Monday, March 28, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

"All in the family: a look-it-up guide to the in-laws, outlaws, and offspring of mythology" written by Steven Otfinoski provides engaging and informative biographies of selected characters from Greek mythology.

As the title suggest, the selections include the relationships between various gods, mortals and monsters covering twenty individuals from Achilles to Theseus. The writing is lively and irreverent with a modern sensibility that will appeal to readers who have previously viewed Greek mythology as a subject too serious to be enjoyed for its own sake. The cartoon-style illustrations, informal text, informative sidebars, and humorous dialogue bubbles provide additional information in an entertaining format.

A glossary, star map for related constellations, additional reading citations, and an index complete the book.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Poetry Friday

My selection is "Where Is Spring?" This poem was written by Taiwanese poet Yang Huan (1930-1954). He wrote only twenty poems in his lifetime, but is considered by many scholars to be one of the main influences on modern Chinese children's poetry. The book is illustrated by H.Y. Huang and A. Yang.

In "Where Is Spring" a boy sends his kite aloft to search for signs of springtime. The aerial view provides a unique perspective on field and farm, town and sea. The colors reflect the vibrant hues of spring's new life and growth.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by The Children's War.

My selection is "Athletes with Disabilities" written by Deborah Kent.

This book is written for older readers - grades 5-7. Kent describes the ways in which people with different abilities are able to compete in sports and the adaptations in sports to make them available to people with particular challenges. Kent includes many professional athletes such as Jim Abbott - Major League Baseball Pitcher and Diana Golden Brosnihan - Olympic Skier.

The book includes a Timeline, Glossary, Bibliography for further reading, Organizations, Online sites and an Index.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Poetry Friday

To celebrate Women in History Month, I've selected "Vherses: a celebration of outstanding women" written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Mark Summers (known for his literary portraits for Barnes and Noble).

Vherses offers a beautiful opportunity to introduce a diverse group of fourteen women both past and present from Emily Dickinson to Jane Goodall. Artists, activists, adventurers, athletes, and scientists, each of whom pushed the boundaries for women in their time, are represented through a variety of poetic styles and individualized portraits. The Venus and Serena Williams poem is written for two voices bringing to mind the back and forth rhythm of a tennis match. The free verse poem for Martha Graham is as unconventional as her choreography. Summers' illustrations are equally unique. Georgia O'Keeffe's portrait is set against an artist's palette while Anne Morrow Lindbergh shines before a cloud-filled sky. Short biographical notes are included.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Goodall and coauthor Thane Maynard (director of the Cincinnati Zoo) share success stories about the work of scientists, conservationists and environmentalists who work to protect and rescue species in danger of extinction. Familiar species -- the California Condor, Giant Panda, and Australian Wallabies and lesser-known mammals, birds, fish, and even an insect have their stories told.

The book details the rescue and recovery of species in the wild and the reintroduction of species that have been lost in their native habitat.

The writing, which is conversational in style, is both scientific and reader-friendly. Goodall acknowledges the many losses sustained by the natural world, but manages to remain optimistic and offers readers resources for further exploration and opportunities to become involved.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted today by Liz In Ink.

With St. Patrick's Day on the horizon, I'm offering "Irish Poems: a collection for children" selected by Fiona Waters and illustrated by Peter Rutherford.

This anthology contains poems such as the well-known "All Things Bright and Beautiful" by Cecil Frances Alexander as well as some less familiar 18th-century works. Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and W. B. Yeats are represented here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Writer's Wednesday

So you want to be a writer...

There are a lot of people out there who've written stories they'd like to see published, or have a story in their head, or have this great idea for a book.

That's a start, but sooner or later you have to settle down and get serious about getting that manuscript written or revised.

We've all been there.

Get a reality check with an inside look at one writer's struggle -- check out Hilde Garcia's post at Pen and Ink.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

This book, from the Women's Adventures in Science series, follows the career of Diane France who's work included identifying victims from the attacks on 9/11. The work provides both a personal biography about the childhood, education, and personal life of France and a knowledgeable look at the science utilized in their professional career. Photographs and scientific drawings illustrate the various chapters which conclude with additional resources for further exploration of the topics.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Poetry Friday

Hopkins has collected poems in an almanac style anthology that is arranged month by month and includes an assortment of facts both well-known and obscure, dates, famous people, and holidays together with an eclectic mix of details about the month. Events range from Mother's Day to Edward Lear's birthday (which is celebrated appropriately with a pair of limericks). Alcorn's ink and watercolor illustrations provide a lovely continuity from beginning to end.

An index of titles, first lines and authors completes the work.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer