Thursday, August 21, 2014

What If You Had Animal Hair!?

Cover image for What if you had animal hair!?
What If You Had Animal Hair!?
by Sandra Markle
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam
Scholastic, 2014. 32 p. Nonfiction

What if you had hair like a porcupine?  What about arctic fox hair? This interesting and entertaining nonfiction explores the unusual traits of the hair of several kinds of animal. Did you know that reindeer hair helps them float and that musk oxen have the longest hair of any wild animal? There are nice color photographs of each of the animals featured, and a cartoon of what a child might look like with that animal's hair.  Markle ends the book with some comments about how animals take care of their hair and encouragement for children to take care of their own hair.  This is an interesting science title kids will want to read just for fun. Good for kids second grade and up.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cat Napped!

 Cover image for Cat napped!
Cat Napped!
by Leeza Hernandez
Putnam's Sons, 2014. picture book

Kitty cat lives in the city with her adoring child friend. One day curiosity gets the better of the cat, and she finds herself driving away from her home in the back of a junk truck. She jumps from the truck, but doesn't know how to get home. Thank goodness for the Rescue Shelter. Soon pet and master are happily reunited. This book is written with very short rhyming phrases. The story is conveyed primarily through the simple illustrations which makes it accessible to both beginning readers, and very young toddlers. This is a comforting title that reassures readers that lost things can be found.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Two LIttle Birds

 Cover image for Two little birds
Two Little Birds
By Mary Newell DePalma
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014 picture book

Two birds begin life together in a nest high in a tree. Together they learn to fly and together they go out to explore the world. They fly through storms, and cross an ocean.  They spend a winter in a strange land, and then they start back for home.  When they return they are ready to build nests of their own.  This is a first introduction to the wonder of bird migration for the youngest readers.  The text is simple, only a sentence or two per page, but DePalma manages to communicate the little birds' courage and determination. The illustrations are painted with soft colors on a textured canvas and convey, in an age appropriate way, the momentous journey the two birds make, both physically and emotionally.

Shoe Dog

Cover image for Shoe dog
Shoe Dog 
By Meg McDonald
Illustrated by Katherine Tillotson
Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014. picture book

Shoe Dog loves his new home.  He loves his new master.  He loves tummy rubs and nose kisses. But most of all he loves to chew on shoes.  His new master is not happy with his shoe habit.  She tries hiding the shoes. She tries putting them high on a shelf, but Shoe Dog always finds them.  Bad Dog! Will Shoe Dog and his master ever figure out how to resolve the shoe problem?  This book is written from the point of view of the dog, and McDonald does a great job using clipped sentences and short phrases to suggest the enthusiastic energy of a puppy. Tillotson uses soft watercolor and bold strokes of pastels to communicate the dog's vitality and activity and a variety of perspectives to give the reader a dog's eye view. This is a great book about pets and their owners, and about persistence in finding a way to make things work.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Display - Egypt

By Louise Hawkes
 Muti treasures the necklace her father gave her so much that she risks the wrath of Egypt's pharaoh when it falls into the water. Based on an ancient Egyptian story.

By Nick Would
A tiny scarab beetle saves the Pharaoh from a trap that would have led to his death. Includes facts about ancient Egypt.

The Nile
By David Cumming
The Nile is the longest river in the world. For much of its route through eastern Africa, it travels through desert, and farmers have been using its water for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians farmed the land beside the Nile and built great temples and pyramids on its banks.  The Nile is home to a fascinating range of wildlife, including hippos and crocodiles. Now, the rapidly growing countries along the Nile compete for a share of its water.

By Demi
After thirty-two centuries of lying hidden in the Egyptian Valley of the Kings, King Tutankhamun's sacred, royal tomb was discovered by a British archaeologist, and Tut's story became known throughout the world. Demi sets King Tutankhamun's life in the context of the religious beliefs of his ancestors.

By Leontyne Price
 Retells the story of Verdi's opera in which the love of the enslaved Ethiopian princess for an Egyptian general brings tragedy to all involved.

By Bob Italia
Brief text explores the history, geography, government, cities, recreation, and people of Egypt.

 Mummies in the Morning
By Mary Pope Osborne
Jack and his younger sister take a trip in their tree house back to ancient Egypt, where they help a queen's mummy continue her voyage to the Next Life.
By Philip Yates
Ten little mummies become bored with staying in a room together all day but when they go outside to play they disappear, one by one.

By Ann Heinrichs
Describes the geography, history, culture, industry, and people of Egypt.
By Zahi Hawass
In Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, cutting-edge forensic information of Tutankhamun provides tantalizing clues to the mysterious life and death of the ancient king. The 55 Tutankhamun artifacts featured in this book as well as 70 additional artifacts from other pharaohs of the eighteenth dynasty illustrate daily life and the journeys of kings to the afterlife, giving us a glimpse into the richness of this ancient civilization.

 Ancient Egypt: Tales of Gods and Pharoahs
By Marcia Williams
The stories of the Egyptian pharaohs and their gods beginning with Ra rising from the waters of the Niles to create the gods of earth, sky, and rain. In this retelling of nine tales, Marcia Williams uses her signature comic-strip style to capture the rich mythology and early history of this great civilization.

Food Trucks

 Cover image for Food trucks!
Food Trucks
by Mark Todd
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.
informational picture book

Did you know that the world's largest hamburger weighed over 2000 lbs and was ten feet in diameter? Did you know the word pretzel comes from the Latin word that mean "little reward." Each spread of this crazy new informational book features a kind of fast food truck. There is a poem about that kind of food on one side, a cartoon illustration in the middle and interesting facts on the other side of the spread.  The poems are short and clever and the illustrations bright and inviting.  The facts are fascinating and readers, young or old, will have a fun time sharing them with their friends.

Pinkalicious: The Royal Tea Party

Cover image for Pinkalicious : the royal tea party
Pinkalicious: The Royal Tea Party
by Victoria Kann
Harper, 2014. 32 p. Beginning Reader

The transition from sounding out words to fluid reading is difficult.  One way to motivate emerging readers to keep practicing is to give them books about characters they love.  In this delightful early reader Pinkalicious has decided to throw a party for her unicorn, Goldilicious.  Peter wants to help, so Pinkalicious puts him in charge of tasting the refreshments to make sure they are perfect.  Peter takes his assignment seriously and adds some extra ingredients to the tea.  Will the tea party be ruined?  Girls, especially, will enjoy the cute and happy illustrations, done with a lot of pink and purple.  Pinkalicious fans will welcome this latest addition.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Shipwreck Island

Cover image for Shipwreck island

Shipwreck Island
by S. A. Bodeen
Feiwel and Friends, 2014.  184 pgs.  Fiction

     Shipwreck Island starts out like a normal--even predictable--adventure story. Twelve year old Sarah's father has remarried after the death of Sarah's mother, and the new family (two boys) are taking an island cruise to try to blend into a loving group. Things go quickly wrong, as the luxury yacht they were supposed to sail on turns out to be a rusted out junker, and when the captain dies in a storm, the family is washed up on the shore of a beautiful island, and they make camp and wait to be rescued. But when they begin looking for fresh water, things get abruptly very weird.  They find an empty house built from oak(!).  Marco, the twelve-year old boy, sees a brilliant red bird that has teeth instead of a beak, and when he opens what appears to be an aged bottle of perfume, a woman's voice cries "Please come back!" Things get even stranger from there, and the good news and bad news is that Shipwreck Island is a fine story and the first in a series, but it ends so abruptly you feel like you've stepped off a step you didn't know was there.  Hopefully in succeeding volumes Sarah will grow up a bit.  In this book she occasionally rises to the occasion, but is mostly a sulky, whiny crybaby. Her new stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Ignacio (Nacho) who is four years younger, are vastly more mature. On the whole, an excellent adventure/fantasy that should appeal to youngsters who like a tingle or two of fear in their narratives.

Comics Squad: Recess!

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Comics Squad:  Recess!
ed. by Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm, and Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Random House, 2014.  133 pgs.  Comic

     As is usual with anthologies, this book is a mixed bag, but everything that isn't really funny is relatively funny, and all should appeal to middle grade children.  Gene Luen Yang starts things off with a bang and a snort when Daryl tries to join the Super Secret Ninja Club he hears forming up at recess.  Sensing he is about to lose his life's purpose, Daryl works on his ninja skills over Winter Break only to be rebuffed in a totally different way, which he decides not to take lying down. In subsequent adventures Babymouse is consumed with a quest simply to get to go to recess, since she is so often (that is, always) in trouble. Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants' kids, George B. and Harold H. write a "graphic novella" in support of reading, introducing their new hero, Dog Man who reads so much that he gets smarter by the minute. All these are good for big, big laughs and should have the little dudes rolling their eyes and rolling on the ground laughing their little heads off in no time at all.  So much fun.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Oso quiere contar una historia / Bear has a story to tell
By Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Editorial Oceano, S.L. 26 pg. Picture Book

Winter is coming and bear wants to tell a story to his friends. Everyone is busy getting ready for the winter so they can't stop and listen. You'll like this little story, is fun to see all the forest friends come together and help each other.

El invierno se acerca y oso desea contar a sus amigos una historia. Todos están preocupados tratando de prepararse para el invierno y no pueden parar para escucharlo. Les encantará este gracioso libro, es encantador ver a todos los amigos del bosque ayudarse mutuamente.