IMWAYR – Challenge Week 8

ItsMondayGraphicThis week I two more Challenge books and then spoiled myself and read a choice book!  To learn more about my challenge, and to view my list of books, head over to the 100 Children’s Book tab at the top of the page!


The Challenge Books

This week’s Challenge picture book was one that I have been waiting to read for nearly a month!  Llama Llama Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney, was a cute picture book about young Llama Llama heading off to bed.  However, he keeps getting scared.  He calls for his Llama Mama, but she doesn’t come right away.

This is an amazing little book filled with rhymes and gorgeous illustrations.  Also, the amazing line, “Please stop all this llama drama and be patient for your mama.”  Llama Drama!

My Challenge novel this week was a re-read for me.  Mr. Popper’s Penguins, by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater, is the tale of an out of season house painter who receives an amazing package from his favorite Antarctic explorer.  Mr. Popper and his family embark on an amazing journey of having a penguin, then a second, then a whole family!

I know I read this in 5th grade.  I remember that I liked it then, but I didn’t remember much about the plot.  I liked this book overall.  However, there is a twist in the plot that left me loudly questioning the book.  My husband actually had to ask if I was okay.


Spoiling Myself

I have a couple of books lined up to read over Thanksgiving.  But I needed to read something else, so I decided to spoil myself.  I have bought a lot of books this semester that I haven’t read yet.  I grabbed one of those and was very happy with my choice.

Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate (author of The One and Only Ivan), is the story of Jackson and his family, and Jackson’s imaginary friend Crenshaw.  Crenshaw is a giant cat with coloring just like a penguin, fingers instead of paws, and wisdom for his kid.

Jackson’s family is going through financial difficulties.  This is not the first time Jackson remembers becoming homeless.  As he realizes that they are going to bed hungry more often, his childhood imaginary friend Crenshaw shows up.  Jackson is “much too mature” to have an imaginary friend, but Crenshaw persists.

It was an amazing tale that focuses on this young boy who is trying to be strong and responsible so as not to worry his parents.  This is an honest portrait of a family who is facing difficulties, a young boy who is trying to be mature and handle things that are actually very, very difficult, and the comfort that we can find in our imaginary, and not so imaginary, friends.


So that is it for this week.  Have you read any of these?  Which picture books off my Challenge List do I need to make SURE I read?  What did you read this week?  Let’s talk below…

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14 thoughts on “IMWAYR – Challenge Week 8

  1. I am so happy that you reviewed Crenshaw because I have been eyeing that book for a while and even put it in my mock Newbery. I wanted to know how you would compare it with One and Only Ivan? Did you like one more than the other?

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    1. Well, both books made me cry. I think that middle grades students (whom I work with) will enjoy Ivan more – it does not tackle as many “big” issues. Crenshaw might be a bit heavy because the family is dealing with impending (and past) homelessness, not enough food, selling their things. That might be good though too…make kids think.

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  2. How did you feel about Crenshaw? I read it a few weeks back and, while I felt that it was written extremely well and would make an excellent study on childhood poverty, I could not love it as much as Ivan. It was just too heavy, too melancholic–definitely realistic, and definitely NEEDED…but not as much FUN to read, if that makes sense…

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      1. Absolutely…Ivan made me bawl too, especially when Ruby died. 😦 However, I felt like it had a hopeful, positive ending and I did not get that same feeling with Crenshaw. Some changes were possibly happening, but it was not a big, “problem solved” ending. Realistic, for sure…but not necessarily uplifting! 🙂

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    1. I really got frustrated by the ending twist in Popper. Seriously he was just like “bye family”!?!?! I was so mad I talked to the book-to strange looks from my husband!

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  3. It looks like you compiled a great list of books! I especially want to read Crenshaw! I just loved “The One and Only Ivan” so i bet this would be a great read for me as well. Surprisingly enough, I haven’t read any of the selections you listed. I better get reading, thank you for sharing!

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    1. I absolutely, positively LOVED Crenshaw. She didn’t back into the homelessness issue at all – it certainly is the major conflict for Jackson and his family. I think that she creates characters who are so real and have such depth to them that I feel they are real. I’m wanting to read more of her books too!

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