Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Science Songs

Salas, Laura Purdie (2009).  Are You Living? A Song about Living and Nonliving Things. (PreS-K)

Sung to the tune of "Are You Sleeping?", this book talks about the ways to tell if something is living.  Does it move? Grow? Eat? Have feelings?  Each verse introduces one or two ways to identify a living thing: "Is it moving? / Is it moving? / Can it fly? / Gallop by? / Living things need dinner, / Or they get much thinner, / So they need / To drink and feed."

If you read this book aloud, be sure to practice the song first--the rhythm changes in a few places to fit the syllables.  Also be prepared to discuss some of the more advanced vocabulary ("People have emotions, / Thoughts and clever notions".)  The colorful illustrations are directly tied to each verse, making this a fun book to start a science lesson for young children.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dad always said not to eat apple seeds ...

King, Stephen Michael (2009). Leaf (Ages 4+)

A little boy with shaggy hair gets the surprise of his life when a seed is dropped onto his head.  The seed sprouts into a little plant, which the boy and his dog lovingly care for.  Nightmarish visions of giant caterpillars, cannibalistic plants, and wayward hedge trimmers plague the poor boy at night.  But what will happen when the boy's mother insists on cutting his hair?

This wordless picture book is sweet, funny, a little rebellious, and filled with great sound effects.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Treasure, Survival, Spelunking

 Wilson, N.D. (2007). Leepike Ridge (Gr. 4-8)

Tom Hammond lives in a strange house that is chained to the side of a mountain.  His father died three years ago, and now some lousy guy wants to marry his mom.  Perhaps unwisely, Tom takes a nighttime float down the nearby creek on a large piece of packing foam that came with a new refrigerator.  When the river dumps him into partly flooded caves, Tom has no idea what terrifying and thrilling adventures are in store for him.  Above ground, treasure hunts, search parties, and shady characters abound in Tom's absence.

You'll have to decide for yourself if you think that the treasure is worth the effort!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Adam, Paul (2010). Max Cassidy: Escape From Shadow Island (Gr. 5-9)

Max Cassidy goes to school like other 14-year-olds, but that's the only normal part of his life.  Like Houdini, Max has devoted most of his life to being an escape artist, learning the skills from his equally talented father.  When his father disappeared from a Central American country while traveling two years ago, the corrupt courts there declared him dead and viciously convicted Max's mother of murdering her husband.  With the help of his guardian, Conseula, Max is determined to travel to the scene of the crime and bring his family back together.  His journey to Shadow Island, however, is more dangerous than any escape he's ever attempted on stage.

This thriller has suspense, adventure, mystery, and a backstage peek at how escape artists work.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Teddy Bears

Ormondroyd, Edward (2009). Theodore: The Adventures of a Smudgy Bear (PreS)

Theodore is a smudgy, dirty, well loved teddy bear.  He's owned by Lucy, who might be careless but loves him just the way he is.  When Theodore accidentally ends up in the family's laundry basket, he takes a wild ride through the washer and dryer--and he's so clean that Lucy doesn't recognize her poor lost bear!  Theodore's messy journey home is both funny and sweet.  This is a must-read for anyone with a beloved toy.