This homage to the giant sequoias of California invites young readers to imagine what it would be like to stand with one of these magnificent trees thThis homage to the giant sequoias of California invites young readers to imagine what it would be like to stand with one of these magnificent trees through the seasons. A stirring tribute to our state tree, with luminous illustrations and evocative poetry. ...more
Have you ever wanted to visit the tropical rainforest? Well, be sure to bring along your bug repellent, waterproof backpack and notebook. Duke draws kHave you ever wanted to visit the tropical rainforest? Well, be sure to bring along your bug repellent, waterproof backpack and notebook. Duke draws kids right into her informative book by having a two kids join a guide as they explore a tropical rainforest. Speech bubbles keep the tone fun and casual, while the main text is more traditional informative nonfiction.
Readers learn about what a tropical rainforest is like, both in terms of its ecology as well as the animals and plants that live there. Throughout, Duke helps readers compare tropical rainforests to forests in temperate climates. This book works well both as a read-aloud and as a book for young students to browse through themselves. The pictures, captions and dialog boxes are all very informative and easier to read because of their conversational tone.
Beautiful artwork and a heartfelt story. Would make a nice fiction element in a persuasive unit, where children were exploring writing about the envirBeautiful artwork and a heartfelt story. Would make a nice fiction element in a persuasive unit, where children were exploring writing about the environment. ...more
As with The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs (Millbrook, 2011), Markle conveys the troubling mystery confronting American beekeepers, farmers and scAs with The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs (Millbrook, 2011), Markle conveys the troubling mystery confronting American beekeepers, farmers and scientists. In 2007, beekeepers in the United States first met to discuss Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). “Beekeepers everywhere were losing about 30 percent of their hives. In some places, the reported losses were as high as 50 percent.” CCD not only affects local farmers and beekeepers; it has significant implications for the larger ecosystem. Markle sets out the issues in a clear way for middle grade readers, providing insight for a slightly younger audience than Loree Griffin Burns' The Hive Detectives (Houghton Mifflin, 2010). Markle clearly explains how bees pollinate flowers, bring pollen and nectar back to the hive, and care for their young, making honey in the process. She then proceeds to discuss possible causes of CCD, asking the basic question: What is killing the honeybees? Various possibilities are considered in turn, from monoculture and urban development, to overwork and transportation of hives, and also infections from mites, fungus and viruses. Readers come away with an understanding of the way scientists consider the different possibilities. Interesting experiments are explained, providing a glimpse into the scientific process. Full-color photographs, maps, captions and headings provide good support for middle grade readers moving into more in-depth scientific reading. An author’s note, further facts, suggestions for action, and resources for further reading are included in the rich, accessible backmatter. (glossary, index, bibliography)...more
Reactions so far: funny, snarky, pointed, exciting blend of absolutely absurd and spot-on real, just like Tweens and teens operate in their everyday lReactions so far: funny, snarky, pointed, exciting blend of absolutely absurd and spot-on real, just like Tweens and teens operate in their everyday lives
Full review to come
Take this quote - what a great way to teach figurative language.
"The zombies came down on us like a tsunami. When we hit, I thought we were going down. A tidal wave of hungry monsters poured over us. I didn’t think we’d hold. Miguel and Otis and Eddie were screaming and swinging like crazy, smashing and slamming zombies aside." p. 269 -------- This story is sure to grab tweens and teens who can stomach some gagging details and thrive on zombie chase scenes. But it also has plenty of depth to prompt kids' thinking. Rabi (for Rabindranath), and his friends, Miguel and Joe, discover that the giant feedlot and meat-production facility in their small town is knee-deep in corruption. It turns out that the crammed quarters and questionable feed leads to some serious mutations, as zombie cows start wrecking havoc. It’s up to Rabi and his friends to protect the town and convince the authorities to take action before it's too late. Bacigalupi certainly raises questions about how corporations try to silence whistle-blowers and how we need to think about big agriculture companies' practices....more
Turtles live in all sorts of different environments, but many have faced challenges brought about by environmental problems. Melissa Stewart introduceTurtles live in all sorts of different environments, but many have faced challenges brought about by environmental problems. Melissa Stewart introduces young children to specific problems that turtles face, such as habitat loss caused by invasive nonnative plants, but does so in a clear, simple way. Throughout, she emphasizes that we can all help change these problems.
"Some turtles have trouble building nests when new kinds of plants spread into their home habitat. When people find ways to control the new plants, turtles can live and grow."
Stewart balances this clear, simple narrative with sidebars that provide more details on different species and the challenges they face. These specific examples add detail and interest, especially when combined with Bond's detailed acrylic illustrations. For example, Stewart writes that the bog turtle's wetland habitat has been threatened by invasive purple loosestrife that is growing too thickly. Families will find it interesting to talk about different projects that communities are undertaking to improve life for turtles....more
Only a few days old when found orphaned, a young Stellar sea lion pup is rescued and brought to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, wheOnly a few days old when found orphaned, a young Stellar sea lion pup is rescued and brought to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, where he is named Astro. The staff carefully bring him back to health, but Astro finds it difficult to return to the wild because of his early imprinting by human caretakers. This moving story is an excellent introduction to the work of this important Bay Area organization. While the flat illustrations create a bit of disconnect with the story, it is still an important book to share with children....more
An orphaned young polar bear cub has little chance for survival. These cubs usually stay with their mothers for two or three years, learning how to huAn orphaned young polar bear cub has little chance for survival. These cubs usually stay with their mothers for two or three years, learning how to hunt the Arctic waters for seals, beluga whales, and other sea creatures. But this ten month old cub is all alone, lost among many of the polar bears stranded on Wrangel Island. Because of global warming, the drifting ice pack is late returning to this island far north in the Arctic Ocean. Even though polar bears are good swimmers, they depend on blocks of ice to provide resting during their hunting trips.
The story of this orphan cub is based on researcher Dr. Nikita Ovsyanikov’s experiences studying polar bears on Wrangel Island, in particular his observations of a young orphan cub he nicknamed Tuff. Learn more about Ovsyanikov’s work and observations on Markle’s blog (http://sandra-markle.blogspot.com/201...). Markle and Marks reunite for another strong narrative nonfiction picture book, similar in feel and style to Family Pack (Charlesbridge, 2011) and Hip-Pocket Papa (2010). Markle’s clear text and Marks' realistic watercolor-and-pencil illustrations combine to provide a compelling story. Young readers will learn about the impact of global warming, as they worry about whether the cub will survive until the ice flows return. ...more
With clear, accessible text, Arnold (A Bald Eagle’s World, Picture Window Books 2010) introduces young readers to the impact climate change has on aniWith clear, accessible text, Arnold (A Bald Eagle’s World, Picture Window Books 2010) introduces young readers to the impact climate change has on animals throughout the world. Arnold, author of many nonfiction books on animals for young readers, draws readers into this complex subject by looking at the disappearance of the golden toad in the mountains of Costa Rica. While it may not seem like a lot, the average world temperature has risen more than one degree Farenheit. This change has brought significant changes in weather patterns throughout the world. Arnold shows the impact on animals, ranging from arctic foxes to Edith’s checkerspot butterflies to loggerhead sea turtles, as they try to adapt and adjust to their changing environment. While the information provided on each animal is just a few paragraphs, Arnold conveys the importance of this topic and the range of impact on our environment. Hogan’s charcoal pencil and pastel illustrations are pleasing and colorful, but the overall design of the book would have benefited from more features such as maps, diagrams and captions. A glossary and suggested resources are provided in the endmatter. ...more
Enter the world of a meadow garden, and look carefully around you. You’ll find seeds that planted in so many different ways:scattered, spilled, spun,Enter the world of a meadow garden, and look carefully around you. You’ll find seeds that planted in so many different ways: scattered, spilled, spun, and swept by the wind; eaten by a flock of goldfinches; washed by the rain to new places; carried elsewhere on foxes’ tails or peoples’ socks and sweaters. Galbraith and Halperin work together seamlessly, showing through poetic words and soft illustrations just how wild plants spread their seeds. Young children will be fascinated by Halperin’s many small sequences that show seeds germinating, plants growing and taking root. She balances these small panels with larger sweeping landscapes, giving readers a sense of the small dramas that take place in the wild meadows. The lyrical text is lovely to read aloud, with plenty of sound effects as the rain and wind whisk seeds away. This is a perfect book to intrigue little gardeners. ...more
A young child - it could be a girl or a boy - watches the rising sun, thinking of all the glory that its mother and mother Earth brings to our lives.A young child - it could be a girl or a boy - watches the rising sun, thinking of all the glory that its mother and mother Earth brings to our lives. The rhyming text is lyrical and soothing, as the young child thinks of all the places in the Earth that bring him a feeling of wonder and love.
"My mama wakes the Eastern sun, And weaves her magic till day's done. My mama paints the ocean creatures Adorning them with brilliant features."
Melissa Launay's illustrations richly develop the themes and mood of the text. The settings bring to mind all that we love about spending time in nature. While they are not specific places, they draw children into imagining what it would be like to sit under a tree, watch lions roar, or swim with dolphins.
Launay's paintings interweave lush settings with a vision of mama Earth, with long flowing hair. Launay's Mama Earth will appeal to many young children, drawing on a sense of fairy tales and imagination....more
Step outside, take some time to be still and just watch the world. Get down low to the ground or close to some plants, and you're sure to see tiny aniStep outside, take some time to be still and just watch the world. Get down low to the ground or close to some plants, and you're sure to see tiny animals going about their business. Frost and Lieder have captured the wonder children experience as they notice these creatures.
Lieder's photography will be the first thing to grab children's attention. Each page brings the reader up close to an insect, as if you were right there crouching in the garden. The animals are caught in crisp, clear detail that will fascinate children. The colors in each photograph and the balance between sharply focused animals and soft backgrounds are stunningly beautiful. Moreover, Lieder's photographs perfectly interpret and complement Frost's poem. Just look at the beautiful title page - I love the color of the thistle this bee is perching on. The balance between the sharply focused animal and the soft background complements the text perfectly.
Frost begins by calling readers to step outside, take a moment from their busy day, and notice the world around them: Step gently out, be still, and watch a single blade of grass. Frost introduces animals children will be familiar with - an ant, a honeybee, a moth - and some that may be new to them - a firefly, a katydid, a damselfly. With each, Frost uses just a few words to capture its essence. Her poetry capture the magic of the moment and never overwhelms the young reader with its artistry. Frost manages to balance concrete details with just a few perfectly placed lyrical phrases.
Yes, I know I'm gushing, but I adore this book. It took my breath away when I read it, and it keeps pulling me back again and again. I second Travis Jonker's suggestion - this is certainly a book that could either be considered for the Caldecott for its stunning photographs or the Newbery for its beautiful text....more
With an eye for exciting detail and suspense, Messner creates a dystopian thriller for middle grade readers. In the near future, out-of-control weatheWith an eye for exciting detail and suspense, Messner creates a dystopian thriller for middle grade readers. In the near future, out-of-control weather threatens everyday life. Monster storms and huge tornadoes rip through communities, forcing people to hide in safe rooms beneath ground. Thirteen-year-old Jaden Meggs is fascinated by the science behind these storms, and is determined to follow in her father’s footsteps figuring out ways to dissipate these life-threatening storms. Jaden is excited to spend the summer at Eye on Tomorrow, the exclusive summer science camp that her father has founded. But are her father’s intentions purely noble? He has made a fortune creating Placid Meadows, a StormSafe community that no tornado can touch. Readers will enjoy the action as Jaden and her friends run from their lives from the deadly storms, and work hard to figure out ways they can apply science to solving life-threatening problems....more
Our students are very interested in the environment, but they also want to know what they can do to make a difference. At our school, we've been havinOur students are very interested in the environment, but they also want to know what they can do to make a difference. At our school, we've been having monthly "Make a Difference" days this year, which the kids have found very motivating. A book I've found fascinating is Elin Kelsey's Not Your Typical Book About the Environment, which explores environmental topics with a real slant to how kids can make decisions that affect the environment. I especially like the upbeat tone - Kelsey's message emphasizes positive things each of us can do.
With a combination of fun illustrations, cartoons, and an inviting, optimistic tone, this book will draw in kids who want to know more about how they can help the environment. Elin Kelsey explores topics that are close to kids' immediate world and helps them understand how global complexities are involved in decisions we make. She looks at fashion, food, technology and new energy sources.
I especially liked the way she tackles complex issues and puts them in terms kids can relate to. A cotton t-shirt is made from naturally grown cotton, but it takes 25 bathtubs of water to grow the cotton that goes into one t-shirt. Synthetic fabrics are made using oil and petroleum products, but producers are using recycled plastic bottles to make polyester fleece jackets. Kelsey handles these complex issues without being preachy or one-sided. She encourages kids to think about the many factors that impact the environment.
Kids especially like the witty, lively cartoons, with titles such as "How sea otters are connected to fish sticks" and "How video games and cell phones are connected to gorillas". Head over to illustrator Clayton Hanmer's site to see some of his lively, eye-catching illustrations.
Not Your Typical Book About the Environment was awarded the 2011 Green Earth Book Award for Nonfiction book. This new award is "the nation’s first, annual award for authors and illustrators whose books best raise awareness of environmental stewardship, and the beauty of our natural world and the responsibility that we have to protect it."
I would recommend this book as a read-aloud to 4th and 5th grade students, and as an excellent resource in middle school and even high school libraries. While the pictures might seem on the young side, the concepts and complexities and humor will engage young teens....more