I've Found my Next Dream Job

   Three years after our honeymoon Steve and I decided we might want to take another trip together.  So we booked a cruise and headed to the Caribbean.  While on the beautiful island of St. Thomas I found my next dream job.  (I already have a pretty good job.)  And the winner is: Curator of a Pirate Museum.  Curator of a pirate museum?  Yes.
     What's so great about Blackbeard's Castle?  I'll give you the short list.  It's a sentry tower built in the 1670s by the Danes to keep pirates out of the bay.  Sometime during the early 1700s the infamous Edward Teach, Blackbeard himself, commandeered it.  It's now surrounded by four era homes and a hotel. Scattered throughout the beautiful garden are statues of various vicious pirates.  My favorite is Anne Bonney.  She's the one standing between us, baring her breast and aiming her musket at the cameraman.  Her short biography will strike fear into any young husband's soul.  

Additional perks:  It's the first museum I've been to with a full bar and and a swimming pool.  There's also quite the gun display.  And though I oppose owning firearms on every count, I think being a pirate is one exception.  
     So why am I considering switching careers (and zip codes)?  1.  I love pirates.  2.  All either curator did was make me a smoothie and tell me which door to go out.  Seemed like a pretty easy gig.    


Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot

     I've decided that this year we'll focus more on finding and enjoying 'just right' books.  Because my kids' reading levels are so varied, I think my biggest challenge is going to be getting my lowest readers into reading. (Isn't this every teachers biggest challenge?)  But it's going to happen because I've been searching far and wide for easier chapter books.  I've found a series that I think most of my kids will like, and I know my Makhammat will love.  Here is Ricky Riotta's Mighty Robot.

     Ricky Ricotta is a small mouse.  He's very bullied and very lonely.  As Ricky struggles, an evil scientist, Dr. Stinky McNasty, is busy programing his mighty robot to destroy the city of Squeakyville.  A friendship forms between Ricky and Mighty Robot that changes them both.

What I liked:
  • It's a graphic novel!  Great for kids who still need the pictures to help remind them what's going on.
  • Dr. Stinky McNasty is a great name for a rat villain.
  • It's an actual chapter book.  Sometimes easy books are shaped like chapter books, but don't actually have chapters.  My smart, brilliant kids know the difference and don't like that their books don't have chapters.  
  • There's "flip-o-rama action scenes" where you flip the pages and the illustrations come to life.  
  • At the end there are step-by-step instructions for how to  draw the robot and the lizard monster.
  • There's actually a moral to this ridiculous story: "that's what friends are for."

What I didn't like:
  • Alright, alright.  It's a lame series.  I do worry a little that some kids will think they only can read a certain series (a problem I discovered in summer school.)  I hope we can try to stretch beyond the series after a while.  
     I'm overwhelmed with series for second graders.  What I would like to find is some real children's literature.  With chapters.  If you know of any at the K-1-2 level, I'd love to hear about it.