Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Must Read Monday

So, a lot of the blogs I follow feature "regulars" that I LOVE to read. The Pleated Poppy has "WiWW," or "What I Wore Wednesday." Jeannett has InstaFriday, which I have had fun joining. Other bloggers post updates in their online shops on Mondays or Fridays. I don't have a product, and I'm not sure people would be too wowed by my outfits. I can only write what I know. And I know books.

I was at the library yesterday and a man came in with his elementary school aged son. He asked the librarian for some suggestions for books for a second grader. She showed him some titles, asked if he liked Junie B. Jones, or Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He told her he liked Transformers. They did not find any Transformers books, but did select a few others. The man proceeded to check them out with his son, only to find out his son forgot his library card and they couldn't check them out anyway. I felt sad for the boy that he could not check out any books, but even more sad for the father that he had no idea what kind of books his child would like to read and didn't make sure his son had his card before they left home. It seems that reading these days has been replaced by video games and tv shows and ipods. Someone recently told me her nine-month old was beginning to show an interest in books so she was starting to read to her at bedtime. I almost fell out of my chair. My boys were being read to when they were nine minutes old. In fact, reading to them was one of the things I looked forward to most when I anticipated their arrival into the world.

I know there are lots of places to go for reviews of books. So, why should you listen to me? Because I'm a mom and a teacher. Because I know what books make my kids laugh out loud (Hooway for Wodney Wat, by Helen Lester) and what books make them cry (Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch). And, my seven year old has the most terrific first grade teacher on the planet, who has made him fall in love with certain authors. She does an "Author of the Month" and she reads books by the author, and goes to the author's website so the kids can listen to him or her read the books. I have been exposed to so many authors that I did not know before this year. She is so consistent, too, reading a large selection of the author's books and really inviting the kids to get to know the authors.

So, the Must Read book for this Monday (err...Wednesday) is called Wink, by J. C. Phillips. The subtitle reads, "The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed." This is a "must read" for several reasons. First of all, it contains one of my favorite lines of all. After Wink turns down his grandmother's suggestion that they go to the circus, the grandmother says, "Time spent laughing is time well spent." And don't my children know this. I've said it a million times, but if I could bottle Carson's laughter and keep it forever, I would. Nobody can keep a straight face when they hear Carson giggling. I'm sure if I put his giggle on youtube it would get a lot of attention. There is just something about it. So, anyway, laughter is good. And children need to know that when they are having a bad day, like Wink, sometimes the best thing to do is to be distracted, and entertained.

The other reason this is a terrific book is that the main character, Wink, just cannot follow the directions of his teacher, Master Zutsu. No matter what Master Zutsu instructs his students to do, Wink is always the loudest, and the most showy. On a fieldtrip to the zoo, he ends up sword fighting with a panda. Maser Zutsu is speechless, and sends Wink home, just like he has many times before. Wink is so frustrated--he just wants to be a good Ninja. Then he peeks over a fence and sees his neighbor practicing some stunts, and failing miserably. Wink hops over fence to show his neighbor how to balance, putting into practice many of the skills Master Zutsu had been teaching him. The boy and his parents are amazed, and Wink returns every day to work with the boy and show the family all the stunts he can do. Before long, Master Zutsu and Wink's grandmother receive tickets in the mail for the circus, and guess who is the main event?

Wink is such a great story of perseverance, and finding one's place in the world. I hope you'll enjoy it sometime soon!

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