Friday, August 30, 2019

Picture Book Friday

If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon by Joyce Lapin with illustrations by Simona Ceccarelli honors the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in this imaginative exploration of an out-of-this-world birthday party.

The narrative traces the adventure from take-off to moon landing and finishes with the return trip to earth. The entertaining romp is also a clever device for introducing young readers to a wealth of facts tucked neatly into the story line.

You’ll make the 239,000-mile journey at 40 times the speed of a plane. Along the way experience zero gravity and then discover that gravity on the moon means a 100-pound person on earth only weighs 17 pounds on the moon. Gravity is so slight that the moon can’t hold onto atmosphere so spacesuits must be worn outside of the rocket ship. Favorite activities for any moon party will be bouncing and gliding in slow motion, exploring craters, and gathering moon rocks for souvenirs. Or perhaps making moon angels in the thick moon dust would be fun. Another possibility would be a scavenger hunt for many things that astronauts left on the moon during their visit.

And, of course, you’ll want to take advantage of the fact that a day on the moon lasts 709 hours, so you’ll have about 30 days to celebrate.  Pizza, cake, and punch pose unique challenges for the partiers when they return to the rocket to eat and the obligatory birthday piƱata offers a last look at low-gravity hijinks. 

Text boxes appear on double-page spreads to provide additional details and a Glossary explains terms.

Ceccarelli’s bold artwork provides plenty of visual appeal. A wealth of detail reinforces both the fun and the facts.

IF YOU HAD YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY ON THE MOON is an entertaining picture book with the added bonus of being a delightful introduction to a study of the moon.

Recommended for home and school libraries.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Picture Book Friday

THERE’S ONLY ONE YOU by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook with illustrations by Rose Butcher is a celebration of diversity and the special qualities that make each of us one-of-a-kind!

Are you outgoing or introvert? Boisterous or quiet? The simple but charming rhyming text speaks directly to the reader as it explores the many ways in which YOU are unique and assures the audience that being you is wonderful! The text pays attention to the obvious – differences in appearance – but gives equal consideration to other more subtle qualities:
Do your feelings spill out?
Do they lay low and hide?

The narrative explores interests, abilities, manner of speaking, even the various ways in which learning takes place.  This joyful and uplifting story concludes by focusing on how we relate to one another --
Families are families,
but soon you will find
That each can be different –
A “best-for-them” kind.

Butcher's thoughtfully detailed illustrations create a richly diverse neighborhood that invites children to find themselves and their families within the pages.
Recommended for home and school libraries.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Nonfiction Monday

River Rescue is a narrative nonfiction story describing the consequences of an oil spill and the work of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc. Tri-State is identified as a coauthor with Jennifer Keats Curtis. Illustrations are provided by Tammy Yee.

The text begins with a thorough explanation of what happens to birds like ducks and herons when they encounter an oil spill and the step-by-step process of rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing birds back into the wild. The language is straight forward and the conversational tone invites readers to immerse themselves in the shared experience.

Like other Arbordale titles, there is a special section at the end of the book titled FOR CREATIVE MINDS. Preventing Oil Spills & Helping Animals offers details on how readers can help reduce oil contamination and pollution at home. Wildlife Identification challenges readers to match photographs to names of animals rescued by Tri State. Q & A with Tri-State Executive Director Lisa Smith offers additional facts in response to specific questions about oil spill rescue procedures. 

The richly-detailed illustrations provide a lovely visual context and perfectly compliment the story.

Recommended for STEM for nature studies, biology, and wildlife content.
Ideal for home and school libraries.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Picture Book Friday

Some Days by Karen Kaufman Orloff with illustrations by Ziyue Chen explores the varied feelings that young children experience.

The text is shaped around a year in the life of a boy and girl as they deal with “Kites up in the sky days.” and “Need my mommy now days.” The rhyming text examines a multitude of emotions – joy, excitement, contentment, disappointment, anger, sadness, and more through everyday experiences –
“Take a little doze days.”
“Hurt myself somehow days.”
“Drippy nose and sneeze days.”

Large, cartoon-style characters fill double-page spreads that are uncluttered and maintain reader focus on the essential narrative points. “Running for the bus days.” Positions the viewer directly in the path of the oncoming children.  “Some days are feeling kind of mad days.” gives readers a birds-eye view of the girl angrily scribbling across a paper with crayons.

Children will readily identify with the characters and recognize the emotional responses portrayed in the varied situations. Good days and difficult days are thoughtfully juxtaposed and the book concludes with a strong positive message:
“But MOST days are…
Ready? One, two, three days.
Lots to do and see days.
Learning to be me days.”

SOME DAYS gives parents and children a warm and honest look at childhood emotions, acknowledges both the positive and negative moments, and creates a perfect opportunity to talk about feelings: how they come and go, and ways to cope with our emotions when they sometimes seem too big to deal with in the moment.
Recommended as a read-aloud or read alone title for home and school libraries.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Nonfiction Monday

Rivers and Streams! With 25 Science Projects for Kids by Rebecca Siegel with illustrations by Tom Casteel provides a reader-friendly opportunity for children, ages 7-10, to dive into the stated subject. 

The introduction explains that there are more than 165 major rivers and goes on to define the properties of a river and contrast rivers with other bodies of water such as oceans and canals to establish a basis for the chapters that follow. In addition, it details how good science practices will facilitate completing the ongoing science projects that appear throughout the book at the conclusion of each chapter.
The well-organized and engaging chapters that follow encourage youthful scientists to explore multiple topics:
How and why rivers and streams are important to the water cycle, habitats, and their value as a resource.
How rivers influence migration, transportation, and farming as well as the value of rivers as a source of energy.
The diversity of animal-life from insects to mammals and the ways in which they have adapted to the specialized environment that exists in flowing water.
Ways in which plants prevent erosion and create unique habitats such as the Everglades.
The relationship between rivers, streams, and climate.
Ways in which humans have changed rivers from ancient times through the present.
Cartoon-style illustrations are augmented here and there with photographs to create visual interest. Text boxes set out challenges labeled INVESTIGATE or CONSIDER AND DISCUSS. WORDS TO KNOW defines important vocabulary. DID YOU KNOW? highlights special facts. Each chapter concludes with a series of hands-on STEM projects to enable students to reinforce learning, enhance understanding, and develop critical thinking skills.
Recommended as a valuable STEM resource for home, school, and library collections.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Picture Book Friday

Butterflies On The First Day of School by Annie Silvestro with illustrations by Dream Chen is an ideal story for young readers facing the beginning of a new school year.

Playing off the familiar “butterflies in my stomach” description for feeling nervous, Silvestro crafts her story of a little girl who truly has butterflies in her stomach. Rosie begins her day feeling too anxious to even enjoy her mom’s chocolate chip pancakes and climbing on the unfamiliar school bus doesn’t help. But Rosie soon discovers that making a new friend enables her to release the first butterfly that flutters from her lips. As the day progresses, Rosie finds more friends and fun, releasing all her butterflies one after another.

Silvestro contrasts the butterfly fantasy against the reality of kindergarten life: meeting the teacher, sharing, painting, building with blocks, romping on the playground, and telling her mother all about her fabulous first day of school.

Chen’s vibrant colors and richly detailed illustrations are a charming backdrop for the lively text.

Now’s the time to add this charmer to your home or school library.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer