Nonfiction Paris About Apples

Nonfiction Pairs about Apples

Nonfiction Paris offers two nonfiction titles that can be used well together in an instructional situation. In today’s pair we look at two books about apples. Both these books are focused on the younger age groups so they would make a good pairing in a K-4 setting.

Apples A to Z by Margaret McNamara illustrated by Jake Parker

An alphabet book that looks at various aspects of apples going from A to Z. The book uses correct terms and bring a lot of information to light. It’s use of personified animals to contextualize the information also makes it unique. A brief commentary in the back gives fun facts, jokes and information on Johnny Appleseed. That information as well as the subject of apples connects this book to:

Seed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of John “Appleseed” Chapman by Esme Raji Codell and Lynne Rae Perkins

A very well done picture book about the legend and legacy of Johnny Appleseed by two well know authors.

Nonfiction Pairs About Leaves

Nonfiction Paris offers two nonfiction titles that can be used well together in an instructional situation. In today’s pair we look at two books that give us interesting perspectives on leaves. Both these books are focused on the younger age groups so they would make a good pairing in a K-3 setting.

Awesome Autumn: All Kinds of Facts and Fun by Bruce Goldstone

Talks about what happens in the autumn covering everything from animal hibernation to holidays, it does have a longer section on the changes that trees and leaves undergo, which connects to:

A Leaf Can Be … by Laura Purdie Salas illustrated by Violeta Dabija

A simple poem describes all the things a leaf can be, while the main text is simple it conveys a lot of meaning in a few words, then in the back there is a lot of information about photosynthesis and the role leaves play when they fall in the autumn.

Review: Just a Second: A different way to look at time by Steve Jenkins

Just a Second: A different way to look at time by Steve Jenkins

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books
Publication 2011
Pages: 32
Level: LE, UE
Personal Connection: 4
Literary Quality: 5
Obtained: Publisher

The trickiest part of nonfiction for children is taking a really big concept and condensing it enough to not only fit into a picture book but also to make it approachable for children. Without a doubt Steve Jenkins is one of the masters of this. He has taken lots of big concepts such as size and made it really approachable in the confines of a picture book. He does it again with Just A Second where he covers concepts of time from a second to a year. By using numerous facts to illustrate the each part of time he makes the whole very approachable even for young children. For kids how think that in the summer Christmas is so long away this book makes the fast and slow progression of time a very fascinating. The most fascinating fact for me was the fact that the fastest animal movement in the world is that of a trap-jaw ant who can snap his jaws shut in 1/800th of a second. As always Jenkins’ paper cut illustrations add depth and interest to the text. My only problem with this book (and it’s a small one) is that sometimes the curving of the text and its placement next to the pictures is hard to follow and read. Even with that inconvenience, that certainly won’t bother children, this is an outstanding book that makes the intangible real.

Review: unBEElievables: honeybee stories and paintings by Douglas Florian

unBEElievables: honeybee stories and paintings by Douglas Florian

Publisher: Beach Lane Books
Publication 2012
Pages: 32
Level: LE, UE
Personal Connection: 4
Literary Quality: 5
Obtained: Publisher

Lately we have seen lots of picture book nonfiction that pairs poetry with interesting tidbits of knowledge usually centered around a certain subject. One of the latest editions to that genre is unBEElievables: honeybee stories and paintings by Douglas Florian. Florian has always been one of my favorite poets and the poems in this book don’t disappoint. Every poem in the book is delightful and well crafted, something I don’t often find with these nonfiction poetry books since many people try to force the poetry to fit a predetermined mold that will convey their information. This is not a fault of this book and all the poems are simple and fun. My favorite is Bees Buzz which uses the onomatopoeia of the bees “Buzz” to play with the uzz sound. A very delightful play on rhythm and language. In addition to the poem on each page is a bee fact that connects to the poem. These facts are brief and interesting and elaborate on the theme of the poem. The poems and facts are also organized very nicely progressively building on each other until you have a whole picture of the life of bees. The great majority of children’s nonfiction is interesting and delightful to read, but when poetry is skillfully used to convey information the interest and delight is heightened. Add in the raw illustrations done in a folk art style this book is a wonderful example of nonfiction at its best.

Books For A Bear Party

Today is “Have a Party With Your Bear Day” – so if you are going to party why not read a good book.  Here are some books that any bear would enjoy for a read aloud at their party.

Bedtime for Bear by Brett Helquist.  New York : Harper/HarperCollins Publishers, 2011.

Bug and Bear by Ann Bonwill.  New York : Marshall Cavendish Corp., 2011.

Maudie and Bear by Jan Ormerod.  Prahan, Vic. : Little Hare Books, 2011.

Bear & Chook By the Sea by Lisa Shanahan. Melbourne : Lothian Children’s Books/HachetteAustralia Pty Ltd, 2010.

Moon bear by Breanda Z. Guiberson.  New York: Holt, 2010.

Anticipation August 2011 Picture Books

I’ve been anticipating a lot of young adult novels this year, but there have also been some picture books that I’m looking forward to.  Here are some coming up in August that I’m looking forward to:


Naamah and the Ark at Night by Susan Campbell Bartoletti illustrated by Holly Meade published by Candlewick

I love the way Bartoletti writes, especially in her nonfiction, so I’m looking forward to this story about Noah’s wife singing to the animals at night.

i had

I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn illustrated by Julia Denos published by Abrams

The soft illustration on this books cover is enticing and the theme of memories attached to a favorite piece of clothing is something so unique.

ten little

Ten Little Beasties by Ed and Rebecca Emberley published by Roaring Brook Press

Ed Emberley has been a favorite of mine since childhood and now working with his daughter this team  never disappoints

grandpa green

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith published by Roaring Brook Press

Again another illustrator who never disappoints

Top Ten Picture Books

Despite what naysayers say to predict the demise of picture books, there have been so many great picture books coming out lately, here is the list of my top ten picture books that I’ve read in the past year:

Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savatewheres walrus

Dancing Feet! by Lindsey Craig, March Brown

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, Jon J. Muth

The Queen of France by Tim Wadham, Kady MacDonald Denton

The Goblin and the Empty Chair by Mem Fox, Leo & Diane Dillon      empty chair

My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer, Josee Massee

The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood, Renata Liwska

Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo by Ayun Halliday, Dan Santat

The Frogs and Toads All Sang by Arnold Lobel, Adrianne Lobelfrogs

New Nursery Rhyme Books Published by Marshall Cavendish

Nursery rhymes are nothing new to the children’s book scene but here are three new picture books all published by Marshall Cavendish this year that take the traditional rhymes and give them a unique twist.

Mother Goose Picture Puzzles by Will Hillenbrand.

mother goose

In this book classic mother goose nursery rhymes are told with pictures replacing some of the words.  This traditional puzzle form is often used in children’s magazines to guide younger children with their reading.  Hillenbrand uses this technique to great effect and adds to it by putting the “missing” word next to the same object in the background picture.  Including both familiar and less familiar nursery rhymes this is a great book for building literacy with young children.

Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Going to Sleep by Bill Martin Jr., Michael Sampson, illustrated by Laura J. Bryant.

kitty cat

A play on the Pussycat, Pussycat, where have you been?, nursery rhyme, this kitty cat is not going to see the queen but trying to get to sleep.  Simple rhymes following the same pattern outline all the steps to getting to bed.  This will be a great bedtime story to read aloud since the rhythm of the words flows well.

Mary Had A Little Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale illustrated by Laura Huliska-Belth.

mary had

A traditional full rendition of the rhyme written by Sarah Hale with added depth given by the cartoonish illustrations.  Many who know the beginning of the rhyme will see added text here and the illustrations give this well known poem added depth.

Picture Books Full of Imagination

For the young and young at heart who believe, like Albert Einstein, that imagination is more important than knowledge.

Zoomer by Ned Youngzoomer

Zoomer finds he is so busy with all the things that he can imagine doing that he can’t get ready for school.

My Garden by Kevin Henkesmy garden

After working in her real garden with her mother, a young girl envisions an extraordinary imaginary garden.

The Queen of France by Tim Wadham illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

queen of france

Rose wakes up feeling very royal, so her imagination and a little help from the dress up box helps her act just how she feels.

Lets Do Nothing by Tony Fucilelets do nothing

A vivid imagination gets in the way of two boys who are just trying to do nothing.

Pop Art Syle Illustrations

One of my favorite things is bold colorful illustrations that are more like some form of modern art or even pop art.  These types of illustrations isolate objects until everything but the most essential elements and shapes are stripped out.  Two recent books show how these types of illustrations can be done really well:

wheres walrus

Where’s Walrus? Stephen Savage  Scholastic Press, Feb. 2011 Library

Who would not love this walrus’s adventures!  This is the perfect wordless book aimed at a very young audience.  Most illustrations in wordless books are quite complex but these ones are not.  Young and old will love the graphic nature of the illustrations as well as the bright colors juxtaposed with more neutral ones.

lots of dots

And Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier Chronicle Books Sept. 2010 Library

The bold graphic illustrations of this picture book really shows how simple shapes make up our world.  Not only are the colorful illustrations fun and full of movement, the rhythm of the words works very well and complements the pictures beautifully.