Posts Tagged ‘animals’

The Opposite Zoo

July 28, 2016

The Opposite ZooThe Opposite Zoo

By Il Sung Na

“They are

fast and slow.

Soft and prickly.

Tall and short.

Noisy and quiet….  Meet the animals of the Opposite Zoo!” (from back cover)

After the zoo is closed, the monkey finds that his door is open and he decides to visit all of his animal neighbors.  Each turn of the page reveals a new pair of opposite animals with their accompanying descriptive words.  Many of the words use font that emphasize the differences between the two adjectives such as small, lowercase letters for the word “shy” and big, uppercase letters for “bold.”  The illustrations have a rough, sketch-like quality that, when combine with the bright and unusual coloring, gives the whole story a whimsical feel.  Children will enjoy finding the monkey in each picture as he feeds the giraffe and swims with the seals and swans.

This is a great book for introducing opposites to young children as well as practicing storytelling skills by describing what is happening in each scene.

For more opposites fun, check out Charlotte and Eddie’s video review of The Hueys in What’s the Opposite? by Oliver Jeffers on the library’s YouTube page here.The Hueys

Reviewed by: Meredith (Harrington Library)

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July 22, 2016

Many of us have enjoyed reading the classic Aesop’s fable, Hare and Tortoise.  Alison Murray has created a new version of this classic that is a delight to read.  Right from the start the reader is involved, we get to stop the Hare and  Tortoise and learn about their characteristics and personality traits.  The race begins as predicted with the energetic over-confident Hare and the ever steady Tortoise racing to see who will get to the finish line first.  There is no mystery to this fable since we are aware the Tortoise always wins the race with his diligence and patience.  We can, however, enjoy a bit of humor and creativity in every page with the colorful and large illustrations than are easy for children to interpret.

Review: Bev (Davis)

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Cecil’s Pride

June 23, 2016

cecilWhen Cecil the lion was killed in 2015, the news made international headlines.  In Cecil’s Pride: The True Story of a Lion King, young readers learn more about Cecil and his extraordinary life before his death.

When Cecil was challenged by another male lion, and forced to abandon his territory, Cecil unexpectedly paired up with another male lion.  Male lions are fiercely protective of their prides and typically do not pair up, so this was highly unusual.  Cecil and Jericho, however, were stronger together. When Cecil was tragically killed by hunters, Cecil’s pride (especially the cubs) were in danger.  Amazingly, Jericho spared the cubs and adopted them into his own pride.

Young animal lovers (and budding conservationists) will pore over the quality photographs and enjoy the narrative of this unlikely friendship.  The author team is a father and his two daughters, and they’ve produced many photo biographies of true animal friendships.  Check out this one or another one by the Hatkoff’s.

cecil and jericho

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Beastly Verse

June 15, 2016

img_7300Beastly Verse

by JooHee Yoon

When I was a child I had a book of poems that included Laura E. Richards’ Eletelephony:

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant—
No! no! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone—
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I’ve got it right.)
Howe’er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I’d better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)

I thought it was hilarious, and I memorized it and recited it back to my parents any time the words “elephant” or “telephone” were mentioned around me for probably the next year-and-a-half. So that was my introduction to poetry, and from it I learned that poems can be interesting and fun and silly and wonderful, and the fact that I memorized this poem without being prompted at the age of five or six still amazes me. So imagine my delight when I picked up JooHee Yoon’s vibrantly illustrated Beastly Verse and found, among 15 others by poets such as Christina Rossetti, William Blake, and Lewis Carroll, Laura E. Richards’ Eletelephony!

This is a collection of 16 delightful poems about animals, with bright, bold, whimsical illustrations, several of which fold out, hiding some surprises! There’s enough variety here to make you wonder what will come next, and Yoon has done an excellent job of picking a small number of quality poems that will keep the book from feeling overwhelming. If you’re looking for an introductory book of poetry to read aloud with your child, I can see this one sparking the imagination just as the one I had as a child did mine.

Happy reading!

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)

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The Wild Robot

June 7, 2016

The Wild Robot

By Peter Brown

Roz the robot (otherwise known as ROZZUM Unit 7134) is the sole surviving robot of a cargo of 500 lost at sea after a hurricane.  When Roz’s crate washes ashore on an island, otters play with her protective packaging and accidentally push the button which activates the robot.  As the robot opens her eyes, she announces “You may call me Roz”. This unexpected pronouncement terrifies the sea otters who think this unknown creature is a monster.  Roz is confused by her presence on the island but her robot brain is programmed to learn and master tasks. In other words, she is programmed to survive. This is, of course, a handy trait to have when lost on a remote island. Equipped with the human senses of sight, smell, touch and hearing, Roz observes and learns and becomes more and more acclimated to life on the island.  But she is lonely as the island’s animal residents fear her and stay away from her. Due to her powers of learning and observation, Roz is eventually able to learn the language of the wild creatures (each species with its different “accent”) which enables her to ask the other animals for their help when a terrible accident occurs.

As Roz becomes acclimated to life on the island, the island’s creatures adjust to their new neighbor who ultimately becomes their friend.  Life settles into a happy routine for the animals and Roz until environmental and technological dangers threaten the island community.

Middle grade readers who enjoy robot and/or animal stories with a taste of adventure will enjoy this delightful story of a robot with very human attributes and the difference she makes to her island home.

Peter Brown’s striking gray-scale illustrations complement the story and set the atmosphere for this unique novel.

Recommended by Connie (Parr Library)



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Sea Bones

June 1, 2016

Sea Bones coverSea Bones

By Bob Barner

As a child who loved all things ocean-related and a grown-up fan of Bob Barner, I couldn’t pass up the chance to review such a great book!

The illustrations are everything you’d expect from a Barner book; bright, colorful and engaging.  Spanning two pages each, they are crafted by collage using torn and cut paper, string, and watercolor to capture the whimsy of the underwater world.

The text is split-level with rhyming lines for younger children in big, bold font and more detailed information for readers with longer attention spans in smaller print.  This book introduces complex concepts of anatomy such as exoskeletons, endoskeletons, and cartilage in a fun and playful way.  Children meet animals from every part of the ocean from coral reefs to the deep sea and learn fun facts about them.  At the end of the book, there is a neat chart of “sea facts” for some of the featured animals in the book. This chart helps reinforce what was covered in the book and shares additional tidbits such as what each animal likes to eat.  With something for all age levels to enjoy, this books is bound to delight any ocean or animal enthusiast!

For more educational books about bones, check out two other Bob Barner titles, Dem Bones and Dinosaur Bones.

Dem Bones cover          Dinosaur Bones cover

Reviewed by: Meredith (Harrington Library)

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The Mouse Who Reached the Sky by Petr Horacek

May 31, 2016

mousewhoWhen Little Mouse sees something red and shiny in a tree, she tries to get it down but is unable to reach it. She goes to ask her friend Mole to help but they still can’t attain the necessary height. The two friends ask Rabbit to assist them and by cooperating with each other, they are able to achieve even more than their original goal. Each character imagines the red circle is something a little different.  Children can make their own guesses before the actual object is revealed at the end.  The vibrant colors used in the illustrations add to the exuberance of the story.  When these friends help each other, they succeed beyond their wildest dreams. mouse moon

Recommended for children ages 3-6.

Enjoy these two additional titles by Petr Horacek starring Little Mouse.

new house for moue



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Chicken Lily

May 26, 2016

61nI7EPEwLLChicken Lily

By Lori Mortensen

Illustrated by Nina Victor Crittenden

For Chicken Lily, it’s not easy to take risks. She won’t take off her training wheels, or raise her wing in class. She might not be brave, but she’s good at so many other things. Being a careful colorer, and a patient puzzler couldn’t help her with the school’s poetry contest. She would have to get up on a stage and read a poem aloud in front of the whole school! Nothing could be more terrifying than that!

Chicken Lily proves that being scared is something anyone can face with a little support from friends. It’s okay to be scared sometimes. This is a great lesson to share with your little ones, whether they have a current fear, or whether they’re just a little nervous about something. Just like Chicken Lily, they too can face that microphone and take a step over their fears, even if it’s just for one day.

Recommended for ages 4-8.

Nicki P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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My New Mom and Me

May 13, 2016

51HkVEbXwrLMy New Mom and Me

by Renata Galindo

While it might not be a conversation you think about often, children should understand adoption. They might encounter adopted children in their school, or happen to be one themselves. My New Mom and Me is a gentle way to introduce your child to this concept.

Told from the prospective of the child, it brings up many of the concerns adopted children may feel, including the fact that they don’t look like their adoptive parent. While things aren’t always perfect between the new cat mother and her adopted puppy, they show how much love and patience can come out of the new living arrangements. Though they might not start off as a family, they learn how to become one.

Recommended for ages 3-7.

Nicki P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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Polar Bear’s Underwear

May 12, 2016

Polar bears underwear bigPolar Bear’s Underwear

By tupera tupera

“Poor Polar Bear! He can’t find his underwear!” (from book)

Polar Bear has misplaced his underwear and he can’t remember what they looked like! His friend Mouse decides to help him locate his absent undies by examining a series of colorful options… but unfortunately they all belong to other animal friends. It seems like Polar Bear may never see his gone garment again until…

well, you’ll just have to read to find out!

This is an adorable guessing game book with cut-out pages so you can see the underwear without seeing who they belong to until you turn the page. The animals and their underthings are made from cut paper of a dazzling array of colors and textures in a collage-style reminiscent of Lois Ehlert’s works.  Each pair of underwear is a clue to who their owner is so you have to stop and think to figure it out before you turn the page!polar bear & mouse

This book is part of the 2×2 Reading List selected annually by the Texas Library Association for young readers age 2 through 2nd grade.  Each book is paired with a list of fun and educational activities for children and parents to do together!  All of the 2×2 books at the Plano Public Libraries include this activity list on their inside cover.   If they are all checked out, we have a set of books as part of our Junior Reference collection that you can read in the library any time!

Reviewed by: Meredith (Harrington Library)

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