DOWNER, Ann. Wild Animal Neighbors: Sharing Our Urban World. 64p. bibliog. further reading. index. map. notes. photos. websites. Twenty-First Century. Nov. 2013. lib. ed. $33.27. ISBN 978-0-7613-9021-3; ebook $24.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1663-5. LC 2012043817.
Gr 4-8–The question, “What does it mean to be ‘urban’ or ‘wild’ in the twenty-first century?” is posed in the introduction, and while there is no clear answer to be found, there is plenty here to get kids thinking about and debating these definitions. Seven animals are each given a chapter: raccoons, mountain lions, crows, coyotes, flying foxes, loggerhead sea turtles, and alligators. Within each chapter is a list of facts and a little background or history of the animal and its new urban environment. There is interesting discussion of adaptations the animal has made to survive, the traits that have either created success or failure in an urban environment, and some of the studies that have been done about the creatures. Depending on the animal, they are seen either as pests (crows) or something to be protected (loggerhead sea turtles); material about efforts to change human behavior to save the animals or change animal behavior to save the humans is included. Full-color photographs show the sadness (in the case of the mountain lion that would be put down) and the hope (the loggerhead returning to the ocean) present when animals and humans cohabitate in urban environments. Also included is a brief look at what makes an urban ecosystem unique and the possibilities for building wildlife-friendly cities. Living with wildlife is a fact of our lives, and this successful book is worthy of a spot on any library shelf.
EHRLICH, Amy, adapt. With a Mighty Hand: The Story in the Torah. illus. by Daniel Nevins. 224p. bibliog. notes. Candlewick. 2013. RTE $29.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-4395-9. LC 2012947723.
Gr 7 Up–In shortened, modernized prose format, Ehrlich retells the five books of the Torah as a collection of stories that relate the history of the Israelites and their relationship to Yahweh (their God). She has divided the books of Genesis and Exodus by topic and titled each story in all five books, breaking up the detailed text and giving it more appeal to young people. Yet the integrity of the biblical tales, the sacred feel of the text, and the flow of ancient history remain intact. For example, in the tales of Adam and the patriarchs, the genealogical listings of the generations in each lineage and the ages of the major characters at various junctures in their lives and at death have been included as they appear in the Torah. These stories are not without the violence that is part of the Old Testament, such as the sexual assault on Jacob and Leah’s daughter, Dinah, by the Canaanite Shechem and the subsequent slaughter and looting of his brethren by her brothers. Nevins’s handsome, richly colored oil on wood paintings, freely scattered throughout the pages, range in style from graphic renderings of the burning bush to a surrealist depiction of Jacob wrestling with God. There is a distinctly biblical look to the Middle Eastern characters. Ehrlich’s introduction provides information about the Torah’s history. A section of notes explaining some curious customs mentioned in the Torah and a short bibliography of sources are appended. This beautifully executed adaptation deserves strong consideration for Judaica and public library collections.
KIDD, Chip. Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design. 160p. chron. illus. photos. reprods. Workman. Oct. 2013. Tr $17.95. ISBN 978-0-7611-7219-2.
Gr 5 Up–In this general introduction, Kidd informs readers that virtually everything is a product of a designer’s imagination, and that graphic design, or “visual communication,” has been around for hundreds of years in one form or another. He includes some splendid historical examples as proof. Peppered throughout are numerous samples of the author’s own and other talented artists’ fascinating and quirky work. Kidd’s folksy, conversational tone, in which he speaks directly to readers, is appealing. Readers will also appreciate the respect he shows for their individuality and inherent talent. Most welcome will be the 10 thought-provoking, fun projects that allow students the opportunity to use the lessons learned herein to communicate effectively through typography, color, visual imagery, and so on. This is a book not only for art classes, but also for courses in journalism, communications, media, and writing, for units on persuasive writing and advertising, and to demonstrate how strong visual images convey meaning and appeal.–
MARCUS, Leonard S. Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing. 64p. bibliog. chron. notes. photos. reprods. Farrar/Frances Foster. 2013. RTE $24.99. ISBN 978-0-374-31025-7. LC 2012050406.
Gr 6 Up–Marcus has sifted through a variety of archival collections to find fresh material by and about the celebrated 19th-century British illustrator. Opening with an arresting self-portrait, the volume chronicles Caldecott’s birth, rise in British social circles, travels, publications, marriage, and untimely death. The book is handsomely designed with a jacket bordered in the burnt sienna favored by Caldecott. Endpapers are decorated with cameos; thick, cream-colored paper lends richness. Marcus skillfully places his subject in historical context, weaving in such concepts as the impact of the advent of the train on the artist’s energetic style and the influence of contemporaries (Turner, Whistler, Tenniel). He wonders, convincingly, if Caldecott had seen Muybridge’s photographs proving that horses run with all four legs in the air–and if they inspired his depiction of John Gilpin’s galloping horse that graces the Caldecott Medal. Art and quotations bolster the narrative, building the character of a complex man and ultimately detailing his contributions to picture-book design. The question of audience arises. With a trim size comparable to a portrait-style picture book, a page count of 64, and examples with clear child appeal, this is not pitched to academics. Yet, its scrupulous documentation, thorough back matter, and sophisticated language, e.g., “The epicenter of England’s burgeoning textile industry, Manchester was a new kind of city,” indicate it is also not for casual, child readers. It will be a delight for picture-book enthusiasts and a provocative introduction for those who want the backstory of the man behind the medal.–
ROTH, Susan L. & Cindy Trumbore. Parrots Over Puerto Rico. illus. by Susan L. Roth. 48p. bibliog. chron. photos. Lee & Low. 2013. RTE $19.95. ISBN 978-1-62014-004-8. LC 2012048195.
Gr 3-6–Before humans arrived on the island, parrots numbered in the hundred of thousands. By 1967, only 24 birds remained. Since then, scientists in the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program (PRPRP) have established aviaries to raise the birds in captivity and release them in the wild. Using a vertical page orientation, Roth has plenty of space for detailed collages that depict the parrots’ lives and struggles above human activities that have altered the island’s ecosystem over the centuries. Taínos, Spanish explorers and settlers, African slaves, and others hunted parrots for food, cut down nesting places, and introduced animals that ate their eggs. After the United States took control, deforestation continued. Some military history and political questions such as the debate about Puerto Rico’s commonwealth status slow the narrative. When the focus shifts to the strategies, setbacks, and successes of the PRPRP, the story soars. From constructing nesting boxes to training captive-bred birds how to avoid hawks, the program is slowly rebuilding the parrot population. After the main story, several pages of photos accompany further explanations of the group’s work. In addition to their list of sources, the authors supply a detailed time line of events. Like this team’s The Mangrove Tree (Lee & Low, 2011), this title offers an engaging and hopeful look at environmental restoration.–
THIMMESH, Catherine. Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled: How Do We Know What Dinosaurs Really Looked Like? illus. by John Sibbick et al. 64p. chron. diag. glossary. index. notes. photos. reprods. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-547-99134-4.
Gr 5-7–This is a stellar look at the methods paleoartists employ to bring dinosaurs to life on paper. With a fascinating mix of text, expert quotes, and outstanding artwork, it showcases an aspect of paleontology that kids may not know much about. A lot of books focus on the action at paleontological digs and the reconstruction of what is found in them, but Thimmesh spotlights the gifted individuals who combine their talent with the latest scientific knowledge to layer muscles and flesh onto skeletal remains, adding another intriguing dimension to the study of these ancient creatures. These artistic sleuths pull together clues from plant and rock studies and other sources to create images as thrilling for the youngest dinosaur enthusiasts as they are informative for the most studied researchers. The highlighted paleoartists’ renderings get full-bleed treatment, providing readers with a variety of spectacular interpretations of how dinosaurs appeared when they roamed the planet. Complementing the exceptional illustrations is an engaging, informative text written in a conversational tone. Artist profiles are included. The book is presented in a striking palette of saturated earth tones, completing a terrific package that will draw in browsers and serve report writers while inspiring young artists to consider applying their skills to this enthralling field.
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The following titles are reviewed in this month’s print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
BARLOW, Melissa. Noodlemania!: 50 Playful Pasta Recipes. illus. by Alison Oliver. photos by Zac Williams. 112p. index. websites. Quirk. 2013. pap. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-59474-617-8. LC 2012934521.
BIX, Cynthia Overbeck. Spending Spree: The History of American Shopping. 88p. bibliog. further reading. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Twenty-First Century. Nov. 2013. lib. ed. $33.27. ISBN 978-1-4677-1017-6; ebook $24.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1658-1. LC 2012050486.
DOEDEN, Matt. Darkness Everywhere: The Assassination of Mohandas Gandhi. 80p. bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Twenty-First Century. Oct. 2013. lib. ed. $31.93. ISBN 978-0-7613-5483-3; ebook $23.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1659-8. LC 2012041287.
ELLIS, Deborah. Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids. 256p. photos. websites. Groundwood. 2013. Tr $15.95. ISBN 978-1-55498-120-5; ebook $14.95. ISBN 978-1-55498-413-8.
FREEDMAN, Jeri. Careers in Computer Support. ISBN 978-1-4488-9594-6.
MEYER, Terry Teague. Careers in Computer Forensics. ISBN 978-1-4488-9593-9. LC 2012041358.
NAGLE, Jeanne. Careers in Internet Advertising and Marketing. ISBN 978-1-4488-9596-0. LC 2012043445.
POOLOS, J. Careers in Online Gaming. ISBN 978-1-4488-9592-2. LC 2012040036.
RYAN, Peter. Careers in Electronic Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4488-9590-8. LC 2012045604.
ea vol: 80p. (Careers in Computer Technology Series). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen. 2013. lib. ed. $33.25. ebook available.
GISH, Melissa. Chameleons. ISBN 978-1-60818-285-5. LC 2012023305.
––––.Frogs. ISBN 978-1-60818-287-9. LC 2012023243.
––––.Octopuses. ISBN 978-1-60818-289-3. LC 2012023245.
ea vol: 48p. (Living Wild Series). bibliog. glossary. index. map. photos. reprods. Creative Education. 2013. lib. ed. $35.65.
GLASSER, Judith M. & Kathleen Nadeau. Learning to Feel Good and Stay Cool: Emotional Regulation Tools for Kids with AD/HD. illus. by Charles Beyl. 128p. chart. further reading. websites. Magination. 2013. Tr $14.95. ISBN 978-1-4338-1342-9; pap. $12.95. ISBN 978-1-4338-1343-6. LC 2013005779.
HARMON, Daniel. Super Pop!: Pop Culture Top Ten Lists to Help You Win at Trivia, Survive in the Wild, and Make It Through the Holidays. 288p. appendix. illus. index. photos. Zest. 2013. pap. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-936976-36-2. LC 2012943318.
MCALLISTER, Ian & Nicholas Read. The Great Bear Sea: Exploring the Marine Life of a Pacific Paradise. 128p. further reading. illus. index. Orca. 2013. pap. $19.95. ISBN 978-1-4598-0019-9. LC 2013934942.
MCCULLOUGH, Joseph A. Dragonslayers: From Beowulf to St. George. Bk. 2. illus. by Peter Dennis. ISBN 978-1-78096-730-1.
SMITH, Neil. Jason and the Argonauts. Bk. 1. illus. by José Daniel Cabrera Peña. ISBN 978-1-78096-722-6.
ea vol: 80p. (Myths and Legends Series). bibliog. map. photos. reprods. Osprey Publishing Ltd. 2013. pap. $17.95. ebook available.
MAJORS, Kerri. This Is Not a Writing Manual. 208p. appendix. bibliog. Writer’s Digest Books. 2013. pap. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-59963-688-7.
PATEL, Mukul. We’ve Got Your Number. illus. by Supriya Sahai. 96p. chart. diag. further reading. glossary. index. photos. reprods. websites. Kingfisher. 2013. Tr $14.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-7072-5.
SEIPLE, Samantha. Byrd & Igloo: A Polar Adventure. 192p. index. map. notes. photos. reprods. Scholastic. Oct. 2013. Tr $18.99. ISBN 978-0-545-56276-8.