Review of Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

cox_elizabeth queen of the seas

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox; illus. by Brian Floca Preschool, Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    48 pp. 5/14    978-0-375-85888-8    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-95888-5    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-375-98769-4    $10.99 Renowned long-distance swimmer Cox here celebrates a swimmer of a different species: a twelve-hundred-pound elephant seal that preferred the warm banks of the Avon River […]

Shout Science! app review

shout science menu

Shout Science! (Scott Dubois, 2013) is a comic-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 […]

The Power of Poison app review

power of poison menu

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 […]

Candace Fleming on The Family Romanov

fleming_family romanov

In the July/August 2014 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Jonathan Hunt asked author Candace Fleming about her intimate portrait of the last Imperial family of Russia, The Family Romanov. Read the starred review here. Jonathan Hunt: What was the most interesting thing you had to leave out of the book? Candace Fleming: So many poignant moments […]

Review of The Family Romanov

fleming_family romanov

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and 
the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming Middle School, High School    
Schwartz & Wade/Random    287 pp. 7/14    978-0-375-86782-8    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-96782-5    $21.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-375-89864-8    $10.99 Marrying the intimate family portrait of Heiligman’s Charles and Emma (rev. 1/09) with the politics and intrigue of Sheinkin’s Bomb […]

The Animal Book e-book review

animal book

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, […]

Science in your backyard

burns_handle with care

Outdoor play can double as an opportunity for learning about the natural world. These four nonfiction picture books may inspire readers to look more closely at the wildlife in their own neighborhoods. In Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey, author Loree Griffin Burns explores the life cycle of butterflies alongside the work of a […]

Review of The Story of Buildings

dillon_story of buildings

The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond by Patrick Dillon; 
illus. by Stephen Biesty Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    96 pp. 3/14    978-0-7636-6990-4    $19.99 Beginning with an ingratiatingly brief historical summary of how the human need for shelter brought us from caves to high-rises, Dillon and Biesty then circle […]

Review of The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra

raschka_cosmobiography of sun ra

The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening by Chris Raschka; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 5/14    978-0-7636-5806-9    $15.99    g Jazz pioneer and self-proclaimed space case Sun Ra (born Herman P. Blount) gets a portrait as bemusing and sparkly as the man himself in this fantastical tribute. Raschka begins […]

Teaching perspective to first graders

Can We Save the Tiger?

Perspective is a thing so integral to understanding a story. It can even be the reason why an author thinks to lift a pencil and write a story. Yet perspective is a difficult concept, particularly for six-year-olds. As a first grade teacher, I have found that teaching about a character’s perspective is at times an […]