Category Archives: Non-Fiction

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.


“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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Hatching Chicks in Room 6

hatching-chicks-coverTitle:   Hatching Chicks in Room 6
Author:   Caroline Arnold
Series:   —
Recommended for:  grades K-4 as a readaloud, grades 2 and up for children to read by themselves.  Could work for older preschoolers for one-on-one reading.
Pages:   36 p.
Call Number/Link:  E 636.5 ARN

Rating:   ****




Kindergartners learn about the life cycle of a chicken, incubating eggs, watching them hatch and raising them until they are old enough to go to the chicken coop.



It is no surprise that I enjoyed learning more about this process.  Getting to watch the eggs hatch is one of my favorite things at both the County Fair and the Museum of Science and Industry.

This book is written in a way that is interesting to children and includes clear photo illustrations that enhance the text.  The photos make the book more interesting and eye-catching.  They also help children understand how the chicks develop.

This book would be a great classroom readaloud for grades K-2, but it could also be fine to read it out loud to kids in grades 3-4.  Older preschoolers could also enjoy it one-on-one, especially if they are fascinated by chickens, eggs or farm life.



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Posted by on February 10, 2017 in Non-Fiction, Picture Books


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Plant the Tiny Seed



Title: Plant the Tiny Seed

Author: Christie Mathson

Series: N/A

Recommended for: Preschool – 3rd grade

Pages: 40

Call Number/Link: E MATHESON, C.

Synopsis:  How do you make a garden grow? In this playful companion to the popular Tap the Magic Tree and Touch the Brightest Star, you will see how tiny seeds bloom into beautiful flowers. And by tapping, clapping, waving, and more, young readers can join in the action! Christie Matheson masterfully combines the wonder of the natural world with the interactivity of reading.

Beautiful collage-and-watercolor art follows the seed through its entire life cycle, as it grows into a zinnia in a garden full of buzzing bees, curious hummingbirds, and colorful butterflies. Children engage with the book as they wiggle their fingers to water the seeds, clap to make the sun shine after rain, and shoo away a hungry snail. Appropriate for even the youngest child, Plant the Tiny Seed is never the same book twice—no matter how many times you read it!

And for curious young nature lovers, a page of facts about seeds, flowers, and the insects and animals featured in the book is included at the end. Fans of Press Here, Eric Carle, and Lois Ehlert will find their next favorite book in Plant the Tiny Seed.

My thoughts: I think this book was so cute and had great rhyming sentences.  It is very interactive and would be perfect for any storytime: lapsit, toddler, preschool or Family.  I like the fact that the children can participate by doing an action for each page, while the colors and illustrations are engaging while covering a science topic.  Great book for parents or any type of teachers that want to teach how plants grow.


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Because of an Acorn


Title:   Because of an Acorn
Author:   Lola Schaefer & Adam Schaefer
Illustrator:   Frann Preston-Gannon
Recommended for:    kindergarten-third graders, older preschoolers who aren’t too sensitive (and/or observant) 
Pages:   unpaged
Call Number/Link:   E 577.3 SCH

Rating:  ***




Because of an acorn, a tree grows, a bird nests, a seed becomes a flower. Enchanting illustrations show the vital connections between the layers of an ecosystem in this magical book. Wander down the forest path to learn how every tree, flower, plant, and animal connect to one another in spiraling circles of life.


This book uses minimal text and detailed illustrations to teach children basic information about a woodland ecosystem.  If used in a classroom, the teacher would need to provide additional explanation for children to actually understand the concept.

The online catalog lists the book as being for ages 5-10 and grades K-3.  It seemed like a book for younger children the first time I read it, but I am less certain of that after looking at the illustrations more closely.  This should not be a shock considering that the book is about the food cycle.  Observant children might notice the bird with an insect in its mouth, a snake approaching a chipmunk, and a hawk capturing a snake.  The text never mentions why some animals are grabbing smaller animals and the animals are not shown eating their prey, so I am unsure whether it could be used for Preschool Storytimes or Toddler Times with a tree or nature theme.

This book is easy nonfiction but reads like a picture book.




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Posted by on November 12, 2016 in Non-Fiction, Picture Books


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Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History

Aaron and Alexander cover

Title:   Aaron and Alexander:  The Most Famous Duel in American History
Author:   Don Brown
Series:   —
Recommended for:   students in grades 1-6, older for a brief introduction to Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr
Pages:   unpaged
Call Number/Link:   E 973.4 Bro

Rating:   **** 



Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton were both fierce patriots during the Revolutionary War, but the politics of the young United States of America put them in constant conflict. Their extraordinary story of bitter fighting and resentment culminates in their famous duel.


Don Brown somehow managed to write a clear, understandable book for elementary students despite Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr’s very complicated relationship.  By book’s end, the reader understands some of the causes for the duel that may have changed American history.

It wouldn’t be my top choice as a source for a report on the two men and their duel, but it is interesting and conveys the basic historical information.


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Posted by on July 13, 2016 in Juv, Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized


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Who We Are! All about being the same and being different

Jacket[1] (2)

Title: Who We Are! All about being the same and being different
Author: Robie H. Harris
Series: Let’s Talk About You and Me
Recommended for: K- 2nd grade
Pages: 40
Call Number/Link:  E 158.2 HAR

Synopsis: Join Nellie, Gus, baby Jake, and their parents at Funland as they go on rides, watch performers, and play games along with many other children and grown-ups. As they enjoy their excursion, they notice that people are the same as one another in lots of ways, and different in lots of ways too. Accessible, humorous, family-filled illustrations; conversations between Gus and Nellie; and straightforward text come together to help children realize why it’s important to treat others the way they want to be treated and the way you want to be treated whether a person is a lot like you or different from you, a good friend or someone you have just met or seen for the first time. (from the catalog)

Review:  I had mixed feelings about this book.  I loved the illustrations throughout the entire book. They showed all types of families who are from all different racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, as well as some people with physical challenges. The text discusses how people are basically the same even though they are different in many ways.  It describes many ways people are different.  Unfortunately the text on each page goes on and on and on.  It would make a great read aloud for kids if it had only 1/3 of the words!  You could use the illustrations to start conversations about differences.  Currently it is too long and very boring.  But the pictures are fantastic!


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Fabulous Frogs

Fabulous Frogs cover

Title:   Fabulous Frogs
Author:   Martin Jenkins
Series:   –
Recommended for:   Preschoolers and students in grades K-3
Pages:   28
Call Number/Link:   E 597.8 JEN

Rating:   ****





Looks at all kinds of frogs, from exotic species to the common greenish-brown specimens found in backyards, discussing their characteristics, life cycles, and habitats.


I dearly love good narrative non-fiction, so was happy to come across Fabulous Frogs.  The book is written on two different levels.  The larger print works well as a readaloud for preschoolers and early elementary school students.  Fortunately for young report writers (and older readers), some pages also have small print that provides additional information about the page’s topic.

The vivid illustrations add interest and further extend the text.






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Posted by on March 8, 2016 in Non-Fiction, Picture Books


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