Archive for August 28, 2017

Daytime Nighttime All Through the Year

Written by Diane Lang
Illustrated by Andrea Gabriel

The author chose fun rhyme and relatable actions for each page of this informative new book. Each month, she highlights both a diurnal and nocturnal animal and what each animal might be doing in that month. The reader sees a bald eagle catching fish and a coyote pack howling and prowling in January. To a tortoise eating cactus flowers and an opossum carrying her young in May. And a snake sunning and a cougar tracking prey in December.

The illustrator brings obvious knowledge of the animals and their habitats. The illustrations are simple yet educational and always accurate.

This is a wonderful addition to a nature library and a good place to start for studying these animals.

So while you are sleeping,

And when you arise,

Animals everywhere

Lead busy lives.

  • Daytime and NighttimeTitle: Daytime Nighttime All Through the Year
  • Author: Diane Lang
  • Illustrator: Andrea Gabriel
  • Published: Dawn Publications, September 1, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Paperback, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Nature
  • ISBN: 978-1-58469-607-0
  • Extras: Explore More for Kids: Busy Day and Night; Explore More for Teachers and Parents: More About the Animals, Teachable Moments

Tall Tall Tree

Written by Anthony D. Fredericks
Illustrated by Chad Wallace

High above the forest floor is a world few people know about. It’s home to hundreds of species and is only present where the coast redwoods grow. If the redwoods go, this environment goes.

The author presents the story as a counting book with gentle rhyme highlighting ten different animals.

A single soaring eagle

Against a sky of blue

Up through “ten spotted Ladybugs.” In the Explore More sections, detailed descriptions and fun activities make this an extremely educational experience.

The realistic illustrations show kids a world they might never see otherwise. He includes in each illustration an extra animal so kids will have something extra to spot after counting the stars of the show.

As with most books from this publisher, this is a great text to include in a classroom. In this case, one learning about nature, the environment, or redwoods in particular. Of course, parents might also enjoy reading the fun text and discussing the environment with their kids.

This is a wonderful addition to any nature library.

  • Tall Tall TreeTitle: Tall Tall Tree
  • Author: Anthony D. Fredericks
  • Illustrator: Chad Wallace
  • Published: Dawn Publications, September 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Paperback, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Nature, Counting
  • ISBN: 978-1-58469-602-5
  • Extras: Explore More for Kids, Explore More for Teachers and Parents, Activities on publisher’s website:

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song

Written by Debbie Levy
Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

More than ever, children need something positive to hold onto. If they can sing some of their troubles away, maybe that will clear their heads so they can come up with solutions. This book was published a few years ago, but has even more relevance to today.

The author, Debbie Levy, has written about many subjects that qualify as consciousness-raising, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, and Richard Wright. In this story of the civil rights movement, she treats the topic with her usual sensitivity. From slavery to the lunch counter sit ins to the Freedom Singers, this one song held the people together. The March on Washington and the fight for the Voting Rights Act featured the song. It spread throughout the world to inspire struggles in other countries. The song evolved over the years, but the sentiment remained the same.

Vanessa Brantley-Newton is also no stranger to working with sensitive issues nor to illustrations about songs. Her images perfectly show how the singers have incorporated the song into their lives.

Highly recommended for early grade school discussions of current events.

  • We Shall OvercomeTitle: We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song
  • Author: Debbie Levy
  • Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton
  • Published: Disney: Jump at the Sun, 2013
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: 1 to 3
  • Genre: Creative nonfiction
  • ISBN: 978-142311954
  • Extras: The Life of “We Shall Overcome,” a timeline; bibliography

Don’t Call Me Turtle

Written by Elaine A. Powers
Illustrated by Nicholas Thorpe

Written in rhyme to hold a kid’s interest, this is a cute story about a tortoise that keeps getting mistaken for a turtle. So the author explains many of the differences between the two. This is most important for those who might encounter one of these creatures and are wondering how best to help it. Readers don’t want to be responsible for drowning a tortoise. The shape and consistency of the shell and the different feet and claws are dead giveaways.

The detailed illustrations also aid with tortoise/turtle identification.

This short book is perfect for a nature unit on reptiles. Back matter is lacking, but the story is compelling enough to urge kids to look for more information.

  • Dont Call Me TurtleTitle: Don’t Call Me Turtle
  • Author: Elaine A. Powers
  • Illustrator: Nicholas Thorpe
  • Published: Lyric Power Publishing LLC, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Paperback, 26 pages
  • Grade Level: K to 3
  • Genre: Creative nonfiction
  • ISBN: 978-1517509576

Super Rooster and Wonder Cat

Written by Alma Hammond
Illustrated by Hugh Keiser

Based on the author’s observation of an unlikely pair of friends while on honeymoon in Bora Bora, this imaginative story speculates about what a rooster and a cat might encounter as they venture forth. They decide they have super powers, namely an ability to cockadoodle dazzle or to run up a coconut palm quickly and knock down a coconut. They meet a crab whose power is to break open the coconut, a spotted eagle ray who can fly through the air, and a black tip reef shark that can leap through the air for a distance. At first, the rooster and cat are frightened of the other creatures. Then they learn not to be threatening themselves.

Keiser’s illustrations provide a perfect backdrop to this fun story in which kids can explore what their super powers might be.

This is also a great opportunity for readers to learn about an area of the world they may never have heard of, or maybe only in Hollywood movies. They can explore who might be an unusual friend for them.

  • Super RoosterTitle: Super Rooster and Wonder Cat
  • Author: Alma Hammond
  • Illustrator: Hugh Keiser
  • Published: Sweetbeet Books, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Paperback, 48 pages
  • Grade Level: K to 3
  • Genre: Creative nonfiction
  • ISBN: 978-0-9985362-0-0
  • Extras: Study questions, Fun facts about the creatures on Bora Bora