First off, let me say my rating is probably closer to 3 1/2 stars-- this book has a lot going for it. Kate Messner's first book in the Ranger in Time
First off, let me say my rating is probably closer to 3 1/2 stars-- this book has a lot going for it. Kate Messner's first book in the Ranger in Time Series, Rescue on the Oregon Trail, introduces us to Ranger-- a dog trained for search and rescue work who can't quite pass the tests required to become an "official" SAR dog (because he gets distracted chasing squirrels). Early in the book, Ranger is digging in his yard when he digs up an old metal first aid kit. When the kit's strap passes over his head and around his neck, Ranger is immediately transported back in time and space to the year 1850 in Independence, Missouri-- one of the locations known as a jumping-off point for those preparing to venture into the western territories. Ranger ends up traveling with the Abbott family and Sam--who becomes Ranger's good friend. Along the way, readers "experience" events that commonly occurred as pioneers made their way across the trails of the west on their way to Utah, California, and Oregon.
This book is an excellent historical fiction novel for young readers. Messner has done extraordinary research to ensure that her facts are accurate, and many plot details are adapted from real events recorded in journals and diaries by those who make the trek west in the mid 1800s. Messner also does a good job of making the book appropriate for her audience. There aren't lots of good books for primary or early middle grade students addressing historical events and issues. My biggest complaint about this book-- and it is a picky one-- is that I never really understood how the first aid kit made Ranger travel. I also couldn't understand why he didn't immediately travel back if he had the kit around his neck. I guess I'll chalk these concerns up to the fact that I teach gifted/talented kids who question everything, and I can just imagine the discussions on this one.
This book tells the story of how Joe Rosenthal captured the photograph of the soldiers raising the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima, and how, in turn, this photoThis book tells the story of how Joe Rosenthal captured the photograph of the soldiers raising the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima, and how, in turn, this photo inspired the nation and gave recognition to all military personnel fighting in WWII. In the book, time is taken to give background information about how the U.S. got involved in the war in the first place--with the attack on Pearl Harbor-- and the U.S. military's involvement and strategies throughout the war in the Pacific. The end of the book focuses on what became of photographer Joe Rosenthal, the six men in his famous photo, and the impact that the photo had-- and continues to have-- on American people. The writing in this book is well-developed, but it does focus on the photograph more than the actual battle of Iwo Jima. Readers who are looking for books purely related to the war and its battles may have a hard time completing this book. It would be a great fit for kids who are interested in history and photography, and it might inspire some readers to consider a career in photo-journalism. ...more
Patricia Polacco does a nice job of showing how all families and homes can have something to offer-- even if those things are different from what othePatricia Polacco does a nice job of showing how all families and homes can have something to offer-- even if those things are different from what others may expect or value. A funny picture book that would be especially appropriate around Halloween....more
This is an excellent informational text full of interesting information. It addresses many ways that dogs are used to aid humans in a variety of imporThis is an excellent informational text full of interesting information. It addresses many ways that dogs are used to aid humans in a variety of important jobs-- some of which will likely not be familiar to the reader. The pictures used to illustrate the book are adorable, and the topic is one that most kids will relate to and take an interest in....more
As a South Carolina resident for over 20 years, I love to find books with ties to South Carolina--especially books that I can use with my students to
As a South Carolina resident for over 20 years, I love to find books with ties to South Carolina--especially books that I can use with my students to give them better understanding of the history and heritage of their state. Hey Charleston!: The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band meets those criteria perfectly. This is the story of the Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins, an African-American preacher in Charleston, SC in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Jenkins discovered orphan children living in the city and began an orphanage for them, and soon there were far more children there than he could have dreamed of caring for. In an attempt to raise money for the orphanage, Jenkins took donations of old musical instruments, and then paid to have the children taught to play. They created a band that quickly became popular because of their unique brand of music, "rag", and the dance that accompanied it-- the dance that eventually became famous as "The Charleston".
This story is a great inspirational tale of a real man who accomplished great things for children, for his city, and ultimately for his state and even the world. Many famous and acclaimed musicians came from the Jenkins Orphanage Band, and the orphanage still exists today as the Jenkins Institute for Children. Readers of the book will be moved by Anne Rockwell's tale of this generous and caring man and all he and the children accomplished. They will also love the rich, colorful illustrations by Colin Bootman that seem to embody the spirit of the Jenkins Orphanage Band and its music. This book made me feel proud of this bit of history from the beautiful Lowcountry that is my home.
Steve Jenkins book is beautifully crafted and includes fantastic information provided in a way that children can understand. Jenkins gives the scale oSteve Jenkins book is beautifully crafted and includes fantastic information provided in a way that children can understand. Jenkins gives the scale of each bone depicted in the book (actual size, 1/4th the size of the actual bone, etc.) and shows similar bones in a variety of animals. A study of the book makes it easy to see that even very different animals have some bone structures that are very similar. All the work with ratios and proportions could make this a great math tie-in, but the most stunning parts are the "gatefold" spreads that depict very large and detailed illustrations. The one of a life-size skeleton of a "small" 6 foot python was realistic enough to give me the willies! Kids will line up to study this one!...more
The Underdogs is Lupica's story of an exceptional young football player whose plans for a season playing his favorite game are threatened when his str
The Underdogs is Lupica's story of an exceptional young football player whose plans for a season playing his favorite game are threatened when his struggling town can't afford to fund. Will Tyler has a can-do attitude about nearly everything, and he works to address every block thrown his way in his endeavor to ensure that there will be football, and that his team will be contenders.
There are lots of really great qualities about this book. It shows the power of optimism but also work to make things happen. It challenges gender roles, as a girl, Hannah Grayson, is added to the team--primarily to round out the eleven required to field a team-- and then becomes every bit as good as (if not better than some of) the boys. The writing is strong. The football sequences read like the best of play-by-play and color commentating so that the reader can "see" the action. More importantly, Lupica builds and develops his characters so that as you read, you come to know and care about them.
While this is a "sports" or a "football" story, it's so much more than that. Anyone who has any interest in football could find this to be an enjoyable read.
A clever book. Kids will like Lulu at the beginning of the book because of her spunk and naughtiness, but will like her even more as they realize theA clever book. Kids will like Lulu at the beginning of the book because of her spunk and naughtiness, but will like her even more as they realize the "new Lulu" hasn't lost any of her spunk, but instead has picked up some insight and some manners. ...more
Roller Girl is a graphic novel about Astrid, a "tween" struggling to navigate the waters of adolescence and middle school. When Astrid attends a rolle
Roller Girl is a graphic novel about Astrid, a "tween" struggling to navigate the waters of adolescence and middle school. When Astrid attends a roller derby bout with her mom and best friend she becomes enamoured with the sport and decides to enroll in a summer roller derby camp. She assumes her best friend, Nicole, will attend with her, because they always do everything together. Roller derby camp proves to be quite a challenge, with one hurdle after another thrown in the way of Astrid becoming the "lead jammer" of her dreams.
This book gives readers a great introduction to the sport of roller derby, including the teams, game play, and terminology-- something that will be fresh and new to many readers. Astrid is in most ways a very typical preteen girl, and I vacillated between pulling for Astrid and being annoyed with her. Astrid is dealing with all the crazy feelings and issues kids at this age do-- friendships, uncertainty about self, self-esteem, etc. Readers of this age group will be able to relate and likely find solace in some of Astrid's experiences-- as well as ideas about what tends to work or not to work when dealing with friends and other situations. The graphic novel format will also be attractive to many readers.