Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Reading

I'm taking a summer break to read through the pile of books that has been stacking up - and threatening to teeter over. So I'll most likely be hanging out in the hammock with a good story and a frosty glass of lemonade.

You can do the same. If you're looking for some books to read, check out the archives - or head over to your local library. This summer NY state libraries are hosting programs around the theme of "superheroes". You can find grade-level summer reading lists here. For more reading lists, check out ALSC.

Also, Barnes & Noble is challenging children in grades 1-6 to read eight books this summer and keep a reading journal. Readers can turn in their journals before Labor Day to receive a free book (from a selected list). More info here and here.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Egg: Nature's Perfect Package
by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
32 pages; ages 4-8
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015

If you're wondering what came first - it's the egg! And if you're wondering what drew me to this book, it's the simplicity of the cover. An almost perfect egg with just a bit of beak showing... I want to know what emerges.

This book is filled with wonderful illustrations of eggs of all kinds, from banana slug eggs to frog eggs to lizard eggs... with a couple of strange mammals tucked in their shells as well. Steve Jenkins and Robin Page have done a marvelous job showing the diversity of egg-layers and the eggs they lay.

I love the spread where they compare the actual size of eggs, from a period-sized stink-bug egg to an elephant bird egg too large to fit on the page. They show where each animal lays its eggs, and how many eggs it usually lays.

Eggs are tasty and nutritious, so the birds and bugs and frogs and snails must protect their eggs - and incubate them until they hatch. Once incubated, there's the problem of getting out of the egg: beak? feet?

If you want to get the inside scoop about what life is like inside an egg, there are a couple timelines showing development of a chicken and an alligator. There is also a lot of back matter where you can learn more about the egg-layers featured in the book.

Today's review is part of the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. Perfect picture book Friday is on summer break, but you can still drop by Susanna Leonard Hill's site to read previous posts. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture BooksReview copy from the publisher.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Noisy Bird Sing-Along

Noisy Bird Sing-Along
by John Himmelman
32 pages; ages 3-8
Dawn publications, 2015

I love leaving the windows open all night. We listen to the chorus of frogs, and the gentle whoo-whoo-whooing of the owls. There's only one problem...

The morning birds are SO NOISY! Like the birds in this book. Look at that cover - you know that this book is going to be a lot of fun to read. And sure enough, John Himmelman takes us on a wild auditory field trip. We meet Robin who wakes us up with his "Cheery up? Cheery-oh!" call. And the Barred owl - he's the one constantly asking "who cooks for you?" And for hockey fans who are already missing the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs, there are the White-throated sparrows that sing, "Oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada".

Not only does Himmelman share the birds' songs, he also provides tidbits about where each bird takes its meals. Chickadees hunt for bugs in trees, while hummingbirds zip from flower to flower poking their lo-o-ong beaks into blossoms and slurping up the nectar. After we are introduced to all of the birds, Himmelman brings them together in one noisy chorus.

I love that he includes back matter: a page of fun facts about each of the birds, as well as handy advice about birding, feeding, and pishing. Sounds like "fishing" but instead of casting with a rod, you make pssh-pssh-pssh noises to call out curious birds. Click here to listen to all of the bird songs.

Today we're joining the roundup over at the Nonfiction Monday blog where you'll find even more book reviews. Review copy provided by the publisher.