June 22, 2012

Fiction Friday: Chapter 2

Hello friends and fellow children's literature enthusiasts!

Welcome to Week 2 of Fiction Friday, or as I like to call it Chapter 2!  
Clever, I know.  :)  Here's what I've been reading:

How Oliver Olson Changed the World 
by Claudia Mills

Oliver Olson has helicopter parents of the worst kind.  They are involved in every aspect of his life and won't let him do anything, including go to the school space sleepover, even though all the other third graders are going.  (BTW...how cool does that sound?!?) When he gets assigned a space diorama project for school, his parents start doing the whole project for him while he sits on the sidelines watching and "helping." Then, something changes.  Oliver gets a partner for the project and he begins to figure out that his ideas are pretty good.  With the help of his diorama partner, Crystal, Oliver may just find his voice and change the world!

Overall, I enjoyed the book and found myself rooting for Oliver.  I had to laugh while reading the scenes with his parents. Especially when they were going over the project rubric and discussing how they were going to get full points.   I was a bit confused as to why his parents were so neurotic about things.  The book mentions that he was sick as a child, but what kind of sick?  Was it the flu or something more serious?  His parents are so worried about germs and him getting sick again, I couldn't help but wonder what was the cause for all the paranoia. Something to ask the author, Claudia Mills, who also wrote 7 x 9 = Trouble.

A cute story and good beginning chapter book for grades 2-3. Not sure about read aloud potential.  I think it would depend on your class.

Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) 
by Lisa Yee

Bobby's father used to play professional football but is now a stay at home dad. His best friend (secretly) is a girl. He wants a dog, but has allergies.  He loves rocks. He teaches his fish to do tricks with a soccer ball.  He hugs really stinky trees. He starts a feud between the boys and girls in his class. He runs for class representative and he a few issues with static cling.  Bobby is a may or may not be your typical fourth grader but either way, he's a very likable character. Although he means well, he continues to find himself in tricky situations that every 4th grader can relate too in some way.

Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) is an entertaining story with a lot of heart.  It reminds me of other family and school classics by Judy Blume and Andrew Clements.  The book is fast paced with very likeable characters that model so many of the character traits we try to teach our kids like compassion, generosity, and empathy.

The author does a great job keeping the book at a 4th graders level (both style wise and plot) while weaving in great vocabulary words like indubitably! Love that! It is right at a 4th grade reading level and would easily appeal to kids in grades 3-5.  Although I wouldn't necessarily select this book as a class read aloud, I think it would make a great book for book clubs and promote a lot of discussion and good thinking.

Join our celebration of Children's Literature this week by linking up below.  

We would love to hear about any of the books you or your class have read recently or just good 'ole classics that you read year after year.  Thoughts, opinions, reviews and lesson ideas welcome.  

Don't forget to link back to me on your blog post so that we can spread the word.  

Amazon wishlist is on standby.  

I can't wait to see what y'all have been reading this week.


  1. Both of the books you reviewed this week were on the 2011-2012 SSYRA list. They are definitely cute ones! I posted my review on my website this morning but I am going to go ahead and relink up to today's post, is that right? I hope so :)

  2. Adding to my Amazon list right now!

    1. Both books are really cute! You'll be glad you did and they are perfect for your 3rd graders. :)

  3. I facilitate for a school book club and both those books were on our lists last year-the kids really enjoyed reading them!


    1. Wow, school book clubs. Very cool! What a great way to encourage reading.

  4. Amanda, I replied to your comment on my blog about this week's Fiction Friday books but I wasn't sure if you would see it right away so I thought I would repost my comment here just in case.
    I would say that The Familiars is probably a good alternative for 4th graders that perhaps aren't quite ready for the Harry Potter series yet (I think since the kids are at least younger). It also might be a great series for those kiddos who are very interested in magic and wizards because everybody needs their "thing" when it comes to reading. I know it sounds weird that I mentioned that there is a lot of magic, duh right? But, just as a warning some of the magic is a little dark and I had a couple of kids that it would have been a big "no no" for them. I definitely think that Guinea Dog is a great read for anyone :)

    1. Thanks for the info on those books. I added both to my Amazon wishlist. Magic can definitely be a sensitive subject for some kids to be reading. Thanks for the heads up. Happy Reading!

  5. Ohhh...love this link up! I'll be linking up soon. :)

    Teaching Maddeness

    1. Awesome! I can't wait to see what books you feature!

  6. What a great idea! I will have to do this in my classroom in August. Maybe have the students pick out the book for the day!

  7. I used both those books for read aloud during the past year, and my kids absolutely loved them! I'm currently working on this year's SSYR books; will try to link up next week!

    Math is Elementary


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