Friday, July 26, 2013

Too Hot? Too Cold?

Too Hot? Too Cold? Keeping Body Temperature Just Right
by Caroline Arnold; illus by Annie Patterson
32 pages; ages 6-9
Charlesbridge 2013

It's summer here in the northern hemisphere, and that means hot, hot, HOT days. But south of the equator it's winter, and that means cold, cold, COLD days. So while we're peeling off layers to keep cool, kids on the other half of the earth are pulling on parkas and mittens to keep warm. That's how we humans adjust our temperature.

But what do animals do when they need to cool down or warm up? That's what Caroline Arnold explores through the pages of this book. She talks about "warm-blooded" animals and "cold-blooded" animals and shivers and sweat. She talks about fur and feathers and blubber and goosebumps and finding a cool breeze on a hot day.

This post is part of STEM Friday round-up. And on Monday, we're celebrating Nonfiction Monday right here! Just post a title and link for the book you're reviewing in comments below.  Review copy provided by publisher.

Welcome to Nonfiction Monday! See what other people are reading & add your links for reviews in the comments - I'll add books and links throughout the day.

Jeff has a review of Alphabet Trucks over at NC Teacher Stuff.

Christy has a great review of T is for Territories over at Christy's Houseful of Chaos

Jennifer has a dead-on review of Deadly! over at Jean Little Library.

Check out the great review of Bone by Bone at Bibliolinks.

Oops! Power was out for a few hours - but it's back now so I can add some more titles in today's review round-up. I'll check back before dinner to pick up any stragglers.

Roberta's got a review of No Monkeys, No Chocolate over at Wrapped in Foil. This is one book I absolutely must read (as I am overly fond of chocolate).

This is a new title in the Scientist in the Field series - an awesome collection of well-written books for curious kids. Eruption! is reviewed over at proseandkahn.

Alex posted a review of Brick by Brick over at Randomly Reading.

Janet reviews Bubbles Float, Bubbles Pop over at All About the Books.

Looking for some hard, cold cash? Check out Anastasia's review of Follow Your Money at Booktalking.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Book Boat's In!

The Book Boat's In
by Cynthia Cotten; illustrated by Frane Lessac
32 pages; ages 4-8
Holiday House 2013

One day when Jesse goes into town with his dad, he sees the book boat tied up along the canal wharf. It's part library, part bookstore.  Jesse browses the shelves and finds the perfect book: The Swiss Family Robinson, with a bright read cover. The cost: twenty cents. But Jesse doesn't have 20 cents.

He figures he can earn that money before the book boat returns - in a week. So Jesse works odd jobs around town: sweeping the general store, chopping wood, running errands. This story of life around the canal is illustrated with folk-art paintings that set the mood and keep us in the 1800's.

If we can have book boats, anything is possible: book burros, books on bikes, even libraries in old phone booths. This is a great story for book lovers of all ages.

Review f&g provided by publisher.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Take Flight with Bats

Bats: Biggest! Littlest!
by Sandra Markle
32 pages; ages 5 - 7
Boyds Mills Press 2013

This is the newest addition to Sandra Markle's "Biggest! Littlest! series. In this book Sandra explores the diversity of bats - from the Bumblebee bat that weighs as much as a penny to the Gray-headed Flying Fox with a 3-foot wingspan.

Being big is great if you want to carry food any distance, but there's some advantages to being small, too. For one thing, you can eat food other animals find "too little to bother with".

Markle mentions vampire bats, fruit bats, bats with huge eyes and bats with huge ears. She shows fishing bats and nectar-sipping bats - enough bats to drive even the most science-loving kid just a little bit... batty.

This post is part of STEM Friday round-up, where you can find all sorts of science resources. Review copy provided by publisher.

Sally's Bookshelf is going to relax a bit this summer with Summer Reading! So for the rest of July and August, you'll find something fun to read here on Fridays. Check out cool summer reading programs at your local library - and don't forget to drop by on Fridays to see what Sally's reading.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Nature Recycles - How About You?

It's Summertime! And that means it's time to grab some good books and head to the beach or the park - or even a shady spot in your back yard - and enjoy the bird songs, cricket symphonies and frog chorus. Sally's Bookshelf is looking forward to some summer reading too, so for the next 6 weeks you'll find reviews on Fridays!
Nature Recycles
How About You?
by Michelle Lord; illus. by Cathy Morrison
32 pages, ages 4-8
Sylvan Dell, 2013

Hermit crabs can't grow their own shells. So they use cast-off sea shells that they find in the sand. Caddisfly larvae build their cases out of tiny pebbles, bits of stick and other debris they find in the water. Dung beetles collect balls or rhino poop, and some sea urchins decorate themselves with colorful bits of algae, coral - even old oyster shells.

These animals recycle used material into their homes or decorations. They even recycle unused food. In the natural world, nothing goes to waste - there's always a plant or animal or bacteria that can convert one creature's trash to treasure. Or at least to usefulness.

This book looks at recycling from sea urchins to bandicoots... and explores how animals in different habitats recycle materials for building homes to getting food. It will certainly generate discussion and may even inspire young children to recycle things in their own environment.

Four pages of back matter elaborate on why the different species mentioned in the book recycle materials. A map shows where in the world the animals live, and there's even a recycling quiz.

This post is part of STEM Friday round-up. And Nonfiction Monday - where this week you can find lots of books over at Abby the Librarian.
Review copy provided by publisher.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Kindness for Weakness

Kindness for Weakness
by Shawn Goodman
261 pages, YA
Delacorte Press, 2013

With some stories, the best way to tell the truth is at a slant. That's what Shawn Goodman does in his newest book. Kindness for Weakness is a gritty coming of age novel that exposes daily life inside a juvenile detention facility in upstate New York.

James, the 15-year-old protagonist, is as authentic a character as they come: a kid wanting to connect with his older brother, wishing he could protect his mother from abusive relationships, and seeking a path to manhood. He's got a good relationship with his English teacher, a man who lends him Jack London's tale of the Sea Wolf.

It's bad judgement that gets James arrested, and a comedy of errors that sends him into a juvenile justice system saturated with institutionalized cruelty. Through it all he continues reading his book, contemplating how the life of the main character parallels his own life. He befriends a fellow inmate only to be warned that "It's OK to have friends on the outside, but not in here."

Ideally, the juvenile justice system serves to educate and help adolescents make a positive change in their lives. In James' world, the facility is a place where the tiniest infraction is met with a beating - or worse. Kids end up in the infirmary, with broken arms, and worse.

This is a story with no happy endings - a story that you hope is not true but know, deep in your gut, that it is.

This is part of the Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday round-up. Check out more great reading here. Review copy from publisher.