This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Bean's mother has been trying to get her to make friends with new girl Ivy, but Ivy just seems so....This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Bean's mother has been trying to get her to make friends with new girl Ivy, but Ivy just seems so....nice. Bean knows of course that nice is just a nice way of saying boring and she's totally uninterested in Ivy. Until the afternoon that Ivy helps Bean escape her older sister Nancy and it turns out Ivy isn't one bit boring....more
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have two different names, one at school and one at home? Pacy, also known as Grace, knows and sometimeHave you ever wondered what it would be like to have two different names, one at school and one at home? Pacy, also known as Grace, knows and sometimes she's not sure she likes it. Pacy is Chinese-American, well actually Taiwanese-American, although Taiwan used to be part of China so she thinks that's pretty confusing. Whichever she is, except for her older sister Lissy, Pacy is the only one at her school - until this year. This year is the Year of the Dog, a time to make new friends, a time to find yourself, and a lucky year for those born in the Year of the Tiger like Pacy. Pacy's luck starts right away because the day after Lunar New Year for the first time ever there's another Taiwanese girl in her school - Melody. Pretty soon Pacy and Melody are inseparable but there's still a whole year to get through complete with the school play, a writing contest, a science fair, a Taiwanese summer convention, and more. And if that doesn't sound like enough, you can read more about Pacy's adventures in the sequel, The Year of the Rat.
The Year of the Dog is a solid, year-in-the-life of a grade school kid book. Lin illustrates the title herself with spot illustrations that mimic the style of a good grade school artist. The early instructions for how to draw a dog will have readers itching to pick up their pencils and try it themselves. The highly autobiographical story focuses on Pacy, also known by her American name Grace, as she spends the Year of the Dog looking for new friends and figuring out both what she wants to be when she grows up and how to get rich. I think I'm going to use this next year for my 3rd-5th grade discussion group - there's some fun things we could do as a group, like having everybody try and draw a dog using the instructions Lin gives or having a read aloud of Lin's picture book The Ugly Vegetables which is mentioned in the story....more
Holy cow is this book amazing! The photographs are outstanding in their clarity and detail and all-around coolness - the picture of the glass frog onHoly cow is this book amazing! The photographs are outstanding in their clarity and detail and all-around coolness - the picture of the glass frog on page 10 is a particular standout (you can see its insides!!). The captions clearly identify each frog while also providing interesting bits that add to or expand on the main text. The text hits kids right where they live; my favorite example: "Frogs...do not have rib bones. That is one reason they are so good at squeezing through small gaps, like between your fingers when you are trying to hold them." Each page has one sentence highlighted which could be used with minor alteration as a read-aloud text for audiences who don't have the attention to listen to the full-length text or are too young to browse the book themselves. All the basic report information, like habitat and diet, is here, but Bishop adds fascinating tidbits that make learning about frogs so much fun. While reading this, I kept turning to the people in the room with me and going "Did you know frogs' ears are like drums? And that indigenous Australians learned how to squeeze desert frogs to get a drink and then let the frogs go?! And the gastric brooding frog of Australia swallows her eggs so the tadpoles can grow in the safety of her stomach for about two months and then hiccups them out?!?" Bishop ends with an author's note about where the photographs of the frogs were taken and his enthusiasm for his subjects just shines off the page. A glossary of the more difficult terms, such as "indigenous peoples" and an index are also included. I love, love, love this book....more
Henry Brown was a slave who, after his wife and children were sold away from him, was determined to escape to freedom in the North. With the help of sHenry Brown was a slave who, after his wife and children were sold away from him, was determined to escape to freedom in the North. With the help of some friends, Henry mails himself in a box to abolitionists in Philadelphia. While the story is inspirational, it's the illustrations that make this a standout. Kadir Nelson, who received the Caldecott Honor for this, used pencil, watercolor and oil to create earthy, brown-dominated illustrations that have depth and texture. An author's note at the end of the book talks briefly about slavery and the Underground Railroad and fleshes out the story of Henry Brown a little more. I did feel the story was a little incomplete because the author's note doesn't really say what became of Henry Brown - it only focuses on this event and how the world reacted to it. Still, this could be tied into school lessons in a ton of ways and might inspire students to do some research on what happened to Henry Brown after he made it to Philadelphia....more