Monday, November 24, 2014

Desert Life: a Close-Up Look at the Natural World of a Desert by Barbara Taylor

Each chapter in Desert Life features a different species that has adapted to survive in this harsh habitat.  From examples of snakes and turtles to gerbils and cacti, this book proves that living in the desert takes special skills and aptitudes, particularly the ability to go without food or water for several days.  Young readers will enjoy learning about these species for the first time.


Deserts by Seymour Simon

Desert Giant: the World of the Saguaro Cactus by Barbara Bash

Watching Desert Wildlife by Jim Arnosky


Desert Tortoise

easyLearn Adaptations in Animals

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum app


The Massachusetts Desert

Desert Animals

The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkins

Explore the dangers and excitement of climbing Mount Everest as you enjoy the beautiful cut-out collage illustrations of The Top of the World. This book introduces several new concepts, including Himalayan culture and mountaineering to young adventurers who want to know more about extreme travel.


Danger on the Mountain: Scaling the World's Highest Peaks by Andrew Donkin

Everest: an Eyewitness Book by Rebecca Stephens

To the Top: the Story of Everest by Stephen Venables


Airplane Mount Everest

Mount Everest Travel Guide



Wachusett Mountain winter sports

MA mountains and peaks

Mount Greylock

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus by Jen Bryant

This book is an introduction to Peter Mark Roget, the man who devised the thesaurus. Ms. Bryant tells of Roget's birth in Switzerland and move to England when a young child. Being shy, Roget's youth is spent reading books and compiling lists, something that serves him well later on. Roget eventually becomes a tutor and a doctor, more sources of information that will help write his thesaurus. After starting a family and establishing his medical career, Roget notices other books of word lists which aren't as effective as his. This gives him the courage and inspiration to publish his own work in 1852. The illustrations throughout the book use text and collage in Melissa Sweet's inventive way. Historical objects (book bindings, type drawers, Roget's pages etc) are incorporated throughout and much of the text has synonyms provided. At the end of the book, there's additional notes and a timeline on Roget. The Right Word is a fun and informative book for ages 5 and older.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Railroad Fever: Building the Transcontinental Railroad 1830-1870 by Monica Halpern

This non-fiction chapter book starts with an introduction to the earliest industrial technologies that would eventually create the transcontinental railroad. Each chapter focuses on a specific theme, from the conditions of the workers to native life in the Wild West.  The Great Race between the Union and Central Pacific railroads boasts its own chapter, culminating in the driving of the golden spike where the two rails meet.  Railroad Fever is a great book for older middle school readers.


Bandanas, Chaps and Ten Gallon Hats by Bobbie Kalman

The Railroad by John R. Matthews

The Industrial Revolution by Hilarie N. Staton


Industrial Revolution

UP Steam


Holiday Train Rides

Train Gallery at Wenham Museum

Chatham Railroad Museum

Monday, November 17, 2014

Seeing Stars by Dandi Daley Mackall


Sparkly stars seem to light up this book of introductory constellations.  With poetic narration, Seeing Stars compares constellations in the sky to their imaginary counterparts.  A bear outline helps children conceptualize the Great Bear, for example.  All of the constellations appear together at the end of the book, making it perfect for early grade readers.


The Big Dipper by Franklyn M. Branley

Stars! Stars! Stars! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Older than the Stars by Karen C. Fox


Star Walk

Astronaut Trainer



Boston University public open night

Astronomy after Hours, Museum of Science

Danger - Icebergs! by Roma Gans


This is a simple book for elementary school readers who want to know more about the Arctic, or the natural phenomenon that led to the sinking of the Titanic. From formation to dissolution, this book follows the life of an iceberg.  While icebergs can provide habitats for arctic animals, they are also potentially dangerous.  After reviewing the Titanic disaster, the book ends with a brief mention of how sailors and travelers protect themselves from icebergs today.


Antarctica by Linda Aspen-Baxter

Icebergs and Glaciers by Seymour Simon

Explore Antarctica by Bobbie Kalman


Chasing Ice

Mission Antarctica

Titanic Database


Titanic Museum

Exploring the Arctic Seafloor exhibition

The X-Ray Picture Book of Big Buildings in the Ancient World by JoAnne Jessop


The cross-section illustrations in Big Buildings will delight children who want a more detailed understanding of some of the most famous ancient architecture ever constructed. The Great Pyramid, the Parthenon, and Notre Dame are just a few of the structures that are dissected and deconstructed to help explain how they were built. A helpful glossary in the back keeps all the new terms in one convenient place.


The Taj Mahal: How and Why it was Built by Christine Moorcroft

Greek Temples by Don Nardo



The Aga Khan Award for Architecture


Harvard Art Museum Ancient Art Collection

Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology