Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Seven Chinese Brothers

Once upon a time, when Ch'in Shih Huang was emperor of all China, seven remarkable brothers lived together on a beautiful hillside.

They walked alike, they talked alike, they even looked so much alike it was hard to tell one brother from the brother next to him.

All the same, each brother had something special about him. Each brother had one amazing power that was all his own.

I have owned this book for quite some time. It sat on my shelf in my classroom when I taught 3rd grade and then 6th grade. I had never read it aloud until recently, when I read it to my boys.

Since then, I've read it aloud to my first grade class each year and they are just enthralled by the story.

Something about a story that starts, "Once upon a time" and that has brothers with magical strengths, just gets them. Always, one or two kids will just shout out while I'm reading, "This is an awesome story"It's a little scary. An emperor is trying to kill each of the brothers (who he thinks is just one person).

He throws one brother in the ocean, but his legs grow so long, he never drowns.

He attempts to burn a brother, but the one who loves fire, puts himself in his brother's place and enjoys the toasty warmth.The youngest brother, the one who was the baby of the family, is the one the other brothers try to keep happy, for if he cries, he creates giant tears that could drown an entire village.

In the end, he does cry, but his tears end up saving everyone.

This is a story my two boys ask for again and again. I know they love how each brother has a special strength of his own.

The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Jean and Mou-sien Tseng

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Boy who was Raised by Librarians

Melvin lived in the Livingston Public Library.
Well....he didn't really live there. He just spent lots and lots of time there.
He wanted to know a lot about everything. He was curious. And the library is a wonderful place to be if a person is curious.

This book is currently on our all time favorites list. Mostly because we love the library and love reading so we can picture ourselves exactly in Melvin's shoes.

He starts visiting the library as soon as he can walk there by himself and he goes every day until he goes away to college.

When he is in first grade, he brings a jar of bugs to show the librarians - he trips and they go everywhere in the library. Izie loves this part because he has tripped carrying his beloved caterpillar and they flew everywhere.

The librarians help Melvin record and catalog his bugs.
Izie catalogued some of his, here's his caterpillar on his finger.

In third grade, Melvin starts a baseball collection that he organizes. The librarians help him store them and show him a price guide on the internet.

JT loves this part because he organizes all his baseball cards just like that.

We love this book and have been re-reading it daily. The library really is one of our favorite places and the boys think it does sometimes seem like they are being raised by librarians (even though mom is a teacher and dad just plain ol' likes being curious.

You'll never guess what Melvin grows up to be......

The Boy who was Raised by Librarians by Carla Morris, illustrated by Brad Sneed