Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill


Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill
by Matt Lilley
illustrated by Dan Tavis
Tilbury House Publishers, 2022
Grades K-5

Good Eating introduces kids to a critical species in the ocean food chain: krill. Writing from the 2nd person point of view, Lilley uses an engaging, conversation style to describe the life cycle of krill. 

"You eat all the smallest things. You eat, eat, eat and swim, swim, swim and grow. You grow another shell. The you eat-grow-swim and swim-grow-eat."

Children will enjoy the cartoon-like illustrations depicting krill with exaggerated eyes and comical expressions. Bold neon blue and green krill are depicted on a black background to illustrate their bioluminescence. When a blue whale enters the story in a dramatic fashion, readers will get a sense of where krill fit into the food chain. 

"A million of you might make a meal for one hungry WHALE!"

This scientific picture book will teach young readers about the importance of krill and why they are considered a "keystone species" in the ocean. Give this book to children who enjoy reading about animals, nature and science. They will want to read it again and again!

Friday, July 22, 2022

New Nonfiction- July 2022


H is for Harlem 
by Dinah Johnson
illustrated by April Harrison
Christy Ottaviano Books

The Greatest Song of All: How Isaac Stern United the World to Save Carnegie Hall
by Megan Hoyt
illustrated by Katie Hickey
Quill Tree Books

Troublemakers in Trousers: Women and What They Wore to Get Things Done
by Sarah Albee
illustrated by Kaja Kajfez
Charlesbridge Publishing

Whose Bones Are Those?
by Chihiro Takeuchi

Semi-Famous: A True Story of Near Celebrity
by Josh Sundquist
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Science Comics: Bridges
by Dan Zettwoch
First Second

If You're A Kid Like Gavin: The Trues Story of a Young Trans Activist
by Gavin Grimm and Kyle Lukoff
illustrated by J Yang
Katherine Tegen Books

Monday, July 18, 2022

A Seed Grows


A Seed Grows
by Antoinette Portis
Neal Porter Books, 2022
Grades PreK-3

The latest science picture book by Sibert honoree, Antoinette Portis, follows a seed as it grows into a sunflower. The circular story begins and ends with a seed falling to the ground to illustrate the life cycle of a plant. Vibrant illustrations using a variety of techniques such as gel printing and potato stamping accompany the simple yet scientific language. Young readers will marvel at the vertical, fold-out page that illustrates the bud blooming into a flower. Back matter includes a diagrams and illustrations of the parts of a sunflower and the life cycle of sunflower for readers who are looking for more information on the topic. A Seed Grows is a well-crafted early science book for emergent readers to read for pleasure or for parents and caregivers to share with the children in their lives. It could also be used in preschool programming in public libraries or in primary school science lessons. 

Friday, July 15, 2022

Grow by Riz Reyes


Written by Riz Reyes; Illustrated by Sara Boccaccini Meadows
Magic Cat Publishing. An imprint of Abrams. 2022

July is the height of gardening here in Maine. So many vegetables are ripening and flowers blossoming, my yard is a palette of red, purple, pink, yellow, and white. What better way to witness first hand how interdependent humans and nature are with one another. Aphids on a plant? No worries. The Ladybug squad arrives and, presto, aphids are gone. In the evenings, I stand on the porch and watch the hummingbirds fill up on nectar from the red bee balm. 

In Grow, Riz Reyes celebrates fifteen plants - mint, lettuce, mushroom, daffodil, pineapple, tomato, apple, kale, carrot, aloe vera, tea plant, maple, bamboo, pumpkin, orchid - that have sustained communities and, in some instances, shaped many cultures around the world. “Plants and flowers, with their extraordinary abilities and powers are superheroes. We often overlook just how remarkable and resilient they can be: doing things we never could and saving our lives simply by existing on this planet.”

Each plant is explained in four pages. The first two pages focuses on the plants unique characteristics and uses. Turning the page we meet other members in that particular plant family and what characters they share, and some interesting facts on how the plant has been used throughout history. I learned so much about each plant. 

This beautiful oversized book offers large, full-page illustrations created in watercolor and gouache paints that will captivate the readers’ attention. 

Another title from Abrams:

Ada Twist, Scientist. The Why Files: All About Plants

By Andrea Beaty and Dr. Theanne Griffith

Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams. 2022

Now a popular series on Netflix, the Ada Twist books were super popular in my public library. The Ada Twist Why Files answers specific questions on the topic. In All About Plants, readers discover everything there is to know about plants. What they eat. Why do some plants have flowers and other don’t. Discover what’s the tallest plant out there! Fully illustrated with a mixture of photographs and drawings, this nonfiction series for early readers will surely be popular. Each title in the series also includes two science experiments. 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Two series that will delight young readers

Sea Turtles
Awesome Animal Lives series
by Marysa Storm
Published by Black Rabbit Books. July 2022

I am going to quote the publisher’s description because I could not put into words the focus of this series any better: 

“An eagle snatches up a mouse in one quick swoop. A hungry wolf pack takes down a deer. Meanwhile, a dolphin dives after some slippery fish. Animals’ lives are full of excitement and danger. Through infographics, powerful photography, and a nonfiction beginning reader format, early/fluent readers can explore the habitats, life cycles, and behaviors of some very awesome animals.”

In 21 pages, the book gives a very brief overview of the book’s topic. The three chapters cover the life of the books’ topic. In Sea Turtles, Chapter One covers The Day in the Life and follows a sea turtle as it looks for food. Chapter Two explains that Sea Turtle travel thousands of miles to find food and swim to their nesting grounds. Chapter Three, Family Life, briefly explains laying eggs and the dangers hatchlings face returning to the sea. 

The short narrative gives enough information to peak a readers interest while text blocks throughout each entry defines words mentioned in the narrative. The dynamic, large color photographs dominate the two-page spreads and really capture ones’ attention.

Included is a brief bibliography of books or websites to learn more, and a glossary.

Another early reader series published by Amicus Ink is Spot Big Birds.

Spot Big Birds
Lisa Amstutz. Amicus Ink. 2022

Written by Lisa Amstutz, readers will be introduced to some popular big birds: Cranes, Herons, Ostriches, Storks, Swans, and Flamingos.  Each book starts with key vocabulary words to help early readers connect images and text. For example, readers are asked to search for a bill, toes, wings, nest. The correlating pictures are related to the specific bird the book is about. 

The color photos fill the pages and show lots of details readers will enjoy seeing. The large black font will be ideal for young readers.

These reinforced binding, informational nonfiction series will excite readers who are curious about animals. 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Sharks: a Mighty Bite-Y History Words by Miriam Forster


Sharks: a Mighty-Bite-Y History
words by Miriam Forster; pictures by Gordy Wright
Abrams. 2022

Sharks: a Mighty Bite-Y History is jam-packed with lots and lots of information about…Sharks! The large format size allows one to become fully absorbed in all the facts and details about these very ancient animals. “They’ve survived extinction, predators, and changing climates.” They have been able to adapt to their environment so well they have been on Earth for a very long, long, long, time.

The illustrations, painted by hand in gouache, scanned, then put together digitally, are colorful and draw readers in to the undersea world. 

Amidst details about a particular shark, the book travels through a timeline, starting with the Cladoselache shark. Alive during the Devonian period (385-359 million years ago), it was up to 6 feel long and feasted on shrimp, fish, eels, and other sharks. In addition to information about particular sharks, every few pages there is a ToolBox that offers lots of facts about sharks. From shark shape, shark skin, shark nurseries to shark size and their senses. Rabid fans will love these details.  

Included are suggestions on ways to help sharks at home (reduce plastic trash when you can) and resources for further reading.

Add this large format book to your library collection. You will discover kids sprawled out in pairs on the floor, pouring over the illustrations and gobbling up the facts. A savory reading and viewing experience for all. Guaranteed!

Monday, July 4, 2022

Revolutionary Prudence Wright by Beth Anderson


Revolutionary Prudence Wright: Leading the Minute Women in the fight for independence
Beth Anderson; Illustrated by Susan Reagan
Calkins Creek. An imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers. 2022

A story of the American Revolution through the eyes of a white woman, Prudence Cummings Wright. 

Born on November 26, 1740, one hundred and ten years after her ancestors came to America, Prudence Cummings was independent. Though she could do all the things expected of a woman of her time - knit, sew, spin, cook - she also attended school, hunted, fished, and was welcomed into the family discussion on politics. 

As King George III of England tightened his grip on the colonies, imposing more taxes and restrictions, the Patriots, those opposed to English rule, organized themselves. When, the Revolutionary War began with the midnight ride of Paul Revere, the men of Pepperell, Massachusetts took up arms to push the Redcoats back to Boston. As rumors spread that “Redcoats were coming! Ransacking homes! Burning shops! Tory spies!” 

Prudence remained. She knew that if any Redcoat or British spy crossed the bridge at Pepperell, the minutemen would be trapped. Organizing the women into the first-ever unit of minute women, they marched to the bridge and guarded it throughout the night. 

Did these brave women catch their spy? You bet!

According to the afterward, “Today, a granite tablet stands near the bridge, reminding all who pass of Prudence Cummings Wright and the minute women of Pepperell.”

Also included is a note on doing research, illustrator’s note, a bibliography of primary and secondary sources, websites and source notes. I do wish the author had mentioned the location of the bridge.

An important addition to American History, this inspiring informational picture book is a riveting read and should find a home on all library shelves.