I picked this book for a Preschool DiscoveryTime (a science-influenced storytime) that I was doing on the Ocean. This alphabet book features short poe...moreI picked this book for a Preschool DiscoveryTime (a science-influenced storytime) that I was doing on the Ocean. This alphabet book features short poems in the letter description for younger kids, but includes a couple paragraphs on the side to more thoroughly explore the topic for older ones. For example, K is for Kraken and it goes on to explain about the myth of the Kraken and the actual word meaning. It is just bursting with information about Plankton, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, waves, ocean currents, and volcanoes, just to name a few. My only complaints about the letters is the Q is for Queen Isabella (in relation to Christopher Columbus exploring, mostly just because it's been proved he wasn't the first person to discover the Americas) and X is for X marks the spot (though I will admit that that is the hardest letter in the alphabet to find cool things for). Recommended for ages 3-10, 4 stars.
I have been feeling like some narrative nonfiction and so when I saw this, I snapped it up. I always enjoy a good true crime story as they examine how...moreI have been feeling like some narrative nonfiction and so when I saw this, I snapped it up. I always enjoy a good true crime story as they examine how someone came to be the way they are and why they did it. I've never heard of this case, but found it fascinating. The title refers to Robert "Bob" Irwin, a brilliant but mentally disturbed sculptor, who in 1937 brutally murdered his former landlady Mary Gedeon, her model daughter Veronica, and an English boarder named Frank Byrnes.
The author set up the story by explaining that Beekman Place, the location of the triple murder, was the site of two previous murders in the past year and we are introduced to the man who would become Irwin's lawyer, the undefeated Samuel Leibowitz. We get a very thorough look at Irwin's parents and how their religious fanaticism impacted his childhood, in particular Pentacostalism. His two brothers both ended up in prison. He showed artistic tendencies early on and went to work for some famous American sculptors, though he never stayed long at any job due to his violent temper and crazy ideas. The most prominent idea was "visualization" in which he tried to remember minute details of particular piece of art, though this eventually led to him believing he could harness energy and become a god. In any case, it was a major reason why people avoided him and part of the reason, along with Congenital Syphilis, why he was institutionalized several times before committing the murders. Once he moved to Manhattan, he became obsessed with Edith Gedeon, the daughter of his landlords. This obsession lasted for the rest of his life, and was the reason he killed Edith's mother, sister and Frank Byrnes.
The majority of the book is about Irwin's capture by the police, which took several months, and his subsequent trial and sentencing. The book goes into great detail about the sensationalism of the press, particularly newspapers, in exploiting everyone involved (including the murder victims). I thought the section on how to determine if a defendant could plead insanity or not was particularly fascinating, as well as the fact that both Irwin's attorney and the prosecutor both agreed that Irwin should be imprisoned for life. 4 stars. (less)
The author asked if I would review his newest math adventure book. I accepted as I enjoy his authorship of "Paradox in Oz". I am not a big math fan, b...moreThe author asked if I would review his newest math adventure book. I accepted as I enjoy his authorship of "Paradox in Oz". I am not a big math fan, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book and its fun and amusing puns. I also loved the illustrations by David Clark. It would be great for a reluctant reader who likes math or to use in a classroom to help kids understand how to simplify fractions. There is a longer description of fraction reduction in the back of the book.
The book is about a young man named George Cornelius Factor, who is part of a small group of fraction collectors, and is very interested in acquiring the fraction 5/8. It is stolen by Dr. Brok, who immediately changes it to make it unrecognizable. But all hope is not lost. Factor invents “The Reducer” which reduces a fraction to its lowest terms and uncovers the missing fraction. He proudly displays his newest acquisition to collection afterwards. Recommended for ages 7-10, 4 stars. (less)