Friday, December 15, 2017

Read! Read! Read! Poems by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater

Read! Read! Read!
by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater; illus. by Ryan O'Rourke
32 pages; ages 5-10
WordSong, 2017

Real readers will read anything: cereal boxes, maps, field guides, comic books, the sports pages.... So many things to read! So little time!

Poems focus on the ways readers connect to the word and their world. For example - reading road signs while driving to the beach. Or pulling out a paper map - I love maps - and locating yourself in space.

My favorite is "Field Guide" in which a reader, nestled on the couch with a field guide "perched upon my lap" is learning the names of hawks. "I study hawks trapped flat in books so I will know hawks in 3-d," she writes. "...hawk by hawk my field guide teaches me to see." A fun book filled with poems that are perfect for ... reading. 

There is no Perfect Picture Book Friday today. But there is a holiday story contest - so head on over to Susanna Leonard Hill's site where you can find a selection of story entries and links to more. Review copy provided by publisher.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Revolutionary Rogues

Revolutionary Rogues: John Andre and Benedict Arnold
by Selene Castrovilla; illus. by John O'Brien
48 pages; 9-11 years
Calkins Creek, 2017

Major John Andre was bright and well educated. He served in the British army and, in 1779 was put in charge of secret intelligence.

Major General Benedict Arnold was one of America's finest soldiers - even George Washington agreed. But reward and recognition passed him by, and after being shot in the leg at Saratoga, he knew he would not gain glory on the battlefield.

What drew these two men into collusion? Was it Arnold's wife, a British sympathizer? Was it that both men wanted to see an end to this war?

Author Selene Castrovilla takes readers through a fast-paced espionage adventure, highlighting the similarities and differences in these two Revolutionary rogues. The tragedy: that they brought about their own tragic ends. A great read for any young historian. Back matter includes timelines for each soldier and, for those who like to dive deeply into history, a list of places to visit in New York and London.

 Review copy provided by publisher.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Teddy Roosevelt

Teedie: the Story of Young Teddy Roosevelt
by Don Brown
32 pages; ages 4-7
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017 (reprinted)

themes: nonfiction, biography, presidents

Ten-year-old Teedie played with his sisters and brother in their fine house on Twentieth Street.

He loved being at home, but he also loved summers in the country when he and the other kids climbed trees, built wigwams, and hunted frogs (unsuccessfully). 

What I like about this book: President Teddy Roosevelt is one of my heroes, so I'm always keeping my eyes peeled for a fun book about his childhood. This one fits the bill. Author Dan Brown shows Teddy (called Teedie by his family) as a youngster plagued by asthma -  in the mid 1800s they didn't have inhalers - and so was tutored at home. He was insatiably curious, collecting skulls and sketching birds. He spent hours lifting weights and rowing to build up his body, and loved riding horses and hunting.

As an adult he did amazing things to make our country a better place to live. "America will not be a good place for any of us to live in if it is not a reasonably good place for all of us to live in," he said. So he fought big business, established national parks and wildlife preserves, built the Panama Canal, and won a Nobel Peace Prize. 

Beyond the Book:
Take a virtual tour of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the Badlands of North Dakota. Here's the NPS video.

Play a game of Tic-Track-Toe. Roosevelt was a hunter, so playing this game requires animal track tiles - you can download a template here. And you can visit this website for more National Park activities.

Biographical information (and short video) about TR over at the Ducksters.

Today is 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.