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Because of Mr. Terupt
Author: Rob Buyea
Published October 12, 2010 by Delacorte

A Guest Review by Julia Kipphut

Summary: Mr. Terupt’s fifth grade class at Snow Hill School is comprised of various types of students, some including: a new student, a popular girl, a bully, and a troublemaker. Their teacher, Mr. Terupt who is passionate and energetic, strives to engage his students and instill a sense of community amongst his class. Unfortunately, one day, a snowball fight goes awry and leaves Mr. Terupt in a coma. His class is rattled and must learn to work together, be kind, and hope for Mr. Terupt’s recovery.

Review: This book includes a variety of characters, each owning their own identity and personality. Each chapter is written from a different character’s perspective, making for a fluid and interesting read. They are relatable for children and allow them to recognize themselves in each character. Each character evolves in the story and shows tremendous growth, proving the rich development of the people in this book. The message of community and forgiveness is nicely intertwined in the story and proves that it is always better to choose kindness. The theme of this book is positive and motivational. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Because of Mr. Terupt serves as a great reader aloud for upper elementary school students. 4th and 5th graders who are struggling with their identity and place in a classroom community can learn the importance of compassion. Students can learn to embrace individual differences for a common goal or outcome, mirroring the characters in this book. Additionally, this book allows students to study character development throughout the story; each character evolves- allowing for effective classroom discussion.

Because of each character of this book is written from a different character’s perspective, students are able to study point of view and consider the influence each chapter has on the story as a whole. Students are able to learn about each character in depth and can even use literature circles to each study a character for analysis.

Discussion Questions: How might the story be different if the snowball accident did not happen?; What do you think the author’s purpose or message was for this story?; Why do you think the author chose to write this story from different characters points of views? Do you think this was effective?

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Loved: Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper; Wonder by R. J. Palacio

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Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite
Author: Stacy McAnulty; Illustrator: Edward Hemingway
Published: February 7, 2017 by Two Lions

GoodReads Summary: Mr. Fuzzbuster knew he was Lily’s favorite. They did everything together. Naps. Story time. Walks. And more naps. But now four more animals lived in the house.…

To prove he’s still Lily’s favorite, Mr. Fuzzbuster will have to ask her, but will her answer surprise him? This funny, heartwarming story is for every child who has ever wondered if there’s a favorite in the house.

Ricki’s Review: This was a very fun book to read aloud to my son. It reminded me of my childhood—my siblings and I often fought over who was the favorite child. The dramatic hooks at the end of each page make for a silly, giggly read aloud. Mr. Fuzzbuster has a hysterical personality that kids will surely adore. I have a feeling that this book will get funnier and funnier after each read aloud! The illustrations and humor will have readers begging for more Mr. Fuzzbuster.

Kellee’s Review: Unlike Ricki, my siblings and I didn’t have to fight about who was the favorite–I knew I was! 😉 [We’ll see if they read this review!] So I may be a bit like Mr. Fuzzbuster who is just loves his owner, Lily, so much that he cannot imagine his life without her. Kids will definitely relate to Mr. Fuzzbuster, and the book will also be a great chance to talk about how sometimes there are no favorites–a lesson that is taught in such a fun way that the reader won’t even realize they are being taught something! And the cartoonish, humorous illustrations just add to the fun of this book. Hemingway has such a distinct style of illustrations that are just so eye-catching and exciting to read. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might ask students to make predictions at the end of each page. Because of the dramatic hooks, it would make predictions very enjoyable. I tried doing this with my three-year-old and while he is a bit young, we think we might be able to use this book for predictions in the near future! He slowly caught on!

Did you know Mr. Fuzzbuster loves writing notes? He wants to send cards to young readers across the country.  Maybe he will be your favorite. More information can be found at

Discussion Questions: Who is Lily’s favorite?; Why does the book end the way that it does?; Why do we feel a strong desire to be the favorite? How may this be harmful?

Flagged Passage: “Mr. Fuzzbuster knew he was Lily’s favorite. They’d been together since he fit in a teacup and she fit in diapers.”

Read This If You Loved: Dog vs. Cat by Chris Gall, Barkus by Patricia MacLachlanMemoirs of a Goldfish by Devin Scillian,  One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel, Ballet Cat by Bob Shea, Cat the Cat by Mo Willems

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Two Lions is offering a copy of MR. FUZZBUSTER KNOWS HE’S THE FAVORITE to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses).
About the Author and Illustrator:
STACY MCANULTY is certain she’s her mom’s favorite. Her younger brother disagrees. She’s the author of Beautiful, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. Originally from upstate New York, she now lives in Kernersville, North Carolina, with her three children, two dogs, and one husband. She doesn’t have a favorite. You can find her online at
EDWARD HEMINGWAY is certain he’s Stacy McAnulty’s favorite illustrator, although the illustrators of Stacy’s other books may disagree. Edward himself is the author and illustrator of the children’s books Bump in the Night, Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship, Bad Apple’s Perfect Day, and Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus. Originally from Bozeman, Montana, he now lives in Brooklyn where he teaches creative writing at the master’s level at SVA in Manhattan. If he has any favorite students, he’ll never tell. Learn more about him online at

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**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip for providing a copy for review!**

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


Natumi Takes the Lead: The True Story of an Orphan Elephant Who Finds Family
Author: Gerry Ellis with Amy Novesky
Published November 8th, 2016 by National Geographic Children’s Books

Goodreads Summary: After losing her mother, shy Natumi is rescued by a team from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an orphanage for baby elephants. At the shelter, Natumi hides behind keepers’ legs to watch the other elephants at the shelter. But soon, she meets several other orphans, and the eight of them play together in the surrounding bush.

As the babies become closer and more like a real family, they need a leader, someone they can trust. Can Natumi grow into this role?

Join the herd to find out what happens when they travel back into the wild. This sweet story, with its heartwarming photographs, explores the challenges and joys of family, love, and growing up, and is a perfect bedtime tale.

Review: In addition to being a story that teaches about elephants, Natumi’s story is one that will warm readers’ hearts. Her story is sad yet inspiring, heart breaking yet beautiful, and the reader gets to be there every step of the way. Gery Ellis’s photographs allow the reader to be right in the story and helps move this book past just a normal informational nonfiction text to literary nonfiction thus allowing it to cross boundaries in the classroom.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Since the text crosses the informational/literary boundaries, there are immense possibilities to how this text could be used in the classroom. When I finished, the two things that struck me right away were the theme of the story and the inquiry that this story could be a basis for. Natumi’s story definitely has a pretty solid theme that can tie into many other texts or even science discussions about animal behaviors. Also, the text talks about one animal in peril in the wild, and it could be a jumping off point for a science/language arts crossover project where students state find a problem in the wild and create information, much like the author’s note, that shows ways to help and learn more about the issue. In addition, there are opportunities for vocabulary development, mapping skills, prediction, cause/effect, and much more.

Discussion Questions: How did poachers change Natumi’s life forever? Why are there poachers in Africa?; Why are elephant orphanages needed? How could we help this problem?; How did Natumi become the leader of her family?

Flagged Passages: 


Read This If You Love: Elephants, Learning about endangered animals, Africa 

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**Thank you to Karen at Media Masters for providing a copy for review!**

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Noodles’ and Albie’s Birthday Surprise
Author: Eric Bennett
Illustrator: Milanka Reardon
Published December 9th, 2016

Summary: Noodles’ & Albie’s Birthday Surprise is the continuing adventures of Noodles (a penguin) and Albie (his fish friend). The story takes place on the day of Noodles birthday, which happens to be December 24th. While waiting for his party to start, Noodles and his friends play on the ice while a group of red jacket wearing tourists from a nearby cruise ship take the penguins pictures. Meanwhile, his friend Albie is under the sea searching for the perfect birthday gift for Noodles. She eventually comes across an old compass from a sunken treasure chest, which is perfect for Noodles as in the first Noodles & Albie story (2014), he had some major sense of direction issues. After giving Noodles his compass, the two friends head off for a day at Polar Kingdom, the world’s greatest undersea amusement park. After a fun day, the pair begin their journey home, but soon notice a red glow up ahead on the oceans surface. The glow it turns out is coming from the nose of one of the strange animals they come across stranded on an ice floe, along with a mysterious red jacket wearing “tourist” with a white beard, and a sled full of boxes. It turns out the mysterious tourist is lost because his assistants insisted he try a GPS devise to help guide him. Now the chubby, old man is hopelessly lost. Not only is he lost, but he’s on a deadline, and he’s in Antarctica. He can’t find his way back on track because it’s always daylight in Antarctica in December, and the poor tourist can’t even see the North Star to navigate. He needs to get North and fast. Will Noodles help the lost tourist by giving him his compass?

Review: Noodles’ and Albie’s Birthday Surprise takes readers on a second adventure of two best friends that is just as wonderful as the first and with a delightful cameo the reader doesn’t see coming. Teachers and students will find much to discuss as they read this humorous, clever tale. After reading the first of Noodles’ and Albie’s stories, we were happy to hear that Eric had written a second to allow us to go on even more adventures with these great friends. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: While reading aloud Noodles’ and Albie’s Birthday Surprise, there are many opportunities for think alouds and discussions such as predicting what Noodles will do, discussing the end of the book as well as the characters’ traits, and discussing birthday and holiday celebrations.

Discussion Questions: What character traits does Noodles and Albie show throughout the story? Include evidence for each trait.; What is the best birthday you have ever had?; How did the lost traveler know where Noodles lived?

Flagged Passages: 


Read This If You Loved: Noodles and Albie by Eric Bennett, Penguin series by Salina Yoon, If You Were a Penguin by Florence Minor, Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton, Penguins by Seymour Simon, Tacky series by Helen Lester, A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis, Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

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**Thank you to the author for providing copies for review!**

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Be Light like a Bird

Be Light Like a Bird
Author: Monika Schröder
Published September 1st, 2016 by Capstone Young Readers

Summary: After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she’s ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don’t deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.

Review: When I originally started this book over the summer, I had just finished Truth or Dare by Barbara Dee which was about a young girl’s grief after the loss of her mother, so when I picked up Be Light Like a Bird and Wren’s father passed away in the first few pages, it just emotionally wrecked me. I tried continuing, but the grief that Wren and her mother feel just lept off the page and into my heart–I had to put it down for a bit. When I picked it back up, after Augusta Scattergood recommended it, I jumped right in, prepared this time, and loved every second of my journey with Wren and her mother. 

Be Light Like a Bird was so tough for me to read the first time because the emotions that Monika Schröder evokes through her writing are just so real. Wren’s mother is in the anger stage of grief and just cannot seem to leave it while Wren wants to accept and learn to live without her father, but when your only remaining parent is in such denial and anger, it really affects the young person’s life that they are raising.

I also really love Jana’s review of Be Light Like a Bird. Visit her post to see more about the book.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Wren’s journey is going to be perfect for students dealing with grief, moving to a new school, bullying, or someone who wants to start a petition or stand up for something they don’t think it write. Wren and Theo work very hard in the book to save a local pond from being built over. On their political journey, they go to a town council meeting and start a petition. They are an inspiration to what young people can do to make a difference, and teachers could definitely use part of their story to discuss advocacy, environmental, or political issues their students could fight.

Discussion Questions: What are different ways to deal with grief?; What are the six stages of grief? What are some examples from the book that show that Wren and her mom went through some of the stages?; What did Theo teach Wren about herself?; Why do you think Wren chose to try to talk her mom into staying in Pyramid? Who in the town of Pyramid helped Wren feel at home?

Flagged Passages: “…I realized she wasn’t crying because she was sad–it was because she was so mad.

Then she told me to put everything I wanted to keep into a suitcase.

How do you decide what to keep when your Dad has died and your mother has turned into a raging woman you hardly recognize? If it were up to me, I would have kept everything the way it was before. But that is obviously not an option…I sad in my room and looked around, trying to decide what to pack, but the cloud was making me numb. None of the stuff really mattered anymore.” p. 13-14

Read This If You Loved: Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand, Far from Fair by Elana K. Arnold

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**Thank you to M0nika for providing a copy for review!**

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Happy book birthday to We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen!

we found a hat

We Found a Hat
Published October 11, 2016 by Candlewick Press

i-want-my-hat-back  this is not my hat

I Want My Hat Back
Published September 27th, 2011 by Candlewick Press

This Is Not My Hat
Published October 9th, 2012 by Candlewick Press

The first two books of The Hat Trilogy have enthralled readers for years. They have been read in many classrooms and in many bedrooms delighting millions of children (and adults!). Today we get to celebrate the final installment of the trilogy.

Summary of We Found a HatTwo turtles find one hat – and it happens to look great on both of them.

Q&A With Jon Klassen: 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions: 

I am happy to share the teaching guide for the books that I had the honor of writing!

The guide can also be found here.

Happy reading!

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sophie quire

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard
A Peter Nimble Adventure
Author: Jonathan Auxier
Published April 5th, 2016 by Abrams Books

Summary: It’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far and wide in search of adventure. Now Peter and Sir Tode have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: find a 12-year-old girl named Sophie Quire.

Sophie knows little beyond the four walls of her father’s bookshop, where she works as a bookmender and dreams of leaving the confines of her city walls. But when a strange boy and his talking cat/horse companion show up searching for a rare and mysterious book, she finds herself pulled into an adventure beyond anything she has ever read.

Teaching Guide: 

Sophie Quire is a special young lady, and you and your students are going to adore her adventure! Here is a teaching guide to help guide you or your students through your reading. This guide can be used as a tool for classrooms or book clubs.

You can also access the guide here.

You can learn more about Sophie at ABRAMS’ website.

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