February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Preschool to Grade 4 Nonfiction | September 2013

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

redstarBUTTERWORTH, Chris. See What a Seal Can Do. illus. by Kate Nelms. 32p. index. websites. Candlewick. 2013. RTE $14.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6574-6. LC 2012947729.

K-Gr 2–A curious gray seal peers out from the cover, seeming to invite readers into its underwater world. Once inside, the book begins and ends with seals napping on the rocks. This sedentary behavior, the only one visible to earth-bound humans, gives these sea mammals a “lazy” reputation. In fact, as the illustrations go on to show, the seal is anything but. Once below the ocean’s surface, the creature’s streamlined body and adaptive features (which are described and explained) make it a master predator. The poetic text is full of alliteration, onomatopoeia, and vocabulary that will delight readers. (“A flump is a flop and a jump both together.”) Sentences in smaller type act as captions and add further detail, as do the illustrations on the endpapers and the information on the verso of the title page. The beautifully colored, full-spread illustrations portray the seal’s transformation from awkward land dweller to sinuous and powerful denizen of the deep. The below-water scenes masterfully evoke the murky ocean habitat and the singular seal’s steep descent to the bottom. From the irresistible cover to the closing “super-swimming underwater wonder,” the book will encourage readers to dive right in and see what a seal can do.–Carol S. Surges, formerly at Longfellow Middle School, Wauwatosa, WI

redstarGUIBERSON, Brenda Z. The Greatest Dinosaur Ever. illus. by Gennady Spirin. 32p. bibliog. websites. Holt. Oct. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8050-9625-5.

Gr 1-4–This book poses the question, “Who was the greatest dinosaur that ever lived?” Each beautifully illustrated page declares “I, —-, was the greatest of them all!” The succinct text describes the superlative characteristic (biggest herbivore, stongest teeth, fastest runner) of the species and offers the gross, interesting, and informative facts that dinosaur-obsessed readers want to know. Each name includes a pronunciation guide (exactly what adult readers want). The text includes a mix of familiar and obscure species including “the first dinosaur to say I was a bird,” the best parent, and the longest spikes. Every full-spread illustration, in oil paint on paper, shows the dinosaur in its richly depicted habitat. Observant children will learn as much from the detailed, painterly images of groups of animals moving together, hunting prey, and adapting to new environments as they will from the text. The dreamy quality of the art keeps these giant predators from being too scary. Whether read aloud or pored over individually, this book is sure to please anyone who has ever wondered about dinosaurs.–Leila Sterman, Chappaqua Library, NY

redstarPINKNEY, Jerry. The Tortoise & the Hare. illus. by author. 40p. Little, Brown. Oct. 2013. Tr $18. ISBN 978-0-316-18356-7. LC 2012048426.

PreS-Gr 3–Following up on his superb rendition of The Lion & the Mouse (Little, Brown, 2009), Pinkney has created yet another stunning interpretation of a classic tale in this virtually wordless picture book. Endpapers establish the desert setting with a map of the course through the cacti and rocky region of the American Southwest. Tortoise and Hare, each sporting a bandana, are joined by their animal friends at the starting line for the famous race. Fox in his broad-brimmed hat gives them their marks, gets them set, and off they go as Hare bounds away, leaving Tortoise behind in a trail of dust. Pinkney uses watercolor, colored pencil, and pastel paintings to create vibrant characters that are in colorful contrast to the tans and natural browns of the desert. Long horizontal lines and Hare leaping off the page propel the story–and the race–ever forward. The limited text, used sparingly but extremely effectively, reinforces the theme of the story–that the journey is as important as the ultimate goal–and builds one word at a time: “slow,” “slow and,” “slow and steady” until finally the race is won to the cheers and high-fives of the supportive spectators. Pinkney takes care to show Tortoise overcoming challenges and Hare demonstrating good sportsmanship and healthy competition. An artist’s note explains the creative process and motivation for retelling the well-known tale. This spectacular success is certain to become a classic in its own right.–Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY

The following titles are reviewed in the September 2013 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

Preschool to Grade 4

ALOIAN, Molly. What Is Hearing? ISBN 978-0-7787-0970-1; ISBN 978-0-7787-0997-8. LC 2013004906.

––––.What Is Sight? ISBN 978-0-7787-0969-5; ISBN 978-0-7787-0996-1. LC 2013009067.

––––.What Is Smell? ISBN 978-0-7787-0971-8; ISBN 978-0-7787-0999-2. LC 2013009066.

––––.What Is Taste? ISBN 978-0-7787-0967-1; ISBN 978-0-7787-0972-5. LC 2013007631.

––––.What Is Touch? ISBN 978-0-7787-0968-8; ISBN 978-0-7787-0991-6.

ea vol: 24p. (Senses Close-Up Series). diag. further reading. glossary. illus. index. photos. websites. Crabtree. 2013. lib. ed. $22.60; pap. $7.95.

BARRETT, Judi. Grandpa’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Cookbook. illus. by Ron Barrett. 64p. ebook available. index. photos. S & S/Atheneum. 2013. Spiral $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4475-1. LC 2012045731.

BARRY, Holly M. Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle. illus. by Jennifer Thermes. 32p. Albert Whitman. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8075-3198-3.

BROCKET, Jane. 1 Cookie, 2 Chairs, 3 Pears: Numbers Everywhere. 32p. (Jane Brocket’s Clever Concepts Series). Millbrook. Oct. 2013. lib. ed. $26.60. ISBN 978-1-4677-0232-4; ebook $19.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1702-1. LC 2012049689.

BROOKS, Susie. Get Into Art People: Discover Great Art and Create Your Own! illus. by author. 32p. diag. glossary. index. photos. reprods. Kingfisher. 2013. Tr $12.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-7059-6.

DEMI. The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna. illus. by author. 44p. Wisdom Tales. 2013. Tr $19.95. ISBN 978-1-937786-05-2.

FRANCINE, Gabriella with Solara Vayanian. Let’s Make a Difference: We Can Help Orangutans. (Save Coins for Causes).32p. photos. websites. Big Blue Marble. Oct. 2013. Tr $15. ISBN 978-1-938504-00-6. LC 2013930091.

GILANI, Fawzia. Snow White: An Islamic Tale. illus. by Shireen Adams. 44p. (Islamic Fairy Tales Series). glossary. The Islamic Foundation. 2013. Tr $14. ISBN 978-0-86037-526-5.

HARRIS, Robie H. What’s in There?: All About Before You Were Born. illus. by Nadine Bernard Westcott. 40p. (Let’s Talk About You and Me Series). Candlewick. Sept. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-3630-2. LC 2008025455.

HUBER, Raymond. Flight of the Honey Bee. illus. by Brian Lovelock. 32p. index. Candlewick. Sept. 2013. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6760-3. LC 2013931462.

KOHUTH, Jane. Anne Frank’s Chestnut Tree. illus. by Elizabeth Sayles. 48p. (Step into Reading Series). photos. websites. Random. Sept. 2013. Tr $12.99. ISBN 978-0-449-81255-6; lib. ed. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-375-97115-0; pap. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97579-9; ebook $3.99. ISBN 978-0-375-98113-5. LC 2012034585.

KULLING, Monica. Making Contact!: Marconi Goes Wireless. illus. by Richard Rudnicki. 32p. (Great Idea Series). Tundra. 2013. Tr $17.95. ISBN 978-1-77049-378-0. ebook available. LC 2012947610.

LEVINE, Sara. Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons. illus. by T.S Spookytooth. 32p. further reading. glossary. websites. Millbrook. Oct. 2013. lib. ed. $26.60. ISBN 978-0-7613-8464-9. ebook available. LC 2012048894.

LUNDE, Darrin. Hello, Mama Wallaroo. illus. by Patricia J. Wynne. 28p. Charlesbridge. 2013. RTE $15.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-796-7; pap. $6.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-797-4; ebook $6.99. ISBN 978-1-60734-605-0. LC 2012024436.

O’CONNELL, Jennifer. The Eye of the Whale: A Rescue Story. illus. by author. 32p. Tilbury. 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-0-88448-335-9. LC 2012031165.

PRELUTSKY, Jack. The Silver Moon: Lullabies and Cradle Songs. illus. by Jui Ishida. 48p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Oct. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-201467-2. LC 2012038097.

QUATTLEBAUM, Mary. Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods. illus. by Laura J. Bryant. 32p. further reading. websites. Dawn. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-334-5; pap. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-335-2. LC 2013009249.

ROCKWELL, Anne. Hey, Charleston!: The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band. illus. by Colin Bootman. 32p. bibliog. Carolrhoda. Nov. 2013. RTE $16.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-5565-6; ebook $12.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-8843-2. LC 2010001525.

RUSCH, Elizabeth. Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World. illus. by Oliver Dominguez. 40p. bibliog. diag. further reading. notes. Candlewick. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-5855-7. LC 2012954334.

RUSCH, Elizabeth. Volcano Rising. illus. by Susan Swan. 32p. bibliog. diag. further reading. glossary. websites. Charlesbridge. 2013. RTE $17.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-408-1; pap. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-409-8; ebook $6.99. ISBN 978-1-60734-616-6. LC 2012000793.

THOMSON, Sarah L. Ancient Animals: Terror Bird. illus. by Andrew Plant. 32p. further reading. websites. Charlesbridge. 2013. RTE $12.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-398-5; pap. $5.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-399-2; ebook $6.99. ISBN 978-1-60734-610-4. LC 2012029366.

TONER, Jacqueline B. with Claire A. B. Freeland. What to Do When It’s Not Fair: A Kid’s Guide to Handling Envy and Jealousy. illus. by David Thompson. 96p. diag. Magination. Sept. 2013. pap. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-4338-1341-2. LC 2013005781.

WINTER, Jonah. JFK. illus. by AG Ford. 32p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. Nov. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-176807-1.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Diversity and Cultural Competency Training: Collections & RA

Do you want to ensure that your library’s collections are diverse, equitable, inclusive, and well-read?

Do you want to become a more culturally literate librarian and a more effective advocate for your community?

We've developed a foundational online course—with live sessions on February 28 & March 14—that will explore key concepts essential to cultivating and promoting inclusive and equitable collections.