Bird & Squirrel books by James Burks


Sometimes we underestimate the attention span of our youngest children. When I saw the first Bird and Squirrel book, I thought of my 7-year-old son, someone who loves reading but may need a nudge to get interested in a new series or even genre. He has not had much experience with graphic novels, so I thought he would enjoy the book.

To my great surprise, it was my toddler daughter who was drawn to the zany illustrations and the fun story. She insisted that I read every frame in the book. Although she is young, I  was delighted to see her enjoying and responding to a different type of picture book.Continue Reading

Excavate! Dinosaurs by Jon Tennant

Excavate! Dinosaurs by Jon Tennant (Storey Publishing, October 2014) is a crafty book in which the facts of the first half supplement the dinosaur bones cut outs of the second half.Kids read about 12 different kinds of dinosaurs and then must put them together. The catch, however, is that the dinosaur bones are not labeled, so like a paleontologist, the young reader must figure out how it all fits together by trial, error, and a bit of understanding about the animals in the first place.

I really liked this book. In the first half, it provides a lot of fun facts, but it is not too long for the text-weary child. I love how it gives background for archaeology in general by talking about layers of the earth and dinosaur eras. With the hands on puzzles, it is sure to be a hit with a dinosaur fan.

In fact, I decided to get this for my son for the holidays. I can’t wait to see what my son thinks of it on Christmas morning!

Note: I received a digital copy of this book for review consideration. I decided to then buy it for my son!

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet (published 1948) won the Newbery Honor upon publication. It is an adventure story about a child and geared for a child.

In this story, a child named Elmer Elevator (called “my father” throughout the book) befriends an alley cat, who tells him of a captured dragon forced to work  on Wild Island, near the Land of Tangerina. Continue Reading

The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats by Sandra Markle


The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats by Sandra Markle (Millbrook Press, September 2014) is another fascinating scientific mystery. As with The Case of the Vanishing Tree Frogs, which I read and reviewed a few years ago, Little Brown Bats is about a species of animal that is mysteriously disappearing in the world. In this case, it is the little brown bats of Eastern North America, bats about 5 cm in length, that are awakening from hibernation and dying at an unprecedented pace.Continue Reading