Friday, March 7, 2014
by Lucy Cousins
32 pages; ages 2-5
Candlewick Press, 2013
Mama Jo Jo and Baby Jazzy are playing hide-and-seek in the jungle.
"Where are you, Baby Jazzy?"
The anteater doesn't see Jazzy. Neither do the snake and the bird. Maybe Jazzy is over by the Tum Tum trees... So mama lemur searches over there.
What I like: The bold illustrations and die-cut pages produce a multi-layered jungle. There are tall trees and understory plants. Then there are all of the animals that help Mama Jo Jo find Jazzy. They remind me of animals I drew when I was a kid - and now I really want a huge piece of manilla art paper and a set of fat crayons so I can draw some jungle scenes, too. Because it's hide-and-seek, we know Jazzy isn't lost... just hiding.
Beyond the Book activities: We all need more play in our lives, so instigate a game of hide-and-seek! You can take turns hiding, or hide a stuffed animal and give clues to where it might be hiding.
Make a frog puppet. Frogs of all types live in the rainforest jungle, and all you need for a frog puppet is a paper plate, some paper and paint. Here are the directions for making the puppet, and here are frog photos in case you want to make yours look like a real rainforest frog.
Today's review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy provided by publisher.
Monday, March 3, 2014
by Anca Sandu
32 pages; ages 4-8
We've all lost things: a favorite pencil, an action hero, the math homework from last night. But what's a pig to do when he loses his tail?
Of all the things Churchill prized, his tail was the one he prized most. It wasn't too big or too fancy or even very practical. But it was his, and he liked it. Then one morning... his tail is nowhere to be found! After searching here and there, his friends suggest that he try on different animal tails.
Churchill tries on a zebra tail, a peacock tail, and a fish tail. Soon, the only thing Churchill wants to talk about is how much fun he's having trying on tails. But his friends want to play. Eventually (and I'm not gonna spill the beans here) Churchill finds his tail, which means he has more time to spend with his friends.
This is a fun book that leaves room for children to wonder what they might look like with a tail. Which will lead to some browsing through books to see what kinds of tails there are in the animal kingdom. And if a kid makes a tail, then he'll probably want ears to go with it....
Join the Blog Tour - check out what Patricia says about Churchill (and his tail) over at It's About Time Mamaw - and tomorrow catch the blog tour over at Reading to Know. Make sure you drop by the Peachtree Blog to register for the free book giveaway.
Review copy provided by publisher
Friday, February 28, 2014
by Michael J. Rosen; illus by Stan Fellows
64 pages; ages 5 and up
Candlewick Press, 2009
Themes: animals, nature, poetry
wild turkeys' snow tracks
their arrows point us one way
they go the other
This book is better than a bird guide! It's a haiku field notebook in which Michael Rosen captures the essential characteristics of twenty-four common North American birds. His spare observations are complemented by the gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Stan Fellows - who details everything from field markings to habitat.
What I love about this book: I like the way it is structured - by the seasons. It opens with spring, and the Eastern Bluebird.
on a staff of wires
blue notes inked from April skies
truly, springs first song
In addition to haiku, Rosen includes field notes: the chestnut throat and breast; the males are darker and brighter blue; that bluebirds are thrushes, related to robins. Fellows paints them perched on electrical wires like notes on a staff which, if I could read music, I could play on my recorder. What tune has he hidden in this illustration?
|a summer spread, featuring the Pileated Woodpecker and insect prey|
I like the details in the artwork - from showing the insects that the woodpeckers seek to wing bars, crests, and feather details. Each spread becomes a field trip into the world of that bird. At the back of the book, Rosen includes five pages of notes about the birds he features: their mating behavior, food preferences, flight and other things that curious bird-watchers will want to know.
Beyond the book: Write some bird haiku of your own. Spend time watching the birds at your feeder, or perched on a clothesline, or sipping water from a puddle in the parking lot at the grocery store. Start by drawing or jotting notes on the things you notice about this bird: feathers, crest, color of its beak or feet, whether it has a chin strap, eyebrows or wing bars. What is it doing? Where is it? What is the season and the weather?
Check out more haiku activities here. And head over to Archimedes Notebook today to check out a brand-new book about feathers and do some hands-on science activities. Drop by STEM Friday to see what other science books and resources bloggers are sharing.
Today's review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books.
On Monday we'll fly over to join the Nonfiction Monday round-up, where you'll find all kinds of great nonfiction for children and teens. Review copy borrowed from a library.
Monday, February 24, 2014
by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
288 pages; ages 12 - 18
Henry Holt & Co, 2013
Sixteen-year-old Samantha D'Angelo has a "dead-end" job - she's spending her summer internship writing obituaries at the local newspaper. She could be swimming, or hanging out at the beach with her friends. Instead, she interviews next-of-kin and close friends of the deceased, hoping that someone (perhaps the editor) will notice her vivid prose.
Until she starts investigating the mayor and possible corruption. What's up with the coffee shop that never seems to have any customers?And how can she get Tony, one of the feature writers and "sexiest man alive" to notice her?
This is a fun, breezy romantic comedy that includes: stolen ideas, garage bands, and way too many coffee runs. A great book for the kid with journalistic aspirations who wants to know what life at a small newspaper office is like. And the chapter titles are pretty fun... they all relate to the newspaper biz in some way.
Shannon Messenger's blog. Review copy provided by publisher.
Friday, February 21, 2014
by Bonnie Christensen
40 pages; ages 3-7
Roaring Brook Press, 2013
Themes: adventure, diversity
It's 850 AD, and Mei wants to travel with her father along the Silk Road. She wants to meet the monks and pirates and travelers that her father tells stories of. But it's her job to stay home and take care of the silkworms.
So Mei gives her father a jade pebble. "A gift for a child at the end of the road," she says. "But I don't travel to the end of the road," says her father. Still, he carries it with him, passing it on to other travelers who pass it on to others until it eventually reaches a child at the end of the road.
What I Like about this book: the way it's structured around the seasons; the different kinds of people traveling the road; the pirates; the box full of treasures; the maps and notes and multi-sensory gifts that accumulate over the course of the story. Also the turtle swimming in the river and the illustrations. This book is a journey you can take over and over again - and see something new on the road each time you read the story.
Beyond the book: Imagine sending an object on a journey. Choose something you would send to another child. Now make a map of the journey it could take. If you want an "old" map, cut open a brown paper bag to draw on, and illustrate it with dragons and other imaginary beasts.
Listen to music from the Silk Road. You can sample some music and rhythms at the Smithsonian Folkways webpage. Try beating out some of the rhythms on a drum, or by clapping your hands. Try humming along with some of they tunes - they sure do use a different musical scale, don't they?
What did the Silk Road smell like? Find some cinnamon and nutmeg in your kitchen spice cupboard and smell them. Use some spices in your oatmeal or hot cocoa.
Visit the Asian Art collection at a museum near you - and pay particular attention to works of art from 500 - 900s. That's the sort of art that may have been traded along the Silk Road.
Today's review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy provided by publisher
Monday, February 17, 2014
by Josanne La Valley
256 pages; ages 9 - 12
Clarion Books, 2013
Mehrigul lives in a village in northwest China. She is one of the Uyghur people, working on her family farm and selling produce at the local market. As much as Mehrigul loves her family and her home, she feels trapped. She wants to go to school, but can't because her brother - who would be working the farm - is hiding from the authorities. She wants to weave baskets with her grandfather, but has to hide them from her father who values practicality over art. And her biggest worry is that she will be sent to work in the factories in southern China.
Then one day at the market a foreigner buys one of Mehrigul's baskets. And the foreign lady asks Mehrigul to weave more. She'll return in three weeks. What an opportunity! If Mehrigul can make more baskets and sell them, then her family will have more opportunities. But one obstacle after another blocks her from weaving all the baskets she wants to. Still, Mehrigul finds a way to embrace the artist within and shape her destiny.
This story was born from an experience Josanne La Valley had while traveling in northwest China. She was visiting local artists and, at one home, a young girl offered her a peach from the family orchard while La Valley watched the grandfather weave willow baskets. When La Valley learned that Uyghur girls were being forced to leave their homes to work in factories, she knew she had to tell a story. La Valley includes notes and a map in the back of the book for readers who want to know more about Uyghur culture.
Check out what other bloggers are reviewing for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday over at Shannon Messenger's blog. Review copy provided by publisher.
Friday, February 14, 2014
by Andy Myer
32 pages; ages 4 - 6 years
Sleeping Bear Press, 2012
Nothing exciting ever happens to Delia. Take yesterday morning - nothing happened during breakfast except she spilled some milk. And on her way to the bus stop she passed by the same old houses that have always been there.
Poor Delia. If only she would stop texting and look up! Maybe she would see the balloons drifting overhead, or the pirate at the back of the school bus or the.... I don't want to spoil it for you, but there is a dinosaur in there somewhere. And perhaps an alien.
I love Andy Myer's wacky storytelling and color-filled illustrations. This book might make you turn off facebook for a day and look over your shoulder before backing out of the driveway. What fun!
Review copy provided by library.