Dot knows her way around an iPad, a laptop, a cell phone. She's a kid the media might call "a digital native," home with any and all devices. But one...moreDot knows her way around an iPad, a laptop, a cell phone. She's a kid the media might call "a digital native," home with any and all devices. But one day she's tapped out, fried. So her mom tells her that it's time to go outside and reboot, recharge.
I love the twist that happens as Dot spends time outside, realizing that she loves tapping, tagging and sharing in a different way. Some might say that this book is heavy-handed, but I found the spare text and bright, energetic cartoon illustrations created a fun spin on a situation many kids know very well. The overall design of the book keeps the pacing moving, and lets readers enjoy the word play and humor.
Yes, Randi Zuckerberg is the former marketing director of Facebook and sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Yes, this could be seen as an ironic twist for a Silicon Valley celebrity, and she's certainly getting plenty of media coverage. But really, I approach this book as a mom who's fried after a vacation where her kids just wanted to watch TV instead of walking on the beach. Reading Dot. is a whole lot more fun than nagging kids to put away their iPads and turn off the TV.(less)
As with The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs (Millbrook, 2011), Markle conveys the troubling mystery confronting American beekeepers, farmers and sc...moreAs 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)(less)
Lovely to read aloud, with fun repeating phrases. I could see kindergarteners drawing connections between this and classics like Going on a Bear Hunt....moreLovely to read aloud, with fun repeating phrases. I could see kindergarteners drawing connections between this and classics like Going on a Bear Hunt. Perhaps this is a bit slight, but enjoyable autumn read.(less)
Wonderful illustrations, great rhythm for reading aloud, fun twist on a trickster tale. Although it isn't too scary, it struck me that there was a lot...moreWonderful illustrations, great rhythm for reading aloud, fun twist on a trickster tale. Although it isn't too scary, it struck me that there was a lot of text on each page.
I was a little bothered by the changes in font size throughout the book. It didn't add to my understanding or reading, but seemed to be based on when the layout needed the room. I'm wondering if anyone else notices this.(less)
Reactions so far: funny, snarky, pointed, exciting blend of absolutely absurd and spot-on real, just like Tweens and teens operate in their everyday l...moreReactions 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 (less)
Choosing fifteen popular folk tales from Western culture, Yolen and Dotlich team up to present poems from different perspectives, two for each tale. A...moreChoosing fifteen popular folk tales from Western culture, Yolen and Dotlich team up to present poems from different perspectives, two for each tale. As they write in the introduction, “At times you will hear varied speakers in the two poems--Cinderella speaks of her shoes, while her stepsisters complain about their lot. Sometimes, as with Snow White, the main character talks in both poems but has very different things to say.” (p. 5) Often, they provide insight to characters who don’t often have a voice. The pea laments being squashed by the sleeping princess: “Stuck under the mattress/ As sleeping time nears,/ I miss my dear pod,/ My peeps and my peers.” (p. 22) The poems vary in format and depth, some sporting humor while others veering toward darker ruminations. Mahurin's surreal illustrations add to the magical, dark quality of these poems, exaggerating perspectives and creating a dreamlike, occasionally nightmarish tone. Brief notes indicate the sources and variations for each folk tale. While some poems are more effective than others, this collection successfully invites readers to consider creating their own fairy-tale poems, rewriting classic stories with a magical twist of their own.(less)
The pint size hero of The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School (Putnam, 2011) returns for a class field trip to the local fire station. After their tea...moreThe pint size hero of The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School (Putnam, 2011) returns for a class field trip to the local fire station. After their teacher announces they’ll be riding the bus to meet the fire fighters, Sophia reassures the Gingerbread Man that she can take him along in the pocket of her backpack. But just as the class reaches their destination, the little cookie falls out of his hiding spot and falls right on top of Spot, the hungry Dalmatian. Readers familiar with the traditional tale will relish the similarities as the Gingerbread Man evades being eaten, shouting, "I'll run and I'll dodge, / As fast as I can. / I'm not a dog bone! I'm the / Gingerbread Man!" (p. 11) The ensuing chase leads throughout the fire house, into the truck, up the shiny pole, through the bedroom and into the kitchen. When the alarm sounds, the fire fighters rush to the truck and the Gingerbread Man hops aboard, riding to the rescue. Murray’s bouncing rhythms keep the story moving at a quick pace, and are matched by Lowery’s action-packed cartoon-style illustrations. In the end, female Fire Chief Anne rewards the little hero and his classmates with helmets, paralleling many children’s own trips to the fire station. This terrific read-aloud will surely be requested for repeated readings.(less)
Infographics convey complex information using visual representations and small chunks of text. This title, part of a new series using infographics to...moreInfographics convey complex information using visual representations and small chunks of text. This title, part of a new series using infographics to explore high-interest science topics, focuses on the causes and consequences of volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. Beginning with a brief explanation of plate tectonics, Higgins shows how the movement of the Earth’s crust triggers each of these natural disasters. Higgins breaks the text into brief chunks, effectively using section headings to direct the reader’s attention. The bright, bold graphics help readers understand the geological concepts discussed. For example, the four types of volcanoes are clearly illustrated to show the different ways magma and lava flow to the Earth’s surface. The concepts build as the book progresses, providing a fuller picture than just a collection of infographics. Higgins draws readers in speaking directly to them: “You could have a front-row seat for some of Earth’s most exciting and terrifying events. As much as they scare us, natural disasters also mesmerize us.” (p. 5) While the text is too wordy in places, trying to convey more concepts than simple infographics can handle, the high interest topic and bright graphics will entice readers.(less)