Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

Henry Finds His Word

May 20, 2015

henry finds his wordHenry Finds His Word
by Lindsay Ward

Henry is looking for his first word. It seems “bbbghsh” is not working out so well; no one seems to know it means bottle… or ball… or book. Henry searches all over. In his crib, in the toy box, but he doesn’t quite know what a word looks like. So Henry asks some friends to help. He asks a cat, a bird, and a bunny, but they’re not much help at all. Will Henry ever find his word?

What an adorable book about an important milestone! Parents and little ones will enjoy reading this book together, and talking about their very first words.

Recommended for ages 2 to 5.

(Jocelyn, Davis Library)

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The War That Saved My Life

May 19, 2015

The war that saved my lifeThe War That Saved My Life

By: Kimberly Bradley

This wonderful historical novel by Kimberly Bradley explores WWII through the eyes of a disabled child. Ada and Jamie Smith live with their abusive, neglectful mother in London. Ada is crippled by an untreated club foot which keeps her dependent on her mother. With the threat of German bombs hitting London, parents are eager to send their children to the countryside. Ada’s mother plans to send Jamie, but intends to keep Ada in London. Ada takes it upon herself to teach herself to walk while her mother is away at work and she escapes with Jamie to the train bound for the countryside. The children are placed with Susan Smith, a woman without any experience with children. The children are emotionally damaged, but slowly they come to trust Ms. Smith and thrive under her care. Susan’s care is life-changing for Ada. Ada also gets the chance to ride Susan’s horse and she enjoys the freedom of being able to travel without walking on her club foot. This story, set against a backdrop of war, is both uplifting and heartwarming.

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Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings

May 14, 2015

 1423950404206Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings

by Kris Di Giacomo

There once was a boy with a big imagination who loved to play tag, climb trees, and gaze out of his window. Inspired by the world around him, he expressed his excitement in pictures and poems. Before he could even write, he played with words and said poems aloud. And when he got older, he filled page after page with poems.

Fall in love with the wonder of words with this brilliantly illustrated story of the life of E.E. Cummings, including a chronology and numerous examples of his playful poetry. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to try writing some poems of your own!

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)

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The World in a Second

May 13, 2015

The World in a Second

By Isabel Minhós Martins and Bernardo Carvalho

This engaging book, inspired by the question “What are they doing on the other side of the world right now?”, depicts snapshots of everyday life from around the world.  The twenty-three different scenes range from a cargo ship in a storm, people stuck in an elevator, a boy learning to ride a bike, a volcanic eruption, and more.

Though the premise is simple, this book is a beautiful way to introduce concepts like time and the connectedness of humanity to children.  With large pages and a straightforward, yet unique style of illustration, The World in a Second shows both humanity’s diversity and similarities.  Recommended for preschool – 3rd grade.

Reviewed by Alyssa (Davis Library)

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Little Bird Takes a Bath

May 12, 2015

Little Bird takes a bathLittle Bird Takes a Bath

By Marisabina Russo

Little Bird goes to sleep on a rainy night in the city thinking how much he doesn’t like rain.  But morning arrives, the sun is shining and Little Bird’s spirit is soaring as he sings “Rain, rain, gone away!  What a perfect day for a bath.”  Of course, the day after a rainstorm is a perfect day for a bird to bathe.  There are glorious puddles everywhere!  So, Little Bird sets off across the city to find the perfect one.  At last he finds one but unfortunately it comes with some obstacles. Bouncing balls, running feet and barking dogs all chase him from his chosen puddle.  To make matters worse, his puddle becomes smaller and smaller as the water is all splashed away.  Where will little bird go to bathe?  Will he have to wait for yet another miserable rainy night to provide him with the perfect puddle again?

Big bright gouache and colored-pencil illustrations easily transport the reader to a city in the summer complete with parks, historic buildings, busy traffic and a diverse population. The sounds and sights of the city as they interconnect with nature help to create a very pleasant story that begs to be read again and again.

Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)

 

 

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New Shoes

May 7, 2015

index (1)New Shoes

by Susan Lynn Meyer

illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Ella Mae always got hand-me-down shoes from family. She looked into the shop windows of the local shoe shop with longing, wishing she could have her very own pair of new shoes. As she got close to the next year of school, the traditional hand-me-down phase of shoes got her a pair that just don’t fit. For the first time, she went to the shoe store and pick out a new pair of shoes. Instead of getting to try on the new shoes like the white girl in the shop ahead of her, Ella Mae had to trace around her feet on a piece of paper so the shop owner could guess at her size. Embarrassed, Ella Mae doesn’t even enjoy her new shoes. In response, Ella Mae and her friend Charlotte decide to make a shoe store all their own where ANYONE can try on their shoes before they buy them.

Set in the 1960s when segregation was still going strong in the south, New Shoes is a great way to learn about the history of our country. Ella Mae and Charlotte’s creative and determined approach to overcoming discrimination is inspiring for any reader.

Recommended for grades 1-3.

Nicki P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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App Time Session 16

May 2, 2015

rocketThe book app we explored in App Time this week was How Rocket Learned to Read written by Tad Hills and produced by Random House ($4.99 on App Store for iPad), and based on the book of the same name.
Rocket the dog isn’t interested in reading, but a little yellow bird changes his mind and becomes his reading teacher. This app is well organized and easy to use. The app begins with a Word of the Day before the story begins. You can read it yourself or have it read aloud. Navigation is clear with arrows at the bottom of the page, a clear Home button and a Question button that gives page hints to prompt the reader where to tap or at times to shake the iPad (to make leaves fall). There is highlighted narration (the reader is a female with great verbal inflection) and verbal pronunciation of a word when tapped. Another nice feature is the “resume progress” option if reading is paused. rocket 2
The app also includes two games that build on the theme of learning to read: Bird’s Words and Alphabet Drop. Bird’s Words helps children learn sight words and there’s the option to hear the word again if children are unsure. If a wrong word is chosen the app moves on. In Alphabet Drop, there is clear instructions for how to play. A scene appears with Rocket looking up at the sky. As letters fall, the child tilts the iPad so that Rocket’s nose touches the letters in order. The letters then appear on a small chalkboard on the tree and a timer keeps track. Children can do the game over and over to improve their time.

 

abc appWe also looked at the activity app ABC Alphabet Phonics produced by Innovative Investments (free on App Store for iPad and iPhone)

This activity app provides a number of ways to for children to identify alphabet letters, from simple prompts to press a letter to additional phonics options. There are lots of options to expand upon letter recognition including uppercase and lowercase; animals next to letters to prompt identification of letter and animal name starting with the letter; professions to prompt identification of letter and profession. Game sounds include reinforcement when a correct answer is chosen.  With so much customization, this free app has many uses!

 

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Hug Me

April 28, 2015

indexHug Me

By Simona Ciraolo

Hug Me is the story of Felipe, a young cactus who came from a family that kept everything neat and tidy and believed one should NEVER trespass into another’s personal space. The problem was, Felipe wanted a hug. He was taught to keep still, that he was for looking and not touching. He stretched himself up like the rest of his family, wishing that someone, anyone, would come by and wrap their arms around him.

One day, Felipe got in trouble, so he decided to leave. Felipe thought that maybe he was better off by himself, until he heard someone else who was feeling lonely too. Cactus or not, Felipe knew just what to do! With a big hug, Felipe makes his first real friend.

Recommended for ages 3-5.

Nicki P.

Schimelpfenig library

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Kid Picks

April 26, 2015

dork diaries 1dumb bunny 2kylie jean 3ling and ting 4

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Sidewalk Flowers

April 24, 2015

Sidewalk-Flowers-by-Jon-Arno-Lawson-on-BookDragonSidewalk Flowers

by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

In this beautiful wordless picture book, a little girl walks through the city with her father collecting colorful flowers she finds growing in overlooked places. As she walks, she sees others who look like they could use a little bit of color too, so she leaves a little bit of cheer behind her as she goes, saving herself for last. A great way to talk about feelings of loneliness and sadness and about caring for others’ feelings. And the illustrations are detailed and absolutely gorgeous — worth pouring over multiple times!

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)

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