And the Winner Is… by Etta Kaner (Kids Can Press, 2013) is a clever look at animals by looking at some of the extreme things they are able to do, from sprinting and high jump to weight lifting and swimming. Subtitled “Amazing Animal Antics,” this book is both informative and fun. The illustrations by David Anderson are likewise accurate by friendly cartoons. The author and illustrator team managed to strike the right balance.
In addition to learning about animal tricks and talents, the book also introduces various habits and locales for those habitats. It lets the reader guess whom he or she believes to be the winner of each “event” before revealing the answers. The book, in general, provides a nice introduction to animals and their unique talents for the child reader. I only wish that it were longer and taught me about more animals!
Note: I received a complimentary digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for review consideration.
This week is Children’s Book Week, so I’ll be focusing on some of the children’s books we have read. I have not been very regular about posting, and it’s about time I get back in to the habit. What a better way but by focusing on children’s books?!
It is the era when anyone can write a memoir, but not everyone can write one in comic book style. Relish by Lucy Knisley (First Second 2013) is a memoir about food during her life, from childhood to her adulthood. Lucy is a child of two true “foodies,” so her childhood revolved around good home-cooked food, as well as fancy specialty foods and food memories in general. With her personal illustrations, this memoir is a delightful one to read.
From her first memories of eating to the times she ate with her mother and her father (very different experiences, I may add), Lucy’s story was an enjoyable one. The illustrations added a dimension to her life that I also enjoyed. A bonus was that Lucy included a pictorial recipe with each chapter! She made me want to go cook. If you enjoy good food and the ways it makes itself known in the special memories of our lives, you will enjoy Relish, which helps us remember good food and good life with delight.
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher via netgalley for review consideration.
When I first saw it in the Netgalley catalog, I was startled by the title It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Shumaker (Tarcher, 2012). Not share? Isn’t that the first thing we teach our babies during play dates? I was delighted by some of the concepts in this parenting book, not because I agreed with it all, but because it opened my mind to different ways to approach teaching my children about relationships, compassion, and dealing with the ups and downs of life.
I have been blogging on Rebecca Reads for more than four years now, but I still feel like a newbie when it comes to my new blog, Line Upon Line, which focuses on my homeschooling and education journey and promotes products, both free and paid, in the blogosphere. I found Born to Blog by Mark Schaefer and Stanford Smith (McGraw Hill Professional, 2013) to be helpful in recognizing that a blog cannot do everything. Rather, blog writers must find their style within their niche category. By using their own strengths, they can write stellar and interesting blogs.
I spent a few months reading about the Native Americans last fall, so Native Americans: A Visual Exploration by S.N. Paleja (Annick Press, 2013) caught my eye on Netgalley. As a brief visual overview to the subject, it was a nice book for young readers. In general, however, it provided too little to be an essential or intriguing read.
By using images, charts, and graphics, this book gives young readers a very active and attractive book. If my son were older, I would not have hesitated to hand it to him to get his thoughts. This truly is a visual generation. The book’s layout reminded me of those whiteboard infographic videos on YouTube where the information is present with a narrator and a hand drawing images on a white board. Each image leads right in to the next, and at the end, the camera zooms out to show the entire whiteboard of images.
In general, however, Native Americans: A Visual Exploration was simply too brief. I believe there is a place for visual learning, but there also is a place for information, and there simply was not much in this book. I say this fully realizing that I have read a lot about the Native Americans, and this is for youth who will not know as much as I do. There were generalities that bothered me, such as the chart which showed that all Native Americans arrived from Beringia (evidence suggests otherwise) and some of the pages had lots of cute illustrations but little information. I really liked some parts of it and I loved the chart of climate and homes since that goes along with my own homeschooling booklet I made.
So, in all, I really did like the visual exploration. It had cute graphics and interesting information. But it would not work as a stand-alone because there simply is not enough. At less than 50 pages, we can’t be too surprised about that.
Note: I received a digital review copy from the publisher via netgalley.com for review consideration.