Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz –ADVISABLE

Rabinowitz, Alan A Boy and a Jaguar 32 pgs. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014. $16.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. PICTURE BOOK/BIOGRAPHY
When Alan is a little boy he talks to animals and make a vow to sad jaguar housed at the Bronx zoo that he will be her champion. But Alan stutters and finds communicating with people to be his biggest challenge, something that is necessary if he is going to help save animals and their habitats. He pursues his promise and works through his stuttering to help found a preserve for Jaguars in Belize.
I think this is a wonderful book but that it does require a teacher to guide the students through the content. I love how the stuttering and the ability to talk to animals comes together and how the dreams of a child became a reality for the grownup through hard work and perseverance. This book would great for a unit on conservation or for a speech teacher working with a student who stutters. Students can learn more from the authors non-profit website about big cat conservation.
EL(K-3)  -ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Mayflower by Mark Greenwood –ADVISABLE

Greenwood, Mark The Mayflower 32 pgs. Holiday House, 2014. $16.95  Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. NON-FICTION
A succinct narrative of the journey of the Mayflower told with large bright painted images. We learn about why the pilgrims set out, a bit about what life was like at sea, their first settlement, and the first Thanksgiving.
This is not a new topic for picture books, but should you need a good one, this one would make a nice addition to your collection. The images are bright and simple with large pages to show off. The text is also very short and simple, making it accessible by younger students. Would make a great addition to a lesson on the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday.
EL (K-3) -ADVISABLE  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Our Solar System (Revised) by Seymour Simon –NOT RECOMMENED

Simon, Seymour  Our Solar System (Revised) 72 pgs. HarperCollins; Updated from 2007 edition, 2014. $17.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. NON FICTION
This book features images of the planets in our solar system as well as information about asteroids, comets, the reclassification of Pluto.
Of course, like others books by this author, this one features stunning photography that is large and center stage. But the information is dry, boring, and presented in large blocks of text. This is not at all appealing to an elementary student. The worst page is the one about the distances from the sun, all the planets are just smashed onto one page without being presented in distance order. I would prefer to add books to my collection with the text presented in a fun and creative way, to help highlight the information and make it more memorable. I would add this book if it was just full of images alone (and captions).
EL(K-3)  -NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Worlds Best Noses, Ears, and Eyes by Helen Rundgren –ESSENTIAL

Rundgren, Helen and illustrated by Arrhenius, Ingela The Worlds Best Noses, Ears, and Eyes 32 pgs. Holiday House, 2014. $16.95  Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. NON-FICTION
In this book readers will find out the top creature in the world for the very best eyes, ears, and nose. Turns out there is quite a few! Moths have a double nose! Sharks can smell underwater. Crickets ears are under its knees. Fully illustrated with bright, varied, and colorful creatures and harmonious scenery.
Ah, finally a truly great book! This fantastic book is filled to the brim with fun and interesting facts about the senses and has top notch illustrations. I love that the author chose to include some less common creatures like hedgehogs and the star nosed mole. I think students will be drawn to the bright cover and the fun imagery, and find themselves wanting to know more information about tons of different animals. A welcome addition to lessons about animal adaption and the senses.
EL (K-3) -ESSENTIAL  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Night Parade by Lily Roscoe -- OPTIONAL

Roscoe, Lily The Night Parade, illustrated by David Walker. PICTURE BOOK. Orchard Books, 2014. $16.99. Content: G.

What happens every night while moms and dads sleep? Kids rise from their beds and join the Night Parade, a fanciful journey that includes skipping through the streets, making cakes for the moon, and telling magical tales. This is a fun bedtime book, and the illustrations are adorable. In a world filled with bedtime books, however, the truth is that it's difficult to stand out, and while this one is enjoyable it does blend in with the many others in the genre. If one's library or classroom isn't already filled with similar titles, however, this could be a nice addition.

Pre-K, EL (K-3) -- OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Caryn

Maple by Lori Nichols -- ESSENTIAL

Nichols, Lori Maple. PICTURE BOOK. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Young Readers, 2014. $16.99. Content: G.

Maple often finds solace in the tree her parents planted in her honor before she was even born, but sometimes things get lonely with just a tree for a playmate. When her baby sister is born, Maple swears to be a great big sibling -- even if it means sharing her own special maple tree.

Maple is a lovely testament to the bond between sisters. It's sweet enough to bring tears to my eyes each time without being overly cloying. The illustrations are adorable and match the text perfectly. Highly recommended for any kids who are about to have younger siblings -- especially girls who will soon have baby sisters.

Pre-K, EL (K-3) -- ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Caryn

Monsters Love School by Mike Austin -- ADVISABLE

Austin, Mike Monsters Love School. PICTURE BOOK. Harper, 2014. $15.99. Content: G.

Summer is over, and it's time to go to school. All the monsters are excited except Blue, who has a lot of questions and worries about this new adventure. But as he goes through his first day, he learns that school is about more than ABC and 123. It's also about having fun and meeting new friends.

While the plot is nothing that hasn't been addressed in pretty much every other first-day-of-school book, Austin's illustrations are eye-catching and entertaining, and the book does have a fun, optimistic feel to it. All in all a nice addition to a first-day-of-school collection.

Pre-K, EL (K-3) -- ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Caryn