Reviews for month


JERRY PINKNEY
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
LLANAS, SHEILA GRIFFIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 12, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Twelve illustrators are introduced in this 32 page library bound series. General information about the illustrators' parents, early childhood, pathway to becoming a children's illustrator, book titles and awards are included and will be useful for author/illustrator studies. ic talent emerged early in childhood but it took a chance meeting with a professional artist for him to realize that it could be a career. From his 1st published book in 1964 to the present, Jerry has won countless awards including the Caldecott Medal, five Caldecott honor books and five Coretta Scott King. Wonderful illustrations from some of his award winning folktales showcase his genius. Brief mention is made of how his mother's telling of traditional African-American folktales and his own summers spent in nature led to his choice of stories. Photographs of the artist and illustrations from several different books are detailed in captions and text. Each book explains one element of art such as line, texture or tone in a text box, and describes how it is used in the illustrator's work. Standard non-fiction text features include a table of contents, index, glossary, vocabulary words in bold, captions and varied illustrations. Selected web resources may be found at the publisher's website.
MO WILLEMS
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
LLANAS, SHEILA GRIFFIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 12, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Twelve illustrators are introduced in this 32 page library bound series. General information about the illustrators' parents, early childhood, pathway to becoming a children's illustrator, book titles and awards are included and will be useful for author/illustrator studies. Mo Willems' books are already classics amongst early readers and are almost always checked out in my library. Willems path to authoring started with comedy, cartooning, animation and writing for Sesame Street. Doodling lead to the Pigeon books and his daughter Trixie inspired the Knuffel Bunny series. Several books have received awards including Caldecott Honor Books and a Theodore Seuss Geisel Medal. Photographs of the artist and illustrations from several different books are detailed in captions and text . A side panel descrides how shape as an element of art is used in the Willems work. Standard non-fiction text features include a table of contents, index, glossary, vocabulary words in bold, captions and varied illustrations. Selected web resources may be found at the publisher's website.
BRIAN SELZNICK
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
LLANAS, SHEILA GRIFFIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 12, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Twelve illustrators are introduced in this 32 page library bound series. General information about the illustrators' parents, early childhood, pathway to becoming a children's illustrator, book titles and awards are included and will be useful for author/illustrator studies. Brian Selznick, recipient of the first Caldecott Award given to a novel, never expected to illustrate and write children's books. A strong childhood imagination, love of reading and movies, a degree from Rhode Island School of Design and a job at a children's bookstore, mingled with advice from his friends eventually leading him to his very successful career. Even his first book, The Houdini Box, based on a college project, won awards! Since then, he has illustrated picture books, chapter books, and biographies; many of them receiving ALA Notable Children's Book recognition. Photographs of the artist and illustrations from several different books are detailed in captions and text. Each book explains one element of art such as line, texture or tone in a text box, and describes how it is used in the illustrator's work. Standard non-fiction text features include a table of contents, index, glossary, vocabulary words in bold, captions and varied illustrations. Selected web resources may be found at the publisher's website.
TONY DITERLIZZI
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
LLANAS, SHEILA GRIFFIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 12, 2012
Sepessy, Lona
Twelve illustrators are introduced in this 32 page library bound series. General information about the illustrators' parents, early childhood, pathway to becoming a children's illustrator, book titles and awards are included and will be useful for author/illustrator studies. Tony DiTerlizzi's artistic career started as a young boy but, after college found it difficult to get a job. First hired to create characters for the Dungeons and Dragons game he persevered and was eventually launched as a writer/illustrator. Best known for his collaboration with Holly Black in the Spiderwick Chronicles and The Spider and the Fly, newer books such as the Search for Wondla, Kenny and the Dragon and G is for One Gzonk!, showcase widely varying styles of illustration. Texture as an element of art in DiTerlizzi's books is described in a side panel and the several awards he has won are also mentioned. Standard non-fiction text features include a table of contents, index, glossary, vocabulary words in bold, captions and varied illustrations. Selected web resources may be found at the publisher's website.
BRAMBLE AND MAGGIE : HORSE MEETS GIRL
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
HAAS, JESSIE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 15, 2012
Hopfauf, Libby
Friendship can spring from unlikely places and cannot be based on initial impressions. Maggie and Bramble are a perfect example in this colorful story for beginning reader. Bramble is a horse that "has her little ways" and tired of leading riders around her ring. Maggie longs for a horse of her own, carrying a pet owners guide, boots and riding hat with her wherever she goes. Upon first meeting both are hesitant, but could this be the perfect match? This is a great book for young readers with a passion for horses and friendship. The characters are unique and fun, both have their own fears, but with the others help are able to overcome them. The text is understated and minimalistic, separated into four chapters and showing instead of telling the plot. Along with the detailed and lighthearted illustrations, this gives readers the opportunity to observe and decipher the characters emotions and misunderstandings for themselves. Bramble and Maggie is a lighthearted and endearing book that children will be eager to share with parents, friends and teachers.
OCEAN AND SEA
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
PARKER, STEVE
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 15, 2012
Hopfauf, Libby
This latest installment in the Scholastic: Discover More series is a fascinating and innovative way to look at sea life. Through phenomenal photography, graphs, tables and text, Ocean and Sea takes readers on a eyewitness account of the history, science and beauty of our Earth's bodies of water. Each section is carefully organized to depict the biology, plants and creatures of the oceans in a simple and descriptive way that is informative without being overwhelming or tedious. Readers are able to not only read about these waters and their relationships with people and the land around them, but also interact with the information in the supplemental digital book. The companion, Shark Spotter, is free and easy to download from the Scholastic website. Combining facts, diagrams, videos, questions and images, this user friendly too helps readers to fully explore (literally) the ins and outs of sharks, either alone or in a group on their computer. These are both fun reads and chalk full of facts for any curious ocean researcher.
RIDE, FLY GUY, RIDE!
Cartwheel Books [SCHOLASTIC]
ARNOLD, TEDD
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Why are you wasting your time reading this review? You know you're going to buy the book. You have no choice. Kindergartners and First Graders will threaten to boycott the library if you don't. And they've got good reason. Fly Guy is swept out of the car window by the wind and into the mouth of a passing truck driver who spits him out into a passing motorboat, and on and on. How does Tedd Arnold do it? How does he take a very simple vocabulary and make it so much fun to read. Of course the pictures help. Fly Guy and the seatbelt in the car are funny. So is the truck drive with Fly Guy in his mouth. It's that humorous combination of word and text that makes Fly Guy one of my favorite characters. Although I haven't figured out how to make the costume, I want to come as Fly Guy to the next Dress as your Favorite Book Character Day and BUZZZZZ right in.
BEARS BEWARE
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE]
GIFF, PATRICIA REILLY
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Giff brings her talent of addressing childhood fears to her Zigzag Kids series. In the fifth book, Mitchell is quite fearful of the overnight camping trip the Afternoon School has planned. And he's got good reason to be; he trips as he's carrying the boy's tent pole and breaks it. Now the boys are going to have to sleep on the ground outside. Then he's teamed up with the teacher's grandson, a red-headed pony-tailed kid whose love of oatmeal is evident from the dried remains around his mouth. Luckily the scary bear turns out to be a squirrel and his other fears turn out to be needless. They even manage a surprise birthday cake and to top off the night, a new tent pole has been fun. This is reassuring reading for early chapter book readers.
JUST BEHAVE, PABLO PICASSO!
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [SCHOLASTIC]
WINTER, JONAH
Hawkes, Kevin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Good news for kids. Rebellion has its place. Without Picasso's determination and courage to paint what he wanted to paint art could be pretty tame. But he didn't listen to the critics. He painted what he wanted to paint. Even when he was getting rich painting rose colored pictures people bought and critics adored. He was willing to give up his popularity as a "big, famous art star" and do "his own thing." This point is ably made in Winter's book. Winter's type of art complements Picasso's work. The illustrations offer a treasure hunt as well. A number of Picasso's work is included in the illustrations. How many can kids find? And like so many great picture book biographies, an end note provides more detail about Picasso.
BRITISH SHORTHAIR CATS
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
WHEELER, JILL C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Abdo has greatly improved the Checkerboard series since the first Cats books came out. Now they really do talk about the specifics of the breed. Official Cat Fancier's Association terminology about colors within the breeds and physical descriptions has been used. The Checkerboard books are the most popular among my dog and cat lovers and I greatly appreciate Abdo's improvement in the series. Readers will know after reading these books which cat is best suited to the child's family. Who would know there'd such a variety in cat personalities?
JAPANESE BOBTAIL CATS
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
WHEELER, JILL C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
See review for Wheeler, Jill C. British Shorthair Cats. All books in this series are well written and are breed specific, with information about each breed in every chapter.
RAGDOLL CATS
CHECKERBOARD [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
WHEELER, JILL C
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
See review for Wheeler, Jill C. British Shorthair Cats. All books in this series are well written and are breed specific, with information about each breed in every chapter.
SHARK KING
CANDLEWICK PRESS: TOON BOOKS [WALKER & COMPANY]
JOHNSON, R KIKUO
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
The editors of Toon books have an excellent feel for what works in an elementary school. In this book, taken from a Hawaiian legend, the Shark King takes on a kinder persona than many who are familiar with this tale remember. This gentler version works well in the school library. When a mortal woman has a child by the Shark King, the Shark King leaves a magical cape with her for his son before he returns to the ocean to make a place for his son. As the boy grows he realizes he must make a choice?stay with his mother or return to the ocean. Rafe Martin's picture book The Shark God (2001) might be an interesting choice to give to kids who like this book.
Can you tell a gecko from a salamander
Lightning Bolt Books [Lerner Publishing Group]
Silverman, Buffy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Children's non-fiction keeps getting better and better. This book from the Animal Look-Alikes series proves it. Readers will learn so much! Along with the text very clear photos tell the difference. The photo showing the difference in the scaly skin of the gecko and the smooth skin of the salamander is perfect. Readers will be able to distinguish between a reptile and an amphibian easily after reading this book. A "Who am I" quiz at the end of the book will test their knowledge. And a page of fun facts will make for fun reading.
BIRD TALK : WHAT BIRDS ARE SAYING AND WHY
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
JUDGE, LITA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
I'm glad I'm not a western grebe. Being presented with some weeds, doesn't communicate romance to me! But evidently, to the grebe it means let's get together and make a nest. (Maybe my husband is trying to communicate with me non-verbally when he leaves his dirty clothes for me to pick up.) Did you know a male robin has a variety of songs? The more complicated the song the more experienced the robin. (In my mind, I'm picturing guy's pick-up lines in a bar. Are they the same?) And can the male Blue Bird of Paradise swinging upside down on a branch mimic spring behavior of boys in 5th grade during recess? Adults will probably find more correlations between bird communication and human behavior than kids will, that's for sure. This is a book that goes way beyond the targeted audience. It's a book that will be interesting to all elementary aged children and perfect for a non-fiction read-a-loud. The elegant illustrations combined with bits of humor make this worthy addition to your collection. Be sure to check out judge's webpage as well, for she has a lot more information there.
LUNCH LADY AND THE MUTANT MATHLETES
Knopf Books for Young Readers [RANDOM HOUSE]
Krosoczka, Jarrett J
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Dee, Hector and Terrance are doomed! Because they skipped the class field trip they have to join the mathletes. Turns out that they enjoy it and make it to the finals where they compete against a school that has never lost. Lunch Lady and Betty know there's something wrong with this school team. Sneaking into the Willow School and discovers that the students are really mutant aliens. Saved by her friend the Thompson Brook custodian from being killed by the enemy custodian, she manages to get to the championship meet where she and Betty save the day. Thompson Brook wins with the correct answer to the question "If X plus 21 equals 33 what does x equal" what does x equal ?" and the mutant aliens, who can't stand losing start making it tough, but Lunch Lady, Betty and the kids are up to their tricks. Things like peas and scrambled egg powder help destroy the mutants and the math cup proudly resides in Thompson Brook School. Lunch Ladies keep on serving that great school food and looking out for the kids.
GREEN
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
SEEGER, LAURA VACCARO
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
My review won't even come close to the review E.E. Bird did for her Fuse8 SLJ blog review! But my sentiments are the same. This is one of those picture books that come along very seldom. It's beautiful, the textures of the paint, the peep holes introducing the next shade of green from forest green to glow green and shaded green. This is a book to hold, to feel and to think about how many shades of a color there are. Although this is aimed at a younger audience, sharing the Amazon.com Green video could prove to be a way to calm noisy kids down as they come into the library. And of course, you'd want a copy of the book for those who wanted to look at it closer to take to heart the message about the endangered greens of our environment. I do have to quote Bird here. "Call it poetry with a purpose."
LIFE IN THE OCEAN : THE STORY OF OCEANOGRAPHER SYLVIA EARLE
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [MACMILLAN]
NIVOLA, CLAIRE A
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Childhood interests help shape our adult careers. This was so able pointed out in Patrick McDonnell's Me?Jane. A picture book can be deceptively simple, but an excellent author can distill the importance of childhood events to create an important biography. I keep thinking about how we need to look for informational text in the Common Core standards that a teacher can easily share with a class. Sylvia Earle's life is one that can be shared. Sylvia (born in 1935) loved living in New Jersey, and wasn't sure about the move to Florida. She'd miss the exploration of the fields around her home. But Florida had the OCEAN. When given a pair of swim goggles, Sylvia finds her life-long passion. Using Earle's own words, readers will find how enchanting Earle found swimming with whales. And thanks to her work as the chief oceanographer for NOAA and a consultant for National Geographic (as told in the author's note at the end), we haven't destroyed the ocean habitat?yet
Citizen Scientist: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery From
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [MACMILLAN]
Burns, Loree Griffen
Harasimowicz, Ellen
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Bringing four important science projects to light, kids can find out how they can participate in nature data gathering without leaving their neighborhoods. There's not a lot of equipment required either. I was fascinated by the monarch butterfly project. Participants tag monarch butterflies by placing small stickers on their wing. With the location data found on these stickers, the research team can track the migration pattern. Burns goes into detail without being preachy. Then there's the spring frog count. People listen to the sound of the mating call to determine frog species. Other projects include the winter bird count and the frog watch where people go out after dark and count frog species by the sound of the mating call. Burns completes the book with a list of resources, so kids know exactly who to contact if they want to participate in one of the activities
MONKEY AND ELEPHANT
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
SCHAEFER, CAROLE LEXA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Three cheers for Camano Island Washington author, Carole Lexa Schaefer. She's created a pair of very different friends. Monkey and Elephant are right up there with Lobel's Frog and Toad and DiCamillo's Bink and Gollie. Her clever use of words like galump, spunky and snooze and the bright whimsical illustrations of Galai Bernstein take the BORING out of beginning readers. Size makes no difference in friendship as the two friends solve their problems. When Elephant goes too fast for Monkey, the problem is solved by Elephant giving Monkey a ride. Peace prevails until elephant starts walking too "bumpity" And not only that but elephant's walk is too "ziggy and zaggy." Luckily singing helps. Their encounter with the wild cats who want to eat Monkey show how powerful friendship can be. I hope there are more adventures in store for Elephant and Monkey. They make listening to emergent readers read aloud fun rather than a boring task. I want to make this story into a reader's theater!
STAY : THE TRUE STORY OF TEN DOGS
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
MUNTEAN, MICHAELA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
When circus acrobat, Luciano Anastasini, fell 50 feet from the high wire and broke so many bones he could no longer be an acrobat, he needed a new way to be involved in the circus. He used his "brokenness" to help save what appeared to be problem dogs, giving them a second chance just like he was getting a second chance. Meet 10 dogs he rescued. Learn how his patience and kindness helped rehabilitate these dogs. The photos help make the story memorable. The message is so worthwhile, people as well as animals deserve a second chance. Informational text is truly fascinating in this book. Although some background information about Anastasini's circus heritage is covered in the book, readers will want to check out his webpage for family history, his current act with the circus and of course more pictures of the dogs.
SEE ME GROW
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
ARLON, PENELOPE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Arlon expands on the concept of grown in Pinnington's book Animal Babies in the same series by narrowing down animal growth to a few animals. Take be bee grub. The queen bee is shown laying the egg in the wax nest, the grub grows, and at 3 days wraps itself in a cocoon. And if that doesn't catch the attention of a young learner, read about the shark babies. This is one of the first four books in the Emergent Reader Discover More Library. Pages are well-laid out in all of them. Large type introduces the important concepts, with pictures and smaller text giving more detail. If you are using this book to introduce non-fiction text features, you'll find the table of contents and glossary useful. Scholastic needs to be commended on making a digital companion book available in PDF form, with links to videos, quizzes and activities. This makes it perfect for sharing informational text in a computer lab setting. It will take some adult help to download the PDF book. The code is a long random series of letters and numbers.
MY BODY
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
PINNINGTON, ANDREA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Here's an excellent example of creating a human body book for young readers. I've got to get this book reviewed quickly, because I've got a first grade teacher wanting it. By superimposing a drawn graphic over a photo, it's very clear how the sound goes from the ear to the brain. The cutaway drawing of a child in a backflip shows show the bones, in a fun unconventional way. And there's a great picture of how muscles attach to a bone. Imaging what's inside the body isn't easy, but it became easier with this book. This is one of the first four books in the Emergent Reader Discover More Library. Pages are well-laid out in all of them. Large type introduces the important concepts, with pictures and smaller text giving more detail. If you are using this book to introduce non-fiction text features, you'll find the table of contents and glossary useful. Scholastic needs to be commended on making a digital companion book available in PDF form, with links to videos, quizzes and activities. This makes it perfect for sharing informational text in a computer lab setting. It will take some adult help to download the PDF book. The code is a long random series of letters and numbers.
ANIMAL BABIES
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
PINNINGTON, ANDREA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Fun pictures and lots of useful information will introduce young learners to the growing process. Whales have one calf and salmon lay 1000's of eggs. The baby name chapter will invite further exploration. Did you know a baby hedgehog is called a hoglet? A baby rabbit is called a kitten! The chapter on getting around shows baby possums on mom's back, and male sea horse carried the eggs in a pouch until they hatch. This is one of the first four books in the Emergent Reader Discover More Library. Pages are well-laid out in all of them. Large type introduces the important concepts, with pictures and smaller text giving more detail. If you are using this book to introduce non-fiction text features, you'll find the table of contents and glossary useful. Scholastic needs to be commended on making a digital companion book available in PDF form, with links to videos, quizzes and activities. This makes it perfect for sharing informational text in a computer lab setting. It will take some adult help to download the PDF book. The code is a long random series of letters and numbers.
FARM
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
ARLON, PENELOPE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Animals, crops and farm machinery?it's all here in a study book meant for young hands. Most farm books look at only American farms, but this book has the good sense to look at farming in other countries. Rice paddies and tea plantations are shown, as well as a look at uncommon animal farms like bison and ostrich. This is one of the first four books in the Emergent Reader Discover More Library. Pages are well-laid out in all of them. Large type introduces the important concepts, with pictures and smaller text giving more detail. If you are using this book to introduce non-fiction text features, you'll find the table of contents and glossary useful. Scholastic needs to be commended on making a digital companion book available in PDF form, with links to videos, quizzes and activities. This makes it perfect for sharing informational text in a computer lab setting. It will take some adult help to download the PDF book. The code is a long random series of letters and numbers.
ARABIANS ARE MY FAVORITE!
Lerner Publishing Group [Lerner Publishing Group]
LANDAU, ELAINE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
This book in the series My Favorite Horses does an adequate job explaining what makes an Arabian an Arabian. Both physical and temperamental attributes are discussed. Photos are excellent. In particular, the two page spread with the various parts of the horse labeled. This is particularly important in an animal in which the leg alone has 7 different parts. The downside to this book is the amount of general information included in the book. Although I haven't seen the other books in the series, I imagine the material is repeated in them as well.
CHEETAHS
BUDDY BOOKS [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
MURRAY, JULIE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
I am a cheetah lover and our school mascot is the cheetah so I've amassed a good collection of cheetah books over the years. Big Buddy Book series: African Animals will be a worthy addition to the collection. There's not much different than other books. The information is solid, the pictures are well chosen, I have one quibble with the book. When it talks about cheetahs and their location in Africa, it would have been less confusing for readers if the information had been specific for the savannah region. The crops mentioned don't grow near cheetah areas, nor are the languages mentioned spoken in southern Africa either. One feature I really like is the inclusion of a photo of a leopard which is often confused with a cheetah in the chapter on the physical description of the cheetah. That is seldom done in a children's book, but is very important.
MISS ANNIE : 1 : FREEDOM!
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
LE GALL, FRANK
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Ever had one of those upper elementary school girls who struggles with reading, but loves animals and loves language. This might be the perfect book. Miss Annie, still a kitten chafes at the restrictions her family put on her. No jumping on the desk, no sleeping on the lady master's chair, no clawing the furniture. Told in first person by the cat, the pictures are drawn from a cat's perspective. You see lots of people legs and furniture legs. Miss Annie is a true cat, making the house safe from the enemy?in this case a flower arrangement. She stops a leave dead in its track. Now a mouse on the other hand, Miss Annie befriends. She knows though that there's a lot more to the world than her home. When a window is left open, Miss Annie takes advantage of it. And the success of her first outside outing proves "she's a big girl, now." Annie's emotions are well expressed via eyes and ears by illustrator Flore Balthazar. Frank le Gall is a French cartoonist and the text has been translated from the French. This is a well-done graphic novel that will attract animal lovers who may not like to read. Miss Annie will be a charming addition to any library and can be used in lessons talking about point of view.
MRS. HARKNESS AND THE PANDA
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
POTTER, ALICIA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
How an author /illustrator team can take a subject that doesn't sound like a picture book and turn it into a captivating book with illustrations that evoke the feeling of travel and China is beyond me, but I'm very grateful to people who can do it. Potter and Sweet have done it in a book about the surprising person who brought the first panda back to the United States. Mrs. Harkness was the New York City bred and raised wife of an adventurer who set out to bring back a panda. Mrs. Harkness had no interest in this rough travel. She loved the city life. But when her husband died in China, she decides to go get the panda. Now remember, this is 1936. Getting to China isn't easy, and once there finding a guide to take her to the mountains of Chengdu where the pandas are isn't easy for an accomplished explorer, let alone a city girl. But Mrs. Harkness is determined. She finds a baby panda, which she brings to the Brookfield Zoo, outside Chicago. An author's very important note explains that conservationists today credit her with helping to end the shooting of pandas. And this important Mrs. Harkness was someone I knew nothing about until I read this book. Readers will appreciate the detail provided in the timeline and will linger over the exquisite artwork, including the map of Mrs. Harkness' trip with contemporary postcards of her various stops. The story ends with a real photo of Mrs. Harkness and a panda in China.
DOLPHIN BABY!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
DAVIES, NICOLA
Granstrom, Brita
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
I'm not usually a fan of non-fiction illustrated with paintings. I usually want to see the REAL animal, but Davies is making me rethink that belief. Believe me, this isn't a "baby" book. It's a wonderful description of what it's like to grow up as a dolphin. Being popped out?"creased and crinkled from being curled up inside his mother." Davies' illustrations are perfect for her story telling how a baby dolphin learns everything he needs to, including communication. I found the dolphin communication the most interesting part of this book. The adult dolphin has a whistle sound this will be his own voice for all his life. This is a great read-a-loud as well as reference book. An index will help readers find information.
HOOEY HIGGINS AND THE SHARK
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
VOAKE, STEVE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
The Mary Amato's Riot Brothers have some English competition. Hooey and his brother, Will, live in a small village on the sea, sharing a home with their parents, grandparents and dog named Dingbat. Their friend, the candy maker doesn't have enough money to buy the new window to show off his chocolate treats. The boys want to help him earn the money. In a series of hilarious money making schemes which include trying to catch a shark with ketchup blood, and a sea urchin sighting that involves underwear and a sea urchin that turns out to be an unexploded WWII bomb things don't turn out as expected but an exploding soccer ball ends up breaking the window and insurance pays for the new window and our boys get to eat the huge chocolate egg that was destroyed in the explosion. American kids will catch all the humor but might be confused about money being called pounds. They'll catch on quick enough in this fast romp that will entertain reluctant readers as well as enthusiastic boy readers.
VIVALDI AND THE INVISIBLE ORCHESTRA
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [MACMILLAN]
COSTANZA, STEPHEN
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Every once in a while a picture book comes along that introduces you to something you didn't even know you cared about. Vivaldi? Oh yeah, he's that old composer that wrote about the four seasons. Nice music, but that's long-hair music! Readers who don't know about Vivaldi's invisible orchestra, girls from an orphanage who played his music behind a curtain, are going to come away with a new appreciation of the music. After reading the endnote by the author/illustrator the readers discovers that over 900 girls lived in the orphanage and were allowed outside only once a year, a whole new picture about history comes to mind. Candida is one of these orphans. Her job is that of a copyist, taking composer's music and separating the various musical instrument parts. She' a daydreamer, like Vivaldi, and she pictures the story Vivaldi is telling as she copies his music. And she copies her thoughts about the music between the lines she prints outs. It's her poetry that inspires The Four seasons. Constanza's dreamy illustrations are perfect for a tale showing how the arts can inspire and enhance our daily lives.
Kate & Pippin An Unlikely Love Story
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY [MACMILLAN]
Springett, Martin
Springett, Isobel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
Ohhhhhh, how cute another endearing story about a baby animal adopted by a "mom" of another species. When an orphaned fawn is rescued by a family, she is placed beside the family Great Dane, Kate, for warmth. The tiny deer is named Pippin and the bond between dog and deer grows stronger. When Pippin disappears into the woods overnight, Kate waits patiently for her little friend's return. And Pippin does return, staying with Kate during the day. This photo essay will complement any friendship unit, showing how through diversity we enrich our lives. Be warned: with every page you turn if reading aloud, you'll have to wait for the "ohs" and "ahs" and "so cute" to stop before continuing reading.
GEORGE : GEORGE WASHINGTON, OUR FOUNDING FATHER
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books [Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books]
KEATING, FRANK
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
There are already many great reviews out there providing excellent reasons to buy this book, so my take on the review will be from that of an elementary librarian supporting classroom teachers as they in the study of American Independence. The first thing that strikes me as an important is the inclusion of the Rules of Conduct that Washington copied while a school boy. These rules guided his decisions for his entire life. Including primary documents in a picture book is a powerful way to show students what primary documents are. This book proves that less is more. Keating has been able to get the essence of Washington without going on and on. The little I know about Washington leads me to believe that he was not a flowery orator but rather a plain spoken man. Although I enjoy the humorous Founding Fathers books being published, I don't see them having the impact this one does. Maybe I'm old-school but the combination of the eloquent language and the detailed historical accurate photos created by Mike Wimmer does more to stress the importance of these men. When sharing this book with students, be sure to share the Author and Illustrator Notes at the back of the book. Here's why we teach research. Real people in real jobs use it. As far as I'm concerned this book is a prime example of why the Common Core standards are so important. Informative text and historically accurate illustrations are VERY POWERFUL. And then if that's not enough have students research the author, Frank Keating, and see all that he has done beside write a book every kid in America should have read to them.
SPACEHEADZ : 3
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers]
SCIESZKA, JON
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
This is one of those books like Captain Underpants that adults don't get, but kids keep wanting more. In order to get your mind around this series, think television's Third Rock from the Sun, with the space aliens disguised as two 5th graders and a hamster?with the hamster being the leader. They get all their knowledge from American television commercials. (Kind of scary isn't it?) They've got to recruit 3.14 million + 1 brain waves. Thanks to some intrepid REAL5th graders they are getting close to saving their planet. The Anti-Space Alien Agent has been disguised as Santa and he's out to get the space aliens who want to ask him for all the toys they see on TV. That's problem 1. Problem 2 involves the theft of the brain waves they've collected. Coded messages, websites, these all work together to involve the reader in the goofy story. Book 1 needs to be read previous to this book, to get the full force of the silly humor, goofy events and strange set of characters.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING HATCHLINGS : A GUIDE FO
Millbrook Press [Millbrook Press]
HEOS, BRIDGET
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
June 15, 2012
Brangwin, Nelda
The full title is important in this book What to Expect when You're Expecting Hatchlings: A Guide for Crocodilian Parents (and Curious Kids). What a fresh approach to non-fiction books. You're an expectant alligator parent and you're in a tizzy worried about what will happen. Even though as an alligator, you are offended by being called a "crocodilian" you'll learn you are a member of the crocodile family. Where to lay eggs, how to care for them, how to take care of the eggs, helping them hatch and feeding the babies, it's all there. But not in some boring old regular book approach, it's in a question and answer format. Extra special news the entire What to Expect When You're Expecting series is available as eBooks with unlimited simultaneous access. Think about how you will be able to share these books. Informational text is so important in the Core Curriculum
BARACK OBAMA : SON OF PROMISE, CHILD OF HOPE
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers]
GRIMES, NIKKI
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
June 28, 2012
Gleb, Heidi
This biography is told by a mother, Hope, to her son. Bryan Collier's watercolor and collage illustrations are beautiful and spot-on with the story being told. My biggest issue is God speaking to Barack Obama. Is this sending a message to children that only those individuals spoken to by God will succeed? Perhaps children will not interpret that part of the story as I did but it did cause me to pause. The timeline and family tree at the end of the story are helpful. This edition is revised and updated for the 2012 election according to the front cover.