The House That George Built

Told in both rhyme and informational text, The House That George Built by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Rebecca Bond is a picture book that explains how our first president, George Washington, oversaw the building of the house that every president who has come after him has lived in.

I have to admit my expectations were not high when I first saw this book. After all, many children’s books have “constructed” their text on the old rhyme “This is the House that Jack Built.” I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find that Suzanne Slade has created a dual text account, with informational text on the left page and the building rhyme on the right page. It works well, because it can be used in a number of ways, depending on the age and interest level of the audience.

History buffs are going to enjoy the informational text, as well as the sections in the back matter. The author includes many details about the White House in “The Changing President’s House,” more about George Washington in the “Author’s Note,” and “Sources” and “Resources to Learn More.” I was surprised to learn that the original design was for three stories, but was changed to two when there was a shortage of building materials.

Rebecca Bond’s watercolor illustrations hit the right note, giving a sense of place and time.

With President’s Day coming up February 18, 2013, this would be a great book to have on hand to commemorate our first president. It is both fun and educational.

Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Charlesbridge (July 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1580892620
ISBN-13: 978-1580892629

 

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

Today’s round-up is at Hope Is The Word.

Island: A Story of the Galápagos

Jason Chin has walked the line between fiction and nonfiction in his earlier acclaimed books, Redwoods and Coral Reefs. This time with Island: A Story of the Galápagos, however, he falls definitively on the nonfiction side, with a beautifully illustrated narrative nonfiction relating the events that surround the development of the Galapágos Islands.  

Equating the stages of island building to that of a human, he walks the reader through “Birth,” “Childhood,” “Adulthood,” and “Old Age” of the islands. He prominently features many of the animals that are unique to the Galapágos, their arrival and the consequent changes they went through, like the enchanting Galapágos giant tortoise and the marine iguana.

As in his previous books, the lavish illustrations are often breathtaking. Between more standard full page illustrations, he has developed a series of small illustrations with text underneath that have the intimate feel of a family slide show.

Many older people dream of visiting the unique and fantastic Galapágos Islands someday. This book will be sure to excite children about them as well. Fabulous addition to any library!

Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Hardcover: 36 pages
Publisher: Flash Point (September 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596437162
ISBN-13: 978-1596437166

 

 

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

Today’s round-up is at Jean Little Library.

Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump Champion

The picture book biography Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump Champion by Heather Lang and illustrated by Floyd Cooper leaves the reader breathless. It is an amazing story of a woman who ran, ran, and ran some more to overcome poverty, racism, and gender barriers, ultimately making her mark on history as the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

Heather Lang’s passion for her topic shines through beautifully, making a story that is already compelling even more of a page turner. She also did her research homework, as you can see in the back matter and during an interview at Unpacking the Power of Picture Books. Heather’s website also has links, videos and photographs.

Floyd Cooper is a fabulously talented artist. His illustrations have a wonderful texture, as though they were created on fine-grained sandpaper.

Queen of the Track will break some barriers of its own, as it is useful for units on U.S. History, Black History, and will likely entice readers interested in sports, as well.

Don’t take my word for it, check out the trailer. Be sure to hang on for after the first credits for some actual photographs of Alice.

 

 

The Nonfiction Detectives have an earlier review

 

Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (March 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590788508
ISBN-13: 978-1590788509

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

How exciting, Nonfiction Monday is here at Wrapped in Foil this week.

Monet Paints a Day

In Monet Paints a Day author Julie Danneberg says she wanted to have the story read as “…one might view Monet’s Impressionist paintings.” She paints a word portrait of a day in Monet’s life in a similar way to how Monet captured the fleeting light reflecting on the water in one of his paintings, creating a fast yet accurate impression of a moment. 

Although the story is told in the first person, Danneberg brings children in by having a group of children tote Monet’s supplies to the beach for him in the morning. The rest of the day is purely Monet’s to tell and it an exciting one (I won’t spoil the surprise).

The illustrations by first-time children’s book illustrator Caitlin Heimerl are breathtaking, doing full justice to the famous artist they portray. I hope we’ll see more.

As a former Art Masterpiece volunteer, I would have loved to have this book in my toolkit. It is perfect for reading to a group of children as a jumping off point for a number of exciting art projects featuring Monet. I would say, however, that you might want to consider skipping the sidebar/footnote additions to each page. They seem stiff and out of place with the rest of the text, and perhaps should have been included in the back matter.

Monet Paints a Day is a picture book biography that conveys a great deal about Monet’s life in a way that feels more like a fully developed painting, and not just a sketch. A lovely choice for budding artists and art teachers, as well.

Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Charlesbridge (July 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 158089240X
ISBN-13: 978-1580892407

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.