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Busy Shapes app review

busy shapes title

Busy Shapes (Edoki Academy, 2014; iOS only) is an engaging sorting and problem-solving app based on the work of education expert Jean Piaget. The app begins with a simple matching exercise: drag a shape to the same-shaped hole and drop it in. These brightly colored shapes represent physical objects such as blocks, sponges, flowers, and […]

Review of Somos como las nubes / 
We Are like the Clouds

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Somos como las nubes / 
We Are like the Clouds by Jorge Argueta; illus. by 
Alfonso Ruano; trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado Primary, Intermediate    Groundwood    32 pp. 10/16    978-1-55498-849-5    $18.95 e-book ed.  978-1-55498-850-1    $16.95 Argueta’s bilingual collection of poems gives voice to the many refugee children who emigrate from Central American countries to […]

Review of The Storm Whale in Winter

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The Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies; illus. by the author Primary     Holt     32 pp. 1/17     978-1-250-11186-9     $16.99 Noi, who lives with his fisherman father, is reunited with the whale he rescued in The Storm Whale (rev. 1/15). Months have passed since Noi helped the stranded […]

Me app review

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Remember Dr. Seuss’s My Book About Me? Me by Tinybop (November 2016; iOS only) is a lot like that. You start by creating an avatar for yourself, choosing from a number of options for the shapes and hues of your face, your eyes, etc. There are enough options that I found myself looking in a […]

Dreaming big

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As a child, I loved reading biographies of famous women. I wanted strong, nuanced, and passionate women to look up to, and I found them throughout history. They were writers, politicians, explorers, and so much more, and learning about them allowed me to imagine a broad future for myself. The Little People, Big Dreams primary […]

Review of A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and 
the Creation of The Snowy Day

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A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and 
the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illus. by 
Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson Primary, Intermediate    Viking    56 pp. 11/16    978-0-425-28768-2    $18.99 In evocative verse, Pinkney presents a picture book biography of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of the children’s classic The […]

They can do it!

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Primary readers will cheer these determined everygirl heroines as they face — and conquer — relatable challenges, from learning a new language to speaking up to clueless parents. Author Jacqueline Kelly first introduced readers to aspiring naturalist/veterinarian Callie in the middle-grade novels The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. Now […]

The wonders of winter

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From joyful treks through gently drifting snow to the aftermath of a storm to suspenseful adventures in the icy wilderness, these picture books show many meteorological (and emotional) facets of winter. In First Snow by Bomi Park, a small child takes a dreamlike nighttime walk through the snow with her puppy. She makes her way […]

Review of Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy

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Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson; 
illus. by Edel Rodriguez Primary    Knopf    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-101-93330-5    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93331-2    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93332-9    $10.99 Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song” reminds us: “You can spin a dreidel / with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock — both Jewish!” Michelson delves a little deeper […]

Review of Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a Life in Nature

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Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a Life in Nature by Cindy Jenson-Elliott; illus. by Christy Hale Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    32 pp. 9/16    978-1-62779-082-6    $17.99 This peppy picture book biography of nature photographer Ansel Adams describes an “antsy” young boy whose propensity to get into trouble was allayed only by being in the great outdoors. Sonorous language, including […]