March 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Incredible Journeys: Through Space, Time, and Your Imagination | Nonfiction Preschool to Grade 4

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redstarBryant, Jen. The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus. illus. by Melissa Sweet. 42p. bibliog. chron. further reading. Eerdmans. 2014. Tr $17.50. ISBN 9780802853851.

Gr 2-5–Those who have relied upon a thesaurus (meaning treasure house in Greek), either in print or through the tool menu of word processing software, will gain a greater appreciation for the reference tool in this beautifully designed picture book biography of its creator, Peter Roget. Bryant describes bibliophile Roget, taking him from a timid, studious child who was always compiling lists to an accomplished doctor who by 1805 had compiled the beginnings of the first thesaurus. Busy and exuberant, Sweet’s charming watercolor illustrations, layered over collages of vintage images and fonts, capture Roget’s passion for classification while also providing readers new opportunities for discovery (Latin translations of animal names, mathematical terms, and a plethora of synonyms). Expertly researched and well written, Bryant’s narrative not only details the creation of the thesaurus; it also conveys a sense of Roget the man: his shy nature, his keen intelligence, and his passion for knowledge. There truly was a particular blend of artistry and intellect that went into Roget’s book, as evidenced from a reproduced page from the original thesaurus. The book contains extensive back matter, including an incredibly detailed time line that goes into the man’s other inventions (the slide rule, the pocket chess set) and an author and illustrator’s note, as well as Roget quotations that are sure to inspire if not a love of language then at least a search for the perfect turn of phrase. An excellent illustrated biography.–Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library

redstarMcCarthy, Meghan. Earmuffs for Everyone!: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs. illus. by Meghan McCarthy. 48p. bibliog. photos. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481406376; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481406383.

K-Gr 3–This picture book charts the evolution of the earmuff. McCarthy starts in the 18th century, discussing the ways that various inventors improved on one another’s designs, until Chester Greenwood made one last tweak to the wire headband and applied for a patent. Woven into the narrative is a description of patents. Children will also come away with a greater understanding of the nature of inventions. The book ends with a brief biography of Chester Greenwood and a section about the dedicated citizens in the state of Maine who lobbied for a Chester Greenwood Day (made official in 1977). Back matter includes an author’s note, a note about patents, and a photo of the annual Chester Greenwood Day parade in Farmington, Maine. Rendered in acrylic paint, the illustrations are appealingly cartoonlike, portraying people with exaggerated round eyes and faces, and complement the concise but upbeat text (“[Isaac Kleinert] also made dress guards, which protected ladies’ clothing from sweat. Ew!”). A solid addition for those seeking titles about inventors and inventions.–Samantha Lumetta, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH

redstarRockliff, Mara. Gingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution. illus. by Vincent X. Kirsch. 32p. notes. Houghton Harcourt. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544130012.

Gr 1-4–A little-known figure from the American Revolution era is given a fresh look for another generation of history lovers. This book relates the tale of a generous, beloved, and industrious member of the Philadelphia community, originally from Germany, referred to as “the baker.” The book centers on his insistence upon joining the war effort, despite being told he’s too old and fat. George Washington put the baker to work baking bread for the troops and eventually sent him on a special mission to convince the mercenary Hessian soldiers to abandon the English army. Rockliff’s dialogue-laden text is accessible, even humorous at times (“General Washington did not say the baker was old and fat. General Washington was too polite. Anyway, he had other troubles on his mind.”). Rendered in watercolor, the charming illustrations aptly depict the people and objects as gingerbreadlike, using a palette of warm, cinnamon tones and sugary white lines that detail the free-floating, cut-paper shapes. Repetitive shapes with a lack of depth complete the cookie illusion. The simple recipe on the end pages offers options for different skill levels. Back matter, including a list of sources, provides fuller detail and context as well as the baker’s name: Christopher Ludwick. A sweet addition to Revolutionary War units where a more behind-the-scenes look is desired and a nonfiction twist on gingerbread-themed storytimes.–Carol S. Surges, formerly at Longfellow Middle School, Wauwatosa, WI

redstarTurner, Ann. My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth. illus. by James Ransome. 40p. further reading. HarperCollins. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780060758981; lib. ed. $18.99. ISBN 9780060758998.

Gr 1-4–This picture book biography tackles the life of former slave and abolitionist Isabella Baumfree, better known as Sojourner Truth. Turner details the life of this pivotal figure, who was born into slavery in the late-18th century in New York, along with 11 siblings, all of whom were sold off. The account is told in first-person narrative, with Truth discussing how her different owners treated her and how she seized freedom for herself when one of them broke his promise to free her. Her journey culminated in her work as a preacher, and many spreads are dedicated to Truth displaying her power, passion, and poise as a speaker, spreading her antislavery message wherever she went. Turner makes effective use of dialect, and the well-crafted text reads like poetry or a monologue (“‘Welcome,’ they said/had anyone ever said that word to me before?/and showed me a fine wide room with a white bed to sleep in/I never slept in a bed before”). Rich, painterly watercolor illustrations effectively reflect the pain of Truth’s past and the lyrical nature of her narrative, while the use of different fonts highlights the most crucial parts of the narrative. Those who are already somewhat familiar with Truth will get the most out of this book, and educators will find the author’s note helpful in explaining this historical figure to students. A wonderful addition to collections of African American history that will also work well as a read-aloud.–Samantha Lumetta, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

Carlson, Nancy & Armond Isaak. Armond Goes to a Party: A Book About Asperger’s and Friendship. illus. by Nancy Carlson. 32p. Free Spirit. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781575424668; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781575424675.

CLEARY, Brian. Ode to a Commode: Concrete Poems. illus. by Andy Rowland. 32p. (Poetry Adventures). Millbrook. Oct. 2014. RTE $26.60. ISBN 9781467720458; pap. $6.95. ISBN 9781467744546. LC 2013030859.

Cusick, Dawn. Animals That Make Me Say Ouch! ISBN 9781623540425.
––––. Animals That Make Me Say Wow! ISBN 9781623540418.
ea vol: 80p. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Charlesbridge/Imagine! Oct. 2014. Tr. $14.95.
Greve, Meg. La amistad/Friends. ISBN 9781631551000; ISBN 9781627173704; ISBN 9781627175548.
Hicks, Kelli L. La responsabilidad/Responsibility. ISBN 9781631551055; ISBN 9781627173711; ISBN 9781627175555.
Reed, Cristie. La resolución de problemas/Problem Solving. ISBN 9781631551048; ISBN 9781627173742; ISBN 9781627175586.
Steinkraus, Kyla. ¿Me permite, por favor?/May I please? ISBN 9781631550997; ISBN 9781627173797; ISBN 9781627175630.
Williams, Sam. ¿Eres un abusador?/Are You a Bully? ISBN 9781631550980; ISBN 9781627173759; ISBN 9781627175593.
ea vol: tr. by Dr. Arnhilda Badía. illus. by Anita DuFalla. 24p. (El pequeño mundo de las habilidades sociales). ebook available. further reading. glossary. illus. index. photos. websites. Rourke Educational Media. 2014. lib. ed. $24.21. pap. $7.95. ebk. $24.21.

Harness, Cheryl. Flags over America: A Star-Spangled Story. illus. by Cheryl Harness. 32p. chron. glossary. Albert Whitman. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807524701. LC 2014000629.

Innes, Stephanie & Harry Endrulat. Bear on the Homefront. illus. by Brian Deines. 32p. Pajama Pr. Oct. 2014. lib. ed. $19.95. ISBN 9781927485132.

Jackson, Ellen. Tooling Around: Crafty Creatures and the Tools They Use. illus. by Renné Benoit. 32p. bibliog. ebook available. further reading. websites. Charlesbridge. 2014. RTE $17.95. ISBN 9781580895644; pap. $7.95. ISBN 9781580895651. LC 2013014225.

Jankeliowitch, Anne. Kids Who Are Changing the World. photos by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. 128p. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. 2014. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781402295324.

Landmann, Bimba. In Search of the Little Prince: The Story of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. illus. by Bimba Landmann. 34p. photos. Eerdmans. 2014. Tr $17.00. ISBN 9780802854353. LC 2014004044.

Larkin, Eric-Shabazz. A Moose Boosh: A Few Choice Words on Food. illus. by Eric-Shabazz Larkin. 96p. photos. Readers to Eaters. 2014. pap. $18.95. ISBN 9780983661559. LC 2014944375.

Powers, J. L. Colors of the Wind: The Story of Blind Artist and Champion Runner George Mendoza. illus. by George Mendoza & Hayley Morgan-Sanders. 48p. Purple House. 2014. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781930900738. LC 2014001565.

Scribens, Sunny. Space Song Rocket Ride. illus. by David Sim. 32p. w/CD. Barefoot Books. Oct. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781782850977; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781782850984.

Simon, Seymour. Our Solar System. Revised ed. 48p. diag. glossary. index. photos. websites. HarperCollins. 2014. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9780061140105.

Tarshis, Lauren. I Survived True Stories: Five Epic Disasters. 176p. (I Survived). further reading. maps. notes. photos. reprods. Scholastic. Oct. 2014. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780545782241; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9780545789745.

Tate, Nikki & Dani Tate-Stratton. Take Shelter: At Home Around the World. 48p. (Orca Footprints). index. photos. websites. Orca. Oct. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781459807426. LC 2014935384.

Watkins, Angela. Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs (As Told by His Niece). illus. by Sally Comport. 32p. S. & S. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781416986935. LC 2009049991.

Wigger, J. Bradley. Thank You, God. illus. by Jago. 26p. Eerdmans. 2014. RTE $16. ISBN 9780802854247. LC 2013044346.

Winter, Jeanette. Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan. illus. by Jeanette Winter. 40p. ebook available. S. & S./Beach Lane. Nov. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481422949.

Yoo, Paula. Twenty-Two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank. illus. by Jamel Akib. 40p. notes. Lee & Low. 2014. RTE $18.95. ISBN 9781600606588. LC 2013041045.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.