Hermelin the Detective Mouse

Image Credit: Alfred A. Knopf (Random House Children's Books, Mini Grey

Image Credit: Alfred A. Knopf (Random House Children’s Books, Mini Grey

Oooh Hermlin is the cutest and smartest mouse around. 🙂 I love this book so much. I think I’ve found a new picture book niche that I enjoy; mysteries! I recently reviewed the book Shark Detective which is also a great one.

As you read Hermelin the Detective Mouse, pay attention to the first few pages; really look at the illustrations and read the text. It just might help you solve the mysteries! Hermelin is a little mouse who one day realizes that he can read. Off he goes typing with the typewriter in the attic of his house. He notices that his neighbors have quite a few stolen and lost things in the neighborhood so he sets out to solve some mysteries. Hermelin deftly solves all the cases and his neighbors, not knowing his identity, invite him to a party in his honor. BUT…let’s not forget that Hermelin is a MOUSE…and guess what many people are afraid of? You guessed it. Oh no Hermelin, be careful!

Mini Grey is a clever storyteller and illustrator. There’s so much going on in her illustrations and this is a GOOD thing. You can read the book several times and find new things like little notes on trash, letters on discarded paper, and facial expressions of important characters. She is amazing at composing a scene. They’re busy but very interesting to look at; like when solving a mystery, the closer you look, the more clues you’ll find. Your family will really enjoy reading Hermelin together and soon you’ll have little detectives running around your house!

 

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Mystery, Friendship, Discussion, Animals, Storytelling, Community
Book Info: Hermelin the Detective Mouse (as told to) Mini Grey, 2013 Alfred A. Knopf (Random House Children’s Books), ISBN: 9780385754330

 

Advertisements

The Stories Julian Tells

StoriesJulianTells

Image Credit: Bullseye Books (Alfred A. Knopf), Ann Cameron/Ann Strugnell

The Stories Julian Tells is fantastic. It’s a story full of poetic lines, vibrant imagery and is simply magical. It opens with Julian and Huey’s father making a lemon pudding for their mother; you’ve never seen such enthusiastic cooking! He says “Leave the pudding alone!” and then almost instantly falls asleep on a chair. His boys disobey of course, one taste leads to another and before they know it, the whole pudding is gone! The Stories Julian Tells features several interconnected stories that showcase Julian’s fantastic stories, his brother Huey’s imagination, their parents’ love for them and friendship. I love the Catalog Cats! Who knew invisible cats help your garden grow?

StoryJulianTells2

New Cover…cute but I’m partial to the original

This short novel is an excellent example of a story that features a family of color but doesn’t focus on the fact that they are a family of color and is not “historical.” They’re just a super cool Black family in the 80s! Perhaps many readers grew up with this book and love it. Ann Strugnell’s illustrations are magical and suit the story perfectly. Newer editions have an “updated” cover but I really love the original. The Stories Julian Tells is a great read aloud book and is also good for the classroom; so many discussions to be had about Julian and Huey and their fabulous stories.

 

Recommended for: 1st Grade and up
Great for: Diversity, Fantasy, Friendship, Morals, Discussion, Family, Read-Aloud, African-American
Book Info: The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron/Illustrated by Ann Strugnell, 1989 Random House Books for Young Readers, ISBN: 9780394828923

Math Curse

Mathcurse

Image Credit: Viking (Penguin Group), Jon Scieszka/Lane Smith

To celebrate 40 POSTS on Read It Real Good, I invited my good friend Nida to write about one of her favorite books. I met Nida while teaching English in Korea and she is particularly great with languages and linguistics.  I didn’t know about Math Curse until she started raving about it BUT I do love Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, or as I like to call them, the 90s Picture Book Dream Team. You might be familiar with their classics The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man. Welcome Nida and please enjoy her review:


Have you ever sat in a class (or meeting) and stared at the clock, counting the minutes, pondering and planning the rest of your day? If the answer is yes, then welcome to the Math Curse.

Math Curse opens with Mrs. Fibonacci telling her students, “You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem.” One girl discovers just how true those words are as she wakes up the next day to find that everything around her makes her think in mathematical terms. The reader follows her thoughts throughout the day where she can’t help but regard everything in her daily routine as a problem to solve, including her other subject classes. Despairing that she’ll never escape the math curse put upon her by her math teacher, she finally solves the ultimate math problem (with the help of a clever little pun) that frees her. She learns that although math may be everywhere, it’s no longer something to dread.

Math Curse is one of my favorite books ever. I love books that are designed to make you think, and this book definitely does that! But it’s not all about the math. The book is also filled with clever wordplay that will appeal to any little linguists out there. The best part is that this book can grow with a child. I first read it when I was 8, before I knew what the Fibonacci sequence, binary numbers, or the quadratic formula were. When I finally learned about those things in middle school, I remembered the Math Curse, went back to read it again, and appreciated it on a whole new level. Even as an adult, I am often plagued by a math curse as I try to figure out how to do everything I need to do within the hours of the day. Talk about a book for all ages!

This book will obviously be a hit with anyone already interested in math or language, but I also highly recommend it for parents who wish to engage their children with an interactive, relatable story. It’s important to understand: It’s not about getting the right answers (which can be found on the back cover, by the way), but rather exercising your brain and challenging yourself to see things in different ways.

 

Recommended for: 1st/2nd grade and up
Great for: Mathematics, Problem Solving, Language, Discussion, School Life, Frustration
Book Info: Math Curse by Jon Scieszka/Illustrated by Lane Smith, 1995 Viking (Penguin Group), ISBN: 9780670861944