MONDAY FUNDAY: March 20, 2017

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share some of the titles you’ve been enjoying, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.


Happy Monday, everyone! I hope everyone had a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day on Friday. I shared a poem by W. B. Yeats in honour of my Irish heritage, which you can check out here.

I also shared a collection of picture book biographies celebrating feisty, fabulous, fearless females as part of Nonfiction Wednesday, be sure to check out the list and share these amazing stories with the young people in your lives!

Finally, just for a bit of fun, I participated in a book tag – the Stationary Book TagCheck it out to find out a bit more about the mysterious person behind the blog!

And on to this week’s mini reviews – there’s not a huge assortment of books this week, as I’ve been pretty busy, but here we go!

Rhino’s Great Big Itch


Poor Rhino has a great big itch in his ear, and no one seems able to scratch it! Frog is too slimy, lizard is too prickly, and silly old monkey is just too silly to be of any help at all. Fortunately bird, though small, is clever, and knows just what to do to solve a pesky itch. Sure the “size doesn’t matter” has been done countless times before, but it’s always worth repeating. There are a few movement scenes that are fun to act out, and the brief, limited text and sweet illustrations make this a pretty OK choice for a wiggly, impatient story time crowd.

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise


Everyone knows that owls are wise, but Hoot Owl is also a master of disguise! A hungry night hunter, Hoot Owl sets his sights on several tasty meals, including a bunny, a bird and a sheep. His disguises, however, leave a little something to be desired! But Hoot Owl isn’t one to give up easily, and eventually his persistence pays off with the best dinner ever! This is a sweet story about a little creature who doesn’t let his failures dent his optimism. The text is a bit long for my group, but it’s easy enough to shorten it to suit a wiggly audience (pro tip – I’m always adapting my picture books to meet the needs of different audiences. The kids aren’t reading along with me anyway – they’re too busy staring intently at the pictures!). We had some great conversations about being persistence, having self-confidence, and never giving him, which are always worth having!




The back cover warned me of a tale “gruesome, gory and horrifying”, but while the deeds of telekinetic teenager Carrie are indeed violent, the text left me more saddened than horrified. Even if you haven’t read this early Stephen King novel, you’re likely familiar with the general story – Carrie is a plain teenage girl who’s bullied and tormented both at home and at school. Her mother, who is clearly insane and gripped by a violent religious mania, locks Carrie in a dark closet for perceived transgressions, and abuses her verbally, emotionally and psychologically, as well as physically. Unable to fit in with other teenagers, Carrie’s peers mock her mercilessly, taunting her and driving her to despair. Eventually something has to give, and a truly terrible act of bullying causes Carrie to snap and exact a terrible vengeance that leaves swathes of destruction in its wake.

Carrie is in no way a subtle book – King wields his distaste for religion like a club, beating readers over the head with his “religion is evil!” sentiments. Whether or not you share his point of view, the lack of subtlety can be tiring. I get it, Mr. King, Carrie’s mother is a religious fanatic. Yeesh.

Still, Carrie’s experiences are so harrowing that you can’t help but feel sorry for her. There’s no condoning acts of violence, whatever their motivation, but you can see how years of ceaseless torment with no outlet or support could cause an individual to become “unhinged”, and to lash out at a world they see as cruel and uncaring. While Carrie is a fictional character, and her actions are outlandish, with a supernatural element, there are countless young people out there like Carrie who are mistreated at home and / or at school, and who feel that there is no way out, no way to end their suffering.

Carrie is a short novel and a quick read, but its depictions of abuse, both at school and at home, are harrowing, and could be upsetting for some readers. Hopefully, though, it might just inspire people to take a harder look at their own treatment of others, and to consider how their actions (or lack thereof) might impact the people around them.

Have a great week, everyone!

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  • Reply Sarah @ PussReboots

    Hoot Owl looks cute. Carrie I read about twenty years ago — definitely not subtle. 🙂

    I’m joining up in the fun again and I’m hoping you’ll stop by to my new domain.

    It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

    March 20, 2017 at 5:27 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Welcome back to the Monday blogging community! 🙂

      Hoot Owl is super fun. And as much as I have enjoyed King’s writing, he is definitely not a master of subtlety… 😉

      March 21, 2017 at 12:26 am
  • Reply Lisa Maucione

    I never read Carrie. I’ve only read a few Stephen King books in my life. I enjoyed his book On Writing. It gives a lot of insight into how to write well. I have shared parts during pd that I have done for teachers.

    March 20, 2017 at 9:58 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Yes, On Writing is just fantastic, I love the emphasis he puts on writers always having to be voracious and varied readers!

      March 21, 2017 at 12:26 am
  • Reply Stacy

    I have not read Carrie since I was a teenager, but even then I understood why she exploded at the end. I enjoyed reading your review.

    March 20, 2017 at 10:35 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Reading it now as an educator, I just have to wince at all the missed opportunities to connect with and help Carrie! It’s just so frustrating to read!

      March 21, 2017 at 12:28 am
  • Reply Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    I loved the two Carrie movies so I bet I’d like the book! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Great review. Now off to read your Nonfiction Wednesday! I’m all about feisty, fabulous, fearless females! 🙂

    March 20, 2017 at 12:40 pm
  • Reply Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    HA! I forgot I had already read that post and commented. SMH! I’m such a Dory 🙂

    March 20, 2017 at 12:40 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming! 🙂

      March 21, 2017 at 12:28 am
  • Reply Alex Baugh

    I read Carrie when I was a teenager and loved it, and loved the movie, too. I was a big Stephen King fan back then, but not so much anymore. But you’re right – it’s a harrowing story.

    March 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I’ve read a few King novels, and I’m always impressed by his style, if not always his stories!

      March 21, 2017 at 12:29 am
  • Reply Linda Baie

    Those two picture books look very cute, Jane. I don’t remember if I’ve read Carrie or not, so long ago, but I did see the movie, and since then, while it is horrifying, have thought that King predicted something we don’t want to have happened in the school shootings and terrible violence.

    March 20, 2017 at 2:13 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Funnily enough I actually haven’t seen the film version of Carrie! Reading Carrie today is a good reminder that issues like school bullying have been a problem for generations, and while high school can still be a terrible experience for so many young people, at least I hope that we are now more aware of bullying and its emotional and psychological effects.

      March 21, 2017 at 12:32 am
  • Reply Majanka

    I’ve never read Carrie, but I’ve seen the movie a few times. I hope you enjoy your books this week.

    My It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post.

    March 20, 2017 at 2:25 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I haven’t actually seen the film version! I don’t know if I want to…the book is pretty intense, I don’t know if I want to see it all happen on the screen! :S

      March 21, 2017 at 12:32 am
  • Reply Shoshi @ Shoshi Reads

    I haven’t read Carrie but I’ve heard some interesting things about it.

    March 20, 2017 at 5:42 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It’s definitely a strange book, but it did tackle the issue of school bullying long before it become a common word in schools and media.

      March 21, 2017 at 12:34 am
  • Reply Jana Eschner

    I’ve never read the book Carrie, but I remember being frightened by the movie when I was much younger. I definitely want to read Rhino’s Great Big Itch! It looks very adorable and I can relate to the topic. I keep a ruler handy in my desk at school for those times I get an itchy back and can’t reach it any other way!

    March 20, 2017 at 10:41 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      You just never know when a terrible scratch will strike! Always be prepared! 😉

      March 21, 2017 at 12:36 am
  • Reply Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

    I’m crazy about Hoot Owl. So clever. Love your tip about shortening and modifying text…you are right.

    March 21, 2017 at 1:27 am
  • Reply Michele

    Hoot Owl is super fun! It’s one I didn’t expect to be so clever.

    March 21, 2017 at 1:06 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Me neither, it totally surprised me, too!

      March 21, 2017 at 5:11 pm
  • Reply Greg

    I like owls but not sure I’ve ever read anything with an owl character? Mrs. Frisby and the rats of NIMH is the only one that comes to mind. Hoot Owl looks great. 🙂

    March 22, 2017 at 3:16 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      The owl in the film version of the Rats of NIMH absolutely terrified me as a child. Oh the 1980s, when kids movies regularly left their young viewers emotionally scarred… 😉

      I always remember the owl from Winnie the Pooh, he was a favourite owl character of mine when I was a kid. Much less terrifying. 🙂

      March 22, 2017 at 5:05 pm
  • Reply Amanda @ To Read or Not To Read?

    Yikes, I don’t think I could ever read Carrie. I’ve never been much inclined to read any Stephen King though. But Hoot Owl looks cute. ^_^

    March 22, 2017 at 3:12 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I find King really hit or miss – some of his stories I’ve quite enjoyed, while others have left me shaking my head, or just kind of bored.

      “Hoot Owl” is super cute, and it has a great “keep trying” message without being too sappy, which is something I definitely appreciate!

      March 22, 2017 at 5:06 pm
  • Reply Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I vaguely remember the movie Carrie from when I was younger, but I really only remember the prom scene. I didn’t remember the religious element at all—that would really bother me if it completely bashed Christianity repeatedly.

    March 22, 2017 at 4:46 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I haven’t actually seen the film version of Carrie, and having read the book I don’t think I want to. :S

      The religious character is just so over the top and completely ridiculous that it loses all impact as a story element – I can only assume that King was trying to critique religious fundamentalism, but instead it’s just frustrating. >.<

      March 22, 2017 at 5:10 pm
  • Reply Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I haven’t read Carrie, but I’ve seen the movie, and yeah, I can see how the book would leave you more saddened than horrified because of all the abuse and bullying Carrie gets. I agree, I wouldn’t condone her violence, but it’s easy to feel for her and understand why she snapped.

    March 23, 2017 at 6:33 am
  • Reply Myra from GatheringBooks

    I enjoyed Hoot Owl when I read it a few years back – so entertaining and clever. I remember really liking Carrie when I read it years ago, at the time (I was in my 20s then) I didn’t quite catch the author’s insertion into the story, I just felt that it was unique to that particular character rather than a commentary about anything, or perhaps I was just too young to see those parallels.

    March 23, 2017 at 10:02 am
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