was your favorite to learn about?
If you could make a zoo animal mystery, what would you choose?
Calling all girls who like to read fun mysteries! I have just the book for you!
Alice Miranda at School is a story of 7 and 1/4 year old Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones who is attending boarding school for the very first time! When she gets to her new school – the Winchesterfield-Downfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies, she quickly realizes that there are some strange things happening.
Why doesn’t the headmistress Miss Grimm ever come out of her office? Why aren’t there any flowers growing on the grounds of the school? Why can’t Mrs. Oliver go on vacation to visit her grandchildren? Leave it to Alice Miranda to find out the answers to these questions and more!
This is book one of a very popular Australian series. Our blogging buddy BB told me about it months ago, and finally it arrived! Here is what she had to say about it!
So girls, here’s what I have to say. I thought it was a very funny story and I love how spirited Alice Miranda is without being rude. However, you don’t have to listen to me! Listen to BB! She knows her Australian books and is the same age as you! Better yet, visit her blog and leave her a comment! BB’s Awesome Blog
Who is going to be the first one to try this awesome Aussie story I wonder??? In the meantime, Miss Yeoman in Melbourne, Australia told me her library is hosting Jacqueline Harvey on March 23rd! You can read about it here. Ms. Harvey also has her own blog which you can visit.
Plus, if you love blogging and Alice Miranda, why not comment on her blog too? Yes, Alice Miranda has a blog and loves visitors. You can visit it here.
What is your favorite series of books to read?
Do you think you would like going to a boarding school?
Should we buy more of this series for our library?
The Lost Hero By: Rick Riordan Review by Tracy
The Lost Hero is about a prophecy that needs to be completed. This is the first book of the series The Heroes of Olympus. This book is about 3 demigods, Jason, Piper, and Leo. Jason woke up on a bus forgetting his memories. Piper, a girl who says that Jason is her boyfriend, has a secret. And Leo has his way of using tools to create amazing items. The prophecy that was for told was very eerie to me; “Seven half-blood shall answer the call. To storm or fire, the world must fall. An oath to keep with a final breath and foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.”
Together these three must overcome every obstacle in their way to save the queen of Olympus. Will they succeed or will they fail? Read to find out the story that’s about to unfold.
This book also has Percy Jackson and a bunch of his other previous characters that he used in the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. This is the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which include The Lightning Thief, Sea of Monsters, Titians Curse, Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympians. Also, he is the author of the Kane Chronicles, which has The Red Pyramid, and the author of Maze of Bones the first book of 39 clues. So if you’re an adventure loving, Greece lover then this is a superb book to read. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!
Later Gater by Lawrence Yep Review by Diana
This book is about a boy named Bobby. Tomorrow is his birthday and his brother Teddy has to buy him a present. Bobby’s mom tells Teddy to get an animal instead of a pair of socks. So, Teddy drove to a pet store on a bus with a ton of people while Bobby was with his dad at work having fun.
When Teddy went inside the pet shop, the owner said he should get a hamster or a turtle. Teddy thought that they were too nice. So Teddy got an alligator because he wants to scare Bobby. Do you think Bobby got scared? Read this funny book to find out.
This book is the 3rd book in “The Missing” series by Haddix. In this book, Jonah and Katherine take a girl, Andrea, one of the 36 missing kids from history, back to Roanoke Colony. If you are in the 5th grade, I am sure you know of Roanoke Colony, one of the settlements England brought to the USA. Although, mysteriously, when John White (the colony’s leader), goes back to England for 3 years and comes back. everything is missing. No clues, except one carving that says “Croatoan”
So, when they go back into time, they see nothing, they lost the Eculator. The Eculator is a time travel device that keeps them camouflaged and safe. On their walk they bump into tracer Natives. They follow them and find something surprising! They later find out why time seems messed up. They are being sabotaged.
This book is recommended by me to all of the adventure, sci-fi, and mystery fans. This book will make you want to keep going and NEVER stop! Both genders will LOVE this book. But, I highly recommend reading the first and second book beforehand.
Into The Gauntlet is the grand finale of the 39 Clues series. Dan and Amy are hopeless, they have no leads. When they finally find the Clues, it is stolen. Suddenly, they find a poem on their doorstep, but it is stolen by evil Isabel Kabra. Somehow they manage to find out the Clues, but they do not know that they are followed by others. The clues lead Amy and Dan to a small island, only to be discovered by everyone else. They decide to team up and find out that the clues are the recipe to a serum which will make you the most powerful person in the world! Suddenly, evil Isabel crashes their celebration and she is holding a gun…. Read this wonderful book to find out what happens next.
The Sorcerer’s Stone by J K Rowling Review by Moses
This book is one of the most delightful fantasy books I have ever read. With a mix of Roald Dahl and J.R.R. Tolkien, it is both funny and suspenseful. The story begins when Harry receives a letter from Hogwarts, a school for Wizards. At the school he makes friends with a boy named Ron and a girl named Hermione. They “accidentally” find out that there is a stone that can give any wish the user wanted. They learn the hard way that someone else wants the stone too, and that someone will hurt, even kill anyone who gets”in the way”! Who will win, who will perish? Find out by reading this terrific book.
Firestorm reviewed by Gabe
I liked this book a lot. It is about a boy named Jack who goes on a quest to save the oceans. On his quest he meets new friends and learns new skills. The reason that I liked this so much was because it has a good balance of action, adventure and science fiction. It was also interesting because Jack learned about pollution and how it could affect his future. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Chocolate by Wendy Blaxland Reviewed by JudyAnn
This book is a great book to read if you adore chocolate like I do! It tells interesting facts about chocolate. For instance, chocolate is made from powdered cacao beans which are the seed of the cacao tree. Also, the first chocolate was made thousands of years ago and was loved by many Aztec Indians. Well, now that I’ve told you so much about this book, you should check it out and I hope you enjoy it!
The Hunger Games was the best book I have read in a long time! I would recommend it to anyone who likes action, romance and suspense. The most suspenseful part of the book was when there were only three people left in the games. Read it to see why.
Greg’s life is miserable; his mom buys him a diary and makes him write in it, he is forced to join the swim team, his parents make him do everything that he does not want to! Greg’s has to make sure that his friends do not find out about his diary.This book is funny and silly and I really enjoyed reading it. I think that you would like it too.
Skeleton Key Review by Mark
This book is very interesting because in the beginning it just tells you that no one knows where the skeleton key is. I started to read it and I enjoyed it. I would recommend this book for people who like adventure because this is big journey to a haunted house to get a key for an old kingdom. When they find the key, they discover that it is cursed! There is a letter saying that they will be taken to horrible places. Read this excellent book to find out what happens to them.
Librarians get recommendations from books from all sorts of places- the newspaper, magazines, catalogs, emails from book companies. However, the absolute best recommendations for me are from my students. Last week a former student Jenny stopped by to visit. Jenny and I have had lots of fun conversations about books in past years, so when she stopped by to visit me my first question after the polite- ”how are you, how is school,”etc, etc, was “What have you been reading?” Her answers had me heading for the store to buy The Black Book of Secrets and The Bone Magician by F.E. Higgins.
F.E. Higgins is a British writer, who has an extraordinary talent for word choice. Even though this is a 21st century book, opening page one is like stepping into 19th century England.Every word, every phrase removes you from the chair you are sitting in, to the grim and macabre world of Ludlow Fitch and the pawnbroker Zoe Zabbidou who buys people’s inner most secrets and has Ludlow record them in his special black book. I’m really at quite a loss for words as how to describe these books. I wish I had her talent for storytelling. What I can tell you is that once I opened each book, I couldn’t put them down. If you are looking for a series that will take you on an extraordinary journey, start with the Black Book of Secrets. (ages grade 5+) Even better, see what F.E. Higgins has to say for herself! Keep Reading, Mrs. Hembree
I like this book because it’s funny and adventurous. Bod (the main character) doesn’t know what it’s like living with people. He tries to help the people (which are really ghosts) that live in the grave yard. Sometimes he does well, sometimes he doesn’t. He gets curious about things like the history of the graveyard. The setting is in a graveyard. He’s being taken care of by ghosts in the graveyard. He has also been given the freedom of the graveyard which means that he can see in the dark and he can go places where other people can’t. I also like this book because it has mixed emotions to it, humor and sadness.