Recent Book Reviews

Below is a sampling of children’s books reviewed at this blog in 2010.

The links take you to the full review.

Amazing-faces Amazing Faces compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins will make you smile. It also will make you frown, sigh, and laugh out loud. This book of poetry is sure to evoke a range of emotions that are shared by all people, a range reflected in the diversity of radiant faces beautifully illustrated by Chris Soentpiet.
bugs-and-bugsicles Bugs and Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter is such a great title, you just know that children are going to want to pick it up to see what it “bugsicles” are. The topic is appealing, too. Who hasn’t at one point or another wondered where do insects go in the winter? The answers are here in stories filled with interesting facts.
wild-alphabet Wild Alphabet by Dan Green, with design by Mike Haines and paper folding by Julia Frohlich, is a pop-up book of cool animals and fun information that is sure to be “pop”-ular as a gift book.
Ants-stewart Ants by Melissa Stewart is part of the National Geographic Readers series.
hive-detectives The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe is a new book in the fabulous Scientists in the Field series, by Lorre Griffin Burns, with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz.
field-guide-to-Insects Hold onto your hats, you are about to enter the cloud forests of Central America. You will be traveling with scientist and adventurer Randall Barnes. Hope you brought your insect net, because you are going to be  hunting eight exotic and beautiful insects. You need to bring back specimens for an exhibit at the museum, so keep a sharp lookout. That’s the exciting feel of The Field Guide to Insects: Explore the Cloud Forests by Paul Beck.
Can-an-old-dog Kudos once again to Buffy Silverman for her new book Can Old Dog Learn New Tricks? And Other Questions About Animals (illustrated by Colin W. Thompson).
Little-black-ant Little Black Ant on Park Street by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Kathleen Rietz, is the newest installment in the Smithsonian’s Backyard series published by Soundprint.
life-size-zoo Life-Size Zoo: From Tiny Rodents to Gigantic Elephants, An Actual Size Animal Encyclopedia by Teruyuki Komiya (Creator), Kristin Earhart (Editor), and Toyofumi Fukuda (Photographer) was a Cybils finalist in the 2009 Nonfiction Picture book category and has won the Parents’ Choice Gold Award.
animal tongues Animal Tongues by Dawn Cusick is one of those fun nonfiction books that almost jump off the shelf at you. After all, on the cover is a giraffe sticking its very long tongue out. What child can pass that up?
chemistry-basher Chemistry: Getting a Big Reaction! by Dan Green and Simon Basher is not written like a textbook. It is organized more like a reference book, such as a dictionary or an encyclopedia. The different terms/concepts are developed as characters.
Punctuation-simon-basher Although Punctuation: The Write Stuff is written by Mary Budzik, it is definitely part of illustrator and designer Simon Basher’s unique series of books. Basher books are edgy, with a sting of humor and a mountain of creativity, and this book is no exception.
Seeds-of-Change Seeds of Change:  Planting a Path to Peace by Jen Cullerton and illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler is about the life of Wangari Maathai, a woman whose story is both uplifting and complex.
A-tree-is-growing A Tree is Growing by Arthur Dorros and illustrated by S.D. Schindler is suitable for a slightly older audience. The text is a bit more complex and detailed, as it follows an oak tree through the seasons. Along the way are interesting sidebars about other species.
A-Log's-Life Do you know a young child who loves to look under rocks and roll over logs to check what lives there? A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer, illustrated by Robin Brickman is that kind of experience.
life-cycle-oak-tree-1 Angela Royston is a prolific children’s writer, and her expertise shows in Life Cycle of An Oak Tree. She knows exactly what words to use, simply and clearly. She also knows how the story should unfold. In fact, Life Cycle of An Oak Tree is a nice solid informational book rather like an oak tree itself.

poetrees If you are a fan of Douglas Florian, then you probably know he has a new book of poetry, aptly named Poetrees.

tree-book You learn to expect high quality books from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-ups by Gina Ingoglia is no exception.
roots-shoots With the increasing popularity of gardening, let’s look at a classic book:  Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy.
Leaf-and-Tree The Backyard Explorer Kit: 3-in-1 Collector’s Kit! by Rona Beame is for children who love hands on activities and want to learn more about trees. The kit includes a 3 1/2 by 8 inch Leaf and Tree Guide to trees (that will conveniently fit in a pocket or backpack), a plastic leaf-collecting bag, and an unbound 25 page Leaf Collecting Album. Although the product has been around for several years now, it is still a great deal of fun and worth a look.
chocolate-bomber Candy Bomber:  The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s “Chocolate Pilot” by Michael O. Tunnell is a real treat. It has everything you could want from a book:  drama, roaring airplanes, human interest, history, and candy all mixed into a powerful true story.
planet hunter Have you ever wanted to visit the laboratory of a ground-breaking research scientist? Now you can, because Planet Hunter: Geoff Marcy and the Search for Other Earths by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein will allow you to feel like you are standing right next to Dr. Geoff Marcy in his quest to find extrasolar planets (planets that revolve around stars other than our sun).
Do you know a child who wants to be a writer and/or has a writing talent that should be nurtured? Remarkable Women Writers by Heather Ball is a wonderful examination of the lives of ten women writers that may be just the powerful encouragement he or she needs. For readers, this book is an insightful look into how some of our favorite books came about. Finally, adult writers will find passages that resonate strongly with their own experiences.
Dynamic Women Dancers by Anne Dublin, part of The Women’s Hall of Fame Series is an important, enjoyable and uplifting book.
How do poets like Susan Blackaby do it? In her new book, Nest, Nook and Cranny (illustrated by Jamie Hogan) Blackaby manages to condense an obviously superb understanding of animal behavior and ecology into 22 beautifully-crafted poems, while still injecting humor and word play. What a delight!
If you are looking for a rousing book for Women’s History Month, Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History! by Shana Corey and Edwin Fotheringham (illustrator) is a perfect choice.

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