Elem. – In the City

Raschka, Chris. In the City. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020. 978-1-481-48627-9. 40 p. $17.99. Grades K-2.

In The City is a rhyming picture book that focuses on friendship using pigeons to illustrate that point. The book follows pigeons as they go through a city, landing on statues and flying overhead, and the narrator points out the different ways that pigeons form friendships and relates that to the people. The illustrations are beautiful in ink and watercolor which add to the story as readers follow the pigeons and people through making their friends.

THOUGHTS: This is a wonderful addition to any elementary school collection and highly recommended!

Picture Book          Mary Hyson, Lehigh Valley Regional Charter Academy

Elem. – Habitat Hunter (Series NF)

Potts, Nikki. Habitat Hunter. Ill. Maarten Lenoir, Picture Window Books, 2020. 31 p. $132.24 set of 6. $21.99 ea. Grades PreK-2.

Frog Moves out of the Rain Forest. 978-1-977-11423-5. 
Goat Moves out of the Barnyard.
978-1-977-11421-1.
Meerkat Moves out of the Desert
. 978-1-977-11419-8.
Owl Moves out of the Forest. 978-1-977-11424-2.
Penguin Moves out of the Antarctic. 978-1-977-11422-8.
Shark Moves out of the Ocean.
978-1-977-11420-4.

“Meerkats, meerkats everywhere!” (1), and Meerkat is not happy about it.  She wants a new home she does not have to share, so she sets out to find her new home. Meerkat tries the mountains, but they’re too quiet. She tries a cave, but it’s too cold and has too many bats.  Next she tries a playground; it seems like a great home with all of the tunnels, but the slide is too hot, and the monkey bars are too high. After trying a garden, Meerkat decides her own home is the best home and returns to it.

THOUGHTSMeerkat Moves out of the Desert is a fun way for young readers to learn about meerkats. Combining both pictures and illustrations, readers learn about various homes for Meerkat while also learning why the new habitat isn’t quite right. In the end, Meerkat’s realization that her habitat is the best not only solidifies basic understanding of a meerkat, but it also teaches readers to appreciate their home and family and that something different is not always best.  This title, as with the other titles in this series, also includes a page about the highlighted animal (meerkats) and an “Animal Passport.” This title is also useful for teaching comparing and contrasting because of the various homes Meerkat considers.

 

 

 

Animals        Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD

Elem. – Comparing Animal Differences (Series NF)

Comparing Animal Differences. The Child’s World, 2020. $19.95 each. $342 for a set of 12. 24 Pages. Grades K-3.

Reed, Ellis M. Alligators and Crocodiles. 978-1-503-83590-0.
—. Llamas and Alpacas. 978-1-503-83593-1.
York, M. J. Butterflies and Moths. 978-1-503-83587-0.
—. Toads and Frogs. 978-1-503-83586-3.
Pearson, Marie. Dolphins and Porpoises. 978-1-503-83589-4.
—. Leopards and Cheetahs. 978-1-503-83592-4.
—. Wasps and Bees. 978-1-503-83594-8.
Gale, Ryan. Hares and Rabbits. 978-1-503-83591-7.
—. Turtles and Tortoises. 978-1-503-83588-7.
London, Martha. Lizards and Salamanders. 978-1-503-83595-5.
Ringstad, Arnold. Puffins and Penguins. 978-1-503-83596-2.
Gendell, Megan. Spiders and Daddy Long Legs. 978-1-503-83585-6.

Do you know what makes a toad different from a frog? Or a rabbit from a hare, or a lizard from a salamander? If you are like most readers, this is an ever confusing problem, which the writers of the Comparing Animal Differences series would like to simplify. Using short chapters of readable text with gorgeous photographs, each book highlights the animals separately, and then compares how to identify the difference. For example, lizards have scales and claws and hunt during the day, while salamanders are nocturnal and have no claws or scales. With labeled photos, a glossary and index, as well as extra links and activities to extend the learning, young readers will become knowledgeable naturalists in no time.

THOUGHTS: There are twelve books in this series. I have only reviewed two, but feel that the collection as a whole would be worth purchasing for class projects and personal interests. Plus, the idea of a compare and contrast assignment would be a useful note taking lesson.

550 Animals          Dustin Brackbill, State College Area SD

Elem. – Class Picture

Carlain, Noe, and Herve Le Goff. Class Picture. Kane Miller EDC Publishing, 2020. 978-1-684-64112-3. Unpaged. $12.99. Grades K-2.

The full classroom photo may be a thing of the past, especially in this day and age, but the concept of gathering students to try and pose for a picture will always be a memorable moment. So, replace squirmy Kindergarten kids with beavers, bears, monkeys, snakes, elephants, and more for a real laugh of a book! With some repetitive wording and hilarious visual gags, each class of animals arrives for their moment with the brave and mostly patient photographer. Whether the hippos are bending the bench or the beavers are eating it, there are group and individual personalities that shine, along with some cameos from other animals to keep things interesting. Young readers will enjoy saying cheese to this colorful fun read along!

THOUGHTS: With a dozen animal sets captured in this book, several research or creative writing extensions are naturally available. From adding captions or speech bubbles to the class characters to looking up habitats and group names for each page, learners will find fun ways to keep coming back to this book. Recommended.

Picture Book          Dustin Brackbill, State College Area SD

Elem. – The Nut that Fell from the Tree

Bhadra, Sangeeta, and Crance Cormier. The Nut that Fell from the Tree. Kids Can Press. 2020. 978-1-525-30119-3. $17.99. Grades K-3

This delightful book is all about the story of the nut that fell from the tree. This acorn is taken away from animals, stolen by others, flown through the air, and even drops deep in the water! Everything that happens always continues by repeating where the acorn has been, although the story remains the same. Will this tiny acorn ever become an oak tree?

THOUGHTS: This rollicking tale is inspired by the classic rhyme “The House that Jack Built.” Readers will enjoy the sequencing of this story as they follow the tale of the acorn that fell from the tree!

Picture Book          Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

Elem. – Cone Cat

Howden, Sarah. Cone Cat. Owlkids Books. 2020. 978-1-77147-361-3. $19.95. Gr. K-3

One day, Jeremy woke up… and there was the cone. It was on him after he woke up at the vet. Jeremy suddenly wasn’t Jeremy anymore… he was a cone cat. Everything seemed different and more difficult. Jeremy couldn’t do what he had always done before, and that was very hard. Until magic things started happening with his cone and Jeremy figured out how to get delicious treats and items with his cone. Hopefully this cone will stay!

THOUGHTS: This book had me giggling right from the start! Readers may be able to relate if they have a pet cat or dog who has worn a cone before. A fun read for younger students!

Picture Book          Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

Elem. – Woodland Dreams

Jameson, Karen. Woodland Dreams. Chronicle Books, 2020. 978-1-452-17063-3. Unpaged. $17.99. Grades PreK-2. 

In this cozy story, a young girl takes a walk through the woods on a late autumn evening. Accompanied by her dog and a notebook, the girl says goodnight to the animals she sees and encourages them to settle into their sleeping place. Each two page spread features a different forest animal. The rhyming text is written in an AA-BB sequence and describes the animal’s behavior in just a few words, like “Berry Picker” and “Honey Trickster” for the bear. Before this verse, the author includes a short phrase that begins with “Come Home,” and is followed by a two word description of the animal. For example, Jameson calls the squirrel “Bushy Tail” and the woodpecker “Strong Beak” instead of using their common names. As the night draws in, snow flurries begin to fall and the pair returns home to their cabin, where it is now the girl’s turn to go to bed. Boutavant’s charming illustrations capture the atmosphere of the season, and the reader can almost feel the chilly night wind just like the fox. On the last two pages, the illustrator displays the girl’s own drawings from her notebook, depicting the wildlife that she observed.

THOUGHTS: With its comforting text and cadence, this book makes for a wonderful bedtime story, which will surely help children settle down to sleep. It is also a good choice for fall or early winter storytimes. To make it more interactive, the librarian could ask students to guess the type of animal just by listening to the words and afterwards show the pictures. Highly recommended for all elementary collections.

Picture Book          Denise Medwick, Retired, PSLA Member

Elem. – Pugtato Finds a Thing

Corrigan, Sophie. Pugtato Finds a Thing. Zonderkidz. 2020. 978-0-310-76781-7. $17.99. Grades K-3.

Pugtato finds a thing while digging in his garden! But what is this thing? Pugtato has no idea, so he decides to go see his spuddies for help! All of his spuddies have good ideas as to what this thing could be, but none of the ideas seem to make sense! Some ideas are silly, some are scary, and some ideas make Pugtato nervous! Pugtato decides that even though he isn’t always the smartest spud around, he is the wisest when he follows his heart!

THOUGHTS: I loved this story! The puns with the animals and fruit/vegetables are absolutely adorable and great conversation pieces!

Picture Book                                        Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

Elem. – You are Mine, Porcupine

Wilber, Helen L. You are Mine, Porcupine. Sleeping Bear Press. 2020. 978-1-534-11003-8. $16.99. Grades K-2.

Oh, little porcupine, even though you are not often the most cuddly around, mama porcupine is here to remind you of all the things that make you wonderful. Going on adventures, eating delicious snacks, and being brave are just a few of the beautiful things that make you, you! Climbing trees, eating leaves, and fighting off scary animals are part of being a porcupine.

THOUGHTS: This cute rhyming book shows just how special a little porcupine really is! From eating, to sleeping, to using its quills, the little porcupine is brave and important! The back of the book also includes real images and information about porcupines, providing the reader with more information on the porcupine.

Picture Book                                        Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

Elem. – Hat Tricks

Satoshi, Kitamura. Hat Tricks. Peachtree Publishing Company, 2020. 978-1-682-63150-8. Unpaged. $16.99. Grades K-3.

With only two tiny white ears showing and the question, “What do we have here?” children are introduced to Hattie, a magician who has a magical hat. A variety of artistic mediums create simple, uncluttered illustrations that accompany text that will engage students and have them asking, “What’s in the hat?” On each page spread, a new friend joins Hattie and her magical hat. Magical words like “Abracadabra katakurico” can be fun for a whole class cheer or as an opportunity to work on reading nonsense words and breaking down syllables.

THOUGHTS: This simple picture book would be a fun read aloud for primary grades and can encourage predicting and a discussion about context clues.

Picture Book          Maryalice Bond, South Middleton SD