Friday, July 23, 2010


This completes my reading blog journal for LME 518. I hope to add more titles in the future.

Books Versus Films

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
by Judi Barrett

Author Judi Barrett’s book entitled, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, is very different than the film with the same name. Although I enjoyed reading the book and viewing the movie version, I liked the book better.

In the book a Grandfather tells his grandchildren a bedtime story about a make-believe town called Chewandswallow. In this town all the precipitation comes in the form of food! Things are great for awhile until the amount of food gets out of hand and portions begin to get bigger and bigger! Finally in order to survive, the people have to “set sail” for a new land.

In the movie version the town is Swallow Falls, and a young inventor named Flint Lockwood creates a machine which makes food fall from the sky. Eventually, the machine goes haywire and the overabundance of food threatens to destroy the town. With the help of weathergirl, Sam Sparks, Flint manages to disable the machine and save the town.

Although I liked the movie version, I enjoy the original account of the story which is told in the book. The movie is solid, with a somewhat complex plot that older kids would enjoy.

Awards Given for Children's Books Published in other Countries

There are numerous awards given throughout the world for literary excellence with regard to children’s literature. Two of those awards are the Pura Belpre Award and the Mildred L. Batchelder Award.

The Pura Belpre Award was created in 1996, and is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best depicts, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an exceptional work of literature for children and youth. It has been given every other year since 1996; however, the award began being presented annually in 2009. The award is named in honor of Pura Belpre the first Latina librarian from the New York Public Library.

The Batchelder Award is a citation awarded to an American publisher for a children's book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a foreign language in a foreign country, and subsequently translated into English and published in the United States. The award is named in honor of Mildred L. Batchelder, former director of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC).

International Literature

Anna Hibiscus

by Atinuke

Anna Hibiscus, written by Atinuke and illustrated by Lauren Tobia, is a charming story about a little girl who lives in a very happy and amazing home in Africa. Her family includes her mother, father, and baby twin brothers. Besides these, Anna has many other family members who live nearby. There is always somebody to laugh and play games. Anna loves to romp on the beach, play in the sand, and splash in the ocean with her cousins. She also enjoys all the wonderful parties with her aunties! Although little Anna is very happy with her life and all the good things in it, there is one item missing; lovely, fluffy, white, snow!

This book, first published in England, is an awesome story to introduce young readers to the continent of Africa, its climate and weather, and all the other fascinating facts about this part of the world. I liked everything about this book and can understand why the author has continued to write more titles in this popular children’s series. Atinuke is also the author of Hooray for Anna Hibiscus!

International Literature

The Tooth

by Avi Slodovnick

The Tooth, written by Avi Slodovnick, was first published in Canada, and is an influential story which beautifully and respectfully introduces young children to the subject of homelessness. The title character of Marissa, along with her mother, must make a trip to the dentist’s office to get a tooth pulled. As mother and daughter walk downtown among the tall buildings, they encounter someone special and for Marissa the trip to the dentist turns out to be more about the homeless man than an aching tooth.

I was impressed with how the author dealt with presenting this subject matter to young readers. Slodovnick was able to capture a child’s innocence and natural sense of compassion for those in need. Artist Maron Gauthier’s muted-colored illustrations add warmth and character to this beautiful text. I would recommend The Tooth to be a part of any classroom collection.

International Literature

Are We There Yet?

by Alison Lester

Are We There Yet?, written by Alison Lester, was originally published in Australia. It is a delightful read and chronicles one family’s six-month tour of their homeland. The story is told through the eyes of eight-year-old Grace as she travels with her parents and her two brothers. During their trip the family spends time swimming, hiking, and enjoying visits to various zoos, museums, and other tourist spots while viewing the ever-changing countryside. They even take time out to visit relatives along the way.

I enjoyed the multi-colored artwork which is done in ink-and-watercolor. The text is very child-friendly and children from anywhere in the world can identify with this book. I also liked the fact that the pages contained maps so that the reader could check the family’s progress. Based loosely on the author’s own personal travels, this brilliantly illustrated book presents a lovely and booming introduction to Australia. I highly recommend it!

Books Versus Feature Films

Where the Wild Things Are

by Maurice Sendak

There are very few similarities between the book, Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak and the film of the same name. I would definitely recommend the book, but not the film.

I have always loved the children’s book with its creative tale and colorful illustrations, and I use it to teach an art lesson each year. However, I did not care for the movie. In both the book and the film, there was the boy, Max in his wolf suit, who travels to an island where the “wild things” make him their king. But, this is where the similarities end.

The book is warm, funny, and entertaining. It is a sweet tale of an imaginative little boy who playfully misbehaves and is sent to his room without supper. There he pretends to travel to an island and have a rumpus with the wild things! Once his pretending is done, he is back safe in his bedroom where his supper is waiting for him.

The movie has a much darker side. Max is sent to his room after being excessively rough with the dog, throwing a tantrum and biting his mother! The film version of Max’s time on the island is filled with arguing, fighting, and other forms of physical violence. The different wild things are pitted against one another from time to time, and at one point, one of the characters threatens to eat Max.

Overall, I feel that the book is a wonderful children’s story, but the film version is disappointing and not worthy of the book.