Three Times Lucky

So, my oldest daughter finally passed over her copy of Sheila Turnage’s Three Times Lucky, the book her buddy Miss G. selected for their third-grade book club; I was not allowed to begin reading until she was completely finished.

Winner of the Newbery Honor Book, a New York Times Bestseller, an Edgar Award Finalist, and an E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor Book, my eyeballs were drooling at the thought of cracking open this book.

Immediately confronted with colorful characters such as the Colonel and Miss Lana as well as characters which will melt your heart as in protagonist Mo who gives vinegar bottles, full of notes addressed to her unknown mother, to the local townspeople who gladly throw them over bridges for her in the hopes they may find their way to her mother.

In fact, my hub was wearing a Heisenberg t-shirt the other day,  the one with Walter White’s face on the front, and my daughter proclaimed, “That man looks just like Detective Joe Starr!”  Starr, a male main character Mo didn’t like due to the “hook of his nose, or the plane of his cheekbones . . . [and] the way he didn’t smile”  (13).  Of course, I had to quickly turn my back to disguise the tears of joy running down my face at this unfolding, before those same eyeballs (mine), of literacy in action.

Three Times Lucky, while containing some heavy themes (domestic violence, alcoholism, murder), does so in a manner which is not only digestible for the young reader but also educational.

With my oldest looking forward to discussion of Turnage’s book at an actual cafe, Sgt. Pepper’s Cafe in Edwardsville, I am looking forward to witnessing firsthand the love of reading at this young age.

Update:  Discussion rocked at Sgt. Pepper’s Cafe.  Topics spanned from the many combinations which represent family to the yummy ice cream which topped off our savory lunches.  Yummers!

Next discussion:  Miss Kirstin’s pick of Magic Kitten:  A Summer Spell

Book Club Babes: Flat Stanley

Book Club Babes met today at the St. Louis Art Museum in order to discuss Miss Ava’s selection of Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures 2: The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery.  The St. Louis Art Museum has a vast collection entitled the Art of Ancient Egypt which directly relates to our reading, and the admission is FREE.


The evening before our visit to the museum, I tried to convince my Book Club Babe daughter to sleep underneath our bulletin board much like Flat Stanley, but she refused for fear of being flattened.  My youngest daughter did give it a try, though, with no flattening success.


Arriving at the museum, the girls had a mission to find the mummies minus any assistance from an accompanying adult since Flat Stanley had a similar mission to discover the location of hidden treasures deep within a pyramid.  The girls were up for the challenge.  Maps were gathered from the information booth, and memories of previous visits were accessed.  Thus, the girls led the way.  Eventually, they sought out the assistance of a docent (on their own) when collection 130 could not be found.  They were so close.

After investigation of the mummies, Miss Grace, a fellow Book Club Babe, explained the purposes of the canopic jars as well as the meaning behind the hieroglyphics. Woowee!  She had read about Egypt on her own in preparation for discussion.


Looking at the various statues, the girls mimicked their poses and then flattened against the wall much like Flat Stanley did in the book in order to deceive the robbers.  From there, a lively discussion ensued with reader-generated questions from the girls.

Much was yet to be explored at the St. Louis Art Museum.  Pictures were taken, alarms were triggered (only twice), and an artist was found replicating a painting.  She was kind enough to explain the brushstrokes to us and entertain our guesses as to how long she had been painting said piece.  The Book Club Babes guessed two years;  she had been working a mere twelve hours.

So looking forward to our next discussion of Miss Corinna’s selection of Junie B. Jones and that Meanie Jim’s Birthday.

Book Club Babes: Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab

Miss Colleen’s selection of Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab was a hit not only for the book club members, but also the adults.  A thriller full of suspense and pretty cool experiments (this coming from a liberal arts person), I read my copy in one night.

Due to the high volume (sweet!) of experiments Miss Colleen’s mom brought with her, we changed the mode of discussion.  Each member chose a favorite question out of the three written in her journal, wrote said question on an index card, and placed it in a bowl.  Members then chose a question (blindly) from the bowl and were given time to think about the answer before sharing with the rest of the group.

After discussion it was experiment time, their favorite.  

Volcano Kit Purchased at Happy Up

To conclude, members were given a choice of ice cream flavors including mint chip and double chocolate chunk (the hub was unable to find double chocolate praline)  because this was what Nick and Tesla devoured at the end of the book.  Takeaway was a sandwich bag full of diluted highlighter juice to be used in a top secret manner of the Book Club Babe’s choosing much like Nick and Tesla used it to track the van in chapters 9-10.

Next discussion:  Miss Grace’s The Puppy Place:  Chewy and Chica

Book Club Babes: Frozen

Book Club Babes (a third-grade book club) met and discussed Disney’s chapter book, Frozen, selected by Miss Bella.  As members arrived, they were asked to decorate a cup to be used for the frozen punch, SoBe pina colada drink (found at Schnucks for $1/bottle . . . score).

Frozen SoBe was used as ice cubes to chill the punch.

After a dinner of sandwiches (which is mentioned in “Love is an Open Door”), a frozen dessert bar was served complete with a cake like the one found in the movie (minus the head statue) and various white/silver-colored treats (thank you Miss Faith for the white-iced snack cakes).

Discussion ensued with thought provoking open-ended questions such as, “What makes a family?” and “What is true love?”  to close reading questions such as, “What are the names of the three trolls?  Look in chapter 2.”  One member’s question of “What was your favorite scene?” led to third-grade members acting their answers out for the rest of the group.  Yes, goosebumps ran up and down my arms and legs as literacy in action unfolded before my eyes.  Even first and second grade siblings joined in on the discussion.  Be still my heart.

The remainder of book club was spent watching the movie Frozen (okay, I think one member ended up watching the movie in its entirety) and playing;  hey, they earned it.

Next discussion:  Miss Colleen’s pick of Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab

Book Club Babes: Bink and Gollie

The first official Book Club Babes discussion was over Miss Ella’s pick of Bink and Gollie written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee.  The Book Club Babe who selects the book also selects the time/location to ensure her presence.

A pancake bar with all of the fixings:  peanut butter, chocolate and vanilla whipped cream, chocolate chips, caramel sauce, etc., as well as an unending supply of chocolate milk (yummers!) was provided to initiate the connection to the book, the main characters’ favorite eats.

A second-grade (and forty-two-year-old) foodie’s dream . . .


Discussion then ensued using questions book club members had written in their journals prior to the meeting . . .

Next discussion:  Disney Frozen Junior Novel

Book Club Babes: Let’s Talk Books

Personally, I love to discuss books, analyze books, and write about books.  For many years, I was a book hoarder refusing to share my love of reading by passing a book along for fear of never seeing said book again.  This unreturned phenomena happened many times to me, by the way, before I decided to put an end to the lending process.  Instead, I chose to alphabetize my books, color-code my books, and stack them in piles by my bed instead of deal with the frustration.

Then, one day I decided not to lend the books, but give them away by stuffing them into friends’ mailboxes or hanging them on their doors, and this felt good. . . right.  I was sharing my love of reading and decluttering my house at the same time.  The likelihood of my rereading a book is slim to none due to the vast assortment of reading materials out there, and I want to read them all.  In truth, I reread books now simply because I have forgotten I have read them at all (until about halfway in) or if a character named Ranger or Morelli is involved. 

So, this morning, my eldest daughter talked books with me, and I was like a kiddo in the candy store.  Scout’s honor, I did not prompt the discussion.  Instead, she admitted to starting Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab (our third book club selection courtesy of Book Club Babe Colleen) last night after we told her for the third time to return to bed.  Sneaky!  She told me her book club buddy, Ava, had been reading it, so my squirt guesstimated Ava was nearly finished with the book (as she is a voracious reader).  

I asked my daughter, “When did you discuss Nick and Tesla with Ava?”  

She responded, “When I was at her house for the slumber party . . ..”  

I took a brief intermission, ran to my room, popped another Benicar due to my excitement, and then returned to our literacy . . . yes, literacy discussion.  

She continued with, “It’s weird how their names are Nick and Tesla, but are referred to as ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ in the book.”  

She then loaded Nick and Tesla into her backpack with “I’m going to take this to school,” and off she went.

When this same reader returned from school, she took off her backpack and told me she found “older” was mispelled in Nick and Tesla.  

I asked how it was spelled, and she said, “E-l-d-e-r”  (13).

Aha!  I explained the meaning of “elder,” but then asked where she found the word in the book.  She went right to the page as she had asked her teacher for a post-it note (what I use to mark passages in my book).  Happy Mother’s Day to me.  We reread the passage together, and I explained how “elder” was, in fact, the correct spelling in this particular sentence.  Learning vocabulary through context . . . an English teacher’s dream.

Furthermore, she said, “There was a funny line in the book, ‘IF YOU’RE SELLING GIRL SCOUT COOKIES, I’M NOT HOME'” (14).  We giggled together as we are both registered Girl Scouts (adult and child) and have sold and eaten our fair share of cookies.

She then continued the conversation by telling me how another book club buddy, Emma “. . . talks about book club all the time.”  

I asked, “When?”  

She said, “When we’re at recess, and she uses Bink and Gollie to answer questions.”  

I asked, “How does she use Bink and Gollie to answer questions?”  

My squirt thought about it for a minute before responding, “Like she’ll say, ‘I read this book Bink and Gollie, and one girl wanted a pancake, and the other wanted her to take her sock off, so the one girl shared the pancake, and the other girl took her sock off.'”

“Cool!” I said trying to mask my near hyperventilation.

The conversation ended with, “Emma said she started Ivy and Bean and is reading Chewy and Chica.”  

Feigning an eye itch, I wiped a tear from the corner of my eye.

Book Club Babes: FINAL Book Selections

p { margin-bottom: 0.1in; direction: ltr; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 120%; }p.western { font-family: “Liberation Serif”,”Times New Roman”,serif; font-size: 12pt; }p.cjk { font-family: “Droid Sans”; font-size: 12pt; }p.ctl { font-family: “Lohit Hindi”; font-size: 12pt; }Overwhelmed by the tremendous book club picks, I am counting down the days until our first discussion.  The variety of subject matter chosen was exactly what I was hoping for, and these second-grade selections surpassed my expectations.  Now, we are anxiously awaiting our book order in the mail . . .
EllaBink and Gollie (88 pages), Meet: 5/17, I see peanut butter and pancakes in our future . . .

IsabellaDisneyFrozen (123 pages), I’m thinking viewing party after discussion.  Oh yeah!

Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab:  A Mystery with Electrogmagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself(240 pages), Experiments galore after discussion . . .

GraceThe Puppy Place:  Chewy and Chica (144 pages),Meet at the G.C. Berry to read with the STARS with Dogs

EmmaIsabelle:  American Girl Today (128 pages), I know they offer American Girl workshops at the G.C. Berry.

CorinnaJunie B. Jones and that Meanie Jim’s Birthday(85 pages),An Unbirthday Partay

AvaFlat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures 2: The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery(96 pages), Visit the Egyptian mummies at the Art Museum and take pics of ourselves flattened out next to the exhibits

FaithWhat If You Had Animal Hair? by Sandra Markle (32 pages), Photoshop ourselves with animal hair.

TessIvy and Bean Break the Fossil Record by Annie Barrows (114 pages), Make salt dough dinosaur fossils . . .
SidneeNever Girls #1: In a Blink (Disney Fairies) (128 pages), Watch Peter Pan: Return to Neverland

GrahamThree Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (256 pages), Eat at Teaspoons Cafe while discussing the book . . .

KirstinMagic Kitten: A Summer Spell (128 pages), Visit the Humane Society and pet some kitties???

Book Club Babes Reader-Generated List to Date

Placing the book selection in the hands of the second-grade girl members of Book Club Babes, a wide range of genres has been selected thus far which thrills me as the facilitator.  Listed beside the title are brainstorming ideas to reinforce the readings.

Disney Frozen (123 pages), I’m thinking viewing party after discussion.  Oh yeah!

Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab:  A Mystery with Electrogmagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself (240 pages), Experiments galore after discussion . . .

The Puppy Place:  Chewy and Chica (144 pages), Meet at the Glen Carbon Berry to read with the STARS with Dogs

Isabelle:  American Girl Today (128 pages), I know they offer American Girl workshops at the G.C. Berry.

Junie B. Jones and that Meanie Jim’s Birthday (85 pages), An Unbirthday Partay

Book Club Babes Inaugural Outing

My oldest daughter loves to read, but it can be difficult transitioning from picture books to chapter books.  As a second-grader, she has taken the leap, but misses the beautifully illustrated pictures.  So, when my own (highly talented) recommender of books, Sarah B. told me her daughter Miss Ava stays up until 11 p.m. at night sneaking reads under the covers due to the series, Origami Yoda,  I was more than sold.  Since her daughter had completed the series, we were allowed to borrow Fortune Wookie for a trial run.  Not only do the drawings in the margins ease the transition from picture books, but the origami “how to” directions for the various characters beyond a doubt “sealed the deal” for my lover of crafts daughter.

Sarah B. then discovered a workshop offered at the Edwardsville Public Library which covered the Origami Yoda series.  Yeah, Baby!  Sarah B. convinced the librarian to register our second-grade girls as the program was intended for third-fifth graders only.  I then forwarded the message to my Book Club Babes (Second Grade Book Club Members) and had one taker, Miss Emma.  Excitement ensued as well as more deliberate reading as the day of the workshop approached.  Yes!  A literacy advocate’s dream . . .

Waiting for the Doors to Open to the Origami Yoda Workshop

Arriving at the library early, we waited patiently for the doors to the workshop room to open with Miss Ava’s little brother Mr. Jakey.  Upon opening of the doors, not one of the three girls bothered to look back.  So, I settled in a corner chair and read while intermittently peeking in through the window at their progress.

Origami Yoda Workshop

After a while small groups exited the room at staggered starts pursuing their mission of a scavenger hunt.  Fortunate enough to view this from my chair in the corner, I could witness their excitement and collaborative learning firsthand.

Uncovering Clues on the Scavenger Hunt

After an hour of focused learning disguised as fun, they all pleaded starvation.  So, we took the short walk from the Edwardsville Public Library to Dewey’s Pizzeria.  Hastily ordering, they wanted to watch the pizza makers behind the window.  Thus, I had a leisurely dinner by myself as they took quick bites and then returned to the viewing window where they snapped some photos with my phone.


Utterly  thrilled by the sneak peek reading at the library of chapter one of Princess Labelmaker, we skipped dessert in search of the newly released book of the Origami Yoda series at Books-A-Million.  An added bonus came as we were loading ourselves into the car.  Parked next to us was a woman reading, so I was able to snap her picture for my book blog.  Score!  

These second-graders’ love of reading is certainly contagious, “Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is” (Yoda, Attack of the Clones), so I am definitely looking forward to our next Book Club Babes outing.