Monday, April 30, 2012

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Gathering Books.

My selection is "Basketball belles : how two teams and one scrappy player put women's hoops on the map" written by Sue Macy with illustrations by Matt Collins.

The first women basketball players faced two opponents: their competition on the court and the code of conduct expected of a lady.  Macy does an admirable job of immersing his audience in the first women's intercollegiate basketball game played in 1896 between Stanford and the University of  California at Berkeley.  He uses Stanford guard, Agnes Morley, to tell his story through invented dialogue which creates an immediate connection with the reader.  Agnes, the daughter of a New Mexico rancher, introduces readers to a game very different than the one played by the WNBA.  There was no dribbling, players didn't travel up and down the court and because it was considered improper for a lady to perspire in the presence of gentlemen -- the game was played before an all-female audience.  Nevertheless, these ladies had plenty of hustle.

Collins' illustrations offer a dynamic play-by-play look at this historic game from often unexpected angles and carries the reader through every exciting moment right down to the cheering exuberance of Stanford's team in celebrating their win.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted today by Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference.

My selection is "Absolutely Wild: Poems" written by Dennis Webster and illustrated by Kim Webster Cunningham.

This father/daughter team is, unsurprisingly, an ideal pairing.  Webster's couplets and quatrains are reminiscent of Ogden Nash or Edward Lear.  The humorous verses celebrate a variety of unusual animals from Gnus to Yaks.  The verses are energetic, sometimes silly, and always entertaining.

Here are the first four lines from the "Yak"

                                                A shaggy species is the yak
                                                With hairy front and hairy back
                                                It isn't very hard to spot him
                                                With hairy top and hairy bottom.

Cunningham's hand-colored linoleum prints are lively and detailed renderings that highlight each creature.

This is a charming, fun to read-aloud book to be enjoyed by children and adults.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writers Wednesday

Ready to Edit

Over the past week, I spoke with several writers who had recently completed manuscripts and were preparing to edit. 

There is a great article posted today at Edittorrent entitled "R.U.E." (Resist the Urge to Explain) detailing important points that writers should consider as they read their manuscripts.

Check it out.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Books 4 Learning.

My selection is "All the water inthe world " written by George Ella Lyon with illustrations by KatherineTillotson. 

Lyon has created a delightful introduction to the water cycle  for readers in K-3rd grade.  The text is both engaging and informative using rich language that fills each page with lively rhythms and begs to be read aloud.  The placement of the text reinforces the language with words and letters that move over the page in fluid motion. 

Tillotson's illustrations immerse the reader in her art from the vibrant blues of the endpapers through the surging, flowing movement of water across the pages which contrasts with the browns and tans of thirsty landscapes waiting for this most precious of resources.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by The Nonfiction Detectives.

My selection is "Art That Moves: animation around the world by John Bliss.

Animation has a long history -- from a mural in an Egyptian tomb to the Flip Books of the 1800s and the first photographic attempts in the late 19th century, and on to the Simpsons and feature films such as Ice Age -- creating moving images has held a special fascination for artists and viewers.
Bliss provides readers with a look at the animation process from its early days through the 2010 movie "Where the Wild Things Are" and includes the following chapters: A World of Animation, Early Attempts at Animation, How Does Animation Work, Technology, Anime, Masters of Animation, Not Just for Kids, New Trends in Animation. A Timeline, Glossary, and Bibliography round out the book.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted today by Booktalking.

My selection is "Lemonade and other poems squeezed from a single word" written by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Nancy Doniger.

Raczka continues his light-hearted poetry with a playful collection of verses that are part anagram and part riddle.  As the title of his book suggests, each poem is inspired by and created from the one word title.  The reader gets a first glimpse of the poem as letters that appear to be randomly scattered down the page and is challenged to assemble the words of the poem.  A closer look reveals a hidden pattern: each letter appears below the corresponding letter in the title and a horizontal space separates the individual words as in this example from the book entitled --

b  a

   ache s


b  a    s
      e s

 lea   r


* To see the traditional view scroll to the end of this post.

A second viewing on the following page provides the completed poem printed in a traditional format.  Raczka has given teachers, students and poetry lovers another imaginative way to play with words and experiment with another poetry form.

Doniger's colorful minimalist illustrations enhance the page without overwhelming the verse.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Ana's Nonfiction Blog.

Kids Love to Cook so this Nonfiction Monday selection is American Food by Wendy Blaxland.

Blaxland introduces her young readers to a variety of American classics by placing the foods in their geographical/historical context and describing their cultural influences.  Along the way she provides the necessary cooking basics: ingredients, equipment, measurements and most importantly with novice cooks -- safety.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted today by Read, Write, Howl.

My selection is Concrete Poetry by Valerie Bodden.

This is one of a four book series by Bodden entitled Poetry Basics that also includes Haiku, Limericks and Nursery Rhymes.

Written at a sixth grade level, this book takes readers through the history of concrete poetry from ancient Greece  to modern day and touches on the future of concrete poetry as well.  The book is filled with examples that clearly demonstrate her viewpoint that concrete poems are meant to be seen as much as they are to be read.  Bodden includes a glossary, bibliography and suggestions for further reading.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Writer's Wednesday

For all my friends who are YA writers -- Is romance in the air?

 If your novel has a romantic thread then you need to check out this must-read post:  Crushes and Chemistry by Mary Kole. Kole is an associate agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and a YA and MG writer.

Kole points out that although romance is hugely attractive to YA readers, the romantic fantasy is often more superficial than genuine.  Do you want to take your characters to the next level?  She offers some very practical suggestions to help you.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Rasco From RIF.

My selection is "Annie Jump Cannon, astronomer" written by Carole Gerber and illustrated by Christina Wald.

Pioneering astronomer, Annie Jump Cannon was born during the Civil War and spent her youth stargazing.  It was a fascination that would shape her life.  After graduating from Wellesley College, she did graduate work and eventually was hired by Edward Pickering to work at the Harvard Observatory cataloging stars. She faced a series of challenges: a bout of scarlet fever that left her nearly deaf and gender discrimination at work.  She wasn't permitted to work alongside the men and was paid one fourth of their salary. Never-the-less, she succeeded in identifying more stars than anyone else and is credited with devising a classification system that is still in use today.

Gerber provides readers with a thoughtful discussion of Cannon's life and a clear understanding of the science set against the attitudes and atmosphere of her time. 

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer