Monday, October 20, 2014

Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles by Douglas Florian - - ADVISABLE

Florian, Douglas Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles, 154 pgs. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014. $16.99. Language: G; Violence: G; Mature Content: G. POETRY

Silly verses about everything from Animals to Zero, these short, funny, illustrated poems are reminiscent of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky.  The pen and ink drawings are as clever as the poetry.  Simple (and easy to memorize) this fun collection would be a great addition to the poetry section of an elementary school. A bit too silly for older readers.  

EL -- ADVISABLE  Lisa Librarian

Hunt for Jade Dragon by Richard Evans - ESSENTIAL

Evans, Richard Paul Hunt for Jade Dragon (Michael Vey), 319 p. Mercury Ink (Simon), 2014.  $19.  Content: PG (lots of danger, some deaths, nothing graphic).

Michael and his friends have escaped the Elgen in Peru, but unfortunately Dr. Hatch survived the explosion of the Ampere.  The Electroclan is on the run for Taiwan, where the Elgen have a deaf, mute genius imprisoned - who also happens to be a child.  The Electroclan will rescue her from Hatch’s clutches, even if it means all of their lives.  

Evans has toned down the violence, but not the adventure in his latest installment of the Michael Vey series.  I actually had a boy squeal and do a happy dance around the library when he got his hands on on elf my first four library copies the day after release.

MS - ESSENTIAL.  Cindy - Library Teacher

Beetle Busters by Loree Burns - ESSENTIAL

Burns, Loree Griffin Beetle Busters: A rogue insect and the people who track it, 61 p.  NON-FICTION.  Houghton Mifflin, 2014.  $19.  Content: G.  

In 2011, a stand of trees in Ryan Zampuno’s favorite woods were clear cut and destroyed.  When Ryan and his fellow Biodoversity Club members searched for answers, they found out that the trees had to cut in order to stop the spread of the Asian long-horned beetle - a tree killer imported in wood pallets from Asia.  Enter Clint McFarland and his fellow arborists, whose job it is to stop the spread.  From urban New York City and into the upland forests, McFarland and his team are determined to eradicate the beetle, but it is a painstaking, almost impossible job.  

Seriously - if you don’t have the entire Scientists in the Field series, you are missing out.  There are so many different lessons that can be learned and taught with the variety of books in the series.  You should be sharing these with your science teachers and planning many lessons around them.  Each book contains well-documented scientific methods.

EL, MS - ESSENTIAL.  Cindy - Library Teacher

Photos Framed by Ruth Thomson - OPTIONAL

Thomson, Ruth  Photos Framed,  61p. NON-FICTION.  Candlewick Press, 2013.   $19. Content: G.    

Thomson looks at 27 famous photographs, giving a little bit of insight and asking a few questions to help the viewer delve in tot he photograph and into the artist’s mind.  
This would be a very rich resource for a beginning photography class or any  lesson dealing with composition.  Looking at the photographs and learning a bit of the backstory was an interesting experience. 

For more a more in-depth look at iconic photographs, I would suggest buying Compass Point's "How a Photograph..." series.

EL, MS, HS - OPTIONAL.  Cindy - Library Teacher 

Extraordinary Jane by Hannah Harrison - ESSENTIAL

Harrison, Hannah E. Extraordinary Jane.  PICTURE BOOK.  Dial (Penguin), 2014.  $17.  

Jane was the most ordinary of all of the dogs in the circus.  Try as she might, she can’t find a talent of her own.  Maybe that is just enough.

OMG!  SOOOOOO adorable!  From the illustrations to the simple, resounding method, I adore this book.  I can’t believe this is the author’s first picture book.

Pre-K, EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL.  Cindy - Library Teacher

Because They Marched by Russell Freedman - ESSENTIAL

Freedman, Russell  Because They Marched,  83p. NON-FICTION.  Holiday House, 2014.   $20.00. Language: G (2 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13.

In January 1965, the public school teachers of Selma, Alabama walked to the local courthouse in an attempt to register to vote.  This touched off a new wave of marches and protests, including a five day march to Montgomery, the stat capitol, to register their protest directly with the governor.   The local sheriff, the Ku Klux Klan, and others did their best to stop the protests with weapons and hate, but the marchers would finally prevail.

The path towards civil rights for blacks in America was not forged by one march, one sit-in, or one protest.  instead it took years of concerted effort all over the south by droves people of every color.  I have loved that there are so many well-written non-fiction books for children that cover this era.  Hooray for 50th anniversaries! An other excellent addition to a varied non-fiction collection.

Cindy - Library Teacher 

Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter - ADVISABLE

Winter, Jeanette Henri’s Scissors.  PICTURE BOOK.  Beach Lane (Simon), 2013.  $17.  

When Henry Matisse was young, a bout of appendicitis showed his true path of painting fabulous pictures which made him famous.  Later, when he was bed ridden after a long illness, he despaired of creating again, until he finds an outlet through cut paper pictures, giving himself a second career.  

Winter does a great job of mimicking the feel and look of Matisse’s work with her colorful illustrations.  It can not only spark creativity, but also show that there is not one right way to be creative.

EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE.  Cindy - Library Teacher