Black Holes and Parallel Universes: Science Fiction Books CORL (Check Off your Reading List) Challenge 2014 GB Challenges It's Monday What Are You Reading Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Boys who have Out-of-this-World Adventures in “Cloud Nine,” “The Way Back Home” and “Jimmy Zangwow’s Moon Pie Adventure”


Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

We’re also inviting everyone to join our Check Off your Reading List Challenge 2014.


Sign up here to join us! Here is the October-December linky

Congratulations to Linda Baie of Teacher Dance (for her review of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves) and Tin of Rabbitin (for her review of Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors). Please send your details (home address and phone number) to gatheringbooks (at) yahoo (dot) com so that your book prize (Slated by Teri Terry) can be sent to you by Pansing Books.

We are also very excited to share that Pansing Books will be giving away copies of Cherub Dark Sun by Robert Muchamore to two lucky CORL participants from October-December.

Carrie Gelson of There is a Book for That is also hosting #mustreadin2014.

Iphigene has outdone herself with this beautiful widget she created.
Iphigene has outdone herself with this beautiful widget she created.

These three picturebooks all demonstrate the significance of finding comfort in one’s imagination, flights of fancies, and having out-of-this world adventures. Three little boys who found themselves in Cloud Nine, moving towards the moon, and back home.


IMG_6363The Way Back Home

Written and Illustrated by: Oliver Jeffers
Published byHarperCollins Publishers, 2011
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

There was once a young boy who discovered an aeroplane in the cupboard, as he was putting a few of his things back. And just like all little boys, he suited up immediately to give it a spin in the skies.


He flew so high that he eventually ran out of gas and found himself unfortunately stuck on the moon. This boy, however, is not alone. Someone else is stuck there with an engine broken down. At first, they were both scared of their own shadows, not knowing what to make of the other.


Until eventually, they were able to get past their fears and found a way to befriend each other. This is a lovely book about friendship, taking responsibility and owning it, fulfilling promises, and as the title says, finding one’s way home.

When I was hunting this book down in our library, I did not realize that it was a board book. Admittedly, this is not my favourite Oliver Jeffers picture book, but still, anything that the man does is lovely to me. Still worth checking out, especially among mothers of very young babies in need of board books.

Cloud NineIMG_6178

Written by: Norman Silver Illustrated by: Jan Ormerod
Published by: The Bodley Head, 1995
Bought my own copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Armstrong was displeased. His home was filled with constant noise with the TV on loud, his mum’s hoover, the barking dog Chum, his father shouting at Chum for chewing the table leg, and his younger sister Bubbles being, well, Bubbles.

It also does not seem that he could get anything right as he seems to be in the way of everyone else who constantly ask him to just go outside and play there instead.


And so with a hrrmp, he wore his helmet, and brought all the tools he needs to build a ladder that will lead him higher and higher, farther and farther away from the constant noise and rubble. He built his ladder slowly, one rung at a time, until, not very long after, he reached the heavens.


With his rope, he managed to lasso a soft cloud – there were eight of them in all, and he flopped comfortably into Cloud Nine. Finally, he found some quiet, a little bit of peace.


Armstrong is also very certain that he does not miss his family, no sir, not at all – and he articulated this loud and clear to the postman who happened to find him in his cloud who delivered his family’s letter, the pilot in an aeroplane, and even a random mountaineer who told him that his family is looking for him.

I loved the narrative in this short and sweet picturebook, and Ormerod’s beautiful illustrations are reminiscent of her wordless Sunlight and Moonlight with the triptychs, the full-spreads, and the subtle shades of water colour. Whether or not Armstrong finds his way home, I shall leave for you to discover. Teachers who wish to use this in the classroom may want to consider pairing this with David Wiesner’s Sector 7 which Fats has reviewed here. If you wish to do a cloud activity with your students, here is a downloadable PDF link by of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

IMG_6172Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-Of-This-World Moon Pie Adventure

Written and Illustrated byTony Diterlizzi
Published by: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2000
Bought my own copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

This was one of my daughter’s favourite reads when she was only a toddler. When she saw me pull this out from our shelves, she immediately recognized it and told me how she always felt hungry after we finished reading the book.

The premise of the story is simple enough. Jimmy Zangwow wanted a moon-pie. However, his mother, in no uncertain terms, told him that he would ruin his dinner – and so he must wait until after his meal, and he could have his moon-pie for dessert.


Jimmy was so disappointed and wished that he could fly to the moon to get his own moon-pies. With luck, his rickety jalopy did take off, took him far from home and brought him face-to-face with the avuncular (almost grandfatherly actually) Mr. Moon who seemed to be a little hard of hearing (cheese in his ears, or so he claims):


Jimmy struck luck once again as Mr. Moon apparently was quite generous and gave him not just one but a thousand moon-pies! Jimmy needed milk, however, for it is the only perfect beverage to go along with moon-pies. And so he needed to travel to.. where else but the Milky Way, of course!


This story has it all: moon-pie, milk, blue-coloured 999 Martians, a Grimble Grinder with a noisy tummy, and a friendly boy with a generous heart. Whether Jimmy Zangwow made it back home for dinner, I shall leave for you to discover.

I enjoyed the whimsical quality of this picturebook. And Diterlizzi’s art is, as per usual, amazingly executed. My only peeve with this book is its size – I could imagine how even more glorious the illustrations would be in the standard picturebook format.


However, I do understand the intention of making it even smaller than usual with the Stories to Go! series from Aladdin Paperbacks – transforming the usual picturebooks to a small enough size that would fit a parent’s backpack. Definitely a book that should be read with moon-pies and milk on the side.

Currently Reading…

It has been two weeks since I participated in the Monday reading meme, and I am glad to be back! I’ve read quite a number of books during the past two weeks, but mostly work related as well. I did manage to finish the Steampunk version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco (my fifth Sacco read for the year!), Romeo and Juliet by Gareth Hinds among others.

I have just finished reading this book last night:


The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Great weekend read! I am hoping that Pansing Books would soon send me the third book in the Raven Cycle series.


I have just started reading The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell. She is one of the invited speakers for this year’s Singapore Writers Festival.


My daughter and I are currently reading this aloud every night: King Lear by Gareth Hinds. We are enjoying the drama and the tragedy, but not so much the book design – we are confused with the visual sequencing of the dialogues – which ones would go first and which will go next. While the illustrations are still awe-inspiring, the lack of clarity in terms of the chronology of text-narrative is putting me off. I am hoping that the other classic adaptations would be better, as we did enjoy Romeo and Juliet quite a bit.



Reading Challenge Update: 244-246 (25)

13 comments on “[Monday Reading] Boys who have Out-of-this-World Adventures in “Cloud Nine,” “The Way Back Home” and “Jimmy Zangwow’s Moon Pie Adventure”

  1. Looks like you read quite a few fun books. I love the freedom of imagination and books feed that for me. Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Oliver Jeffers and have this in paperback edition. But I am really intrigued by Cloud Nine & Moonpie – I love the imagination and have these to borrow for my next library trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm, I had the regular sized edition to Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-Of-This-World Moon Pie Adventure at my old library and LOVED sharing it with students…. great thoughts on it, and pictures! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lucky you that you get to see Tone Almhjell! Twistrose Key is AMAZING – it was one of my most favorite reads last year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. All the kids books look cute. I have 4 young daughters still at home, will have to check into them.

    Guy Vestal @ Counter Culture Critic – My Monday

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We are talking about biographies this week. I may have to look into purchasing the Stephen Hawking one you mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Exciting to be one of the winners of a book, Myra! Thank you! These three books look heavenly (pun intended), will find them at the library I’m sure. I always appreciate the time you take in your reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Those three picture books look fantastic! I loved The Dream Thieves and can’t wait to get my hands on Lily Blue, Blue Lily (or did I get that backwards?). Here’s my reading week:

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-Of-This-World Moon Pie Adventure would be a sure hit readaloud for my class. I feel asd though I am missing out by not reading the Raven series…perhaps it’s time for me to do so, Myra! Interesting about the Lear book, I’m trying to envision its changes – but, who would/could change Lear?!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We read Gareth Hinds’s Beowulf adaptation in my British Lit survey, and it’s a huge hit. Several students have recommended his Romeo & Juliet adaptation to me, so I need to get a copy. Love that you’re reading King Lear with your daughter!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yikes, I need to do a Must Read update! It’s that time 🙂 Not too many more books have been crossed off 🙂
    I can’t wait to read The Raven Boys trilogy. I have 1-2 that are signed by Maggie, just need to start them!


  12. We love the way you write your posts – They really help us get a true sense of the book. Thank you for including photos


  13. Oh how I love this theme. I can’t help smiling as I scroll through the images in these books. Adventure, imagination, inspiration. Loved Dream Thieves and can’t wait for the next instalment!


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