Monday, October 27, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
by Katherine Roy
David Macaulay Studio (Roaring Brook Press), 2014
The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from her school library.
The shark section gets a lot of traffic in my elementary school library. Many young readers are fascinated by the creatures, so I was excited when I heard about Neighborhood Sharks at a Macmillan preview over the summer. Neighborhood Sharks is not your typical, informational book about sharks. The book focuses on great white sharks that live near the Farallon Islands near San Francisco and includes bold illustrations instead of photographs. The text alternates between narrative and expository writing. After introducing readers to a shark stalking its prey, Roy describes the special features that aid sharks in their search for food: teeth, jaws, sense of smell and more. One page explains how the design of a shark's body is ideal for swiftly swimming though the water. The concept is reinforced in a diagram that compares the body of a shark to the design of a jet plane.
Roy's writing style is engaging and the book packed full of important information about great whites. The complex vocabulary, science concepts and illustrations of seals being eaten make this a book for older elementary school readers (grades two and up). Back matter includes an author's note, list of sources, recommended books and sites, and a map.
Visit Katherine Roy's blog for more information about Neighborhood Sharks.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Written and photographed by Suzi Eszterhas
Frances Lincoln Children's Books. 2014
Preschool to Grade 2
I received these titles from the publisher.
I was excited to see this new series about wild animals and how they grow in their natural habitat for a younger audience. Each book, in the Eyes on the Wild series, begins with the moment the animals is born and follows it until they are grown, ready to be on their own. The book concludes with a one page list of animal facts where it includes a few brief sentences explaining why the animal is endangered and a website for more information. There is no bibliography.
Eszterhas, a well-known wildlife photographer for National Geographic Kids, Ranger Rick, and Your Big Back Yard, fills the books with beautiful color photos. Each picture, some filling the page, perfectly mirrors what she describes in the text.
These books will be useful for the yearly unit on wild animals for primary grade students in my community.
For a list of other titles in the series, visit the author's website.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Author-illustrator Molly Bang has now written four books about the sun’s life-sustaining role in our world. She began with My Light that explained the sun’s role in creating electricity. Partnering with MIT professor Penny Chisholm, the two wrote Living Sunlight: how plants bring the Earth to life and Ocean Sunlight: how tiny plants feed the seas. Living Sunlight is about how the sun gives us life through photosynthesis, the most important process on Earth and how that process connects all of life. Ocean Sunlight explains how phytoplankton, tiny sunlight-fueled plants feed all life in the seas.
Bang's illustrations are colorful and fill every inch of the page. They mirror precisely what is being explained in the text. The best part of the book is the author notes. Six pages further explain what is being discussed in the book.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Take any dog, any dog, for a walk along a sidewalk or in a park, and you won’t be walking much—you’ll be standing there holding a leash while the dog sniffs at every bush and every lamppost.
Friday, October 10, 2014
by Mia Posada
Millbrook Press, 2014
The reviewer received a copy of the book from the publisher.
Young readers will enjoy learning about animals tracks in this engaging science picture books. The writing style alternates between descriptive poems and expository paragraphs as readers try to guess the animals based on the tracks and the clues in the text.
"A saw-toothed swimmer left this trail,
dragging its flat, paddle-shaped tail.
Its family works as a busy team,
piling sticks to build a dam in the stream."
Upon turning the page, readers see an illustration of the animal in its habitat along with information about the animal.
"Beavers have five toes. Their hind feet are webbed to help them swim."
The soft, earth tones and textures in the water color and mixed media collage illustrations make this a book readers will want to revisit, and the tracks are illustrated in actual size. The book contains tracks from animals that live in different habitats including black bears, kangaroos, and hippos. Back matter includes tips for looking for animal tracks and a list of related books and websites.
Pair Who Was Here? with Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman or What in the Wild? by David M. Schwartz.