Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A very humid early morning here in Lexington. Going to be 90 degrees by the weekend. I envy Steve spending the week in Redmond, WA where I am sure the weather is much nicer. He called a bit before 10:00 last night from Houston, anticipating getting in a 1 a.m. WA time. I never did get used to the 3 hour earlier time change while at ALA so I hope he does better.

Had a great time yesterday at the Kentucky School Library Media Association Summer Refresher Workshop in Louisville. I presented two booktalking sessions in the a.m. - a HS and a MS level one. Wrote 33 booktalks to prepare for the sessions so books were piled everywhere on my office floor before they were put in order and into the rolling suitcase. Also attended Teri Kirk's session on all the books she had read - what a wealth of titles. Also attended a session on blogs, podcasting, and wikis. Now to find time to play with the new web sites, etc. I learned about.

Just received the big box of books I sent home from ALA in Anaheim. I wish it has come in yesterday as my advanced reading copy of The Big Splash by Jack D. Ferraiolo was in it.
I did include it on my list of MS level titles for my booktalking session yesterday, but I wanted to hold it up so they could see the cool, bold cover art. This is one of the most delightfully funny books for MS that I have read in quite some time. Ferraiolo, in his debut YA novel, uses the writing style found in the old hardball noir pulp fiction detective novels. Seventh grade private detective, Matt Stevens, "tough as a steak from the school cafeteria," accepts a job from Vinny Biggs, the head of the MS crime syndicate that includes everything from forged hall passes to black market candy. Matt is to retrieve the good luck charm - a hula girl statue - that Vinny had given Nicky Fingers. But, it gets more complicated when Nicky Fingers, who wanted out of the "life", is taken out. She has left behind the life of being an assassin before her little sister enters middle school. She couldn't stay in the "life" with Jenny in school. "It would be like a butcher trying to raise his kid vegetarian." But, now Nicole (no longer Nicky) is in the Outs. Once a kid's crotch is soaked by a squirt gun shooter where all can see his/her humiliation, there is no chance of getting back into the popular crowd. Who shot Nicky Fingers and can Matt figure out which of the two females showing interest in him is the right one? Matt will soon learn one of them is involved in Nicky's downfall. A laugh out loud funny mystery that would be a hoot to read aloud. I can just hear middle schoolers groaning in delight over the one liners. I have the squirt gun Abrams sent with the ARC in my office, but I haven't sent anyone into the "Outs" with it. :-)

Another humorous read aloud, but for the little ones, is Ping Pong Pig by Caroline Jayne Church. I picked it up because I love the cover art - Ping Pong, in mid-air, looks so much like the Clorox bottle pig Mic and I made together. I wonder whatever happened to that pig. Ping Pong is also reminiscent of the pink ceramic piggy bank that you must smash open to get to the change inside. Or, spend hours with a butter knife trying to slide the change out through the slot! Anyway, Ping Pong wants to fly, but all of his attempts are making more work for the other farm animals so they make him a trampoline. Even while he is in mid air, shouting, "I can fly!" the other animals remind him that pigs can't fly. Ping Pong uses his new trampoline to help around the farm. But then Ping Pong decides to fly higher than ever and jumps out of the apple tree onto his trampoline. Over the barn and straight into the pond! Ping Pong is delighted to learn that fish can fly too. :-) A perfect read aloud for the farm animal unit in preschool or kindergarten.

Now I am going for a morning walk before I start grading. Been up for 2 hours already and it is only 8 a.m.