Tag Archives: Problem-Solving

Spot Light • August 2014

Day the Crayons QuitThe Day the Crayons Quit

by Drew Daywalt (Penguin, 2013)

Publisher Summary  Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.

Make Way for Books  By giving voice to Duncan’s crayon box, Daywalt challenges kids to think about art and why they pick the crayon they do. What if they tried a different color? Duncan’s creative answer to the “overused, underworked, too short, and naked” crayon complaints is uplifting and vibrant. A clever, entertaining way to show how working differently within the limits of available tools can either be a restriction or an opportunity to create something extraordinary. An important lesson for all ages.

Behind the Scenes: What If? by Drew Daywalt

Marty McguireMarty Mcguire Digs Worms!

by Kate Messner, illustrated by Brian Floca (Scholastic, 2012)

Publisher Summary  Marty McGuire’s third-grade class has a special assignment: Save the Earth! Even more exciting, the best project wins a special award. Marty’s pretty sure her classmates’ ideas won’t stand a chance against her plan to turn the garbage from the school cafeteria into fertilizer. All she needs is a little help from her teammate and best friend, Annie—and the worms in her grandma’s garden. But, it turns out that worms are awfully SLOW eaters. And when the critters escape, the whole class starts grumbling. Can Marty save the Earth without losing her friends? A funny, accessible chapter-book about an irrepressible third grader.

Make Way for Books  A witty, determined Marty compels readers to join her quest: to win the school’s Save the Earth science contest award. Author, Kate Messner masterfully grows and develops Marty’s character, showing readers that reaching a goal requires patience and determination; and, while it lacks the glamor and excitement of the beginning and end, the middle is where the most important work is accomplished. Readers swell with pride as they witness her choosing to share ideas and work together to help others accomplish their goals while waiting for her own project to come to fruition. Her humble, honest approach to learning hard lessons allows readers to empathize and cheer as she overcomes each obstacle. This universally-appealing character uses a relatable story to teach a lesson in patience and teamwork for readers of all ages.

Capture the FlagCapture the Flag

by Kate Messner (Scholastic, 2013)

Publisher Summary  Anna, José, and Henry have never met but they have more in common than they realize. Snowed in together at a chaotic Washington, DC airport, they encounter a mysterious tattooed man, a flamboyant politician, and a rambunctious poodle named for an ancient king. Even stranger, news stations everywhere have just announced that the famous flag that inspired The Star-Spangled Banner has been stolen! Anna, certain that the culprits must be snowed in too, recruits Henry and José to help find the thieves and bring them to justice. But when accusations start flying, they soon realize there’s even more than a national treasure at stake. With unexpected enemies lurking around every corner, will the trio solve the heist before the flag is lost forever?

Make Way for Books  Lovers of history, adventure, and the underdog will devour this fast-moving tale of three unique characters who embark on a journey to save the Star Spangled Banner and their families’ honor. Readers enjoy front-row seats as these characters put aside selfishness and learn to accept, embrace, and utilize their differences in order to become an unbeatable, mystery-solving team. Readers cheer the creative problem-solving, quick thinking, and courageous trio to victory as they battle bad guys and learn that appearances are often not a reliable way to judge a person’s trustworthiness.

This tale of duty and determination is brilliantly paced and leaves readers breathless until they learn the fate of the beloved flag and the unlikely team resolved to rescue it. Full of fantastic detail, this story is one that begs to be read time and time again.

Why Did the Whole World Go to War?Why Did the Whole World Go to War? And Other Questions About World War II

by Martin W. Sandler, illustrated by Robert Barrett (Sterling, 2013)

Publisher Summary  Why Did the Whole World Go to War? helps children understand one of the 20th century’s most tragic conflicts. It answers their most basic questions, including: What started World War II? How did Hitler take over so many countries so quickly? What happened at Pearl Harbor? Where were the fiercest battles fought? What ended the deadliest conflict in human history? A fascinating look at a complex topic.

Make Way for Books  Well-structured text and accompanying graphics unravel the intricacies of this difficult time in history, making it accessible for younger readers.