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Friday, August 9, 2013

Reviewtown, USA...





Down to Earth: How Kids Help Feed The World
Nikki Tate
Orca Book Publishers, 2013

Grade level 3-7. This is a more advanced book, with many details about food and farming from around the world. A book with bite sized pieces of information, readable, fun details, some of it the kind that kids are just tickled to know about. I love the fact it brings home the process of FOOD, to kids, from the tidbits from Dark Creek farm, to the more esoteric why food prices or the impact of chemicals in farming in language that a kid can digest. (Get it, get it?) I think making this kind of information available to kids is so important, but doing it in a kid friendly challenge, this one succeeds admirably.

Other books by Nikki Tate: Grandparents' Day (illustrated by Benoit Laverdiere); Double Take (Karen Brain's Olympic Journey); Venom (Orca Sports); Rebel of Dark Creek (Stablemates 1); The Racehorse (Behind the Scenes); Razor's Edge (Orca Sports); Keeping Secrets at Dark Creek (Stablemates); Trouble on Tarragon Island (Tarragon Island Series)



Making Contact! Marconi Goes Wireless
Monica Kulling
illustrated by Richard Rudnicki
Tundra Books, 2013

Engaging book on the life of Guglielmo Marconi starts as a young boy with admiration of Ben Franklin and ends with the man successfully completing the first transatlantic wireless communication.  The after math tells the next step, if there had been no wireless, all of Titanic would have perished, as it was Marconi's invention which hailed The Carpathia. Kulling skillfully writes of the journey from boy dreamer to grown achiever, in an easily readable style. I LOVED the use of color in this book, though sometimes I didn't care for the rendering of the figures. I thought the overall feeling of the illustrations, kind of old world really suited the subject matter. A good biography and great for the young scientist in the family.

Other books by Monica Kulling: Eat My Dust! Henry Ford's First Race (illustrated by Richard Walz); Les Miserables (based on Victor Hugo); Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman (illustrated by Teresa Flavin); Lumpito and the Painter from Spain (illustrated by Dean Griffiths); Mister Dash and the Cupcake Calamity (illustrated by Esperanca Melo)

Other books by Richard Rudnicki: A Christmas Dollhouse; Tecumseh (written by James Laxer); Viola Desmond Won't be Budged (written by Jody Nyasha Warner); Gracie, the Public Gardens Duck (written by Judith Meyrick); Gus the Tortoise Takes a Walk (written by Erin Arsenault); I Spy a Bunny (written by Judy Dudar)



Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library
Barb Rosenstock
illustrated by John O'Brien
Calkins Creek Books, September 2013

I loved this book. From the quirky muted illustrations to the story of a man's love affair with books. And a vital proponent of libraries in this country. I really wasn't familiar with the story of the Library of Congress, but what a pleasure, what a treasure! The author uses questions ("Guess what Tom saw in Paris?") to encourage audience participation and I could almost hear the chorus of responses from a young crowd. I very much liked the fact she also provided some context at the end of the book, about some of her personal recollections, some further events in Jefferson's life and the incongruity of Jefferson being a slaveholder and the writer of the Declaration of  Independence.


other books by Barb Rosenstock: The Camping Trip That Changed America (illustrated by Mordecai Gerstein); The Littlest Mountain (illustrated by Melanie Hall); Fearless: The Story of Racing Car Legend Louise Smith (illustrated by Scott Dawson)

other books by John O'Brien: A New World: Dissension; A New World: Takedown; Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci (written by Joseph D'Agnese); True Lies (written by George Shannon); I Knew a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello (written by Barbara Garriel); Did Dinosaurs eat Pizza: Mysteries Science Hasn't Solved (written by Lenny Hort)



The Patchwork Garden
Pedacitos de Huerto
Diane de Anda
Illustrated by (illustraciones de) Oksana Kemarskaya

Tonia lives in the city with her Abuela and they plant a small garden.  Soon many children want what Tonia has, and together, they come up with a solution to make the children's dreams a reality. So many wonderful things to say about this book, I love the fact it's bilingual (I wish there were more). I love not only does Tonia come up with the solution, but the adults are a part of the solution in a respectful way. And I love the illustrations, when I think of illustrating when I first started out (Patricia Polacco, Maurie Manning) it's the tradition I find comforting, the skill, colors, handling of the subject is appealing. Another one that would be wonderful in a classroom.

Other books by Diane de Anda: The Monster in the Mattress and Other Stories (El Monstruo el Colchon y Otros Cuentos) Stress Management for Adolescents: a Cognitive-Behavorial Program; The Immortal Rooster and Other Stories (illustrated by Roberta Collier Morales); A Day Without Sugar (Un Dia Sin Azucar) (illustrated by Janet Montecalvo); The Ice Dove and Other Stories; Dancing Miranda (Baila, Miranda, Baila) (illustrated by Lamberto Alvarez)

Other books by Oksana Kemarskaya: Planet Earth Projects; The Secret Lives of Plants! (written by Janet Slingerland); The Legend of the Vampire (Legend Has It) (written by Thomas Kingsley Troupe); Goodnight Piggy Boo (written by Catherine Solyom)



The Apple Orchard Riddle
Margaret McNamara
illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Schwartz & Wade Publishing, 2013
Mr. Tiffin and his students visit an orchard and gets the lowdown on all things apple. While the kids explore the various features at the orchard (I liked the peeler myself), they ponder a riddle. McNamara is interested in how we process information differently and this informative book gently puts that forth. Karas' illustrations are fun, and very appealing (get it, get it?!) as they revisit their Christopher Award winning characters in this sequel.

Other books by Margaret McNamara: The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot (illustrated by Mark Fearing); How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin (illustrated by G. Brian Karas); The Fairy Bell Sisters #3: Golden at the Fancy Dress Party (illustrated by Julia Denos); George Washington's Birthday: A Mostly True Tale (illustrated by Barry Blitt)

Other books by G. Brian Karas: I like Bugs (written by Margaret Wise Brown); Throw Your Tooth On the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World (written by Selby Beeler); A Place Called Kindergarten (written by Jessica Harper); Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money (written by Emily Jenkins); The High-Rise Private Eyes #1: The Case of the Missing Monkey (written by Cynthia Rylant); Fractions = Trouble (written by Claudia Mills)