Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Short reviews: Non-Fiction

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Sea
By Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm
Published 2012 by Scholastic
The authors have chosen a really fascinating and perhaps oft-overlooked topic for this book, which I think is one of its greatest strengths. They make this concept relatively simple to understand for kids of varying ages and provide simple but striking illustrations to accompany the easy-to-understand text. There is some good back matter but no bibliography.

By Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenhld
Published 2012 by Chronicle Books
If you've ever read William Steig's C D B, you'll get the basic concept of this book - the authors have substituted numbers into words throughout the book. The result is an incredibly fun and playful book/game that I think kids will absolutely love. They will have tons of fun attempting to create their own wumbers and this book is great for practicing phonological awareness.

I, Galileo
By Bonnie Christensen
Published 2012 by Random House Children's Books
Christensen lets Galileo tell his own story by adopting first-person narration, making this a readable and friendly picture book biography of the scientist. The illustrations are quite lovely and evocative of the time and place and the book includes some nice back matter.

Buried Alive: How 33 Miners Survived 69 Days Deep Under the Chilean Desert
By Elaine Scott
Published 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
This is the first title I've read about the 2010 accident, though I've seen others here and there. Something about this one just caught my eye and I picked it up and read it straight through. I found it to be very appropriately done for elementary age kids. It gives kids a very real sense of what the miners' ordeal was like but is told in very straightforward terms. I found it to be quite moving and Scott provides excellent back matter.

When Jackie and Hank Met
By Cathy Goldberg Fishman, illustrated by Mark Elliott
Published 2012 by Marshall Cavendish Children
If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably know by now that I'm a sucker for baseball stories. This tells the separate stories of Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg and their meeting at first base in 1947. Both men just wanted to play baseball but both had endured prejudice and threats along the way (Jackie for being black, Hank for being Jewish). When they collide at first base in 1947, the crowd wants them to fight, but the men just want to get back to the game. I admit that I didn't really know who Greenberg was before picking up this book, but the way their stories are told here easily kept my interest. This is a touching story that baseball fans will enjoy.

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