Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Duck, Duck, Porcupine!

Author: Salina Yoon
Bloomsbury Childrens Books (2016)

The book that I chose to evaluate was Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon. I liked this book because of its use of pictures and its simplicity. The overall theme of this book is discovery and adventure. In this book, the two ducks and the porcupine try new things that might not be the normal way to experience an activity, but they end up making it their own. I would recommend this book for other educator to use in their classrooms because its short stories are for all to enjoy. 

In the first adventure of Duck, Duck, Porcupine! the two ducks and the porcupine decide to go on a picnic. It began to rain and the older duck and porcupine were disappointed. However, little duck began to dance and play in the rain, still making it a fun experience. Eventually the older duck and the porcupine joined the little duck and started playing in the rain as well. The next day the two ducks and the porcupine decided they wanted to have a picnic, but the little duck pointed out that it wasn't raining. The ending of this short story in this book is ironic and funny because picnics usually don't associate with rain. However, the two ducks and the porcupine had to much fun in the rain during their picnic, that they believed the rain was what made a picnic a picnic. This is a fun theme and lesson for the story that just because things don't go as planned, it doe not mean that it must be a bad experience. You can make an activity, like a picnic, anything you want it to be rain or shine, as long as you are having fun. 

In the second short story of this book, the big duck is trying to figure out something that he forgot to do that day. I think that many can relate to this; the feeling that you are forgetting something but you can't quite put your finger on it. This short story is quite humorous and almost feels as if it could be a short-animated film before a Disney movie. It is humorous because the big duck is walking around trying to figure out what he's forgetting while the little duck knows and is trying to tell the big duck. The thing that the big duck forgot was porcupine's birthday. Little duck tries to remind big duck by showing the big duck a calendar and a birthday card, but every time he tries to tell him, the big duck tells him to be quiet and let him think. Eventually the big duck remembers that it's porcupine's birthday and the little duck is relieved. The last adventure that the two ducks and the porcupine have is similar to the first adventure. In this last short story, the friends decide to go camping. However, they don't know how because they've never been camping before. Big duck decides to make a long list of things that they need- most of the items being unnecessary. Eventually the friends take so long gathering irrelevant items that it becomes dark outside. Thankfully little duck remembered the most important thing; marshmallows. The friends enjoy their camping experience with roasting marshmallows and a lot of unnecessary items that aren't needed for camping. 

I enjoyed this book very much and I would recommend it to others to read. It's vivid color in it's pictures is very appealing to readers. I believe that the use of pictures and the dialogue written in the illustrations help the reader better understand the story and makes them more engaged. The simplicity of the storylines in this book are also very helpful for young readers. I believe that this will be a very popular book and will be used in the majority of classrooms today. I can also see the author writing another book about the two ducks and the porcupine but incorporating different experiences for the friends to share together. 

Review by Avrial Bailey

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Author: Katherine Applegate

Illustrator: Charles Santoso
Macmillan (2017)
Ages 8-12 years

Every May 1 the Wise Old Red Oak tree becomes Wishtree. Following an old Irish tradition, people write their wishes on scraps of fabric and tie them to her branches, hoping that her magic will help them come true. Some see the tradition as a nuisance, especially the tree's owner who despises cleaning up after those who leave their "garbage" tied to the "rag tree"; however, others, like the new girl at school, Samar, see Wishtree as a place of hope. She ties her wish on the tree, asking for a friend. 

This book tackles issues of racism while gently inspiring the reader with multilayered, unexpected friendships among humans and animals. 

Review by Ann Westrick

Lesser Spotted Animals

Author & Illustrator: Martin Brown
Scholastic (2017)
Ages 9-11

This is a book about lesser known animals. It provides many fun facts and easy to read organization.

I recommend this book because when students are first starting to conduct research, and learn about the organization of this book, this is an easy one to start with. It is also very cute and has pages that will make everyone laugh.

Review by Emam

One Day in The Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree

Author: Daniel Bernstorm
Illustrator: Brendan Wenzel
HarperCollins Publishers (2016)

One Day in The Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree is a children's book that is written by Daniel Bernstorm, with illustrations by Brendan Wenzel. The story is a folktale, which has a total of sixteen pages. Bernstorm got the idea of the story from a preschool he was working at. The type of tree that he decided to use was inspired by his mother, it is her favorite. Luckily for Bernstorm, Wenzel has a love from drawing things in nature, especially snakes and trees. This book took me on an adventure that I was not ready for. It offers fun pictures with an out of the box plot, that matches. I ended up enjoying this book very much. 

The story takes place in one spot the whole time, a eucalyptus tree, which the title eludes the reader to. It starts off with a young boy who is walking along the bottom of the tree. The boy, who happens to be looking for shade, is being preyed on by a very large snake who he doesn't even notice until it is too late. After the snake winds down the large eucalyptus tree, he captures the boy and gobbles him up! The boy conjures up a plan while sitting the snakes stomach, deciding that he is going to make him eat something else. After tricking the snake using some reverse psychology, the snake agrees that he should eat something else and moves on to a bird with a worm. The bird had the same fate as the boy and with that, the snake is once again convinced he should eat something else. This continues until the snake has eaten a furry cat, mossy sloth, grape eating ape, rare kind of bear, hive full of bees, and finally a teeny fly. After becoming too full, the snake lets out a blech that sends out all the creatures that were once eaten, free. All of them ran away while the snake was left with an awful tummy ache. 

Throughout the story the reader can experience rhyming and repetition that makes it fun to be read out loud or by themselves. Words that are repeated or that rhyme can be seen in bold lettering which causes the reader to say the word with emphasis. There is also emphasis on specific words throughout the story that make it more exciting and enjoyable to read, like the word gobble. This makes the reader want to continue to the next page. 

A young reader may not understand right away why the boy is making the snake eat other creatures. Of course, they find out in the end it is done so the snake will have to get rid of them all because he is too full. But until then, it makes them dig deeper and ask themselves why. I love this method being used in a children's book for a child this age because it keeps their interest and makes them want to read on. The young boy's ingenuity is also a good inspiration for young readers. He was put into a situation all by himself and had to think his way out of it. Children at a young age are just beginning to learn how to think for themselves, a book promoting this can help a child to become self-aware and see that it is possible for them to also think through a predicament on their own. 

The pictures throughout the story bring the book vibrancy which help bring the words on the page to life. The illustrator uses bright bold colors throughout the whole story unless he is representing the snakes stomach which happens to be dark. The boy is shown consistently throughout the book with a windmill toy, which brings him a sense of innocence. All of the characters have large eyes and rounded features which make them seem more friendly and inviting. 

Even though the story does not offer much moral value, I think this would be a very fun book to read in the classroom to capture my students' attention. The book does not have to large of a vocabulary so it would not be intimidating to most. It has great repetition and rhythm that could keep young readers attention. I would definitely have this book in my classroom. 

Review by Ashleigh Osterling

Cry, Heart, But Never Break

Author: Glenn Ringtved
Illustrator: Charlotte Pardi
Enchanted Lion Books (2016)

When it comes to young children, it is often difficult to find books that are both interactive and educational, while also having the ability to keep the attention of a child all the way until the very end. Picture books have this ability because they combine illustrations and short text to create a story that is very appealing to young readers. One picture book that does this successfully is Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved. This book is about four young children who live with their beloved grandmother. Aware that their grandmother is very sick, the children make a pact to keep death from taking her away by giving him coffee all through the night. Despite their efforts, death still comes and the children realize that their time with their grandmother is coming to an end. Death shares a story with the children that teaches them the value of life and death, and the importance of being able to say goodbye. After their grandmother dies, the children continue to carry with them Death?s advice as their hearts grieve and cry, but never break. Cry, Heart, But Never Break has been chosen to be evaluated as a picture book because of the text, the illustrations, and the overall pace of the book.

One of the reasons that this picture book is successful is the simple, yet complex text. The text is simple in the fact that there are only 28 pages in the book and most of the pages are covered with illustrations, so the text on each page is short and sweet. This is a very essential element in a picture book because lengthy descriptions and sentences with too much detail can cause young readers to lose interest due to the overload of information. Also, the words in this book are simple, but hold so much meaning and depth. The author takes something as complex as death and scales it down to where it is easy for young readers to understand, while still being direct and realistic. Overall, the sentences in the book are short and sweet in order to make it easier for younger children to read and understand.

Another reason that this picture book is successful is the excellent illustrations that fill each page. The illustrations in this book are so successful because they enrich, not lessen, the author's work. The book pairs grief and sorrow with joy and delight and uses the contrast of the dark to bright water colors to do this. Also, each page is filled up in its entirety with detailed illustrations. This is also a very essential element in a picture book because the reader can look to the illustrations to help guide them on what they are reading. An example of this can be seen on the very first page as the children's house takes up almost the entire first page. Overall, the illustrations are large, colorful, detailed, and add a whole new element of meaning to the story.

The last reason that this picture book is successful is the overall pace of the book. The pages seem to turn in all of the right places as the author exposes the reader to small, suspenseful segments of text at a time, but still includes a great amount of detail so that the child is still engaged and interested in the story. An example of this can be seen on pages 2, 3, and 5 when the author ends each segment of text with, "Now she had a visitor", "stared straight at death", and "death had come for her and that time was short". Each page ends with suspense and leads the reader to wonder what is going to happen next and want to keep turning the pages. This is essential for young readers because they are inexperienced listeners and have shorter attention spans, so too much text in one segment or on one page can cause the child to lose attentiveness. Overall, the story flow smoothly, with no confusing transitions, or awkward sentence structures. 

Overall, Cry, Heart, But Never Break has many elements that makes it such a successful picture book. These elements include the simple, yet complex text, the compelling illustrations, and the overall natural flow of the book. All of these elements work together to create a wonderfully crafted picture book that teaches children a huge life lesson about how the profound sadness of loss is to be felt, rather than resisted. This is definitely a book that any current or future early childhood educator should have on the bookshelf in their classroom!

Review by Elizabeth Petrella

I Hear a Pickle: and Smell, See, Touch, & Taste It, Too!

Author & Illustrator: Rachel Isadora
Nancy Paulsen Books (2016)

The book, I Hear a Pickle: and Smell, See, Touch, & Taste It, Too! Written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora is a picture book for young children that allows the reader to gain and understand the difference between the five senses. In this story, the author goes through the five senses and gives a lot of examples of each type to distinguish between all of them. For each sentence about each sense there is a corresponding picture that goes along with it also. For example, the first sense that the book goes over is hearing and a sentence reads, "I hear the ocean, in the shell." Corresponding with this is picture of a young girl in a bathing suit at the beach holding a conch shell up to her ear listening to the ocean. A similar example is when the book begins to talk about the sense of smell and a sentence reads, "I smell the flowers." And has a picture of a young boy in a field of flowers bending down and smelling a flower. This book is very simple but very long. It takes about ten minutes to finish the whole book and would be a great addition to a classroom especially those going over the five senses. The illustrations in this book are very soft and use light colors to make the reader feel safe and they use smooth and flat shapes to make the pictures even calmer. This book's use of picture book conventions and connection to the text does an amazing job at pushing the reader through the book and informer the reader about the different aspects of senses while keeping it understandable for a young reader. 

The use of light colors in this book keeps the illustrations soft and easy to view for the eyes. Every picture in the book uses pastels that make the colors soft and work together well. This convention is important because these light colors allow the reader or viewer of the illustrations to feel safe while reading this book. The use of light colors and pastels keeps the tone of the book and the illustrations soft and easy to read through all the way which gives the reader more of a reason to focus and relate to the text helping them understand the content better. 

Another convention of the illustrations in this book that makes it an exceptional read is the use of flat, smooth, and horizontal lines. The use of these conventions can be seen in every illustration in the book like the picture corresponding to the text that reads, "I smell the rain." And has a picture of a person in a rain coat walking through the rain but still does not look aggressive in any way. This illustration uses horizontal lines and remains flat to soften the idea of a rain that could be much more intense. Keeping the illustrations in this this book this style, using flat, smooth, and horizontal lines keeps the reader interested in the light read and allows them to further understand and relate to the content in the text while enjoying what they're reading at the same time.

 In conclusion, I Hear a Pickle: and Smell, See, Touch, & Taste It, Too! is a story that uses a good amount of calm and soft illustrations to maintain the readers interest in the story line. The conventions seen are the use of light colors and flat, smooth, and horizontal lines in the illustrations. This story is very simple and goes over a lot of examples that may be hard for an adult to read but it is simple enough for a student to be able to read by themselves, especially early on. I would use this story as a resource in my class but would not read it aloud. Many young students will be able to read this and gain a better understanding of the senses and enjoy it while reading too. Overall, I enjoyed this book as a resource for students in an educational and entertaining standpoint but it may be too simple for a teacher to read all of and enjoy the whole time.

Review by Jack Thomas Frischen

I Hear a Pickle

Author & Illustrator: Rachel Isadora
Nancy Paulsen Books (2016)

The book that I decided to evaluate at the end of this course is I hear the Pickle by Rachel Isadora! This book is all about the five senses that children learn that they have, and their ability to use these senses. The book begins describing the five senses and how they are used. Everyone to four pages in the book has one sense on it. The first four pages are all about hearing. The author describes different things that a child would hear from day to day. The author talks about birds chirping, bees buzzing, and parents talking. All of these examples in the book talk about things the child can hear. The author then talks about things that the child cannot hear, like worms, or food. For the first fifth of the book, the author talks about all the different things that children can and cannot hear.  For the second fifth of the book the author describes smell, and how we use our noses to smell. The author gives examples of good smells and bad smells. Things that children would often smell would be the dinner their mother is cooking, or how good their deodorant or perfume smells in the morning. Bad smells would include dog poop, and body odor. The author uses to describe good and bad smells in a way to teach children the correct behaviors. This book also teaches children's that they should not smell bad and they need to take care of their personal hygiene. The third fifth of the book the author describes sight, and different things children would hear day in and day out. Children would see their friends at school, they would see the T.V and the book they are reading. The author explains things that children would not see like air! The author explains that there are things that children will be able to see and that they will not be able to see. The fourth out of the five parts of the book the author introduces touch. The author describes good things to touch and bad things to touch. She gives examples of touching books that you read, touching a friend when they are sad, and touching sand at the beach. Bad things to touch include cactuses, poop, and hot objects like a stove. While this book is very basic and just giving examples of the five senses its also teaching children important things to not touch! The last of the five senses is taste. The author talks about all kinds of healthy foods to eat and gross fast foods to not eat. The author instructs the children and encourages them to eat healthy foods instead of eating junk food. The last page of the book the author talks about a pickle just to be silly, using all five senses.

This book is incredibly basic for children of all ages, but it helps to identify things that they should and shouldn't do. The book includes wonderful pictures that matches the text to keep children engaged, and it uses a fun font and awesome descriptive words to make the book even more silly. This is a picture book that students can read on their own or with their teacher in class. This book is special because it can be used in classes of all ages, from preschool to third grade. For preschoolers this book can be used to just identify their five senses and make them aware of these senses. As a preschooler they are constantly learning all about themselves, so learning their five senses would be a lot of fun. For third graders, this book can be used to tell them what they can and can?t touch, or eat! This book can be used to reiterate their five senses but focus on the sense of taste and teach them about good foods to eat and bad foods to eat. Children nowadays are more into electronics and junk food and they are getting fatter. This book can teach them about healthy foods and foods that they should eat more often. 

Overall, this book is a great book for all ages. The main idea of this book is about the five senses and how to use each of the five correctly. I think that the pictures can be a little juvenile and they might have trouble engaging older students but other then that the book is fantastic. I think this book would be great for young kids. After reading this book the teacher can play a game, sing a song, or make an art project in class about the five senses, and they teacher could instruct the kids about safe and healthy ways to use their five senses. I really enjoyed reading this book and I think it is a book that can benefit any teacher, in any classroom, in any grade!!

Review by Justin Woodford

Maybe Something Beautiful

Author: F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell
Illustrator: Rafael Lopez 
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

The book I chose was Maybe Something Beautiful By F. Isabel Campy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael Lopez. This story was about a little girl named Mira. She lives in a city that has hardly any color, its predominantly gray. She has always had a colorful art and decided to transform her neighborhood. She started painting walls with another man who noticed who artwork who was also a artist. By the end of the story everyone joined in on brightening up the neighborhood. This story would make a great addition to an elementary school teachers classroom. It would be beneficial because this book is inclusive, the illustrations are appealing and engaging, and it teaches a moral lesson. 

Firstly, this book is inclusive. For example, the illustrator, Rafael Lopez painted the people with having different races so they did not all look the same. On the second page of this book, there is three people illustrated and they are all different races. (Campoy, Howell, & Lo'pez 2016). Another way this book is inclusive is that by the end everyone is included. In the book it states: "Teachers and papas jumped in. Babies too!" (Campoy, Howell, & Lo'pez 2016).  By the end of the book, everyone no matter how old or small, they all joined in on making their neighborhood beautiful. Having a book with inclusion is wise to have in a classroom because that is the direction our schools are trying to go to. We are trying to have inclusive classrooms ourselves. Schools want everyone to be accepted and have a place. Having a book with inclusion of different people is a great way to teach kids that everyone is important and should be treated the same. In reiteration, this book containing inclusion is one of the reasons why I would recommend this book to future educators. 

Secondly, the illustrations in this book are engaging and appealing. It states in the very beginning of the book before it starts that the illustrator Rafael Lopez is from Mexico and because of his culture, his illustrations reflect its colorfulness and vibrancy. This definitely shows in this book. The illustrations are very colorful and detailed. Having colorful illustrations keeps children interested and is easier to see. Also, there are a few pages in the novel where the book is to be turned vertical instead of horizontal like usual. This is because the illustrations were drawn on those pages in such a way that the text for them was written to match instead. This is also great to have with kids because having to turn the book a different direction keeps them interested and it is something that not all books include. In conclusion, the illustrations for this book were well done and were appealing and engaging for the reader.
Lastly, this novel teaches a moral lesson. In the book it reads: "You, my friends, are all artists, he told them. The world is your canvas." (Campoy, Howell, & Lo?pez 2016). This is teaching kids that they can do whatever they put their minds too, to be creative and themselves. Creativity is what sets people apart from each other. We all have something to offer this world. It is important to show kids that the world really is their canvas and they are to show people what they can do, no matter what it is. Everyone's an artist in their own way whether that is musically, with sports, writing, with the technology, etc. This is an important lesson to teach kids especially at that age because this when they are starting to find themselves and their interests. As educators, we not only teach them academic lessons, but also life lessons. Using books such as this one is a great way to do that. To sum up, this book taught a great life lesson for the reader. 

In conclusion, the book Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael Lopez was a great novel. As a future educator I would recommend this to my colleagues as well as put it in my own classroom library. This book had a lot to offer students including the fact that it was inclusive, had excellent illustrations, and taught a life lesson. As educators, we have the platform to shape young people's minds into the best they can be. We not only teach them school lessons but also life lessons that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Having books such as this one will assist in that process. I very much enjoyed this book and look forward to having the teaching platform when I am an official educator myself. 

Review by Macy Anderson

Monday, December 11, 2017

Freedom in Congo Square

Author: Carole Weatherford
Illustrator: R. Gregory Christie
Little Bee Books (2016)

To start off, the book that I chose to review is a poetic, picture book called, "Freedom in Congo Square" and this book was written by Carole Weatherford. This story is about slaves who are counting down the days until they all can go to Congo Square. They are so excited for this day because they get to spend half a day at the Congo Square and this is where they can be free for the time being and talk to other tribes. Having fun, being stress free and connecting with other people is something that they looked forward to. The story starts off on a Monday and explains the different tasks the slaves do each day as they count down for Sunday to come around because that is when they will go to the Congo Square. This is a very well-written and just overall good quality book because it has a great layout, it lets the readers learn about slavery, and has great illustrations that go along with the story. 

First off, after reading and evaluating this book, I can definitely say it has a great layout. The front of the book is very appealing that shows a picture of a person who is dancing next to colorful words that states the title of the book (Freedom in Congo Square). I feel like right off the bat, this book gets the reader's attention and instantly makes them wonder what exactly it is about. At the very beginning of the book, it has a history page of Congo Square which lets the readers learn about what exactly that place is. This is very beneficial to the readers; especially when they have never heard of that place before. Directly after the history page is where the story begins. After the story follows a glossary page and then a page full of the authors notes that explained more about slave history. The layout of this book is very interesting and makes the book that much better. 
Another reason why I think this book is a great one for people to read is because the readers learn about what slavery was like back then. This is a very sensitive topic to most African Americans and it is important for people to understand what life was like back then. In this story, it was explained how different tasks were done each and every day of the week. As each day gone by, the more excited the slaves became because they knew they were that much closer to freedom. For example, the book says, "Mondays, there were hogs to slop, mules to train and logs to chop" (Weatherford 6). As the story goes on it talks about what tasks were done each day of the week. The readers really get a feel of what slaves went through back in the day and I feel like that was one of this books strongest qualities because once Sunday came around, the readers can tell how much the slaves appreciate their freedom for the short amount of time that they got it.

The last reason I think this book is a great one is because of the way it was written and the great illustrations that came along with it. This book is a great poem book that made it really fun to read. This book would go good for little kids to read and it's a great way to introduce slavery at such a young age. The way this book is worded is very simple and easy to read. At the end of each sentence, the last word rhymes with the last word of the next sentence which makes it fun to read. Even though slavery is a hard topic, this book made it fun to read about. For example, the book says, "Tuesdays, there were cows to feed, fields to plow, and rows to seed" (Weatherford 10). Although it is talking about what the slaves had to do, the rhyming of the words makes the reader feel more relaxed instead of all tense and serious. 

The illustrations in this book are well-drawn out and created. Color is what is very important when evaluating a picture book and I can definitely say that this book has great color choices. The pictures tell a story on its own but with the sentences added to it, it makes a perfect book. Instead of the pictures giving off a sad mood, it gives off a bright mood because of the colors that were chosen. In this story, the pictures were used with brighter colors which gives the overall mood a more content feeling. Also, the words are placed in a great spot on each page that gives space for each illustration.

Overall, after evaluating this book, I strongly believe this would be beneficial to future students. Having that said, I would highly recommend this book to other people because it has a lot of different qualities that makes it a successful story. Personally, this is the type of book I would want to have in my classroom because it is easy for kids to read but at the same time can educate them of the past. Like I previously said, slavery is not an easy topic to discuss on; however, this book brings it up in a more lightful way.

I would recommend this book. I thought this was a well-written and illustrated story and children can really benefit from reading this.

Review by Taylor Gucciardo

Meet The Bobs and Tweets

Author: Pepper Springfield 
llustrator: Kristy Caldwell
Scholastic (2016)

The book I chose to read and review is called Meet the Bobs and Tweets. This Book was written by Pepper Springfield and it was illustrated by Kristy Caldwell. This book was copy righted in 2016 as well as published in 2016. This is a longer beginner book for children beginning to read. This book is about two very different families that are completely opposite of each other except for one person in their families. These families the Bobs and the Tweets are two very different families the Bobs are slobs as they say it in the book. This family is very messy they don't like to clean they don't like to be proper or neat. The Tweets on the other hand are very clean and very neat they are very proper and enjoy cleaning. This is where the families differ as you can see the Bobs hate being clean and the Tweets love cleaning. They end up both calling a realtor claiming to be a realtor for messy houses and clean houses. They end up buying houses right next to each other and they don't get along very well at all. The two children that are different from the families are quite like the opposite families Bob number 7 is a lot like the Tweet's and Tweet number 7 is a lot like the Bob's. The two #7's get along very well and love playing with each other. Toward the end of the book the two families get into a big fight over the swimming pool and what is allowed and what is not. Throughout the fight Bob and Tweet 7 stay together and get along very well. I chose this book because it was one that I had never read before and being the person I am I judged it by its title and its cover but after I picked it up and read the first couple pages I really enjoyed it. What I really liked about this book was the illustrations, and the use of the text. I believe the author and the illustrator knew what they both wanted in this story because the pictures and text matched so well. 

The illustrations in this book are amazing and super fun. Kristy Caldwell is an amazing artist. The way she uses the whole page and tons of different colors it really makes the reader feel a part of the story. On every page, you can really see how messy the Bobs are and how clean the Tweets are. On the pages, there is so much going on and you can see everything that is going on outside of what the text. The text is in a different spot every time to keep the readers eyes moving around the book and making sure the reader sees everything the illustrator has put on the page. The reader can learn a lot about the families just by looking at the pictures which I think I s a great way to learn more about the story without reading the text first off. 
The text in this book reminds me a lot of Dr. Seuss. I think that the author does a great job using the text to really describe the families. She uses great descriptive words and also a lot of rhyming. As a child rhyming is very important they love hearing the words roll of the tongue very easy. Dr. Seuss does a wonderful job of this and Pepper does a great job in this book. You can also always know what family she is talking about because of the words she uses and the rhyming sounds she uses.  

All in all this book was a great and fun read and I would recommend this book to any reader who is starting to read chapter books. the beginner reader is a very easy read but it also introduces lots of new words to a young reader. The book has a but 9 chapters so it will definitely keep the reader busy for a while and help them succeed in reading. 

Review by Cody Miller

Sparkle Boy

Author: Leslea Newman
Illustrator: Maria Mola
Lee & Low Books Inc. (2017)

I chose to evaluate the effectiveness of "Sparkle Boy" written by Lesl'a Newman, Illustrated by Maria Mola. There is no question that this book addresses one of the most socially important topics of this time. I evaluated the effectiveness of Sparkle Boy as a children's book in three main areas. This book teaches social acceptance, respect, and promotes the freedom to be yourself. I believe this book to be very effective in addressing these three criteria to young children.

Sparkle Boy is about a young boy named Casey that enjoys playing with his toys but also shows interest in "girly" pleasures as well. Casey's older sister Jessie thinks that her brother's interest in shimmery, glittery, sparkly things is weird. The children's parents find no harm in Casey's new unique interests and support him. It is interesting to watch Jessie change her view from "boys don't play with those things" to completely accepting her brother after she witnesses him being disrespected for expressing himself at the library.

This book teaches young children readers the importance of social acceptance. The realization that just because someone is different than you, or holds different interests, that they are still people with feelings just like yourself. In the book, Casey and Jessie are playing in the yard with their grandmother. Jessie mentioned that she liked her grandma's sparkly bracelet. Once Casey noticed he showed interest in the bracelets too. Jessie did not want Casey to have a bracelet. Grandma explained that "there's no reason why Casey can't wear a bracelet, Jessie. He isn't hurting anyone" (Newman 16). I think that this is a very important lesson for children to learn. Jessie is slowly learning to socially accept Casey and the point that he isn't hurting anyone, could really open the eyes to a reader that perceives Casey's behavior like Jessie does.

This book also teaches the importance of respect. An example from the book is when Casey and Jessie are in the library and some older boys are making fun of Casey calling him "A boy in a skirt". This bullying ends up making Casey sad to where he almost started to cry. This example in the book allows the reader to sympathize for Casey and realize the importance of being respectful to others.

Lastly, this book promotes the freedom to be yourself. Throughout the whole story Jessie is witnessing Casey show interest in things that sparkle and has no problem putting on a skirt and wearing it to the library. This book would be especially effective for any child that is worried about what others might think of them but want to express themselves. From this book they can get the message that it's not them that has anything wrong with them but that people that judge them just don't understand that it's okay for people to express themselves and it doesn't hurt anyone. The example of Casey getting picked on in the library and making it through that experience also gives hope to anyone that fears getting picked on for expressing who they are.
Overall, after evaluating this book on the three criteria of social acceptance, respect, and the freedom to be yourself, I believe it is very effective in explaining these concepts to young readers. Along with being effective in teaching the criteria, the choice to try and reach children at a young age to start teaching these values was really important. I would highly recommend all teachers and educators of children to consider having this book available for their students to read. 

I would highly recommend all teachers and educators of children to consider having this book available for their students to read.

Review by Christian Goldsmith

Robins!: How They Grow Up

Author: Eileen Christelon
Clarion Books (2017)
Ages 6-9 years
Robins! How They Grow Up by Eileen Christelow is about two robins telling their family stories. The robins start their story by telling the readers how their dad came back to the north after the winter, and how he found a good place to stay. They then explained how their mom came over and found their dad, so their mom made a nest and laid four eggs and kept them warm. Then, one day a squirrel finds the nest when their mom is out looking for food, and the squirrel takes one of the eggs. All of the eggs hatch and are fed. When they are six days old, their eyes open and their feathers begin to emerge. When they are eight days old, they grow more feathers. At fourteen days old, they are flapping their wings and learning to fly. When the robins are three weeks old, they are stronger and have full tail feathers. At six weeks old, they are finding their own food, however, when they are looking, their brother gets taken away by a hawk. When they are Eight weeks old, they are flying with their friends and learning. The robins are five weeks old when they fly south for the winter. This book provides a lot of information to readers, has illustrations that keep the reader's attention, and has reference pages that help them learn new words. 

This book has a lot of information about robins that most children won't know. This will help children learn more about robins and other birds, which they may find interesting. Throughout the book the robins explain some of the things that happened in the story. When they were telling readers how they got more feathers, the robins elaborated and said that their feathers keep them warm and help them fly. This book also gives extra bits of information on robins. When their mom and dad meet, the robins inform readers that male robins have darker colored heads than females do. The information in this book is accurate. The characters in the story are fictional; however, they help readers understand the lives of robins. Children may find this information in this book interesting, which will keep them engaged in the story. Another element in this book that will keep readers engaged is the illustrations. 

The illustrations in the book are in a comic style. This helps readers understand the flow of the story because they can go from box to box and see what is happening. The illustrations help readers see things that they may not understand. When their mother is building her nest, it may be hard for readers to imagine, however, the illustrations show the process that the robin took to build her nest. The illustrations take up most of the pages and the text is on the side of the bottom. This helps readers who are having trouble reading understand what is going on in the story. Since some of the words will be new to young readers, reference pages are helpful.
Reference pages are important in children's books because they can provide readers will additional information. There is a glossary in this book, which allows readers to learn new words. This will help readers become familiar with and learn new words. There are also additional facts about robins on the page following the glossary. This page gives readers some fun facts about robins, which can make readers more interested and engaged in the story. 

Overall, this is a great book for children. It provides accurate information about robins that children may not know. It also teaches readers new words. It has great illustrations that keep readers interested in the story. The illustrations provide more information to the reader. There is a glossary that gives readers the definitions of the new words that they saw. 

Review by Aaliyah Girdler

In Plain Sight

Author: Richard Jackson 
Illustrator: Jerry Pinkney
Roaring Book Press (2016)
Ages 4-8 years

In Plain Sight is a fascinating story book about the relationship between a loving grandfather and his granddaughter. Each day of the week Sophie, the granddaughter, comes home from school only to find that her grandfather has hidden something for her to find. Many different objects are hidden "in plain sight" throughout this fun and playful picture book for young children. It encompasses both young and old individuals, and portrays an exquisite depiction of an African-American family. In Plain Sight is an effective picture book written for children because it contains repetition, asks questions that involve the reader, and uses a medium that fits well with the lost and found game in the story. 

Before addressing the effectiveness of the story, it is essential to discuss both the purpose of the story and the intended audience of the text. To commence, this story is written by Richard Jackson for children to enjoy. The purpose of this story is to entertain young readers by keeping their attention through a game. This is determined by the questions asked by the grandfather. The grandfather asks Sophia to find items that he has misplaced. This engages the young reader in this story by including them in the look and find game throughout the illustrations. Through this aspect of the book, the author is keeping the readers' attention and entertaining them throughout the text. The intended audience for this story is children ages four to about age eight. In this age group, children are beginning to recognize text, but cannot read just yet. It is important to teach children of this age that reading is fun, and by making this book into a game, the children will be engaged and learn to love reading. The intended audience is concluded by the vocabulary used, as well as the illustrations in which make this story a picture book. After addressing both the intended audience and the purpose of the story, the effectiveness of In Plain Sight can be determined.

Through discussing the intended audience and the purpose of the story, In Plain Sight can be seen as an effective story written for children because it contains repetition. For the intended audience of this text, it is important that picture books have patterned language to enhance a young reader's experience in reading. Repetition is used to make young children feel comfortable and ready to face the unfamiliar and unexpected. Once Sophie says, "Here I am!" the children begin to understand that they will have the opportunity to find yet another new object in the book. Children are more than ready to face the challenges that are given to them by the grandfather with the help of repetition through this story. In Plain Sight can already begin to be perceived as an effective piece of literature for children because it contains repetition. 

Throughout this book, repetition is given alongside questions that involve the reader, making it an effective text. Another key aspect of a picture book is questions that include the reader. The question-answer mode is a language pattern very familiar to young children that are the intended audience of this particular book. The questions used in this story allow children to be inspired and involved in the finding of each item, giving them an awareness of inclusion. By doing so, it pulls the audience in by keeping them focused on the story. Not only do the questions get the young child involved, but they also allow adults to assess how well the child comprehends the story as well as the questions being asked. Grandpa asks throughout the book, "Can you help me?" simply allowing the young child to help him find the things he needs. Using questions in a picture book excites the young reader, and adds a new level of variety in the text. In Plain Sight is an effective piece of children's literature because it asks questions that involve the intended audience.
In further analysis of the literature, In Plain Sight uses a medium that fits well with the lost and found game in the story. Upon examination of the illustrations, the illustrator uses watercolor to depict the events in the story. Through this choice, the illustrator shows tremendous expression and portrays quiet and somber scenes in a homey setting. Watercolor allows the very smallest detail of the different people and animals in the story to shine through. The illustrator uses this medium to his advantage to hide the little objects in the pictures for young children to find. Grandfather pretends to have lost the object, and the medium used gives the reader the opportunity to find it. In Plain Sight is an effective literature piece for children because it shows multiple elements of a picture book.

In Plain Sight is an effective piece of children's literature because it attains the author's purpose of presenting the reader with an interactive story for young children, while also addressing the intended audience through an entertaining game. The text reaches this goal by containing repetition, asking questions that involve the reader, and using a medium that fits well with the lost and found game in the story. Through presentation of all three of these areas, the story becomes an effective children?s picture book. It is a captivating book for both the reader and the young child about a lovely family relationship that is sure to warm the hearts of many. In Plain Sight is an extremely effective piece of children's literature. 

Review by Carmen Mason