Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Round One of Bluebonnet Books: Reviews

I'm excited about the new list of Bluebonnet titles for the 2013-2014 school year. The Bluebonnet List is a list of 20 books compiled by students/librarians/etc. Students in grades 3-5 across Texas read at least five books and then vote in January for their favorite. The winning book is announced at the Texas Library Association's conference in April.

(I must confess that in previous years, I haven't read all the books on the list....pathetic for a librarian, right?) This year, I plan to have them ALL read before the new school year in August.

So, here goes.

I was excited to read this book. David Shannon is huge in elementary libraries. The kids love the David books, and I know I can always get a reluctant new reader to check them out. 

Now, I must preface this by saying this book is on the 2013-2014 Bluebonnet List, which is a list for Texas students in grades 3-6, where they read the books and vote across the state for a winner. So, I was reading this book while keeping my students in those grades in mind. I like the idea of a mystery fish that no one can catch and the secret of the one person who did. However, I just didn't enjoy the book. I thought the story was a little corny and the pictures too dark. 

I'm eager to see how the students like it, but I don't think it will be a favorite. I'll probably stick to the David books for a Shannon read-aloud.

I have to admit I had never heard of Barnum when I picked up this book, but I enjoyed the tale of a man who had a gift for sniffing out dinosaur bones. 
Although biographies can often be dry reads, this book moves quickly with Barnum's finds and puts a personal perspective on the fossils that fill our museums. The illustrations convey the excitement Barnum and his colleagues must have felt when they found the bones. 
This book is on the Texas Bluebonnet List, a list voted on by 3rd-6th graders across the state, and I'm eager to see if they like this tale. Hopefully, it will prompt them to follow their dreams wherever they may take them. 

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