Another Day, Another Book, Another Possible Newbery

So I have done pretty well with my book-a-day challenge thus far. It is June 7 and I am only one book behind. I wish I could use the excuse that today’s book was not a picture book (256 pages) and therefore should count for 2 days at least. But that would kind of embarrassing.
Anyway, below are my readings and reviews for yesterday and today:

Tesla's Attic (Accelerati, #1)Tesla’s Attic by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hmmmm,I am not sure what I want to say about this book. It is written with wonderfully challenging vocabulary (enough so that it will take an advanced elementary reader to manage it) and well fleshed out characters. I actually really connected with the characters and would like to know what happens to them in the next installment. However, I think the science part of the story was tough to follow. I know that Nikolai Tesla was a genius and therefore I shouldn’t expect to have his science explained. But I do think it took a little too much blind faith by the reader to buy all the science-fiction that provided little to no explanation.
I suppose more of that may be offered up in the next in the series. That too, makes me hesitant about its Newbery hopes. The committee rarely chooses a book in a series.
I have had several students clamoring for this title and they finished more quickly than I did. So what do I know. :}

Blockhead: The Life of FibonacciBlockhead: The Life of Fibonacci by Joseph D’Agnese
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very cute picture book about Fibonacci, one of the great minds in Math History. He discovered what we refer to as the Fibonacci pattern today. 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34……..
It is a pattern he demonstrated could be found in the repeating patterns of the natural world. When they were middle-schoolers, my two sons were fascinated with fractals and the Fibonacci pattern.
This was another example of an incredibly complex topic being creatively explained for a young audience. I love these books because I can glean a tidbit of new knowledge without having to wade through an agonizingly long and dry adult non-fiction.
I guess, I need pictures!

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What’s in a Name

Rump: The True Story of RumpelstiltskinRump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was another great example of why I love retold and fractured fairytales. Obviously, this was a retelling of Rumpelstilskin. Unlike the typical story, this one has Rump/Rumpel/Rumplestiltskin as the main character. It is a wonderful coming of age story and a personal search for destiny. The author takes us on a romping exploration of “what’s in a name”.
Our 5th grade curriculum includes fairytale reading and writing and I can’t wait to use this great novel in an extension project.

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