WWW Wednesdays – November 6, 2013

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

The Optimistic Child by Martin Selingman– What I’m currently reading
The Optimistic Child by Martin Selingman. I found a reference to this book in How Children Succeed and I wanted to learn more about the subject. I’m starting this book today.

– What I recently finished reading
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. This is a very interesting book full of research data and analysis with the goal to pinpoint what really makes our children successful in life. And by that, you should read what really makes a child graduate from high school, go on and graduate from college and then hold a job and be a productive part of society. Paul Tough demonstrates throughout his book that IQ levels and SAT scores are not accurate measurements to predict a child’s success (but GPA levels are and he explains why). Children can be taught many materials and learn a large amount of information but in the end, what really matters is their self-control, resilience, and perseverance, to name a few under the “character” umbrella. Tough doesn’t explain at all how to help your children develop these qualities but he does name a few books that will, including The Optimistic Child.

A Wind In The Door by Madeleine L’Engle. As much as I liked A Wrinkle In Time, I wasn’t impressed with its sequel. Don’t misunderstand me, I really like the story, the characters and what happens to them, but I’m not crazy about the way the story itself is told. I’m not sure L’Engle develops each character neatly and thoroughly, and she tends to use a lot of words and dialogs to describe little action. I also found some of the things that happened in this book quite loopy. I guess the 1960s and 70s can do that to you. I’d like to read the next book in the series but I think I’ll take a break from it for now.

– What I think I’ll read next
1984 by George Orwell. I know I said it would be my next book but I had to squeeze another one in between.

My kids’ bookshelf

What they’re currently reading
We’re big fans of Splat The Cat at our house. I mean, what’s not to like about a big, clumsy black ball of fur who has a mouse as a best friend? I love Rob Scotton’s illustrations too. They make me want to pet Splat’s fluffy fur on every page. Scotton’s had a lot of Splat The Cat books out, some of them written by him, others inspired by his character and franchised in an early reader book format. We haven’t read those yet but I do have a few, so I’ll probably review them in my next update. Here are a couple of the large format books we’re reading right now for the first time:
Splat The Cat And The Cool School TripSplat The Cat And The Cool School Trip: Splat’s class is making its way to the zoo and Splat can’t wait to see his favorite animals, the penguins! But it seems that Splat’s teacher, Mrs Wimpydimple, has every animal on her list except the… penguins. Somehow, Seymour the mouse makes its way into the elephant exhibit, scaring the elephant who runs into the exhibit next door and damages it. Can you guess which exhibit that is? Yep, when the class finally gets to the penguin exhibit, it’s closed for the day. But wait, Seymour has more than one trick up his sleeve and may turn today into Penguin Day after all… My kids love, love, love this story, as they can relate to visiting their favorite animals at the zoo and how disappointing it would be not to see them. The ending is a child’s dream come true for sure.
Splat The Cat Says Thank You: Splat’s best friend Seymour the mouse is sick and Splat has just what he thinks Seymour needs to get better: a whole thank-you book! Splat reminds Seymour of the many (hilarious) adventures when Seymour was there for him, and Splat thanks him for every time. But somehow, Seymour is still not feeling better. Will the thank-you book do the trick? My kids asked me to flip the pages and read the book faster every time Splat didn’t manage to make Splat feel better. I’m not sure they could take the suspense for much longer, poor guys! I love this idea of a thank-you book and I hope my kids will work on a project like that on their own one day.

Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean– What they recently finished reading
We’re big fans of another cat, this time Pete The Cat by James Dean and other various writers. The original Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes book came out a few years ago and we still have to go on the publisher’s website to listen to the Pete The Cat song. Since then, more books have come out, some in large format, others in early reader format. Hey, when you have a popular book idea, why not make kids happy with more adventures of your cute feline? And these books really show you that you don’t have to have the most perfect illustrations for a children’s book. Kids actually love to see books with illustrations they could draw or paint themselves.
My five-year old is a great reader already and the 64-page early reader book format is perfect for him. He needs help with a few words here and there, but otherwise, he can read the whole book by himself and he has a lot of fun doing it. Some of the books we’ve enjoyed are:
Pete The Cat: Pete's Big LunchPete The Cat: Pete At The Beach. Pete wants to learn to surf like his brother but he’s afraid to go in the water. How long will it take Pete to give it a try and will it be worth it? Hey, who doesn’t want to flip the pages to see Pete The Cat on a surfboard?
Pete The Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch. Pete is hungry and decides to make a sandwich, adding on to it at every page because he happens to be very, very, very hungry. Did I say Pete was hungry? When his sandwich is finished, Pete realizes how huge it is and he knows he won’t be able to eat it all by himself. So he decides to invite his friends for lunch. This is a great lesson on sharing!
Pete The Cat: Play Ball! Pete’s team is playing a game today and Pete wants to do his best, but he’s not so lucky when it’s his time to bat. The pitcher isn’t so good and Pete gets to walk to first base. Pete isn’t so good at running to the next base, or batting when it’s his turn again. What will Pete do when things don’t go this way? Well, guess what? He’s OK, because he tried his best and he’s having a great time. What a great lesson on sportsmanship and how to enjoy playing the game the whole way through! This is definitely a winner at our house!

– What I think they’ll read next
I don’t know but I’m sure it will be good stuff. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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14 responses to “WWW Wednesdays – November 6, 2013

  1. That Tough book looks like it carries on where ‘Nurture Shock’ left off. In the latter it was interesting to learn that praising a child’s effort, not his/her intelligence, resulted in more success and that children’s IQ is not static like adults, but rather has ups and downs.

    I’ve just started ‘W is for Wasted’ by Sue Grafton. I’ve read her entire Kinsey Millhone series and really love it. The main character is a private detective, but the author still has it set in the 1980s, so there’s no Internet to help her, just old-fashioned gum shoeing.

    • What, no internet??? How did we ever live like that?

      I think you’d really like How Children Succeed. It’s very dense with data, so it may not be great to read at bedtime like I did, but it’s full of good research. High IQ and SAT scores may just mean you’re smart or really good at taking tests, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. A high GPA score means that you apply yourself at school and try your best. Perseverance and hard work are huge factors in making a child successful, more than intelligence and social background and support. Interesting, huh?

  2. I still have to reread A Wrinkle in Time and now you’ve really intrigued me with A Wind in the Door. Hopefully I’ll get to them soon so we can have a book club discussion! :) That Splat Cat is pretty funny – I can’t wait to see your picture books!

    • I’m looking forward to hear what you think about L’Engle’s book series. My picture book ideas are just that right now, ideas, but at the end of the month, I’ll be able to pick one or two that I think have the most potential and work on that. I already made a draft (text and pictures) of a picture book this past summer but I never went back for more work on it, so I hope to get to it one day.

  3. Wish those first two books had been around when Ming was young!

  4. Fun books. I just finished The Language of Flowers and found it very good. You might like it since you take pictures of so many flowers. The foster girl in the story uses flowers as messages to people, and it’s pretty intriguing.

  5. Our youngest nephew LOVED Pete the Cat in 2011 ~ a giggle a minute!

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