Friday, August 19, 2011

Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum

Did you know that bubble gum was invented in the 1920s by am accountant named Walter Diemer? Did you know that the first bubble gum was pink because Walter thought it needed a color and pink was the only thing available?

I really enjoyed this quick picture book about an invention that everyone has tried at one time or another. The author, Meghan McCarthy, includes all sorts of facts at the back of the book to give readers more information.

This is definitely a book that I will share with the kids at Callahan this fall!

Friday, August 5, 2011


I've always had a fascination with pirate stories and vampire stories. I know some of you at Callahan like pirates and vampires, too, so I looked around for something that would be appropriate for fifth grade students and I think I found it!
I just read Book 1 in the Vampirates series by Justin Somper. It was entertaining and not too gory! It's about a set of twins who are orphaned at the age of 14. They take off in their dad's boat and are separated when a huge storm hits. One of them winds up with vampirates. The book definitely held my interest and I am looking forward to reading the next adventure.
Callahan kids-you will surely get introduced to these characters! I bought the first three books in the series for our school.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Emily's Fortune

I really like the author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and I usually love stories that are set in the Wild West, so I was very excited to read the Rhode Island Children's Book Award nominee Emily's Fortune. I just finished it today and I was not disappointed!

This book is about an orphan named Emily who is trying to make it to her Aunt's house before either her greedy Uncle Victor or a group of orphan catchers can catch her first. Along the way she makes friends with another orphan named Jackson who helps her along the way. The story is filled with exciting twists and kept me eager to keep going at the end of every chapter.

My favorite thing about Emily's Fortune was the friendship between Emily and Jackson. Jackson was a very loyal and kind friend to Emily when she did not have any one else to count on. I particularly liked the part when he helped her learn to climb trees. I have always liked to climb trees, but I am very bad at it. I get very nervous, confused and clumsy, with lots of close calls just like Emily did at first. The difference between Emily and me is that she actually got better because Jackson helped her, and I'm still a terrible climber!

If you have read Emily's Fortune, post a comment and tell us: what in tumblin' tarnation did you like best about it?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Connections with The Clockwork Three

Did you every read a book that reminded you of another book. That's how I felt when I read the Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby. I kept remembering two books I had read before, The Invention of Hugo Cabret and The King of Mulberry Street.
The Clockwork Three is the story of three young people whose lives are connected before every meet each other. This story of friendship between Giuseppe, Hannah and Frederic center around a hotel with aq mysterious treasure, a green fviolin, and a robot made from clock parts.
The three kids have terrible lives- orphans, sick parents, abuse,... How they overcome the misery that surrounds them is amazing. Readers are rooting for them to overcome their problems.

The setting of this book reminded of The King of Mulberry Street. That book takes place in the late 1800s, around same time as this book. Both books have evil adults, called padrones, who take advantage of immigrant kids sent to America in search of a better life. the kids live in horrible conditions and are treated as slaves who must do everything their masters tell them.

If you've ever read the Caldecott-award winning Invention of Hugo Cabret, you'll see another connection to The Clockwork Three. Both books take place at a time whre inventions was incredible and people were engineering machinery that was beyond comprehension. Try any of these three books, or all three if you have time. You definitely will get a feel of what it was like to live at the end of the 19th century in a growing American city.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hi Everyone!
I just finished reading Savvy by Ingrid Law...finally! It was recommended to me months ago, first by Mrs. Mulligan, and then by Mr. Brochu. I started it, and got about 90 pages in, but it hadn't really hooked me, so I abandoned it for another book I really wanted to read...and then another...and then another... Anyway, I was going through the pile of books on my nightstand and I uncovered it, so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did - it's a great book, and it made me do a lot of thinking about what it is in each of us that makes us special, and how the things that happen in our lives that are bad can often lead to outcomes that are good. I highly recommend it - and I am looking forward to reading the follow-up, Scumble. I'll let you know how it goes!
Happy reading!
Mrs. Mayhew

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rainy Day Reading

Sometimes on a rainy day I like to go to the public library and bring home as many books as I can fit into a shopping bag, even though I know I probably won't have a chance to read them all before I have to bring them back. I walk around and pick up anything that catches my eye. As you can see from the picture to my right, that is exactly what I did today!

The only problem? I have to decide what to read first!

I think I might start with Mercy Watson #6: Something Wonky This Way Comes. I have loved all the other Mercy Watson books, so I think this is a good bet for something I will enjoy on a rainy day.

I also have Tales of Beedle the Bard, which is a made-up book that was important to the Harry Potter story that J.K. Rowling then actually wrote in real life. Maybe I'll read that one first since I just saw the final movie when it came out last week!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Touchblue by Cynthia Lord

Have you ever wished you lived on an island? Well, you'll get a dose of island life in Touchblue because that's the setting. Eleven year old Tess Brooks lives on an island with her family and the book takes place during the summer months. She goes to a one-room schoolhouse where her mom is the teacher and the school is in jeopardy of losing the school due to lack of enrollment. five families decide to take in foster kids and Tess's family is one of them.
Aaron is not what Tess expects. She wanted a girl her age to come and be a part of their family. Aaron is thirteen years old and he doesn't seem very happy to be with them. Tess spends her days trying to find ways to help him fit in. Can you imagine having someone else come and live with your family? I know how this feels and it reallly does change day-to-day life. You will not be disappointed. I think this might be my favorite 2012 RICBA book so far.
By the way, Cynthia Lord is the author who wrote Rules. If you liked that book, you'll love this one, too!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Old Favorites

Hi Everyone!
My mom cleaned out her attic a couple of weeks ago, and she found some old books of mine, including the entire Little House series...

I LOVED these books when I was young - and I have spent the last few days rediscovering them. I am so glad to find that they are just as interesting now as they were so many years ago! If you aren't familiar with them, they were written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and they are the real-life story of Laura and her family in the late 1800's, starting when she was a little girl in the "Big Woods" of Wisconsin, and ending after she got married in what was then called the Dakota Territory.

I have many favorite stories from this series, and one I just finished reading is the story of The Long Winter. (It's kind of nice to get lost in a story about snow and freezing cold temperatures on days like this!) In this story, Laura is about 14 years old, and her family has just moved to the Dakota territory. They face an incredibly harsh winter - the first blizzard strikes early in October, and they continue straight through the winter, right into April, with no more than a day or two in between storms. No trains can get through, and the family runs out of food. Eventually, Almanzo Wilder (the man Laura ends up marrying!) and another young man make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find wheat so that the people in the town will be able to survive.

If you are looking for something new to read, I highly recommend them!

Hope you are all enjoying these warm summer days -

Mrs. Mayhew

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Green by Laura Peyton Roberts

Have you ever wondered about leprechauns? Well, Lily gets her fill of leprechauns on her 13th birthday when she is taken on an adventure that will forever change her life. What starts out as an ordinary day, turns into a life-changing experience. I would recommend this book to fantasy lovers and lovers of all things green!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sable by Karen Hesse

I just finished Sable by Karen Hesse. It's on one of the suggested reading lists but I've never read it, so I borrowed it from the library. Sable is a dog that shows up at Tate's house one day, and she falls in love with Sable. Her parents don't let her keep Sable because her mom is really afraid of dogs. Tate is a great kid who really falls for the dog. This is a short book to read, but if you love happy endings and dog stories, you'll love Sable. Everyone at Callahan knows I'm not a very big dog fan, but I even liked this story and would recommend it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

I just got back from a trip to New York City, and while I was there I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art or "The Met", which is a huge and amazing art museum.

While I was there, so many of the sights reminded me of one of my all-time favorite chapter books from when I was a kid: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.

This book is about a brother and sister who run away from home, but decide to stay in the Met because it is much more comfortable than trying to live on the street. They spend time exploring the exhibits around the museum, and eventually they even solve a mystery about a piece of art. My favorite part when I was younger was how they would bathe in the fountain in the lobby and take the coins that people would throw in for wishes to pay for things!

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is definitely a classic - it won the Newbery Medal in 1968, and rereading it now, I realized it is just as good as ever. If you happen to be traveling to NYC this summer this is a must-read!

But even if you can't make it to NYC to visit the Met this summer, click here to explore some of the Met's art - they have interactive pages where you can learn more about the art and artists from the museum.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Tail of Emily Windsnap

Jade S. from Callahan- if you're reading this post, you'll be glad to know that I finally read the book you recommended to me months ago! It was terrific. Now I need to go back to school to get the second and third book. I read in all today. I loved Emily and her introduction into being a mergirl. I wondered about the lighthouse keeper and what he had to do with the mystery behind her being half mermaid. It had a great ending. I can't wait to keep reading. Jade, you were right! Sorry it took so long to get to Liz Kessler's book that you raved about.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Turtle in Paradise

I didn't know anything about Jennifer Holm's book, Turtle in Paradise when I started reading it at the beach yesterday. As you can see from the cover, it looks like a good book to read at the beach. Well, it was a lot different than I thought. The book is set in Key West, Florida in 1935. Turtle is a young girl who goes to stay with family that she's never met. Her cousins are quite the characters, all with unusual nicknames like Turtle. They belong to a group of kids called the Diaper Gang and they baby sit for candy. That might seem a bit weird, but in 1935 times were tough and they weren't able to make money so they settled for candy. The adventures that Turtle has with her cousins in Key West are funny to read. I think Turtle is a character that readers will enjoy. Here's the book trailer.

By the way, I didn't even realize until I was done the book, that this is the same author that brought us the very popular Babymouse series that everyone devours at our school. Read on!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Chains was sitting on my nightstand for about six months. I just didn't feel like reading it, but last week I took a history class with some other teachers and I picked it up again. It was TERRIFIC! I would recommend it to anyone entering Grade 5 who likes to read historical fiction. It is first set in Rhode Island in the year 1776 but when the main character, slave girl Isabel, is sold to a Loyalist couple, she moves to New York. Isabel is treated horribly, even branded by her owner. She overcomes a great deal of difficulties that makes it really exciting for the reader because the author sets her in a time period where the country as well as the slave girl was trying to break free from CHAINS and fight for freedom. There is a sequel called Forge and I can't wait to read it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gator on the Loose

I just finished reading Sue Stauffacher's book Gator on the Loose. It was a terrific book if you like alligators at all. Keisha lives with her family in Michigan. Her dad rescues wild animals and then returns them to their natural habitat, but when they are asked to rescue a small alligator, they have a big problem. Alligators don't live in the wild in Michigan. It gets too cold. Keisha, along with her family and friends have to find a home for the alligator. What I really liked about this book was the amount of factual information about alligators. Sue Stauffacher got the idea for this book from a real event that happened near her home. Read one the RI Children's Book Award Nominees for 2012-Animal Resuce Team:Gator on the Loose if you like animal adventure books.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tell Us What You Are Reading in July!

This is the space where we want to hear about all of the exciting reading you are doing during the month of July!

Tell us the title and author of any books you read, and give them a rating between 1 and 5 stars and answers these questions:

  • What was your favorite part of the book and why?

  • What did you like least about the book?

Leave your answers as a comment on this post to share all the great books you have reading during the month of July.

Here are some important tips:

  • Be sure to leave your first name and last initial, your school and your grade so we know it was you.

  • Before you post your comment, be sure to have an adult read it over or proofread it yourself to be sure that your ideas make sense, and your spelling and punctuation is good.

  • Still not sure what to do? Check out the first comment on this post to see what a good comment looks like!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hi Everyone!

I am so excited to have some free time to read this new series I just discovered - they are murder mysteries set in a little town in Illinois - and the woman who solves them all is a school psychologist! I found them about a month ago when one of my other favorite authors recommended them. So far I have read six - and I just started the seventh today!

When I'm done, I may have to go back and re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in preparation for the final movie's release on July 15th...can't wait!

After that, the next book in the pile on my nightstand is Dying to Meet You by Kate Klise. It was on the RICBA list last year, but I never got to it. If anyone has read it and can give me a quick review, I'd love to hear it! Keep on Reading :)

Mrs. Mayhew

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Alvin Ho

Alvin Ho was a book I read aloud last year to some of the students at WLC. As I was looking at the Children's Book of the Day website (see sidebar link), there was a review for the second book in the series. We bought the book at WLC, but I never took the time to read it. Next week, I am making it a point to go and get the sequel. Alvin is a quirky character who always has crazy adventures. I'll let you know what I think once I'v read it. I might even go to the public library today and try to check it out. Happy summer reading everyone!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Book search online

Hi Everyone,
I know that sometimes when I'm trying to decide on a new book to read, it can be overwhelming with so many choices!  Here's a link that you can go to to look for books based on genre or area of interest.

I can't wait to hear about what you are reading this summer!

Ms. Howard

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fish by Gregory Mone

I really enjoyed reading the book Fish. The main character gets his name because of his ability to swim like a fish! Fish comes from a farming family, but he's not really that great at farming. His dad sends him to live with an uncle in the city, to earn money for the poor family, but Fish soons ends up on a pirate ship where a great adventure awaits him. If you like pirates, you'll love this book. The colorful characters will draw you right in to the pirates' search for treasure.

House Rules

Mrs. Brochu asked me to read this book over the summer because she read it and was not able to put it down. I'm not usually a fan of Jodi Picoult books, but so far this one is an intersting read. The book is about a boy named Jacob who has Asperger's Syndrome. Many children with Asperger's have a specific topic they like - Jacob likes forensic science (solving crimes). The cool thing about the book is each main character in the book is written in a different font so you know who is being written about at a particular time. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tell Us What You Are Reading in June!

This is the space where we want to hear about all the exciting reading you are doing this June!

Tell us the title and author of any books you read, then give them a rating between 1 and 5 stars and answer these questions:

  • What was your favorite part of the book and why?

  • What did you like the least about the book?

Leave your answers as a comment to this post to share all the books you have been reading during the month of June.

Here are some important tips:

  • Be sure to leave your first name and last initial, your school and your grade so know it was you.

  • Before you post your comment, make sure you have an adult look over your writing or proofread it yourself to be sure that your ideas make sense, and that your spelling and punctuation are good.

  • Look at the first comment of this post if you are still not sure what yours should look like.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Henry and Mudge and the Forever Sea

Summer is one of my favorite times of year, and even though vacation is still six weeks away, I think it is never too early to start reading books that make me excited for summer.

That is why I just read Henry and Mudge and the Forever Sea by Cynthia Rylant.

In this book, Henry and Mudge have a lot of great adventures when they go to the beach with Henry's dad. I like it because it made me daydream about all the adventures I plan on having when I go to the beach during my summer vacation.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

Friday, May 13, 2011


I just read a great book called Zero by Kathryn Otoshi. It's a great little picture book that explains how powerful the number zero can be. As a former math teacher, I love books about math!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tell us what you are reading!

This is the space where we want to hear about all the exciting reading you are doing this summer!

Tell us the title and the author of any books you read, then give them a rating between 1 and 5 stars and answer these questions:

  • What was your favorite part?

  • What part of the book did you like the least?

Leave your answer as a comment on this post to share all the books you have read during the month of May. You can leave a separate comment for each of your books or you can write one comment about all the books you have read.

Here are some important tips:

  • Be sure to leave your first name and last initial, your school and your grade so we know it was you.

  • Before you post, have a grown-up read over your answer or proofread it yourself to be sure that your ideas make sense, and that your spelling and punctuation are good.

  • Check out the first comment on this post for a sample to see what yours should look like if you are still not sure.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Masters of Disaster

The three main characters in Gary Paulsen's Masters of Disaster, Henry, Riley, and Reed, set off on the wildest adventures. Henry is the ring leader who always has some scheme brewing. This book is a fun read for all. Try it, you'll like it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Ijust finished this book and I can't believe how much I liked it. It reminds me of the funny characters in Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Each chapter is told by a different character's point of view. There are doodles and sketches throughout the book and I think fourth and fifth grade students will love it. Tell me what you think about this book. I wonder if this book is going to be a series? I just found my answer- check out the unofficial book trailer for the next book. It definitely could be made into a movie.

Here's a video of the author showing how to make an Origami Yoda.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lane Smith's Great Illustrations in Lulu

Came across this picture from Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Lane Smith- aren't his illustrations fabulous?

Anything But Typical

Nora Raleigh Baskin writes a beautiful story of a boy named Jason, who meets with many challenges in his life. Jason tells the story of what it's like to be a sixth-grade autistic boy. He faces each day with the realization that he is different. No one wants to sit near him, he has no friends, he doesn't get invited to birthday parties, and everyone at school stays away from him. Jason's biggest enjoyment comes from his writing. He feels at home at his computer, writing fiction online and communicating with a girl named PhoenixBird. What happens when Jason thinks PhoenixBird will find out what's he's really like? Will he have to stop writing? Will he have no friends at all? Read Anything But Typical to find out about more about Jason. You'll definitely get a new perspective on fitting in.

Check out the author's introduction to the book -