Friday, February 5, 2016

Up Close Bugs and Butterflies by Heidi Fiedler –ESSENTIAL

Fiedler, Heidi Up Close Bugs and Butterflies 64 pgs. Walter Foster jr, 2015. $14.95 NONFICTION
This informative book delivers up close photographs of dozens of insects, including scientific information, fun facts, and normal view photographs. It has bright pages, text variation, and easy to read vocabulary. Examples insects are: hornets, beetles, butterflies, ticks, weevils, and many more.
This is a great book! The cover, which you can’t tell from this review, is 3D and will be an immediate appeal for readers. Although its about a 3-4 grade reading level, there are text boxes and fun facts which are easily discernible by younger readers. The up close pictures are incredibly fascinating. I think this book will fly off the shelf, hopefully not at me, since I am a bit bugged out after reading it.
EL (K-3), EL –ESSENTIAL  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

See how they work and look inside: Farm Equipment edited by Michael Flaherty–ADVISABLE

Editor: Flaherty, Michael  See how they work and look inside: Farm Equipment 32 pgs. Flowerpot Press, 2015. $8.00 NON-FICTION
This large informative picture book features illustrations, photographs, and information at on various heavy farm equipment like: tractors, harvesters, hay balers and more. It includes fun facts like monster tractors and tractor pulling competitions.
I think young readers, like Kindergarten and first grade will adore this book and the whole related series in fact. Its jam packed with simple information, harmonious colors, bright photographs and well crafted illustrations.
EL(K-3) –ADVISABLE  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Space Shuttle Blasts Off! by Peter Bently- OPTIONAL

Bently, Peter. Space Shuttle Blasts Off!, PICTURE BOOK. QEB Publishing Inc., 2015. $14.95. A crew of panda bears is blasting off on a space shuttle to fix a broken satellite. All of the pre-blast of procedures are covered with descriptions of what happens to the equipment once the shuttle enters space. The pandas fix the satellite but find that it is actually an alien spaceship. Once they send the aliens on their way, the fix the real broken satellite and land back on Earth, only to find that one of the aliens has stowed away on their ship and they need to blast off once again. I was intrigued by this book at the beginning. It has clear illustrations and good descriptions of the blast off process and space shuttle. But I was thrown off by the inclusion of the alien ship. I think the point was to grab young reader’s attention, but it seemed unnecessary. A diagram of the shuttle with labels at the back of the book, added to the appeal of the book. There are also other space vehicle pictures provided in the back as well. K-3- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, High School Librarian.

Willy's Stories by Anthony Browne- OPTIONAL

Browne, Anthony. Willy’s Stories, PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2014. $16.99. A monkey named Willy tells readers about all of his adventures when he walks through the doors of the library each week. Each page has a short snippet from a fairly well-known book and ends the with a question, to presumably, encourage the reader to want to find out more. This book takes a lot of background knowledge and experience with a variety of stories to really attract readers’ attention. I think the questions at the end of each story summary actually dissuade readers from continuing with the book, but the sections are so short, it’s a little frustrating to know you’ll turn the page and just hear another short summary with no conclusion. I thought it was really strange that the book never officially says that the place that Willy goes to have his book adventures is the library. It’s just an assumption. K-3, EL- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, High School Librarian

How the Elephant Got Her Trunk by Stephanie Gilman- OPTIONAL

Gilman, Stephanie. How the Elephant Got Her Trunk, PICTURE BOOK. Flowerpot Press, 2015. $10.99. Ellie the elephant has a short, stubby nose. She has all sorts of questions that everyone seems but too busy and annoyed to answer. When she goes to find a crocodile to find out what it eats, he snaps onto her nose and pulls and pulls until it becomes a long trunk. This is a retelling of a Rudyard Kipling story. I have never read that original version, but this one didn’t impress me. The illustrations are muted and have a blurry look to them. I particularly didn’t like that no one wanted to answer Ellie’s questions and that the story seemed to imply that being curious would just get you into trouble. PRE-K, K-3- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, High School Librarian

Cat Got a Lot by Steve Henry- OPTIONAL

Henry, Steve. Cat Got a Lot, PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2015. $14.95. Cat goes out and gets items that all of his neighbors will want on his way to the grocery to pick himself up some fish to eat. He makes all of his neighbors happy and that makes him happy too. This is any early reader book. With simple words, there is a lot of repetition of the vocabulary which is pretty typical in this style of book. The story relies heavily on the pictures to make sense. The problem with that is that the pictures are really convoluted. I had difficulty seeing details and focusing on the parts that the author probably wanted highlighted to see what the point of the cat’s travels were. PRE-K- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, High School Librarian

I am a Bear by Jean-Francois Dumont- OPTIONAL

Dumont, Jean-Francois. I am a Bear, PICTURE BOOK. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2015. $16.00. This is the story of a bear who lives on the street. He’s not sure how he got there, but he tries to be friendly and get food, but people don’t want to be around him. This makes him sad and he grows despondent until a day when a little girl says hello. He tries hard to make a good impression and they become friends. I really feel like the underlying purpose of this book is very valuable: it’s very important not to ignore those who are homeless or judge someone because they are homeless. That being said, I think that if a book about this topic is written, it really should be more straightforward, without the lead character as a large, cuddly bear. It blurs the lines too much and makes it more unrealistic so that the message might be harder to get across. I also think that there is a safety issue that isn’t presented well in the book, not because the little girl approaches and interacts with a homeless bear, but because she approaches and interacts with a stranger, without a trusted adult present. That sends up red flags for me. I rated this for a little higher age level because the content would need a lot of explanation that I’m not sure younger students are ready for. EL- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, High School Librarian.