Monday, September 7, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

 To learn more about It's Monday! What Are You Reading? visit Mentor Texts 

This is one of our Quest for the Crown books as well as a Bluebonnet Nominee for 2015-2016. 

I’m not big on animal stories. I was as a kid, but not so much anymore. Can I tell you how much I loved this book? The main character Tony is living with his great uncle because his mom’s in prison. Understandably he is lonely and sad. He friends his uncle’s dog. Well, this picture just says it all.


Genre: Animal Fiction   
AR level: 5.9
Grade appropriate: 4th and up

Overall: 4/5-- A wonderful book.

Creativity: 5/5

Characters: 5/5-- Loved Gabe and Tio. Tony grows and matures so much through the story. I feel in love with him too.

Engrossing: 2/5-- This is the one real drawback. I kept finding other things to do instead of reading this book. It wasn’t one I was craving. I am trying to be critical enough to only give 5 stars to the ones I can’t keep my nose out of.

Writing: 5/5-- free verse, well done.

Appeal to kids: 4/5-- It will be a shoe-in for the animal fiction lovers and maybe the boys who love adventure books. Others will have to be coaxed.

Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

Language: none

Sexuality: none

Violence: mild-- Tony’s mom is in prison for training dogs for dog fights. She also fights in prison. The dog fighting and his mom being in prison are definitely the hardest things about this book, but it’s such an uplifting, healing book. It doesn’t leave you there.

Drugs/Alcohol: none


This one is on our Newbery list even though it's basically a picture book. Here's last year's list. I think it'll get some Caldecott attention too. 

Genre: Biography
AR level: 7.0
Grade appropriate: 5th and up

Overall: 5/5-- Fascinating story about a con artist known as Tricky Vic (obviously.)

Creativity: 5/5-- Absolutely creative. The illustrations are so unique. Because Tricky Vic was so elusive for so long, he’s face is left out of the illustrations and replaced by a finger print. I know, right?!? So fun. So different.

Characters: 5/5-- You really get a feel for Tricky Vic even though the story is so short.

Engrossing: 5/5-- quick read. No time to get distracted.

Writing: 5/5

Appeal to kids: 5/5-- It’s basically a picture book. Will circulate fast and often.

Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

Language: none

Sexuality: none

Violence: none-- Tricky Vic cons Al Capone. The book discusses how Capone who was a criminal was also a bit of a hero during prohibition.

Drugs/Alcohol: mild-- Prohibition is discussed and defined. Often in the cons the “mark” would be drunk after Tricky Vic buys them many drinks.

Frequents bars and gambling houses early in life because he was a professional gambler. 

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