Saturday, May 23, 2009

TSS: My 2 Cents on the Texas Bluebonnet Books

I have read all twenty Bluebonnet books. I always feel happy when I finish all twenty Bluebonnets.

Here's my take on them, along with a brief Good News/Bad News report on each. Note: I've listed them in the order in which I liked the books.

Bishop, Nic. Nic Bishop Frogs. Good News (GN): Incredible photography, nice text. Bad News (BN): How much do we want to know about frogs?

Birdsall, Jeanne. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street. GN: Wonderful plot, a happy family for once. BN: Why aren't there any boys in the story?

Speck, Katie. Maybelle in the Soup. GN: Funny, short, and readable. BN: Can you love a roach as a main character?

Birney, Betty G. Surprises According to Humphrey. GN: Humphrey is every kid's dream friend. BN: Humphrey can be a little too good to be believed.

Stevens, Janet and Susan Stevens Crummel. Help Me, Mr. Mutt! GN: Hilarious plot with clever subplot. BN: Much of humor may be over kids' heads.

Nelson, Kadir. We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. GN: A story that has needed to be told; baseball; riveting tale. BN: Difficult text.

Holt, Kimberly Willis. Piper Reed: Navy Brat. GN: Great heroine; great family tale. BN: A bit girly.
Spinelli, Eileen. Where I Live. Illustrated by Matt Phelan. GN: Readable; poetry format is fun and light. BN: Writing a tale in poems can be tiring to read.

Kerley, Barbara. What To Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! GN: Fun format; Alice is a compelling heroine. BN: Will kids follow the story?

Feldman, Jody. The Gollywhopper Games. GN: Fun puzzles. BN: Derivative plot.

Rappaport, Doreen. Lady Liberty: A Biography. GN: Lots we didn't know about the statue. BN: Difficult text.

Deedy, Carmen Agra. . Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale. GN: Clever plot; beautiful illustrations. BN: A cockroach and a mouse?

Schulman, Janet. Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City. GN: Animal characters we always love; great length. BN: Illustrations somewhat bland.

Mora, Pat. 2007. ¡Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico!: America’s Sproutings. GN: Food as characters; brilliant illustrations. BN: Haiku is hard to follow.

Flaherty, A.W. The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster: A Tale of Picky Eating. GN: Oatmeal is finally useful for something. BN: Dark illustrations make text hard to read.

Lupica, Mike. Two-Minute Drill. GN: Football; boy characters, for a change. BN: Football; boy characters.

Look, Lenore. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things. GN: Great title; nice illustrations throughout; Alvin has troubles with all the things boys typically have troubles with. BN: Alvin is neurotic.

Wolf, Joan. Someone Named Eva. GN: Another book about Nazis. BN: Another book about Nazis.

Law, Ingrid. Savvy. GN: Beautiful cover; clever blurb. BN: Story wasn’t quite as good as cover and blurb promised.

Neff, Henry H. The Hound of Rowan. GN: Boy discovers he has secret powers and is carted off to a school to study how to use his powers to save the world. BN: Sound familiar?


  1. Ha ha! I wish more book reviews were this succinct. :-)

  2. Enormously helpful little snappy reviews. Mini-twitter-size even, but punchy and effective. Thanks for the overview!

  3. Nice write up of them! I like the way you did these. Happy Sunday!

  4. Despite the bad news, many of these look cute and I'll be looking into them for my crew.

  5. What a great idea, to read the Bluebonnets for the year. I may have to do this next school year. Thanks for the synopsis!

  6. I just noticed an interesting pattern: All the comments, so far, about my brief reviews are similarly brief.

  7. The fact that the main character is a roach actually made me curious about Maybelle in the Soup :P Sounds unusual! I also particularly like the sound of ¡Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach (I love folktales!) and What To Do About Alice?.

  8. I like the way you put this together, with the good news/bad news reports. I have to admit, there must be something about Que Rico that I'm missing. I heard such great things about it and yet, our copy has been read once and put away. Though now that my kids are studying Spanish, maybe they'll want to try to read the Spanish version...I guess I should get it out again!

  9. I've only heard of a couple of those. Love your quick good news/bad news reports for each.

  10. What's with the Bluebonnet Comm. and all the books written in verse? Those go over like a lead ballon at my school.

  11. I agree. Like this year, last year's Bluebonnets had two books of poetry. Why?

  12. cute, quick reviews. nice! :-)

  13. Oh my goodness! I had completely forgotten all about the Bluebonnet books. When I was in grade school I loved going to the library and browsing through the Bluebonnet list and picking out new books. Thanks for sharing these books with us!


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