Armchair Cybils Round-Up: Not non-fiction (or everything else)

I’ve read more from other Cybils categories than I realized before I sat down to write this post. I haven’t reviewed very many of these. (Yet. I have big plans). However, unlike the category for which I’m a panelist I can give more of my opinion on these, so I’ll include some brief comments on favorites and not-so favorites.

Fiction Picture Books Read:
A Long Way Away
by Frank Viva
Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith (nominated by me)
Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack
I loved this almost wordless picture book, as did H. and all three kids. It’s simple but incredibly clever. Reviewed here by Amy at Hope is the Word.
Ball by Mary Sullivan
Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Somewhat similar to Chopstick by the same author, this one has a lot of clever word-play and induced giggles in all three of my kids.
Hello, My Name is Ruby by Phillip Stead
Also a favorite of all three kids, David the bird lover in the house especially loved this sweet book. Reviewed here by Amy at Hope is the Word.
If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
I really liked this tale of a tiger who just wants to be a little wild in the midst of a buttoned-up world. I found it silly and delightful. My kids were less impressed. Reviewed in full here at Delightful Children’s Books (by a different Amy).
123 versus ABC by Mike Boldt
A clever twist on  preschool ABC or counting books. In this one, numbers and letters argue about who is more important and just who the book is really about.
999 Frogs Wake Up by Ken Kimura
Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
I haven’t had a chance to share this one with my kids yet (I read it while browsing at a bookstore) but I think they will love it. There are many holds at our library so we’ll have to wait awhile. It’s a really clever story about what happens when a box of crayons quits and the notes they leave for their boy explaining why they are quitting: pink is tired of never being used, another color is tired of being used too much and worn down to a nub, yellow and orange are fighting over what color the sun really is).
Ollie and Claire by Tiffany Strelitz Haber
Sort of a “Pina Colada Song” for young kids (bonus points if you get that reference). I liked this sweet story about friendship a lot and hope that there are more Ollie and Claire books in the works.

I don’t envy the picture book panelists. They have over 200 books to whittle down to a slim seven book shortlist. My picks  at this point would be: Ah Ha!, The Day the Crayons Quit, Hello My Name is Ruby, ABC versus 123, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild and Ollie and Claire. But obviously I’ve only read the tip of the iceberg for this category.

Middle Grade Fiction Books Read:
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library 
by Chris Grabenstein
This is one I hope to review in the near future, although it’s been reviewed many other places. For now, I’ll just say that for the most part we are part of the large cheering section for this new Mysterious Benedict Society-like novel.
Nine Days by Fred Hiatt
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
This book about an ordinary second grader was my recent second grader’s special read aloud. It is reminiscent of the Ramona books or Clementine. Henkes has managed like Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume before him to capture the every day problems of an average kid and convey how things that may seem small can seem really big to a 7 year old. For a more full review, see Amy at Hope is the Word
The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson
Another one I hope to review in full in the next few days. I read this historical novel about the cholera epidemic in nineteenth century London and Dr. John Snow’s famous epidemiological investigation with interest. I handed it to John to read as his next assigned book for school, thinking he’d like it. He read it in a day so I’d say he did.

Middle Grade Speculative Fiction Read:
Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck
See Semicolon for a review by Sherry.
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt

Poetry Read:
Cat Talk by Patrician MacLachlan
Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer
Pug: And other Animal Poems by Valerie Worth (with illustrations by Steve Jenkins)
Seeds, Bees, Butterflies and More!: Poems for Two Voices by Carole Gerber

Young Adult Non-Fiction Read:
Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Solves History’s Mysteries by Elizabeth MacLeod
A fascinating look at forensic techniques using historical mysteries to show how the techniques could have perhaps helped solved the mystery. Overall I really liked this one but sometimes the highlighted technique seemed to be a stretch to go with the historical mystery and often the mystery wasn’t really solved. Also, a particular annoyance to me was that graphics showing extra information were depicted as if on a tablet computer, that seemed an odd choice for a book.
Breakfast on Mars and 37 Delectable Essays edited by Rebecca Stern/ Brad Wolfe
I got this one out of the library thinking it might be a good read for my 5th grader as writing inspiration. I decided it was a little too old for him but I’m keeping it in mind to use in a few years. It’s a great idea for a way to help kids see what an essay can really be beyond the typical five-paragraph format taught in school.
Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

One thought on “Armchair Cybils Round-Up: Not non-fiction (or everything else)

  1. You have read a lot! I’m behind on my reviews, too. Sigh. I’m not sure how
    lenient my library will be, either, considering how many times I’ve already rechecked my Cybils stack. Next up for me is The Day the Crayons Quit–the DLM LOVES it!

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