Detour in the Bend

The road has ended.  All new posts can be found here. (And still in its infancy.)

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Good Dog, Aggie by Lori Ries

Ben has a dog named Aggie. Aggie needs some training.  She doesn’t listen.  Ben takes Aggie to dog training class where Aggie causes chaos of all kinds.  Ben learns that he will have to practice with Aggie is she is going to learn.  Along the way, Ben meets many different kinds of people who are eager to see Aggie’s tricks.  Aggie needs lots of practice!  Finally, after chasing cats and hats and other things, Ben finally finds the thing that will help Aggie sit and stay.  Once that happens, both Aggie and Ben have success.

Dogs seem to be popular this year and this story, told in three chapters, is excellent.    This is more of a story than the other easy readers in my Cybils list.  It feels like a complete story, rather than an episode.  The pictures are whimsical and assist the reader in what the text is saying.  The text is repetitive but not redundant.  I enjoyed this very much.

Posted in animal fiction, Easy (Early) Readers, Reading | Tagged ,

2010 Snow Day Reading Challenge schedule

well, Im not doing so well.

8:30 – 9:00  a little of this and that on this blog.  I tried to get a video of my backyard to show the snow progression.  Not working or I’m incompetent.

9:00 – 9:45 reading Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis until my toes got cold

9:45 – 10:45 break for slippers, talking about the weather to Husband, work, friend at work and then trying desperately to try to get my new website to work.  Domain seems to be stuck in limbo.  Now it’s back to reading.

10:45 –  1:00 bit of a failure.  Read for about a half hour then checked work email.  Did some corresponding about a workshop I’m proposing for ILA conference. Then went to facebook, made hubby lunch (hoppin jon left overs with cornbread) and Now i’m reading. the snow has stopped here and I feel sort of silly that we panicked so much. that is usually the case, isn’t it?  Much ado about nothing.  I’m enjoying Never Cry Werewolf very much and can’t wait for the ending…

1:00 – 5.15: Hmmm, I didn’t do a very good job of reading and recording what I did today. I finished my book, hardly an achievement to write about. I wrote an annotation card for work and a review for this blog. Then i did more work, played a little, learned more about godaddy and my attempt to make a website (not a good start, but I’m learning). Suddenly I am sitting here in the dark. Time to go read my Cybils books.

I’m calling it a day. Challenge: a feeble attempt… but I did read.

Posted in Reading

Never Cry Wolf by Heather Davis

Shelby Locke’s life has changed drastically in the past three years: her mom died, her father’s plastic surgery drug made him a multimillionaire, his remarriage and a move to Beverly Hills. Priscilla, the step-mom is highly critical of everything Shelby does, decides Shelby needs time to prove she can be trusted by going away to “brat camp”. So Shelby finds herself in Camp Crescent near an enchanted forest. It’s not so enchanted, but the camp is filled with teens of high-powered executives from all over, including brooding Austin Bridges the son of rock star. When Austin and Charles get lost in the forest, Shelby takes it upon herself to save them. This puts her on the problem camper list and she spends the rest of her camp stay in and out of trouble. Shelby wants to trust Austin, but the stash of drugs confiscated from Austin’s luggage makes her suspicious. The stash turns out to be a serum that suppresses the wolf in Austin, Yep, he’s a lycanthrope. Without his serum, Austin will change into a werewolf in the next few days. Shelby goes out of her way to help Austin, and gets caught and send to “hell on earth” a bootcamp in the desert of Utah.

Shelby is rather inclined to do then think and this gets her into trouble. The feel good camp counselors want Shelby to focus on working on her issues and not helping others, which seems rather selfish and not team building. Never Cry Wolf is a light and enjoyable story.

Never Cry Wolf has 216 pages. I would recommend it for sixth to ninth graders. SH 6/09

Posted in Family relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Snow Day 2010 Personal Reading Challenge

I’m not going to work today, too much snow forecasted and I don’t want to take 2 hours to get home.  Too much stress.

It normally takes me one hour to get to work and one hour to get home.  Add the 7.5 hours I work and that is about 9.5 – 10 hours of my day spent working.

So today, on this snowy of snow days (we’re supposed to get 10 – 12 inches), I’m staying home and reading those 9.5 – 10 hours reading.  I will stick to the 48-hour reading challenge rules and spend time blogging as well.  Nothing but reading and blogging til 6.  Bye!

Posted in Uncategorized


So, I just found out that I wasn’t supposed to post my reviews of the books I’m reading for the Cybils. So, if you’re stopping by to read one of them, I removed them temporarily.  I’m sorry for the confusion. 


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How Oliver Olson Changed the World by Claudia Mills

Oliver Olson is nine and lives with his parents in Colorado. Because he was sick before he started school, Oliver is only a third grader.  Oliver’s class is learning about the solar system and manned space craft.  When Mrs. O’Neill assigns them a solar system diorama for homework, Oliver’s parent take over . His mom carefully examines the rubric and questions his father on how to actually complete the diorama.  Oliver doesn’t have a say in the matter; he is merely the go-fer.  In class, Oliver and his classmates learn about the discovery that Pluto is no longer a planet.  Oliver’s classmate Crystal, a real chatterbox, protests the demotion of Pluto. After brainstorming their ideas, Crystal and Oliver develop a plan for their shared diorama. They’re going to put Pluto outside the box with a sign saying “let me in”.  Oliver is certain his parent won’t approve and arranges to do the project at Crystal’s house.  When they finish the diorama back at Oliver’s, both Crystal and Oliver discover how different life is for Oliver and his overbearing parent.

There are other things happening in third grade: the annual overnight at school is coming up and Oliver really wants to go.  When he asks his mother about the overnight, she says no… there are too many germs, he won’t brush his teeth for two minutes and there won’t be enough supervision. Oliver really senses that his over-protective parents aren’t the norm.  The other opportunity that comes to the third graders is that a politician is coming to school and Mrs. O’Neill wants her students to come up with an idea that can change the world.  Oliver’s mother has an idea about that–she thinks Oliver should submit a no U-turn policy for the school parking lot.  While experiencing Mrs. Olson’s heavy handed parenting, Crystal helps Oliver develop an idea that students should complete their own homework.  In the end, Oliver gets the courage to talk to his parents about homework, the school sleepover, and his burgeoning independence. 

I have mixed feelings about this book.  I liked the story. I liked how Oliver developed.  I loved Crystal. I loved that her dogs were named Bart, Lisa and Maggie and that Crystal was Oliver’s biggest ally.

So, what is the problem? Why the mixed feelings?  This isn’t the funny novel that you expect for this age group.   I do like the ideas presented in it; there aren’t a lot of problem novels for this age group. There is a reason for that.  Young readers, particularly boys, need to be engaged in the story to keep reading.   I think the school scenes didn’t seem real to me.  I thought the “teachable moments” were shoved down the students throat, and therefore, my throat.  Instead of giving students the opportunity to learn different aspects of the subject, the information was delivered in a lecture.  That isn’t what would normally happen in a third grade class and that is what felt odd to me.  Addtionally, I think there should be a new subject heading: overbearing parents-juvenile fiction.  Those two were over the top and the explanation that Oliver was sick wasn’t explained enough.

Is it enough to not recommend the book?  No, not at all.

Posted in early chapter book, Family relationships | Tagged , ,