Whatever Happened to the Metric System?: How America Kept Its Feet by John Bemelmans Marciano (Bloomsbury, August 5, 2014) is a glimpse into the complicated history behind the rise of the metric system, especially the impact of the metric system on America. Why is America the only country in the world who has not converted to a base-ten system of measurement? Why are Americans resistant to the fact?
Marciano’s text only tries to answer those questions in the final chapter. The rest of the book provides an historical overview of the metric situation, from it’s birth in revolutionary France to the current status quo as the dominant measurement system of the world. (more…)
Happy Independence Day! To celebrate America’s special holiday, I thought I’d review a patriotic and historical book.
Visual learning is best for many young kids. A Timeline History of the Thirteen Colonies by Mary K. Pratt (Lerner, November 2014) provides a visual understanding of history by representing some of the main events in the development of the American colonies via timeline. (more…)
A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerry Brotton (Viking, November 2013) is not truly a world history story. It is, however, a look at how maps and history are intricately related. Each map throughout history tells what is important to the learned in the era in which it has been created. Likewise, each map contributes to how the subsequent generations continue to interpret the world. (more…)
Sometimes a clever and intriguing story line makes a novel great. Sometimes, it is the interaction of a number of interesting characters. And other times, a novel is great because because of the carefully developed setting that gives life to the situations and characters. In One Came Home (January 2013, Knopf Books for Young Readers), Amy Timberlake manages to win in all three ways. (more…)
Beautiful illustrations tell the story of a creative flying mouse in Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse by Torbin Kuhlmann (North South books, 2013). When new mouse traps and an abundance of cats overrun the city where a clever (unnamed) mouse is living, he decides he must go to America for freedom. His creativity and insight help him build himself a plane, and he flies to New York.
This longer-than-normal picture book is a masterpiece of art. Gorgeous realistic paintings show the mouse in various stages of the story: reading a book, avoiding the mouse traps, drawing and creating airplanes, avoiding bats and owls, and flying through the sky into New York, where he is greeted as a hero. I loved the paintings, and although the story itself was cute, it was the paintings that made this book a delight for me. (more…)