Zuckerman has created an amazing ABC book, based on his adult coffee-table book Creature. Animal are photographed in crisp, vivid details, against sta...moreZuckerman has created an amazing ABC book, based on his adult coffee-table book Creature. Animal are photographed in crisp, vivid details, against stark white backgrounds. First, you read just the letter and see one photograph of the animal. Young readers will try to guess the animal name. On the next page, you read the animal name and see another striking photograph of the animal. Throughout, the animals are photographed in striking poses full of movement or placed in interesting compositions focusing on a particular detail. Preschoolers will have trouble holding this thick book on their laps, but they will come back to it again and again. Older children, far beyond typical ABC books, will be fascinated by the photographs. In our local library, every single copy is checked out.(less)
I just love this way of showing kids how colors combine to form other colors. The author/illustrator uses kids dancing with semi-transparent scarves t...moreI just love this way of showing kids how colors combine to form other colors. The author/illustrator uses kids dancing with semi-transparent scarves to show how the colors combine. There's movement and interest as the dancers pull different colored scarves behind them to make other colors when they overlap. It's at once unique and an experience kids can relate to. I also appreciate the variety of the group of kids dancing (multicultural, plus a boy not just girls).(less)
This book delves into the history of the Wampanoag people and the English settlers in Plimoth to describe the actual events of the "first Thanksgiving...moreThis book delves into the history of the Wampanoag people and the English settlers in Plimoth to describe the actual events of the "first Thanksgiving." In looking more closely at the history, a more complex and textured look at these people develops than the traditional stories told in schools across the country. Co-authors Catherine O’Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac worked closely with Plimoth Plantation historians to tell the whole story by including the voices of all who were involved.
Traditionally, both English and Wampanoag cultures gathered to celebrate the harvest, but the gathering in 1621 took place for politcal reasons and was unlikely to be called Thanksgiving. In October of 2000, Plimoth Plantation cooperated with the Wampanoag community to stage an historically accurate reenactment of the 1621 harvest celebration. The photographs taken by Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson capture the spirit of the event and bring it to life.(less)
Heiligman has written an excellent series for National Geographic, exploring how many different holidays are celebrated around the world. In this volu...moreHeiligman has written an excellent series for National Geographic, exploring how many different holidays are celebrated around the world. In this volume, she begins with a simple, clear retelling of the Hanukkah story. But most of the book explores how Hanukkah is celebrated around the world, in places as such as Poland, South Korea, Uganda and Peru. The full-page photographs depict children and adults lighting candles, reciting prayer, and playing dreidels. I especially like how Heiligman uses "we" throughout - it provides the feeling of community and commonality. For example, next to a picture of a young boy in Uganda, Heiligman writes: "It is important to tell everyone about the miracle. We want to show everyone we are proud to be Jewish. We are glad that we are free to practice our religion." The text and photographs help us see that Jewish people around the world, living in many different countries, all celebrate the holiday in much the same way.(less)
Oceanographer Cerullo (The truth about great white sharks, Chronicle, 2000; Sea turtles: ocean nomads, Dutton, 2003) explores two strikingly different...moreOceanographer Cerullo (The truth about great white sharks, Chronicle, 2000; Sea turtles: ocean nomads, Dutton, 2003) explores two strikingly different shipwrecks, looking at the path to discovering these shipwrecks, the clues to life aboard these ships and the ocean life that now makes these wrecks their home. Shipwrecks is an interesting combination of history, archaeology and science. The Henrietta Marie, a slave trader from 1700, was discovered in shallow waters off the coast of Florida by searchers working with renowned treasure hunter Mel Fisher, using a magnetometer to detect iron objects in the seafloor. Scientists and shipwreck hunters searched long and hard for the wreck of the Portland, a luxury steamship that sunk off the coast of Massachusetts in a fierce winter storm in 1898. This wreck is buried in over 300 feet of cold ocean water, and so can only be explored by a unmanned robot vehicle. The text is engaging and clearly written, supported by interesting side bars. Historical documents, full-color photographs and maps illustrate the story nicely. Resources for further investigation and suggestions what students can do to help protect marine sanctuaries will inspire students interested in the subject.(less)
Yellowstone has always held a special place in my heart, with its beautiful meadows, soaring mountains and awe-inspiring geysers. Yellowstone Moran: P...moreYellowstone has always held a special place in my heart, with its beautiful meadows, soaring mountains and awe-inspiring geysers. Yellowstone Moran: Painting the American West shows what it was like for early explorers to venture into this wilderness in the 1800s, and how Thomas Moran's paintings helped capture its beauty and persuade Congress to protect it.
Thomas Moran "had never ridden a horse, never shot a gun, and never slept in the open air," but he was determined to join Dr. Hayden's expedition to explore the land called the Yellowstone. "Few men had explored this high wilderness. Those who had been there told strange tales of mud volcanoes and spouting geysers at a place called Firehole Basin." The expedition was hard work, climbing steep mountain passes on horseback, fording rushing rivers, sometimes only covering a few miles a day. Readers will be astounded, along with Moran, at the sight of steaming hot springs, massive waterfalls, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Moran's paintings helped to convince President Grant to designate Yellowstone as the first National Park in 1871. I particularly liked the author's note at the end which describes for young readers how she used the expedition members' journals to reconstruct the story. Judge has recreated Moran’s style in her dramatic watercolors, and her paintings (like Moran's) will make young readers want to venture to Yellowstone themselves. For another review of Yellowstone Moran, see The Miss Rumphius Effect. (less)
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid is one of the most popular books at our school library, and it's no surprise that many kids are excited about the upcoming mo...moreThe Diary of a Wimpy Kid is one of the most popular books at our school library, and it's no surprise that many kids are excited about the upcoming movie opening March 19th. The kids are lining up to borrow a new book: The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary.
This movie-tie in goes beyond the simple repackaging, and is a fresh look at what it's like to make a movie. Starting with "A Wimp Is Born", Kinney tells the story of how this story and movie came to be. You'll see photographs, script pages, storyboard sketches, costume designs, and original art by Jeff Kinney. Instead of following Greg's life, like the other books do, this new book follows the movie making process. Kids will like dipping into different sections, or reading it straight through. The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary is the perfect companion for fans of this series.
I had a lot of fun reading sample script pages, seeing how movies are really written. As Kinney writes, "Cartooning is the art of boiling something down to its simplest parts, but in a movie, a director is working on a much bigger canvas and needs to 'fill out the frame' with lots of detail." (p. 98). It was fun to see how different scenes were developed, and others were added.
Kids who have been reviewing this for me (librarian smiles - kids lining up to read a new book!) - have been marking their favorite spots. Here are a few:
* Casting roles of Greg's friends. Kids really liked seeing sketches from the cartoons in the book, next to pictures of the actors who were cast for different roles.
* Comparing comics from the book to scenes from the movie: Kids liked seeing how simple sketches in the book are flushed out in photos from the movie.
* Special effects: Kids had fun seeing how visual effects were added to a silicone piece of cheese to make it look like the stinkiest piece of cheese possible.
* Fake newspaper report: Kids had fun seeing mock-ups of the Westmore Middle School newspaper showing Patty wrestling (and trouncing) Greg.
This book will be enjoyed by kids who like the Wimpy Kid series, and especially by kids who are interested in making movies. A definite hit!(less)
Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez each brought their own passion and backgrounds to the farm workers' struggles. Huerta moved to California as a young g...moreDolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez each brought their own passion and backgrounds to the farm workers' struggles. Huerta moved to California as a young girl and learned from her mother to always think about others. As a teacher, Huerta "saw the farmworker children come to school cold and barefoot, too hungry to learn as well as they could."
Cesar Chavez watched as his family lost their home in Arizona, moving to California to become migrant farm workers, following the crops. His life was difficult, working in the hot sun picking lettuce, strawberries and grapes, suffering when owners sprayed crops with pesticides while workers were still in the fields.
Brown and Cepeda show how Huerta and Chavez came together to invite farm workers to join la causa, demanding better working conditions. The simple text, in both Spanish and English, emphasizes how they worked together as co-founders of the United Farm Workers union, organizing the National Grape Boycott and the historic march to Sacramento.
Joe Cepeda's illustrations really shine through in this picture book, bringing energy and conveying a sense of Huerta's and Chavez's passion, determination and joy in their work. Throughout, this book is filled with the sense of "¡Si, se pueda! Yes, we can!"(less)
This newest in TOON Book’s graphic novels for early readers will please reluctant older readers as well as newer readers, combining humorous comics wi...moreThis newest in TOON Book’s graphic novels for early readers will please reluctant older readers as well as newer readers, combining humorous comics with interesting nonfiction snippets. Zig, a cyclops alien child, is out flying in his spaceship with his best friend Wikki, a walking computer. When Zig's teacher calls telling him that his homework is late, Zig lands the spaceship on the nearest planet, Earth, in search of a class pet. Each time they meet an animal on Earth, Wikki's computer flashes with interesting information, such as “FLY spitting: Flies use spit to turn their food into liquid, then they suck it up again.” In this debut, Spiegelman (daughter of Art Spiegelman) captures a great sense of timing and flow for young readers. They'll love the gross facts she includes, and will want to keep reading to find out what animal Zig takes home for show and tell. Along the way, Zig and Wikki learn about how the food chain operates, as each animal is eaten by a larger predator. As always, Zig and Wikki wind up in trouble. Zig accidentally zaps Wikki with the shrinking ray, turning him into a mini-computer. This reader will work well for older reluctant readers at low reading level, since Zig and Wikki are not overly cute and do not have an obvious age. It also could work for younger readers who are comfortable reading whole sentences. The sentences are short, and the vocabulary reasonably simple except in the science sections. It's funny, quick moving, and works in quick facts about animals into the story in an effective blend of fiction and nonfiction.(less)
This wonderful biography is an homage in words and pictures. Rappaport weaves together King’s own words with her brief text sharing King’s all-too-sho...moreThis wonderful biography is an homage in words and pictures. Rappaport weaves together King’s own words with her brief text sharing King’s all-too-short life. As a young boy, Martin knew that he wanted to inspire others using “big words.” Collier’s watercolor and collage illustrations express King’s joy in life, solemn sense of purpose, and passionate beliefs.(less)
If I were to give stars for how much my kids have poured over this book, this would get 5+. They love, love, love it. The bright, active illustrations...moreIf I were to give stars for how much my kids have poured over this book, this would get 5+. They love, love, love it. The bright, active illustrations fascinate them. They love the range of topics, imagining that they could do each and every one.
However, when we went to make taffy using this as the main directions, they weren't quite detailed enough to use as a recipe. We had trouble knowing the best way to let the taffy cool, to get it to the pulling stage. But, then, maybe my daughter chose one of the more difficult projects to try out. Should have gone for the climbing up the wall instead!
This will be an instant hit in your library or home, a great boredom buster if ever I saw one!(less)
We love visiting aquariums and zoos, especially seeing zookeepers taking care of the animals and learning about ways we can help animals in their natu...moreWe love visiting aquariums and zoos, especially seeing zookeepers taking care of the animals and learning about ways we can help animals in their natural environments. We've always been fascinated with penguins, and there's a new story that will warm your heart: Pierre the Penguin. It's a true story, about a zookeeper's determined care and persistence in providing the best support and attention for the animals under her watchful eye. I also love sharing this story with children, and talking about how we can overcome problems by thinking outside of the box and being creative.
Pierre is the oldest African penguin living at the California Academy of Sciences, a wonderful aquarium and museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. When Pierre began to lose his feathers, but the zoo staff didn't know how to help him. Pam Schaller, a senior aquatic biologist at the California Academy of Sciences, said that Pierre's bald spots were actually dangerous. Not only did Pierre get cold and afraid to swim, the other penguins started to ignore Pierre and refused to play with him. They even harassed him by braying.
So Pam and the other biologists tried everything they could think of to help Pierre. But heaters didn't help him feel more comfortable, and medication didn't help the feathers grow back. Pierre's plight bothered Pam - she cared deeply about him.
It took thinking outside of the box to come up with a solution. One one rainy day, Pam was walking her dog. Now, her dog was used to warm Hawaii climate, and so Pam always has her dog wear a rain coat if he needs to keep warm. Inspiration struck - why couldn't Pierre wear a wetsuit to keep warm? Pam created a specially fitted wetsuit, and it worked like a charm. Now, Pierre was able to swim, take his role as senior penguin, and be comfortable once again.
The artwork in this picture book will draw children into this heartfelt story. Laura Regan is a wonderful wildlife artist. She emphasizes Pam's concern for the penguins, and she brings children into seeing the penguins up close. The warm colors of the background set a calm tone, and let children focus on how the penguins move and interact. The story is told in rhyming text, which will make it a great read-aloud for home or the classroom.(less)
This book uses many similar features as "Friends: Making Them and Keeping Them" (also by Criswell) - quizzes, true stories, short pieces of advice - b...moreThis book uses many similar features as "Friends: Making Them and Keeping Them" (also by Criswell) - quizzes, true stories, short pieces of advice - but it delves into more difficult issues. Many girls need help dealing with bullies and bossiness throughout their elementary school years. They need to deal with friends who talk behind their backs, or classmates who tease them. Maybe they have a friend who's warm and kind one day, and the next turns a cold shoulder. These aren't easy waters to navigate alone. As Criswell writes in the introduction,
"There's no one right way to handle bullying. That's why this book gives you lots of tips to try, such as clever comebacks. ways to ignore someone who bullies, and ways to get help from an adult you trust. You'll find advice from girls who have been there, and you'll learn how to stand up for other people, too, when they need it most. We can all do our part to make the world a kinder, safer place." (p. 3)
My daughter is quite soft-spoken at school (not at home!) and she was dealing with a difficult situation at school one year. This book helped her understand the hurtful words another girl was saying and name the behavior; it also helped her find some words and actions she could take to stop the bullying. Best of all, it helped her see that she didn't just need to absorb these hurtful words - she could and should stand up for herself.(less)