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 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 […]

Review of Fatal Fever

jarrow_fatal fever

Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow Intermediate, Middle School  Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills  176 pp. 3/15      978-1-62091-597-4     $16.95 In the second book by Jarrow about a deadly disease — Red Madness was the first — she takes on typhoid. At the turn of the twentieth century, typhoid was still very much […]

Review of One Plastic Bag

paul_one plastic bag

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul; illus. by Elizabeth Zunon Primary   Millbrook   32 pp. 2/15   Library ed. 978-1-4677-1608-6   $19.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4677-6299-1   $19.99 In the 1980s in the cities of the Gambia, a switch from using baskets made of natural materials to non-biodegradable plastic bags led […]

Review of Tomboy

Prince_Tomboy

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince; illus. by the author Middle School, High School   Zest Books   256 pp. 9/14   Paper ed. 978-1-936976-55-3   $15.99 e-book ed. 978-1-936976-56-0   $15.99 “When you don’t look or act like what everyone has been told is the norm, you get proverbially barfed on a lot.” In an often funny, sometimes […]

Review of Welcome to the Family

hoffman_welcome to family

Welcome to the Family by Mary Hoffman; illus. by Ros Asquith Primary   Frances Lincoln   28 pp. 12/14   978-1-84780-592-8   $17.99 This chatty, informative book covers all the bases — and then some — in its survey of how families are made. Friendly cartoon illustrations highlight various permutations, from families formed by birth and adoption to foster […]

Be-bop-a-skoodley!

russell-brown_little melba

These new picture-book biographies of African American music pioneers give primary readers something to sing about during Black History Month — and all year long. Seven-year-old Melba Liston chose to learn to play the trombone — an unconventional choice for a girl. By age seventeen, she was touring alongside the jazz greats. As a female […]

Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs app review

pterosaurs menu

Though the American Museum of Natural History‘s Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs exhibit closed a few weeks ago, those of us who missed it can learn about these fascinating animals with the associated app (2014). The first section, “What Is a Pterosaur?,” introduces this prehistoric creature, which lived for 150 million years, going […]