Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Couple of Reviews and an Award Too!

So I've finished both trips to Boston for the summer and both went well. The weather could have cooperated a little more, but the kids were troopers and didn't mind their raincoats and sweatshirts. When I returned this time I saw a comment that informed Karen and I that we have been chosen as one of the Top 50 Teacher Blogs by a website called Teachercertificationdegrees.com We didn't start this for awards, but it's nice to be recognized especially when some of our blogging friends like A Year of Reading and Raising Readers and Writers are also included, so, thank you.

Before I left I finished two short novels that I liked, not only because they are short, quick reads, but also because they are well done. The first is an early chapter book called The Golden Ghost by Marion Dane Bauer. Delsie wants a dog in the worst way but her father is allergic to all animals, including ground hogs, so all she can do is wish. As the summer winds down, she and her best friend Todd are bored and looking for something to do. In her desperation for adventure, Delsie throws out the idea of exploring the "ghost houses" on the edge of town. The houses are nothing more than abandoned company homes, but kids start stories and soon they are known as the ghost houses. Even though they aren't supposed to go in, Delsie and Todd do and Delsie senses a presence in one of the houses that appears to have had someone living in it recently. As the story continues the drifter who lives there appears and so does a sparkling being that resembles a golden retriever, but Delsie is the only one who can see it. Young readers will enjoy the mystery and ghost of this story. There is just enough suspense to keep them interested and just enough ghost to make it a young reader thriller.

The second book was Hothead by Cal Ripken, Jr. and Kevin Cowherd. Cal Ripken is a legend, not only for his streak of games played, but also because he played the game the right way. Who better to write a baseball book than a genuine baseball hero. In Hothead, Connor Sullivan is the star of his baseball team. In true Cal Ripken fashion he is humble and an ultimate team player. When things at home start getting tense due to his dad's job loss and money problems. It affects Connor's play and attitude and he begins to lose his cool on the field earning him the nickname Pshyco Sully. His old school coach pulls him from the big game and the school reporter threatens to do a tell all article in the school paper if he doesn't get himself under control. Connor is forced to take a look at himself and figure out how to channel his energy into performing better on the field. I was a big fan of Matt Christopher books growing up, and, even though those books still hold up today, I've been on the look out for some books that today's kids will relate to. Hothead fits the bill and I can't wait to introduce it to my kids next year. It's well written, less than 200 pages, and the beginning of a series by Cal Ripken, Jr. which automatically gives it sports credibility. I found this cool related website with some batting tips from Cal Ripken, Jr. himself.


  1. Hi, Bill! I recently read The Golden Ghost as well and was as pleased as you were with the story. At first, I was wondering if I needed to read Marion's other 'Ghost' books...The Blue Ghost, The Red Ghost, The Green Ghost. However, I was pleased to find out this is a stand alone book that does not require the reading of the others. I think readers might be interested in reading the others, though, after reading The Golden Ghost.

    Congrats on the award, too!

  2. Hey Bill and Karen,

    Sorry about leaving an off-topic comment, but I couldn't find contact info for you on the blog, and I'm wondering if you'd be interested in a guest post. Please drop me an e-mail!



  3. Hi Lindsey,
    Is there a way to leave us your email contact? Would love to chat further!