Saturday, April 25, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Frank Einstein and the Electro-Finger

Frank Einstein and the Electro-Finger by Jon Scieszka book coverFrank Einstein and the Electro-Finger
by Jon Scieszka
illustrations by Brian Biggs
Amulet Books (Mar. 17, 2015)
Science Fiction/Humor Chapter Book


Frank Einstein (kid-genius scientist and inventor) and his best friend, Watson, along with intelligent robots Klink and Klank once again find themselves in competition with T. Edison, their classmate and archrival--this time in the quest to unlock the power behind the science of energy.

Why You'll Love It:
  • In this second book in the Frank Einstein series, Jon Scieszka continues to dole out scientific information and humor in equal measure.
  • A kid-friendly take on the relevant and timely topic of alternative energy sources, brought to life with distinct characters, wily villains, and funny asides.
  • It's full of visual appeal. Brian Bigg’s illustrations—ranging from diagrams of simple machines, including wedges and pulleys, to over-the-top scenes, such as the calculating T. Edison and Mr. Chimp swinging a wrecking ball from a crane—appear on nearly every spread.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 2-5...and here's the teacher guide.

What Else You Should Read:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What they're (really) reading: April 2015

 photo by Toby Neal

By keeping a pulse on what my kiddos are checking out and keeping a close eye on which books are circulating heavily, I feel that I can spend the small budget I have more wisely by choosing books I know will have a greater likelihood of circulating widely.

Each month I'll feature a few fiction and a few nonfiction books that are on the "heavy rotation" list at our elementary library. They're not necessarily new, shiny, or covered with awards -- they're just what the kids want.

This month's selections:

Flora and the flamingo by Molly Idle book cover

Flora and the Flamingo
by Molly Idle

In this wordless book, a friendship develops between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo, as they learn to dance together.

All the lovely bad ones by Mary Downing Hahn book cover

All the Lovely Bad Ones
by Mary Downing Hahn

Travis and his sister Corey decide to boost business at their grandmother's Vermont inn by staging a few "hauntings" that soon draw tourists from across the country, but when their antics awaken a dark force, they must find a way to put to rest the ghosts they have disturbed. 

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur book cover chapter book

Eight Keys
by Suzanne LaFleur

When twelve-year-old Elise, orphaned since age three, becomes disheartened by middle school, with its bullies, changing relationships, and higher expectations, keys to long-locked rooms and messages from her late father help her cope.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Glamourpuss

Glamourpuss by Sarah Weeks David Small book coverGlamourpuss
by Sarah Weeks; illustrations by David Small
Scholastic (Feb. 24, 2015)
Picture Book


A cat named Glamourpuss who likes being the center of attention fears she might fall out of fashion when Bluebelle the dog arrives.

Why You'll Love It:
  •  What a personality! Glamourpuss doesn't lie down, she reclines! She doesn't stretch, she extends!
  • I see myself using this book as a mentor text for vivid verbs and word choice. 
  • The book jacket is pink and sparkly. Duh.
  • This book is a great read-aloud and best introduced by an expressive reader. Even more fun would be introducing students to some of the influences behind the characters in the book -- Scarlett O'Hara & Carmen Miranda.

Who Should Read It:

A great read-aloud for K-3rd grade; even older for a minilesson on word choice/vivid verbs.

What Else You Should Read:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: I Don't Like Koala

I Don't Like Koala
I don't like koala by Sean Ferrell book cover
by Sean Ferrell
Atheneum Book (April 14, 2015)
Picture Book


What's not to love about a cute, cuddly...creepy toy koala? This is the story of a boy and the stuffed animal he just can't seem to shake.

Why You'll Love It:
  •  Everyone experienced a doll, painting, or stuffed animal whose eyes seemed to follow them around the room. Readers will relate to Adam's complete creeped-outedness by the new koala.
  • Ferrell wraps it up with a great twist ending.
  • The book is just the right mixture of funny and kind of spooky. You'll never look at a stuffed animal the same way again.

Who Should Read It:

Great for PreK-grade 1...and here's a video!

What Else You Should Read:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Egg -- Nature's Perfect Package

Egg Nature's Perfect Package by Steve Jenkins book coverEgg: Nature's Perfect Package
by Steve Jenkins
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 3, 2015)
Nonfiction/Informational Picture Book


Explore how a simple, often colorful, sometimes surprisingly shaped package, reveals nature's life cycle, unusual animal defensive strategies, parenting behavior, evolution, and more, in this illustrated non-fiction picture book.

Why You'll Love It:
  •  Jenkins' signature torn paper and collage illustrations are featured against white backgrounds, really making the images pop. 
  • Jenkins explores 54 creatures and why they lay eggs the way they do -- for example, the black-spotted sticky frog lays eggs in a carnivorous pitcher plant. Hello, booktalk hook!!!
  • The final pages illustrate the cycles of a chicken and alligator as each creature develops over time, in five stages from embryo to hatchling, which lends itself nicely to compare and contrast lessons.

Who Should Read It:

Great for grades K-3...and here's the educator's guide (scroll down to p. 7)

steve jenkins egg hatching illustration

What Else You Should Read:
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