I have finished my first six weeks of school. Six whole weeks! As in 1/6 of the school year! (Ok, technically, we are 3 days shy of that milestone because of starting school on a Wednesday and losing Monday to Labor Day, but our first grading period is over...). I am absolutely adoring my class this year, and I'm enjoying my job in a way that I haven't in a long time. Life is good in Eberopolis.
One of the highlights of the last 6 weeks was the read aloud that I chose for the beginning of the year. If you haven't already read Fake Mustache: Or How Jodie O'Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind by Tom Angleberger, then you are missing out on a real treat.
This is the story of a boy named Lenny and his best friend, Casper. Casper purchases a very real looking fake mustache -- the Heidelberg Handlebar Number Seven -- from Sven's Fair Price Store in downtown Hairsprinkle, and suddenly, the town erupts into chaos due to several strange happenings and criminal activities. Lenny quickly deduces that Casper's fake mustache is responsible, but he and teen TV sensation Jodie O'Rodeo are the only people who seem to be immune to the mustache's mind control. Will they be able to stop Casper from taking over the world? You'll have to read the book to find out!
The book was very witty and fast-paced with exceptionally short chapters (often 2-3 pages). It was the kind of book that I could pull out when we had only a minute or two to spare between transitions, and the students were constantly begging me to read more of it. If that's not the mark of a good read aloud, I don't know what is! I also liked it because the book unexpectedly changed narrators about half-way through, moving from Lenny's perspective to Jodie O'Rodeo's point of view. This led us to some great conversations about point of view, and segued nicely into our learning about Common Core RL.4.6. (Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.)
Angleberger is also the author of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, and I got to see him speak at a book festival last weekend. Not surprisingly, his presentation was also very funny and kid-friendly, and I think he would be a great speaker for a school author visit.
Next term, I think I will read my all-time favorite children's book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. I have read the book several times, and without fail, I always choke up when I read the last chapter and the epilogue. I hate that I do that, but I can't resist sharing the book with my students. It's just such a beautiful story full of rich language and interesting characters, and it will work nicely with our focus on literary texts next term. If you haven't read that book, I would highly recommend it as well. I'm not a very fast reader, and the first time I read it, I finished it in one sitting. It was so good that I immediately insisted that my husband read it, and he never reads children's books. He gave in quickly and less than 2 hours later agreed that it was an amazing book.
What are some of your favorite read alouds at the beginning of the year? Please share in the comment section!