Saturday, September 20, 2014

Zombie Makers

Cover image for Zombie makers : true stories of nature's undead

by Rebecca L. Johnson
Millbrook Press, 2012
Nonfiction, 48p.

Be warned: this book is high on the gross-out scale. A clever and fascinating collection of scientific anecdotes about parasites that take over the bodies of other insects or animals, keeping them alive long enough to ensure the survival of their own offspring. Examples include a fungus that can take over an ant's brain, a protozoan that can turn off a rat’s fear of cats, and a worm that can force crickets to throw themselves into the water and drown. The text is a nice mix of dramatic storytelling and well-researched scientific fact, and the close-up photographs are great. A good bet for school-age readers interested in nonfiction, zombies, or deliciously icky topics.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Soy un Hermano Mayor
By Joanna Cole
HarperCollins Children's Books, Picture Book

This book is excellent for children that have a new baby in the home. The boy in the story deals with a new baby that is very needy but he learns quickly to love and take care of him. The new baby makes big brother feel needed and wanted.

Este libro es exelente para niños que tienen un nuevo bebe en casa. El niño en este cuento tiene que confrontar el reto que presenta a veces de tratar con un nuevo bebe. El bebe a veces necesita mucha atencion y el hermano aprende rapidamente a cuidarlo y darle cariño.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nuts to You



Nuts to You
by Lynne Rae Perkins
Greenwillow, 2014.   272 pgs.  Fantasy

     Usually the expression "nuts to you" is an old-timey brush-off or insult.  But when you're a squirrel, it's just a kind wish. Kind wishes and deadly perils abound in Perkins' delightful lower to middle grade novel about Jed the Squirrel who is snatched up by a hawk but who, against all odds, escapes and is dropped into another area of squirreldom.  Luckily his friends TsTs and Chia see him fall, and follow after him along the singing wires that hang between the silver towers. Jed has fallen among a group of reddish-coated, hick-talking squirrels whom he comes to enjoy, but he really wants to get back home so he is excited beyond measure when TsTs and Chia find him and they all head back--but they soon encounter a Peril of all Perils which threatens not only themselves, but their families, their community, and, in fact, the squirrel way of life.  But will anyone believe them in time to be saved?  Nuts to You is a truly charming story filled with subtle humor, great friendships, squirrel derring-do, and Perkins' perfect pictures. Suitable for grades 2 through 4, I should say, and surely a terrific read-aloud.

La Selva
By Albert Asensio
Editorial Juventud, 14 pg. Board Book

This small picture book has pictures of some of the animals that live in the savanna. It is a great book for little preschoolers. They will enjoy the pictures of the parent as well as the baby animals. See if your little one can answer the question on the last page.

Este pequeño libro de cartón tiene fotos de animales que viven en la selva. Es un libro excelente para los pequeñitos que todavía no van a la escuela. Les encantará las fotos tanto de los papas como los cachorros de los animales de la selva. Hay una pregunta al final, a ver si su niño la puede contestar.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


 Cover image for Flashlight
by Lizi Boyd
Chronicle Books, 2014
Picture book

A young boy is camping in the woods where it’s too dark to see what is surrounding his tent. But with the help of his trusty flashlight, he illuminates the night and discovers all kinds of interesting nature and friendly night animals! But what will happen when he eventually drops his flashlight? The wordless nature of this picture book allows children to practice their narrative skills as they decide how to tell the story. A great book for bedtime, for discussing fears of the dark, or for practicing animal identification and sparking an interest in nature.

Edgar Gets Ready for Bed
Edgar Gets Ready for Bed
By Jennifer Adams
Illustrated by Ron Stucki
Gibbs Smith, 2014. Picture Book

"Once upon a midnight dreary" Edgar the raven doesn't want to go to bed.  Whenever his mother asks him to finish his vegetables, or take a bath, his answer is always "nevermore!"  His patient mother finally gets him to calm down by reading his favorite bedtime guessed it...The Raven by E.A. Poe.  Jennifer Adams, the author of the popular BabyLit board book series, has here created another fun foray into classical literature.  Stucki's primarily black and gray stylized illustrations make use of classic Victorian floral patterns to give the book a child-friendly Gothic feel. The many references to Poe's poem, both in the text and in the illustrations will make parents chuckle, and prepare children for later exposure to the great classic.

¡Tiburón al Ataque!
By Gail Tuchman
Scholastic INC, 30 pg. Non Fiction

Sharks are amazing, and this book shows many interesting facts about these great animals of the ocean. The pictures are great and really give the feel of being in the ocean.Third and fourth graders will really enjoy all the facts and amazing pictures.

Los tiburones son increíbles, este libro muestra muchas facetas interesantes acerca de estos animales del océano. Las fotos son regias y dan la sensación de estar en el océano. A los niños del tercer y cuarto grado les encantará todos los datos y las fotos en este libro.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

You Can't Have Two Many Friends!

 Cover image for You can't have too many friends!
You Can't Have Too Many Friends
By Mordicai Gerstein
Holiday House, 2014. Picture Book

The King has "borrowed" Duck's jelly beans, and Duck is on a mission to get them back.  On the way to the castle he meets a variety of friends and invites them to join his quest.  Magically friend Dog, friend Babbling Brook, friend Ladder and others shrink themselves and hide on Duck's person. When Duck gets to the castle, the guilty king tries to do away with Duck, but Duck's friends pop out and save him whenever he is in peril.  In the end the friends are able to share the reward of Duck's efforts. This story feels like an old time folktale, but the illustrations are done in a contemporary cartoon style that will appeal to modern kids.

When Elephant Met Giraffe

 Cover image for When Elephant met Giraffe
When Elephant Met Giraffe
by Paul Gude
Disney Hyperion, 2014. Picture Book

Giraffe doesn't talk much so it is tricky for Elephant to negotiate a friendship with him. It is hard for the animals to learn to share and be tolerant when they can't communicate easily but with a little effort and a little compromise Elephant and Giraffe become the best of friends.  This is a great book about how to make a friendship work.  The text is very simple, with only a few sentences per page.  The illustrations are simple too, basic line drawings filled in with solid color, but they help convey the story and the feelings of the characters.  This is a great choice for Elephant and Piggie fans, or for someone looking for a way to help a pre-schooler navigate their first attempt at relationships with other children.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Gift for Mama

Cover image for A gift for Mama
A Gift for Mama
by Linda Ravin Lodding
illustrated by Alison Jay
Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. picture book

Oskar walks down a cobblestone street in Vienna looking for a birthday gift for his mama.  He chooses a yellow flower from a vendor, but then an artist wants it for a painting he is doing.  The artist gives the boy a paint brush in exchange.  Then an orchestra conductor asks for the paint brush in exchange for some music. The boy keeps meeting people who want to exchange what they have for what he has.  The goodhearted boy is willing to make the trades and ends up with the perfect gift for his mother at last. The author concludes the book with a note that explains that the people the boy meets in the story represent real historical figures from 19th century Vienna. Jay's crackled and light-filled illustrations suggest the optimism of Vienna in its gold age.  As always Jay's illustrations include little details that will delight young readers.