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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Becoming Bach–New

 

Title: Becoming Bach
Author: Tom Leonard
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Pre-schoolers and up, especially for homeschoolers looking for an arts supplement.
Pages: 40
Call Number/Link:  E B BACH, S.

Synopsis:

“Highlights the life and achievements of the eighteenth-century German composer and musician, and examines the development of his most important compositions.”

 

My thoughts:

This beautifully-illustrated biography of J.S. Bach does a good job of presenting a great composer to young children. I was nearly mesmerized by the lovely pictures, and just wanted to keep staring at them!

One note: the book describes the deaths of his parents as “after mother and father went to heaven…” Death is definitely a difficult subject for some families, and would be a great discussion point for this book.

The historical notes in the back of the book were also quite interesting; I’ve read some biographical material on Bach that seems to disagree with some of the author’s assertions (eg, my own research seems to indicate that Bach was asked to leave Arnstadt because he took a very long unapproved leave of absence from his position; insulted a student; and engaged in a physical fight with the man, rather than writing music that upset the Church authorities as the author asserts. However, verifying this would take more time than the desk really allows!) but the book itself is lovely and highly recommended! –Rebekah

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A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales

Title:   A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales
Author:   Chris Colfer
Series:   The Land of Stories
Recommended for:   fans of the Land of Stories series, anyone who would like to read fairy tales and nursery rhymes
Pages:   323 p.
Call Number/Link:   J FICTION COLFER, C.

Rating:  ***

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

An illustrated nursery rhyme and fairy tale collection that features the classic tales that Alex and Conner fall into in the Land of Stories series.

The treasury includes these classic fairy tales:  Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks and the three bears, Jack and the beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, The three little pigs, Rumpelstiltskin, The elves and the shoemaker, Beauty and the beast, The boy who cried wolf, Sleeping Beauty, The princess and the pea, Rapunzel, Henny Penny, The little mermaid, Three billy goats gruff, The Snow Queen, The frog prince, Puss in boots, Thumbelina, The Gingerbread man, The ugly duckling and Pinocchio.

The treasury includes these Mother Goose nursery rhymes:  LIttle Bo Peep, Little Miss Muffett, Little Jack Horner, The old woman who lived in a shoe, Humpty Dumpty, Rub-a-dub-dub, Three blind mice, Baa, baa, black sheep, Georgie Porgie, Hey diddle diddle, Pat-a-cake, Jack and Jill, Jack be nimble.

It concludes with Mother Goose’s Fairy-tale survival guide.

Comments:

This is a good, traditional retelling of fairy tales, folk tales and nursery rhymes.  I did not read every fairy tale in the book, but the ones that I read were true to other versions I’d read previously.  Due to the length of the stories, the collection would probably be best read aloud to children in kindergarten and up.

As for the preschool set, I think it would be better to share a collection (or individual tale) with less text and more pictures.

I thought it was a great idea for the author to write this traditional collection so that readers of his Land of Stories series would have a better understanding of his source material.

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Fairy Tales

 

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The Catawampus Cat

Image result for the catawampus cat

Title:   The Catawampus Cat 

Author:   Jason Carter Eaton
Series:   —
Recommended for:  grades Pre K-2 as a read-aloud, grades 2 and up for children to read by themselves.  
Pages:   32 p.
Call Number/Link:  E Eaton, J.

Rating:   *****

Synopsis:

A cat comes into town that walks on a slant, and shows everyone how to see life at a different angle.

Comments:

This book is very entertaining to say the least. When the Catawampus Cat comes to a very dull town, he forces the townsfolk to tilt their heads when they look at him, which changes their perception of the world they look at. Long lost friends are brought together again, missing personal items are found, and everyone in the town embraces their own individuality by viewing life at a different angle. Not only is the story engaging, but the illustrations are captivating to the eye. By using a combination of mixed illustration media, the cut and paste type images spread throughout the book give a certain depth to the story that makes it seem almost life like. I would highly recommend this book.

 

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in Picture Books

 

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Convergence

Title: Convergence
Author: Stan Lee
Series: The Zodiac Legacy
Recommended for: 5th grade and up 
Pages: 463
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION LEE 

Synopsis: When twelve magical super powers are unleashed on the world, a Chinese American teenager named Steven will be thrown into the middle of an epic global chase. He’ll have to master strange powers, outrun super-powered mercenaries, and unlock the mysterious powers of the Zodiac.

My Thoughts: This is a action packed book with an interesting premise.  This is the first book of the series so it is laying out who all the characters are and giving a taste as to what is to come.  This gives you some information about the team of young people that are collected for the one team.  I know this a book, but I really didn’t think the parents of the younger kids would give up the child so easy. There is also a lot of self doubt that has to be overcome and coming together as a team.  One of my son’s loves the series and is already on the third book in the series.  I feel children that love action packed/ super powers will love this series.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2017 in Adventure, Fantasy, Juv

 

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Bomb: The race to build and steal the world’s most dangerous weapon

Title: Bomb: The race to build and steal the world’s most dangerous weapon
Author: Steve Sheinkin
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 5th Grade and up
Pages: 266 pages
Call Number/Link:  J 623.4 SHE

Synopsis: In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world’s most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

My thoughts: This is a very interesting book.  I listened to the audio book, so I had a little bit of trouble remember who some of the people were.  I think that if I had read the book that the names would have stuck with me better. It was interesting to hear the whole process and to see some insight to the scientists who worked on the project.  I didn’t realizes that some scientists in Chicago did some initial work on the project.  I am really surprised that they were able to keep everything so secretive with all the spies trying to get information.  I think a anyone interested in World War II will be interested in this book.  It has really good information in an easy format to follow.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2017 in Historical, Juv

 

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Dormouse Dreams

Title:   Dormouse Dreams
Author:   Karma Wilson          Illustrator:   Renata Liwska
Series:   —
Recommended for:   grown-ups who are reading aloud to preschool children
Pages:   32 p.
Call Number/Link:   E WILSON, K.

Rating:   ***

 

 

Synopsis:

Dormouse hibernates and dreams of spring until spring arrives, and along with it comes his dormouse friend.

Comments:

I loved this book’s cute, cozy illustrations.  The pictures of the dormouse sleeping were my favorites.

The story was cute, but it confused me.  There were times when I couldn’t tell if the illustrations were of the dormouse’s dreams or things that were actually happening in the outside world.  Thus, it would probably not be the best choice to read to a very literal, logical child who is bothered when a book doesn’t make sense to him or her.  It could be fine for other children though.

And the illustrations are just so adorable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2017 in Picture Books

 

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Lesser Spotted Animals: The Coolest Creatures You’ve Never Heard Of

Title:  Lesser Spotted Animals:  The Coolest Creatures You’ve Never Heard Of
Author:   Martin Brown
Series:  —
Recommended for:  kindergarten and up for sharing, third grade and up for solo reading
Pages:   53 p.
Call Number/Link:   E 590 BRO

Rating:  *****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Find out all about the amazing animals you need to know but never get to see, from the numbat to the zorilla, and everything in between.

Comments

This book definitely fits into the fun non-fiction category!  While it is factual, it also has humorous illustrations and funny comments.

As an example, here is a paragraph from the entry about the Lesser Fairy Armadillo:

“Imagine having your own suit of armor – not the clanking, noisy, metal medieval knight kind of armor – but tough, leathery bony plates that fit you like a second skin.  That’s what armadillos have.  Sticks and stones?  Dog bites?  Little brothers?  Ha!  You’d laugh at these pesky annoyances.”

And, I must admit that I would probably love any animal book that decided to include animals with names like the lesser fairy armadillo, dagger-toothed flower bat or Speke’s pectinator in it.  What awesome names!

This would be an excellent class readaloud.  I think a teacher would only need to read one chapter to grab the students’ interest.  And then there would hopefully be multiple copies of the book in the classroom so that fisticuffs didn’t ensue,  The book would also be an excellent way to introduce a unit where students would write animal reports, about either frequently spotted or lesser spotted animals.  Students could be asked to include wacky facts and try to make their reports fun.  (Or at least attempt one or two humorous illustrations.)

But now I must close so that I can search the Internet for photos of the lesser fairy armadillo!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2017 in Funny, Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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