Showing posts sorted by date for query aldo zelnick. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query aldo zelnick. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hotdogger (and Ignoramus)



by Karla Oceanak
illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press, September 1, 2013
review copy provided by the publisher

It's winter in Fort Collins, Colorado, where Aldo lives, and winter in the Front Range of Colorado means skiing.

But Aldo doesn't want to go. Doesn't want to with a passion that only the most avid couch potato (that would be Aldo) can muster.

What I like about this eighth book in the alphabetic Aldo Zelnick series is that Aldo finally starts to show some glimmers of being able to change his ways.



This just came in the mail, so I'm officially behind in the series, but looking forward to what's up next for Aldo and his crew:


Ignoramus (The Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel Series)
by Karla Oceanak
illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press, December 15, 2013
review copy provided by the publisher

Aldo's birthday is on February 14! Poor Aldo! I'm sure this is going to bring out his curmudgeonly best worst.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

'Tis the Season


Glitch (The Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel Series)
by Karla Oceanak
illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

There's definitely more than a little GLITCH in Aldo's plan to get more presents for Christmas this year!




Pete the Cat Saves Christmas
created and illustrated by James Dean
story by Eric Litwin
Harper, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

In this take-off of The Night Before Christmas, Pete the Cat leaves the beach where we left him in his Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, and steps in for a sick Santa to save Christmas.




It's Christmas! (I Can Read Book 3)
by Jack Prelutsky
illustrated by Marylin Hafner
Greenwillow Books, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

A dozen very accessible poems cover Christmas from the decorating to the present of a sled in a year with no snow.




Adventures in Cartooning: Christmas Special
by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost
First Second, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

Santa's nostalgic for the olden days when kids got toys for Christmas instead of electronics. With the help of the dragon and the knight from the first book, Santa delivers a book to all the children that makes them want to turn off their screens and draw comics...and of course, that is the book you just read!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Finicky



Finicky (The Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel Series)
by Karla Oceanak
illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

It's hard to believe we're already to the sixth book in the Aldo Zelnick series! I have a student who is waging a one-man boycott of our school cafeteria over the very same issue that moves Aldo and his friends to protest -- no more pizza day on Tuesdays!

This volume is sure to please food lovers and finicky eaters alike, and the feast of words that begin with F fairly overflows!  Aldo and his fellow endomorph of a dad get a little more serious about their health and weight, and Aldo serves up a steaming banquet of remorse when his protests get a little out of hand.

Another must-read for Aldo Zelnick fans, and also for the Nate the Great and Wimpy Kid crowd.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Egghead


EGGHEAD
by Karla Oceanak
illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

Aldo Zelnick is ESTRANGED from his best friend Jack in this fifth book in the Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel series.

The series is alphabetic, and we're up to the letter E. (My reviews of the other 4 books are here.) Aldo's laziness gets the best of him in this book -- his refusal to put forth enough EFFORT to do well in ESPAƑOL...even to accept Spanish as worth the effort...understandably causes a rift between him and his best friend, Jack, a native Spanish speaker.

I wasn't as patient with Aldo as his parents and his other friends were. I didn't like this completely EGOCENTRIC side of Aldo. But he came through in the end, even sacrificing his Halloween candy, which, if you know Aldo, was a huge sacrifice.

There were lots of fun subplots in this book -- Aldo is reading A WRINKLE IN TIME, and he even makes a "Bacon Boy" (his own original comic character) cartoon retelling of the book. It is raining through most of the book, and Aldo and his friends build dams in the gutters, just like I did when I was a kid. And, because Aldo is doing a report on EINSTEIN and dressing like him for Halloween, there are lots of fun Einstein facts and science EXPERIMENTS woven into the story. (Make sure you don't miss the nod to EDWARD Gorey on the last page of the book!)

Next up in the series are FINICKY (looks like Aldo might need to start eating more healthily) and GLITCH (looks like a take-off on the Grinch).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Wisdom of Aldo Zelnick

Dumbstruck
by Karla Oceanak
illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press, 2011
Review copy provided by the publisher









There's wisdom to be found in children's books. Here's a segment from the new Aldo Zelnick book:

Goosy (Aldo's artsy grandma) walked me (Aldo) over to a window in her studio. She flung it open, and we peered over the sill, onto the ground below. There, behind a big bush, lay a mashed-up pile of paper, canvas, pottery, and other atrsy stuff. 
"I listen to my gut," she said. "If it tells me, 'This piece doesn't make you happy,' I just throw it away and start over." 
"But why throw it out the window?" 
"Because it fels good to throw something out a window once in a while, don't you think?" 
"But you put so much work into your art!" 
"Of course. Except I don't think of it as work. Life is mostly in the doing, anyway, not in the having. Besides, not everything we do in life deserves to be on display, Aldo."

The Aldo Zelnick books keep getting better and better. In this volume, Aldo has to deal with starting fifth grade, having a crush on his new art teacher, figuring out what to create for the art contest, learning to communicate with a new friend who is deaf, and being Nick Bottom (wearing a donkey head) in his class' performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Favorite Series: Aldo Zelnick Comic Novels

Cahoots (The Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel Series)

Cahoots
by Karla Oceanak
illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press, May 1, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher


This is the funniest book in the series so far!

Aldo's mother is fed up with the amount of time that Aldo and his older brother Timothy spend inside, on the couch, with their digital gizmos (Game Boy, cell phone, iPod, TV...). She bans electronics before she goes to the grocery store, but by the time she gets back, both boys (and even their dad) are back on the couch in front of the TV. Aldo has grabbed the laptop and is playing Farm Town. Little does he know that all of his misconceptions about farm life are soon to be cleared up.

"I'm level 18 now, so I'm a Master Farer. I have a farmhouse, a giant garden, chickens and a rooster, cows, and lots more farmish stuff. My goal is level 59--Zenith Farmer. That's when you can get a swimming pool because really, what's a farm without a swimming pool? 
One farm lesson I've learned the hard way is to ALWAYS hire other people to harvest your crops. It's way too much work to do it yourself! All that clicking makes your arm sore."
Mom declares that they will be going for a week of vacation to the family farm where she grew up, where her brother, Aldo's Uncle Odin and his wife and twin boys live -- a week of ELECTRONICS FREE vacation.

There are a few good moments -- epic farm breakfasts with lots of BACON -- and lots of bad ones, almost always having something to do with the chores. There is a ghost (maybe) and there is the constant pranking by the twins.

If I had been paying closer attention to the title of the book -- CAHOOTS, hint hint -- I wouldn't have been as surprised as Aldo by the ending. But then again, it was fun to be as surprised as Aldo by the ending!


Why I love this series:
1. Each book features fun words, starred with an asterisk, and amusingly defined in the back of the book. In ARTSY FARTSY, the first book, they were A words, BOGUS had B words, and now CAHOOTS has C words. The definitions are fun enough that if you peek just once, you'll know they are worth your time, either while reading or at the end of the book.
2. Aldo is such a lovable antihero -- very easy to relate to!
3. There are 23 more books in the series to look forward to! One of my students from last year has come back to borrow BOGUS and CAHOOTS, and students from this year's class who have fallen in love with Aldo are planning to come back to my room next year to borrow DUMBSTRUCK and EGGHEAD! Keep them coming, Karla and Kendra!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bogus

Bogus
by Karla Oceanak
illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press, 2010
review copy provided by the publisher

Aldo Zelnick is back with his second sketchbook filled with cartoons, rock-candy words starting with B (amusing illustrated glossary in the back of the book), and a mystery that's worth $1000 to solve: what happened to the ring he thought was bogus, but which has turned out to be quite valuable?

In Artsy-Fartsy, the first book of this alphabetic "comic novel" series (I reviewed it here), we met Aldo, his family and his friends. We found out how Aldo came to be writing and drawing in his sketchbook, and we fell in love with him, even though he's a little bit chubby, a little bit lazy, and he'd rather play video games than do anything else...except eat!

In Bogus, Aldo (somewhat reluctantly and very realistically) learns to put the needs of others before his desire for a giant flat screen TV. In book three, Cahoots, (out later this year) it sounds like Aldo is up for some more character-building when he has to spend time on his cousins' farm with no technology and lots of chores!

My fourth graders last year LOVED Artsy-Fartsy and were disappointed that Bogus would come out after they'd left my class. This new group is going to have two books in the series to devour and a third to look forward to by the end of the year!

Just for fun, you can follow Aldo Zelnick on Twitter: @AldoZelnick.
You can also check out his website: AldoZelnick.com.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Artsy-Fartsy

Artsy-Fartsy
by Karla Oceanak
illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press, 2009
review copy provided by the publisher

Greg Heffley and Ellie McDoodle, move over -- Aldo Zelnick is here!

Aldo's grandmother, an artist, gives him a sketchbook at the beginning of summer break so he can keep track of all his artsy-fartsy ideas. Aldo does plenty of sketching, but he's also interested in words, thanks to his neighbor (a retired English teacher), Mr. Mot. It's Mr. Mot who gets Aldo started keeping track of all the interesting "A" words he uses, beginning with "artsy-fartsy". There's even a word gallery at the end of the book with all of Aldo's "A" words. Most of the words are defined (except for words like "antidisestablishmentarianism," which he has no idea what it means but likes it because it's so long), and some are illustrated (like the toilet beside "ad nauseum").

In this first book in the series, we meet 10 year-old Aldo's family -- his grandmother the painter, his mother the birder, his father, whose hobby is baking, and his 14 year-old athletic brother. Aldo's best friend Jack is a rock hound. They all live in Colorado.

Aldo and Jack make a fort at the edge of the park near their house, under a big blue spruce whose branches grow almost all the way to the ground. Aldo leaves his notebook in a crook of the branches. When he comes back, he finds drawings in his notebook! Someone has found their fort, found his notebook, and DRAWN IN IT!

Finding the culprit (who strikes again at least once more) is the main story line in ARTSY-FARTSY, but there are plenty of entertaining sub-stories. In one, Aldo, who would rather watch TV and play video games, is forced to play baseball. It starts badly (and humorously) but has a surprising turn in the end.

Aldo is a character I like a lot, and I think kids will like, too. The second book in the series, BOGUS, is due out this spring, and promises to be filled with "more hand-drawn comics, rock-candy B words, and accounts of his everyday adventures." Looks like Aldo's dad's baking will be a key part of the story in BOGUS.