Thursday, January 24, 2019

Breathe review

Image result for 9781433828720

"Mom, I can't sleep!"
"Why not?"
"I don't know...I'm nervous and I can't stop thinking, thinking, thinking..."
"Do you want me to teach you how to breathe?"
"Breathe? But I already know how to breathe!"

This familiar scene of a child having difficulty falling asleep leads to fantastic and imaginative techniques to foster calm and mindfulness. From a boat on your belly to yoga poses these beautifully illustrated and gently described tools are sure to help restless people of any age. Further notes about the techniques are included in the back. This book could be read in a sitting or picked up and put down as needed when you want to try a new tool. The mixed media illustrations perfectly capture abstract concepts to help children with visualizations. A great resource for parents and educators!

Breathe by Ines Castel-Branco: buy it or check it out today!

The Turtle Ship review

This early tale of biomimicry is based on historical fact. The Gobukson (or turtle ships) were known for their powerful design that included ironclad covering long before any western ships did. The story follows a young boy who observes a turtle in nature and then takes him to the emperor to illustrate his idea. This is a great book for budding inventors and could easily be paired with a maker's activity on boat building. The illustrations are intricate collages that lend the book a sense of warmth and solidity; you can almost feel the textures beneath your fingers. This really helps showcase the various design elements of the ship. 

The Turtle Ship by Helena Ku Rhee illus. by Colleen Kong-Savage: buy it or check it out today!

On Our Street Review

This wise book starts off reassuring readers that when you go out into the world, you may have questions about what you see, and that is okay. People live in many different ways. It goes on to give an example of a kid walking to school and seeing a man sleeping on the street. The child asks "Why would he sleep outside?" The book answers with matter of fact, developmentally-appropriate language and continues to other questions from what is poverty to what is a fundamental human right to how can I help. This book is an excellent resource for parents or educators looking for language and advice on how to broach this topic with children. You could even just sit down with a child and read the whole book together. I love that the book comes from a place of curiosity and compassion. It doesn't talk down to the reader or make them feel bad for asking perfectly natural questions. Illustrated with a mixture of watercolor and photographs, this approachable book is a must-read.

Source: school library

On Our Street by Dr. Jillian Roberts and Jamie Casap, illus. by Jane Heinrichs: buy it or check it out today!

Fly With Me review

Fly With Me is a masterpiece of transdisciplinary study. The book examines birds from every possible angle: biological, historical, conservation, art, and stories. Poetry is peppered throughout complementing the other information. It's a National Geographic book, so you can trust that the photography throughout is stunning. Perfect for bird enthusiasts and curious minds. 

Source: School library
Fly With Me by Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Temple: buy it or check it out today!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Friday Barnes Girl Detective

Girl Detective (Friday Barnes #1)

Book talk: Friday Barnes may be eleven, but she can solve mysteries that stump adult detectives. When she helps catch a bank robber, she uses the prize money to pay for tuition at an elite private school. The classes there aren't much of a challenge for her, but the students and even teachers provide her with plenty of mysteries to keep her busy. She'll go to any length to solve a crime--even performing an analysis on doggy poo.

Rave: This parody of detective novels had me laughing throughout. The characters are all satirizations of tropes. The principal is outrageously incompetent, her academic parents are too wrapped up in themselves to to notice her, and her fellow students obligingly supply mysteries which they are happy to let Friday investigate. It's full of a dry humor and all the hallmarks of the genre. I particularly enjoyed the gentle ribbing of Academics and Friday's partiality to her brown cardigan collection and green felt pork pie hat (because all detectives should have funny hats.)

Every book its reader: I'd give this to students 3rd and up looking for a funny mystery novel.

Topics and trends: humor, mystery, parody, boarding schools

Source: school library

Friday Barnes: Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt, illustrated by Phil Gosier: buy it or check it out today!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Rabbit Listened Review

When Taylor's blocks are knocked over, everyone has advice about what they* should do. Chicken thinks Taylor should talk about it. Bear thinks they should get angry and shout. Snake thinks they should knock over someone else's blocks. But only bunny sits next to Taylor in silence and listens when they feel ready to talk. Eventually Taylor feels better and they make plans for a new, even bigger, structure.

This sweet story has a lot of emotional wisdom. Taylor rejects everyone who tells them how they should feel. Only rabbit is willing to sit quietly and listen to Taylor actually process their feelings. This book is a great way to start a conversation with a child about how to work through big emotions. It's also great for teaching children how they can be good friends to others. I love that Taylor's gender is ambiguous and never explicitly stated. The illustrations make great use of white space to show Taylor's feelings of isolation. The use of a purple background at the beginning and end show that Taylor has recaptured their excitement about building with blocks.

*I use they/them pronouns for Taylor in this review rather than assigning a gender to the character.

Drawn Together Review

A young boy is less than excited to spend time with his grandpa. They don't eat the same food. They don't watch the same shows. They don't even speak the same language! The boy soon grows bored and takes out some paper and markers to entertain himself. When his grandpa sees, he excitedly takes out his ink pot and brush. They have finally found a common language! Together, they go on an adventure combining their styles.

The way Santat combines the grandson and grandfather's styles is simply breath-taking. The format goes from comic panels at the beginning to show time passing to full-color spreads in a more traditional picture book layout. I love the way the characters choose to draw themselves and that they exchange their preferred drawing implement at the end. The end papers bring it all together with the front displaying the grandson's style and the back the grandfather's. A sweet, inter-generational tale.