Friday, May 16, 2008

Author Fiesta: May with Patricia Polacco

We have had such fun over the past week or so. With school winding down -- and all our things being packed, tossed or given away in preparation for the big move -- we spent the last couple of weeks on fiesta, author fiesta that is with our good internet friend, Cay!

Each month, Cay posts links and information about a different author ... and May was Patricia Polacco month!

Here are all the books we read (we saved her five Christmas books to read during Advent and to give us a chance to re-live our Author Fiesta!) and a short summary to whet your appetite:

Wednesday May 7, 2008:
The Keeping Quilt – the true family history of a quilt
My Ol’ Man – lovingly retold story of the author’s dad and the magic they discover
Thank You, Mr. Falker – finally, Trisha gets a teacher who understands her
When Lightning Comes in a Jar – a family’s reunion and memory-making
Babushka’s Doll – when a demanding girl is allowed to play with her grandmother’s doll, she finally learns the meaning of patience!
Babushka Baba Yaga – is Baba Yaga really a grandma at heart?

Thursday, May 08, 2008:
Something About Hensley’s – true story of the local general store (and its owner) where townspeople always find everything they need.
Mommies Say SHHHHH! – the sounds on a farm where the only quiet animals are the bunnies. A Polacco book for the little ones.
The Butterfly – the true story of Polacco’s great aunt who helped save Jews in Nazi-occupied France; beautiful!
Thunder Cake – Tricia gets over being afraid of storms with a little help from her babushka (wonderful recipe at the end of the book!)
Boat Ride with Lillian Two Blossom – an ordinary summer day gets a bit more eventful for William and his sister when Lillian Two Blossom offers some answers to some questions
The Lemonade Club – when Traci’s best friend gets sick, only their teacher and the other students can make lemonade out of life’s lemons; excellent book about cancer and surviving and living life to the fullest.
Rotten Richie and the Ultimate Dare – sibling rivalry turns the corner when Richie and his sister “walk a bit in the other’s shoes”; very funny events occur!
The Bee Tree – when Mary Ellen gets tired of reading, her grandpa takes her on a hunt for a bee tree; wonderful story – when we first read this book a few years back, we went off on a whole study of bees and honey!

Monday, May 12, 2008:
Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic, sung in the year 1888 – a version of the famous poem with Polacco’s signature illustrations.
Mr. Lincoln’s Way – a great principal and a tough kid work together to help the birds.
Oh, Look! – a clever version of the old “can’t go over, can’t go over it” story. VERY cute illustrations!
Picnic at Mudsock Meadow – At the annual Harvest Festival, a boy who can’t do anything right finally solves an age-old mystery.
Some Birthday! – Patricia thinks everyone has forgotten her birthday, but her dad and family pull through with an unforgettable outing.
The Graves Family – an “Addams Family” like family moves across the street in the dead of night. Seth and Sara befriend the family and have amazing adventures!
The Graves Family Goes Camping – a sequel, this time the family takes Seth and Sara camping to a disused spot and bring home something they never imagined!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008:
Appelemando’s Dreams – how one little boys dreams can color a drab little town that’s forgotten how to dream.
Rechenka’s Eggs – a babuska’s beautiful eggs are accidentally ruined but the solution is even better than imagined.
Ginger and Petunia – Ginger and her pet Petunia are more alike than they ever imagined.
I Can Hear the Sun – a story about the homeless that has an uplifting ending
Pink and Say – two young Union soldiers find friendship and then are separated at Andersonville Prison.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008:
Meteor – when a meteor lands on the Gaw’s family farm, everyone in town comes out and learns how special they are.
Chicken Sunday – the kids sell pysanky eggs to earn enough to get EulaMae her Easter bonnet, but the hatmaker has something else in mind.
John Philip Duck – this is the fictionalized account of how the Peabody Hotel’s famous ducks first started swimming in the hotel fountain.
Luba and the Wren – here’s a fabulous retelling (and the pictures are glorious) of the Russian folk tale of the “Fisherman and His Wife”.
Tikvah Means Hope – a story of the famous Oakland (California) hills fire that devastated lives, but some stayed and hope returns.
My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother – Tricia finds out that sometimes older brothers are useful.

Thursday, May 15, 2008:
In Enzo’s Splendid Gardens – an outdoor restaurant is enlivened with this “house that Jack built” type story about a bee that lands on a tree.
Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair – books aren’t used properly once a town gets too used to television; a great book about the joy of reading.
G is for Goat -- an alphabet book of goat-life; one of Polacco’s books for younger children.
Just Plain Fancy – an Amish girl finds a fancy egg after complaining that their life is too plain.
Mrs. Katz and Tush – Larnel gives Mrs. Katz a kitten and all their lives are enriched.
Betty Doll – Polacco’s mother tells Patricia the whole story of her doll, Betty Doll.
Mrs. Mack – when Patricia spends her 10-year-old summer in Michigan, she meets Mrs. Mack and learns about horses.
Emma Kate – a story from Polacco’s childhood of her imaginary elephant friend, Emma Kate; one of Polacco’s books for younger children (and the drawings are wonderful!).

Friday, May 16, 2008:
Babushka’s Mother Goose – is much more than a retelling of Mother Goose! This is a tribute to Polacco’s Babushka and has a wonderful Ukranian/Eastern Europe feel to the poems and stories. This is wonderful.
Firetalking – an autobiography, this ended our unit on Patricia Polacco. She lovingly explains how she came to write and illustrate so many wonderful books for children and the great influence her family (and extended family) have had on all her work.

Books to save for Christmas:
Uncle Vova’s Tree
Christmas Tapestry
The Trees of the Dancing Goats
Welcome Comfort
An Orange for Frankie

Books coming out in 2008:
For the Love of Autumn (August)
Someone for Mr. Sussmann (November)

As you can see, Mrs. Polacco is quite prolific -- 47 books written plus two new ones coming out this year. She has such a gift of story-telling -- primarily because she comes from a family of storytellers (or "fire talkers") and because so many of her stories are based on ones that happened to herself or family members. The love of family shines through all her stories!

We can't wait for June to see who our next author will be!

THANKS Cay for such a wonderful way to make sure we read all the best picture book authors before we turn 100!


Anonymous said...

Can you believe we haven't read ANY yet? NOT because we don't want to, or don't have the time. simply because non of the requests have come in from the Library yet! Color me unhappy... love your reviews!

Leonie said...

Wow - a great list! Wonder if my library has any...