Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play

February 10, 2016

clotheslinecluessportsClothesline Clues to Sports People Play

By: Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook

Illustrated by: Andy Robert Davies

This is a fun follow-up to the book Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do by the same authors and illustrator. It also seems fitting to have a sports themed book with the upcoming summer Olympics. The book is set up with a rhyme about a type of sport with corresponding items on a clothesline. Readers get to guess the sport and find out if they are right on the next page. Additionally, readers can look for a mischievous squirrel that appears on multiple pages throughout.

One thing that is appreciated in this book (as with the previous one) is that men, women, and diverse skin tones are all portrayed playing the different sports. Finally, the story concludes with a question for readers: “what sport would you like to try out today?” This participatory picture book is recommended for ages 3 and up.

Reviewed by: Diana (Harrington Library)

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I Hear a Pickle

February 9, 2016

hearpickleI Hear a Pickle (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!) by Rachel Isadora

Parents, and teachers of preschool children often ask for books about the five senses. Isadora’s new book will be perfect to suggest.

Each sense is described over several pages, with simple sentences beside small illustrations of children in action. The final page features the child from the cover eating a delicious pickle, as he tastes, smells, sees, touches and hears the pickle.  “Crunch!”

Come by the library to check out this fun new book to read to children while talking about their senses. I’m off to buy a jar of pickles!

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Kid Picks

February 7, 2016

Ponyella MUN

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LEGO Apps for All Ages

February 6, 2016

These apps are all about LEGO!  If you or your child love to build, check out some of these virtual options.  Take your LEGOs on the go – or anywhere you don’t have space to build.

LEGO DUPLO Train by LEGO Systems, Inc.

Ages:  5 and under

Price:  FREE!

Requires:  iOS 6.0 or later or Android 4.0 and up

Compatibility:  iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android

Engineer your own train!  Choose and load cars, build bridges, navigate railroad crossings, and lay track.  Once you’ve built a train, drive your train to the next station, where you can load cargo or passengers.  Once you’re underway, face periodic challenges to help the train continue.  As an added bonus, most objects in the landscape are animated, so slow down along the way and enjoy the landscape.  Once you’ve successfully reached the end of the line, the game returns automatically to the start menu.  Navigation is mostly drag-and-drop or tapping the screen, and if you take too long, you’ll see visual prompts.  For build challenges, the app automatically rejects pieces in the wrong place.  Some parents have reported audio glitches while playing, and occasional problems when used with smartphones.  Some content may be challenging for younger children, but parents report that toddlers and preschoolers alike enjoy this app.

LEGO Juniors Create & Cruise by LEGO Systems, Inc.

Ages:  4 to 7

Price:  FREE!

Requires:  iOS 6.0 or later or Android 4.0 and up

Compatibility:  iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android

Build vehicles and other figures from earned LEGO bricks.  Once you’ve created a vehicle, navigate a challenge course to collect coins, which unlock additional LEGO pieces.  At the end of each level, you can build a new LEGO structure that appears in future courses.  The sequence is simple:  Choose your player, build your vehicle, and drive the course.  At the end, build your structure and return to the main menu.  Use drag-and-drop building and single-button navigation for your car.  There are a limited number of sculptures to unlock, so expect some repetition.  You won’t actually be steering your car, so if you want a driving challenge, you might want a different app.  Reviews from Common Sense Media, iTunes, and GooglePlay are mostly favorable, although many parents do recommend this game as better suited for a younger audience (3 to 5) than advertised.

LEGO MINDSTORMS Fix the Factory by LEGO Systems, Inc.

Ages:  8 and up

Price:  FREE!

Requires:  iOS 5.0 or later or Android 4.0 and up.

Compatibility:  iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android

Program an EV3RSTORM robot to walk, rotate, grab, and move objects.  You’ll need logic, spatial intelligence, and robot commanding skills to navigate the factory maze and put dislocated batteries back into their proper place.  For each course, build a programming sequence using drag-and-drop commands, then watch your robot follow those rules to move the batteries.  For unsuccessful attempts, a red X shows where your code failed.  Scores are based on the number of attempts, number of moves, and number of errors you make in each level.  Levels are progressively harder, so you’ll want to experiment with your strategy and discuss your logic.  The puzzles may be too hard for younger users, even if they love LEGOs.  If you hope to learn more about programming, Common Sense Media advises that you won’t learn much beyond the basics.  Also, there is no help menu – if you get stuck on a challenge, you’ll have to keep repeating it until you find the solution.  There are only 24 levels, so repetition is inevitable for frequent players; use this as an opportunity to improve your time and strategy in each round.

If you can’t get enough LEGOs, you can search for more LEGO apps on your device – there are several other free variations available.  When you’re ready to build in real life, be sure to check out some of these great LEGO-inspired upcoming programs:

  • LEGO WeDo Robot Challenge – Monday, February 15 at 3 PM – Davis Library:  Build a LEGO WeDo robot, then challenge yourself to beat an EV3 programming game.
  • Sailboat Storm – Saturday, February 27 at 2 PM – Schimelpfenig Library:  Learn about gears, levers, and sensors as you build a rocking sailboat toughing it out in the middle of a furious storm!
  • Big Build – Saturday, February 27 at 3 PM – Haggard Library:  Build with a giant size construction set and lots of LEGOs!
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No More Cuddles!

February 5, 2016

No More Cuddles!

by Jane Chapman

Barry is a lovable and huggable hairy monster who enjoys life in the forest. He particularly loves his walks, listening to the birds and munching on berries. Basically, he just loves his own company! Unfortunately, he is rarely left alone as he is just too cuddly for his own good.  Animals from all over the forest love to come and cuddle him because he is sooooo soft!  Barry likes cuddles but unfortunately for him, his forest friends overdo it by smothering him with cuddles all the time – rarely giving him a moment alone.  Bunnies, badgers, beavers and even a tortoise leap onto him smoothing, patting, stroking, fluffing and crying “Come here, Snuggle-wuggles!”  What was poor Barry to do?  Pretend to be a tree? That attracts squirrels.  Put on an angry face? Then the animals think he needs a cuddle to cheer him up!  Nothing works!  Or does it?  Barry tries and tries to calm his cuddlers down until finally one day he may (or may not) have discovered the solution.

Once again Jane Chapman has written and illustrated a delightfully humorous story that begs to be read aloud.  Her colorful illustrations jump off the page and bring her lovable characters to life. I’m afraid that I, too, might have joined in the cuddling had I met an adorable monster like Barry!

Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)

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Freedom in Congo Square

February 3, 2016

congoFreedom in Congo Square

By Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

New Orleans has a history of music and dance dating all the way back to colonial times. These two Coretta Scott King honorees set out to tell the story of Congo Square, a place that served as a refuge for enslaved and free African Americans alike. During this time, there was a law stating that Sunday must be a day of rest, so for half a day a week the slaves of New Orleans gathered in Congo Square. This was where they could sing and dance and forget their oppression for a little while.

Freedom in Congo Square tells of people’s capacity to find hope and joy even under the most difficult circumstances. Through bright, vivid paintings and simple language, this story can start a conversation on a much deeper subject. Consider pairing this with other books like Ellen’s Broom and I, Too, am America as a story time for Black History Month.

Recommended for ages 4-8.

Nicole P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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Kid Picks

January 31, 2016

Danny's Doodles Too Noisy Wings of Fire

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All Year Round

January 29, 2016

All Year Round

By Susan B. Katz

 

In this fun and engaging picture book, a different shape corresponds to each month. The illustrations are bold, bright and colorful.

I enjoyed the connections made by the author between each month and the activity used to introduce the shape. This book is a fun way to help your little one learn (or reinforce their knowledge of) their shapes.  It is a great group read for preschool classes, too.  Happy Reading!

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Cockatoo, Too

January 26, 2016

cockatooCockatoo, Too

By Bethanie Deeney Murguia

Every struggle with the difference between two, too, and to? I know I have! In this delightful and colorful book, a cockatoo explores all the different forms of the word. The text is simple, but helps the reader better understand how two cockatoos are different than cockatoos, too! By the time the tutus and the toucans show up, you’ll be giggling as you try to say these short tongue twisters!

As the two cockatoos in tutus and the two cockatoos in tutus, too start to can-can with the toucans, you’ll agree with the tiny bird at the end of the book. It’s all “too, too much!” A fun book that introduces the reader to word play, as well as  helps introduce the idea of two, too, and to!

Recommended for ages 3-6

Nicole P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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Kid Picks

January 24, 2016

Jan1 Jan2 Jan3

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