Monday, June 30, 2008

Non-Fiction Monday: Activity Books

It’s summer time and school is O-U-T! Lots of you are scrambling for things to fill your children’s time and these two titles are chock full of fun and educational activities for the boring afternoons that are inevitably coming as June moves into July.

Insectigations: 40 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Insect World,
written by Cindy Blobaum is perfect for encouraging your kids to spend some time outside and help them to learn as well. There are tips for catching bugs, making homes for them in terreriums (hope you don’t mind bugs as pets!), using different math techniques to measure the bugs, and all sorts of art activities. Lots of bug facts are also included on the pages, bound to gross out Mom, but totally intrigue the kiddies!

Rainy Day Play: Explore, Create, Discover, Pretend by Nancy F. Castaldo is a great way to entertain the younger kids on a day indoors. Focusing on the 3ish-7ish crowd this guide has art projects, songs, games, and other fun projects to keep smiles on those faces. I really liked the section on “Rainy Day Outdoor Play,” with activities kids can enjoy outdoors when it’s not raining too hard. Moms beware….Mud Pies are on the agenda!

Both of these titles are excellent when in need of entertaining bored kids. They can be used at home with just a few or with a group of kids in a storytime setting with a whole group. Great guides to keep handy!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Picture Book Saturday: New Favorites

I have some new favorites in the picture book world and figured Saturday is the perfect day to share them with you all. I’ve received each of these as either review copies or gifts in the past few months and have fallen in love with each other them. I’ve been reading them to my son and hope that as he grows, he comes to love them as much as I do!


Little Boy was a baby shower gift from my lovely sister-in-law and one story that is oh-so-true to life! Written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Peter Reynolds (the creators of the much loved Someday), Little Boy chronicles a father watching his son go through a typical day. So much depends on the little things in life that occupy the boy’s attention, such as a yellow cup, and starship pajamas, all going back to the simplest of all: a big, cardboard box. Parents will love the nostalgia aspect; kids will love the repetition of the big, cardboard box!

When I first started reading Everybody Bonjours! written by Leslie Kimmelman and illustrated by Sarah Mcmenemy, I wasn’t so sure I was going to like it. It seemed like the type of story that might get...um…a bit irritating after being read out loud a couple of times. However, after I completed the book, I did have the little tune the words created in my head, but I loved it! While a young girl and her parents are visiting the major tourist destinations in Paris, she learns that everyone greets them with the French word for “hello.” The text rhymes and is extremely catchy, by the end of the book everyone will be shouting out “Everybody Bonjours!”

Willow, written by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennean and illustrated (beautifully) by Cyd Moore, is a charming story about releasing one’s inner creativity. Willow loves art class, even though it is taught by the most “un-creative” teacher. Always using her imagination, Willow takes her art assignments and runs with them, creating lovely pink trees and blue apples, much to the dismay of her teacher, who believes green trees and red apples are the correct way. With a little help from Willow, her teacher learns that being creative and using one’s imagination is not a bad thing, but instead, lots of fun! Filled with bright and vibrant illustrations, this one was an instant winner with me! Great for read alouds too.

My final selection this week is also a favorite and written by a favorite author-Eve Bunting. Emma’s Turtle is the adorable tale of a happy pet turtle living in her owner, Emma’s, backyard. The turtle decides to go on a bit of an adventure after learning of the faraway lands Emma is always reading about, ultimately digging a hole and crawling out of her pen. Within minutes of leaving, the turtle believes he has reached Africa, then Australia, and India. Children will be able to understand that the turtle has not even left the yard, but rather is experiencing simple, everyday items that he believes are more exotic than they really are. Your kids will feel as if they are in on a joke that the turtle has missed, leaving them laughing as he finally realizes his mistake. A truly adorable story from Eve Bunting and illustrator Marsha Winborn

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dogs Galore!


If you haven’t been reading my blog for very long, it won’t take but a few weeks for you to find out how much I love dogs and how many dog related books I review. The genre doesn’t matter to me, as long as the dog takes center stage, as it does in this beautiful book by Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson.

Little Lions, Bull Baiters, & Hunting Hounds: A History of Dog Breeds, is a fabulous overview of all different kinds of breeds, their traits, what they were bred for, and where they originated (along with a myriad of other facts), accompanied by beautiful illustrations. Distinct groups are covered, including hunting, herding, working, and companion dogs.

Though aimed at children, this book can be enjoyed by all ages…and not just as a reference material. I really liked just reading through the different breeds and learning about my favorite types of dogs, as well as all sorts of fun facts I never knew about all different breeds.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Summer of Cotton Candy

Debbie Viguie has written the first novel in a promising new Christian young adult series, entitled The Summer of Cotton Candy. Filled with all sorts of goodies teen girls will love, plus it has a very tasteful faith base.

Candace Thompson is being forced by her father to get a summer job and when she ends up as a cotton candy server at The Zone, a local amusement park, she knows her dreams of a great summer are completely dashed. Her new job cuts into all of her time, including time spent with her best friend, who begins to resent Candace’s new job, not to mention time at church. The Zone does have some perks however, including some romance, when Candace develops a crush on the mystery man with the great eyes, who just happens to be wearing a huge Lone Ranger costume.

Viguie has created a character that is very much like today’s Christian teen girls. Candace is interested in her social life and boys, but also bases her life and her daily decisions on God’s word. There are stumbles along the way, much like true life, but are eventually resolvable. The Summer of Cotton Candy is a super sweet start to the Sweet Seasons series

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society

Fans of Debbie Macomber and Thomas Kinkade rejoice, there’s a new kid in town! Beth Pattillo has created a new cast of characters in a cozy little town, The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society is perfect for any reader looking for that down home sorta feeling.

The ladies of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society know how to do two things well: knit and read literature. When the head of the group, town librarian Eugenie, introduces a rebel teenager into the mix, promising the group can teach her to knit, as well as read the classic girlhood books the teen has missed out on, the other women balk. As they help Hannah learn how to knit projects, read classics, and become a strong woman, each woman learns more about herself and her unique situation. While they encourage Hannah that she can take hold of her own life and not let her past determine her future, the ladies slowly learn how to practice what they preach.

Chock full of knitting talk, as well as a revisiting of all the childhood books we have loved over the years, Sweetgum and its characters create a book you’ll fall in love with. I really enjoyed this one!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Winners!!!

WOW! 107 bloggers entered my giveaway, which is amazing! I'm really sorry to the two who entered this morning, you were a bit too late...we have to have deadlines or the contest would never end! After randomly choosing five numbers from a box, these are my five winners:

Chelsie
Tasses
Serena
Paperxxflowers
Abby

Please send me your snail mail addresses via email (AmandaLSnow@yahoo.com) and I will make sure your book gets to you shortly! YAY! Thanks to everyone who entered!

Non-Fiction Monday: Monkeys!

I’ve recently come across two great books about those wonderful creatures we know as apes, one aimed more towards the younger group, being a picture book, the other more towards middle grade, though both can be appreciated by kids and adults of all ages.

The first, I’m Lucy: A Day in the Life of a Young Bonobo is written by Mathea Levine and includes wonderful photographs by Marian Brickner. Through short sentences and great photos, the reader literally gets to witness a day in Lucy, a 2 year old bonobo’s life. Kids will love seeing pictures of Lucy and her cousin Kaleb getting into mischief and being loved on by their mamas. A very sweet, yet educational picture book.


The second title, Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Great Apes, is written by Pamela S. Turner and part of Houghton Mifflin’s “Scientists in the Field" series. Like I’m Lucy, Gorilla Doctors includes both text and awesome photographs of great apes in need of help, while in the wild. The reader is able to learn not only about the lives of the apes, but also about the processes and procedures doctors, scientists, and activists go through to prevent the Great Apes from becoming extinct. A great choice for projects, as well as leisure reading.

The Hound of Rowan

While on a trip to an art museum with his dad, Max McDaniels comes across an interesting tapestry that seems to glow when he looks at it. Soon after, he receives a most unusual invitation to a school, far away in New England. So starts The Hound of Rowan: Book One of the Tapestry the first title in a promising new series by Henry Neff. After much debate and discussion with a strange representative from the school, Max makes the decision to attend Rowan Academy, where he will take care of a magical creature, train his newfound abilities on the Course, make friends with kids from all over the world, and ultimately build up power against the Enemy. Filled with ogres, crazy classes, and intimidating teachers, from page one this book had me turning pages, earnestly wanting to find out what was to happen next. I am now a huge fan of Max McDaniels!

Do we have any Harry Potter fans out there? I'm sure there are lots of you! When I first picked up The Hound of Rowan: Book One of the Tapestry by Henry Neff, I was afraid of a miserable Potter rip-off. The similarities to the much-loved series seemed quite high and I was really worried that I would end up putting the book down after only a couple of chapters, disappointed with a failed look alike. The exact opposite happened. True, the similarities to the Harry Potter premise are somewhat high. A boy, a school, an enemy, becoming friends with outcasts, having extreme powers, etc. There is still a uniqueness to the story and even with the similarities, the writing is excellent and is bound to draw you in. I fell in love with a new series, but unlike Harry Potter, where I now have seven books at my disposal, this one is fairly new, the second book isn't even due out until September. Head to your library or bookstore to check this one out, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Don't Forget!

My giveaway of The Adoration of Jenna Fox ends tonight at midnight, mountain time. I'll be picking five winners tomorrow morning, so hopefully you'll hear from me! Click on the above link to enter.

Veggies!

Henry and the Hidden Veggie Garden is written by Kimberly Williams-Paisley (yes, that would be Mr. Brad Paisley's wife) and illustrated by Gurney Williams III. Together, they tell the story of Henry, a boy who loves junk food and hates eating vegetables. In fact, he doesn't even know what a lot of vegetables are! When Henry's mother decides it's time for some changes, she sends him to spend some time with his cousin Huck who lives on a big farm in the country.

Henry is very unsure about a lot of the things he sees on the farm, especially all the vegetables and how much Huck loves them. When Huck tells Henry a little secret about all those vegetables, Henry's mind is changed and he slowly starts to see what everyone else does in the yummy foods.

The premise of this book is good, getting kids to eat veggies, I only have one real complaint, that being that on a lot of pages, the text portion is quite long. From my experience, that can cause kids to lose interest after awhile. I think the same thoughts could be conveyed in shorter paragraphs. Just an opinion though! Other than that, it's a pretty decent offering, especially considering it was written by a celebrity. We librarians and bloggers all know how that usually turns out!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Picture Book Saturday

Ooooh I'm on time this week. Amazing!

Can You Cuddle Like a Koala written and illustrated by John Butler, is simply adorable. I'm all about the simplicity, yet cuteness of having your child imitate the actions the animals do throughout the story. "Can you cuddle like a koala and hold on tight? Can you creep like a mouse in the pale moonlight?" The illustrations are soft, not too vibrant or bright. A perfect cuddling-up-before-bed book! My son already is having this read to him several times a week...and he's still in an incubator!

The Sea Serpent and Me, written by Dashka Slater and illustrated by Catia Chien, was another thoroughly enjoyable read. An itsy-bitsy sea serpent comes out of the spout while a little girl is in the bathtub and the pair instantly become friends. The girl promises to bring the serpent back to his home in the ocean as soon as it stops rainy, but as the rainy days continue, the pair becomes closer and don't want to be separated. They must decide what is best for the serpent, life with his new friend, or life at home.

This one was really cute and the pictures are adorable. Kids will love how the serpent keeps growing at a rapid pace...very funny!

Finally, Topsy-Turvy Bedtime is written by Joan Levine and illustrated by Tony Auth. I guarantee your children will love the premise of this book, where the children and the parents swap roles. Arathusela hates going to bed and when her parents give her the opportunity to play parent for the night and put them to bed, she jumps at it. She orders her parents to brush their teeth, right when their favorite show is starting, put on their pajamas and get in bed, far before they want to.

The story is hilarious and the illustrations are perfect, but beware, after reading this story to your kids, they are going to want to try the same experiment! Get ready for bed Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Madapple

I loved this one! It was quite an unexpected love too, after reading the description I just didn't think it would be one to really grab me. I was completely wrong! If you or your teen is looking for an incredible page turner, this is definitely one to grab.

Madapple, written by Christina Meldrum, is unlike any book I have read before. Aslaug is a very unusual 15 year old, living with her mother in almost complete isolation. Her mother is very ill and relies only on plants to attempt to heal herself. She has taught Aslaug only about these plants and a realm of languages, nothing about life or skills that would help Aslaug in society onces her mother dies. When the inevitable does indeed happen, Aslaug is implicated in her mother's death, then in additional deaths as the story progresses. She goes to live with her estranged Aunt and cousins, attempting to fit in with a family she has never known, in a society she knows absolutely nothing about. Experiencing love for the first time, deceit, hurt, and heartbreak, Aslaug quickly learns that nothing is as it seems and trust is something to be earned, not given.

Told in chapters alternating between the past and Aslaug's current murder trial, readers will be flipping pages faster and faster as the book progresses. Completely unpredictable, you never know what will happen next and each chapter will leave you in awe. It's hard to write truly unique novels these days, but this one takes unique to a whole new level.

The intensity of the book may turn away some readers, as there is a lot of information on different plants, languages, and religions, but the depth pays off. I really loved this book and can definitely see it winning awards in the future.

Monday, June 16, 2008

HUGE Giveaway!!

YAYYY!! It's been ages since I've done a giveaway and what a way to get back into doing them than with a 5 book offering!? If you haven't seen the review I did of The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson, then please click on the link to check it out, then comment on this post and I'll enter you to win one of 5, yes 5, copies!! I absolutely loved the book and would love to see five of you win it, read it, and love it as well!



Leave a comment on this post by Sunday evening and I'll draw 5 winners Monday morning. YAY for giveaways!!!

She Touched the World

There are not many people in the world today that have not heard of Helen Keller and her struggles with being both deaf and blind. Few however, myself included, have never heard of Laura Bridgman, a deaf and blind pioneer, who experienced many of the things Keller did, and became quite famous during her time. She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer, written by Sally Hobart Alexander and Robert Alexander, showcases a beautiful, interesting girl that paved the way for all those living with disabilities.

Bridgman was began her life as a normal child, without the devastating disabilities she became known for, however a terrible case of scarlet fever stole both her vision and her hearing, along with most of her senses of both taste and smell, when she was only a young girl. It was thought that she would never again be able to communicate with her family and the outside world, but after several years was taken in by a famous doctor that had started America’s first school of the blind. Bridgman soon became famous, having made remarkable strides in her studies and her capability of communication, resulting in people flocking from all over the country to see her.

This biography is very well written, not to mention being based on an incredibly interesting human being. It reads like a story, rather than a dry bio, and will definitely hold a reader’s attention. It’s typically difficult to get children to read biographies, though this one is certain to be popular and hopefully the source for future school reports. I would have loved to write a paper on this amazing woman, had I ever heard of her!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Itch

In Itch by Michelle Kwasney, Delores, better known to her family and friends as "Itch," lives with her grandparents in Florida. Her mother took off when she was just a baby and she has lived with Gram and Gramps ever since. Itch likes her life in Florida, where Gramps teaches her about cars and she has a best friend that she gets along great with. When Gramps dies suddenly, her Gram moves them from Florida to Ohio to live in a trailer park next to Gram's sister. Everything in her life is changing and Itch isn't quite sure she likes it, no longer having her beloved Gramps or her best friend to help her through the days. That is until she meets Gwendolyn, a baton-twirling champion her age that Itch knows is destined to become her friend. Unfortunately, Gwendolyn is hiding a terrible secret, one that puts Itch in a precarious position once she learns of it. Together, the girls try to figure out a way to fix Gwendolyn's problem and still try to remain friends.

Itch moved at a bit too slow of a pace for my liking. With great characters and a well-developed plot, I enjoyed the story as a whole, but often had to put the book down to read something else, simply because the plot was moving too slow. However, it was still enjoyable and one that middle grade girls will most appreciate.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Picture Book Saturday

I love sharing picture books, sometimes even more than I love sharing other books, just because I know the joy that can come out of reading a great book with your little one. My own son is still in his isolette at the hospital, but that hasn't stopped me from reading to him every day and seeing the difference the reading makes in his vital signs is an awesome gift! Here are three great books for story time with your little ones!

Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar, is written and illustrated by Clare Jarrett and offers a wonderful look into the process of metamorphosis. When Arabella Miller finds a tiny caterpillar, she brings it home as her new friend. She feeds it lots of leaves and watches it get bigger and stronger every day. When her caterpillar friend disappears inside his chrysalis, Arabella misses him, but is astounded when he emerges as a beautiful butterfly.

The vibrant and bold illustrations accompany great rhyming text, perfect for kids who like to memorize cute books like this! There are a couple of iffy spots, where the rhyming is a bit forced, but the kids won't notice, just picky reviewers such as I! A very enjoyable read, especially great for summertime, when butterflies will be emerging all over the place.

Now we all now about my love of dogs and Bark Park, written and illustrated by Karen Ruelle, is a great supplement to my teeny obsession. Kids that love animals will get a kick out of this fun book that incorporates cheerful illustrations with great rhymes about all different kinds of dogs that can be found at a dog park. The premise is simple, but the book is adorable and one I've already read to my son. Gotta get him started on the dog loving early! The book can also be used as a tool to teach about different breed attributes.

The final selection for this week, is another great choice for summer, Going on a Journey to the Sea, written by Jane Barclay and illustrated by Doris Barrette. A young boy is very excited because he and his sister are on their way to the beach. First they must take the train, then a bus, and then ride bikes until they finally reach the sand and water they have been anticipating. The pair build sandcastles, eat yummy ice cream, and, of course, go swimming!

The rhymes are great, as are the beautiful "sea-like" watercolor illustrations. My only complaint about this book is that it appears the brother and sister are going on their journey to the sea all by themselves! No adult ever makes an appearance...a little strange, but I'm sure children won't notice that aspect. Overall, a very enjoyable and sweet summer story.

That's it for this week, more great picture books next week!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Baby Jacob Update

It feels like this whole crazy journey just started yesterday, but it's actually already been almost a month! Jacob will be a month old on Saturday and though he hasn't made a whole lot of changes, things are going alright with his health and Mommy and Daddy's sanity. He finally made it over the 2 pound mark, a very big milestone for my little munchkin! Unfortunately, his breathing is still not doing very well, so as of yesterday they started him on a steroid burst to try and get him off ventilation. Every day he has a tube in his throat, the more likely he will end up with chronic lung disease and we definitely don't want that. The steroids will hopefully move him quickly from the high powered oscillator to a lower powered regular ventilator, then to CPAP nasal prongs, then just to oxygen. He is still so small though, no one knows how he will handle all that activity.

On the positive side, he is gaining weight fairly quickly and doing great on his feedings. I can't wait to actually be able to feed him myself, but for now the breast pump is my best friend and the feeding tube is Jacob's! We've gotten pretty good at changing diapers through the isolette windows and Daddy is a champ at temp readings and tube tape adjustments. Jacob also spends a lot more time with his eyes open, which is a lot of fun for us! I think they're blue....he looks so much like his Daddy, I'm hoping he at least has that part of me!

That's all the updates for now. Enjoy the pictures!

Monday, June 9, 2008

With Endless Sight

With Endless Sight, a new book in the much loved Crossroads of Grace series by Allison Pittman, concludes the fascinating story started a few years ago. A lovely Christian fiction series, filled with educational facts as well, I'm sure you won't be able to put it down, once started!

Belleville, Illinois and Wyoming Territories, 1861

Born into a life of privilege, fourteen-year-old Belinda never questions her security, even as she leaves Illinois with her family to discover new adventures in the Oregon Territory . But when disaster falls, Belinda is left wounded, weak, and alone. Her faith in God gives her the only strength she knows in a harsh new world.

Belinda’s journey takes her to a snow-covered mining camp and a red-roofed brothel in the Wyoming mountains, but not before she must spend a lonely winter with the man who took away the life she knew. Throughout the grief and hope of a strange land, Belinda must decide if her faith is big enough to allow her to forgive.

The satisfying conclusion to the Crossroads of Grace series, With Endless Sight offers a rich story of family, new beginnings, and the freedom that grace can bring.

Click on the picture and it will take you straight to Amazon!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Little Wing

This is one of the books I’ve read this year that I will be recommending to everyone I know, especially those that are new moms or about to be new moms. Though listed as a young adult book, Little Wing by Joanne Horniman definitely reads more adult and apparently has a companion novel out there, that believe me, I’ll be looking for as soon as I can.

Sixteen year old Emily is living with her godmother, Charlotte, after leaving her boyfriend Matt and new daughter, Mahalia. She is severely depressed, suffering from incredible postpartum depression and is not only unable to care for her daughter, but also unable to really care for herself. Doing nothing but sleeping, eating, and walking, Emily slowly has become a shell of her old self, never understanding why she feels so disconnected from Mahalia, but desperately yearning to learn to love her. On one of her walks, Emily meets Martin and his young son Pete, a pair that allow Emily to be herself, depression and all, never asking her to return to the old Emily, never having known that version. As the weeks pass, Emily learns whether or not she can ever be the same again, or ever love her daughter.

Though sad and solemn, Little Wing is incredibly well-written and one that I devoured. Having just had a baby myself and due to his prematurity, being forced to be disconnected from him, there was much I could relate to and understand within Emily’s situation. The companion novel, Mahalia, apparently tells the side of the story from Matt, Emily’s boyfriend’s, point of view. If it’s as well-written as this one, it’s guaranteed to be a winner!

Originally published in Australia in 2006, Little Wing is now availble here in the good old USA!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Healing Water: A Hawaiian Story

For those of you that enjoyed Molokai and would either like to read a child's version of life on the leprosy island or would like your children to learn about the events that took place during that time period in Hawaii, Healing Water by Joyce Moyer Hostetter would be a great choice.

When thirteen year old Pia is diagnosed with leprosy, he knows his Hawaiian life will never be the same. Shipped to Molokai, with the rest of the leprosy patients, he will never again be able to see his family or friends, and is forced to leave all of his childhood behind, instantly becoming a man. Worst of all, his newfound disease has caused the only male role model in his life, Kamaka, to shun him, leaving Pia hurt, confused, and more lonely than ever.

On Molokai, Pia learns that in order to survive in a world without law, rules, or parents, he must lie and steal. His feelings of abandonment grow and he gets himself involved in events and with people that are definitely down the wrong path. The reality of Pia's life is probably incredibly close to what the reality of the actual Molokai island life was like, making for a very solemn story.

Educational and interesting, this is a great story for older juvenile readers, young adults, and you adults as well. I read and enjoyed Molokai and really liked being able to see the story from a child's perspective.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mysterious Benedict Society, Number 2!

I loved the first installment of Trenton Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society books and this second installment was pretty fantastic as well. Lots of adventure, thrills, and more of those brilliant children we've all come to love!

Book two, titled The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, does in fact, take the reader on quite the journey! Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance reunite about a year after the first book finished, ready to go on a scavenger hunt their beloved Mr. Benedict has set up for them. Unfortunately, once the pair gets together, instead of a fun game, they must complete the scavenger hunt in order to find Mr. Benedict, who has been kidnapped by the evil Mr. Curtain. The quartet boards a ship and ends up on a journey around the world, searching for their leader. All of the enemies from the first book are back and extra nasty, but the tricks the kids have up their sleeves are even more impressive, making for an awesome adventure.

I love these books and I'm already looking forward to the next one. If a book keeps me turning pages, involves me in the minds of the characters, and puts a smile on my face, it's a definite winner. Children will love this book, whether or not they've read the first book.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Non-Fiction Monday: Dogs, Cats, and Bugs!

Three very different animal books to share today, each very cool in itself, but also part of three different series that will be assets to any home or library.

First, Florida Panthers: Struggle for Survival, written by William Caper, is part of the “America’s Animal Comebacks” series, published by Bearport Press. The series features eight additional titles, including those on Bald Eagles, Florida Manatees, and Southern Sea Otters. This particular title, on the panther, is definitely an eye-opener and one that would be great for just perusing or for report writing.

There is text on both each page, though written in fairly large letters, with vocabulary words bolded, making it quite easy to read. There is not an overload of information, which is nice, and beautiful photographs of panthers and their environments are showcased alongside the text. There are also small boxes with bits of trivia included, such as “the Florida Panther is the most endangered animal in the state.” A glossary and additional resource page are also included in the back of the book.

The next book, Dog Scouts of America, written by Shelley Bueche and Chris Puls, is part of the “Dog Heroes” series, published by Bearport Press. There are 14 additional titles in this series (which is very popular at our library), including books on sled dogs, Hollywood dogs, and water rescue dogs.

This titles allows the reader to “walk through” how a dog can actually become a Dog Scout of America, from the original decision as to which dog to train, the actual training involved, and then subsequent tasks the dog must perform once deemed a dog scout. There are great photographs, showing the different jobs the dogs perform, as well as a listing of common Dog Scout breeds, a vocab list, and an additional resource list. Kids love these books, not just because they are about dogs (always a popular topic), but because many don’t realize their dogs could actually work, just like people do.

The last title for this week is on one of my favorite bugs, the ladybug. Helpful Ladybugs, written by Molly Smith, is part of the “No Backbone! The World of Invertebrates” series, published by Bearport Press. There are 9 additional titles in this series (again, quite popular at our library), including titles on killer bees, cockroaches, and stink bugs.

Kids love bug books and this one is no exception. We get to learn all about a ladybug’s lifestyle through huge, gorgeous photographs, accompanied by short text and info bubbles. My favorite part of the book was the glossary, which is also filled with pictures. I’m just like the kids…a sucker for the pictures!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Picture Book...Uh...Sunday?

Yeah, so I'm late a day, but I do still have two picture book reviews for you all. Both books are published by Clarion and just came out in May, so you should have no problem finding them. Both are very cute and worth reading!

Frederick Finch, Loudmouth, written by Tess Weaver and illustrated by Debbie Tilley is an excellent choice for those parents wanting to explain to their children how to be their selves, no matter how unique they may be. Frederick is jealous of all of his family members, as each one is always able to bring home ribbons from the county fair, but he can't manage to win anything, even though he enters contest after contest. The only talent Frederick seems to have is being loud and absolutely no one appreciates that! When a contest becomes available that may just be perfect for Frederick he finds a way to be himself AND bring home a ribbon.

The illustrations accompanying the text are perfect, portraying the family members, and especially Frederick, in such a silly way that kids hearing the story will be giggling all over the place. When reading this, I didn't feel I did Frederick's loudness justice, but the kids still really enjoyed it!

The Boy Who Wouldn't Swim, written and illustrated by Deb Lucke, is an equally silly book that will be another hit at storytimes, especially this summer. Though it's ridiculously hot outside and his family spends every day, all day, at the local swimming pool, Eric refuses to swim. He won't sit in the water, walk in the water, or even take swimming lessons, though he'll watch his family and friends lounging in the cool water. Nothing can convince Eric to get in the water, not even his insane jealousy over his sister's perfect doggy-paddling. At the end of the summer, Eric finally decides to wade into the baby pool, where the water is up to his ankles and the babies give him dirty looks, finally convincing him to attempt the bigger pool.

The illustrations are perfectly goofy and the story is super silly. Perfect for storytimes and any other read aloud. The kids will be cheering for Eric by the end of the story, though laughing at him on every other page.