Book review: A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White., by Barbara Herkert, illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Herkert, Barbara. A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White. Illustrated by Lauren Castillo  Christy Ottaviano Books, 2017. $18.99 ISBN: 9781627792455. Unpaged. Gr. K-2. P7 Q10

This exquisitely written and beautifully illustrated book, written by Newport author Barbara Herkert, introduces the author of Charlotte’s Web to young readers.  E.B. White’s early childhood was filled with explorations of nature and interactions with all sorts of animal life, including a “bold mouse” who later became famous as Stuart Little.   Readers will be captivated by this sweet tale, which shows how adult E.B. (now Andy, editor at The New Yorker) moved his young family to a farm in Maine, where he became inspired to write his famous children’s books.  This book would be an excellent introduction to a classroom reading of his chapter books.  Also contains a brief biography and bibliography.

March 2018 review by N.H.S. students, edited and compiled by Liz Fox.

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Book review: Ribbit, by Jorey Hurley

Hurley, Jorey. Ribbit. Simon & Schuster, 2017. Unpaged. $16.99. ISBN 9781481432740. Ages 3-5. P8Q8

Simple, bold illustrations created in Photoshop combined with a single word in each 2-page spread introduce young children to the first year in the life cycle of the northern leopard frog.  The changes from egg to tadpole, tadpole to polliwog, polliwog to froglet, and then to adult hibernating, before beginning the cycle again are given in the illustrations, though the words for the stages are not a part of the book.  Even the ideas of frog as both predator and prey come through in the pictures.

Verdict:  This introduction to the life cycle of frogs is an effective early science book. The visual design is striking, but the spare text does not introduce naming words such as tadpole.  The author’s note at the end of the book does fill in some gaps, but may not be as useful for very young readers. Recommended for preschool, kindergarten and public library collections.

May 2018 review by Jane Cothron.

Book review: Blue Grass Boy, by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

Rosenstock, Barb. Blue Grass Boy. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. Calkins Creek,
2018. $17.95 ISBN 9781629794396. Unpaged. Ages 5-9. P6Q8

I enjoyed learning about Bill Monroe, the father of Bluegrass music, in this picture book biography. From his early years growing up in a big hard working family, to performing in his first band, this story is full of interesting details. Beautiful bold pictures support the text, which includes a two-page biography and actual photos of Monroe and his band. The final page features the lyrics to “Uncle Pen,” a song Bill wrote in tribute to his Uncle Pen, a fiddler, who greatly influenced him as he was growing up.

VERDICT: I highly recommend this book for both school and public libraries. It has a great story
about the roots of Bluegrass Music.

May 2018 review by Denyse Marsh.

Book review: Rock Explorer series, two titles by Claudia Martin

Martin, Claudia. Fossils. (Rock Explorer series). QEB/Quarto Publishing, 2018. $26.65. ISBN 9781682973264. 24 pages. Ages 6-9. P7 Q8

Not only can fossils tell us about the past, they are fun to find and there are so many types. Starting off with the definition of fossils and moving on to how fossils form this reference book includes photographs and facts that will entice children to learn more about fossils. Fossil facts are inserted among the photographs, which makes it easy to read and not overwhelming. This book can be read straight through or readers can pick and choose the chapters they are interested in. In the Rock Explorer series, this book Includes a table of contents, glossary and fossil guide.

Verdict: Children who are interested in learning more about fossils will enjoy this book, which is full of facts and photographs. This book is great for units on fossils. I work in an elementary school and students often ask me how fossils and petrified wood are formed. This book has easy to understand explanations of fossil formation. As an adult who likes to find fossils, I found this book interesting and engaging.

 

Martin, Claudia. Minerals. (Rock Explorer series). QEB/Quarto Publishing, 2018. $26.65. ISBN 9781682973240. 24 pages. Ages 6-9. P7 Q8

What is a mineral and how does it form? Did you know that there are around 5,000 different minerals? Mineral facts inserted around the colorful photographs will keep children’s interest. This book features amazing crystals, shining metals, strange and powerful minerals, most deadly minerals, and useful minerals. In the Rock Explorer series, this book includes a table of contents, glossary and mineral guide. The photographs are large and colorful. Readers will be not only be able to identify minerals, they will also know why the minerals are important.

Verdict: Children who are interested in minerals will enjoy this fact filled book filled with beautiful photographs. Useful for a unit on minerals. As an adult who likes to learn more about minerals, I found this book interesting and engaging.

March 2018 reviews by Tami Harris.

Book review: Crayola Colorology Series, two titles by Mari Schuh

Schuh, Mari. Crayola Science of Color. “Crayola Colorology Series.” Lerner Publications, 2018. $26.65. ISBN 9781512466911. 32 pages. Ages 5-7.  P7 Q8

Did you know that bright blue pigment was made by surprise? Color is all around us, but have we ever thought what is color, where does it come from, and how does color effect how we feel? Colors can make us calm or give us energy. Featuring Crayola, children learn about primary, secondary, complementary colors and the color wheel. The vibrant photos and lyrical texts will keep children engaged while they learn about colors. The book contains four chapters and includes a table of contents, index, glossary, and titles of books and websites to learn more about colors. This book is in the Crayola Colorology series.

Verdict: Great for a beginning art class or unit on art. Encourages readers to notice colors in the world. Readers and beginning readers alike will enjoy this colorful book.

 

Schuh, Mari. Crayola Color in Culture. “Crayola Colorology Series.” Lerner Publications, 2018. $26.65. ISBN 9781512466898. 32 pages. Ages 5-7.  P7 Q8

Color is all around us, but why is it important? Color is part of culture: “Culture is the art we make, clothes we wear, and the way we live in the world.” Featuring Crayola, readers discover that colors have different meanings around the world. In Mexico, green is the color of freedom. In India, Holi is the festival of colors. The vibrant photographs and lyrical text will keep children engaged while they learn about colors in culture. The book contains five chapters and includes a table of contents, index, glossary, and titles of books and websites to learn more about colors. It is in the Crayola Colorology series.

Verdict: Not only do readers learn more about colors, they learn about colors in different cultures, expanding the readers knowledge of different cultures while enjoying beautiful photographs. A great addition to libraries for elementary age children.

March 2018 reviews by Tami Harris.

Book review: The World of Minecraft, by Heather E. Schwartz

Schwartz, Heather E. The World of Minecraft. “World of Gaming series.” Lerner Publications, 2018. $30.65. ISBN 9781512483130. Ages 7-10. P7 Q7

Minecraft is popular, but where did it come from? Did you know that Markus “Notch” Persson created Minecraft in only a few days?  Four short chapters, “Mining and Crafting,” “A World of Choices,” “Mining for More,” and “Minecraft Moves Forward” explain the different ways the game is played, where the inventor came up with the idea for the game and much more. Photographs and orange boxes with text containing trivia information will keep the reader engaged. There is a table of contents along with a glossary, index, and book titles and websites about video games. The format of the book makes it easy for readers to quickly glean information. One can read straight through the book or pick and choose chapters that are interested in. In the Searchlight series, this book contains photographs of the animator, Minecraft merchandise, and the Minecraft video game. Minecraft players can build almost anything they can imagine, the options are endless. Upon reading the book, I was intrigued to check out Minecraft and see why it is so popular.

Verdict: I read the book to learn more about Minecraft so I can talk to my students about it. I discovered that there are many ways you can play the game. Children will enjoy the book, learning about the origins of the game, adding an extra element, making it more than just a video game.

March 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Build Your Own Boats, by Rob Ives

Ives, Rob. Build Your Own Boats. “Makerspace Models series.” Hungry Tomato, 2018. $26.65. ISBN 9781512459692. 32 pages.  Ages 8-11. P7 Q8

Have you ever wanted to build your own boat model, but didn’t know where to start? Build Your Own Boats takes you step by step, using items that you already have around the house or inexpensive items, to build 8 watercraft models. The book starts with a “safety first” section and contains top tips, how it works, real-world engineering and photographs of the lists of supplies and detailed steps required to make each model. Not only do you learn how to make the watercraft, you learn all about it. Some models require a few items you have on hand, other models require some items you will need to buy. The models range from easy to a little more difficult. Even if the reader is not engineer minded, they will be able to follow the instructions and make the models.

Verdict: I am not a huge boat fan, but I found the models interesting and curious if they would actually float. A book for boating enthusiast, explaining in simple terms the engineering principles that makes the models move. An asset to any elementary school age library. My nieces are excited to make these models and to try them out in their pool.

March 2018 review by Tami Harris.