Too bad no one taught Siri that there are 7 days in a week.
Too bad no one taught Siri that there are 7 days in a week.
“The Great Shelby Holmes,” by Elizabeth Eulberg, is a terrific mystery for upper elementary and middle school students. It’s a semi-spoof of Sherlock Holmes, but the characters and plot are definitely a stand alone. Set in Harlem, John Watson and his mom (former army doctor in Afghanistan) are starting a new civilian life. John’s parents have just divorced, he’s living off-post for the first time, and their arrival at their new apartment is met with a BANG! Shelby Holmes, a 9-year-old prodigy going into 6th grade, has conducted a “harmless” experiment in her apartment at 221B Baker Street. And it gets more complicated from there!
John is a budding writer who will be attending an arts-focused charter school. Until he met Shelby, his journal had been bare for the past few months. The changes in his life have been painful, he hadn’t made any friends, and school will start in a few weeks. He is amazed at Shelby’s deductive abilities (so was I!) and ends up entangled in the mystery of a missing dog. Their adventure reignites John’s interest in writing as he chronicles the amazing ups and downs of this complex mystery set in New York City.
John and Shelby could not be more different. He is a social kid, eager to make new friends, and Shelby is an odd individual who appears to disdain social norms. This mystery, with its hilarious events, uncertain relationships, and tender moments, is a life-changing experience for both Shelby and Watson (a moniker used by Shelby since he’ll be the third John in their class). John must come to grips with his parents’ divorce, caustic remarks by Shelby, and the conflict surrounding this unusual mystery. Shelby is also forced to confront her asocial behavior and perhaps admit that she actually needs John’s help.
One aspect I especially enjoyed about this book is its racial perspective. Readers with the “white privilege” perspective may be surprised that John is black. And just as I often hear white folks describe that “black doctor” or that “black kid,” John does refer to “white kids” but makes no special reference to black folks. It would be perfect if none of us felt the need to make those distinctions, but it’s refreshing to see the world through nonwhite eyes. More on that in the next book in this series, “The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match.”
I highly recommend this entertaining and thoughtful book. It will keep you guessing- and laughing- throughout!
Color Your World: Purple Mountains’ Majesty, Blush, Sea Green, Cerulean, Green Yellow, Vivid Tangerine
Whew! Caught up through the end of February. Don’t miss out on this digital delight: Search the photograph for the colors! You could be a winner!*
*Winners may not be notified. Most likely not.*
Color Your World: Jazzberry Jam, Forest Green, Pacific Blue, Yellow, Outrageous Orange, Red Violet
Another cool puzzle to solve! Can you match the colors to the correct picture? Big prizes for winners!*
* Prizes are subject to availability, which is nil.*
Color Your World: Fern, Blue Green, Goldenrod, Melon, Orchid, Royal Purple
Yeah, I am behind on this blogging challenge but now you get to search out those colors in these photos! A terrific FREE online puzzle. Win a prize! Amaze your friends!
I can cross “host a murder dinner party” off my bucket list! And what a fantastic event it was! We were celebrating our daughter-in-law’s birthday; she invited a riotous group of clever-witted, hilarious suspects. My dearest teaching widower and I never stopped laughing! As the planner, I played Bonnie Lass, an aspiring writer but not a suspect. The guests, dressed to kill, were outrageously clever.
We used “A Taste for Wine,” a murder mystery game set in Napa Valley, California. I highly recommend dinner and murder!
Color Your World: Piggy Pink
Having students read to piggies or teddies or Pikachu can be a valuable way to provide an audience for hesitant readers. Make sure they whisper read, so just their own critter can hear (and the room is not full of booming voices). Many struggling readers find this a powerful way to read books at their level without a sense of shame (“I should be reading chapter books!”). It also starts a habit which they can use at home, if no adults or sibs are available or willing. Hearing themselves read out loud is a confidence booster, perhaps jump-starting opportunities to read to younger kids. For some of my groups, I had their books placed inside folders so only their special listener knew what book was being read. This helped ease them through those early days of reading well below grade level. Some kids need that boost, others don’t.
I noticed that for many of my kids on the autism spectrum, this activity provided a chilling out experience. They usually read silently, clutching a dinosaur or Pokemon character. After the stress of the larger classroom, these kids needed comfort in a socially acceptable form. Before bean bags were banned due to fire regulations, they could also get a lot of form-fitting sensory input while reading to Kirby.
Personally, I read to Teddy. Piggy pink.
I have been working my patooties off, in case you’re wondering where Teachezwell has been. What a great time, though!
My sweetest teaching widower gave me such a precious Valentine card today, despite being traditionally averse to a holiday created to sell cards! And he was nearly showing off his patooties! He had an x-ray of his knee and while talking to the radiologist in the hallway, realized his special x-ray pants had fallen to the floor!
I’m taking three online classes simultaneously and loving them, even as I lag two weeks behind the group. I mostly only panic in the early hours of the morning.
Today was special because a certain kiddo I teach had a PLAYDATE! His first ever! Eleven years old, confined to an ICU-type environment. A dear friend introduced us to a dear family and he has friends! He laughed and played for hours.
Do I care that I am also YEARS behind with Facebook? Would this notification entice you or scare your patooties off?
I am too happy to worry about FB. They cannot scare me OR my patooties.
Color your World: Purple Heart
Pansies have long been one of my favorite flowers. Of course, we can’t have any within deer snacking range, which includes our porch. But I love their little purple heart-shaped faces and usually take the time to chat when we meet. They are excellent listeners and once they’re comfortable with you, pansies will tell you amazing secrets. I’m not going to violate their confidence about that; suffice to say they have a keen eye on the world around them.
Color Your World: Razzle Dazzle Rose
These razzle-dazzle “roses” caught my eye as they shone amidst the weeds and debris. I have no idea what kind of flower they are, but these fallen petals brightened an otherwise drab patch. I hope to do the same.