A little book of sloth

Let this book happen to you! Share the wonder of earth's creatures with your students and children.

Let this book happen to you! Share the wonder of earth’s creatures with your students and children.

BEWARE!  There is an extreme amount of cuteness contained in this book: A little book of sloth. Lucy Cooke has photographed the sloths of the Avarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica and brought me more joy than I ever thought I could experience…possibly ever….they. are. that. cute.

I need to prepare for my take over of the planet- I subdue everyone with my adorableness beams.

I need to prepare for my take over of the planet- I subdue everyone with my adorableness beams.

Apparently not much is known about these unique mammals. The book presents interesting sloth facts and showcases some of the sanctuary’s most endearing personalities.

Bucket O' Sloths- apparently sloths like to travel by bucket... seriously  every fact I learn about them makes them cuter!

Bucket O’ Sloths- apparently sloths like to travel by bucket… seriously every fact I learn about them makes them cuter!

Cooke’s photographs are clear and eye catching and the only thing in the book better than the photographs are Cooke’s darling sloth descriptions. Cooke’s wit, humor, and genuine care for these odd little creatures is evident on every page.Her description of baby sloth personalities and quirks will make you squee with delight.

Look into my eyes- you are getting sleepy...

Look into my eyes- you are getting sleepy…

I have not had a chance to read this book to my students yet but they are STALKING the book. They are quite desperate for me to share it with them and I plan on doing just that as soon as I have a spare moment!

Orphaned sloths hug stuffed animals in lieu of their mother's. My heart just broke from it's inability to contain this level of cute.

Orphaned sloths hug stuffed animals in lieu of their mother’s. My heart just broke from it’s inability to contain this level of cute.

Lucy Cooke- YOU ROCK! Thank you for this awesome bok about such an awesome animal.

I will be posting a Fact and Opinion lesson I made to go along with this book in my TpT store ASAP!

Below is a photo of my adorable teammate Angela- she was the person who pointed the book out to me and therefore made my life more complete than I previously thought possible.

She seems sweet- but don't try to pry this book out of her hand!

She seems sweet- but don’t try to pry this book out of her hand!

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The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

She did it again! She did it again! She did it again!

The new book to grab is The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There.(I know titles should be underlined but I can’t remember how to underline on this blog so bold will have to do) This one smells like…my Kindle case. Leathery. (sorry purists! Take off your judging pants!)

cover

Catherynne M.Valente has written another book in her series about a girl named September and her trips to Fairyland. I have blogged in the past about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. I loved that book because it was a fantasy story that made me feel like fantasies are actually possible and that fantastic stories can hold lessons for everyday life. This book is more of the same AWESOMESAUCE.

dress

Valente has a way with words that I haven’t seen in a very long time. There were moments when I had to stop reading and just let some of her words ‘sink’ into my brain. I kept shaking my head and thinking that this was way to ‘deep’ for a children’s book. Then I remembered that C.S. Lewis said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”  Why shouldn’t a fairy story be full of amazing writing that adults can appreciate?

In this story September returns to find her beloved Fairyland in serious trouble. The culprit? September’s own shadow who now goes by the name of Halloween. Halloween is stealing all the shadows of Fairyland and pulling them to Fairyland below, the place she rules as the Hollow Queen. With each shadow lost, Fairyland above loses more magic. September is determined to save the world she loves and goes on another amazing adventure with interesting new friends and old favorites making appearances.September is older now and the lessons she learns in this book touch on the difficulties of adolescence and life changes in graceful detail. On her journey September finds that her own life back in Omaha is far more intertwined with Fairyland than anyone could have imagined. The end of the book left me with some questions and I am  eagerly (note:obsessively) waiting on the next book! (I believe the whole series will be five books.)

proff

Ana Juan, who illustrated The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, is back again much to my glee! The illustrations are amazing- interesting, lovely, and ever so slightly reminiscent of the whimsy of Lewis Carroll (without the creepiness!).

marquess

Here is are some  of my favorite quotes:

Hearts are such difficult creatures, which is why children are spared the trouble of them…Hearts set about finding other hearts the moment they are born, and between them, they weave nest so frightfully strong and tight that you end up bound forever in hopeless knots, even to the shadow of a beast you knew and loved long ago.

Coffee is a kind of magic you can drink. It’s a drink that’s a little bit alive- that’s how it makes you feel so alive and awake.

She did not know yet how sometimes people keep parts of themselves hidden and secret, sometimes wicked and unkind parts, but often brave or wild or colorful parts,cunning, or powerful or even marvelous,beautiful parts, just locked up away at the bottom of their hearts. They do this because they are afraid of the world and being stared at, or relied upon to do feats of bravery or boldness.

I could continue to bludgeon you with my love of this book- or you could just go read it. Doesn’t the second one sound less painful? Please find a friend to read this with you-it is a book to love and discuss. (Or at least I thought so and now I am selfishly attempting to get more of you to read it so I can FINALLY chat with someone about it.)

The Girl Who Circumnavigated FairyLand in a Ship of Her Own Making

My copy of this book smells like leather and smooth electronic pages, which is a rather poetic way of saying it smells like my kindle case. I think I am going to buy this book in it’s hard copy as well because I loved it in a way I have not loved a book in a very long time.

 

I have a long running love of Alice in Wonderland but I have to say that Catherynne Valente’s heroine September has completely eclipsed my beloved Alice in complexity and spunk. September is a 12 year old girl this 30 year old woman found herself inspired by as she journeyed through an exceptional landscape trying to find out where and how she belonged in it. 

 

September’s incredible journey begins when she is washing dishes and the Green Wind, astride his leopard, arrives at her kitchen window. With this unique invitation September begins her  adventure:

 

“You seem an ill-tempered and irascible child,” said the Green Wind. “How would you like to come away with me and ride upon the Leopard of Little Breezes and be delivered to the great sea, which borders Fairyland?…”

 

September does not need to be asked twice to be whisked away from her dreary midwestern life. Once she arrives in Fairyland incredible and complex characters and loyal friends populate her journey. Valente imbues her whimsical characters with familiar traits  without robbing them of their fantastic qualities. It gave me the feeling that I could run into a changeling at my local grocery store or  find a Wyvern in a local bookstore.

  

 There are dark twists as September begins to understand soon after her arrival that there is a dark force at work in the form of the ruler of Fairyland, a young girl known asThe Marquess.September is soon occupied with helping the creatures of Fairyland with the troubles the Marquess has brought into their lives. 

 

 

September’s story is not only the physical quest to save Fairyland and her new friends, it is the emotional awakening of a girl discovering her capacity to love and endure.

  

Valente has the enviable ability to write true and powerful prose in the midst of a fantasy. I will let her work speak for itself. Here are some of my favorite pieces of prose  from the book (no spoilers!):

 

It will be hard and bloody, but there will be wonders, too, or else why bring me here at all? And it’s wonders that I’m after, even if I have to bleed for them.”

 

When you were born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough fro anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk and crusty things and dirt and fear and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you are half-grown your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living.”

 

Oh September. Such lonely, lost things you find on your way. It would be easier, if you were the only one lost. But lost children always find each other, in the dark, in the cold. It is as thought they are magnetized and can only attract their like.”

 

 

Valente should be praised for her lexicon like usage of fairytale creatures from all parts of the world. I had to pause at several points in the story to look up what creatures such as “Marids” were. I loved increasing my knowledge of fairytale folk!

 

This book did what I ask of all of my favorite books: completely transported me. Catherynne M. Valente has an avid new fan in yours truly. I would recommend this book for older children (fifth grade and up) due to a few graphic scenes. I would REALLY recommend you read it first and decide if you want to share it with your favorite child!