Friday, December 22, 2017


Like the other "ology" books, Knightology will hit its mark with readers young and old alike.  Looking for a last minute gift for under the tree?  Look no further!

Title: Knightology
Author: Sir Lancelot Marshal, Master of the Secret Order of the Round Table (...I'm a little skeptical on this point)
Published 2017 by Candlewick Press
ISBN: 978-0-7636-9848-5

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse

I haven’t read a Barnett/Klassen collaboration I didn’t love and this is certainly no different!  Kids will love the concept of a mouse and duck living out their days safely inside of a wolf.  And come to the end, they’ll also find it to be a modern day porquoi tale explaining the howling of the wolf (in agony due to the party happening round the clock in his stomach).  I’m a big fan of dark humor for kids and Klassen never fails to disappoint in the dark humor department.  Bravo gentlemen, another work of art for our youngest readers and their adults will love it too!

Title: The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse
Author:  Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Published 2017 by Candlewick Press
ISBN: 978-0-7636-7754-1

This book was sent from the publisher for review purposes.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

La La La

What a gorgeous book!  And the author’s and illustrator’s notes flesh out the inspirations behind both the story and the illustrations.  The power of song to help overcome loneliness (and fear) is a remarkable trait.  The feeling of finding a counterpart, someone who answers your song and creates a harmony is worth the journey and the struggle.  La La La is not just a story of hope (as is indicated on the cover) but also a story of persistence.  The stunning artwork of Jaime Kim brings this book to life.  

Title: La La La
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator: Jaime Kim
Published 2017 by Candlewick Press
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5833-5

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Harry Potter Quidditch: Magical Film Projections

Who doesn’t love reading with a flashlight?  The magical film projections of Harry Potter Quidditch make a flashlight a must.  Hold the book flat with one page up and shine a light through to project the scene onto a wall and read the script along with it.  There is even a space to draw your own scene with a dry erase marker.  Kids can learn about light and refraction through the transparency while they read and view too.  This is the perfect gift for the Harry Potter fan who already has everything Harry Potter!

Title: Harry Potter Quidditch: Magical Film Projections
Author: From J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World
Published  2017 by Candlewick Press
ISBN: 978-0-7636-9587-3

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Where’s Waldo? Destination Everywhere: Twelve Classic Scenes as You’ve Never Seen Them Before

Welp, I am on a long car trip and reading and reviewing in the car (as I tend to do to pass time on long car trips).  I am squeezed in the back between my two kids as we are driving my mom too so she is up front.  I pulled out Where’s Waldo and my daughter instantly said, “Oooohhh!  Can I find him, give it to me!” So, lest you have any hesitation about the staying power of Waldo, wonder no more.  With an original publication of 1987, 30 years later, Waldo is still hiding and kids are still clamoring to find him.  Also, a popular Halloween costume, Waldo has found his way to being a pop culture icon.  Even if we can’t find him because of all those darned red, blue, and white masterful illustrations.  Are you looking forward to a long car ride around the holidays?  Unwrap Waldo Christmas morning and your kids will have car entertainment for the day!

Title: Where’s Waldo? Destination Everywhere: Twelve Classic Scenes as You’ve Never Seen Them Before 
Author: Martin Handford
Published 2017 by Candlewick Press
ISBN: 978-0-7636-9726-6

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Great American Foot Race

Ballyhoo!  Approximately 90 years ago, C.C. Pyle, the sports promoter of football player, Red Grange, devised a marathon to beat all marathons from coast to coast of the United States, in part to promote the development of Route 66 and tourism across the country.  He believed the country was on the verge of marathon madness, but instead they and he were on the verge of collapse, both from exhaustion related to the race and the financial collapse that was to come for the country.  Nonetheless, his story and that of the race itself explains the origins of sports promoting, or really, sports agents who got the best of the best the best deals in the game.  With an extensive bibliography and source notes, The Great American Foot Race is a peek into the past that many might otherwise miss.  I found it fascinating and I hope you do too!

Title: The Great American Foot Race
Author: Andrew Speno
Published 2017 by Calkins Creek
ISBN: 978-1-62979-602-4

This book was sent from the publisher for review purposes.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Pedal Power: How One Community Became the Bicycle Capital of the World

I was a big fan of Drummond’s “Energy Island” and “Pedal Power” has a similar feel, informational with an environmental penchant.  Having once visited Amsterdam, I can attest to the obvious.  There are a lot of bikes there.  The story behind how that came to be is an interesting one.  The peaceful protests brought attention to the issue, especially a dinner party in the middle of the road and a road blockage involving children to institute “play streets”.  But the tipping point may have had more to do with the fuel shortage when the roads were closed to cars in Amsterdam.  The combination of these factors made the climate just right for a more bike friendly Amsterdam.  Allan Drummond’s illustrations seem to open with the problems in isolated small picture fashion, moving to the collective problem solving and community coming together to rally around a mother and her cause.  The illustrations wrap up with the isolated pictures again but showing the movement take seed and spread to other communities around the globe.  I am happy to report that my own small corner of the world in Horsham, PA now has a bike share program through the public library.  The author’s note gives more details about how Allan Drummond came to this story which was a meandering road.  I love when the destination is so different than where you think you are going.  Drummond wanted to write about the thrill of riding a bike in the city, and THIS is where he ended up!  

Title: Pedal Power: How One Community Became the Bicycle Capital of the World
Author: Allan Drummond
Published 2017 by Farrar Straus Giroud
ISBN: 9780374305277

This book was sent from the publisher for review purposes.

Friday, December 15, 2017

What Makes a Monster

The second book in The World of Weird Animals Series is a fabulous follow up to Pink is for Blobfish.  What Makes a Monster?  asks the reader to define what makes some animals seem more monstrous to us than others.  Among some clear cut monstrous animals like the assassin bug and the vampire bat is humans.  Humans and their big brains an ability to create more and more sophisticated weapons makes us, perhaps, the most dangerous of all.  While this book does include a glossary of useful words, it neglects to include any sources or references.

Title: What Makes a Monster?
Author: Jess Keating
Illustrators: David DeGrand
Published 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN: 978-0-553-51230-4

This book was sent from the publisher for review purposes.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

How to Survive as a Firefly

I sure do love a drill sergeant firefly.  Toward the end of the story, we learn that his urgency has as much to do with the serious nature of the content as it does the short amount of time an adult firefly has in this lifetime.  The comical and comic style illustrations help the reader to relate to the young larvae as they stick out their tongues, carry a grass blankie, and joke about their glowing bums (abdomens really).  Kristen Foote packs information into each page in a format that is engaging and fun.  How to Survive as a Firefly is a sure hit with young readers and fans of Fly Guy and I’m Trying to Love Spiders.  The author chose not to include a bibliography and instead to note the experts who were consulted and their credentials.

Not to be confused with Lauren Tarshis’ I Survived series…

Title: How To Survive as a Firefly
Author: Kristen Foote
Illustrator: Erica Salcedo
Published 2017 by The Innovation Press
ISBN: 978-1-943147-32-8

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

This is How We Do It

As I read This is How We Do It, the wheels in my head began spinning of the ways this book could easily be incorporated into a Social Studies unit of how children around the world do any number of things as compared to how kids in the US do those same things.  In fact, I began designing a curriculum based entirely around this book (all in my head but a girl can dream!).  The inclusion of photographs of the real children and their real families toward the back of the book made it all even more REAL.  If you, like me, are planning to design some stellar Social Studies lessons centered around This is How We Do It, here are the overarching Big Ideas:
  • Where I Live
  • Who I Live With
  • What I Wear to School
  • What I Eat for Breakfast
  • How I Go To School
  • My Teacher
  • How We Learn
  • How I Spell My Name
  • What I Eat for Lunch
  • How I Play
  • How I Help
  • How We Eat Dinner
  • What I Do In the Evening
  • Where I Sleep
  • My Night Sky (spoiler - it’s the same everywhere!)

So many ideas!  Our kindergarten teachers, for many many years, did a unit on another country, but found over time that some parts of the unit were based more on cultural traditions but they left students with the idea that that is how those children dress every day and eat ever day and…you get the idea.  I find this particular text to be current and fitting, representative of many different cultures and appropriate for children to learn more about their world.  If you get a chance, check out This is How We Do It.

Title: This is How We Do It
Author: Matt Lamothe
Published 2017 by Chronicle Books
ISBN: 978-1-4521-5018-5

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Secret Life of the Red Fox

The summary on the inside flap of the book jacket states, “The life of the red fox is a mystery to most people.”  I guess that is true, but I actually find myself sighting red foxes relatively often.  My school has a resident red fox that likes to visit the playground, forcing indoor recess, when I went to the gym early in the morning, I would often see a red fox in the tall grass to the left of the drive, and at a swim club this summer, a red fox seemed to want to play with the children and comes there often.  Perhaps as a part of what is becoming sprawling suburbia, we have foisted our developments a smudge too far and have made new neighbors.  Well, I know that to be true.  With that said, beyond seeing the red fox in “my territory,” I don’t get the opportunity to witness other aspects of the red fox’s lifestyle so Laurence Pringle’s words and Kate Garchinsky’s illustrations encapsulate a day in the life well.  In the section “More about the Red Fox” there is mention of the sounds foxes make and I recall a time when I first heard the sound baby fox kits make playing.  If you’ve never heard it, you will wonder if you’re about to happen upon a murder scene.  It’s terrifying.  What does the fox say?  I hope you never hear it.  But The Secret Life of the Red Fox, I hope you get the chance to read it.

Title: The Secret Life of the Red Fox
Author: Laurence Pringle
Illustrator: Kate Garchinsky
Published 2017 by Boyds Mills Press
ISBN: 978-1-62979-260-6

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Monday, December 11, 2017

John Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien

John Ronald (J.R.R. Tolkien) spent his life looking for dragons until one day, inspired, he began to write his own stories including, of course, a dragon.  Eliza Wheeler’s hidden dragons throughout will help readers to use their own imagination seeing all the dragons arounds us.  Caroline McAlister makes Tolkien’s childhood, filled with tragedy, accessible to young readers.  Quite frankly, after reading the Author’s Note and Illustrator’s Note, I see a dragon in his aunt stoking the fire as she burned his mother’s letters.  But everyone has their demons.  The tanks beyond the trenches belching fire were also modern dragons of the time.  The inspired story of Tolkien’s first page of writing is reminiscent of a sculptor’s claim that the piece is trapped inside the stone waiting to be let out, discovered by the artist.  Similarly, readers of all ages, kids new to Tolkien and fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy will love discovering John Ronald’s Dragons.

Title: John Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien
Author: Caroline Mcalister
Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler
Published 2017 by Roaring Brook Press
ISBN: 978-1-62672-092-3

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines; Designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

As anyone who has visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial might attest, it is a moving and reverent experience.  It is made all the more special to me knowing the story of its designer, Maya Lin.  Jeanne Harvey brings Lin’s story together from her time as a young girl, designing and building through to college studying great buildings all around the world.  I love a stunning story and Maya Lin stunned the judges of the contest to create the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  Now, could we think of anything better?  It is a beautiful monument to the sacrifice and the remembrance.  Dow Phumiruk’s soft palette brings light and lines to the illustrations of Maya Lin’s life and legacy.

Title: Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines; Designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Author: Jeanne Walker Harvey
Illustrator: Dow Phumiruk
Published 2017 by Christy Ottaviano Books
ISBN: 978-1-250-11249-1

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dangerous Jane

While I knew of Jane Addams and her hull house, I was not familiar of her work for peace during World War II or the fact that she helped found the NAACP or that she was named “the Most Dangerous Woman in America” by the FBI.  What I love to read is that Jane kept on doing what she did best, defiantly in the face of harsh criticism.  The lesson to be learned is that history will tell the story and kindness and generosity toward others shall always prove right in the end.  A belief that talking about our differences can help us understand each other and that welcoming others (literally and figuratively) is a powerful step toward peace is in line with Jane Addams ideals.  Alice Ratterree created contrast between those who have and those who do not with color and black and white or starkly colored illustrations.  In the image of Jane and her father in a carriage passing through the poor side of town, Jane’s hair is being swept by the wind demonstrating the speed with which her father wanted to get away from the side of town.  Suzanne Slade’s choice of words help tell the story of a woman who didn’t pay much attention to what others said, but I think Jane herself would be proud of the words Suzanne chose to tell her story.

Title: Dangerous Jane
Author: Suzanne Slade
Illustrator: Alice Ratterree
Published 2017 by Peachtree
ISBN: 978-1-56145-913-1

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Once Upon a Jungle

Once Upon a Jungle is an ultimate circular story outlining the Jungle’s circle of life.  Laura Knowles text focuses in and then ultimately expands to the entire plant life of the jungle while James Boast’s illustrations with a dark background as the canopy of the rainforest would ultimately lead to a dark environment most of the time provides perfect camouflage for the the panther and the bright foliage provides the same for many of the insects and brightly colored animals.  The spread with the beetles “roaming” on the panther is perhaps my favorite, the breakdown of a body to become one with the soil, the soil nourishing the plant life that will once again become the jungle.  The symbiotic relationships can lend themselves to an awesome science lesson and deeper study.  Readers young and old will love Once Upon a Jungle.

Title: Once Upon a Jungle
Author:  Laura Knowles
Illustrator: James Boast
Published 2017 by Firefly Books
ISBN: 978-1-77085-971-5

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle

3D Printing never ceases to amaze!  When I read the title, I was all in.  I wanted to know why and how Beauty came to have a 3D Printed beak.  Much like the story of Winter the dolphin with the prosthetic tail, Beauty was injured in nature and brought to a wildlife rehabilitation center.  I don’t want to give too much away as I’m sure other readers will want to find out more for themselves too.  Jane Veltkamp brings her own expertise and experience to the storytelling as a raptor ….  Decisions pertaining to book design have the photos and text laid out in such a way that the reader can follow along with Beauty’s journey to health.  I appreciate that Deborah Lee Rose includes more information about eagles, their endangered status and what young people can do to help.  There are several resources included to learn more as well.

Download a STEM Education Guide 

Title: Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle
Author: Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp
Published 2017 by Persnickety Press
ISBN: 978-1943978-28-1

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I’ve Got Feet: Fantastical Feet of the Animal World

I love the varied color palette of Hannah Tolson’s illustrations with bright colors splashed across the page to highlight the aquatic environment of the sea turtle and a snowy winter landscape to exhibit the Great Horned Owl’s habitat.  Julie Murphy’s text is fun to read and engaging.  If using this as a read aloud, I’d suggest reading the first line of each page prior to showing the picture to ask readers to guess which animal comes next.  For example, reading “I’ve got sturdy feet.” Then having students guess what animal that might describe and then reading the rest of the page, showing the illustrations as well.  A teacher’s guide is available at:  I’ve Got Feet will make a great addition to any school library or classroom library and animal lovers will enjoy reading it as part of a home library too! 

Title: I’ve Got Feet: Fantastical Feet of the Animal World
Author: Julie Murphy
Illustrator: Hannah Tolson
Published 2017 by Amicus Ink
ISBN: 978-1-68152-195-4

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Duncan Tonatiuh has already contributed some classic stories highlighting Hispanic culture like Funny Bones and The Princess and the Warrior and Danza adds to his litany.  Amalia Hernandez’s Ballet Folklorico de Mexico is brought to life on the pages with Tonatiuh’s descriptions of her process to identify dances from around the country and the intricate details of costumes and poses.  The inclusion of a bibliography is helpful for a reader wanting to learn more and I appreciate that the author’s note makes mention of criticisms of misappropriation of culture.  While I can value that perspective, I think Hernandez’s ballet brought the culture of Mexico around the world in the form of ballet.  And Tonatiuh in recognizing all aspects of the story makes it known that all was not easy for Amalia Hernandez.

Title: Danza!
Author: Ducan Tonatiuh
Published 2017 by Abrams Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2532-6

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Hatching Chicks in Room 6

I read this book last night with my daughter at bedtime.  She is fortunate that she hosted a chick hatching in her second grade classroom last year so her schema for this topic is pretty on point.  Each step of the way, she made connections and comparisons to the process and the photos.  I would suggest this book either to introduce the topic, review the topic, or in classrooms where having chicks might not be a possibility.  In the backmatter there is a section called “Chicks Online” with two youtube links.  For those who can’t see the real deal live, I highly suggest checking them out.  And since this is a web based review, how about I just embed them at the end of this post.  Stream of consciousness blogging right here.  You all are seeing my thinking.  You’re welcome.  

The photographs are beautifully presented, clear shots that are well laid out and formatted on the page.  I appreciate the inclusion of web based links and books for further reading about chicks as well as the eggs of information throughout the book.  Caroline Arnold presents a lovely book about the awesome hands on science happening in Jennifer Best’s classroom.

Title: Hatching Chicks in Room 6
Author: Caroline Arnold
Published 2017 by Charlesbridge
ISBN: 9781580897358

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Stand Up and Sing!: Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice

Adam Gustavson’s choice to include black and white pencil drawn sketches on pages with text seems to demonstrate the hard times in Pete’s life or the hard times he witnessed others experiencing.  For example, unemployed men waiting in a bread line during the Great Depression; broken glass from the window of his car as he was singled out for harassment.  Coupled with the full color spreads full of inspiration and hope, a great sloop on the Hudson; holding hands to sing and support the fight for civil rights Gustavson brings Seeger’s moments in life to the page beautifully.  Susanna Reich does the same with her words, noting that comforts like heat weren’t important to Pete.  Instead, “It felt good to be making a difference in the world.”  That’s what Pete did all his life and by sharing his story, Susanna Reich can help to inspire a new generation to find their passion and use it to help make a difference in the world.

Title: Stand Up and Sing! Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice
Author: Susanna Reich
Illustrator: Adam Gustavson
Published 2017 by Bloomsbury
ISBN: 978-0-8027-3812-7

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

42 Is Not Just a Number

Just when you think you know Jackie Robinson, you realize you’ve only ever learned about a small snapshot of his life.  Some interesting factoids I learned while reading/listening (I got this one on audiobook and listened in my car).  

Did you know Jackie Robinson was working a construction job during the day and playing semi-pro football by night in Oahu, HI and that the construction job was on a naval base called…Pearl Harbor?!  He left the job just two days before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Did you know Branch Rickey may have helped pave the way for Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier in baseball but he was also a savvy business man who realized that having the first black ball player would attract more black fans to the game?!  Thoughts that had simply never occurred to me were highlighted in Doreen Rappaport’s biography of Jackie Robinson.  Rappaport does a masterful job of highlighting different times through Jackie’s life in a way that is accessible to all readers.

Title: 42 Is Not Just a Number
Author: Doreen Rappaport
Published 2017 by Candlewick Press
ISBN: 978-0-7636-7624-7

This book was borrowed from the public library for review purposes.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels

As a woman raising a daughter, I take every opportunity reading through my CYBILs contender books to read books about women whose achievements helped shape history and “Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels” was a perfect segway to discuss some awesome women.  Each story is one page, so it is a bit of a synopsis at best but each manages to highlight what makes each woman daring.  The bibliography is extensive and organized alphabetically (which is great!) but readers looking to learn more about a particular person might be better served by the resources also being organized by the person to which each source pertains.  I don’t even know where to start on choosing a favorite.  Instead, I’ll highlight one of the women who has her very own biography featured as one of this year's CYBILS nominees alongside Women Who Dared:

And some other awesome books to check out based on these adventurous women!

Annie Edson Taylor
Bessie Coleman
Sylvia Earle
Irena Sendler

Title: Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels
Author: Linda Skeers
Illustrator: Livi Gosling 
Published 2017 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
ISBN: 978-1-4926-5327-1

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Bear's Life

Ian McAllister is responsible for both writing and the breathtaking photos included in “A Bear’s Life.”  The photos of wildlife in the Great Bear Rainforest and especially the rare spirit bear capture moments in time in the lives of bears.  A map is located on the front cover flap of the dust jacket and I find it helpful, but I think it would be better suited within the context of the book or as part of an author’s note.  Likewise, I think an author’s note with further information about the Great Bear Rainforest would be helpful.  A link is included in the author’s biography on the back cover flap of the dust jacket and I intend to check it out to learn more. 
You can too: 

As my son LOVES book about animals, this was an instant favorite in our house!

Title: A Bear’s Life
Author: Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read
Published 2017 by Orca Book Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-4598-1270-3

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

If You Were the Moon

Jaime Kim’s illustrations seem to glow like the moon, or more accurately, like the moon reflects or catches and throws the sun’s light.  The animated illustrations and descriptions of each trait of the moon make If You Were the Moon a perfect companion to science lessons about the moon, either in introduction or review of these concepts. I love the idea of the moon whispering wisdom from the sky and also holding the earth in balance, a soothing constant reinforcement.

Title: If You Were the Moon
Author: Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrator: Jaime Kim
Published 2017 by Millbrook Press
ISBN: 978-1-4677-8009-4

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Dazzleships: World War I and the Art of Confusion

Dazzleships: World War I and the Art of Confusion is one of those stories that strikes me as almost fantastical, or even wondering at how this is not more discussed and widely known.  During World War I, German submarines were torpedoing ships but not just military ships, they were torpedoing without regard to the passengers, or cargo.  One such ship, The Lusitania, is the most well known in my measure and carried munitions along with passengers, including 120 Americans.  As a result, the British Royal Navy was ready to try anything, including a new idea proposed by Norman Wilkinson to paint ships in patterns that would be confusing under the water, camouflaging what direction the ship was headed in and therefore wasting torpedo missiles that would miss their mark.  Even King George V was fooled in a demonstration of how the patterning works.  

Chris Barton does a spectacular job of bringing the story to the pages, highlighting events that helped to move this improbable, unlikely idea forward.  As the story itself is artistic, Victo Ngai does a masterful job of bringing the colors and patterns to the reader.  As is noted in the Author’s Note, it is difficult to appreciate the Dazzle Ship designs when viewed in black and white photos, as were taken at the time.  The fact that women helped to get the job done only makes it even more powerful.  At a time when women’s roles were minimized and marginalized, the fact that they were involved seems surprising, but much like early female coders and programmers [who were only noticed when someone looked back at photos and questioned who the women were and that person was told, they were models used for the photo opportunity but I digress], their talents were put to use in the war effort.

Chris Barton writes that the US and British Royal Navy disagreed on the effectiveness of the painting of the ships, some felt that “…at the very least, the sailors on those ships just felt better knowing that something had been tried to keep them from getting torpedoed.”  Isn’t that really the point?  When there is a problem, sometimes doing something, anything, even painting ships in wild, colorful patterns, is better than nothing. 

Title: Dazzleships: World War I and the Art of Confusion
Author: Chris Barton
Illustrator: Victo Ngai
Published 2017 by Millbrook Press
ISBN: 978-1-5124-1014-3

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Lost in Outer Space: The Incredible Journey of Apollo 13

Citing numerous and varied sources, Tod Olson’s “Lost in Outer Space: The Incredible Journey of Apollo 13” is well researched.  Having watched the movie Apollo 13, I felt pretty comfortable that I knew how this would all turn out.  And yet, reading along with the astronauts and the crew on the ground as they worked the problems, it was stressful moment to moment and having every word, every breath recorded only added to that feeling.  What I found interesting was how much focus Olson put on Barbara Lovell’s perspective.  Barbara, Jim Lovell’s oldest daughter had to grow up quickly being the daughter of an astronaut and having much responsibility for her younger siblings on a regular basis.  I think young readers will relate to the perspective of being a child during the space race and the empathy of imagining a father being blasted into space on multiple occasions.  “Lost in Outer Space” was the unfolding of the best laid plans and what could still go wrong.  Tod Olson’s telling accompanied from photographs from the time help bring this story to a new generation.  I'm excited to check out other books in Tod Olson's "Lost" series!

Title: Lost in Outer Space: The Incredible Journey of Apollo 13
Author: Tod Olson
Published 2017 by Scholastic, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-545-92815-1

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Manjhi Moves a Mountain

In schools, there is currently a focus on grit, resilience, perseverance and what an amazing example of all three in Nancy Churnin’s Manjhi Moves a Mountain.  That it is a true story only makes it more inspiring.  Two villages, separated by a mountain.  One has resources, the other does not.  So why not bring those two worlds together?  That is what Manjhi sets out to do.  With beautiful illustrations, Churnin and Popovici bring this true story across the oceans to readers half a world away.

This book was sent by the publisher for review purposes.

Title: Manjhi Moves a Mountain
Author: Nancy Churnin
Published 2017 by Creston Books

ISBN: 978-1-939547-34-7