The Horn Book » Out of the Box http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:45:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Shout Science! app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/shout-science-app-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/shout-science-app-review/#respond Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:33:08 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39593 Shout Science! (Scott Dubois, 2013) is a comics-style nonfiction app that tells three stories of figures from the European Scientific Revolution. The first biography follows Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717), a watercolor painter and insect collector in Frankfurt, Germany. Merian observed the life cycle of butterflies, including metamorphosis, and documented it in two books she wrote […]

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shout science menu Shout Science! app reviewShout Science! (Scott Dubois, 2013) is a comics-style nonfiction app that tells three stories of figures from the European Scientific Revolution.

The first biography follows Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717), a watercolor painter and insect collector in Frankfurt, Germany. Merian observed the life cycle of butterflies, including metamorphosis, and documented it in two books she wrote and illustrated (1679 and 1705). She traveled to Suriname to study indigenous insects and collect specimens there — the first woman to embark upon a scientific research expedition.

The second subject is Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) who, in 1674 in Delft, Holland, developed the first microscope strong enough to see microbes. Others balked at van Leeuwenhoek’s claim of tiny “animalcules” present in water, saliva, and other fluids, but after he published his methods, a scientist named Robert Hooke was able to reproduce van Leeuwenhoek’s results and thus corroborate his findings.

shout science anton Shout Science! app review

The final scientist profiled here is James Hutton (1726-1797), now known as the “Father of Modern Geology.” Hutton observed fossils of marine life in the stones near his home in Edinburgh, Scotland. After further research, in 1788 he published his theory that the earth is millions of years old (at the time the earth’s age was believed to be approximately 6000 years). He also developed theories about the earth’s internal structure and the formation and erosion of rock.

All three scientists faced ridicule and even ostracism from their colleagues, but their theories — and the evidence proving them — were eventually accepted by the scientific community.

The comics format gives the app a friendly feel: the engaging stories are illustrated with rounded, cheery art and punctuated with humorous (usually purposely anachronistic) asides and sound effects. The is no overall narration, but users can tap an icon to hear the scientists’ names pronounced and to hear brief excerpts of their writing read aloud. Each bio is accompanied by a “more info” section, which includes a portrait, a more detailed timeline, a list of important people and places in the scientist’s life, definitions of key concepts of the discovery, and a bibliography. Intuitive navigation allows the biographies to be accessed either from a timeline (where they are included with other significant scientific achievements of the era) or from a map of Europe.

Available for iPad (requires iOS 6.1 or later); free. Recommended for primary and intermediate users.

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And straight on ’til morning http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/straight-til-morning/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/straight-til-morning/#respond Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:41:49 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39551 The other day my friend’s four-year-old daughter asked me, “Guess what I wished for?” I was a little nervous about this — after all, isn’t it bad luck to tell others your wish? — but she insisted. “A puppy? A pony? A baby elephant?” “No, it wasn’t an animal at all. It was the second […]

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finding neverland musical And straight on til morningThe other day my friend’s four-year-old daughter asked me, “Guess what I wished for?”

I was a little nervous about this — after all, isn’t it bad luck to tell others your wish? — but she insisted.

“A puppy? A pony? A baby elephant?”

No, it wasn’t an animal at all. It was the second star to the right!” I didn’t follow this logic, so she patiently(ish) explained, “I wished to go to Neverland!” Well, obviously. What a dumb grown-up moment.

Brand-new musical Finding Neverland, based on the 2004 Johnny Depp movie about author J.M. Barrie and his friendship with the Llewelyn Davies family, opens tomorrow at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theater. I should probably go and get back in touch with my inner lost kid.

What’s your favorite Peter Pan adaptation? Hook will always have my heart. (Bangerang!)

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Kidlit crafts http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/kidlit-crafts/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/kidlit-crafts/#respond Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:30:41 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39443 Lately I’ve been drooling over the craft tutorials at EPBOT: Geekery, Girliness, and Goofing Off, another blog written by Jen Yates, mastermind behind the genius and hilarious Cake Wrecks. (If you’re not familiar with Cake Wrecks, start with “Grammar geeks, UNITE!” and gorgeous children’s lit cakes.) EPBOT is pretty much what it sounds like from […]

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Lately I’ve been drooling over the craft tutorials at EPBOT: Geekery, Girliness, and Goofing Off, another blog written by Jen Yates, mastermind behind the genius and hilarious Cake Wrecks. (If you’re not familiar with Cake Wrecks, start with “Grammar geeks, UNITE!” and gorgeous children’s lit cakes.) EPBOT is pretty much what it sounds like from the subtitle: tutorials for geeky, non-geeky, and home decor DIY projects; links to other geeky content (check out this Hobbit-themed birthday party); ooh, shiny! jewelry pictures; and cat pictures. In other words, awesome.

I’m geeky and crafty, but not frequently at the same time, so it’s nice to have some guidance in how to combine the two. I love how nerdy Jen’s tutorials are — both in aesthetic (with their geek culture content) and in approach (detail-oriented, thorough, efficient, authentic to the source material). They seem pretty idiot-proof, too, although I haven’t tried any myself yet… I can’t decide where to start! Here a few kidlit-related projects; click on the pictures for links to the tutorials:

epbot white rabbit mask and watch Kidlit crafts

White Rabbit steampunk mask and pocketwatch

epbot wands Kidlit crafts

LED light-up wizard wands…

epbot wand display Kidlit crafts

…and, of course, an Olivander wand display

epbot death eater mask Kidlit crafts

Deatheater masks (don’t you kinda want to be a Deatheater now?)

epbot frog and toad purse Kidlit crafts

book purse dos and don’ts

Now that I’m done fangirling over a fellow fangirl, I want to know: have you made any crafts inspired by favorite books?

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Links we love http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/twitter-link-roundup/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/twitter-link-roundup/#respond Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:50:42 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39474 We’re on Twitter — follow us @HornBook (and Roger Sutton at @RogerReads), then come say hi! This week we shared these kidlit-related links: Beautiful Propaganda Posters Honor the Districts in The Hunger Games (Design Taxi) Classic Kids’ Books Cakes (Cake Wrecks) Ten Things that Make an Editor Stop Reading Your Manuscript (Elizabeth Law Reads blog) […]

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madeline cake Links we love

amazing Madeline cake by My Sweet Indulgence, via Cake Wrecks

We’re on Twitter — follow us @HornBook (and Roger Sutton at @RogerReads), then come say hi! This week we shared these kidlit-related links:

Beautiful Propaganda Posters Honor the Districts in The Hunger Games (Design Taxi)

Classic Kids’ Books Cakes (Cake Wrecks)

Ten Things that Make an Editor Stop Reading Your Manuscript (Elizabeth Law Reads blog)

J.K. Rowling Live-Blogged The Quidditch World Cup Final and It Is Magical (BuzzFeed)

Literature’s John Hughes: Rainbow Rowell on Her Love Affair with Music and Writing (BuzzFeed)

Great Children’s Books Author Bake-Off (The Guardian)

The Abhorsen’s Seven Bells Charms

Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and More Authors Dress as Their Favorite Characters (Nerdist)

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Catchy titles http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/catchy-titles/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/catchy-titles/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:00:55 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38865 I was entering some new book titles into our database this morning and ran across the late, great Walter Dean Myers’s novel On a Clear Day (Crown, September 2014). Now for the last hour I’ve had Barbra Streisand in my head singing “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” from the musical and film […]

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myers on a clear day Catchy titlesI was entering some new book titles into our database this morning and ran across the late, great Walter Dean Myers’s novel On a Clear Day (Crown, September 2014). Now for the last hour I’ve had Barbra Streisand in my head singing “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” from the musical and film (starring Babs, of course) of the same name.

This got me thinking about other book titles I’ve run across over the years that also automatically make me think of a song title or lyric I know well — and then inevitably get stuck in my head all day:

Out of My Mind (Atheneum) by Sharon M. Draper / “Out of My Head” by Fastball

Across the Universe (Razorbill/Penguin) by Beth Revis / “Across the Universe” by The Beatles

I’ll Be There (Little, Brown) by Holly Goldberg Sloan / “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5 and by Mariah Carey (With this one, I end up with a mash-up of the two versions in my head!)

Stars (Beach Lane/Simon) by Mary Lyn Ray; illus. by Marla Frazee / “Stars” from Les Miserables

Stay with Me (Dial) by Paul Griffin / “Stay with Me” from Into the Woods

The Space Between (Razorbill/Penguin) by Brenna Yovanoff / “The Space Between” by Dave Matthews Band

How to Save a Life (Little, Brown) by Sara Zarr / “How to Save a Life” by The Fray

Just Call My Name (Little, Brown) by Holly Goldberg Sloan / “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5 and by Mariah Carey andAin’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

I inherited this habit from my musically-inclined mother who, any time she hears a line from a song she knows, will break out into song. But I’m sure we’re not the only ones who do this. What children’s book titles remind you of a song title or lyric?

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The Power of Poison app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/power-poison-app-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/power-poison-app-review/#respond Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:43:55 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39436 Apps make great companions to museum exhibitions, serving both as supplements to enhance visitors’ experiences and as substitutes for those who can’t see exhibits in person. (We’ve reviewed several of this type of app: Color Uncovered and Sound Uncovered by the Exploratorium; Dinosaurs and Creatures of Light by the American Museum of Natural History. The […]

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power of poison menu The Power of Poison app reviewApps make great companions to museum exhibitions, serving both as supplements to enhance visitors’ experiences and as substitutes for those who can’t see exhibits in person. (We’ve reviewed several of this type of app: Color Uncovered and Sound Uncovered by the Exploratorium; Dinosaurs and Creatures of Light by the American Museum of Natural History. The AMNH has another excellent nonfiction app in The Power of Poison (2013), a companion to its current exhibit of the same name.

This short but sweet app educates amateur sleuths about various toxins as they Nancy Drew their way through three hypothetical cases of accidental poisoning: “Vet Detective: Mystery of the Poisoned Pooch,” “Sick at Sea: The Case of the Queasy Captain” (based on the first recorded pufferfish poisoning, suffered in 1774 by Captain James Cook and his crew of naturalists), and “Forest Files: The Case of an Owl Afoul.” A brief video introduces the circumstances of each poisoning, then users explore the scene of the poisoning for suspect toxins and review the victim’s symptoms.

power of poison vet The Power of Poison app review

On the “solve” page for each case, users compare the six possible poisons with the symptoms and propose a solution for the poisoning.  Tap “learn more” icons for a pop-up window with more information about each of the toxins.

The main case-solving aspect of the app is based on an activity in the actual exhibit, while an “exhibition tour” section previews other topics covered in the exhibit — including venomous and poisonous animals; poisons in myths and legends; historical cold cases which may have been poisonings (such as Napoleon’s death); and how toxins may be used in medicine.

The kitschy case titles, intentionally low-tech animation, and old-fashioned design elements keep the tone light and give the app an Agatha Christie vibe. Unobtrusive sound effects accompany some of the animated elements, and a the videos feature a pleasant narrator and well-chosen background music. Straightforward navigation and clean design enhance the fascinating content.

The Power of Poison exhibit will run through August 10th, then will relocate to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for a 2016 showing. More supplemental information about the topics in the exhibit can be found on AMNH’s website.

Summer is prime museum-visiting time. What museums are you visiting this summer, and are you using apps to extend your visit experiences?

Available for iPad (requires iOS 6.0 or later); free. Recommended for primary users and up.

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Reading Rainbow (Rowell) http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/reading-rainbow-rowell/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/reading-rainbow-rowell/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 16:06:24 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39258 Who knew Rainbow Rowell had a new book (for adults)? Not me! Until I snapped it up at the Cambridge Public Library yesterday. A TV-writer mom bags out on her husband and kids during Christmas vacation in order to stay home and prepare for a big pitch at work. Her marriage has been cooling for […]

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rowell landline Reading Rainbow (Rowell)Who knew Rainbow Rowell had a new book (for adults)? Not me! Until I snapped it up at the Cambridge Public Library yesterday. A TV-writer mom bags out on her husband and kids during Christmas vacation in order to stay home and prepare for a big pitch at work. Her marriage has been cooling for a while, and this might just be the nail in the coffin. (I haven’t gotten to the time-travel part, but the flap copy tells me it’s coming.) Like the narrative voice(s) in Rowell’s Attachments, this one is smart, witty, and slightly bemused. Watch out, Jennifer Weiner; Rainbow’s coming for you!

And speaking of curly girls… who else is annoyed by this new Progressive Insurance ad, starring the otherwise inoffensive, even endearing, Flo? What the hell, Flo? My people don’t talk smack about your Carol Brady throwback hair.

flo Reading Rainbow (Rowell)

 

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Dinosaur versus… everything http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/dinosaur-versus-everything/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/out-of-the-box/dinosaur-versus-everything/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:30:53 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38737 Roar roar ROAR! When it comes to destruction, dinosaurs win! Check out these two brand-new titles about dinosaurs on rampages:

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Roar roar ROAR! When it comes to destruction, dinosaurs win! Check out these two brand-new titles about dinosaurs on rampages:

dinos Dinosaur versus... everything

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The Animal Book e-book review http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/animal-book-e-book-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/animal-book-e-book-review/#respond Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:20:46 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39274 Steve Jenkins’s 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest — and Most Surprising — Animals on Earth is available in an enhanced e-book edition (HMH, 2013). An introduction describes the book’s features: Animal Fact Pop-Up Boxes provide more information about select creatures’ sizes, […]

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animal book The Animal Book e book reviewSteve Jenkins’s 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest — and Most Surprising — Animals on Earth is available in an enhanced e-book edition (HMH, 2013).

An introduction describes the book’s features: Animal Fact Pop-Up Boxes provide more information about select creatures’ sizes, habitats, and diets, along with fun facts.

animal book manatee fact box The Animal Book e book review

An Embedded Glossary allows for quick definitions of terms that are printed in blue; there’s also a complete glossary for reference. Occasional Interactive Elements include comparison charts, timelines, and other at-a-glance features.

animal book ecological pyramid The Animal Book e book review

A Notes feature allows you to highlight text and take your own notes (on blank note-cards), along with quiz-like Study Cards that can be shuffled with your notes and used for recall.

The whole thing is pretty low-tech, but not in a bad way. Just as in Jenkins’s book, the art is what really shines through. The quality is high — all the pictures are crisp and bright, even the close-up images (go eye-to-eye with the colossal squid on page 44 or nose-to-nose with that Siberian tiger on page 104… if you dare!). The table of contents and scrolling footers allow you to jump to individual sections or to pages in Jenkins’s book, which was already well suited for browsing. There’s a 4.5-minute Making Of video at the end in which Jenkins discusses his process and shows viewers how he creates a rhino, from sketch to paper selection to cutting pieces with an X-acto to assembling the collage; he also shows a page-layout board… and shows off his own animal! (His dog makes a cameo.) Some ’80s-sounding background music jazzes up the narration.

Available for iPad and Mac; $9.99. Recommended for primary to middle school users.

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July Notes http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/news/notes-from-the-horn-book/july-notes-3/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/news/notes-from-the-horn-book/july-notes-3/#respond Wed, 09 Jul 2014 19:24:46 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39252 In this month’s Notes from the Horn Book, we chat with author Varian Johnson about his tightly plotted novel The Great Greene Heist — and his favorite heist movies! You’ll also find • more middle-school capers • pet picture books • primary nature nonfiction • dragons and witches in YA fantasy Read the issue online […]

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In this month’s Notes from the Horn Book, we chat with author Varian Johnson about his tightly plotted novel The Great Greene Heist — and his favorite heist movies! You’ll also find

• more middle-school capers
• pet picture books
• primary nature nonfiction
• dragons and witches in YA fantasy

july 2014 notes July Notes

Read the issue online here or subscribe to receive Notes from the Horn Book newsletter (and its supplement Nonfiction Notes) in your inbox. Browse the newsletter archives for more recommended books and author interviews.

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