Friday, October 20, 2017

Review: Egg by Kevin Henkes

9780062408723
$17.99

This masterful and stylistically original picture book introduces young children to four eggs. One is blue, one is pink, one is yellow, and one is green. Three of the eggs hatch, revealing three baby birds who fly away. But the green egg does not hatch. Why not? When the three birds return to investigate, they’re in for a big surprise! What will happen next?

Billed in places as a graphic novel for the younger set, this title is heavy on illustration and light on text. The repetition and prediction make it an excellent confidence-builder for the beginning reader - or even a child who is not reading yet, but who can tell a story with the pictures, and remember the few words read to him. (Yes, Shane, I mean you!)

It is also just a sweet story of friendship, with illustrations that belong on a nursery wall somewhere. Tuck it in an Easter basket for that special little one, or grab it from your library and plan some time to cuddle up together.

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Review: Goodnight Numbers by Danica McKellar, and Alicia Padron

9781101933787
$16.99

This deceptively simple bedtime book, the first in the McKellar Math line, gives your child the building blocks for math success. As children say goodnight to the objects all around them—three wheels on a tricycle, four legs on a cat—they will connect with the real numbers in their world while creating cuddly memories, night after night.

Our kids are all way too young to remember Winnie from The Wonder Years, but that is how most of us first 'met' McKellar. I love, love, love this video telling when she first 'discovered' who she could be outside of that role:


McKellar has written several math books for the middle school age, explaining various math concepts in ways that are aimed to be more accessible and fun than your typical dry textbook. Here, she has branched out into picture books (and soon, for this title at least, board books) to spread the fun of numbers at an early age.

This isn't the only counting and/or bedtime book out there, but it certainly can't hurt to add another to your repertoire. Padron's soft illustrations are colorful and diverse. Children will have fun spying other sets of the same number in each spread - are those six flowers on the tent? Six musical notes? And, can you find all six bunnies? I will be interested to see how it translates into board book form - will the pictures be too tiny to pick details out? Other than that, I think the text will work out perfectly in that format!

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Review: Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

9780763696030
$15.99

Meet Triangle. He is going to play a sneaky trick on his friend, Square. Or so Triangle thinks. . . . With this first tale in a new trilogy, partners in crime Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen will have readers wondering just who they can trust in a richly imagined world of shapes. 

Barnett and Klassen are two of my one of my go-to authors for field trip read-alouds. A little bit snarky, a little bit (okay, a lot) irreverent - one might even say subversive. I just realized, however, that I have never reviewed anything by either one of them! Perhaps because it doesn't take long for their books to become such widespread hits that the world really doesn't need my commentary added.

To be honest, this one isn't my favorite by either, but if I was still teaching I would probably use it in a classroom lesson or two. There are discussion possibilities (When are tricks funny and when are they not?) as well as art (What kinds of landscapes and characters can you create using just simple shapes?) 
Klassen is a whiz with facial expression, especially those eyes! 

Rumor has it this is the first of a series, like I Want My Hat Back, so perhaps the next title will bring things together more - as it stands right now, the ending felt a bit abrupt - the energy suddenly came to a full stop. Still, a worthy addition to your library shelves!

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.



Friday, October 13, 2017

Review: 7 Ate 9 - the Untold Story, by Tara Lazar and Ross MacDonald

9781484717790
$17.99

6 has a problem.
Everyone knows that 7 is always after him. Word on the street is that 7 ate 9. If that's true, 6's days are numbered. Lucky for him, Private I is on the case. But the facts just don't add up.
It's odd.
Will Private I put two and two together and solve the problem . . . or is 6 next in line to be subtracted?

This seems to be my week for punny books. My kids LOVE the old "7 ate 9" joke, and this takes it a dozen steps further. 

"Numbers. They're always stuck in a problem."
"My days are numbered."
"I...ordered a slice of pi."

Groooooan! As expected, the kids devoured it, and were soon repeating half the lines in it. Logan even came up with a couple new puns himself! (Can't imagine where he gets that from). That lines thing up nicely for a language arts/math extension. Can your students think of more number puns? How about letters? (Notice the private "I"!) Shapes? Other math terms?

A fun addition to the home or classroom library, and one you will probably be reading aloud more than once.

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Review: The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt and Adam Rex

9780062438898
$17.99

"I hope you’re wearing your BATTLE PANTS!
You’ve played the game. Now read the legend of the three great warriors who started it all . . .ROCK! PAPER! SCISSORS!"
If Escargot must be read in a French accent, this one requires a good announcer's voice! Each of our mighty ones is the undisputed champion of his domain - but where is the challenge when everyone else is so easily defeated? 

ROCK versus APRICOT! 
"I will beat you, Rock, with my tart and tangy sweetness!"
...
ROCK IS VICTORIOUS
"Ugh, I am smooshed!"
"And yet, smooshing you has brought me no joy."

Enough tongue in cheek humor to keep even the most exhausted parent ready to "read this one again!" Enough plain old silliness to make this a crowd pleaser for all ages. And only Adam Rex could get this much expression and emotion out of a - well, a rock, paper, and scissors. A must-have for every library!

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Review: Escargot by Dashka Slater and Sydney Hanson

9780374302818
$16.99

Bonjour! Escargot is a beautiful French snail who wants only two things:
1. To be your favorite animal.
2. To get to the delicious salad at the end of the book.
But when he gets to the salad, he discovers that there's a carrot in it. And Escargot hates carrots. But when he finally tries one—with a little help from you!—he discovers that it's not so bad after all.

If you do not immediately start reading this book (aloud or in your head) with a heavy French accent, then I have absolutely no hope for you at all. I mean, the very first word is "Bonjour", and just LOOK at that wee beret! And the scarf! Is this not the most adorable snail you have seen all week?

Escargot knows he is beautiful. He even offers, "You can kiss me if you want!" Readers are also invited to stroke Escargot's shell and to make a fierce face, making this a wonderfully interactive story time addition. I can see this becoming a favorite with many children - in fact, it has already circulated three times in three months, meaning Escargot has not spent much time on the shelves looking for a new friend! I even brought it home and read it out loud to my crew and a few visiting friends, and the wild rumpus they had been engaged in came to a screeching halt. When a book can calm a wild rumpus, you know it's a keeper!

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Guest Review: Holes by Louis Sachar


At a recent visit to a local school, Academy del Sol, I invited the students to write guest reviews, and a few have taken me up on it! Here is our first, a review of a perennial favorite, written by Arturo B.:


978-044-041-4803

The book Holes by Louis Sachar is a fiction book about a boy named Stanley Yelnats and his experience at Camp Green Lake which was a camp for boys who have broken the law and did not want to go to jail. Camp Green Lake was in the middle of nowhere: a dry desert with nothing but mountains in sight that were miles and miles away. A boy named Zero became friends with Stanley along with some of the other boys at camp. X-ray was basically the leader to Squid, Armpit, Zig Zag etc. Stanley’s whole time at camp was destiny. He went there for a reason and in the book you find out about his family curse and how he searches for Zero through the desert.

I really enjoyed this book. I have never read it before but I know about most of what happens from the movie, but I would highly recommend the book before the movie. The book has more parts to it so it gives you better details and lets your brain imagine every little detail. My favorite character in the story was Mr. Sir. He was threatening to the kids and he was also kind of funny in the book. His character brought a more stern theme to the book whenever he was around.