Hamilton, John. Choppers (Xtreme Motorcycles series). North Mankato: ABDO Publishing, 2014. 978-1-62403-217-2. 32 p. $18.95. Gr. 5-8.
Hamilton, John. Pro Stock (Xtreme Motorcycles series). North Mankato: ABDO Publishing, 2014. 978-1-62403-221-9. 32 p. $18.95. Gr. 5-8.
These titles provide a brief look at two kinds of motorcycles, choppers and pro stock. Choppers details the history of “chopped” motorcycles, from beginnings in the 1940’s and 1950’s when WWII vets (and trained mechanics) began chopping extra military motorcycles to the recent trend fueled by Discovery Channel’s American Chopper series. Typical styling is also explained.
Pro Stock focuses on the construction of these unique drag racing motorcycles, and goes on to explain the facts behind pro stock racing. There’s also a short section on top racers, both male and female.
These titles are serviceable choices for students interested in motorcycles or racing. While some comments seem unnecessary, like “It signals that the owner is cool, tough, and maybe a little crazy,” in discussing how a chopper owner’s personality is reflected by their choice of cycle, kids will like the colorful illustrations and basic information.
Each title includes a table of contents, glossary, and index.
629.227 Lindsey Long, Nye Elementary School
Smolka, Bo. The Best MLB Catchers of All Time. Minneapolis: ABDO Publishing, 2014. 978-1-62403-113-7. 64p. $22.95. Gr. 3-5.
This book is part of the Major League Baseballs Best Ever Series. It includes all the greats, all the legends and a plethora of information. The photographs move from black and white to color when moved from past to present and they are engaging and the students are instantly drawn to all the statistics. The Honorable Mentions, Glossary and Index at the back of the book are intuitive and thorough. A great resource for baseball fans and reluctant readers, and encourages further exploration through the For More Information section. This book and others in this series are on ABDO Publishing’s Reading level 4. Other books in this series are also of high quality and equally engaging:
Graves, Will. The Best MLB Hitters of All Time. Minneapolis: ABDO Publishing, 2014. 978-1-62403-114-4. 64p. $22.95. Gr. 3-5
–. The Best MLB Pitchers of All Time. Minneapolis: ABDO Publishing, 2014. 978-1-62403-117-5. 64p. $22.95. Gr. 3-5
Monnig, Alex. The Best MLB Infielders of All Time. Minneapolis: ABDO Publishing, 2014. 978-1-62403-115-1. 64p. $22.95. Gr. 3-5
–. The Best MLB Teams of All Time. Minneapolis: ABDO Publishing, 2014. 978-1-62403-118-2. 64p. $22.95. Gr. 3-5
Smolka, Bo. The Best MLB Outfielders of All Time. Minneapolis: ABDO Publishing, 2014. 978-1-62403-116-8. 64p. $22.95. Gr. 3-5
796.357: Sports/Baseball Denise Naumann, Eisenhower Elementary
Barry, Holly M. Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle. Chicago: Albert Whitman & Company, 2013. 978-0-8075-3198-3. 32p. $12.75. Gr. 1-2
This book provides a different look at what we know about Helen Keller and her love for animals, especially her dog Belle. With engaging illustrations and a balance of text and white space the youngest child will quickly be drawn into the story. By providing a connection to a dog, the character of Helen Keller provides a text-to-self connection to students with pets. The final two pages provide a deeper story that can be shared between the adult and child, including interesting facts about other dog breeds that she had and other animals that were her companions. The author is able to provide another perspective to a famous person that has had much written about her.
92 Biography Denise Naumann, Eisenhower Elementary
Phelan, Matt. Bluffton: My Summers with Buster. Somerville: Candlewick Press, 2013. 978-0-7636-5079-7. 223 p. $23.00. Gr. 3-6.
I discovered Matt Phelan at last year’s PSLA Conference and I’ve been hooked on his graphic novels every since (Bluffton, Around the World, The Storm in the Barn). Bluffton tells the story of Henry, a fictional narrator, who spends his summers playing baseball with friends in the sleepy town of Muskegon, Michigan. Things get much more exciting in 1908 when a vaudeville troupe decides to summer in the nearby community of Bluffton. Henry ventures to Bluffton and meets Buster Keaton, childhood slapstick actor, who just wants a “normal” childhood. Henry, on the other hand, is fascinated with Buster’s life in showbiz, and wants to learn more about Buster’s life. I won’t spoil the ending for you—pick it up, it’s worth it.
Phelan’s artwork is lovely and helps set the tone for the story. Many of my students have read and enjoyed this book, graphic novel lovers and history fans alike. If you’re not a fan of graphic novels, give Phelan’s work a try. He really brings history to life.
This is one of my picks for Best of the Best this year!
741.5: Graphic Novel Lindsey Long, Nye Elementary School
Mulder, Michelle. Pedal It! How Bicycles are Changing the World. Victoria: Orca Book Publishers, 2013. 978-1-4598-0219-3. 48 p. $19.95. Gr. 3-6.
This book celebrates all things bicycle. Author Michelle Mulder is a bicycle lover, and it shows in the enthusiastic and interesting way she presents information. The book starts by covering the invention of the bike, and the many changes that improved it over the years, and moves on to cover bicycle mechanics, learning to ride, and how bicycles are used globally for different purposes. I was astounded by the (many) colorful photographs that show how different people around the world use bicycles to transport huge loads of goods and people. One photo features a “bicycle bus” carrying nine preschoolers on a field trip in Amsterdam; another photo shows an Indian man posing next to a bicycle piled high with at least 20 duffel bags and suitcases. Talk about a balancing act!
Hand this book to students who love interesting and slightly unusual nonfiction, or a student who loves to ride a bicycle.
629.227 Lindsey Long, Nye Elementary School
Lawrence, Ellen. Motion (FUNdamental Experiments). New York: Bearport Publishing, 2013. 978-1-61772-739-9. 24 p. $18.00. Gr. K-3.
Motion is a great science book for students who are interested in the topic, or for teachers who want a step-by-step approach to introducing the concept through experiments. Seven questions, such as “What is friction?” and “Why do objects fall to the ground?” help demonstrate each concept. For example, friction is defined and an example is given; the pages contain a list of necessary experiment supplies, and five easy steps to complete the experiment. A section in the back of the book illustrates expected results.
I think that this could have great use in an early elementary science lesson because kids can easily (with adult help) complete each experiment. I’m definitely interested in purchasing the rest of the series!
This title includes a table of contents, glossary, index, and “Read More” section.
152.3 Lindsey Long, Nye Elementary School
Goodwin, Vincent. The Adventure of the Priory School (The Graphic Novel Adventures of Sherlock Holmes). North Mankato: Magic Wagon, 2014. 978-1-61641-973-8. 48 p. $20.95. Gr. 3-6.
Goodwin, Vincent. The Adventure of the Red Circle (The Graphic Novel Adventures of Sherlock Holmes). North Mankato: Magic Wagon, 2014. 978-1-61641-974-5. 48 p. $20.95. Gr. 3-6.
These books serve as a good introduction to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels. The graphic novel format has bright colors and easy to read dialogue. The adaptor has done a good job of selecting main points, often action-packed, to tell the story. I have a loyal pack of graphic-novel lovers at my school and I’m sure that these titles will be the next addition to their “must read” list!
In addition to the story, each title includes a table of contents, cast, “How to Draw” section, glossary, websites, and information about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the adaptors (author Vincent Goodwin, illustrator Ben Dunn).
741.5 Lindsey Long, Nye Elementary School
Bussiere, Desirée. Bowling By the Numbers (Sports By the Numbers). North Mankato: ABDO Publishing, 2014. 978-1-61783-842-2. 24 p. $15.95. Gr. K-2.
Bussiere, Desirée. Golf By the Numbers (Sports By the Numbers). North Mankato: ABDO Publishing, 2014. 978-1-61783-843-9. 24 p. $15.95. Gr. K-2.
This series combines beginning math and number concepts with an introduction to sports. The introduction states, “Numbers are used all the time in golf. A golf course has either 9 or 18 holes,” and “There are 3 basic kinds of gold strokes. They are drive, chip, and putt.” As the book introduces the basics of a sport, math problems are included. “Logan plays on a golf team. He is playing in a tournament,” with an accompanying math problem like “There are 7 tournaments each year. Logan’s team has played in 6. How many more are there?”
I think that these books serve as a better sport introduction than math tool, but they might work well in centers or small group work with math students.
794.6: Bowling, 796.352: Golf Lindsey Long, Nye Elementary School
I Know Sports (series). Ann Arbor, MI: Cherry Lake Publishing, 2014. 24p. (each book). Col.ill., glossary, index, and other resources listed. $95.70 set. $15.95 each, Reading Level: 1.8, Interest Level: K-3, Accelerated Reader Quizzes available. Other availability: paperback, epub, PDF, and hosted ebook.
Mattern, Joanne. I Know Baseball. 9781624313974.
__. I Know Football. 9781624313998.
__. I Know Hockey. 9781624314018.
__. I Know Soccer. 9781624314025.
Tometich, Annabelle. I Know Basketball. 9781624313981.
__. I Know Gymnastics. 9781624314001.
These six books are part of Cherry Lake’s 21st Century Basic Skills Library series. There is a public acknowledgement of the work of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills in the verso. It is a very basic knowledge of the sport book with plenty of photographs to support the sport skill being discussed. For an elementary library or even learning support this series is a winner.
790’s nonfiction sports. Lourie Stewart, Dunbar Township/Dunbar Borough Elementary Schools
Boswell, Kelly. Displaying Information (series). North Mankato: Capstone, 2014. 32 p. $21.00 Grade 1-2.
__. Graphs, graphs, graphs! 978-1476502595.
__. Diagrams. 978-1476533377.
__. Maps. 978-1476533391.
__. Timelines. 978-1476502618.
Bright colorful photos of children depicting real life examples to explain various ways of displaying information. Excellent series for primary grades uses bold, simple text. It could be used as an introduction to a unit on graphs, diagrams, maps or timelines or to offer real life examples. The book includes a Table of Contents, Glossary, and Index as well as additional books and internet sites for further reading. For teachers, common core critical thinking questions are included as well!
513; Mathematics Information Robin Bartley, Davis Elementary
Questions You Never Thought you’d Ask (series). Chicago: Raintree, 2014. 32 p. $12.00ea. Gr.3-5.
Mason, Paul. Can You Lick your own Elbow? and other questions about the human body. 978-1410952073.
Barnham, Kay. Could a Robot make my Dinner? and other questions about technology. 978-1410952004.
Mason, Paul. Could a Walrus play a Saxophone? and other questions about animals. 978-1410952035.
Barnham, Kay. Could I sit on a Cloud? and other questions about science. 978-1410952059.
Mason, Paul. Did the Romans Eat Chips? And other questions about history. 978-1410951984.
Primarily a recreational read, this book offers amusing and fascinating facts about the human body, technology, animals, science, and history. Students will be entertained by the questions, dialog boxes, scenarios and colorful photographs of real kids exploring thought provoking questions. Additional features include a Table of Contents, Glossary, Index and additional resources: books and websites.
612; Human Body, 600; Technology Robin Bartley, Davis Elementary
590; Animals, 507; Science, 909; History
Baby Animals (series). Minneapolis: Sandcastle books, 2013. 24 p. $7.00 K-Grade 2.
Kuskowski, Alex. Foals 978-1617838378.
Doudna, Kelly. Bunnies. 978-1577651840.
Doudna, Kelly. Calves. 978-1577651864.
Doudna, Kelly. Kittens. 978-1577651826.
Doudna, Kelly. Piglets. 978-1577651857.
Kuskowski, Alex. Puppies. 978-1617838408.
Very simplistic series for primary grades. Featured sections include: Did You Know?, Further Fun Facts, a True/False Quiz and a glossary including all bolded words in the text. The text is simple, personable and clear with bold, bright photos. It includes enough information to peek the beginning reader’s interest, but is not substantial enough for research purposes.
590; Baby Animals Robin Bartley, Davis Elementary
War Vehicles (series). North Mankato: Capstone, 2014. 32 p. $21.00ea. Grade 3-6.
Delmar, Pete. Civil War. 978-1429699129.
Fishkin, Rebecca Love. Iraq War. 978-1429699143.
Levine, Michelle. Vietnam War. 978-1429699136.
Schaub, Michelle. World War I. 978-1429699112.
Fein, Eric. Vehicles of World War II. 978-1-4296-9915-0.
Includes authentic wartime photos, captions and “war facts” text boxes to describe the vehicles used by all parties in the conflict, their uses, unique advantages and pitfalls. Included is a glossary and an index. Enjoyed by the young military and wartime history buffs.
355; Military Vehicles Robin Bartley, Davis Elementary
Information Explorer (series). Ann Arbor: Cherry Lake, 2014. 32 p. $19.95. Gr. 3-6.
Fontichiaro, Kristin. Understanding and creating infographics. 978-1-62431-126-0.
Matteson, Adrienne. Using digital maps. 978-1-62431-129-1.
Newman, Heather. Creating digital brochures. 978-1-62431-128-4.
Truesdell, Ann. How to handle cyberbullies. 978-1-62431-127-7.
Both political and physical features are detailed in the book Using digital maps. What is cyberbullying? You may not realize but the term distinguishes that cyberbullying involves two minors. The book How to handle cyberbullying suggests that students search to locate their name online and see what information they can find. “Did you know this” or “FYI” boxes are strategically scattered to give the books a hip scrapbook feel with tape holding images in place. For all of the books you can obtain a copy of the activities online.
[note there are books in this set with copydates of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 not included in this review]
Maps (910.285), Cyberbullying (302.34); Nonfiction Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School
Information Explorer Junior. (series) Ann Arbor: Cherry Lake, 2014. 24 p. $19.95 each. Gr. K-3.
Fontichiaro, Kristin. Starting your own blog. 978-1-62431-133-8.
Harner, Jennifer L. Reading and learning from informational text. 978-1-62431-134-5.
Truesdell, Ann. Being respectful online. 978-1-62431-131-4.
—. Learning and sharing a wiki. 978-1-62431-132-1.
The layout of these books looks like a spiral notebook filled with colorful facts and images. When starting a blog, children are encouraged to think about layout, the url, blog body and comment section. Reading and Learning provides numerous charts and methods of organization for the reader. Try activities provided in the book and see the answers printed upside down. The activities can also be printed from cherrylakepublishing.com/activities.
[note there are books in this series with a 2012 and 2013 publication not included in this review]
Reading (372.4), Blog (006.7); Nonfiction Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School
Inside College Basketball (series) North Mankato: ABDO, 2014. 48 p. $21.95 each. Gr 3-6.
Gitlin, Marty. Louisville Cardinals. 978-1-61783-916-0.
Howell, Brian. Florida Gators. 978-1-61783-914-6.
Silvermann, Drew. Indiana Hoosiers. 978-1-61783-915-3.
—. Syracuse Orange. 978-1-61783-917-7.
Each book is divided into five chapters. Creative banner size text boxes add additional information. A timeline is included in addition to quick stats, quotes and anecdotes, glossary, for more information including reading, web links and places to visit. The origins of the sport at the college are discussed such as 1915 starting basketball at Florida Gators or 1912 for Louisville Cardinals.
796.323; Sports/Basketball Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School
NFL’s Best Ever. (series) North Mankato: ABDO, 2014. 64 p. $22.95 each, Gr. 3-6
Graves, Will. The best NFL defense of all time. 978-1-61783-907-8.
—. The best NFL offensives of all time. 978-1-61783-909-2.
Scheff, Matt. The best NFL running backs of all time. 978-1-61783-912-2.
—. The best NFL quarterbacks of all time. 978-1-61783-910-8.
Wilner, Barry. The best NFL receivers of all time. 978-1-61783-911-5.
—. The best NFL defensive players of all time. 978-1-61783-908-5.
Each player selected as the best of each respective football skill has a large picture of their likeness. Flashy display of facts and accomplishments are included. These players also have a profile of information including hometown, college, height, weight, birth date, team, All-Pro and Pro-Bowl statistics. Honorable mentions do not have much space but include a few key facts. The books have a glossary, a section for more information, further reading, web links and index.
796.332, Football players Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School
Perspectives Library. (series) Ann Arbor: Cherry Lake, 2014. 32 p. $19.95 each. Gr 3-6.
Bailey, Rachel. The Japanese Internment Camps: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-666-1.
Baxter, Roberta. The Battle of Gettysburg: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-415-5.
—. The Dropping of the Atomic Bombs: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-665-4.
Brennan, Linda Crotta. The Boston Tea Party: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-492-6.
Caravantes, Peggy. The Battle of the Alamo: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-664-7.
—. The Orphan Trains: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-420-9.
Gitlin, Marty. The Montgomery bus boycott: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-418-6.
—. The 1980 U.S. Olympic Boycott: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-663-0.
Halls, Kelly Milner. The Story of the Hoover Dam: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-668-5.
Krieg, Katherine. The Attack on Pearl Harbor: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-413-1.
Llanas, Shelia Griffin. The Underground Railroad: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-423-0.
Lusted, Marcia Amidon. The Battle of Bunker Hill: a historical perspective book. 978-1-62431-414-8.
—. The Sinking of the Titanic: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-421-6.
Marciniak, Kristin. The Oregon Trail and westward expansion: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-419-3.
—. The Salem Witch Trials: a historical perspective books book. 978-1-62431-667-8.
Qaiser, Annie. The Story of the Statue of Liberty: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-422-3.
Zuchora-Walske, Christine. The Dust Bowl: a historical perspectives book. 978-1-62431-417-9.
It is one thing for a student to imagine how they would react during a major historical event and it is another to share with the students multiple perspectives during the same event. For example, with the Montgomery Bus Boycott see the events unfold through the eyes of a church leader, an opponent to the boycott and a civil rights activist. In the books terms are placed in bold font. Though boxes are spread out in each book. These boxes relate to the common core catapulting readers to think, analyze and see another source. The “Look, Look Again” section provides with thought providing questions to further thought and discussion in the classroom. For example, there is an artist’s image of Breed’s Hill during fighting. Students are asked to imagine how it would be to be a minuteman, British soldier or inn keeper in Boston during this time. While the statue of liberty was to represent the Roman goddess of freedom the struggle and varying opinions to raise money for the pedestal are detailed as the varying viewpoints during the Battle of Bunker Hill are fleshed out in a book, too. The books include a glossary, learn more sections and index.
323.1196 Montgomery Bus Boycott, 973.3 Bunker Hill, 974.7 Statue of liberty; History/Nonfiction
Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School
Pro Wrestling Superstars (series) North Mankato: ABDO, 2014. 32 p. $18.95 each. Gr. 3-6
Scheff, Matt. CM Punk. 978-1-62403-135-9
—. John Cena. 978-1-62403-134-2
—. Kofi Kingston.978-1-62403-136-6
—. Randy Orton. 978-1-62403-138-0
—. Rey Mysterio. 978-1-62403-137-3
—. The Rock. 978-1-62403-139-7
—.Triple H. 978-1-62403-140-3
Shattering text through glass creates a visual layout for the books. Captions are written in a rope like box and fast facts are displayed in a neon green box. Each book has a time line, glossary and index. Readers will learn the meaning of CM Punk’s Straight Edge tattoo in addition to his famous move Go To Sleep (GTS). The signature move called the Pedigree of Triple H is detailed. A long history of characters portrayed by Triple H is recorded in addition to his competition history and current involvement with the WWE.
796.812 (Sports and recreation)/biography Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School
Core Library: The Science of Life. (series) North Mankato: ABDO, 2014. 48 p. $22.95 each. Gr. 3-6
Duke, Shirley Smith. Cells. 978-1-62403-158-8.
Fretland Van Voorst, Jenny. Animal Classification. 978-1-62403-157-1.
—. Ecosystems. 978-1-62403-159-5
Petersen, Christine. Genetics. 978-1-62403-161-8
Surges, Carol. Food chains. 978-1-62403-160-1
Zuchora-Walske. Photosynthesis. 978-1-62403-162-5
Four chapters make the structure of the book with colorful illustrations and diagrams. The topics are in green font colors with captions in blue font. Students are encouraged to write a blog post in response after reading a section written by Linnaeus. Questions are posed throughout the book and the answers are not provided rather students are to visit the library or search online for the answers. “Further evidence” sections prompt readers to visit a website to gather additional information and in one case benefits and concerns of stem cell research and having students analyze their viewpoint. Each book has a spread regarding scientist in the related field, stop and think section, learn more section, glossary and index.
Animal (590.1), Cells (571.6); Nonfiction, Science and Nature Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School
Core Library: The Story of The United States (series). Minneapolis: ABDO, 2014. 48 p. $22.95 each. Gr. 3-6.
Fromowitz, Lori. World War I and Modern America: 1800-1930. 978-1-62403-177-9
Hamen, Susan. The Great Depression and WWII: 1929-1945. 978-1-62403-178-6
Krieg, Katherine. The Postwar era: 1945-early 1970s. 978-1-62403-179-3
—.The United States today: 1968-present. 978-1-62403-180-9
McCarthy, Pat. Colonization and settlement in the new world: 1585-1763. 978-1-62403-172-4
Sepahban, Lois. A nation is born: 1754-1820s. 978-1-62403-173-1
Terp, Gail. Worlds collide in early America: beginnings through 1620. 978-1-62403-171-7
Van Zee, Amy. Civil war and reconstruction: 1850-1877. 978-1-62403-175-5
—.The Rise of Industry: 1870-1900. 978-1-62403-176-2
Yasuda, Anita. Westward expansion of the United States: 1801-1861. 978-1-62403-174-8
Large segments of American history are divided into ten volumes in this set. Each book contains five chapters, a timeline, glossary and suggestions to learn more through books and websites. Images and maps are in full color. Captions under maps encourage higher level thinking skills such as looking at the good elements of the location of the Jamestown settlement and also the drawbacks. Books have sections that have readers compare and contrast content from the book to that of the content at the specific my core library website. Primary sources are included in the “straight from the source” section, such as one from a soldier from the US Army during the Trail of Tears and then encourages students to consider viewpoints from the Cherokee’s and compose a letter.
973.5 (Westward expansion) 973.2 (Colonization) Nonfiction Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School
Short tales. Chinese myths. (series) North Mankato: Magic Wagon, 2014. 32 p. $16.95 each. Gr. K-6.
Yasuda, Anita. The dragon, the phoenix, and the beautiful pearl: a Chinese dragon spirit myth. 978-1-62402-030-8.
—. The Jade Emperor: a Chinese zodiac myth. 978-1-62402-031-5
—. The Monkey King: a Chinese monkey spirit myth. 978-1-62402-032-2.
—. Nu Gua mends the sky: a Chinese flood myth. 978-1-62402-035-3
—. Pangu separates the sky from the earth: a Chinese creation myth. 978-1-62402-034-6
—. Yu the Great conquers the flood: a Chinese nature myth. 978-1-62402-035-3
Each myth book begins with a pictorial view cast of characters and an introduction of the characters and origins of the tale. Tales are told with full color illustrations accompanied with narrative in text boxes. The books are delightful while providing the perfect springboard to explore topics of friendship and qualities of a hero with students. The series provides additional perspective for continuing to offer a wide diversity of myths for students to read and view.
398.2; Legends, Myths, Fables Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School