Wise Words from the Children's Poet Laureate
Books: Southeast Asia

"The Periodic Table" and More

Wouldn't you know it? Just as soon as I say the kiddo isn't reading, I spot him with his nose in a book once or twice. So I'll put aside parental anxiety for now. Jeez. Lesson learned. 

We finished up Joy Cowley's middle-grade novel Chicken Feathers as a read-aloud; it's about a boy and a talking chicken who also likes to drink moonshine. Yes, a mite heavy on the quirk factor. Junior liked it.

This morning at the bookstore I picked up (for Junior) two novels recommended for their humor—David Lubar's Invasion of the Road Weenies, and Louis Sachar's Wayside School Is Falling Down. (I remember first hearing about the Wayside School books in Beth Kephart's Seeing Past Z: Nurturing the Imagination in a Fast-Forward World, a must-read book about encouraging children's reading.) I also bought some nonfiction: [Simon] Basher and Adrian Dingle's Periodic Table, which comes with a poster of the same. 

Back in 2007, the Farm School blog reviewed The Periodic Table:

Artist Simon Basher and chemistry teacher Adrian Dingle have created a vivid rogues' gallery of elements guaranteed to bring the periodic table to life and appeal to kids of all ages. I'll be the first to admit I'm the originally fuddy-duddy, but there's something about this anime-style, Facebook approach to the periodic table that's remarkably engaging. Not to mention a sensible approach to making the subject—indeed, the individual elements—memorable for everyone from fourth or fifth graders to college seniors (not to mention home educating parents who majored in, say, history).


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I too have been dipping down to anxiety viz son's reading...sigh. So I've been giving him books "below grade level," just to keep the pages turning.

Have you all tried This Side of Magic yet? He devoured it.

"...about a boy and a talking chicken who also likes to drink moonshine."

Heh. I must read this book.

Charlotte, will definitely check it out! Thanks for the recommendation.

Jules, I know! Just wish one of our chickens would talk. The drinking might get expensive as we don't make our own...

Moonshine-drinking chicken sounds hilarious!

Also? I pretty much guarantee that Junior will like the short stories in the Weenie book - all the Weenie books are excellent! David's new chapter book (My Rotten Life) is pretty great, too!

That was the one you recommended! Now I remember. I thought it was one of the Weenie books, which do look good.

I love those Wayside books.

Well, you've managed to get me reading some things this summer. I just got to Farm City last week. That last section about the pigs had me laughing and laughing.

I also read a fun book along the same lines called Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich. (Wait? Did you recommend that one, too? You may have.)

Hey, Adrienne. Yep! I liked Made from Scratch, too. A nice guide to starting to live off the grid--vicariously, for me. And those pigs! In Farm City. Completely cured me (ha ha) of wanting to have one. Too much food.

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