Monday, January 31, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Simonds and Swartz weave together their extensive background in and appreciation for Chinese culture to create a book that celebrates a collection of Chinese festivals from Chinese New Year to the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival with information, traditions, stories, activities and recipes. So's beautiful watercolors are reminiscent of Chinese calligraphy.

Print and Internet resources for adults and children and a guide to Chinese pronunciation complete the book.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted today by Wild Rose Reader.

My selection is "Bees, Snails and Peacock Tails: patterns and shapes -- naturally" written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Franco's lively verse takes children on an exploration of the science and geometry behind many of nature's most interesting shapes and patterns. The bold colors of Jenkins' paper collages are a visual feast.

The intricacies in a Diamondback Rattlesnake's skin, the perfection of a bee hive's chambers, the symmetry of a spider's web -- geese, ants, puffer fish, even a deer mouse can be a source of delight. Use the poems as classroom discussion starters or share them during your next nature walk.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Markle's stories, based on interviews with the survivors, provide little known facts about each personal experience and are exciting without the sentimental overtones sometimes common in animal stories.

The book begins with the 9/11 story of Roselle, a guide dog who led her master down 77 flights of stairs in the World Trade Center. Other animal stories demonstrate how a cat, monkey, gorilla, dolphins, and even a cow can be a hero in various situations. Background information about the animals and material in science, geography and technology related to each rescue story is provided.

The stories are illustrated with archived photographs and include a follow-note about each animal hero. A glossary, source notes, selected bibliography and websites complete the book.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The poetry offers a light-hearted look at a variety of science topics ranging from the platypus to the periodic table collected in four sections: Earth and Space Sciences, Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Physics.
Shields introduces her work with a poem that begins: "Astronomers are starry-eyed, Botanists bloom around plants, Zoologists go ape over animals, Entomologists? Buggy for ants."
Thompson, well-known for his political cartoons and his Washington Post cartoon strip "Cul de Sac," brings humor and energy to the artwork.

Additional science facts and mnemonic devices are highlighted throughout the text.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Writer's Wednesday

A Potpourri of Posts

At Write4Kids! -- On e-Publishing "This May Be The Future of Picture Books"

At Through the Tollbooth -- On self-promotion "Author Fan Pages"

At E is for Book --More on e-publishing "Apps vs. e-Books"

Monday, January 17, 2011

This picture book recounts the 1960 sit-in by four college students aimed at integrating a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro North Carolina. Pinkney makes this historic moment both personal and accessible for young readers. The choice of language conveys the serious nature of the struggle and the excitement of the changing times. Quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. are woven into the narrative.

The book includes reading list, timeline, and websites for use in follow up discussions.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted today by Laura Salas: Writing the World for Kids.

My selection is Science Verse written by Jon Scieszka with illustrations by Lane Smith.

When a teacher remarks that there is a poetry in science, one young student suddenly finds himself hearing everything as science verse.

Jon Scieszka strikes again with a book filled with laugh-out-loud parodies of well-known songs or famous poetry by Edgar Allan Poe, Lewis Carroll and others given a science turn. Robert Frost's classic morphs into "Astronaut Stopping by a Planet on a Snowy Evening." I'm a Little Teapot gets the Scieszka treatment as does Mary Had a Little Lamb. The verse is very clever and even more fun if you are already familiar with the original work.

Lane pulls out all the stops with rib-tickling success as he makes the assortment of science topics a visual feast that is easy to understand.

Monday, January 10, 2011

One of the leading New Years resolutions is choosing a healthier diet. With that thought in mind, I've selected "Chew On This" by Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation, and Charles Wilson.

"Chew on This" is an eye-opening look at fast food: how it's made, what it contains and the ways in which in affects the body. The book provides a history of the fast food industry. Readers are given a look at the manufacture and distribution of foods from tours of feedlots and a chicken processing plant through to the pricing and marketing of products and the pay and working conditions of employees.

The writers clearly have a strong point of view that they support with statistics and published research. Though the text can be stomach turning in places, the authors make a strong argument against the marketing tactics that target children. For example, McDonald's distributes 1.5 billion toys a year. In addition to documenting the manufacture of fast food burgers, fries and shakes, the book also provides readers with an opportunity to compare healthy and damaged organs.

Friday, January 7, 2011

This astronomy-themed collection of short poems in varying forms is a lively read and accessible for young readers. Each descriptive poem is illustrated with bold photographs. This would be a lovely introduction to lessons covering topics from the solar system to space exploration. The book includes a glossary of space and poetic terms along with sections titled: Read More, Internet Sites and Index.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Charlotte's Library.

My selection, Beowulf: a tale of blood, heat and ashes, was made for my fantasy-loving sixth graders.

This version of the ancient Anglo Saxon epic is retold by Nicky Raven and lavishly illustrated by John Howe. Howe is well known for his artistic contributions to the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Raven's narrative conveys a sense of an ancient bard's storytelling while keeping the language understandable even where it is challenging. Character biographies, artist notes and maps complete the volume.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer