Tuesday, August 31, 2010

SLIS 5420 - Module 2 - How to Eat Fried Worms

Module 2 -- How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

Rockwell, Thomas. How to Eat Fried Worms. Bantam Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 1973. ISBN: 0-440-44545-0

A conversation about eating dinner becomes a contest and a bet between 4 boys, pitting 2 pairs of friends against each other. The bet is to eat 15 worms in 15 days and Alan and Joe will do anything to stop Billy from winning the $50 promised as the prize.

What I think about eating... I mean, reading Fried Worms:
First of all, the book is a grabber. The title is great and the pictures on many versions of this book really make kids (and adults) want to know more. My kids wanted me to read to them after seeing the cover and I did. The second thing about this book is that at first, I found the conversation and the style of writing difficult to follow. My two kids were a little lost at first two when I read out loud to them (then they got hung up on the idea of "Salmon Casserole," eww). However, once I got used to the rather spare writing, I enjoyed it. There are a lot of neat little allusions to different things (real life battles, for example), that kids may not get, but as an adult, I enjoyed. The letter from the "doctor" with the medical sounding jargon that was completely made up was a hoot!

Another thing about this book that I think was pretty neat was how cool the adults in the story were. The adults in the story were all good role models. They supported the integrity of the bet and never called it stupid or tried to get the kids to "worm" out of it. Billy's mom even makes up some interesting worm recipes for Billy to eat. I liked that the adults supported the boys throughout the story.

Outside reviews:
"Tom, Billy, Allen and Joe are best friends, but that friendship is put to the test when Alan challenges Billy to eat 15 worms in 15 days. If he does it, Allen will give Billy $50. If he doesn't, well, Allen gets to call Billy a chicken for the rest of his life.

The rules are simple: Billy can prepare the worm any way he wants, and he can glop as much ketchup and mustard on the worm as he likes, but if he misses a day, he loses the bet.

How To Eat Fried Worms is a wriggly little work of youth fiction full of lively characters, hilarious situations and punchy, quirky dialogue. The main characters are colorful and, above all, very believable. These boys went to your school, live on your street and play baseball with your kids.


How To Eat Fried Worms is a terrific read for young and old, and, like a big nightcrawler, is best when it's shared. The writing lends itself to being read aloud and the subject matter is icky enough the engage even the most jaded 10-year-old."

Paterson, P. (2002). Why I loved "how to eat fried worms". Retrieved from http://booksiloved.com/11/How_To_Eat_Fried_Worms.html

Using this book in the library:
After poking around on the web, I noticed that a lot of schools and libraries had done programs with the book and the movie together. Then kids helped make "fried worms" to eat using various recipes that involve gummy worms, hot dogs, spaghetti noodles or other ingredients.  I like these ideas. Having kids read the book, coming back for a discussion about it and then rewarding them for their hard work with a fun, hands-on recipe and movie day would be very motivating for a lot of kids. The book is engaging and the reward of the movie should help even reluctant readers stay engaged. After the movie, another discussion can take place about the differences between the book and the movie. Students could be invited to create their own scripts... There are a lot of options!

Just for fun: 
An actual fried worm recipe. Author attribute is wrong, unless Judy Blume did try them...

Monday, August 30, 2010

SLIS 5440 -- Sharing Stories: The Tailypo

This is a recording from the class I took last semester, SLIS 5440, Storytelling for Information Professionals. I really enjoyed the class and now I have some recordings of my stories. This is a story called The Tailypo and it's set deep in the forest where a man lives alone, in his cabin with his 3 dogs. He encounters a strange creature that sets the events in motion. I recorded this with my kids watching and they were a good audience! (Especially since this recording was take 3!)

Audio only! ;)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

SLIS 5420 - Module 1 - The Giving Tree

Module 1 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Silverstein, Shel. The Giving Tree. Harper Collins Publishers, 1964. ISBN 0-06-025665-6

The Giving Tree
by Shel Silverstein is a picture book that tells the story of a boy and his relationship to a very animated apple tree. The story starts out when the boy is very young and the tree is still very healthy. As the story progresses, the boy grows up and wants and takes more and more from the tree until the tree is used up. All throughout the story, the tree is happy despite the demands of giving placed upon her. The book can be read on many different levels and that is probably why it still remains a favorite among many people.

What I think about The Giving Tree
As a child, I enjoyed the story. I liked (and still like) the animated and loose drawings that Silverstein uses to illustrate the book. The drawings are absolutely perfect and speak volumes. On page 19, there is a great picture of the boy and the tree sharing a hug that is just beautiful. In fact, all of the fun illustrations of the boy in his childhood are playful and really speak of the joy of being young. As the boy grows older, though, his posture and unhappiness really show through in the drawings. We never see a true smile again until he is old and sitting with the now stump of a tree.

I find the story to be very sad overall. The sense of joy the boy feels is lost when he becomes a man. That seems wrong to me. Why would joy in life disappear as he gets older? In some ways, the responsibilities the man feels to make money and build a house are the cause of his distress. When the man needs nothing but love, he is happy. This happens when he is a boy and again when he is very old. One theme this story promotes is that when a person does not need anything, they are happiest. The boy does feel that way again until he is very old. That is why I find the book to be sad, because I feel that life is short and should always be joyful.

The fact that the tree gives and gives into the demands of the boy is also painful to watch. She grows smaller and smaller as she is used up by the boy and still she gives. As a child, I didn't understand why she wanted to be destroyed. As an adult, I understand the need to give, but I don't find it healthy to give until there is nothing left of yourself. This book could be a good starting point for discussing giving with children and whether or not love should be so demanding.

Outside reviews:
"The Giving Tree shares the story of a young boy and his lifetime relationship with a certain apple tree. But it is much more than that. It is also a story of giving (and taking or receiving), friendship, happiness, loyalty, sacrifice, gratitude, happiness, and most importantly—love.

The tree ultimately gives everything for the boy without receiving much in return. The theme or message of the book has been interpreted in many different ways. It can be very simply understood by a second grader, or an adult can search for a deeper meaning."

Brodie, C. (2009). The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein--A Forty-Five Year Celebration. School Library Monthly, 26(1), 22-24. Retrieved from Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text database.

"The Giving Tree (1964) lauded on its inside cover as a "tender story" about "the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another's capacity to love in return," generated much vehement anger from [college] students of both sexes for its utter exploitation of the woman (tree) by the man (the boy who allegedly "loves" her)."
Juchartz, L. (2003). Team teaching with Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein in the college basic reading classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 47(4), 336-341. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

Using this book in the library:
This is a great book to use in a book club or book discussion group with kids. It's an ice-breaker because the pictures are engaging and easy to talk about. Once past the pictures, kids can be encouraged to discuss how they interpret the story.

For Fun:
Check out these tattoos inspired by The Giving Tree:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Found in Book

From the 1950's... this photo fell out of a book put in our book drop at the library this summer.

Friday, August 27, 2010