Saturday, March 25, 2017

Poetry Book Display

April is poetry month! Be sure to check out a poetry book from the library. Here are some ideas:

National Geographic book of Nature Poetry: more than 200 poems with photographs that float, zoom, and bloom!
Edited by Patrick J. Lewis
When words in verse are paired with the awesomeness of nature, something magical happens. Beloved former U.S. Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis curates an exuberant poetic celebration of the natural world in this stellar collection of nature poems. From trickling streams to deafening thunderstorms to soaring mountains, discover majestic photography perfectly paired with contemporary (such as Billy Collins), classics (such as Robert Frost), and never-before-published works.

What are you Glad About? What are you Mad About?: poems for when a person needs a poem
By Judith Viorst
Illustrations by Lee White
However you feel, whatever the day, everyone needs a poem. Because sometimes you don't have the words to say how you are feeling today.

Rainbow Soup: adventures in poetry
By Brian P. Cleary
Illustrated by Neal Layton
An introduction to poetry that uses humorous poems, illustrations, and annotations to clarify terms and explain different types of poems, such as macaronic verse, concrete poems, and limericks.

If it Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poem
By Brian P. Cleary
Illustrations by Andy Rowland
Packed with poems to make you chuckle, puzzle, and ponder. And when you've finished reading, you can try your hand at writing your own haiku and lanterns!

Amazing Apples
By Consie Powell
Simple poems in acrostic form describe an apple orchard through the seasons, as well as the activities of the family that tends the orchard. Includes a page of notes about apples.

African Acrostics
By Avis Harley
Photography by Deborah Noyes
The wild animals of Africa spring to life in clever, lighthearted poems and compelling, evocative photographs. Inside every acrostic is a secret message, often lurking in the first letter of each line (read top to bottom).

By Steven Schnur
Illustrated by Leslie Evans
A companion volume to Autumn: an alphabet acrostic and Spring: an alphabet acrostic.

A Curious Collection of Cats
By Betsy Franco
Illustrated by Michael Wertz
16 entertaining, visual concrete poems (poems typeset in the shape of their subjects) capture the distinctively entertaining habits and attitudes of cats.

Blue Lipstick
By John Grandits
A 15-year-old girl named Jessie voices typical--and not so typical--teenage concerns in this unique, hilarious collection of poems. Her musings about trying out new makeup and hairstyles, playing volleyball and cello, and dealing with her annoying younger brother are never boring or predictable. Who else do you know who designs her own clothes and writes poetry to her cat? Jessie's a girl with strong opinions, and she isn't shy about sharing them. Her funny, sarcastic take on high school life is revealed through concrete poetry: words, ideas, type, and design that combine to make pictures and patterns. The poems are inventive, irreverent, irresistible, and full of surprises--just like Jessie--and the playful layout and ingenious graphics extend the wry humor.

A Poke in the I
Selected by Paul B Janeczko
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Thirty poems which have their text arranged to startle the reader.

Wet Cement
By Bob Raczka
Who says words need to be concrete? This collection shapes poems in surprising and delightful ways. Concrete poetry is a perennially popular poetic form because they are fun to look at. But by using the arrangement of the words on the page to convey the meaning of the poem, concrete or shape poems are also easy to write! From the author of the incredibly inventive Lemonade: And Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word comes another clever collection that shows kids how to look at words and poetry in a whole new way.

A Spectacular Selection of Sea Critters
By Betsy Franco Illustrated by Michael Wertz
An entertaining grouping of concrete poems focusing on undersea life.

Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers
By Gloris Whelan
Illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
In Japan, as a provincial governor, his wife, and daughter Yuki, followed by 1,000 attendants, travel the historic Tokaido Road to the Shogun's palace in Edo, Yuki keeps up with her lessons by writing poems describing the journey.

The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poem
By Michael J. Rosen
Illustrated by Stan Fellows
In spare and graceful words, poet and birder Michael J. Rosen captures the forecasting call of the mysterious cuckoo as well as essential characteristics of more than twenty commonly seen North American birds.

Guess Who, Haiku
By Deanna Caswell
Illustrated by Bob Shea
A collection of haiku, each of which describes an animal and asks a question that rhymes with the answer on the following page.

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
By Lee Wardlaw
Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
A cat arrives at a shelter, arranges to go home with a good family, and settles in with them, all the while letting them know who is boss and, finally, sharing his real name.

Friday, March 24, 2017

If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur

If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur
by Linda Bailey and Colin Jack
Tundra Books, 2014.
Picture book.

This little book is a great read aloud. Each page is full of fun illustrations with only a couple lines of text. Bailey and Jack play on the popular theme of dinosaurs in the modern word--albeit, dinosaurs that are adorable and pet-like. This book asks the question, What would you do with a dinosaur if you had one? Everything from using them as babysitters to using them as a can opener is an option in this lighthearted "what if" tale. Kids will love it!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Warden's Daughter

The Warden's Daughter
By Jerry Spinelli
Random House, 2017. Fiction.

Cammie O'Reilly's life has always been a little bit different. Most kids have backyards, she has the Women's Yard. Most kids have treehouses, she has The Tower. Most kids have mothers, she doesn't - yet. Her own mother was killed in an accident saving her life when she was just a baby, leaving her alone with her father, the prison warden. The summer Cammie turns thirteen, she decides to find herself a new mother to do all the motherly things she misses out on, and she picks Eloda Pupko - the prison trustee who acts as her housekeeper. As the summer goes by, Eloda resists the role of mother that Cammie tries to thrust on her, as Cammie's anger at her different life bubbles deeper and deeper.

The Warden's Daughter is a great historical fiction novel filled with really interesting (if not always likable) characters. Set in the same same fictional town as Manaic Magee, this book shows Jerry Spinelli at his best - which is very good. At times, Cammie can be a real pain and many readers will have trouble identifying with her actions, but this makes her character development more satisfying. This book is filled with very real emotion and tangible frustration in the midst of stretches of truly beautiful language. This book will likely strike a chord with more advanced middle graders.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Flying Lessons and Other Stories

Flying Lessons and Other Stories
by Ellen Oh (ed)
Crown Books for Young Readers, 2017. Short Stories. 218 p.
This is the children's fiction book that has received the most starred reviews so far this year.  It is a collection of short stories by some well known children's authors that each deal with diversity. The main characters are a variety of colors and abilities, but the tone of the stories is positive, focusing on the commonality of human experience instead of the things that make people different. Young readers will relate to the child who is new to town, trying to make a new friend, traveling with a non-conventional grandmother, or trying a new sport.  This is a great book for a family or school group to read aloud and discuss, but the stories are also entertaining enough that kids will enjoy reading them on their own.  The book is available from the Library in print and on audio CD.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Plot to Kill Hitler: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero

The Plot to Kill Hitler: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero
By Patricia McCormick
Balzer + Bray, 2016. Biography. 192p.

A suspenseful and inspiring account of the life and death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a peace-loving, scholarly Christian pastor who found himself becoming a dissident and spy, working against the Nazi regime. Bonhoeffer comes to life as an unforgettable and empathetic young man who was brave enough to stand up for what was right, even when it meant risking his life.

Written by two-time National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick, this biography delves into history, politics, religion, and philosophy, but McCormick keeps the language simple enough to make it accessible to older school-age children as well as teens. A great recommendation for fans of Steve Sheinkin.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Darkest Dark

The Darkest Dark 
By Astronaut Chris Hadfield
Illustrated by The Fan Brothers
Little, Brown and Company, 2016

A young boy loves all things space. He builds a “rocket” out of cardboard boxes. He pretends that his dog is an “alien”. However, the boy is not a fan of the dark. When it is time for bed he keeps waking up his parents because it is too dark (and that is the “kind of dark that attracts the worst sort of aliens”). Finally the parents give an ultimatum: if he gets up again then he cannot go next door tomorrow. Well, it turns out that next door is the only house on the island that has a TV and the next day the world was going to watch two astronauts to become the first people to walk on the moon. The boy realizes that he must be good and go to bed since he cannot miss watching that! The next day the boy is thrilled to watch the men arrive and walk on the moon. And it is then that he discovers that space is darker than the darkest dark in his bedroom—and he likes space, so he decides he will be okay even in the dark.

This is a fun book with great illustrations (The Fan Brothers are amazing, yet again!). The mixture of realism and fantasy is just right (and the aliens are in shadow enough that imagination can make them even scarier without actually scaring the pants off of little kiddos). The message at the end does lean a little on the sappy side, but kids won’t mind the “you can do anything!” message. Plus, it is written by a real-live astronaut that kids can google and see singing songs in space (yes, that Chris Hadfield). So all-in-all any space or imaginative kid will enjoy this read.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

U.S. Armed Forces

U.S. Military Robots
By Barbara Alpert
When the job is too dangerous for soldiers, the military often uses robots. Learn more about these amazing machines, including how they are controlled, what they look like, and the types of missions they face.

U.S. Military Submarines
By Barbara Alpert
Submarines travel through the ocean hidden beneath the waves. Subs are used for everything from spying to sneak attacks. Learn more about these underwater vessels, including the weapons they carry, how they find their way around under the sea, and the missions they face.

The Delta Force
By Jennifer M. Besel
Provides information on the U.S. Delta Force, including their training, missions, and equipment.

The Green Berets|
By Jennifer M. Besel
Provides information on the U.S. Green Berets, including their training, missions, and equipment.

Today’s U.S. Air Force
By Michael Burgan Offers detailed information about the history, organization, missions, job possibilities, basic training, weapons, equipment, and special operations of the U.S. Air Force.

Women in the Military
By Miriam Coleman
This biographical text covers the important women who've broken ground in the military. Famous historical figures such as Joan of Arc, Clara Barton, and Florence Nightingale are covered in depth, while the stories of modern-day heroes are presented to show how women are still affecting change on the front lines.

Alpha Bravo Charlie: The Military Alphabet
By Chris L. Demarest
An alphabet book about words used by the United States military.

Can You Survive in the Special Forces? An Interactive Survival Adventure
By Matt Doeden
YOU are a soldier in the U.S. military's elite Special Forces. Will you: Serve as an Army Green Beret working to save a group of hostages from a desperate band of terrorists? OR Be an Army Ranger planning to seize control of an airstrip deep in enemy territory? OR Join with a group of fellow Navy SEALs to capture a terrorist leader from his hiding place? Experience the life-or-death dilemmas of an elite military job. YOU CHOOSE what you'll do next. The choices you make will either lead you to safety-or to doom.

U.S. Navy True Stories: Tales of Bravery
By Jessica Gunderson
Provides gripping accounts of Navy servicemen and servicewomen who showed exceptional courage during combat.

Army Delta Force
By Marcia Amidon Lusted Learn about the most secret and elite of special forces groups, U.S. Army Delta Force. Their mission is to fight terrorism, hunt down war criminals, and perform dangerous surveillance missions.

Army Rangers
By Marcia Amidon Lusted
Rangers learn to drop into combat zones by rappelling down cliffs and parachuting from planes and helicopters. Find out how Rangers surprise enemy forces, sacrificing their safety to lead the way for larger U.S. Army forces to enter battle.

Navy Seals
By Julie Murray Learn the essentials of the United States Navy SEALs including how the Navy SEALs keep us safe, the Navy SEALs various jobs, weapons and machinery, and more.

United States Coast Guard
By Julie Murray Learn the essentials of the United States Coast Guard including how the Coast Guard keeps us safe, the Coast Guard's various jobs, weapons and machinery, and more.

Army Special Forces
By Patricia Newman
Discover the exciting history of how Army Special Forces came to be, and learn more about how these elite forces fight for our freedom every day.

U.S. Marines by the Numbers
By Elizabeth Raum How fast does a Marine Osprey fly? How many Marines took part in the Battle of Iwo Jima? And how many miles do Marine recruits march as a part of their final test? Find these answers plus more amazing high impact stats and numbers that define the U.S. Air Force.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cool Maps and Geocaching: Great Things to do in the Great Outdoors

by Katherine Hengel 
Adobo Publishing, 2016. Informational.

Are you looking for fun things to do with your children in this sunny, spring weather? Check out this book from the informational section in the 700's. It is designed to introduce geocaching to children. There are geocaches, with tiny treasures inside, minutes away from your home. You will be inspired to go on a modern day treasure hunt. It provides hours of fun outside going on adventures as a family. Hengel gives ideas to extend your geocaching experience with instructions for a journal to keep notes, games to play along the way, and crafts to put in the geocache when you locate it.

Friday, March 17, 2017

From Story Time: The Letter "W"

Read in Book Babies

By Todd Hannert
Chronicle Books, 2001.  Picture Book.

Sherman is bored with the same old morning routine.  Who wants to do the same thing, the same way, every single day?  So today when Mom hollers for him to hurry up and eat breakfast before school, he decides to change thing up with a special dance.  His dance sends him through the air, out the window, and for a ride on the back of his dog!  At least that's how he remembers it.  But eventually he makes it to the breakfast table, happy as can be.  Share a new morning dance with your little ones and add some variety to your morning routine!

Read in Toddler Time

By Tim Hopgood
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009.  Picture Book.

Most owls stay awake all night, but this little one decides to nap at night and wake up for some daytime fun.  What Owl discovers are the most beautiful and vibrant colors ever!  The cheerful yellow sun, the bright blue sky, and some dazzling red butterflies are all new sights for the curious bird.  But as the sun goes down, Little Owl discovers that the night sky holds something just as beautiful -- brilliant, twinkling stars!  Delightful collage-style illustrations and large, inquisitive owl eyes will have toddlers WOW-ing right along with you!

Read in Preschool Time

By Steve Breen
Harper, 2016.  Picture Book.

Benny the Woodpecker has discovered the most amazing thing in the world at the local diner -- waffles!  He's decided that he really, really wants some (and who can blame him?), but the beehive-haired waitress isn't about to let him inside, despite his ingenious disguises.  The other forest animals think he's nuts, but Benny convinces them all to come watch his waffle-plan in action.  Little do they know, they are the crucial component to the success of his breakfast-food pilfering!  Be prepared for giggles galore -- this bird is clever and determined.  And I can totally relate:  sometimes you just gotta have those waffles! 

Read in Preschool Time

Written by Doreen Cronin
Illustrated by Scott Menchin
Athenaeum Books for Young Readers, 2005.  Picture Book.

Do you have a wiggly little one?  Reading this book with them will give ample opportunity to wiggle, wiggle, wiggle right along with Cronin's darling dog ("First wiggle where your tail would be/Then wiggle all your hair/Feeling extra silly?/Wiggle in your underwear!").  Fun illustrations and silly situations will add some giggles to those fun wiggles!

Read in Monday Cuentos

By Keiko Kasza
Editorial Norma, 2006.  Picture Book.

Ratón y Tigre son íntimos amigos, pero como Tigre es mucho más grande que Ratón, no deja de aprovecharse de él y de hacerle la vida imposible. Sin embargo, llega el momento de desquite. Tigre tiene que reconocer finalmente que para conservar a su amigo, debe compartir todo equitativamente y unirse a él tanto en las buenas como en las malas.  (Publisher)

Read in Friday Cuentos

By Keiko Kasza
Editorial Norma, 2006.  Picture Book.

Choco es un pequeño pájaro amarillo que está buscando desesperadamente una mamá, pero le es imposible encontrarla, hasta cuando ya ha perdido todas las esperanzas y una nueva candidata aparece.  (Publisher)

Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost

by Cornelia Funke
Scholastic, 2006.
Intermediate. 135 pgs.

9-yr-old Tom is terrorized by both his big sister and the thought of having to go down into the cellar. One day, on a forced errand from his mother, Tom enters the cellar only to run straight into his worst fear: a ghost! Fortunately, with a little help from his grandmother's ghost-hunting BFF, this particular ghost quickly becomes Tom's friend. Together they take on a much worse phantom and manage to get free cookies for life out of it. 

I don't read enough intermediate fiction, so I downloaded the audio version of this book from Overdrive. I instantly thought of the many times I've been asked by roadtripping parents about shorter audiobooks for younger audiences: The voice artist did a fun job of adding variety to the characters, and kids should appreciate a little bit of harmless spookiness while enjoying slime creating ghosts, an underdog protagonist, a zany grandma ghosthunter, and a terrorized cookie inventor.