Coop Knows the Scoop

Coop Knows the Scoop by Taryn Souders is a juvenile fiction book, good for 4-6th graders.

Windy Bottom, Georgia is your typical small southern town; everybody knows everybody and gossip rules the day. So when a body is found buried underneath the playground slide, it is all anyone can talk about.

Coop and his friends Liberty and Justice are just as curious as everyone else, and itching to take a peek of the crime scene. But first, they have to finish their chores at their parent’s Bookstore Cafe.

Excitement in the town is high, until fingers start pointing in a very personal direction. Coop’s gramps is somehow connected to the body and what was once harmless gossip, turns to finger pointing real quick!

Can Coop find the scoop before it is too late?

Oh man, if you are going to do this one, do the audio. It was so fun and I literally had to keep myself from speaking in a really horrible southern accent every time I listened to it.

This is a really easy read and a good one if your kids like mystery. It’s not the hardest one to uncover but there are some definitely hidden details that were a fun reveal at the end.

I liked pretty much all of the characters in this book. They really contribute to that small town feel.

I am going to use this one for my book club sometime. It’ll be a nice break after a longer or more serious book. There may not be a ton of discussion questions I can pull from it, but sometimes a lighter read is good for the kids.

This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Virtual Family Storytime: Pets!

I didn’t even realize that National Pet Day was this month when I planned this storytime. Love coincidences!

Here’s what I’ve got planned:

We will talk about early literacy tools: Read/Write/Sing/Talk/Play. We will use all of these in our storytime today but I am going to highlight PLAY. Symbolic play and dramatic play help children to develop language skills. Try acting out your favorite fairytales or stories.  

We Clap and Sing Hello 
We clap and sing hello, 
We clap and sing hello, 
With our friends at storytime, 
We clap and sing hello! 
(Wave and sing hello; jump and sing hello.) 

Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi  

Today we will be talking about pets. How many of you guys have pets? I have a big old goofyball of a dog named Apollo. He’s a goldendoodle and has long curly hair. I have to brush him a lot and he takes up all the space in my bed! Pets take a lot of responsibility, right? You need to feed them, walk them, change their water or bedding, take them to the vet and more. Pets also need a lot of love. 

Letter — “P” for Pet;  
ASL – CAT / DOG / FISH / BIRD 

Some Pets by Angela DiTerlizzi read with permission of Simon & Schuster 

Love Your Pets (Tune-row, row, row your boat) 
Love, love, love your pets, 
Love them everyday. 
Give them food and water too, 
Then let them run and play. 

Game – Sleeping, sleeping all of my friends are sleeping. And when they woke up, they were… Dog/Cat/Bird/Rabbit/Pig 

I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein read with permission of Candlewick Press 

How Much Is that Pet in the Window? 
How much is that doggy in the window? Woof woof! 
The one with the waggly tail? 
How much is that doggy in the window? Woof woof! 
I do hope that doggy’s for sale. 

Kitty…meow…long whiskers 
Bird… tweet tweet…flappity wings 
Rabbit…hop hop…hoppity legs  
Fish… glub glub… swimmy fins 

Flannel – Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell used with permission of Simon & Schuster 

I Had A Little Turtle 
I had a little turtle 
His name is Tiny Tim 
I put him in the bathtub 
To see if he could swim. 
He drank up all the water 
He ate up all the soap 
And now he’s home sick in bed with bubbles in his throat! 
Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble pop! 

Charlotte and the Rock by Martin, Stephen W., read with permission of Penguin Random House 

Takeaway – I like to give an easy take-away craft, so I made my own pet rock to show them and encourage them to make their own!

We Clap Goodbye Like This 
We clap goodbye like this, 
We clap goodbye like this, 
With our friends at storytime, 
We clap goodbye like this!  

(We wave goodbye like this; We stomp goodbye like this) 

How’d it go:

We had fun today. I was a little tongue tied here and there but I think everyone had fun!

That’s all for now!

-M-

4-6th Grade Virtual Book Discussion: Boy Bites Bug w/ DIY Chromatography Butterfly 

Boy Bites Bug by Rebecca Petruck is a middle school juvenile fiction book for 4th-6th graders. 

Will didn’t intend to eat a stinkbug, but when his friend Darryl calls the new kid, Eloy Herrera, a racial slur, he didn’t think he just acted. Now will is Bug Boy and he kind of likes it. 

Intending to keep up his notoriety and title as Bug Boy, Will talks Eloy into helping him get his classmates to eat bugs. But the more Will learns about Eloy and entomophagy in general, the more sincere he becomes about his project. For Will, eating bugs is no longer just a joke but everyone sees it that way. And what’s worse, he really likes Eloy and is afraid he may have ruined this budding friendship. 

What can Will do to make everyone understand his real intentions when all anyone can see if a joke? 

Discussion Questions: 

1. What is this book about? What are the main themes? 

2. What is the difference between entomophagy and entomology?  

3. Will doesn’t intend to eat a stinkbug but he does it anyway. Why? And why is this so important to the story? 

4. In many cultures eating insects is commonly practiced. Have you ever eaten a bug? Why do you think there is a stigma around eating bugs? 

5. What do you think about Will as a character? Is he relatable, over-the-top, silly…

6. As Will’s friendship with Elroy grows, he and Darryl start to grow apart. When Will asks his dad for advice he says: “Sometimes,” Dad said, “people outgrow each other.  It doesn’t mean we stop caring or forget the good times, but maybe we realize we need different things, things that we can’t get from each other anymore.” Have you every “outgrown” a friendship? Or has anyone “outgrown” you? How did it make you feel? 

7. Will gets in the whole mess because he didn’t like how Darryl was treat Eloy but Will has his own prejudices that he isn’t even aware. What are some examples? 

8. What did you think about the “Buck-a-Bug” fundraiser? Was Will able to successfully turn Entomophagy from a joke into a good cause? 

9. In the background of this story, is Will’s longing to be on the varsity wrestling team. Before his big match his coach says, “Take a breath… Whatever’s going on, it’ll still be there when you get off the matt.” Do you ever feel like you can escape into a hobby and let everything else go? 

10. Think about cultural differences around the world. Can you name some things that would be done every day somewhere else, that might see unusual here? And vic-versa, what might we do that other would look on as “different.”  

DIY Activity: Chromatography Butterfly 

Supplies Needed: white coffee filters (large size, not Kcups); non-permanent markers; cup of water; string; scissors; pipe cleaners optional. 

Directions: 

  1. Pick a marker (try with multiple marks on your second attempt and see what happens). 
  1. Take one coffee filter and spread it out on top of a piece of paper. Draw a circle in the flat middle of the filter. 
  1. Fold the coffee filter in half and then in half again. It will look somewhat like a cone.  
  1. Get a short glass of water and stick the filter in with just the tip of the cone touching the water. Fan out the rest so it balances in the cup.  
  1. Let sit and watch what happens as the filter sucks up the water.  
  1. Flatten it out and place on your paper or newspaper to dry.  
  1. Once dry, take your filter and scrunch it in the middle. Tie the middle with string or your pipe cleaner. If you are using the pipe cleaner, the ends can still out to look like antenna.  
  1. Hang the butterfly with string and watch them fly! 

The Science:  

“Chromatography… is the science of separating mixtures. Mikhail Tsvet discovered that since different color pigments have different weights, they are carried along at different speeds, and end up in different places. So one can use different substances (gas or liquid) to carry the color, and by examining where different tints end, figure out what pigments were combined to make it.” 
-(https://kidminds.org/chromatography-experiments-with-kids-5-ways/)

How’d it go:

We had a great group for book club this month! Some new faces and some really great discussion. We had a little trouble getting the hang of how far to dip our coffee filters into the water, but it was all part of trial and error. This was a good month!

That’s all for now!

-M-

What If a Fish

What If a Fish by Anika Fajardo is a juvenile fiction book for 4-6th graders.

“Little” Eddie Aguado is half-Colombian but has never really connected with his Colombian side. When he was little, his Papa passed away and anything Colombian only seemed to sadden his mother. Because Eddie’s mother keeps her memories of Papa locked inside, his own memories of his father are hazy and vague. That’s why he’s determined to be just like his Papa by winning his local fishing tournament.

When Eddie’s half-brother’s Abuela gets sick, he puts his fishing plans on hold as he travels to Colombia for the summer. He thinks this is the perfect opportunity to embrace his heritage and learn more about his Papa. But becoming a true Colombiano, may be harder than it seems.

This was a nice little book. Thinking back on it now, there’s actually quite a lot to it. Themes of friendship and family, death and grief, bullying and sticking up for yourself and other, being responsible and more. Eddie is a really relatable character. He has insecurities and is trying to figure out who he is and his place in the world.

I love his relationships with both his half brother, Big Eddie, and his new friend, Cameron. Both relationships grow and go through their ups and downs. Each has a lesson and helps Eddie to grow in different ways.

A big part of this book, is dealing with grief. Eddie doesn’t remember his father, so his grief isn’t like his mother. Instead he is grieving for the lack of a father, rather than the man himself. His grief over Abuela is different from Big Eddie’s because he only just met her, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t sad.

There certainly is a lot going on in this book and this may hinder some young readers, but ultimately it was a good story with some valuable lessons. This one just sneaks in to the 3.5-4 star range.

That’s all for now

-M-

The Last Musketeer

The Last Musketeer by Stuart Gibbs is the first novel in a historical fiction series for juvenile readers.

While on a trip to Paris with his parents, fourteen-year-old Greg Rich’s parents disappear. Before his eyes, they vanish through a portrait and into the 1600s. And of course Greg follows.

And so begins a tale of the Three Musketeers before they became the legendary heroes of fiction. With the help of young Athos, Porthos and Aramis, Greg must save his parents, reveal a plot to overthrow the King, and stop the bad guy from changing history forever.

History isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and saving the day, is a lot harder… and smellier than it looks.

This was an easy, fast read. It has action and adventure, boys being boys and some interesting historical facts thrown in. It’s a Stuart Gibbs novel, you really can’t go wrong.

The Last Musketeer really makes me want to go back and read The Three Musketeers. I want to compare the characters here and the characters there and see how similar they are.

I can’t say that I was wowed by the book, but I do think it would be one my 4-6th book club would be interested in and have an easy time reading. Overall, this one gets a solid three stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-