Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (audio)

Bridge to Terabithia

Overview from Barnes and Noble:
A secret world of their own
Jess Aaron's greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new kid, a new girl, boldly crosses over to the boy's side of the playground and outruns everyone.

That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. It doesn't matter to Jess that Leslie dresses funny, or that her family has a lot of money — but no TV. Leslie has imagination. Together, she and Jess create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits. Then one morning a terrible tragedy occurs. Only when Jess is able to come to grips with this tragedy does he finally understand the strength and courage Leslie has given him.

The life of a ten-year-old boy in rural Virginia expands when he becomes friends with a newcomer who subsequently meets an untimely death trying to reach their hideaway, Terabithia, during a storm.

My thoughts:
Part of me cannot understand why Barnes and Noble would have the fact that Leslie dies as part of their overview.  I hate when really powerful parts of books are given away in a book synopsis, book trailer or review without at least a spoiler notice.  That said, I doubt there are all that many adults who haven't already read this book so most of us already know.  I must admit that while listening to this audio book I did not cry when Leslie's death occurs.  Even as an adult this part usually makes me cry, I think I have less of an emotional investment in audio books that ones I read on the page.  It has been a number of years since the last time I read  it.  I decided to listen to it because my son is reading it at school with his class.  I had considered listening to this one with my children a number of times and I have always had such an emotional response to her death that I wasn't sure if it would be a good idea.

At the end of the book there is an interview with the author and her son.  Having never looked into learning more about Paterson I had not known that she took events from her own life to create this book.  Her son's best friend, Lisa, to whom the book is dedicated, died as a child and this is part of how she worked through her feelings about the loss.  I am sorry now that I shyed away from this as a shared audio book with my children, I think that

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064401845
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/1987
  • Series: A Trophy Bk.
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 25
  • Pages: 176

Meet the Author

Katherine Paterson was born in China, where she spent part of her childhood. After her education in China and the American South, she spent four years in Japan, the setting for her first three novels. Ms. Paterson has received numerous awards for her writing, including National Book Awards for The Master Puppeteer and The Great Gilly Hopkins, as well as Newbery Medals for Jacob Have I Loved and Bridge to Terabithia. Ms. Paterson lives with her husband in Vermont. They have four grown children.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Letter Birds" by Pam Spremulli

Description from
Pam’s simple and colorful graphic illustrations of birds from around the world make up this delightful book. Every letter has a corresponding bird, from the well-known C for Cardinal to the more obscure and exotic, like L for the brightly colored Lapwing. How many people know what bird starts with “X” or “U” or even “Z”? Children (and parents!) will discover a wonderous array of birds brought to life with fun, colorful illustrations and, in the process, learn the alphabet.

My thoughts:
I requested this book for review because I have a three year old at home who is obsessed with letters. He started getting into them when he was two and he just hasn't quit. Before becoming a stay at home mom I was an elementary teacher (I taught both first and second grade) and before my high education was derailed I was working towards a degree in Library Science. I love books and have been obsessed with children's' books for a long time.

This book is perfect for us! I love how simple but beautiful the illustrations are. My son loves to point to them and we are learning new bird names that we haven't encountered before. He loves that he can pretty much read it himself, minus the unfamiliar birds whose names he is still learning. That said my five year old also picks this book up and flips through it. Her kindergarten class does a lot of letter activities and reading activities and this book really draws her in. The illustrations are also very realistic, yet not trying to be anything but an illustration if that makes sense. I'm not sure how else to put it.

This book is simple and a great tool for early learners that I can see staying a favorite for years. I loved the picture of the author at the back with birds drawn in all around her chair. Pam Spremulli obviously is both a gifted artist and a very imaginative person.

About this book:
This book was provided free of any obligation by Publishing Works, Inc. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

Publishing Works was launched in 2003 as an independent press specializing in regional titles. Since then, the company has grown dramatically to embody a list of titles that spans diverse genres, age levels, and subject matter. Please visit them at their website,, or view their catalog for a complete list of titles.

To purchase this book or any other book published by Publishing Works, visit their online store here http:/ At checkout, include the Coupon Code BLOG for a 20% DISCOUNT, courtesy of Publishing Works, Inc. and their continued support of book blogging! Happy reading!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"The Elf on the Shelf" by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell

My rating 5 out 5.
Where the book came from: purchased at book store

This comes as a set with a hardcover book and an elf. The story talks about the story of the elf who is visiting just until Christmas Eve. He is magical but has promised Santa not to talk to children. At night he reports back to Santa at the North Pole and then returns and hides in a new place to be found the next day. At the back of the book there is a place to write your elf's name and the date you started the tradition as a family.

I heard a lot of my friends talking about this book and was interested. It seemed a bit high in price to me, but we used a coupon and a gift card which made it seem more reasonable. My children loved the story and got so into it. We purchased it yesterday and this morning they were so excited to come downstairs to find Elfie (our current name, we haven't decided for sure so I am waiting to record it in the book). It helped a bit with some behavior and fighting issues. Although the illustrations in the book were not quite as good as I had hoped for, the fact that my children love it and are having a good time with it makes up for that. i would recommend this book to people with small children

Monday, October 5, 2009

"The Best Nest" by P.D. Eastman

Although we have a home library in our area there is another library that is actually closer to our house and that I go to more often. Because we need to apply for a library card at the home library and then receive an Access PA sticker to be able to check out books at other Pennsylvania libraries neither of my older children had cards yet. We rarely go to the home library because the children's section is very small and doesn't have much open space to sit and browse while the other library has a big children's area, bean bag chairs, and board books that aren't alphabetized (so they are totally small child friendly). Tonight I took my first grader to our home library so he could sign up for his own card. It was really exciting for me to see him receiving his card and checking out his first non-school library book. Books are such a big thing at our house and I really want to foster a love of not just books but of going to the library.

One of the books we read together was "The Best Nest". It was a fun book to read. The male bird loves the nest he and his wife have but she decides she hates it so they go out looking for a new nest. Each place they find turns out to be unsuitable for one reason or another and they finally end up back at the first nest. I liked how it showed them being dissatisfied with their nest for no reason other than it was old. I think a lot of us replace things that don't actually need to be replaced just because they are old or we are bored of them, when they are still perfectly good. What a good story to give to children and we can hope that some of it sinks in and makes an impression!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"The Magic Hat" by Mem Fox

It took me longer to get to this than I meant too. My children and I are going to be picking a book of the day each day and hopefully we'll (or I'll) make the time to post a review of what we thought of it. I wanted them to have their own page online to look at and be proud of. Tonight one of the books we read was The Magic Hat by Mem Fox. This book was new to all of us (although as a teacher I know I've read her books before just not this one). We all loved it.


A magic hat blows into a town and as it lands on people's head it changes them into animals until the wizard comes and takes it back and they all change back. When the wizard puts the hat on he changes into a little boy happily walking down a path.


I love how Fox has portrayed imagination. At the end the boy is walking away with all the magic that we all have, just fail to see sometimes when we get busy during the day with all the little things. My children really enjoyed the rhyming words and predicting which animal would come next based on the rhyme and the rhythm of the book was fun. They were able to read part of it to themselves as well due to the repetition, rhymes and use of sight words in the text. We checked this book our of the library but I can see it making repeat visits to our house. Definitely fun for younger readers!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Children's Books

My children and I read a LOT. There are so many books on our bookshelves that I know logically it would be a good idea to start weeding through and donating or giving some away and I just don't want to. Each one of them has different interests which I know will get even further apart as they get older. Plus because they are all different ages they are each developmentally ready for different types of books. I thought it would be fun for me to try blogging with them so I am going to let them each help me write some review of the books we read together. Hope you're ready for an assorted variety of kids books!