Monday, August 7, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

Oceans in 30 Seconds by Dr. Jen Green with illustrations by Wesley Robins offers a great deal more than the title suggests and will keep young readers engrossed as they explore the rich variety of subjects covered in 30 topics. 

Six sections: Blue Planet, Stunning Seascapes, Ocean Life, Ocean Perils, Exploring the Oceans, and Using the Oceans provide readers with clear organization and each begins with a Glossary of words pertinent to the content. Each of the five topics per section offers brief, well-written and fact-filled discussions paired with a 3-second summary, and an activity. As an example: Blue Planet addresses Oceans and Seas, Wind and Waves, Tides, Swirling Currents, and Air and Oceans. Each subject is paired with a colorful map or vibrant illustration.

Recommended as a delightful introduction to Oceans and a handy resource for home or school.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Picture Book Friday

I'm changing it up today. This isn't your traditional picture book, but still plenty of fun!

CAVERN OF CLUES by David Glover is a mystery wrapped in a puzzle for young adventurers 8-12 years of age. 

Armed only with a map and basic math skills, readers must negotiate their way from one challenge to another in their quest to discover the buried treasure of the fearsome pirate Black Beard.  Solve each puzzle correctly, and the reader moves forward through the story.  Make a mistake, and the reader will find an explanation of what probably went wrong before being sent back to try again.

This is one in the Math Quest series of books designed to encourage and develop math skills in an entertaining format. Colorful illustrations paired with a lively text draws the reader into the story. A glossary of Calculation Words explains terms and demonstrates methods to provide support for readers on a variety of topics from addition to percentages.

Not every reader will become a math whiz, but they will discover that math can be fun even when it's also a challenge which is a great confidence booster for reluctant mathematicians.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Writers Wednesday

Jean Bregman’s debut novel, TheTimeKeepers, is a legal thriller built around idealistic lawyer, Sarah Brockman’s sudden descent into a dark world of greed, corruption, and murder built on insurance fraud that works both sides of the system.

After witnessing a near fatal hit and run, Sarah finds herself unable to say no when the victim’s son appeals for her help in filing a suit against the driver. It’s just the kind of personal injury case that keeps her barely able to pay her bills, but as she begins to investigate, she discovers this case is nothing like she expected. Her vicious adversary is playing for keeps and Sarah is clearly in over her head. No one can be trusted…not even, Sam, the new man in her life, who’s working the same case, but from the other side.

If you’re a Grisham fan, check this out!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

What's your geography IQ?

A new book by TIME FOR KIDS, 50 STATES: Our America, offers young readers a chance to check their knowledge. What was the last state to join the United States -- Hawaii in 1959. Can you name the oldest city in America -- St.  Augustine, Florida founded in 1565.

This quick reference guide devotes a page to each of the states. Individual entries include basic facts such as date of admission to the union, postal abbreviation, capital, nickname, population, land area, state tree, and state bird, along with an illustration of the state with major cities identified. A brief write-up highlights historical facts often beginning with Native American inhabitants and ending with present day.

The book opens with sections on Tribal Nations Before European Settlement, European Settlement, Westward Expansion, and The United States of present day.

The Federal District of Washington, D.C. receives a double page spread similar to that of the states with historical details. The inhabited U.S. Territories and Commonwealths of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico are treated to a brief discussion and facts: Status, Capital, Population, Geography, and Economy listed. Uninhabited Territories and Commonwealths are listed and mapped.

The five geographical regions of the United States: Northeast, South, Midwest, West, and Pacific States are mapped and discussed with a focus on climate, industry, agriculture, and recreation.

Colorful artwork, maps, and photographs provide visual interest and support the child-friendly text.

Recommended as an introduction to the subject or a quick reference source for home or school.

Friday, July 28, 2017

SAVE THE DATES! If you have always dreamed of writing or are currently working on a book, here's an opportunity to explore your writing options and sharpen your skills.

Picture Book Friday

Here’s a wonderful book for the 2017 Baseball Season.

WAITING FOR PUMPSIE by Barry Wittenstein with illustrations by London Ladd is the fictionalized story about the integration of the Boston Red Sox in 1959 when they brought up their first black player, Elijah “Pumpsie” Green.

Major league baseball began to integrate in 1947 when Jackie Robinson took the field with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but it took another 12 years before fans at Fenway finally saw a black player on their team.

Bernard, the young narrator of the story has waited and waited for that day, and the story brings that moment to life with energy, sensitivity, and honesty. Vivid illustrations are a bold counterpoint to the strong text.

Beginning with spring training, the tension builds as Bernard’s family observes the growing pressure both from stadium crowds and members of the civil rights movement to give Pumpsie Green his moment. Bernard’s family are devoted to the Red Sox and follow the season’s play as the Sox slip in the standings, but It’s not until a July game – the eighth inning with the Red Sox down two to one – that the waiting is finally over. Bernard’s voice transports the reader to both time and place and immerses the audience in the heart-pounding excitement.

Willy Mays and Jackie Robinson are probably far more familiar names. It’s time for Elijah “Pumpsie” Green’s story to be shared with young audiences.

This is an excellent addition to home and school libraries for the young baseball fans in your family.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

In Animal Planet's Chapter Book SNAKES!, Author, James Buckley, Jr. introduces readers to the diverse world of snakes beginning with a basic look at the anatomy and characteristics that differentiate these animals from other reptiles.

The eleven chapters divide focus between general knowledge and the examination of specific types of snakes. How snakes move, attack and defense, foods, life cycles, and senses compare and contrast the ways in which diverse types of snakes function. Additional chapters concentrate on some of the most interesting, abundant, weird, or deadly groups of snakes such as rattlesnakes, boas and pythons, garter snakes, and the elapids which include cobras, kraits, and mambas.

Colorful, detailed photographs enrich the text and provide visual interest. Fang Facts identify snake body parts, and discuss the value of snakes in the ecosystem.  Double-page FACT FILES, highlight some of the United States’ most venomous snakes, details such as food choices that range from termite larvae to birds and mammals, identifies various types of vipers, and discusses habitats. Colored text boxes define terms, and offer extra details.

A fun resource for home or school.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer