Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Disaster Day

McKenzie, Precious. Disaster Day. 2013.  Rourke Educational Media.

This book is about the experience of two turtledoves attending flight school.  They are not the most skilled birds but they do work the hardest.  The author's writing style is very descriptive.  He uses unique words that transition well and bring the story together.  The illustrations in this book are very eye popping.  The colors were not extremely bright but they do serve their purpose.

I would not recommend this book to kids.  I find it kind of challenging at the beginning.  I believe most of the book is written for children but the beginning would be more for a student in a higher grade.  The author could have used a better choice of words.

Michael Lee, BGSU student

The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten

Fergus, Maureen.  The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten. 2013. Kids Can Press.

The story is about a student who is a Kindergartener experiencing the joys of being in school and mainly focuses on her mother's trouble of being away from her. The child invites her mother to class with her for an entire day.  The student is surprised her mother cannot follow rules and spends the day showing her mom how a Kindergartener should behave.

The writing style was comical, yet simple enough for a Kindergartener to understand.  The reading was not very difficult or lengthy.

The illustrator definitely brought the entire story to life and made the reading even more fun by seeing the characters- most importantly the mother- misbehaving and the daughter correcting her.

I would recommend this book as it was really fun to read and won't take much time at all to get its point across.  Many children might enjoy sharing this book with their parents or vice versa.  I think it would be appropriate for no older than first graders and maybe age 4.  Really great reading style even highlights words that could be used as vocabulary terms in a classroom setting.

Anonymous Reviewer

To London to Visit the Queen

Robertson, J. Jean. To London to Visit the Queen. 2013.  Rourke Educational Media.

Camp counselors Omar and Esme take their campers on an adventure to see the Queen in London.  After stopping at Piccadilly Circus to grab something to eat, they head to London to find the Queen.

The author is focusing on the "q" sound and words that begin with the letter "q."  She uses short sentences with simple vocabulary.  There was a word list at the beginning of the book that the students should know prior to reading.

The illustrations were nicely done and computer-generated.  The colors were bright and eye-catching.  The pictures followed along well with the story.  Specifically, I enjoyed the picture of the double-decker bus with Big Ben in the background.

Personally, I believe this book was very confusing.  I would not use this book in my classroom.  The author jumps around too quickly without supplying enough background information.  I am not sure how the students got to London or what Piccadilly Circus is.  The upside down writing in the storybook was extremely confusing as well.

Kimberly Campbell, BGSU student

Monday, November 25, 2013

Jack and The Hungry Giant Eat Right with My Plate

Leedy, Loreen. Jack & the Hungry Giant Eat Right with My plate. , 2013.

Jack's beans turn into a huge beanstalk which leads him to the giant's house where Jack and the Giant prepare a healthy meal together.

The author uses short sentences and many conversation bubbles.

The illustrations are very well created and the food pictures are very life-like. The photos are hand drawn with fantastic coloring.

This book does a very good job of illustrating proper food choices.  I like how the book begins with the familiar Jack and the beanstalk story line and then takes a turn in a completely different direction. I would highly recommend this book to all children regardless of age to teach them the importance of healthy eating.

Reviewer: Christina Hofelich

Vote for Me!

Robertson, J J, and Marc Mones. Vote for Me!Vero Beach, Fla: Rourke Educational Media, 2013.

Penelope Pony is helping to coordinate the class elections for the year.  The students make posters and help one another prepare their election posters.

The author used short sentences that were conversational based between the classmates.  An example sentence of the author's writing style is provided below.
"No you won't,Snyder.  With my long neck, I can reach it for you."

The primary medium for the illustrations I believe is animated characters that were computer generated. The illustrations were great representation of what the text was describing

I would recommend this book to help demonstrate teamwork as well as to explain how to work together while "competing" against one another on something such as a class election.  I thought this was a great book and the illustrations went well with the text.
I would recommend this book for 7- 9 year olds.

Reviewer: Brittany Scott

Ukulele Hayley

Cox, Judy, and Amanda Haley. Ukulele Hayley. , 2013.

This story is a about a third grader named Hayley who was unsure of her talents.  Shortly after, Hayley bought a ukulele and fell in love with playing it and even started a school "uk" club, planned concerts, and saved the music program!

Judy Cox's writing style is unique.  She tells the story as if you were there.  She writes and uses words easy enough for middle schoolers to understand and be engaged.

The illustrations are very relevant to the important parts of the book.  They are eye-catching and match perfectly to the text.

I enjoyed reading this book!  I think the message of this book will grasp it's reader's attention.  I would recommend this book to kids if they enjoy music and fiction. This will be appropriate for ages 9-12 year olds.

Reviewer J.W.

Hunter Moran Hangs Out

Giff, Patricia R. Hunter Moran Hangs Out. , 2013.

Zach and Hunter are twins from a rather large family and when a neighbor girl tells them she heard of a possible kidnapping that is going to happen, they take charge. The twins have only four days until their summer is over so they work hard to find the kidnapper before he strikes.
The writer does use some words that would take some thought to understand it's context.  One word in particular that I noticed was, accomplice.  This word was important to the plot since it is a mystery.  The author used it when she wrote, "No, the accomplice isn't here."
There were very few illustrations within the text.  The ones included in the book created anticipation for the upcoming setting written in the following chapters. These illustrations where mysterious and effective in setting the mood and scene throughout the chapters.
I think that this book has a great story, flow, and plot but I think that the description of the Moran family in the first few chapters is lacking.  This would be a book of recommendation for kids ranging from 9-12 years of age. I think that both boys and girls could enjoy this story.

Reviewer: B.N.T

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Danny, Who Fell in a Hole

Fagan, Cary, and Milan Pavlovic. Danny, Who Fell in a Hole. Groundwood Book, 2013.

This story is about a boy Danny Diamond who comes home one day to find out that his parents taking jobs in two different cities across the U.S. In a wave of emotion Dave runs away and falls in a hole. With only his backpack, e must survive until he is found.

Fagan's writing style is interesting. While it is at a proper level for his audience, it also includes some adult concepts (i.e. on pg. 79 it mentions moonshine, or moleshine in reference to one of the characters). It also includes some complicated concepts with parents (they can be a little harsh and selfish) which could be troubling for this age group to understand.

The illustrations are not on every page, may one every couple chapters, and they are hand-drawn with a pencil. The illustrations are helping in developing the story and are suitable for the age group. All of the illustrations aid the reader in creating a mental picture of the characters and what is happening throughout the story. 

I think this is a pretty good book for its intended age group. It is a transition from picture books to chapter books and provides a good range of vocabulary. I don't think I would give the book to anyone over the age of 12 because it is no suitable or challenging for that age. I think this would be good for any student because it does not play to specific interest. Overall, I would recommend this book to others and students, but I would keep in mind the more complex ideas that are introduced. 

M.L.W., BGSU Student

Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?

Middleton, Julie, and Russell Ayto. Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?, Peachtree Publishers, 2013.

This story is about a father and his son at the museum. The father was explaining all about dinosaurs, and the son kept saying that the dinosaurs are alive and doing different things. The father would say that it was just the son's imagination. Then they come to the T-Rex, and something happens ...

The author uses pretty much the same sentence structure and style throughout the entire book. The thing that I noticed the most were the dinosaurs names. They were written a little bigger than the other words. "You see, Dave," said Dad knowledgeably, "That dinosaur there is the Deinochirus. It has some of the longest arms of all the dinosaurs."

The illustrations appear as if they are water color paintings. I believe that the most impressive paintings are the images of the dinosaurs. They all take up two pages, so they are the focal point of each page.

This was a very cute book. It had colorful pictures, as well as a cute story. I would recommend this to other kids, especially kids who are interested in dinosaurs. I think that this book would appeal to kids between the ages of 3 to 5.

Jordan Scanlan, BGSU Student

Monday, November 18, 2013

Twelve Kinds of Ice

Obed, Ellen B, and Barbara McClintock. Twelve Kinds of Ice. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012.

A family who waits all year for the perfect ice conditions. This story takes you back through the different stages of winter to the point where there are perfect conditions for a community to come together and enjoy the ice.

The author's writing style is simple and breathe taking.  When the author writes, "Silver blades, silver speeds, silver sun," the reader is able to connect the text and feel what the children are feeling as they skate on the ice.

The illustrations in the book help the reader to visualize how the family works together to get true enjoyment out of every change in ice that comes throughout the winter.

In my opinion this book is a great story for an older sibling to read to a younger on at the beginning of winter. The whimsical pictures and descriptive words would make any child excited for winter weather. 

Age ranges to which this book would appeal: third grade to fifth grade.

E.R., BGSU Student

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Cruisers: Oh, Snap!

Myers, Walter D. The Cruisers: Oh, Snap! Scholastic Press, 2013.

This book is about a group of students who run a competing newspaper and attempt to find breaking stories. They also find some trouble along the way.

The author writs in an engaging way. I was never bored once while reading. I kept waiting and anticipating what would happen next.

There were no illustrations in the book, but there were excerpts from the newspaper the students wrote. It made you feel like you were there with the characters.

I really enjoyed this book because it kept my attention the whole time! I would recommend this book to my students. I think the book would be best for ages 10 to 14. Students who have interest in journalism or creative writing would enjoy it.

Alden Carney, BGSU Student

Prettiest Doll

Willner-Pardo, Gina. Prettiest Doll. New York: Clarion Books, 2012.

A young teenage girl Olivia has won beauty pageants since she was three, and lately she is beginning to wonder if she is just a pretty girl. Then she meets Danny, and on their journey, they think about what they truly want for their lives and what the best thing to do is in their given situations.

The author's writing style was descriptive, yet full of action that gave the story a good flow. She used similes through out the story. For example, she wrote, "It was like elephants in the wild or Disneyland." Her descriptive language allows you to easily picture the story.

The only illustration for the book is a photograph on the cover which is a young girl in her pageant dress with a winner's sash that displays the title. This picture represents the main character in the book. 

Overall, I enjoyed the story! I would recommend the book to high school freshman girls. The writing style and story line is perfect for girls 12 to 15, but some of the language may be more appropriate for high school students.

Elizabeth Myers, BGSU Student

The Reluctant Dragon

Grahame, Kenneth, and Ernest H. Shepard. The Reluctant Dragon. New York: Holiday House, 2013.

The story is about a small village where a shepherd boy lives and his encounter and friendship with a dragon who lived in a cave nearby.
The wording of the book and the style is very reminiscent of the time that it took place in, which kept the story interesting and gave a more authentic feel.
The drawings were black and white and were very simple in nature.  They gave the impression that they were also drawn from the time in which the story took place.
The book was very interesting.  I would recommend this to my other students. This book would be best for ages 8-12. The book would be best for those interested in fantasy and for those with interests in the medieval ages.

Reviewer: Alden Carney

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


 Cabot, Meg. Awaken. , 2013.

This story is a twist on the myth of Hades and Persephone.  The final book in the trilogy is of Pierce and John trying to save the underworld, Isla Huesos and their loved ones from the furies.
Meg Cabot is an incredible author.  She has a way of bringing her characters and stories to life.  The book reads easily and you can't put the book down until the conclusion. She truly has a way with words.
The only illustration is the book cover which includes a young man and a woman in a loving pose. They are obviously meant to be the two main characters.
I would definitely recommend this book, as it is a fantastic book in a wonderful trilogy.  The book was full of adventure and romance, it is worth the time to read it.  I would recommend this book to girls aged 15-20.

Reviewer: Emily Fry

Stronger than Steel

Heos, Bridget, and Andy Comins. Stronger Than Steel: Spider Silk Dna and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures, and Parachute Rope. , 2013. 

The book is about some scientists who have been studying spiders and their silk.  They have been trying to figure out different and more efficient ways to produce spider silk.  Some ways they used were goats milk and alfalfa leaves.
The writer style was scientific yet fun.  It made it easier to read.  It was still informational enough to be a scientific book yet easy enough to read that is a appropriate for younger students.
The pictures went along with the information really well.  They portrayed what the author was trying to say.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I really like spiders.  If someone doesn't like spiders I would not recommend it for them.  The information was really interesting and I think anyone middle school and up could read this book.

Reviewer:  DJ Reau

Dee Dee and Me

Schwartz, Amy. Dee Dee and Me. New York: Holiday House, 2013.

All about a big sister taking everything away from her little sister, apron, toys, food, games, and friends. But by the end of the story the big sister missed not playing with her sister.  So she decided to play nice and fair.

The writing style was good for the age group.  She used common review words that should have been taught already.  She also introduced, new words that are age appropriate to learn.  She was very descriptive while explaining simple objects.

I like how on one side of the page the pictures are very simple and not smashed together.  And on the other side it has a full page of artwork that is very detailed.  However, both sides go really well with the story line.

I like how the book talks about how some siblings act with each other.  I really enjoyed how the story ended, which is not what I was expecting.  I would give this book to a third or fourth grade classroom. Kids 8-10 years old.  I would ask siblings to read it together.

Reviewer: Danielle

The Last Academy

The Last AcademyApplegate, Anne. The Last Academy. New York, N.Y: Point, 2013.

The story is about a 14 year old girl who goes away to boarding school after a falling out with her best friend.  At school she begins to experience strange visions and her friends begin to disappear.
I feel like the author does not have a very good writing style.  It does not read easily, as though the author had too many ideas and it came out jumbled.  The story didn't make sense sometimes.
The only illustration is the book cover which includes four young adults standing in front of a huge gate with an unclear image beyond it.
Overall my opinion of the book is that it is neither great or horrible.  The book seems to drag and is full of confusion.  I would recommend this book to ages 11-15 girls.

Reviewer: Emily Fry

The 12 Days of Christmas

Cabrera, Jane. The 12 Days of Christmas. , 2013.

Jane Cabrera has adapted the famous Christmas song, The 12 Days of Christmas and has added new words.  The song has been adapted to talk about animals celebrating Christmas.  It's a modern version of a classic folk song.
The author uses the song, The 12 Days of Christmas, as the book is being read you want to read the book to the melody.
The book has a lively acrylic illustrations that help bring to life the words while reading.
I would recommend this book to other kids to read.  The reason I say this is because it is a modern take of the song, The 12 Days of Christmas, children are able to understand.  Most kids today have no idea why you would want pipers piping, so Jan Cabrera has created a book that is more simplistic and kid friendly that children of today would understand better.
This book would appeal to ages 2-6 years old.
                          Reviewer: JP

Friday, November 08, 2013

Operation Oleander

Patterson, Valerie O. Operation Oleander. Boston: Clarion Books, 2013.

A young girl sets up a charity for orphans located in the middle east where her father is stationed in the military. When a bomb goes off near the orphanages and marines are killed, questions arise as to whether the orphanage is to blame.

It is written from the perspective of the young girl who set up the orphanage and whose dad was injured in the bombing. The emotions are powerfully expressed and readers truly  feel the inner conflict going with the girl. Readers feel that same raw emotion and suspense she feels. 

The cover is illustrated as a package with an oleander flower attached. This is a powerful image because readers question whether these supplies being sent to the orphanage are the reason behind the bombing. The oleander, while a beautiful flower, is poisonous, capturing the irony of beauty and death highlighted in the book. 

While the difficulty level of the book isn't hard, the content is emotional and raw. While a fifth or sixth grader may be able to read the book, they may not understand the powerful emotions in the book. It would be best for seventh graders the high school. Age range: 13 to 17.

Jessica Wright, BGSU Student

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

Eulberg, Elizabeth. Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality. New York: Point, 2013.

Revenge of the Girl with the Great PersonalityLexi, a high school junior, is witty, smart, and popular but not near as pretty as her seven year-old sister Mackenzie, who completes in beauty pageants. Lexi knows what she wants, and it's not the perfect body and hair, unlike most teenagers.

Eulberg used the beauty pageant story line along with the obsession girls have with looking perfect to write this story about Lexi.

On the cover of the book, the title is written in lipstick with the lipstick tube laying below it. This describes the stereotype that all girls care about looks in order to get boys.

I thought the book was very entertaining for teenage girls. I would recommend the book to girls from around ages 12 to 17.

Brooke Clark, BGSU Student

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Nugget and Fang

Sauer, Tami. Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever-Or Snack Time? Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

This story is about a friendship between Nugget (minnow) and Fang (shark) who are best friends that live in the ocean.  Nugget and Fang do everything together until Nugget has to start school with the other little minnows.  While in school the other minnows find out that Nugget's best friend is a shark.  So they inform him that sharks eat minnows and Nugget believes them and ends his friendship with Fang.

The author's writing style is very light-hearted, funny, and she uses repetition to draw in the mind and heart of her young readers.  Her goal is to get these young readers to recognize the moral that one shouldn't judge anything or anyone just on the outside, rather to know about it or them on the inside.

The illustrations for this book were done by a man who clearly wants the reader to smile and enjoy this comedic, moral-based story.  His illustrations directly reflect the happy, carefree mood of young readers to that of the innocent characters in this story.

This book instantly grabbed my attention and made me smile after seeing the first illustrations.  As an older reader, the author's story drew me in emotionally in the hope that Nugget and Fang's relationship would continue.  A few of the words the author used-like approach, sincerely, and tattoo-were a bit above the Kindergarten reading level.  Therefore, I felt that the first or second grader's comprehension level would be best for its youngest readers.  I would recommend this book for ages 6 to 10.

Ty Comer, BGSU student

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods

Quattlebaum, Mary, and Laura J. Bryant. Jo Macdonald Hiked in the Woods. Nevada City, CA: Dawn Publications, 2013.

This story is very similar to the song Old MacDonald had a Farm, but focuses on forest animals instead.
The author's writing is parallel to Old MacDonald had a farm except she uses different animals. The words create a sound effect like "Hoo" or "Rat-tat" that enforce phonological awareness.
The illustrations are visually representative of a forest community. The colors are earthy and soft.
I recommend this book particularly to kindergarten and first graders.  It was a fun book and could easily be sung along too!  The back has a glossary of forest guided words. A great book to incorporate when learning about the forest, forest animals, or sound effects and vowels in Language Arts.

Reviewer: EmkAsh

Who Stole New Year's Eve?

Freeman, Martha. Who Stole New Year's Eve?
New York: Holiday House, 2013.

Who Stole New Year's Eve is all about a small town during the holiday's that receives new neighbors. After a night of rest the towns ice sculptures from the festival went missing and the search began to save the festival and Eve's birthday.
Overall Freeman's writing style is like that of many authors. The book is told in he/she format and covers a lot of the characters well. 
The only illustration is on the cover which is a great representation of the book with Eve and her sculpture and Yasmeen standing with her arms crossed looking jealous. I personally enjoyed the book. 
It was an interesting read due to the mystery and got readers into it by wanting to know what happened. I would recommend this book for late early childhood to early middle school students. 
                                                                                                                                         Reviewer: KF

Sunday, November 03, 2013

We Go Together: A Curious Selection of Affectionate Verse

Brown, Calef, We Go Together: A Curious Selection of Affectionate Verse. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2013.

This book has a bunch of affectionate, silly poems about friends and family. The author is child-focused in his nature of speech and uses some challenging morphemic knowledge.  The illustrations are goofy and colorful. The descriptions are unusual and interesting to look at!  I loved how easily this book would integrate into a Language Arts lesson, specifically on poetry.  There is a rich variety of figurative language and vocabulary.  I recommend it for poetry units in the upper elementary grades.


Tricky Tarantulas

Kuskowski, Alex. Tricky Tarantulas. ABDO Publishing, 2013.  

This story is about tarantulas.  There are interesting facts, a small cartoon story, and a quiz and glossary in this book.  The author provides information but is also shows creativity by incorporating a fun cartoon spider story.  The illustrations depict real life tarantula pictures in their natural environment.  The cartoon is kid-friendly and adds a fun spin on an informational text for elementary students.  This book would be great to use in a science lesson.  It's directed toward 1st-3rd grade students.
The quiz at the end will allow teachers to observe and assess whether students were paying attention.  I liked the book and even learned something new myself!