Children's Lit Book Reviews

Monday, April 5, 2010






























Children Just Like Me
By: Anabel Kindersley
Publisher: DK Publishing
Copyright: 1995
Pages: 80
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Non-Fiction
"The candid, approachable text, accompanying quotes, and nuggets of information make the lives of these children as vivid as a friend's."
-Family Fun

Summary: From a Bedouin village in Jordan to the heart of Hollywood, children are introduced to a wide variety of cultures and places. The Kindersley's take you directly into the life of children throughout the world and allow the reader to get a small glimpse of what life is like outside their own country. For example, meet Edgar Flores. He is an eight year old pinoy from the Philippines. His father purchases oysters from local farmers and then shucks them and turns around and sells them to the restaurants around his village. His brother also works along with his father and that work helps to supply the family needs. Like most Filipinos, Edgar and his family are Catholic and attend church at a nearby building. Unlike most children, Edgar has a pet chicken because one day his pet dog somehow disappeared, never to return. Then, on the other side of the world, Anabel invites readers to meet Nicole from Hollywood. Nicole lives a completely different lifestyle then Edgar. She has access to the modern interventions that Edgar is unable to have. However, both children have something in common and that is they both love their families dearly. Kindersley, through photographs, helps fulfil children's imagination and fascination for other cultures.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I think that all children should read this book. This book will help children learn and understand different cultures. It will also help children be more accepting of other peoples differences by showing them that, even though they are separated by miles and miles, they could still have some similarities. This is a great book for teachers to use as well as parents to borrow from the local libraries.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that this book will cause any problems. This book was sponsored by UNICEF and promotes child safety and unity throughout the world.
My reaction: I learned so much from this informational book. I especially loved reading about Edgar Flores who is from my country of birth. I sometimes wonder if I had not been adopted if I would have lived a life very similar to Edgar Flores. I think that the illustrations or pictures help tell the child's story. However I do think that it might be a little bit difficult for younger readers to understand. But I will still recommend this book to everyone and even place this book in my classroom when I eventually become a teacher.

posted by Jon Dale at 11:10 AM 0 comments

































A Year Down Yonder
By: Richard Peck
Publisher: Puffin
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 144
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: humorous fiction
Award: Newbery
"Again, Peck has created a delightful, insightful tale that resounds with a storyteller's wit, humor, and vivid description. Mary Alice's memories capture the atmosphere, attitudes, and lifestyle of the times while shedding light on human strengths and weak- nesses."
-School Library Journal

Summary: In 1937 the Depression has taken it's toll on the Dowdel family. Mary Alice is sent downstate to live with Grandma Dowdel while her a and pa eke out a meager living in Chicago. Mary Alice is less than thrilled with the arrangement. Grandma's Hicksville farming community couldn't be more different from Chicago if it tried, and the grandmother,Mary Alice remembers from childhood is a multi-chinned, no-nonsense country gal. However, Mary Alice has no choice in the matter. Mary Alice arrives by train in September with her beloved cat, Bootsie. Day one in the new high school finds Mary Alice getting on the wrong side of the local bully, Mildred Burdick. Mildred brazenly follows Mary Alice home, demanding a dollar, but Grandma Dowdel turns the tables on the tyrant, slyly untying Mildred's horse. Faced with a barefoot 5-mile-hike home, Mildred loses interest in making trouble for Mary Alice. October brings plenty of other trouble, however, when another teen hooligan, August Fluke Jr., gets in the habit of knocking down privies for pre-Halloween amusement. With the help of a strategically strung wire and a pan of glue, Grandma Dowdel trips up Augie's trickery. Luckily, Grandma's treats prove far sweeter than her tricks. At the school Halloween party, Mrs. Dowdel dishes up home-baked pies made with borrowed pecans and pumpkins. Then in the spring, Grandma takes in a New York artist as a boarder, and Mary Alice invites Royce over for a study-date. Grandma cameos as matchmaker, introducing the boarder (Arnold Green) to Mary Alice's English teacher, Miss Butler. Mary Alice survives her first tornado, and the school year wraps up with a hayride that finds Royce and Mary Alice promising to exchange letters. A year down yonder leaves Mary Alice with a more tender-hearted view of country-life and Grandma Dowdel, and she hesitates to head back to Chicago. Wedding bells ring when World War II ends, and Mary Alice returns to tie the knot with Royce McNabb on Grandma's front porch.
Who would benefit from reading this book? This is a great book, and I think that anyone who takes the time to read this great book will benefit from it. The pages within the cover pages are filled with humor and will cause one to laugh, even out loud. I think that every student in a middle school setting should read it. It does contain some history in showing what kind of life people lived during the Great Depression.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that there are any problems or concerns that this book could potentially cause. However, some might find it somewhat sensitive when the postmistress runs down the stairs completely naked in front of the teenagers.
My reaction: I found this book quite funny and enjoyed reading it. I thought that Richard Peck did a great job describing life during the Great Depression. I also think there are great lessons that are taught within these pages. I will recommend this book to everyone in need of a good laugh in children's literature.
posted by Jon Dale at 10:30 AM 0 comments





























Lincoln: A Photobiography
By: Russell Freedman
Publisher: Sandpiper
Copyright: 1989
Pages: 160
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Photobiography
Award: Newbery
"Freedman succeeds in making Lincoln an intriguing, recognizable human being--ambitious but modest, folksy, sensible and witty, a doting parent, a determined and compassionate leader."
-Publishers Weekly


Summary:Throughout Lincoln's life, he was known as a tall, bony legged man. Although he claimed he had forgotten his childhood, historians say he was born in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809. His parents, Thomas and Nancy named him after his pioneer grandpa who had been killed by Indians while harvesting his crops. After many years, Thomas Lincoln, who was a farmer, decided to move the family to Indiana. This was, as Lincoln said, "The hardest experience of my life." Abe and his sister, Sarah, attended a small one-room cabin school two miles away from their home. This was the only formal schooling he had. When Abe was nine, his mother, uncle and aunt all came down with the so-called "milk sickness" and died weeks later. A year went by, then Thomas found another wife. He married Sarah Bush Lincoln who was a great housekeeper and took very good care of Lincoln and his sister. She also brought her three children to live with them. Lincoln learned to work hard at an early age. Later, during his presidency, he said, "Work, work, work is the main thing." After that, Lincoln decided to look for work in New Orleans and then New Salem, Illinois. In New Salem, Lincoln studied law and decided to run for the state legislature. He lost but then ran again when he was 25 and became the second highest vote getter in the state as he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. At the age of 30, he moved to Springfield and met the love of his life, Mary Ann Todd. They were engaged soon after they met but called the wedding off after Mary's sister did not approve of the marriage. Lincoln's friends said this period was the worst emotional crisis of his life. On the 4th of November they told Mary's sister they were to be married, and they did marry that evening. Their first child, Robert Todd, was born nine months later. Then Eddie was born in 1846. By the time Eddie was born, Lincoln had opened his own law office, won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and moved to Washington, DC. Eddie, not yet four, died in 1850. Later, in 1851, Willie was born, then Thomas, who was nicknamed Tad, was born in 1853. At this time, Lincoln was the leading antislavery spokesperson in Illinois. At the age of 51, he ran for President. He was elected on the 4th of November 1860. In 1861, the death of Willie, who was only 11, really upset Mary. However during Lincoln's presidency he accomplished a lot of things including the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation declared that all slaves in Confederate territory would be free. As President during the War Between the States, Lincoln agonized over the loss of life and the division of the country. He wanted to preserve the democratic government of a truly united group of states. On April 4th, 1865, at the age of 56, Lincoln was shot in Fords Theater by John Wilkes Booth. Although the President did not die straight away, he did die the next day.
Who would benefit from reading this book? This is a great informational book, and I think that anyone who would read this would benefit from it. Its a great resource for teachers to use when teaching about the civil war or even great presidents of the past.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? There is only one problem that this book might potentially cause ,and that would be there are certain photos where it shows in detail dead bodies laying on a battle field. This might be disturbing for some, and parents might not want their children reading or seeing this book. However this isn't a read a ong book as much as it is an informational book about our great President.
My reaction: I am a huge Civil War buff and loved reading every page of this book. It only took me about an hour and a half, maybe two at most. However, this book is such a great resource for knowledge and helped me feel more empathetic towards Lincoln. I am truly grateful for his sacrifice in preserving what our founding fathers believed to be true. I think the photos are classic and help illustrate many of Freedman's research. I would recommend that everyone one who has interest in the Civil War read this great book.
posted by Jon Dale at 1:21 AM 0 comments

Sunday, April 4, 2010
































The Story of Ruby Bridges
By: Robert Coles
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Copyright: 1995
Pages: 32
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: Picture book
"Sustained by family and faith, one brave six-year-old child found the strength to walk alone through howling protesters and enter a whites-only school in New Orleans in 1960."
-Booklist
Summary: Six-year-old Ruby Bridges is the first black child to attend an all white elementary school during the civil rights movement and desegregation in New Orleans in 1960. This book recounts Ruby’s move from Mississippi to New Orleans at her young age, their hard working family, and their faith in God. It explains that, at the time, black children and white children went to separate schools which was against the law. A judge ordered the schools to be desegregated, and Ruby was one of the first chosen to make this happen. Angry crowds gathered for her first day of school, pulled their own children out of class, and continued to do so for months. Ruby was all alone in school. Her teacher, Miss Hurley, recounts that Ruby was a wonderful child, eager to learn, but also lonely. The book ends with Ruby uttering a prayer among the crowd which was, "Please, God, try to forgive those people. Because even if they say those bad things, they don’t know what they’re doing. So, You could forgive them, Just like You did those folks a long time ago When they said terrible things about You. "
Who would benefit from reading this book? Everyone would benefit from reading this book. Its a book about racial differences and how one little girl some how worked up the energy and strength to endure it. It's inspiring to everyone and will captivate its readers. This short story will be a great teaching resource for black history month in elementary schools and will teach children the importance of racial unity.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? Unless your are a racist, I don't think that this book would cause any problems. The book was written to address a problem and a concern within society.
My reaction: This is a great little picture book that helps show the importance of recognizing differences and what a little girl did to overcome it. I loved the illustrations of this book, and I think it helped me imagine more of what it would be like to walk in Ruby's footsteps. I recommend this book to all readers of all ages.
posted by Jon Dale at 11:22 PM 0 comments





























Love That Dog
By: Sharon Creech
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 112
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Poetry
"Creech has created a poignant, funny picture of a child's encounter with the power of poetry. Readers may have a similar experience because all of the selections mentioned in the story are included at the end. This book is a tiny treasure."
-
School Library Journal
Summary: Jack is a student in Miss Stretchberry's classroom, Room 105. He is inspired to write poetry yet is scared to because boys don't write poetry. To Jack, in the beginning, poetry is a girl thing. He starts off very standoffish about his poetry and asks Miss Stretchberry to not post his poetry on the board and to not even read it out loud. His poem first starts off being about a blue car speeding down the road, and his teacher becomes confused and asks why so much depends upon the blue car. Jack becomes confused and tells the teacher that the poem about the wheelbarrow guy didn't contain a why. Jack then confesses that he doesn't want to write about the blue car. The reader might begin to feel here that Jack has a personal feeling against that blue car at this point. However, the teacher continues to inspire Jack by providing him many different examples of other poems. Each of them inspire him to change his poem a little and make it better. Suddenly, Miss Stretchberry shares a poem by Walter Dean Meyers, and it inspires Jack to completely re-work is poem. Eventually, Jack has the opportunity to write Walter Dean Meyers and invite him to his school. Jack becomes self conscience but is still pretty excited for this opportunity to share his poem with Mr. Meyers. When the time comes for Mr. Meyers to visit, Jack writes him a very special thank you with his poem in it, telling Mr. Meyers that it contained his words and was inspired by him.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I think that this is such a great little poem/novel. It's inspiring and will cause anyone to pick up a pencil and begin writing poetry as well. This book is for everyone to read and enjoy.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? There are no problems or even any concerns that could potentially arise from this wonderful novel.
My reaction: This is my first introduction to poetry written in novel form, and it was absolutely splendid. I didn't know what to expect, but I couldn't put this book down and finished reading it in about 15 minutes. I will definitely recommend this book to all poetry lovers and readers alike.
posted by Jon Dale at 10:20 PM 0 comments





























The Great Gilly Hopkins
By: Katherine Paterson
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copyright: 1978
Pages: 160
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Realistic fiction
Award: Newbery Honor
"This Newbery Honor Book manages to treat a somewhat grim, and definitely grown-up theme with love and humor, making it a terrific read for a young reader who's ready to learn that "happy" and "ending" don't always go together."
-
Amazon.com Review
Summary: Gilly Hopkins is an eleven year old brat who continually finds herself in and out of foster homes. She has a made up a fantasy of what her mother is as she continually receives postcards from her without any return addresses of them. Her social worker, Miss Ellis, finally pulls some strings and has her moved to what hopefully will be her last foster home. As Gilly pulls up to Mrs. Maime Trotter's' home, she begins her famous, yet very manipulative, acts. However, Mrs. Trotter refuses to budge, and Gilly realizes she is about to deal with her own social issues such as racism. This is because everyone who surrounds her at this time is African American, including her teacher, Miss Harris, and Trotter's good friend and neighbor, Mr. Randolph. While living at the Trotter's home, Gilly initially gets into trouble as usual, scuffling with other students at school and leaving a racist and rude homemade card for her teacher. The only student at school who tries to strike up a friendship with her is a loathsome girl named Agnes Stokes who follows Gilly around in spite of her constant insults. Eventually, Gilly uses both Agnes and William Ernest to find some money in Mr. Randolph's book case and pays Agnes off with only 5 dollars. As she attempts to purchase a bus ticket to San Fransisco where Courtney, Gilly's mother, lives, she finds herself being snatched up by the local police. In spite of her desire to leave, Gilly eventually discovers she actually likes her new foster family and teacher. She begins teaching William Ernest to read and to defend himself against bullies. She also reads Mr. Randolph's books from his large library. In school, Gilly comes to an understanding with Miss Harris and begins to excel in her school studies. Just as Gilly settles into her new life, she is uprooted once again. Courtney receives Gilly's letter, and has requests that the state relinquish custody of Gilly to her biological grandmother. Gilly requests to stay with Trotter, but the matter is out of her hands, and she is taken to live with her grandmother in Viriginia, who wishes to be called Nonnie. Gilly bonds with Nonnie and tries to adapt to her new environment. When she learns that her mother is coming to Virginia for Christmas, she is excited because she believes that her longtime dream of a reunion is coming true. Courtney arrives, but Gilly is shattered because she immediately learns that her mother isn't going to stay in Virginia or take her back to San Francisco. Courtney didn't even want to come for the holidays, and she only consented to visit because Nonnie paid for her ticket. After calling Trotter one last time and begging to go back, Gilly finally accepts her new home. Gilly is heartbroken, but decides she will cope with the situation, just to make Trotter proud.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I think that this is a pretty decent novel with some good lessons that are taught within it. I definitely think it should be a book that 5th graders to even middle scholars need to read. The main character is a female, but I do believe that most males could relate to her in some way, making this a book that would beneficial all.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that this book contains any problems and or concerns. However, many people might disagree because of slight language problems and some racial problems that are throughout this book. I think, in this case, it's appropriate because it's used to depict a girl who will eventually change and love what she once hated and despised.
My reaction: I thought that this book was a little slow. I didn't really like it and found myself putting it down several times. But there are great lessons taught within its pages, and I think it shows a selfish girl slowly becoming more and more loving one day at time. She realizes that she truly took a situation for granted after it was taken from her, and that is a classic life example.
posted by Jon Dale at 6:58 PM 0 comments































Stargirl

By: Jerry Spinelli
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 208
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Realistic fiction
“A magical and heartbreaking tale.”
-Kirkus Review

Summary: Stargirl is a girl that wears very awkward clothing as well as carrying her pet rat, named Cinnamon, in a bag upon which she has painted a life size sunflower. During lunch, every day, she sings "Happy Birthday" to kids she has never met. Her behavior is so unusual and so unlike anything anyone at the school has seen before that the student body, at first, does not know what to make of her. Once the student body becomes accustomed to Stargirl’s eccentricities, her popularity soars. Students begin to mimic her behavior and, at lunch, her table is overflowing with peers. She then is asked to become a cheerleader for all of the sports in her high school.The basketball season brings about Stargirl's downfall. For the first time in the school's history, they have an undefeated basketball season. She slowly begins to anger her school by cheering for not only MAHS, but the other teams as well. She doesn't believe winning is the only way to have fun, and this puzzles and angers the students, though this is the same behavior she exhibited as a cheerleader for the football team.When basketball play-offs come around, the school faces tough competition, and ultimately lose in the semi-finals. Stargirl angers the school by comforting a player from the opposing team when he breaks his ankle. This leads to her ultimate downfall from popularity. Then Leo and stargirl enjoy each others' company, and Leo begins to help Stargirl with her antics, such as leaving cards for people she doesn't know and dropping change on the sidewalk. It is by observing her behavior that he figures out that Stargirl is the mysterious person who gave him the porcupine necktie four years before. Soon, though, Leo realizes the entire school rejects them as a couple. Desperate to undo this curse, he begs Stargirl to change and become "normal," so she becomes "Susan", the name she was born with. She drops her unconventional clothing and acts like all the other students at the school. She becomes obsessed with being “accepted” and popular. This plan, however, does not work. Susan feels that the best way to become popular is by winning a state public speaking competition. Her eccentric and creative personality helps her achieve victory in the competition, and she returns to MAHS thinking she will receive a hero’s welcome. She is bitterly disappointed when only three people show up to see her homecoming. Susan realizes that she had achieved nothing by trying to fit in. She decides to go back to being her true self, and Stargirl returns, much to Leo’s dismay. He then abandons his relationship with Stargirl, confused about his feelings for her and with his own desperation to be accepted by the school. Leo decides to not go to his school dance but watches it from a distance. Hillari then confronts Stargirl and slaps her across the face. Kindly, and very politely, Stargirl returns the slap with a kiss on the cheek and walks away without causing a fuss. Suddenly, the very next day, Leo notices that Stargirl is gone.
Who would benefit from reading this book? The lessons that one can learn from this book are gems. This book should be read by every child entering either middle school or even teenager going into high school. This book teaches people to be themselves and not conform to people and society. I think that girls, and even young adult males, would find enjoyment from reading this book.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that this book would cause an problems. It is a book that teaches kids and teenagers to accept people for their differences. I think it does show stereotypes, but it's not a problem as the stereotypes are to prove a point in the book.
My reaction: This is my favorite book. I read the first few chapters, it absolutely captivated me and made it nearly impossible for me to put the book down. I think that this is a great book for everyone to read, and I will probably end up reading it again this summer. I will definitely recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a good read.


posted by Jon Dale at 6:01 PM 0 comments
































Beauty
By: Robin McKinley
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright: 1993
Pages: 256
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Fantasy
"A captivating novel."
-AlA Booklist

Summary:
Beauty is the youngest of three daughters of a wealthy merchant, Roderick Huston. Her given name is Honour, but at five years old, she said that she'd rather be called "Beauty." The nickname stuck. As she grew older, she felt increasingly ill-named as her sisters, Grace and Hope, became lovelier and more socially adept, and she stayed plain and bookish. Her destitute family eventually relocated to a home located in the northern part of their country to get to a fresh start. A few months later, a ship limped back into port, and Huston returned to town to deal with the crew and selling the ship's cargo. He asked the three daughters if he could bring them any gifts. Grace and Hope, tongue in cheek, requested ropes of pearls and jewels and luxurious ball gowns, while Beauty asked only for rose seeds. Upon the Huston's return from town, he was caught in a blizzard a few miles from home and eventually lost his way in the forest, somehow coming across a mysterious castle. As he left the next day, he plucked one rose from the garden to bring home to Beauty, who hoped to grow roses. The Beast appeared before him, ready to kill him, but he begged for his life, pleading that he had daughters to return to. The Beast decided to let him go if he returned in one month with one of his daughters. Although he demurred, Beauty insisted that she be the one to go in her father's place.The Beast seemed kind, but Beauty was utterly terrified of him and could barely be around him for the first few days. The castle provided her with invisible servants and all the books and food she could want. She came to understand the enchantment on the castle and the Beast. One day, she overheard her servants saying that she was their last hope and that they hoped she could figure it out before it was too late. As the months passed, Beauty came to enjoy living in the castle. There were only two problems: she missed her family; and every night the Beast asked Beauty to marry him. Every night she said, No." One night, she had a magically real dream of her family. The Beast revealed that he could send her "dreams" of her family's life, and showed her his "mirror" through which he watched them—the contents of a special vial poured over a table which served as a distance viewer. Through this mirror, Beauty saw that Grace was planning to marry a local minister and that Robert was alive and had returned from the sea. She begged the Beast to let her go to her family and tell them the news. He reluctantly agreed, but warned her that she could only stay a week, because he would die without her. Beauty was so excited to see her family that she ended up over-staying the week. During her stay, she realized what she had tried to ignore. She was in love with the Beast and he with her. Then, on the eighth morning, Beauty dreamed that the Beast had died and decided to hurry back to the castle. There, she found the Beast laying down and dying, and she confessed her love to him and agreed that she would marry him. This broke the enchantment, and returned the Beast to being a man. Beauty then insisted that she could not marry him because she wasn't as beautiful as a queen or a princess. Immediately, Beast showed Beauty her own reflection in a mirror. In the past year, she had transformed into a beautiful lady.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I think that this is a great book for young adolescent teenage girls to read. It teaches them many great lessons about self worth and that beauty is on the inside rather then the outside.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that there are any problems that this book could cause. Certain parts of this book do follow the genre of fantasy very well, but nothing is disputable about it being a fairly well written book.
My reaction: I thought that this was a well written book. However, I did not like it, and I think that's mainly because its somewhat of a girl's novel. But I know that there might be some males who might like reading this. This book just isn't really my cup of tea and I thought it was slightly long and drawn out in certain places. Yet, I will recommend this book to girls who are looking for a romantic fantasy.


posted by Jon Dale at 5:19 PM 0 comments































A Single Shard
By: Linda Sue Park
Publisher: Clarion Books
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 160
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Historical Fiction
Award: Newbury
" Intrigues, danger and the same strong focus on doing what is right turn a simple story into a compelling read. . . Tree-ear's story conveys a time and place far away and long ago, but with a simplicity and immediacy that is both graceful and unpretentious. A timeless jewel."
-
Kirkus Review
Summary: A 13 year old boy named Tree-ear is an orphan and lives under a bridge in with Crane-man, a crippled old man. Tree-ear scavenges for food most of the time, but after a full meal, Tree-ear loves to watch the potter, Min, make his pottery. One day, when no one is around, Tree-ear sneaks into Potter Min's house for a closer look at his creations. There are many objects, but one object particularly interests Tree-ear: a rectangular, lidded box. It is undecorated on the outside, but Tree-ear suspects that the inside is more spectacular. Out of curiosity, Tree-ear decides to look inside the box and finds five smaller boxes. They fit perfectly around each other. Min, the potter, shouts when he finds Tree-ear, who drops the box in fright, breaking it. To repay Min, Tree-ear then offers to work for nine days, as the box took three days to make. Min makes Tree-ear collect wood for his nine days of work. Tree-ear is dismayed, for he secretly wants to make a pot. After his work days are completed, Tree-ear offers to work for the potter for free in hope of getting to make his own pot. Tree-ear is assigned various tasks but never has the chance to make his own pot. Tree-ear eventually learns that Min will not teach him how to make a pot, due to the tradition of a potter teaching his son. Min's son is dead. One day, an emissary named Kim arrives to hire a potter for a new commission for the palace. While watching other potters in the village, Tree-ear learns of a newly created decorative technique and must decide if it is ethical to reveal the stolen information to Min. He decides not to, but Min does get a chance to demonstrate that he can use the new inlay technique and sends Tree-ear to the emperor with samples of his best work. On his long journey, Tree Ear passes through the busy town of Puyo. At the rock of falling flowers, the boy is attacked by robbers, and all of the pots are smashed, leaving him with just a single shard to display his master's skill . He continues his journey, confident that the shard demonstrates that his master is worthy of the commission. The emissary's assistant is about to throw Tree-ear out when Kim inspects the shard. Kim sends Tree-ear back via sea. Tree-ear goes to his master to inform him that Kim likes his work. Unfortunately, after sharing the news, Tree-ear learns Crane-man died. Min decides to adopt Tree-ear, and Min's wife changes his name to Hyung-pil. Tree-ear is finally able to learn how to make pottery. Tree-ear loves the fact that he now has a family.
Who would benefit from reading this book? This is such a great historical fiction book that contains many wonderful Korean traditions. The lessons that are taught with in this book are life changing. This is a very inspiring book, and I think all that take the time to read it will benefit from it.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that this book contains anything that can be a potential problems.
My reaction: I loved this book. One of my best frends is Korean-American, and I think it helped me gain more respect and understanding for his culture. Once I started reading this book, I could not lay it down. I recommend that everyone one read this book. It is educational and inspiring at the same time.
posted by Jon Dale at 3:08 PM 0 comments
































The Cat In The Hat
By: Dr. Seuss
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Copyright: 1957
Pages: 74
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: Picture book/Fiction
"The Cat in the Hat came to play one rainy, nothing-to-do afternoon. His hilarious antics are "recommended for all libraries."
-
School Library Journal

Summary: Two children are moping indoors on a rainy day when in strolls the Cat in the Hat. The cat declares, as he bursts inside the home, that he knows it is wet and that the sun is not shining, but that they could still have lots of good fun. Just as the Cat in the Hat was about to begin his fun, suddenly, the fish in the bowl boldy declares to the little children that he shouldn't be inside the house, especially with their mother gone out of the house. The Cat then replies that his tricks are not bad and lifts up the fish and begins to balance the fish and other things while he stands on a ball. Suddenly the cat falls on his head and everything comes crashing down making a huge mess. Fish, falling into a pot, once again declares that the Cat in the Hat should not be inside of the home. With a cunning reply, the Cat in the Hat tells the fish that he really enjoys being inside of the home and tells the children that he has another trick to show the children. The Cat in the Hat brings in a large crate, and out pops Thing 1 and Thing 2. The children worry about what to do, shake their hands, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 run around the house reeking havoc upon the house. Suddenly, the fish tells the children that the mother is drawing near and that they must get Thing 1 and Thing 2. They take a net and catch both Things before their mother walks into the door. However, there is still quite a mess. Then the Cat in the Hat returns and puts everything back together the way that it was. When the Cat drives out the door, their mother walks in and the house is nice and clean.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I think that this is a great book for all children to read. It is a book that has rhyme and would be a great beginner book for children in both the first and second book. It would also be a fine book for parents to read to the children as a read along book, helping parents ingrain within the mind of children the love of books and the humor that comes from them.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that there are any problems with this book. However, it could potentially teach children to go against what conscience tells them to do--or a fish, in this case.
My reaction: I remember reading this book as a small child, and it brought back memories of my first reaction. I remember laughing while reading this book, and it was definitely a book I never put down. I love Dr. Seuss and think that this book is fantastic. While the illustrations are simple, the text is very rich and easy for children to comprehend. I recommend this book to all whowill take the time to read it.
posted by Jon Dale at 2:06 PM 0 comments

























The Night The Grandfathers Danced
By: Linda Theresa Raczek
Publisher: Rising Moon
Copyright: 1995
Pages: 32
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: folk tale
"A tender tale, gentle in pacing, spirit, and tone, revolving around a Ute Indian traditional springtime dance."
-
School Library Journal


Summary: It was Autumn Eyetoo's very first Mama 'kwa 'kap, or better known as the Bear Dance. She was excited and dressed up for this momentous event in her life. As she walked through the sagebrush,, she noticed that all the other children in the crowd were admiring her for her great beauty in dress. This would be a great time for Autumn and her people, for each year they all looked forward to this bear dance. Everyone loved this time of year because it unified everyone in the tribe. Finally, the Great Bear Dance arrived and was about to start. Tasheena, Autumn's friend, invited her to come and join her friends on a colorful blanket laid down on the dirt. As the dance started, Autumn watched a funny, elderly gentleman whip a clown around as the first dancers stepped out and began celebrating. Autumn noticed that this older man kept the dance going by making sure that a man got up when a woman brushed him with her shawl. As an older lady approached Autumn and announced that Autum needed to dance or else she would end up single like her, she got scared and jumped up and ran away before the old man came after her. She then worked up the nerves to go and dance. She gazed at the dancers, but no one would dance with her. She didn't want to miss out on her first Bear Dance and suddenly decided to ask an older grandfather out to dance. He politely agreed. That night Autumn had all the elders in the tribe up and dancing, and this night would be forever known as the The Night the Grandfathers Danced.
Who would benefit from reading this book? This book is very beneficial to anyone who takes the time to pick this book up and read it. This book will help readers understand the lifestyle and even a cultural background of the Native Americans. This is often a heritage that is forgotten by many Americans.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that there are any problems and or concerns that are associated with this book.
My reaction: I think that this book help me better understand the Native American heritage. It is a book that I learned from. The illustrations easily fit the text but, more importantly, help maintain the Native American outlook of the book. I definitely recommend this book to all.

posted by Jon Dale at 1:30 PM 0 comments


























Frog Went A Courtin
By: John Langstaff
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Copyright: 1955
Pages: 32
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: folk tale
Award: Caldecott
"A favorite old nursery ballad now appears in resplendent new dress. . . . Illustrator Feodor Rojankovsky somehow manages to combine quaintness with sophistication and his doughty frog, the coy mouse . . . and others make charming company."
-
New York Times

Summary: Frog went a-courtin and he did ride with his sword and a pistol. He jumped upon his horse with his shiney black boots. He rode up to the home of a mouse and said, "Oh, Mistress Mouse, are you within?" Kindly, the mouse replied, saying that she was spinning. Frog entered into the room, bent down on one knee and kindly asked mouse to marry him. Unfortunately, mouse declined and would not marry frog unless he had the consent of Uncle Rat. Uncle Rat came hom and Frog asked if he could marry Mistress Mouse. Eventually, after many questions were asked, Rat gave his consent to mouse that she could marry frog. All of their wildlife friends came, even a white moth, a black bug, a coon, a spotted snake, a bumblebee, even a flea. In came the old grey goose, with two little ants, then came the fly and next was the little chick. They all had a grand ole time, when finally old Tom Cat came and said that he would put a stop to the party. Then, after all the mayhem, frog and mouse finally made their way to France.
Who would benefit from reading this book? This is such a great book to read to younger children because of the rhyming that is involved with the text.
What problems/concerns would this book potentially cause? I don't think that this book has problems or concerns that would prevent people from reading this book.
My reaction: I loved this folk tale that is apparently a rhyming song known throughout the world. I think that it shows a great sense of humor and will make anyone laugh. This is an outstanding book for parents to read to children growing up. I know, without a doubt in my mind, that children will ask for this short story to be read over and over again. I think the illustrations perfectly fit the text that Langstaff wrote for this story. I will definitely recommend this book to everyone and will even read it to my children.
posted by Jon Dale at 12:56 PM 0 comments



























Hank Aaron: Brave In Every Way
By: Peter Golenbrock
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 32
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: Non Fiction
"Golenbock's prose is straightforward but full of drama and poignancy, qualities reflected in the quiet dignity of Lee's (The Good Luck Cat) spare, muted acrylic portraits, which transcend mere athleticism to capture the essential humanity of this compelling tale."
-
Publishers Weekly

Summary:
Hank Aaron was born on February 5, 1934 to Herbert and Estella Aaron. While his father desired that he gain great joy for baseball, his mother wanted the complete opposite and wanted him to have a college education so that he could make a difference in the world. During the Great Depression, Hank's father lost his job and struggled to make ends meet and supply what was required for his family. However, Herbert persevered and eventually moved his family to Mobile, AL, where he built them a house containing no luxuries, using wood from a old, fallen down house nearby. While, Hank was doing his schooling, he found himself drifting into a day dream filled with baseball fantasies. His goal was to become a major league baseball player, but he was constantly reminded, by even his father, that "colored" folk were not allowed in the major leagues. Hank Aaron remained persistent and pursued his dream as a professional baseball player. By Hank's 13th birthday, it was announced that Jackie Robinson, an African American baseball player, became the first to enter into the majors, and he instantly became a star. To entertain his mother, Hank remained diligent in his studies but still played baseball, even playing for a team called the Black Bears, mainly comprised of grown men. Eventually, with Hanks mother in agreement, Hank was offered a playing spot of a professional team named the Indianapolis Clowns. By 1954, Hank was asked to join the Milwaukee Braves and finally accomplished all that he had dreamed of by making the major leagues. Throughout his career, Hank remembered his father's determination and his mom's advice to be the very best that he could become, and he broke many major league records. By the end of 1972, Hank was only 41 hits away from overcoming Babe Ruth's homerun record. Hank found himself more determined than ever as he neared breaking the record because of the angry letters he was continually receiving. These letter were written because he was about to beat a white man's record. Each letter provided him with more encouragement to play his very best. By 1973, Hank had hit nearly 713 home runs and was only one homerun behind the great Babe Ruth. In, Atlanta, on the final day of the season, the fans provided him with what he always dreamed of, and that was respect. By the following season, even with death threats still coming, Hank hit home run number 714 and tied Babe. Finally, in the following game between Atlanta and the Dodgers, Hank hit the record setting 715th home run.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I think that all children of all ages would benefit from reading this book. There are many great lessons taught within this book such as determination and obedience. This is a book about overcoming the racist society at the time. This is a great educational tool for children, both boys and girls.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that this book has any problems or concerns that would prevent anyone from reading this great book.
My reaction: I loved this book. I am an avid baseball fan and remember my father taking me to baseball games growing up. Baseball is truly an American past time, and this book supports everything that America had to overcome in order for it to become the sport that it is today. I recommend this book to all parents and teachers. I will definitely be reading this book with my children.


posted by Jon Dale at 11:33 AM 0 comments






























Costume
By: L. Rowland-Warne
Publisher: DK Children
Copyright: 1992
Pages: 64
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Non Fiction
"These books' striking visual impact will draw in even the most casual readers."
-
School Library Journal
Summary: This book helps people discover the history of costumes from ancient loincloths and Roman togas to bustles, bonnets and the haute couture. It tells about clothes that have been worn in one form or another over the past several thousand years and why clothes are so crucial to even people living in today's society. It talks about how their intervention came about as people in early ages needed them to protect themselves from climates of all types, whether it be from the cold and rainy weather to the hot, dry and humid weather. L. Rowland takes much time and detail to inform readers of the many different styles of clothing with chapters entitled "Cool and Simple" to "Minis, Boots, and Bell Bottoms." Rowland even investigates the creation and invention of the sewing machine and how it revolutionized the clothing world in 1790. However, in 1851, American inventor Isaac Merrit Singer developed a even more practical sewing machine. Rowland also talks about how some of the first sewing machines were destroyed by large mobs due to the fact that many people, during this time, feared the loss of their jobs because of the new automation of the sewing machine. Further, as Rowland described it, little would those mobs know that the sewing machine revolution created a brand new sewing industry, creating far more jobs then they could have ever imagined. This book is completely original and provides an exciting look at the colorful history of clothes and fashion. With its magnificent, full-color photographs of original clothes, accessories and ornaments, worn by real-life men, women and children, it offers a unique and realistic view of the history of costume.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I think that all children would benefit from reading this very organized and detailed book about clothes and costumes. However, I do think that this book might especially draw in girls of all ages. This is a book that will captivate its readers. Therefore, I think that everyone who takes the time to read its pages will benefit from it.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that this book will cause any type of problems or concerns for any of its readers.
My reaction: This was a good book. I did think that the book was a bit wordy and it really wasn't my cup of tea. I say that, not because it wasn't written well, but mainly because it covers a topic that really isn't interesting for me. Yet, I think that this is a great book for children to read when it comes to educating them about the history of clothes. Therefore, I will recommend this book to all parents and even teachers.
posted by Jon Dale at 10:47 AM 0 comments






























Music

By: Neil Ardley
Publisher: DK Children
Copyright: 2000
Pages: 73
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Non Fiction

Summary: This book contains a great overview of the history behind instruments, how they are made and the scientific principles of sound production. Music is made with many different types of sounds mainly comprised of differently built instruments. Some are made to be blown through while others are played with bows and, either way, sounds are produced with small waves traveling through the air and eventually reaching our ears. Ardley uses amazing, attention grabbing, real-life photographs of instruments, ranging from flutes and panpipes to electric guitars and synthesizers, to offer a unique "eyewitness" view of ancient and contemporary music. He also talks about the music of the future which are machines used to make sounds such as those mentioned above. Synthesizers are a great example. Ardley also teaches how strings vibrate to make a note sound, how an invisible "column" of air creates sounds within a pipe, which instrument resembles a peacock, and how sousaphone players wear their instruments. He also explains who invented an important new key system, how to master the bagpipes, why pipe organs have "ears" and "mouths," and why French horns are "doubled up."
Who would benefit from reading this book? I think that all children and even adults would benefit from reading this great book. Readers with a musical background might even take a more special liking to this book as it might fulfill their desire to learn more about music from the beginning until today, as we know it.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that this book will cause any problems. It is a great non fiction book and should be shared with all.
My reaction: I play a musical instrument. I loved this book because, in my family, we have developed a great love for the musical arts. I think that the way Ardley used the illustrations, especially when talking about musical waves, brings his writings alive. I recommend this book to all readers and encourage teachers and parents to share this with their children.
posted by Jon Dale at 10:16 AM 0 comments



























Watercolors
By: Michael Clarke
Publisher: DK Children
Copyright: 1993
Pages: 64
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Non Fiction
"Providing a quick overview of the medium, this book will interest even reluctant readers. Each page is adorned with photographic reproductions of some of the world's finest paintings."
-
School Library Journal


Summary: This book helps children discover the boundless potential of watercolors through this beautifully illustrated and expertly written guide. The author, Michael Clarke, who has been acknowledged for his knowledge on the subject, reflects on historical and stylistic development of watercolor art from the beginning to the present day. The precise detail of medieval illuminated manuscripts, pages from the watercolor sketchbooks of great artists, and watercolor illustrations from classic children's literature are addressed. This book teaches how ancient Egyptian tomb paintings were produced, why Turner took his watercolor paint box on vacation, how watercolor was used in the designs of William Morris, and how Picasso found new ways or working in watercolor. Readers will discover how female assistants color washed the work of 18th-century caricaturists, how watercolor is used today in architecture and fashion design, why Nicholas Hilliard used a mussel shell as a palette, the courtly art of Indian watercolorists, and much more.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I think that all children and even adults would walk away from this book with more knowledge about painting and watercolors. It is a great resource for elementary art teachers to use when introducing the watercolor unit.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that this book will cause any problems and or concerns with any parents or teachers.
My reaction: I liked this book very much. I will definitely recommend this book to all parents. I think that this will encourage young readers to use their critical thinking skills and to think about art within their own life.

posted by Jon Dale at 9:25 AM 0 comments


























Castles At War: The Story of a Seige
World War II
By: Andrew Langley
Publisher: DK Children
Copyright: 1998
Pages: 48
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Non Fiction
"A good choice for recreational reading and reports."
-
School Library Journal

Summary: Reading this book will help readers understand exactly what it took to lay seige on a castle during medieval times and witness the storming of a medieval fortress. Vivid storytelling brings the past to life. Exciting eyewitness accounts make you feel part of the action. A gatefold page opens out to show a panoramic view of the scene. Stunning photographs, call-out details, and exploded views help you piece together the story. There are many different chapters dealing with stories of castles and their inhabitants, examining real life seiges, the castle lands and explaining how castles were built. Langley and, illustrator, Peter Dennis use great detail in their great work. A superb example is the chapter entiled. "Preparing For Battle." Here, Langley wrote about what it takes to prepare a castle for the onslaught of people laying seige to the castle. Langley wrote, "... in panic, people from nearby villages and hamlets abandoned their homes and hurried toward the shelter of the town. Meanwhile, the castle constable put his garrison on full alert. He sent messengers out to summon extra soldiers. He ordered supplies of goods, water and ammunition to be brought unto the town and stored. He arranged for the carpenter to strengthen the castle defenses by building wooden hoardings on the tops of the walls and towers(Langley, 22)...."
Who would benefit from reading this book? This is a great educational tool that provides detailed information, backed with beautiful illustrations to help fulfill the childs want and need for knowledge. I think that every child who picks up this great book will benefit from it and walk away gratifed and filled with facts about castles and what it took to lay seige on them.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially case? I don't think that this book would cause any problems for anyone and should be read or provided for every child to read.
My reaction: This is a very detailed book. I think it had a lot of information. In my opinion, some pages are filled with maybe too much information. However, I still recommend this book to all parents and teachers and invite them to allow children to be engulfed in medieval times and castles.

posted by Jon Dale at 8:50 AM 0 comments

Saturday, April 3, 2010




























World War II
By: Simon
Publisher: DK Children
Copyright: 1997
Pages: 72
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Non Fiction
"...a mini museum between the covers of a book."
-The New York Times

Summary: Reading this book will help you to discover the fascinating yet turbulent events of World War II. World War II was one of the most destructive wars known in human history. Never before or since has the world witnessed such widespread bloodshed. Beginning with the events that led to its outbreak, World War II goes on to introduce the main leaders and highlight the decisive moments. From Pear Harbor, Midway, and the Atlantic battles to fighting in Russia and in the African Desert, outstanding and original photography provides a unique glimpse of the tragedies that led to the loss of more than 50 million lives.Under chapter headings such as "A world divided," "Bombing raids," "Women at work," "Road to Stalingrad," "Propaganda and morale," "The Holocaust," "D-Day invasion," and "The atomic bomb," the events of the war are described and illustrated in compelling detail. For example, the book describes what it was like during bombing raids by saying "...there was no more terrifying a sound in the war than the drone of incoming enemy bombers (Simon, 22)..." As one gazes at the pages, they will be able to be introduced to types of bombs used to complete these bombing raids as well as gruesome pictures of destruction left by these raids. Another great example is what life was like while fighting in the desert. It covers events such as the battles of Tobruk and El Alamein, showing awesome pictures of tanks used to complete these hot, yet successful, missions for the Allied Forces.
Who would benefit from reading this book? This book is great for children of all ages and will help them understand the destruction of this great war that involved the majority of the world. With its captivating pictures, children will find themselves scanning these pages over and over with fascination. This would definitely be a great book to have in any parents' home libraries as well as a great book to place on the bookshelf of classrooms. All children will benefit from reading this great nonfiction book.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that this book has any problems or concerns that would prevent a parent or teacher from having their children read this book.
My reaction: I absolutely loved this book. I am such a history buff that, as I took the time to read each page diligently, I found myself staring at them and in complete awe of the knowledge I gained from doing so. Simon did a great job of summarizing the European theater and the ending of World War II. I will definitely be purchasing this book for my future children, and I recommend that all parents borrow this book from the library and allow their children to be engulfed in its captivating pages.
posted by Jon Dale at 4:24 PM 0 comments























Bold







Celebrations

By: Anabel Kindersley
Publisher: DK Children
Copyright: 1997
Pages: 64
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Non Fiction

"A rich, multicultural look at holidays around the world...It is a superb addition to country/cultural teaching units, and also makes a wonderful lead-in to writing, art, and creative-drama activities used to teach holidays. An enjoyable visual experience..."
-
School Library Journal


Summary: This book is a great multicultural book about celebrating diverse holidays. Children can see how different ethnics celebrate around the globe. The book, Celebrations, includes holidays that connect with Science, too. Some nationalities celebrate holidays based on the season changes and weather changes. For example, May Day is a day that is celebrated mainly in Northern Europe and has been traditionally marked as the first day of spring after a long and very harsh winter that many Eastern Europeans have to endure. The day is normally filled with much dancing and exhibition of flowers which signify new growth and life. Pictured within the book is Sophie, who is eight years old, and she is wearing a very traditional May Day dress that many young girls of her age and from her village, that is located in the English countryside, wear. There are many different activities that go along with these days such as Maypole which is a pole made from a fir tree stuck in the ground with ribbons attached, and the small children celebrate May Day by dancing around the pole, each holding to a ribbon as they dance. There are also Morris Dancers who are boisterous male folk dancers. Another great example used within this book that is more geared towards the ethical side of holidays is Diwali. Diwali is normally celebrated during October and November. It is a religious holiday that is dedicated to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity but also celebrates the return of Lord Rama from exile. He is the hero of the epic Ramayana. Associated with the holiday is Sonu, an eleven year old boy, who lives in northern India. Sonu talks about how he likes to celebrate this religious holiday with fireworks acquired from stalls set up around his village. He explains that little clay lamps called diye are lit all around homes like his to welcome the Hindu god Rama. These are two great examples of how Anabel Kindersley uses cultures taken from all over the world to educate children even here in the United States.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I definitely think all children from all walks of life would benefit from reading this book. There is much that can be taught and learned from this great educational tool. Parents and teachers alike can use this book to teach children. Its content will inform children about other children from around the world.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think this book will cause any problems and that all children should read it.
My reaction:I loved reading this book. It taught me so much about different cultures and how they celebrate holidays that I didn't even know existed. What was interesting to me was how many different cultures have some of the same holidays that I and my family traditionally celebrate then shows how similarly or how differently they celebrate it as well. As a teacher, I will definitely have this book accessible on a bookshelf somewhere for my students to grab and read at anytime. I also recommend this book to all parents as a great read-along book for children.
posted by Jon Dale at 3:29 PM 0 comments