Monday, January 30, 2012

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Wendie's Wanderings.

My selection is "The Grapes of Math: mind-stretching math riddles" by Greg Tang with illustrations by Harry Briggs.

Greg Tang's mission is to show children that they can be successful with math and enjoy the experience of working with numbers by employing a simple four-point plan:  go beyond the obvious, find a strategy, use a variety of skills, and organize the available information systematically.  In "Grapes of Math" he introduces readers to mathematical problem solving through the use of rhymes and riddles -- always a favorite with youngsters.  This work focuses on grouping and identifying patterns as an aid to counting and addition.

Briggs' colorful illustrations mirror Tang's sense of fun and enthusiasm and offer visual clues to help readers.

Solutions for each riddle are provided at the end of the book.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted today by Hey, Jim Hill!

My selection is "A Kick in the head: an everyday guide to poetic forms" selected by Paul B. Janeczko with illustrations by Chris Raschka.

Janeczko has created an anthology of twenty-nine different poetry forms that lead readers from a simple couplet to the complex pantoum (feel free to google this one folks).  Fortunately for his readers, Janeczko does an admirable job of providing straight forward explanations with each poetic form while offering up examples from a broad range of poets.  Ogden Nash couplets share space with a sonnet by Shakespeare and Gary Soto's Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes.  The author's guide is further enriched by a thoughtful introduction paired with end notes and additional examples.

2012 Caldicott winning illustrator, Raschka, elevates the fun-quotient with lively illustrations that include a visual clue to each form -- an urn for an ode, a guitar for a ballad and so forth.

Challenge yourself , your students or your family to try one.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Shelf-employed.

My selection celebrates Chinese New Year with "Dragon New Year: a Chinese legend" written by David Bouchard with paintings by Zhong-Yang Huang.

Bouchard tells the story of a young girl who is frightened by the noisy Chinese New year celebration outside her window, but comforted by her grandmother's story of the Chinese Dragon.  In the telling, the grandmother spins a tale of how Buddha frightened a fierce Sea Dragon into returning to the quiet of it's ocean home by staging the festival we recognize as Chinese New Year.  Bouchard explains in a brief note that this "legend" is one he made up while taking the history of Chinese New Year into account.

Zhong-Yang Huang's brilliant illustrations capture the drama, excitement and color of this new fable and Chinese New Year.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted today by Wild Rose Reader.

Today's selection is for all my dog loving friends: "The Hound Dog's Haiku: and other poems for dog lovers" written by Michael J. Rosen  and illustrated by Mary Azarian.

Rosen includes 20 different breeds of dog from the familiar Labrador Retriever to the Bluetick Coonhound -- from the Pug to the Samoyed -- in this enjoyable collection that offers brief glimpses into dog behavior and attitudes -- Border Collie "above your fixed gaze/a Milky Way of cows move --/your constellations." 

Azarian's hand-colored wood block prints provide a handsome portrait that places each dog in a context that mirrors the poetry and provides a rich sense of the breed's traits and purpose.

Rosen concludes the book with "Notes for Dog People and Haiku Lovers" that gives insights into the breeds that are portrayed and the author's thoughts on his writing.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by The Swimmer Writer.

My selection is "Freaky Big Airplanes" written by Meish Goldish.

Goldish provides readers with a basic information about nine super-sized aircraft ranging from the 840 passenger Airbus A380 to the B-52 bomber.  The descriptions are designed for easy reading by young aircraft enthusiasts and the photographs provide an excellent sense of the relative size of these enormous planes. 

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer