Math is elementary

how many jelly beans

Long, Ethan The Wing Wing Brothers Math Spectacular! Gr. K–3    32 pp.  Holiday In three acts, five performing duck brothers compete with one another and introduce basic math concepts by spinning plates, juggling pies, and disappearing in a box. The simple cartoony panels give the book a comic-book appearance, and humor abounds via sibling rivalry, slapstick […]

Scientist biographies

berne_on a beam of light

Berne, Jennifer  On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein Gr. K–3    48 pp.  Chronicle Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky. Berne and Radunsky — in a gorgeous piece of bookmaking — use the “biggest, most exciting thought Albert had ever had” as the focal point for their homage to the great physicist. Berne’s simple […]

Architecture

dreaming up

Hale, Christy Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building Gr. K–3    40 pp.  Lee Fifteen childhood building projects are deftly rendered in concrete poems and mixed-media collages, each paired with a photo of an iconic building bearing a resemblance to the creative play. A toddler’s upside-down stack of graduated plastic doughnuts looks like Wright’s Guggenheim Museum; a […]

Social reformers and activists

elizabeth cady stanton and susan b. anthony

Colman, Penny Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World Middle school, high school    256 pp.  Holt/Ottaviano “Yes, our work is one, we are one in aim and sympathy,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in an 1865 letter to Susan B. Anthony. Colman’s biography, rich in quotes from the women, details their […]

Today’s Picture Book Biographies: Back Matter Matters

borden_thejourney

Picture book biographies broke out of their formulaic cradle-to-grave structure in the late 1990s and began telling authentic stories with new verve. Fictionalized dialogue and made-up scenes gave way to well-researched, fact-based narratives, often focusing on a particular aspect of the subject’s life. Today’s picture book biographies also include, as a matter of course, supporting […]

I Love Mountains app review

i love mountains

Cute kid Sloan Graham, the bear-suit-clad main character of Forest Giant’s nonfiction app I Love Mountains (2012), has a passionate interest in the titular landforms. She shares fun geological facts about mountains through nineteen interactive pages, beginning by describing the three different types of mountains and the plate tectonics that form them over time. She […]

Five questions for Robert Byrd

robert byrd_220x300

Robert Byrd took home the 2013 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award for his picture book biography Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (Dial, 2012). As the author/illustrator of Leonardo: Beautiful Dreamer (Dutton, 2003) and illustrator of Kathleen Krull’s Kubla Khan: The Emperor of Everything (Viking, 2010) and Steven Kroll’s Barbarians! (Dutton, […]

Five questions for Christy Hale

Christy_Hale-by-Chris_Riley_214x300

In her 2013 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Honor book Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building (Lee & Low, 2012), Christy Hale juxtaposes concrete poems and illustrations of children at building play with photographs of innovative architecture around the world. We asked her about the tipping point for this ingenious idea, her love of poetry, and […]

Color Uncovered e-book review

color uncovered menu

Like any good discovery museum exhibit, the San Francisco Exploratorium‘s Color Uncovered interactive e-book (2011) invites users to experiment for themselves as they learn about color. The creation of color by waves of light, humans’ and animals’ perception of color, blending of colors, and complementary colors are just a few of the seventeen color-related topics […]

Review of Locomotive

locomotive

Locomotive by Brian Floca; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate   Jackson/Atheneum   64 pp. 9/13     978-1-4169-9415-2   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4424-8522-8   $12.99 Talk about a youth librarian’s dream come true: a big new book about those ever-popular trains from a bona fide picture-book-nonfiction all-star. Striking cinematic endpapers lay the groundwork, describing the creation of the Transcontinental […]