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Book Review: “Bad Unicorn” by Platte F. Clark

Unicorns are everywhere! Makeup brushes, frappuchinos, nail polish, purses! Where will the madness for sparkly ponies with a rhinoceros complex end?! Well, at least author Platte F. Clark has a different approach: a unicorn called, Princess the Destroyer.

Bad Unicorn is the first in the Bad Unicorn Trilogy. In this book, Max lives in today’s world. He’s working on a book report, but his book keeps changing subjects. He's had this his whole life. Currently, he’s reading about Princess the Destroyer, a bad unicorn who eats humans. Meanwhile, in the Magrus (magical world), Princess the Unicorn is making a deal with a head sorcerer in order to get to the Techron's (the human world). Max and his friends in the human world learn that his book is the most magical book in all existence. Unfortunately, they learn this when it sends them into the future where machines rule the world and humans are extinct. Princess and her attending wizard have made it to our world. But since Max and his friends are in the future, she cannot find them or the book. She eventually overtakes the world with the machines, and they in return, make her an immortal robot. She is forced to catch up with Max the long way, and eventually they meet in the future. In a stroke of magical luck, Max and his friends beat Princess in a series of combat trials. While still stuck in the future, Max meets the king of dragons, who offers to take Max back to his time if he will kill the powerful sorcerer who hired Princess in the first place. This sets up for the next novel, Fluff Dragon.

This book exceeds expectations. Mixed with the intentionally silly references of the Zombie Duck and rebellious squirrels, the narrative follows a serious plot which stresses the importance of personal confidence and growth. Max’s personal journey is to believe in himself, even though he has trouble believing he can be a powerful sorcerer. He is aided by friends who believe in him unconditionally, which influences Max to do anything to save them. Juxtaposed to this story line, Princess is selfish and has no friends. Magar, her wizard, is a slave whom she treats poorly. She has no motivation except the selfish one, to eat humans and eventually rule the world. It turns out to be her metaphorical downfall, since it is her pride and greed for power that leads her to a showdown with Max. This leads Max, in a desire to save his hostage friends, to find the power to use one of the fifteen Prime Spells against Princess. Overall, this book is an enjoyable read for middle grade readers. There are essentially four primary characters: Max, his new friend Sarah, Princess, and Magar. However, there are two other important secondary characters: Max’s friends - Dirk the human and Dwight the dwarf.  These two characters have less character development and are a means to progress the plot. Dwight acts as the adult figure to ground the three children (Max, Dirk, and Sarah). However, the story could progress without him. Dirk is completely useless except for comedic relief. As Max’s best friend, he joins the journey by default, but essentially contributes nothing to the narrative except a secondary nerd to backup Max’s own decisions. Aside from this, the story is a great addition to middle grade literature. Also check out book number 3 in the Bad Unicorn Trilogy, Good Ogre, where Max encounters new adventures.

 

By Olivia Noli, Social Media Manager, “Worlds Awaiting”


DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.

Book Review: "Dinothesaurus" by Douglas Florian

Dinothesaurus by Douglas Florian.  Beach Lane Books, 2009.

There are all kinds of dinosaurs, from the tiny Micropachycephalosaurus  to the huge Barosaurus. In this creative book of prehistoric poems, Douglas Florian teaches interesting facts about various dinosaurs from the Triassic to Cretaceous period. Each picture is filled with hidden puns and highlights each dinosaur’s unique features.

 

Dinothesaurus is a beautiful blend of education and creativity. Florian’s poems are intelligent, fun, and diverse. His clever artwork adds to his poetry, and both children and adults will enjoy looking at all the hidden facets of these dinosaurs. Florian includes a “Glossarysaurus” that provides more history and facts about each dinosaur, and he lists museums and fossil sites where readers can learn more. An excellent choice for all dinosaur enthusiasts, but engaging for readers of all ages.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/


By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING

 

DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.


Inquiry Learning

Let’s talk for a minute about one of my favorite ways to teach. While all teachers have a variety of ways to approach instruction, one of my favorites is the model of inquiry learning. Inquiry learning focuses on teaching students how to learn. In an environment based in inquiry we are not reciting facts and figures, nor are we checking off boxes on a standardized form. One of the greatest benefits of inquiry learning is that it is student centered. Using this model, students are asked to be an integral part of the learning process; no longer will students only sit and take in what the instructor has to offer. In an inquiry learning environment, students will be engaged both as learners and as teachers. Ultimately, inquiry puts the onus on the student in the process of creating meaning. When using inquiry learning models, teachers must design learning experiences that allow students to examine, investigate, question, and reflect so that they can become aware of their own learning styles, processes, and strategies. I’m sure at this point most of you out there listening to “Worlds Awaiting” are finding this all very interesting, but are now wondering how it applies to you. Well, have you ever been a recipient of the questions: Why is the sky blue? Why do people get sick? Why can’t I stay up past ten? If you have ever been in this situation, then you have been at the forefront of an inquiry learning experience (although you may not have known what to call it). I find that inquiry is a natural state for learning. Almost every great invention or scientific discovery had a problem behind it. Great inventors and scientists confronted these problems by asking questions and then using a variety of methods to discover a solution. This process used for centuries to create the world we now live in is the process of inquiry. As human beings we naturally question, and then it is our natural inclination to work to find the answers to these questions. So here at “Worlds Awaiting” we advocate for inquiry learning; we say bring on the questions because it is one of the right ways to nurture independent, actively engaged learners.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.


21st Century Skills

There is a lot of talk in education today about how we can ensure that students are ready for college and the workplace. We want students to independently be able to apply the skills needed for success in these venues. While all skills related to literacy—reading, writing, speaking, listening—are important, there is a broader set of literacy skills we address that are termed 21st Century Skills. These skills focus is on the patterns of thinking and communication that students will be expected to engage in throughout their lives and into the future. This changes our focus from not only reading, writing, and math, but also puts in on communication, collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, technology, citizenship, information literacy, and life skills. These new skills are the complex aspects of education. Sadly, many of the current educational approaches often focus more on what could be considered lower levels of thinking. However, these lower level skills are not always those that are necessary to compete in the twenty-first century environments. Modern colleges and workplaces require higher order skills such as analysis and synthesis. This does not mean that we will abandon lower order skills in any way (comprehension and knowledge skills are still fundamental), but we are being asked to diversify our understanding of all the skills that make a person literate. With an increased emphasis on 21st Century Skills that require higher order thinking, it is now up to teachers, librarians, parents, aunts and uncles, and grandmas and grandpas to start thinking about how we can help our children refine and use their abilities to discover, use, and apply all of these skills now and in the future. Our children need to become good communicators, have opportunities to collaborate with others as a team, authentically express their creativity while problem-solving, and engage as citizens of a global work. Here at Worlds Awaiting we believe that combined with the basics of reading, writing, speaking, and listening, the critical 21st Century Skills are going to help make children ready for college and workplace.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/21st_century_skills

 

DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.