Teachers for Teachers | It’s Monday – What Are You Reading?
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It’s Monday – What Are You Reading?











In preparing to vote for the 2013 Nerdy Book Club Awards later in December we are catching up on reading titles on the Nerdy Book Club Finalist list.  Here is one book on the list that we absolutely love – Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

This book is funny, engaging and poignant with unusual characters that readers that will remember long after they finish the last page.  Ulysses is a squirrel who gets sucked up into a vacuum cleaner and ends up with “superhero powers.”  Ulysses is now stronger, can fly, and even writes poetry – although he does make quite a few spelling errors.

Flora is a girl who is strong willed and obsessed with reading the comic book, Terrible Things Can Happen to You.   She identifies herself as a cynic and frequently argues with both of her parents.   As you can imagine, Flora has quite a few adventures as she tries to convince her parents that Ulysses is a superhero.   In the end Flora learns to be a lot less cynical and to open her heart to her family and the friends around her.

This chapter book is written in a slightly new format.   Each chapter has full-page illustrations and comic-style graphic sequences that are interspersed throughout the book.    Don’t skip the comics in the text.  They contain part of the story and are essential in understanding the plot.

We hope Kate DiCamillo decides to write more adventures about Flora and Ulysses.  We think readers are going to fall in love with these two characters.



Here is another book on the 2013 Nerdy Book Club Finalist List – Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett.

This book is laugh out loud hysterical.    A boy receives a book titled, The Birthday Bunny, from his Gran Gran.  He uses a black pen to transform Birthday Bunny into Battle Bunny.  The actual text and illustrations are filled with black marker cross outs, substitutions, cartoon drawings and insertions.  What makes it so funny is that you can still read the original text and see how it was changed.

So how do you read a book like this?   We found the best way to decipher this text is to first read each page twice.  First read the Birthday Bunny version and then read the edited text about Battle bunny.   How Jon Scieszka and Mac Bar transformed Birthday Bunny into Battle Bunny is nothing short of brilliant.   You really have to see this book up close to truly appreciate it.   Although once this book is in your classroom, it won’t stay on the bookshelves for very long.   Readers will want to read this text again and again.


  • Tara
    Posted at 16:55h, 09 December Reply

    LOVED Flora and Ulysses. And my sixth graders seem to feel the same way.

    • Tammy and Clare
      Posted at 22:47h, 09 December Reply

      We are hoping Kate DiCamillo writes more adventures about Flora and Ulysses. Students seem to love the blend of chapter book and graphic novel.

  • Stacey
    Posted at 17:59h, 09 December Reply

    There’s been so much buzz about Battle Bunny lately. Would you believe I haven’t seen it yet? MUST get my hands on it!

  • Catherine
    Posted at 23:29h, 09 December Reply

    I completely agree with you about Flora & Ulysses! How Kate DiCamillo manages to infuse just the right amount of humor to keep her books from becoming too sentimental is beyond me. Can’t wait to see Battle Bunny. It seems perfect for several reluctant readers I know. Thanks for sharing!


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