Thursday, January 24, 2008

A-buzz with questions

"Questions are bobbing around like bumblebees" -- Dinah Galloway, in The Summer of the Spotted Owl

I like asking questions, so I'm really impressed by all the Silver Birch readers who are e-mailing in questions and comments about Shadows on the Train. Here's a honey of a batch forwarded to me by my good friend, the ultra-cool Gianna Dassios of the Ontario Library Association. Reprinted, as someone who believes in freedom of expression, without editing!

"Shadows on the train has been one of my favourite books! I think that even though it is not the first book in the series it explains the main character Dinah's personality very well! In this book there have been some very good parts :) and some bad parts :( ! One of the bad parts were when she was taking to her paino teacher and then it just went to another topic without even going into another paragraph or chapter. That was pretty much the only bad part I found! ( So it is full of good parts!) Over all this was an amazing book! :) ;) I thought that this book was amazing :) I haven't read the other books, but I will! I really like all of the trouble and fights that she gets into, trying to prtect the "king"! It was really amazing!"

"I think this was a good book because it was very exciting to hear about the 80,000 dollar envelope and traveling on the train to Toronto from Vancouver. But it sometimes gets a bit boring at parts in the beginning I also like the part(s) on the train like when the nurse gets on and they think there kidnaping Ms.cheerbly. That part i liked."

"I think this is a really good book there is lost of action and I really like the author who did it. I also like it because there was really weird shadows I think "Shadows On The Train" is a good book. I recommend it."

"The part where she reviles herself and everyone is missing is reall cool. I think that they loved the dad."

"I really like this book because I thik Dinah was a realistique caracheter. I like books that are mysteries. I especially like the part where Dinah puts the stamp below her tong. That was cool. At first I thought that she had actually gotten writ of the stamp. I also like the part where on the train where everyone is disapearing. I could really imagine that happening. I did not like the part where Dinah was "captured" the lady. I found it really confusing. I liked the book so much that I even went to the library to get two more."

And, from Theresa Sawada, an ESL and Reading Recovery teacher at Ranchdale Public School: "Dinah is an interesting little detective, with her corny jokes and clever insights. I can see why she would want to understand more about her father and his friends. I liked when she said, "When I sang, I was singing into the shadows as well as everywhere else." It was a passion she shared with her father, and she didn't want to forget or ignore their times together.

"I checked out the blog mentioned in the front of the book, You can see a clear drawing of Dinah, with her curly red hair, freckles and glasses. I tried to visualize what she looked like as I read the story, but the cover, of course, just shows a shadow of the character. The blog also talks about how a book reviewer compared the author, Melanie Jackson, to Agatha Christie, one of my favourite mystery writers."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Woo hoo, wiki woman

Pantelli: " 'Woo hoo, witchy woman, she got the moon in her eyes ... ' Know that song, Dinah? It's way cool."

Dinah: "If those odd contortions you're doing are an attempt at dancing, please stop, or else I'll turn the hose on you full-blast. They're very disturbing. Anyhow, for your information, it's wiki woman we're talking about here. As in, my author, Melanie Jackson, who's signed up for Rippleton Road School's Silver Birch wiki! Now kids can post their comments/questions about Shadows on the Train and all the other Silver Birch nominees."

Pantelli: "Now I get it. Wikis. Where everybody adds a piece, whether it's an idea or a question or a fact, and you assemble an online source of information that keeps growing, like a puzzle coming together."

Dinah: "Yeah! And Rippleton, which was Melanie's first school, is the wiki leader, the first of its kind! Teacher-librarian Shaun Grant started the wiki so that ... Well, I might as well let Shaun explain it himself. Hi, Shaun!"

Mr. Grant: "Hi Dinah, hi Pantelli. This wiki provides an opportunity for students to leave mments regarding the Silver Birch book that they just read. My goal is to provide my students with an opportunity to connect with the authors of the books that they are enjoying. I will expand this opportunity to schools throughout Toronto due to the positive support that this wiki site is receiving!"

Pantelli [contorting]: "So, guys, the song oughtta be Wiki Woman. 'Woo hoo, wiki woman ... ' "

Dinah [brandishing hose]: "You might want to step aside, Mr. Grant. A tsunami is about to start."