Archive for March 18, 2016

Who We Are! All About Being the Same and Being Different

Written by Robie H. Harris
Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott

Another in the series “Let’s Talk About You and Me.” In this trip to Funland, Harris explores the physical characteristics that make us the same and make us different. As a read-aloud, this is great for kids just learning about the wider world. Illustrated with a lot of detail, the book shows many examples. On the very first page, the reader sees a wheelchair, a stroller, and a kid riding in a backpack. Clothing is another highlight – from shorts, T-shirt, and baseball cap to a tunic, pants, and a head scarf. Bodies are big and small, all with heart, muscle, and belly button. Most with ears, nose, and mouth. Hair comes in all shades and stages of curly. So does skin. Eyes are all different shapes and colors. Skin color depends on melanin. Many characteristics come from your family. Feelings are important and are things we share with everyone. So be aware of the feelings of those around you. We were all somebody’s baby once.

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  • Who We AreTitle: Who We Are! All About Being the Same and Being Different (Let’s Talk About You and Me)
  • Author: Robie H. Harris
  • Illustrator: Nadine Bernard Westcott
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2016
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 1
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Science
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-6903-4

Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth

Written and illustrated by Jarvis

Be who you are and trust your friends. Those are the main lessons from this entertaining book about an alligator with false teeth.

Alan tries to be scary – just like everyone else in his family. He gnashes his razor sharp teeth at all the animals and has the frogs leaping. And the monkeys tumbling. And the parrots screeching. After a long day of scaring, he relaxes by removing his teeth, storing them in a super-secret hiding place, and going to bed. An early-rising beaver stumbles on the teeth and experiments with them. Alan’s embarrassed by not being so scary any more. He’s so embarrassed, he can’t stop crying. The other animals find his teeth for him but need assurances to give them back. So Alan has to move beyond scaring.

The amusing and colorful mixed-media illustrations make this new parable enjoyable and engaging. Great for independent reading or as a read aloud.

Maybe all these animals can’t live so closely in the real world, but first graders can still learn about cooperation and better uses for their resources.

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  • Alans Big Scary TeethTitle: Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth
  • Author/ Illustrator: Jarvis
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2016
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 1
  • Genre: Animals, Interpersonal relationships
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-8120-3

Over on the Farm

Written by Marianne Berkes
Illustrated by Cathy Morrison

In this simple little counting book, the author reworks the song “Over in the Meadow,” into a rhyme about the animals on a traditional farm. For example:

     Over on the farm

     In a tree-hollow heaven

     Lived a mother barn owl

     And her little owlets seven

Some of the counts aren’t quite realistic, but the author takes license for the sake of rhyme and rhythm and later explains what the animals are really like. And the actions the animals take are consistent with actions real animals take and kids can identify with.

As usual, Morrison’s beautiful illustrations follow the text exactly and enhance the reader’s activities, such as counting the babies and looking for other details.

Just like the new verses to the song, there seem to be end to the reading activities available to first graders and up. Along with music for the song, directions are given for dancing to it. More Fun on the Farm makes many suggestions for further enjoyment of the story.

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  • Over on the FarmTitle: Over on the Farm
  • Author: Marianne Berkes
  • Illustrator: Cathy Morrison
  • Published: Dawn Publications, 2016
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Music, Counting, Animals
  • ISBN: 978-1-58469-549-3
  • Extras: Music, Fact or Fiction, Seasons on the Farm, About the Animals, More Fun on the Farm (math, science, language arts, arts, From Farm to Table), Movement and Music