The Death of Caesar by Barry Strauss

The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination by Barry Strauss (Simon & Schuster, March 2015) examines the traditions of the assassination of Julius Caesar, clearing up the myths (such as Shakespeare’s play) from reality. Analyzing such an historic event from 44 B.C. is not easy since eyewitness accounts are few and far between and records of supposed eyewitnesses are always questioned. Yet, Strauss’s book provides an entertaining and thorough examination of the most pressing people and events leading up to the assassination, the deed itself, and the immediate result.Continue Reading

Picture Book Sunday: The Queen’s Shadow by Cybele Young

The Queen’s Shadow by Cybele Young (Kids Can Press, March 2015) is a most unusual picture book for older readers about how animals see. It is difficult to identify as a fiction or a nonfiction, simply because it has elements of both!

In The Queen’s Shadow, a motley gathering of animal friends have gathered at the queen’s home for a party. After a lightning flash, the queen has found that her shadow is missing! Using clues about how the various animals at the party see, the detective is able to eliminate the animals that certainly could not have seen what has happened.Continue Reading

Tomorrowland by Steven Kotler

Tomorrowland by Steven Kotler (New Harvest, May 2015) is a collection of previously published essays about the new frontiers available in science. The subtitle suggests that the text provides examples of how science fiction has become “science fact.”

I am not a scientist, so as I read, I found myself impressed with where humankind has gone. Chapters include explorations of man-made limb replacements, artificial vision surgery, flying motorcycles, space diving, the potential of stem cells, and DNA explorations. I was dutifully impressed with the details and possibilities explored.Continue Reading

Picture Book Sunday: Dinosaurs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick

The nonfiction picture book Dinosaurs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick and illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya (Kid Can Press, 2015) provides the young dinosaur fan a guessing game. First, a two-page spread shows a zoomed in view of a part of a dinosaur’s body, with a question for the reader to determine which dinosaur had a body part like that. The next page gives the answer, with a picture of the full dinosaur in its supposed habitat. The text then details what scientists know about the particular dinosaur and what the unique body part did to help that dinosaur.Continue Reading