Review of Completely Clementine

pennypacker_completely clementine

Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker; illus. by Marla Frazee Primary, Intermediate   Disney-Hyperion   181 pp. 3/15   978-1-4231-2358-3   $14.99   g In this series-ender, third grade is almost over, but Clementine is far from ready to say goodbye to her familiar classmates and supportive teacher. Mr. D’Matz keeps trying to tell her about all the ways she’s grown […]

Sporting life

amstutz_bicycle basics let it roll

Amstutz, Lisa J.  Bicycle Basics: Let It Roll! Gr. K–3     24 pp.   Capstone Amstutz, Lisa J.  Bike Safety: A Crash Course Gr. K–3     24 pp.    Capstone Pebble Plus: Spokes series. These primers are good introductions to the sport as well as to bicycling safety, history, and mechanical basics. Clearly focused on promoting the recreational fun […]

Folklore from around the world

andrews_when apples grew noses

Andrews, Jan  When Apples Grew Noses and White Horses Flew: Tales of Ti-Jean Gr. 4–6     69 pp.     Groundwood Illustrated by Dušan Petričić. Ti-Jean, cheerful, hapless stripling of French-Canadian folklore, makes a winning appearance in three tales of European origin lightly transposed to a New World setting. Andrews is a storyteller, and these zesty, well-paced […]

National Poetry Month

florian_poem depot

Florian, Douglas Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles Gr. K–3     154 pp.     Dial Readers browse through “Poem Depot’s” eleven “aisles” (chapters) with names like “Chortles & Chuckles” and “Tons of Puns.” Many of the pieces are four to ten lines long, easily memorized by the audience, who will enjoy the funny punch lines. Florian uses thick, […]

Earth Day 2015

chancellor_changing environment

Chancellor, Deborah  The Changing Environment Gr. K–3     48 pp.    Kingfisher/Macmillan Kingfisher Readers series. In two-page chapters, the book introduces foundational environmental concepts, including animal species, ecosystems, climate, and fossil fuels, then seamlessly unites these concepts in discussions of environmental threats and possible resolutions. Complex connections (e.g., the relationship between global warming, habitat loss, and endangered […]

Trailblazing women

demi_florence nightingale

Demi  Florence Nightingale Gr. K–3     40 pp.    Holt A straightforward text of declarative sentences describes Florence Nightingale’s childhood, training, service in Crimean War hospitals, and lifelong crusade to reform nursing and health care. The true draw of this clear picture book biography, however, is Demi’s simple line-drawn illustrations with collage elements: close reader attention will […]

Review of You Nest Here with Me

yolen_you nest here with me

You Nest Here with Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple; illus. by Melissa Sweet Preschool   Boyds Mills   32 pp. 3/15   978-1-59078-923-0   $16.95   g Yolen and Stemple gracefully incorporate natural science into a comforting picture book comparing various nesting birds with a “nesting” child (“My little nestling, time for bed…”). Some birds, such […]

Snow White app review

snow white menu

The latest in Nosy Crow’s series of fairy-tale adaptation apps (which includes The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk) is Snow White, released last week. Snow White employs the same winning formula of the other series entries: cheerful illustrations and animation; witty humor; well-integrated interactivity; straightforward navigation; charming […]

The Writer’s Page: Ex Libris

The author, age 15.

While I know there must be many books that feature great scenes 
set in libraries, one book that I’ve often thought about over the years is The Abortion (1971) by Richard Brautigan, whose narrator works in — and makes his home in — a public library whose shelves are filled with unpublished manuscripts that writers […]

Review of I, Fly

heos_i fly

I, Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are by Bridget Heos; illus. by Jennifer Plecas Primary   Holt   40 pp. 3/15   978-0-8050-9469-5   $17.99   g An adorable fly — googly-eyed, fuzzy-bodied, and with a winning smile, as portrayed in Plecas’s funny but informative cartoon illustrations — makes a compelling argument for why he should […]