Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dooby Dooby Moo

Cronin, Doreen. Dooby Dooby Moo. ABDO Publishing: 2009. ISBN: 9781599614236.

In Dooby Dooby Moo the cows, sheep and ducks are making funny noises because they are trying out to sing for the county fair. Farmer Brown is keeping his eye on the animals to see what all the commotion is about. The pictures look like funny drawings that are colored in with watercolor paint.
My favorite part of the book was when the animals sang at the fair! I would recommend this book to kids 5-12 who are interested in animals.

I.W., 5th Grade, Eastwood Schools.

How to Raise Mom and Dad

Lerman, Josh. How to Raise Mom and Dad. Dutton Children's Books: 2009. ISBN: 9780525478706.

How to Raise Mom and Dad is about two kids, a boy and a girl, and they have all these ideas about how to keep mom and dad busy. They have a list that has a whole bunch of things like wake up mom and dad, help them get dressed, feed them breakfast and a lot more that will keep them busy! The pictures in the book have a lot of descriptive scenes that go along with the words in the paragraphs. The illustrations are the same color on each page, like shades of orange, blue, red and gray. The book has lots of humor. My favorite part is when the kids use a megaphone to wake up their parents! I would recommend it to other kids ages 8-12. It may be boring for older kids, and kids under 8 may not understand the humor.

E.T. , 5th Grade, Eastwood Schools.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life

Feiffer, Kate. My Mom is Trying to Ruin My Life. Simon & Schuster: 2009. ISBN: 9781416941002.

My Mom is Trying to Ruin My Life is a story about a girl who thinks her parents are trying to ruin her life. But then she finds out that without her parents, her life is not the same or as good as her life with her parents. The pictures are outstanding. They show emotion and detail. The pictures are realistic and funny. This book was outstanding and funny, and many kids would be able to relate to it. I would recommend this book to kids of all ages.

H. F., 5th grade, Eastwood

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Esbaum, Jill. Stanza. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 2009. ISBN: 9780152059989.

Stanza is a poet with two mean brothers. He is also a dog. Stanza writes in a secret corner at night after his brothers are asleep. He enters a poetry contest hoping to win first place - money! Stanza got second place. His brothers made fun of him, but he got a year supply of "Snappers" dog treats that he decided to share with them. The pictures in this book are funny, cartoonish and very colorful.

D.A., 5th Grade, Pemberville Elementary

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's a Baby Cheetah

Doudna, Kelly. It’s a Baby Cheetah!. ABDO Publishing Company: 2009. ISBN: 9781604531510.

It's a Baby Cheetah!, an inviting non-fiction story in the “It’s a Baby …” animal series is a gorgeous pictorial representation of life of a cheetah from birth to adulthood. Kelly Doudna does an excellent job anticipating information that will spark the interest of the young readers this book targets. Even readers with a limited ability will be drawn in by the simple text and vivid photography. The photos depict the information the text wishes to convey and enhances its meaning. Little “extras”, factoids about the cheetah, weave throughout the pages that enhance the information that is being highlighted. I especially liked the “Fun Fact” at the end of the story that relates the cheetah’s non-retractable claws to something that children are familiar with, sports cleats. The author has also included a vocabulary list of 11 words for an independent reader in need of a little more information. There is also a single page of “vitals” about the cheetah that engage the reader in the information the text will provide. The beautiful close-up photography allows the reader to experience the world of the cheetah first hand. Any reader will be captivated and drawn in to the life of the cheetah.

Sue Tressel, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Over In the Arctic: Where the Cold Wind Blows

Berkes, Marianne. Over in the Arctic: Where the Cold Wind Blows. Dawn Publications: 2008. ISBN: 9781584691099.

Marianne Berkes has once again created an interactive story that is whimsical and inviting to the reader in Over in the Artic: Where the Cold Wind Blows. This continuation of the “Over in the…” theme captures the reader’s attention with its rhythmic flow. From the cover of the book, the reader is fully engaged in the melodic verse that weaves the story together. The reader anticipates the sequential nature of the book and remains engaged for what arctic animal comes next. The reader’s eye is drawn to the varying textures on the page that the illustrator, Jill Dubin, has skillfully crafted with her cut paper designs. The combination of color and texture gives the allusion of a 3-D creation. Following the text, the reader is invited on an “I Spy” adventure of sorts to look back through the illustrations in search of more arctic animals. There is a brief synopsis of each type of animal to further develop the reader’s understanding of the animals and their relation to the world around them. The author has graciously included related activities to extend the child’s learning and spark their creativity. This frozen adventure draws the reader into this stark world that in reality is teaming with life and possibility.

Sue Tressel, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Am An Octopus: The Life of a Common Octopus

Shaskan, Trisha Speed. I Am an Octopus: The Life of a Common Octopus. Picture Window Books: 2008. ISBN: 9781404847293.

This vibrant colored, non-fiction book, I Am an Octopus: The Life of a Common Octopus, by Trisha Speed Shaskan is one of eight in a series entitled “I Live in the Ocean" where ocean animals provide a first-hand account of their life as told in this story by the common octopus. The uncomplicated, scientific text enlightens even the youngest of readers about animal life in the ocean. The detailed, up-close visually intriguing illustrations are age appropriate and very well matched to the text. Made available to the reader by the author are many extras such as an index, diagram, glossary, book list, fun facts, sidebars and safe websites in an attempt to further educate the reader on the subject matter introduced in the story. This book about the life of the common octopus will captivate the interest of both young children and adults alike and they will want to go through the pages time and time again.

Sue Winebar, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

I Can Do It Myself

Adams, Diane. I Can Do It Myself!. Peachtree Publishers, 2009. ISBN: 9781561454716.

I Can Do It Myself!, a familiar stage in a child’s life is portrayed in this book about Emily Pearl, who thinks she is big enough to do everything for herself. Mom is ever present and ready to offer her daughter assistance throughout the story however, through the repetitive refrain of “I can do it myself!” Emily makes it crystal clear that she is in no need of assistance from anyone who attempts to offer it. The story offers a lesson to all that while we prefer to be independent beings and do things for ourselves, there are times in life that everyone, big or small, welcomes the assistance of others such as Emily does with her mom at bedtime. The reader will be able to observe through the soft and gentle colored illustrations of colored pencils, watercolor and pen, the imaginative and inventive ways in which Emily demonstrates her ability to be self reliant. Young children will enjoy reading this rhyming book over and over, seeing themselves through the eyes of Emily Pearl as she demonstrates her need for independence.

Sue Winebar, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Monday, July 13, 2009

Solving the Mysteries of Stonehenge

Gray, Leon. Solving the Mysteries of Stonehenge. Marshall Cavendish: 2009. ISBN: 9780761431107.

Readers seeking information about ancient mysteries will appreciate this well organized, enticingly illustrated book that deals with what we know, what we want to know and what some have thought they knew about one of the great mysteries of the modern age. In Solving the Mysteries of Stonehenge, an always fascinating subject, is brought to light through well articulated text supplemented with eye-catching information bubbles, proposed sketches and actual stock photos of the sight. Bold print words call attention to key points, but do not spoon feed the reader, while also allowing the less initiated to check the coordinated glossary for additional understanding. An offering of additional resources at the end of the book makes further exploration easy. This book is very classroom friendly. It is exciting in content, but has information presented on various levels to give readers enticement to revisit time after time to see what they may have missed or want to confirm. I appreciated this book as more than just a collection of photos. It goes farther to explain some of the discovery processes as well as noting there have been many theories over the years rather than just endorsing the author’s point of view. By chunking information into smaller bites, reluctant or lesser able readers still get meaning without the potential to be overwhelmed making this a very user friendly selection.

Beth Ebinger, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Appetite For Detention

Tanen, Sloane. Appetite for Detention. Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books: 2008. ISBN: 9781599900759

Ms. Tanen has captured the essence of middle school/high school angst with her cast of characters, yellow baby chicks known as peeps, in an Appetite for Detention. She tells an imaginative story with razor sharp humor of seven typical teenagers as they start and traverse through a new school year. Through the vagaries of teenage relationships, the reader is caught up in the trials and tribulations of the peeps’ lives – such as the comments about hair, clothes, geeks, the inability to fit in, romance, gym class, dealing with parents, and the extremely humorous diaries of Annalise. The photographs are inventive and cleverly done with miniature sets that help move the story along. The author’s reflection of the over-dramatic musing of the teenagers in the context of the story makes each character’s remarks come out hilariously funny. The story is provocative and brings up young adult issues, so the book is not compatible for children under 12. This would be a great book to pass around at class reunions.

Daleen Askins, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Constitution Day

Aloian, Molly. Constitution Day. Crabtree Publishing: 2009. ISBN: 9780778742869.

“Each year on September 17, every school and college that receives federal money, or money from the government, must teach students about the Constitution” (p. 18).
Imagine my excitement, as a Title I reading teacher, to discover Constitution Day just waiting to be shared with my primary students next September 17th. This book follows the patriotic red, white, and blue theme throughout and has bright, vibrant stock photos. This informational text is complete with a table of contents, glossary, and index. Each double-paged spread of this thirty-two page book tells some fact about the Constitution or Constitution Day. It also includes a “Did You Know?” insert with a quick fact that could easily be incorporated into a Constitution themed display for a classroom. This very informational book will be enjoyed by both teachers and students and is definitely a book I would add to my classroom library.

Karen Hernstein, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Gobble It Up

Arnosky, Jim. Gobble It Up! Scholastic Press: 2008. ISBN: 9780439903622.

With rhythm and rhyme this song turned book, Gobble It Up!, captures the imaginations of young readers while introducing them to the concept of interconnectedness of nature, who eats what and how we all have that in common. Readers can’t help but smile as the story line reassures they that they would “gobble them up and they’d taste good!!” Illustrations, created by using semi-opaque style acrylic paints on acid-free watercolor paper are realistic enough to reinforce the informative nature, but just slightly cartoonish enough to be reassuring and appealing. The accompanying CD gives even the reluctant reader confidence to tackle the print which displays the words to the catchy song that they will want to play again and again.
This is a book I will use in my classroom. The illustrations make it less frightening than a photo production, but are not so babyish and cutesy as to offend older students who are experiencing processing delays. It is clear in the concept, but presents it in an amusing, captivating way- especially once the CD is utilized. I found this useful book to be a great way to cover concepts required without the trauma sometimes experienced by young readers who had never given thought to the process before.

Beth Ebinger, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

What Are These Animals Doing?

Kalman, Bobbie. What Are These Animals Doing? Crabtree Publishing: 2009. ISBN: 9780778733249.

What Are These Animals Doing? is a delightful book about animal behavior. It is interactive by challenging students to guess what the animals are doing and why. The book is organized into short, fact-filled chapters that will keep the readers engaged with its narrative and visual style. The author uses a consistent format, including large type for reading aloud, bold-faced vocabulary words, which are defined within the text, and colorful chapter headings. Most importantly, the author provides colorful pictures that reinforce the content, but do not distract from the information on each page. I really enjoyed the chapter “Sing and Dance.” It was interesting to learn why male humpback whales jump out of the water. The author expounds on this by giving important information on the whales mating habits. I believe that this book would be of great use as a supplemental resource in the classroom.

Daleen Askins, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw

Zemach, Kaethe. Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw. Scholastic, 2008. ISBN: 9780439829144.

In Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw, Dudley Ellington personifies several students I come in contact with daily as a Title I Reading Teacher – difficulty paying attention, fidgeting and academically challenged. Ms. McCaw is the patient, understanding teacher we all aspire to be and an “expert” in the eyes of her students. When her deficit – not being able to draw – is brought to the attention of her class, Dudley finds that he can do something well and can face his fears. This is an engaging story with an important message for all primary students; those who succeed as well as those who struggle. The reassuring tone to the story, as well as the colorful, watercolor and pen illustrations help to deliver this message. These illustrations have a humorous edge to them which would appeal to the readers and capture their attention as the children and classroom come to life. Students and teachers alike will enjoy this book due to the combination of its message and its presentation of artwork.

Karen Hernstein, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Krull, Kathleen. Brewer, Paul. Fartiste. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: 2008. ISBN: 9781416928287.

An author named Krull,
Not known to be bashful,
With her husband named Brewer,
Entertained this reviewer.
Fartiste is the name of the book that they wrote, and yes,
As you’ve quite likely guessed,
Together they have raised the lowliest fart
Up out of the gutter to a place of high art!

Illustrated by Boris Kulikov, using a deft mix of acrylic, gauche, watercolor and ink that uses an understated palette, at least until a particularly explosive moment in the story, recalls an era gone by. The “artiste” complements the authors’ text with what at first glance appears to be a literal interpretation of the text, but upon further study reveals both a deeper understanding of the text to the reader and then kicks the humor up a notch or two as well. Fartiste is the story of the life of Joseph Pujol, a Frenchman, who used his rather unique, thank goodness, gift to provide for his family of 10. Laughs are plenty, but never at the expense of our hero whose dignity in life and in verse is maintained. Krull’s and Brewer’s use of simple rhyme is infectious, effective and remarkably unforced. Their dauntingly literal exploration of the farts, excuse me, facts leave only one sense to the imagination, your sense of hearing, but fear not, your imagination will be working overtime! The subject matter will appeal to children of all ages and, in the end, so to speak, to the smarmiest school marm.

Lane M. Hackel, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Big, Bigger, Biggest

Coffelt, Nancy. Big, Bigger, Biggest! Henry Holt & Co.: 2009. ISBN: 9780805080896.

Nancy Coffelt has written several children’s books. Big, Bigger, Biggest! follows in the same tradition as Dogs in Space and Pug in a Truck where she writes informative text in a fun and appealing way. Coffelt uses bold acrylics on canvas to create the animals who help to introduce the sometimes confusing concepts of comparisons, synonyms, and antonyms to young children. Each animal is simply depicted in bright colors and bold strokes that complement the background color on each page. These engaging creatures help even the youngest reader to visualize the hippo as big, the whale as bigger and the dinosaur (where she has cleverly shown only the feet and tail) as biggest. This is only part of the charm of this highly educational work as when comparing slimy, Ms. Coffelt uses words like viscous and slick to describe even the slimiest of creatures. The book continues its appeal through seven common comparisons, 21 amusing animals and over 60 superb synonyms and awesome antonyms to the very end, conclusion, finale.

Marla Ritter, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party

Radford, Sheri. Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party. Lobster Press: 2009. ISBN: 9781897550007.

Sheri Radford’s third adventure, Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party, is another exuberant example of the antics of that joyful character. Just like Radford’s first two outings, this escapade appeals to the young and young at heart. The story careens through Penelope’s birthday party where every time the doorbell chimes more guests arrive to help celebrate with Penelope. From her fathers’ exasperated query “Is this everyone”, to Penelope’s repeated refrain “ Just one or two more”, each new arrival brings color, fun, and mischief. Using bright imagery and alliterations, the descriptive text leads the reader through the party as each surprising guest arrives. Finally, after the whole class, the soccer team, the ballet class and the circus have made their appearance at Penelope’s party even the reader begins to wonder, “Just how many guests did Penelope invite?” After her parents’ final outburst, “This party is preposterous!”, Penelope agrees with a humorous solution.

Marla Ritter, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story

Kimmel, Eric A. Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story. Holiday House: 2008. ISBN: 9780823418930.

In Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story, three of Judaism’s founding fathers in disguise visit the booths of two brothers on holiday of Sukkot. Both of the brothers find after the visit that they have earned what they have received, but one finds that the visit teaches a much sterner lesson to one brother than the other. Illustrator, Katya Karenina uses a dreamy brush with her acrylics to create a literal and fantastical accompaniment to Kimmel’s telling of a traditional Hebrew tale. Krenina’s particular skill is demonstrated in the faces of her subjects which display simple emotional clues to the viewer that are unmistakable. Kimmel’s simple text helps the reader/listener understand the terms that are unfamiliar to most readers, while not talking down to them. His use of repetition in the story the guests tell builds a delicious sense of tension as we anticipate each brother getting his “just desserts”. This story is suitable for anyone, whether they are trying to learn more about Judaism or helping a child understand why selfishness is short-sighted strategy.

Lane Hackel, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Monday, July 06, 2009

Solving the Mysteries of the Pyramids

McDonald, Fiona. (Digging into History) Solving the Mysteries of the Pyramids. Marshall Cavendish Benchmark: 2009. ISBN: 9780761431060.

Solving the Mysteries of the Pyramids is part of a series entitled Digging into History. Focusing on Egyptian pyramids, it provides an interesting look into the past of Egyptian burials and history. Information on the pyramids is divided into six sections, which are titled in question form. The book reconstructs what we already know about Egyptian mummies, pyramids, and history, to what we can still discover through DNA samples, C.A.T. scans and further archaeological finds. Included in the book is a complete glossary, Names to Know, an index, and a well-constructed timeline. The presented story line is logical, factual, and written in an expository manner. Actual pictures of archaeological sites, mummies, pyramids, and museum displays make the book realistic and informative. The writing style is descriptive, uses primary sources and is relatively appropriate for intermediate grades. Since Egypt is a topic for the 6th grade Social Studies, this would be an excellent resource book for the core subject, and could also be used in Language Arts as part of a collection on Egyptian history. The book is student-friendly, in its writing style and factual, popular topic. It is focused, interestingly designed, and captures the reader’s attention by using a variety of topics and photographs concerning Egyptian pyramids and other related facts.

Beth Ann Hummel, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950


Larrew, Brekka Hervey. Labradoodles. Capstone Press: 2009. ISBN: 9781429620093.

For people seeking information on Labradoodles, this book is exceptional. It is well organized and easy to follow. The table of contents readily identifies the book’s topics, and it a breeze to navigate through the entire book. The layout and color scheme of the pages are enticing to the reader. Most pages are bordered with a darker purple background, fading into a soft lilac. This gives the reader a sense of comfort, making it seem as if this type of dog would provide the same aesthetic feeling. Real life snap shots also accompany the text. Many have captions, truly showing the physical attributes and temperament of the breed. Within the text, there are bold-faced words which are defined at the bottom of the page. Interpretation of the information is easily comprehended with detailed descriptive sentences. At the back of the book, there is a glossary which contains the bold-faced words. What I really like is the page where there are two additional sections: Read More and Internet Sites. This provides the reader with an extension to the informational text. The last page is the Index, allowing the reader to quickly refer back to the page of a certain topic.

Tammy Leady, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Ducks Don't Wear Socks

Nedwidek, John. Ducks Don’t Wear Socks. Penguin Group, 2008. ISBN: 9780670061365.

Ducks Don't Wear Socks is a fanciful story of a young girl who is brought out of her shell by a comical duck who is always doing something out of character to shock the girl. By the end of the story, the young girl sheds her old skin and dons a duck costume. The author follows the escapades of the duck and girl with exclamatory statements and descriptive words. It is easy for the reader to see the girl’s predictable expressions as outlined by the text. Readers will also enjoy the vibrant pictures done in watercolor. The shading of one color into another adds a distinct feel to the illustrations. The way that White is able to capture the girl’s expressions from serious to relaxed and cheerful by the end of the book is remarkable. These illustrations help to draw in the imagination and mood present in the book. This story truly puts the reader in a good mood and shows that it’s OK to step out and be carefree. I highly recommend it for elementary aged children.

Kristine Dinovo, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Underpants On My Head

Harper, Jessica. Underpants on My Head. G.P. Putnam Sons: 2009. ISBN: 9780399246722.

From the Uh! Oh! Cleo series comes another adventure of Cleo, the main character, in Underpants on My Head. This time she and her family (The Smalls, who really aren’t small with 2 adults and six children) are traveling by plane to see Grandma in Denver, Colorado.
The hilarious misadventures start the minute they board the plane to being picked up by Grandma and dealing with her sister, Jenna, the bossy one. Cleo’s parents plan a hiking trip up the mountain, which turns into a disaster. Cleo’s mother saves the day with the extra underpants she has brought (her mother is always prepared for anything!), and the Smalls complete their trip up and down the mountain. From the creaking Clown Car (which Cleo thinks resembles the clown car in a circus) to the Knock! It! Off! from her father, the book consistently keeps the reader engaged and looking forward to the next scene.
This is a beginning-level chapter book which would be appropriate for grades 2-3, depending on the readers’ ability. Be prepared to have other books from the series as the author is an excellent writer. Illustrations are included in black and white, and show the character’s facial expressions and group pictures in a realistic way.

Beth Ann Hummell, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Mortimer's First Garden

Wilson, Karma. Mortimer’s First Garden. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division: 2009. ISBN: 9781416942030.

In Mortimer's First Garden an inquisitive mouse, named Mortimer, is anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring and the washing away of the dreariness of the world. In the process, he is introduced to a novel concept of “garden.” He questions the value of planting seeds, his primary food source. Doubtful, but still full of wonder, he decides to plant his sunflower seed. The captivating oil based pictures accurately relay the emotions as the little mouse impatiently awaits the miracle of growth. The vibrancy of color and detail of the illustrations capture this miraculous event as the elated Mortimer diligently tends to his baby plant. Primary students will acquire an understanding of the scientific growing process of a plant through the animation of Mortimer’s actions. Infused within is a gentle belief in a God who produces miracles and the appreciative and thankful heart of this little mouse. This subject and theme of God could create a cravat if using in the public school arena.

Tammy Leady, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

China: Land, Life, and Culture (History and Government)

Tidey, John and Jackie. China: Land, Life and Culture. Macmillan Education Australia: 2008. ISBN: 9780761431558.

Government and History China: Land, Life and Culture is set up in an easy to understand format with a table of contents, 1-2 page themed sections, and a glossary and index in the back. Some of the themes covered include culture, calligraphy, festival, yin and yang, music, literature, painting, and puppetry. The expository writing used is appropriate to the subject and contains a “Did You Know?” box of interesting facts in each section. Stock photos are used throughout the book to capture people, sculptures, and calligraphy. There are also various examples of ink, watercolor, and shanshui paintings. I think this book is a valuable resource for upper elementary and middle school students to learn about the life and culture of the Chinese. It’s easy to get drawn into this book with all of the photos accompanying the text. I would definitely steer a youngster who is doing a research paper or poster in the direction of this book. It opens up your eyes to a current and relevant culture of people.

Kristine Dinovo, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Body Math

Dowdy, Penny. Body Math. Marshall Cavendish Benchmark , 2009. ISBN: 9780761432159.

Body Math is sure to be a teacher’s dream when attempting to answer the inevitable question, “Why do we have to learn this?” This expository text is full of intriguing, factual information that will engage an upper elementary or junior high age student in meaningful, interdisciplinary learning. Dowdy has made this book user friendly with an index of key words, a brief glossary, pronunciation keys of difficult words, and try-it-yourself “Calculation Station” boxes and a “Hands-On Math” mini project for every topic. These real-world applications can be easily performed with a partner or individually using simple materials such as paper, pencil, ruler, and dice. For instant gratification and self-checking purposes, an answer key is included in the back. Body Math includes information and activities on place value, genetics, probability, ratios, measurement, art, and the world around you (clothing, cars, and space). If students are interested in extending their thinking on these topics, Dowdy even includes online references and “Explain Away” writing prompts for students. Body Math is a visually captivating book with a mixture of photographs and hand-drawn cartoon-like pictures that demonstrate how to perform the hands-on experiments. Dowdy and her team of illustrators and photographers have surely created a stimulating book with real-world application that will entrance curious students and teachers for hours!

Kerry Fatzinger, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

What Is a Government?

Bedesky, Baron. What is a Government? Crabtree Publishing Company: 2009 ISBN: 9780778743286.

What is a Government? is a book packed with information. Mr. Bedesky has taken the overwhelming task of explaining our country’s government, and has broken it into smaller more understandable parts. It goes into detail about our national government, as well as our small local governments. Parts of the book explain how the government helps pay for health care, the post office, managing our environment, and the treasury. It also talks about how money is used for fun things, such as our national parks and zoos. The clear, sharp photos and diagrams effectively illustrate the author’s points. Also, insert boxes and fact boxes are on every page. These contain additional information on all of the subjects. The combined effect of Mr. Bedesky’s writing and his use of photographs, create a book that is easy enough for a third grader to understand, but presents enough details to assist a fifth grader in achieving a higher understanding about the subject.

Karen Zapiecki, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Your Food

Hewitt, Sally. Your Food. Crabtree Publishing Company: 2009. ISBN: 9780778740995.

In Your Food a combination of first person accounts, analytical questioning, and inherent suggestions that make the reader feel guilty for not having accomplished what the Green Teem has. The non-fiction rendering assumes the reader has an extensive background in Going Green technologies such as fair trade, organic products and composting. The glossary attempts to explain what the reader is lacking while the index leads one to clear up areas overlooked. Bright and cheery photographs with a desert border serve to explain, model and encourage. This book is overwhelming due to color changing pages, bright sunbursts for name labels, eye catching arrows and delicious looking food photographs. It is egotistically driven; action oriented and encourages repeated reading to grasp it all. It engages with the Nutrition From Your Neighborhood section which lists ideas for kids and ultimately teachers or parents. A tool utilized for Health classes and awareness about the importance of going green that is not something to be overlooked.

Shannon Leary, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Big Chickens Fly the Coop

Helakoski, Leslie. Big Chickens Fly the Coop. Dutton Children's Books: 2008. ISBN: 9780525479154.

Big Chickens Fly the Coop is a witty tale that takes one through the life of four chickens living on a farm in a Chicken Coop. The chickens believe that they should always stay home in order to be safe, but encounter many unfortunate mishaps when they decide to venture outside of their coop. Those mishaps include a tractor chase and a stampede of other farm animals causing the chickens to run in fright. Helakoski uses descriptive language that is repetitive which can allow students to predict what the chickens will say from one mishap to the next. Children will appreciate the entertaining plot, and want to know the outcome of the chickens’ debacle! The pictures are creatively constructed using watercolors, and truly catch the eye. The bright illustrations really make the chickens pop out of the page, and their facial expressions are priceless. The side-splitting humor used in the story will surely engage young readers, and have them begging for more!

Michelle Oberdick, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Veamos el otoño/ Let's Look At Fall

Schuette, Sarah. Veamos el otoño/Let’s Look at Fall (Spanish/English). Capstone Press: 2009. ISBN: 9781429622882.

Schuette takes simply phrased text and turns it to thought provoking questions about the season of fall for the young reader. Sequential flow in this book goes from large to small ideas in easy to read short chapters. She incorporates easily understood sentences written in both English and Spanish with repetition to internalize vocabulary with bilingual learners in mind. A combination of vibrant photos and stock photos with spectacular foliage along with masterfully done animal photos has been carefully chosen to bring this book to life. The photographs and text play an important role hand in hand to lead you in a journey through the animals and plants you may find in fall.
The internet extension found in the back of the book is outstanding. It is informative and the research possibilities seem endless for primary or upper elementary. Students can search by book ID, subject, or by letter. There are monthly contests during the school year available to help classrooms learn to research topics based on missing information and photographic clues. Upbeat music is playing when you click on the activities and more buttons for interactive sites such as interactive books, games, and quizzes. The combination of this book and website is sure to keep readers coming back for more.

Ellen Wolfrum, Bowling Green State University, BGSU 6950

Looking After Me: Taking Medicine

Gogerly, Liz. Taking Medicine. Crabtree Publishing Company, 2008. ISBN: 9780778741213.

Taking Medicine, a cartoon-like watercolor nonfiction book, is a resource that could be utilized when teaching students about medicines. Jimmy discovers that medicines can be very dangerous if not taken properly. At first he has confidence that the medicines will make his teddy bear recover from an illness, but he discovers that medicines are not magical. Gogerly uses a humorous way to showcase the different types of medicines and proper procedures to use around medicines. This manuscript is conversational and could easily be written into a readers’ theater for students to act out. The very practical images are an interesting twist to this nonfiction book. Gogerly’s use of words makes this book very kid friendly, where adolescents could successfully utilize it individually. Young children that are not able to read could learn along with the main character by following the plot through the pictures. In the back of this book there are tools for parents and teachers that could help extend the learning that takes place by reading the book.

Torrie Saul, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

The Oregon Trail

Dunn, Joeming. Graphic History The Oregon Trail. Illustrated by Tim Smith III. Magic Wagon, a division of ABDO Publishing Group, Edina, Minnesota, 2009. grades 3-6. Social Studies/History
ISBN 978-1-60270-183-0

Readers will literally get lost in this non-fiction book misleadingly titled The Oregon Trail, despite the brightly colored and prominent table of contents, time line, fast facts, glossary, index, and website pages. Although the events are historically accurate, only chapter 5 of 6 total includes lackluster historical facts about the actual Oregon Trail, omitting high interest details such as caulking wagons, circling wagons, diet, dangers, mileage, prairie schooner contents, an atypical synonym for Conestoga wagon. Also disappointing were the lifeless comic book style illustrations, static to the point of unnecessary dialogue bubbles, and a peopleless, uncarved hilly storyboard of minimally mentioned landmarks like Chimney Rock. The two pages with earthy-colored, savage, hostile Native Americans contradict the Fast Facts page describing them as helpful and mainly friendly. Website links offered no activities, and the short glossary was not inclusive of such vocabulary as sub-Indian agent. The expressionless history lesson was a disappointing destiny of excessive pre and post Oregon Trail facts from the Louisiana Purchase to the Civil War, which included a brilliantly blundered British flag drawing. To travel this trail, the reader might require a time machine to maneuver time and setting jumps in chapters one and five, and rationales given for traveling the Trail meandering in and out of two chapters.

Rhonda Huddle, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Duck for President

Cronin, Doreen. Duck for President. Atheneum Books for Young Readers: 2004. ISBN: 9781416958000.

In Duck for President, Cronin uses a comical take on a serious, political topic especially considering it was written in an election year. She simplifies the process to help young children get a small taste of the election process without going into many of the complicated details they possibly would not understand. She takes the character of an ambitious duck that is adventurous and highly driven to climb the political ladder to success. Children will enjoy guessing where they will find more ballots when the recount is challenged and demanded by the other party running for office. This book is a logical sequel to Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type. The illustrations are classic to Betsy Lewin’s style incorporating the bold brush and watercolors with black outlines drawing one's attention to each picture. The last page was particularly humorous to see the progression in technology in illustration from the typewriter in the trash to now using the computer on his desk with a mouse actually using the computer mouse. This books entertaining topic and illustrations will help readers look forward to seeing what will be next from Cronin and Lewin.

Ellen Wolfrum, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Building Math

Perritano, John. Building Math. Marshall Cavendish Benchmark: 2009. ISBN: 9780761432104.

Many students often ask the question “When are we ever going to need this?” when learning about math. In this book, Building Math, Perritano explores the need to understand math to build many of the structures our young adults have either learned about in the daily grind of school or recognized in the often exciting and fantastic movies of today. Ranging from ancient structures to skyscrapers and bridges to water wonders, photographs and illustrations of each structure take the reader on a global tour where math and buildings go hand in hand. The author is articulate and shows his knowledge of mathematical vocabulary by seemingly integrating each word into his descriptions of the variety of buildings and structures. Accompanying many of the descriptions of each structure is a small hands-on mini-lab intended to help the reader further understand the math that is often times misunderstood or even uninteresting. Also located in this book is a glossary to define terms and an index to help the reader find topics quickly. This book provides the real-life connections that young adults often need to appreciate what they are learning in school.

Laura Guadiz, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

The Boxcar Children: The Yellow House Mystery

Worley, Rob M. The Boxcar Children: The Yellow House Mystery. Magic Wagon: 2009. ISBN: 9781602705883.

An engaging and fast-paced graphic novel, The Boxcare Children: The Yellow House Mystery story reads like a comic strip with full-page color illustrations to match. Our heroes return in this adaptation of Gertrude Chandler Warner‘s timeless tales. True to the original, Boxcar children fans will take pleasure in this new book. This time the Alden children help locate a lost man and solve a years old mystery. Their journey takes them to the back woods of Maine where they endure hunger, bears, and a rainstorm on an action packed adventure. Advancing the plot through hand drawn, rough sketch pictures allows even emergent readers to enjoy the exciting journey. The text is filled with conversation and a few concise narrations. Easy and inviting, action hungry youngsters will be satisfied.

Charlene Turner, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

I Lost My Kisses

Trewin, T. I Lost My Kisses. Orchard Books: 2008. ISBN: 9780545055574.

In I Lost My Kisses Matilda Rose, a cow that loves to give and receive kisses, feels that she has lost her kisses. Matilda Rose is terribly, horribly sad, and begins her adventure of the search for the lost kisses. Matilda Rose looks for her kisses inside her home, outside her home, at a store, in the air, in a mailbox, and in a well. During her adventure of the quest she meets with several other animals on her journey. She meets a dog, baby chick, and a baby lamb. Matilda Rose feels that she needs to find her kisses before her dad arrives home, because her dad gives her the biggest “smoocheroo’s”. When Matilda is waiting for the arrival of her dad at the airport, she hears her name being called and her heart fills with a stretching bursting loving feeling and she discovers her kisses while she gives her dad the biggest “smoocheroo” ever. The predicable simple action-oriented text is imaginative and showcases the progression of Matilda Rose on her adventure to locate her missing kisses. The pages are mostly black and white pencil pictures with a hint of watercolor. The book uses a empathetic and intriguing way to bring the reader into the feelings of Matilda Rose. It used the repetitive wording of “I lost my kisses”.

Bridget Harding, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

Green Team: Waste and Recycling

Hewitt, Sally. Waste and Recycling. Crabtree: 2009. ISBN: 9780778740988.

This child-friendly book, Waste and Recycling, contains an endless amount of factual information, pictures, case studies, ideas and challenges to motivate and help students learn about the earth. The book introduces recycling and goes on to explain in detail about various recyclables including paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, glass, and even such items as cell phones and big machines. The authenticity of this book and the studies it shares encourage young readers to step up, take action, and make a difference in their community. Each page is predictable in nature and contains a titled header followed by various bold topics that follow with information. Students should be encouraged to use the table of contents to find and read about a topic of their choice as not to be overwhelmed by the amount of information presented in the book. The two page spread contains an assortment of colors to set the text topics apart from one another. The varieties of pictures on each page are bright, realistic and give a true sense of how work can be done to help our earth. Classrooms learning about how to care for the earth would find this book very motivating. It is an exceptional, appealing source for children ages 7-12.

Kristin Brown, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

How Are They Made? Plates and Mugs

Braxland, Wendy. Plates and Mugs. Marshall Cavendish Benchmark: 2008. ISBN: 9780761438090.

This book describes how plates and mugs are made from conception to finished product. How are they made? Plates and Mugs is broken down into various sections including materials, history, design, production, glossary, and index. These sections make it easy to use a reference when researching only one aspect of plates and/or mugs. The colorful photographs sprinkled throughout the book show readers many examples and uses for plates and mugs, many of which are different than everyday use. This book also lends itself to teaching about different cultures and practices and how they utilize this type of functional art. How are they Made? Plates and Mugs can be used as a great tool to introduce ceramics because it includes many key words involved in clay production. This book can be a great motivator to students by showing them what is possible in regards to creating objects with clay.

Jennifer Christopher, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950

If You Were a Compund Word

Speed Shaskan, Trisha. If You Were a Compound Word. Picture Window Books: 2009. ISBN: 9781404847712.

If You Were a Compound Word makes learning about compound words vibrant and exciting for all students, and turns a dull topic into something more engaging. It is a great way to introduce younger children to learning about different compound words based on various themes. This story starts out by explaining what a compound word is and then provides examples of various compound words for a variety of events. Some include compound words for the different seasons where others are compound words used to describe nature or different types of food. The animated full page illustrations were created with acrylics and help grasp a student’s full attention and bring excitement to learning a grammar concept. This book is a helpful tool bringing creativity and enjoyment to either those who are just starting to learn about compound words and even for those who already know about compound words.

Emily Jones, Bowling Green State University, EDTL 6950