Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Day-Glo Brothers

by Chris Barton

The Day-Glo Brothers is the true story of Bob and Joe Switzer's discovery of florescent paints and their applications. Joe, a novice magician, wanted to spice up his magic act. Bob, unable to pursuit medicine due to a work injury, helped Joe experiment with ultraviolet lights. Soon they noticed that some chemicals left by their pharmacist father glowed under the light. Through trial and error they discovered florescent paint. When WWII arrived, the military found multiple uses for the paints, and eventually the brothers were wealthy. Now florescent paint is used everywhere and we have the Day-Glo brothers to thank for their discovery. This is a great book for kids who love finding out about the origins of products or are interested in scientific inventions.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box

                                                          by David McPhail

  This is a small biography of Beatrix Potter focusing on her early years when she is given her mother's paint box.The book continues to show Beatrix's love of painting which led her to write her first book, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit". Through David McPhail's intimate watercolor paintings, we see Beatrix's love of the countryside and animals which were so central to her books. There's not a lot of detail about Beatrix's life nor is there any back matter for further reference. However, it's a good introduction to Beatrix Potter for younger children.                                       

Friday, May 13, 2016

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

                                                           by Julie Fogliano

This is a collection of poems throughout the seasons. All are free verse and very sweet and accessible for kids. The illustrations by Julie Morstad are a perfect match, following a little girl through the rain, snow, sun and chill. Here's a sample poem:

                                                       may 10
                                                     lilac sniffing
                                                     is what to do
                                                     with a nose
                                                     when it is may
                                                     and there are lilacs
                                                     to be sniffed

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Flutter and Hum/ Aleteo y Zumbido

 by Julie Paschkis

 Flutter and Hum is a collection of free verse animal poems for children written in English on the left page and Spanish on the right. Each poem uses playful words to describe the animal's special qualities.
Here's a sample poem:
The shaggy dog
wiggles, wiggles,
and leaps.
His wagging tail
fans wild happiness
into the wide world.

The illustrations, also done by Julie Paschkis are colorful and decorative, evoking Mexican painted animals. Within the illustrations Ms. Paschkis has included descriptive words in both Spanish and English. Overall, it's a fun and colorful poetry collection celebrating animals.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are by Bridget Heos

This picture book is a funny science book about the common housefly. The narrator is a cartoon fly who quizzes a classroom of kids as to their knowledge about flies. Beyond the "ew" factor of maggots, eating garbage etc. this book is a hilarious introduction to a common (but little discussed) insect. The main fly character is full of personality as he extols the virtues of his fellow flies. At the back of the book there's a glossary and bibliography for further information.

In the Canyon by Liz Garton Scanlon

Told in rhyme, this picture book explores a girl's day hike into the Grand Canyon. Readers follow her down the trail to the bottom, meeting various animals and experiencing nature along the way. At the book's end, the girl's in her room in the city, peering up at the moon. She has kept the Grand Canyon memories in her heart.  There's more information in the back: Author's Note, Glossary and Further Reading links. Ashley Wolff's illustrations, done in linoleum block print, capture the southwest feel of the location. A beautiful exploration of a national treasure.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Water is Water by Miranda Paul

This is a gorgeous picture book about the various states of water: rain, fog, clouds, puddles etc. While the main part of the book is poetic rather than educational, there's informational matter in the back which helps to explain the water cycle. Instead of overly explaining the scientific aspects of water, the text plays with words and the images tell a story of a family (probably in New England) encountering water throughout the days and seasons. Lovely watercolors by Jason Chin. A good introduction to the water cycle for younger elementary ages.