Tuesday, April 22, 2008


When Queen Isabella wasn't impressed by the gift of a sweet potato, Columbus told a teeny weeny little white lie about the new world being littered with gold and gems. This caused a rebellion and landed big C. in leg irons. But perhaps Isabella shouldn't have been so quick to judge the shortcomings of others, seeing that she boasted only two baths a year. Grace O'Malley marauded English ships for sixty years...who would suspect such a sweet little old grandma of being a pirate? Bad, bad Babe Ruth hung his baseball manager out of the window of a moving train. Bach hit a bassoonist with a stick after names could never hurt him, and Daumier painted the king of France as a pear, a leap of comedic faith that went highly unappreciated by the noblesse oblige. From Cleopatra to Rosa Parks, over a dozen famous figures who crossed the line in their time are given tongue-in-cheek due, accented by extra-pouty double-page cartoon portraits. This very light bite of history and will appeal to the irreverent tastes of those who enjoy Lane Smith (JOHN, PAUL, GEORGE AND BEN) and Jon Sciezka (TIME WARP TRIO). For older children, this is a great springboard into deeper exploration, and older kids can make reports of troublemakers of the 21st Century (there have been a few). Teachers, read it in combination with books like Mordicai Gerstein's THE MAN WHO WALKED BETWEEN THE TOWERS and Don Brown's KID BLINK BEATS THE WORLD to discuss the difference between civil disobedience and good ol' fashioned bad behavior.
Almost everyone thought they didn't deserve a time-out. A few were right.

It's possible that one or two of our time-outers looked deep into their hearts and thought, "Maybe, just maybe, I did need to cool down a bit." We can't know for sure.

The one thing we can know for sure is that someday, somewhere, someone will once again be badly behaved, out of order,ill-mannered, inappropriate, or just plain unwilling to follow the rules. And they'll need a time out.

Let's just hope that someone isn't you or me.
I have long said there is a book for every occasion, and I thank this author for providing a perfect pick for the chill-out chair. (6 and up)

Also of interest:
THE DOGGY DUNG DISASTER & OTHER TRUE STORIES: REGULAR KIDS DOING HEROIC THINGS AROUND THE WORLD by Garth Sundem (Free Spirit) Several teachers have asked me if I know of a good group reading book for the end of the school year. Wow, is this one a gem for reluctant readers, read-aloud or read-alone! Thirty articles about kids who have made a difference are ordered under headings such as "Kids Saving the Environment," Kids Standing Up for Themselves," "Kids Helping Others," "Kids Overcoming Challenges," and "Kids Using Talents and Creativity". The author gathered truly amazing achievements from around the world that will inspire any reader: from Santosh Yadav, in India, who had been told "girls can't climb mountains" but decided to climb Mount Everest twice, to the brave Farliz Calle in Columbia, a Nobel Prize nominee who used organizing skills garnered in student council to create the Columbian Children For Peace, or Alexandra Scott, who raised over a million dollars for cancer research by selling lemonade. The writing throughout the book is surprisingly solid and in tune with its intended audience, giving unusually clear explanations of circumstances and cultural differences. In fact, the author created this book after visiting a sixth-grade classroom and seeing that the kids needed heroes with whom they could really connect. This book is an achievement in itself, with can-do content that every child in grades 5-8 deserves to know. I'm saving up for a classroom set. (10 and up)

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails