Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Let the Celebrations Begin (reprint from 1996) by Margaret Wild –ADVISABLE

Wild, Margaret Let the Celebrations Begin 40 pgs. Candlewick, 2014. $16.99  Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. NON-FICTION
Miriam lives in a World War II concentration camp. The children in the camp have no toys and love to hear Miriam’s stories of the toys she used to own. When the women hear rumors the camp is about to be liberated, they decide to scrounge up the materials needed to make rag toys for all the children. But everyone will have to sacrifice to make it happen.
This is a beautiful story, loosely based on truth, which can provide such a profound message of hope and sacrifice to the toy saturated youth of today. It must be illuminated by a teacher as a part of a lesson, to appreciate the true impact. It a wonderful book to share with upper grade elementary students as they learn about the holocaust for the first time.

Elementary -ADVISABLE  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

I’m Brave by Kate and Jim McMullan –ADVISABLE

McMullan, Kate and Jim I’m Brave 40 pgs. Balzer + Bray, 2014. $16.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. PICTURE BOOK
Learn all about Fire Engines in this story as the proud little fire engine goes through a day. Children hear the noises of the truck, learn about the parts, and experience fighting a fire. The fun bright illustrations feature a happy smiling truck and the pages are large enough for sharing with a small group.
This is a fun book for a read-aloud as there are TONS of sounds and noises to share. Soon children will be making the noises for you! Although its really informational it still reads like a real story. Children who are in the stage where they are fans of trucks and construction vehicles will absolutely adore this book and learn a ton while having fun.
PRE-K -ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz –ADVISABLE

Rabinowitz, Alan A Boy and a Jaguar 32 pgs. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014. $16.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. PICTURE BOOK/BIOGRAPHY
When Alan is a little boy he talks to animals and make a vow to sad jaguar housed at the Bronx zoo that he will be her champion. But Alan stutters and finds communicating with people to be his biggest challenge, something that is necessary if he is going to help save animals and their habitats. He pursues his promise and works through his stuttering to help found a preserve for Jaguars in Belize.
I think this is a wonderful book but that it does require a teacher to guide the students through the content. I love how the stuttering and the ability to talk to animals comes together and how the dreams of a child became a reality for the grownup through hard work and perseverance. This book would great for a unit on conservation or for a speech teacher working with a student who stutters. Students can learn more from the authors non-profit website about big cat conservation.
EL(K-3)  -ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Mayflower by Mark Greenwood –ADVISABLE

Greenwood, Mark The Mayflower 32 pgs. Holiday House, 2014. $16.95  Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. NON-FICTION
A succinct narrative of the journey of the Mayflower told with large bright painted images. We learn about why the pilgrims set out, a bit about what life was like at sea, their first settlement, and the first Thanksgiving.
This is not a new topic for picture books, but should you need a good one, this one would make a nice addition to your collection. The images are bright and simple with large pages to show off. The text is also very short and simple, making it accessible by younger students. Would make a great addition to a lesson on the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday.
EL (K-3) -ADVISABLE  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Our Solar System (Revised) by Seymour Simon –NOT RECOMMENED

Simon, Seymour  Our Solar System (Revised) 72 pgs. HarperCollins; Updated from 2007 edition, 2014. $17.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. NON FICTION
This book features images of the planets in our solar system as well as information about asteroids, comets, the reclassification of Pluto.
Of course, like others books by this author, this one features stunning photography that is large and center stage. But the information is dry, boring, and presented in large blocks of text. This is not at all appealing to an elementary student. The worst page is the one about the distances from the sun, all the planets are just smashed onto one page without being presented in distance order. I would prefer to add books to my collection with the text presented in a fun and creative way, to help highlight the information and make it more memorable. I would add this book if it was just full of images alone (and captions).
EL(K-3)  -NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Worlds Best Noses, Ears, and Eyes by Helen Rundgren –ESSENTIAL

Rundgren, Helen and illustrated by Arrhenius, Ingela The Worlds Best Noses, Ears, and Eyes 32 pgs. Holiday House, 2014. $16.95  Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G. NON-FICTION
In this book readers will find out the top creature in the world for the very best eyes, ears, and nose. Turns out there is quite a few! Moths have a double nose! Sharks can smell underwater. Crickets ears are under its knees. Fully illustrated with bright, varied, and colorful creatures and harmonious scenery.
Ah, finally a truly great book! This fantastic book is filled to the brim with fun and interesting facts about the senses and has top notch illustrations. I love that the author chose to include some less common creatures like hedgehogs and the star nosed mole. I think students will be drawn to the bright cover and the fun imagery, and find themselves wanting to know more information about tons of different animals. A welcome addition to lessons about animal adaption and the senses.
EL (K-3) -ESSENTIAL  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Night Parade by Lily Roscoe -- OPTIONAL

Roscoe, Lily The Night Parade, illustrated by David Walker. PICTURE BOOK. Orchard Books, 2014. $16.99. Content: G.

What happens every night while moms and dads sleep? Kids rise from their beds and join the Night Parade, a fanciful journey that includes skipping through the streets, making cakes for the moon, and telling magical tales. This is a fun bedtime book, and the illustrations are adorable. In a world filled with bedtime books, however, the truth is that it's difficult to stand out, and while this one is enjoyable it does blend in with the many others in the genre. If one's library or classroom isn't already filled with similar titles, however, this could be a nice addition.

Pre-K, EL (K-3) -- OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Caryn