Handy Lists for You!

For the past six weeks or so, Betsy Bird over at Fuse #8 has been conducting a poll to determine the top 100 picture books and chapter books (according to her followers).   If you missed reading the daily posts describing each book in the top 100 countdowns, the folks at SLJ have promised to put them into some handy lists for us.  Register to receive the email with PDF here and then use the lists for parents and teachers and students for readers’ advisory.

It was nice to see Charlotte’s Web in the number one spot for chapter books, particularly since this October is the 60th anniversary of the book’s publication.  It’s been a favorite of mine for a long, long time.  Want to read another great book by E.B. White?  A book written for adults?  Try One Man’s MeatWhite’s collection of essays about being a gentleman farmer in Maine.  Excellent!

Image:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/11121568@N06/4446461866

Olga da Polga–rediscovered gem #2

Ever notice how rodents “rule” in children’s books? I couldn’t begin to guess how many fiction and non-fiction titles in my collection revolve around these furry friends.  Think about it–  you’ve got your mice books, your squirrel books, your books with chipmunks, beavers, gerbils, and  porcupines.  Not to mention the ever-popular hamsters and guinea pigs.

This past year my second graders went crazy over Betty Birney’s Humphrey books.  And thanks to my recent stroll through my shelflist I’ve rediscovered another rodent gem that may fit the bill when there’s not enough Humphrey to go around.

We have two of Michael Bond’s Olga da Polga books in our collection and although Olga is a guinea pig (not a hamster like Humphrey), she is a well developed character by the author of the Paddington books.  I remember reading The Tales of Olga da Polga in the late 70’s during my student teaching.  It was funny then and it’s still funny now.  Olga is no ordinary guinea pig–adventurous, full of herself, a great teller-of-tales.  No matter what mischief she gets into or what humiliation she suffers she always comes out on top.

I’m glad I re-read this book this summer, and I’ll be happy to booktalk it when school resumes.  If you have a copy of one of the Olga da Polga tales that hasn’t circulated in a while, dust it off and have a look.  And here are some related books that might serve as companions:


King-Smith,  I Love Guinea Pigs

Petty, Guinea Pigs/Hamsters

Evans, Guinea Pig

Spengler, Caring for your Guinea Pig


Child, I Completely Know about Guinea Pigs

McMullan, Fluffy’s Spring Vacation

Hurwitz, Lexi’s Tale

McDonald, Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express

Rediscovered Treasures

Pirate treasure Chest photo © 2010 mags | more info (via: Wylio)
I don’t know about you, but I find it very tempting each year to build my whole-group read-alouds and recommendations to students upon:

1. The new books that arrived over the summer. (The bulk of my budget for any given year, and let’s face it–isn’t it like Christmas in July when those nice white boxes arrive from Follett?)

2. A few tried-and-true titles and authors I’ve come to rely upon.

But every year (at the end of the year when I’m shelf-reading before inventory) I find those titles that make me sigh and/or smile and say something to myself like, “Oh, yeah.  I remember this book.  I haven’t read or shared this with kids in a looooong time.  I’ll have to remember that come September.”

And of course I never do.  (Remember, that is.  Let’s just say Buchlady is no stranger to middle age memory lapses.)

But now I have new inspiration!  A few months back I subscribed to Anita Silvey’s Book-a-Day Almanac blog and I’ve so appreciated the way she’s jogged my book memories on a daily basis.    SO,  I’ve decided to re-read a bunch of books that have been sitting on shelves at school, books that I consider gems-to-be-remembered, with the idea of “selling” them to kids next year.  I’ll share these with you via this blog.  Maybe you’ll rediscover a treasure, too.

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