Monthly Archives: July 2016

Draw What You See: the life and art of Benny Andrews

This is a wonderfully inspiring picture-book biography about following one’s dreams.  Born in the midst of the great depression in the to a family of southern farm workers, Benny dreamed of moving out into the wider world, but in the … Continue reading

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Pirate Treasure

As early-reader non-fiction goes, this one does a pretty decent job of providing a reasonable amount of information while keeping the readability easy.  Like other Pebble Plus non-fiction, this one offers 3-4 sentences per page, opposite full-page color illustrations.  This … Continue reading

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Sarah and Simon and No Red Paint

It’s a sweet story, in a somewhat vintage sort of way.  It tells the story of the family of an impoverished artist.  Having fallen out with his wealthy uncle who wanted him to go into business, the young artist and … Continue reading

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After the Bell Rings: poems about after-school time

It’s cute.  It’s a series of poems centered around the theme of student down-time, hobbies, homework, and friendships — all topics students will relate to.  The illustrations are cute and cartoonish and inviting.  It offers a fun, non-threatening way to … Continue reading

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Hot Rod Hamster Meets His Match

Not one of my favorites.  The pictures are bright and cheerful, and kids who are familiar with other Hot Rod Hamster books may enjoy it, but it’s one of those books that seems to sacrifice story for the sake of … Continue reading

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Yes! We Are Latinos

A really fabulous book that offers a sampling of the wide variety of backgrounds and circumstances lived by those in the United States who call themselves Latino or Latina. Each of the dozen chapters begins with a first-person (fictional) vignette, … Continue reading

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The Kid from Diamond Street: the extraordinary story of baseball legend Edith Houghton

A beautifully told picture-book biography about a little known bit of sports history.  Even though an all-woman’s baseball league may not have come to be until WWII, when all the men were overseas, but all-women professional teams go back at … Continue reading

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You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Gravity!

Densely packed with a lot of really complex ideas, yet written in a manner that makes that information accessible and non-threatening.  The illustrations a cartoonish, in the style common to the rest of this series, and they offer support for … Continue reading

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Lives of the Scientists: experiments, explosions (and what the neighbors thought)

A fabulous read!  This collective biography introduces readers to twenty famous scientists who shaped the history of human understanding.  The collection does a good job of drawing from a variety of cultures and scientific disciplines, going as far back as … Continue reading

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The Little Bookshop and the Origami Army

What librarian is not going to recommend a book where the characters from books come to life through the power of imagination to rescue the little local book shop from destruction. Little Joey is on his rounds delivering newspapers around … Continue reading

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Alfie’s Lost Sharkie

It’s your basic bed-time stalling story:  when Mom calls Alfie to say it’s time for bed, he insists he must find Sharkie first.  The story consists of the dialogue back and forth between Alfie and Mom before she finally insists … Continue reading

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Malaysia

I’m sorry.  My reason for not recommending this title may seem petty, but given how many different options one has for learning about different countries, I find myself lacking any patience for paying good money for a book with inaccurate/contradictory … Continue reading

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Casualties of War

Lynch’s Vietnam War series concludes with the final narrative of four friends caught in the chaos of war. Casualties of War (Book Four) gives Beck his turn to tell his story. Morris, Ivan and Rudi have told their stories, but … Continue reading

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Old King Cole

A really fun extension of the famous nursery rhyme, I almost rated this as highly recommended, but for a few places where the rhythm of the rhyme is a bit tricky to maintain fluently.  The illustrations include all the famous … Continue reading

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The Paradise Bird

The illustrations are fun and eye-catching, and the story offers readers encouragement to make their own fun.  The story begins with a gathering of ravens sitting around complaining of their boredom, until a brightly-colored, high-spirited strange bird crashes into their … Continue reading

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Bear Can Dance!

The illustrations are bright and cheerful and will invite young readers in, especially those who will be drawn to these familiar characters from other picture books by the same author.  The story is simple, yet shares a positive message about … Continue reading

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Gatos

If you have a significant Spanish speaking population, and/or a group of students trying to learn Spanish, this is a solid choice for an early reader book about cats.  The layout is clean.  The text is simple and straight-forward, well-supported … Continue reading

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When a Dragon Moves In Again

The illustrations are colorful and fun.  The story allows the reader to read between the lines:  if one pays attention carefully to the reactions of the sideline characters, one realizes that the dragon being described by the main character falls … Continue reading

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Growing Your Money

Although I admit this title is unlikely to draw a high level of interest among your average elementary population, and it’s not exactly a part of the usual core curriculum, so it may not find a huge audience, I still … Continue reading

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Automobile

As is often the case with books designed for early readers, the information in this book is so scant as to leave it lacking interest.  It claims to be designed for a fluent reader, but it still only has a … Continue reading

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Feeding the Flying Fanellis

A fanciful series of poems all centered around the theme of a circus, from the viewpoint of the circus chef.  The illustrations are equally fanciful, well-matched in style to the text.  Though the poems may be a bit inconsistent, the … Continue reading

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Curious George Joins the Team

I confess that my review may perhaps be a bit biased, as I am not naturally inclined to approve of authors who take advantage of copyright holdings to use the characters and style of a deceased author to carry on … Continue reading

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Types of Money

In simple text, supported by color photos, this book does an adequate job of describing different kinds of currency, including cash, checks, and credit cards.  It points out the historical use of shells and stones and beads and beans to … Continue reading

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Circles

It’s got a sturdy binding, and it does a decent job of clearly and accurately defining a circle, providing lots of color photos of real-world examples, with the circles brightly highlighted.  The examples are ones small children will easily recognize:  … Continue reading

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Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation

Illustrated by somewhat cartoonish water colors, this picture book biography of our third president is suitable for all ages.  Returning often to Jefferson’s love of farming and making things grow, this book draws many parallels between this passion of his … Continue reading

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