Friday, February 24, 2017

Nanette's Baguette

 

Lesser Spotted Animals

Gr 3–6—What are a numbat, a zorilla, an onager, a gaur, and a hirola? Readers learn about these unusual animals in this playfully written and witty guide to creatures unknown. Each of the subjects receives approximately two pages of treatment. Page layout is consistent and well organized, with blocks of color drawing attention to the humorous but informative text. Brown offers vivid analogies rather than precise measurements when describing animal sizes; for example, the zebra duiker is "medium dog-size—with skinny legs," while the crabeater seal is "as big as a very tall, fat man—lying down." The subjects inhabit different regions, and tiny maps, occasionally too small to distinguish, identify where they can be found. Among other details are diet and conservation status, derived from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. The light, cartoonish artwork matches the tone of the writing. Vocabulary chosen for the glossary continues the fun. Among the terms are more familiar words such as male and female and even the definition of glossary. VERDICT This romp through the lesser-known animal kingdom will inspire appreciation in readers. Highly recommended as an alternative to more traditional works.—Lynn Vanca, Freelance Librarian, Akron, OH Copyright 2016 Reed Business Information.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ada Lovelace Poet of Science

Publisher Description
ALA NOTABLE BOOK
AMELIA BLOOMER TOP TEN BOOK

"Stanley has been delighting and informing readers with her biographies for years, and here, her considerable talents are once again on display…Hartland's charmingly busy art, reminiscent of Maira Kalman's work, is full of wit." --Booklist (starred review)

From nonfiction stars Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland comes a beautifully illustrated biography of Ada Lovelace, who is known as the first computer programmer.

Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella.

Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and a creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind.

A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.

Diane Stanley's lyrical writing and Jessie Hartland's vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Ada Lovelace and bring her fascinating story vividly to life.
 

A Voyage in the Clouds

School Library Journal 10/1/2016
K-Gr 3—One remarkable milestone on the path to flight was the first manned balloon trip, which occurred in 1783. Up to that point, no one had accomplished a trip between countries, so Dr. John Jeffries (English) and Jean-Pierre Blanchard (French) decided to be the first. Jeffries and Blanchard allowed their competitive spirit to come between them until the trip had a few precarious moments; once they faced possible disaster, they quickly began working as a team to successfully cross the English Channel into France. The illustrations vary from traditional to graphic novel-style at points, using panels and dialogue balloons. Olshan establishes suspense as the two encounter problems and danger during their voyage, and children will want to keep reading and learning more about this historic trip. An author's note discusses the true details incorporated in the story and explains the creative license taken. VERDICT A delightful tale that will captivate elementary students with comedy, suspense, and beautiful illustrations.—April Sanders, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL Copyright 2016 Reed Business Information.

Anything but Ordinary Addie

School Library Connection 8/1/2016
This is the true story of Adelaide Herrmann, born Adele Scarsez in London, 1853. Not much has been published about the woman who practiced magic for 65 years, yet her story comes to life in this bold and brilliantly illustrated biography. Adelaide met her husband Alexander on board a ship to America where he was performing his magic. She was so impressed with him and his magic that she actually proposed to him. Adelaide's main ambition was to astonish and amaze people, which she was able to accomplish throughout her whole life, no matter the obstacles. More about the Queen of Magic and the revelation of the secrets behind some of the magic tricks are included at the end of this pictorial biography. The combination of illuminating text paired with magnificent illustrations ensures that this will be a popular book in every collection.
Sheila Acosta HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Also an Octopus

School Library Journal 10/1/2016
PreS-Gr 3—"Every story starts the same way…with nothing." So begins this picture book, which doubles as an encouraging exercise in story development. Moving on from nothing, the narrator says that every story needs a character, and after presenting a couple of possibilities (a little girl, a bunny), it settles on an octopus who plays the ukulele. From there, the narrator explores the concept of plot: "But in order for it to be a story, and not just an octopus, that octopus needs to want something." This particular octopus wants a spaceship, a complicated desire that sets the stage for plenty of comedy and the introduction of more characters (including the girl, the bunny, and some rocket scientists). The bubbly, appealing art has punchy humor and works as an ongoing conversation with the narration, bringing the fumbling but exciting progress of crafting a new story to life. As the book ends, the visuals move the plot in a multitude of new directions, but the text leaves everything open-ended, concluding with encouragement for readers to take it from there. The final page shows one of the rocket scientists wielding a wrench and sporting a colander on her head as she rides a water-skiing rhinoceros off the right-hand page into whatever new plot readers can dream up for her. VERDICT This entertaining read-aloud will jump-start imaginations and create opportunities for thinking about existing tales as well as for making new ones.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA Copyright 2016 Reed Business Information.

Monday, January 9, 2017

When Mischief Came to Town

Booklist starred (November 15, 2015 (Vol. 112, No. 6))
Grades 3-5. A shipboard goat has just devoured one of Inge Maria’s braids when she lands on a remote island off the coast of Denmark and meets her stern-looking grandmother for the first time. It’s not an auspicious beginning to the young orphan’s new life. Or is it? Much is not what it seems in Australian author Nannestad’s endearing chapter book. It’s a sweet, old-fashioned narrative, whose time frame is never stated but rather implied by wagons lumbering up the road, bloomers flapping on a clothesline, and modern technology lacking. Contemporary readers will nevertheless take delight in the mischief Inge Maria creates as she meets the island’s denizens and struggles to fit in. The still-grieving child, while trying to be brave in the face of her mother’s death, notices that her grandmother is mourning, too. And though her grandmother appears stiff at first, it soon becomes evident that the old woman may not be as averse to mischief as she seems. Rounding out the novel are a schoolmate with a secret loss of his own, a rebellion over girls not being allowed to run during recess, and an ill-fated nap in a herring shed, resulting in a yarn too good to pass up.