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: 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.

Book review: Hatching Chicks in Room 6, by Caroline Arnold

Arnold, Caroline. Hatching Chicks in Room 6. Charlesbridge, 2017. Unpaged. $16.99. ISBN:9781580897358. Gr. PreK-2.  P5 Q9

Disclaimer: I am a chicken addict, so my enthusiastic endorsement of this book is probably that of a raging poultrygeist.  There are a lot of picture books that feature chickens these days, but few that are as informational as this book on hatching chicks.  Having taught basic embryology to PK-5th graders, I know there’s a need for a book that is engaging and clearly explains incubation.  While this book doesn’t go into the stages of embryology, the photos and text do a great job of showing the process of hatching eggs in a classroom.  Text sidebars are “eggs” that give more detailed information; it’s evident in how user-friendly this book is that the author worked closely with a classroom educator. Contains FAQ, definitions, list of online and book resources.

March 2018 review by Liz Fox.

Book review: Robots and Drones: Past, Present, and Future, by Mairghread Scott, illustrated by Jacob Chabot

Scott, Mairghread. Robots and Drones: Past, Present, and Future. Illus. by Jacob Chabot. [Science Comics series]. First Second, 2018. $12.99. 121p. ISBN 978-1-62672-792-2. Ages 8-12. P8Q9

Pouli, the author’s name for a mechanical flying pigeon developed in 350 BCE, is the host for this trip from this first flying machine to the current times of robots, varying from a simple coffee maker to the Mars Rover. Beginning with an explanation of simple concepts used in pulleys and levers, Scott moves on to programming techniques.

Verdict: Full-color panels combine with diagrams to explain structures in a highly accessible and entertaining manner. Highly recommended for school libraries and classrooms.

March 2018 review by Nel Ward.