Book review: Rocks, by Claudia Martin

Martin, Claudia. Rocks (Discover our World series). Quarto Publishing, 2018. $26.65. ISBN 9781682973974. 24 pages. Ages 7-10. P7 Q7

Have you ever wondered how rocks are formed? The reader will learn about rocks, sand, caves, minerals, metals, gems and fossils. Text boxes with facts are set in photographs showing a visual of the facts, engaging the reader and enlightening them further. The reader can move from chapter to chapter based on their interest, the book does not need to be read straight through. This format makes the book easier for children to read. In the Discover our World series, this book includes an index, table of contents and glossary.

Verdict: For children who are interested in rocks, this book provides many facts and photographs that will broaden their knowledge. I recommend this book for elementary school and public libraries. Teachers and homeschool families will find this book valuable.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.

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Book review: Lovely Beasts, by Kate Gardner, illustrated by Heidi Smith

Gardner, Kate. Lovely Beasts. Illustrator Heidi Smith. Balzer + Bray, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9780062741615. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P8Q8

Don’t judge a book by its cover or at least an animal by its outward appearance.  Lovely Beasts is an elegant testament to the beauty and uniqueness of animals. Readers are encouraged to look beyond first impressions and discover new and exciting features that animals offer our world. Illustrations are detailed and elegant models displaying muted grays, blues, and greens with noticeable fine-grained charcoal pencil lines.

Verdict: This book will be a good addition to any K-2 classroom or library read aloud lesson for work with the joy of reading, vocabulary, sentence fluency, and lessons for the Next Generation Science Standards in the area of Life Science.

December 2018 review by Marcy Doyle.

Book review: Cheetah Dreams, by Linda Stanek, illustrated by Shennen Bersani

Stanek, Linda. Cheetah Dreams. Illustrator Shennen Bersani. Arbordale Publishing, 2018.  $9.95. ISBN 9781607187417. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P7Q7 

Linda Stanek introduces conservation while highlighting the grace and beauty of cheetahs. The story is written in two styles dancing between the rhythm of poetry and informational text.  Vivid illustrations capture the motion, beauty, and power of cheetahs.

Verdict: This book will be a good addition to any library read aloud lesson on life science, conservation, and citizen science.

December 2018 review by Marcy Doyle.

Book review: Which Animal is Fastest?, by Brian Rock, illustrated by Carolyn Le

Rock, Brian. Which Animal is Fastest? Illustrator Carolyn Le. Arbordale Publishing, 2018. $9.95. ISBN 9781607187455. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P7Q6

One size does not fit all is the theme permeating the pages of Which Animal is Fastest? Animals from a cheetah to a peacock mantis shrimp all clamor to be hailed fastest in the kingdom. Readers join lion on his quest to discover the fastest animal and to uncover the importance of each animal and their unique speeds and strengths.

Verdict: This book will be a good addition to any library read aloud lesson for work with theme, recounting/retelling, and mathematical comparisons.

December 2018 review by Marcy Doyle.

Book review: A Day in a Forested Wetland, by Kevin Kurtz, illustrated by Sherry Neidigh

Kurtz, Kevin. A Day in a Forested Wetland. Illustrator Sherry Neidigh. Arbordale Publishing, 2018. $9.95. ISBN 9781628559132. Unpaged. Ages 4-9. P7Q8

A Day in a Forested Wetland takes readers on a rhythmic journey into life in the wetlands. Each double-page spread is filled with bold, intricately designed images drawing the reader further into the wonder and raw beauty of the wetland habitat.

Verdict: This book will be a good addition to any K-2 classroom or library read aloud lesson for work with rhyme, vocabulary, sentence fluency, and lessons for the Next Generation Science Standards in the area of Life Science.

December 2018 review by Marcy Doyle.

Book review: Apollo 8: The Mission That Changed Everything, by Martin W. Sandler

Sandler, Martin W. Apollo 8: The Mission That Changed Everything. Candlewick, 2018. $24.99. 159p. ISBN 978-0-7636-9489-0. Ages 11-15. P7Q8

Competing with the Soviet Union’s push to land a person on the moon, NASA sent three human lunar landers for testing on an untried Saturn V rocket. The Apollo 11 moon landing is far better publicized, but The Apollo 8 journey offers a nerve-wracking adventure when the three men on the spacecraft—Bill Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell—lose communication with Earth. Photographs in both color and black & white include the famous 1968 shot of “Earthrise,” the first view of earth from space. The narrative, including first-person perspectives from the three travelers, are helped by sidebar histories and background that describe events of the time, the naming of moon features, people involved in the mission, and rocketry history. Also engaging are technical information about the navigation and the importance of the space travel’s cultural impact.

Verdict: The insets that sometimes cover several pages slow the pacing of the reading, but the book will be enjoyable for both studying the text and skimming through for the photographs. World events surrounding the mission such as the Vietnam War, protests, and the Cold War make this useful for a look of history during the second half of the 20th century.

December 2018 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: The Secret Life of the Little Brown Bat, by Laurence Pringle, illustrated by Kate Garchinsky

Pringle, Laurence. The Secret Life of the Little Brown Bat. Illus. by Kate Garchinsky. Boyds Mills, 2018. $17.95. unp. ISBN 978-1-62979-601-7. Ages 5-8. P9Q9

Pringle follows Otis from his infancy through his first flight through the night and into hibernation. The story about Otis is accompanied by bat facts including their homes, body structure, flying, feeding, and echolocation—ability to identify placement of objects through clicking sounds that echo back from their surroundings. The pastel and aqua crayons illustrations give views of the bats, including their toothy expressions, and what they see. End notes provide more detail about the species and a disease that destroyed over six million hibernating bats within ten years, 90 percent of little brown bats in North America.

Verdict: A lovely view of the subject is accompanied by carefully researched details and a charming story.

Fall 2018 review by Nel Ward.