Elem. – Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite!

Spires, Ashley. Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite! Kids Can Press. 2021. 978-1-525-30146-9. $12.99. Grades K-2.

Burt is a Ten-Lined June Beetle, also known as a Watermelon Beetle! Burt has amazing superhero powers. Well, at least that is what Burt believes! He discovered that he can’t lift something that is fifty times his weight like ant can, he doesn’t have ultrasonic blasts like hawk moths, he does not have a the ability to spray paralyzing venom like some termites can, and he also cannot release a bad smell to repel predators like stink bugs. In fact, Burt can’t climb up walls, fly very well, or even run fast! Is there something that makes Burt special?

THOUGHTS: This is a cute graphic novel-style informational book about insects! A cute story for young readers to learn about the super things specific bugs can do, including June bugs!

Graphic Novel          Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

Elementary NF – Money Math; Project Passion; Dropping In On; Abandoned Places; Dragonflies

Adler, David A. and Edward Miller, Ill. Money Math: Addition and Subtraction. Holiday House, 2017. 978-0-8234-2698-9. 32 p. $17.95. Gr. 1-3

A great book to fill in that 513 Dewey section in your library that might be languishing. Cartoon kids want to buy things but need to understand how money works first. In jump the Presidents who are on the different coins and bills and talk about how to add, then subtract money. Decimal points and coins are discussed, and the math in the book gets progressively harder the further you go.  THOUGHTS: I thought it was interested that they had half dollar coins in the book, but they didn’t discuss the $1 Sacagawea coin.  Overall it’s a good addition (pun intended) to the library, but not a must read.

Math; Money       Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

 

Bolte, Mari. Project Passion (series). Capstone, 2018. 32 p. $20.99 ea. Gr. 4-6.

Bit by Bit:  Projects for Your Odds and Ends.  978-1-5157-7375-7.

Bought in Bulk:  Projects for Surplus Supplies.  978-1-5157-7376-4.

Create and Keep:  Projects to Hang On To.  978-1-5157-7373-3.

Share the Love:  Projects You’ll Love to Give.  978-1-5157-7374-0.  

Bit by Bit:  Projects for Your Odds and Ends and Bought in Bulk: Projects for Surplus Supplies are similar titles that include simple craft projects that can be made using common household objects and leftover craft supplies.  The books include photographic illustrations for nearly every project, including variations on each project, and clear, easy-to-follow directions.  Most of the projects can be completed entirely by children, although a few do require adult supervision or assistance.  THOUGHTS:  These books are useful additions to a makerspace which often include many of the supplies needed. Recommended for upper elementary and middle schools needing to update their craft book collections.

Handicraft 745.5                Maggie Bokelman, Cumberland Valley SD

 

Dropping In On… Rourke Educational Media, 2017. 32 p. $23.00 each, $268.00 for set of 12. Gr. 3-6.

Barger, Jeff. Dropping In On…Atlanta. 978-1-68191-404-6.

Canasi, Brittany. Dropping In On…Boston. 978-1-68191-408-4.

Staton, Hilarie. Dropping In On…Chicago. 978-1-68191-406-0.

Greenspan, Judy. Dropping In On…Dallas. 978-1-68191-407-7.

Staton, Hilarie. Dropping In On…Denver. 978-1-68342-173-3.

Canasi, Brittany. Dropping In On…New Orleans. 978-1-68342-174-0.

Staton, Hilarie. Dropping In On…New York City. 978-1-68191-403-9.

Waxler, Melanie. Dropping In On…Orlando. 978-1-68191-402-2.

Nelson, Deb Tuttle. Dropping In On…Philadelphia. 78-1-68191-409-1.

Canasi, Brittany. Dropping In On…San Francisco. 978-1-68342-172-6.

Greenspan, Judy. Dropping In On…St. Louis. 978-1-68342-175-7.

Barger, Jeff. Dropping In On…Washington D.C. 978-1-68191-405-3.

Calling all travelers! The Dropping In On… series is ready to prepare students for their next big family vacation or city trip. Each title provides a basic historical overview of the title city, including facts on how that city was developed or discovered and information about major historical events impacting the city. For example, Dropping In On…St. Louis reviews the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark’s explorations, while Dropping In On…New Orleans details New Orleans history both before and after the Civil War and the changes in laws and life felt by African Americans like schoolgirl Ruby Bridges. Series titles also focus on each city’s landscape, parks, monuments, major sports teams, cultural history and attractions, and spots that every tourist must visit. Each book is packed full of beautifully colored photographs, often displayed in overlapping style like a traveler’s scrapbook of photographs. Illustrated children hop into some photographs to point out interesting tidbits, similar to tour guides. Each book features a table of contents, city facts section, glossary, index, and before and after reading activities for educators. THOUGHTS: Not an essential purchase but an interesting, fact-filled introduction to several major US cities.

900s     Lindsey Long, Lower Dauphin SD

 

Abandoned Places (series). Bellwether Media, 2018. $19.95 ea. Set of 6 $119.70.  24p. Gr. 2 – 5.

Leaf, Christina. Machu Picchu: The Lost Civilization. 9781626176966.

Owings, Lisa. Craco: The Medieval Ghost Town. 9781626176959.

Owings, Lisa. Battleship Island: The Deserted Island. 9781626176935.

Owings, Lisa. Pripyat: The Chernobyl Ghost Town. 9781626176973.

Schuetz, Kari. Bodie: The Gold-Mining Ghost Town. 9781626176942.

Schuetz, Kari. Roanoke: The Lost Colony. 9781626176980.

This informative series checks all the boxes of a good non-fiction book: Table of Contents, Glossary, To Learn More, and Index. Some of the best features in this series are the maps showing where the site is located, and the timelines that are in each book. The full-color modern pictures with interspersed historical ones provide a good viewpoint for young learners. THOUGHTS: The reinforced library binding makes this series worth its cost. I liked all the features, and it’s a series that won’t be quickly outdated, so will have a long shelf life.

Nonfiction; Historical Places       Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

 

Perish, Patrick. Dragonflies. Bellwether Media, 2018. 9781626176621. $19.50. 24 p. Gr. K-3.

In this attractive early reader, Perish presents basic information about the dragonfly. Despite its length, the book is set up like a traditional nonfiction book with a table of contents, pictorial glossary, index, and bibliography.  The author gives the insect’s physical description, habitat, diet and life cycle in a succinct manner, as is typical of books in the Blastoff Readers series.  The stunning photographs complement the text and the reader sees full-page images of the insect on each two-page spread. One can see why this particular series is called Insects Up Close after examining the pictures, like the one which shows the size of the dragonfly’s eyes.  There are also some inset images, which are used to further explain such terms like nymph and molting.  Other interesting photographs include a dragonfly swimming underwater and one eating a mosquito.  Children will enjoy poring over the photos. This series includes a web resource called Factsurfer.  Readers are told to enter the term into the search box and get a list of websites.  One link from the San Diego Zoo did not have the referenced article and one site contained ads.  There are other books in the “Insects Up Close” series, which follow the same format.  Also examined were Cicadas, Grasshoppers, and Ladybugs.  THOUGHTS: This series is a great addition to any library collection serving children, despite the problem with the web resources. These texts would be useful in science units on insects and children will enjoy reading them for personal interest.  They are a good choice for emerging readers.

595.7  Science; Bugs            Denise Medwick, West Allegheny SD

Elementary NF – Cricket in the Thicket; Lighter than Air; My Awesome Summer by P.Mantis; Her Right Foot

Murray, Carol.  Cricket in the Thicket: Poems about Bugs.  Henry Holt and Company, 2017.  9780805098181.  40 Pgs.  $17.99. Gr. 1-5.

In this collection of mostly rhyming poems, Murray has focused on the subject of bugs.   There is one poem per page, each about a different insect. In addition, the poet includes some facts about these insects at the bottom of the page. There is additional information in the back matter.  Melissa Sweet’s watercolor and mixed media illustrations are whimsical and fit well with the humorous tone of the poems.  For instance, in the cockroach poem, she writes “I am not loved at all, I’m not like any other.  But surely someone cares for me.  I think it is my mother.” This work is reminiscent of Joyce Sidman’s Song of the Water Boatman, but Murray’s work seems designed for a younger audience.  This book could be classified in either the poetry or the 595 Dewey section.   THOUGHTS: This book is a good choice for elementary libraries.  It would work well in insect units and provides a different perspective.  Children could be encouraged to write their own poems about insects.

811.54  Poetry      Denise Medwick, West Allegheny SD

 

Smith, Matthew Clark. Lighter Than Air. Candlewick Press, 2017. 9780763677329. $16.99. 32p. Gr. 1-4.

Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot is a picture book about the first woman balloonist. Sophie Blanchard married a famous French balloonist and took a few rides with him. It wasn’t long before she made her first solo flight to the chagrin of some people who thought women were too delicate to fly in a balloon. After a tragedy that took the life of her husband (handled appropriately for the book’s audience), Sophie takes to the skies again and ends up supporting herself by ballooning. She was so famous Napoleon made her Aeronaut of the Official Festivals. THOUGHTS: The publisher rates this book as suitable for 1st through 4th graders. This book’s vocabulary is too difficult for 1st/2nd graders to read and comprehend, but the content would be enjoyed as a read-aloud. I learned quite a bit about ballooning while reading this book, but it does mention the husband having a heart attack and falling from his balloon and then later dying from his injuries. The author’s note details Sophie’s eventual death when a firework she was lighting while in the balloon set the balloon on fire leading to her falling and death. Pretty intense for some 1st graders.

Biography      Bridget Fox, Central Bucks SD

 

Meisel, Paul.  My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis.  Holiday House, 2017.  9780823436712. Unpaged. $16.95.  Gr. K-3.

This is an interesting entry into the world of creative nonfiction.  Meisel takes us on a journey through the life cycle of the praying mantis, told from the point of view of the insect.  The story takes us through three seasons and begins in May with P. Mantis’ birth and ends in October. Throughout the text, the insect tells us how and what he eats (sometimes his brothers and sisters!) and how he protects himself through the use of camouflage and by staying still.  P. Mantis tells his story in a humorous and accessible way for young children.  For instance, he remarks that he is “Praying?…Yeah, I’m praying…praying something tasty comes along that thinks I’m a stick.” At the end of the bug’s life, Meisel gently tells the reader that he is going to sleep. The author’s illustrations show a friendly looking insect drawn on a small scale throughout the story. It appears larger in the author’s note where Meisel labels the body parts. The back matter gives more details on the life cycle of mantises and some additional terminology.  One problem is that the author lists a few websites with just the URLs and no titles.  The glossary contains only two terms.  THOUGHTS:  Despite these concerns, this book is a worthy addition to the insect section in elementary libraries and will make for a great read aloud. There is a good bit of information found here and the creative presentation will engage the reader.  Children will be inspired to learn more about this unique insect.

595.727 Bugs             Denise Medwick, West Allegheny SD

 

Eggers, Dave. Her Right Foot. Chronicle Books, 2017. 978-1-4521-6281-2  Unpaged. $19.99.  Gr. K-8.

Much has been written about the Statue of Liberty, but never before has a book focused on the iconic Lady’s right foot. Dave Egger includes all the usual facts about the statue, which has more pages than most picture books, but just a pithy sentence or two per page. The reader learns, for instance, that the statue was put into 214 crates when it was brought from France to the United States, and that it was brown for two years before it oxidized and turned green. However, Eggers goes on to note (“a point the author apologizes for taking so long to get to”) that the Lady’s right foot is in motion. He asks the reader to ponder where she is going, suggesting humorously that it might be “to the West Village to look for vintage Nico records.”  But then he offers a more logical idea, the Lady is in motion because “liberty and freedom are not things you get by standing around like some kind of statue.”  Eggers suggests that the Lady is hurrying to welcome all of the people coming to America from many different places and times. Appropriately, Shawn Harris’s artwork depicts peoples of varying ethnicities, colors, ages, and religions. THOUGHTS: Humorous and quirky, written with a light touch, this book imparts a serious, timely, and important message about the value of immigrants and the long and pivotal role immigration has played in the United States.  It is appropriate for a wide span of ages (even adults will appreciate it), and Harris’s bold, collage-style artwork suits the text perfectly. Highly recommended for elementary and middle schools.

973, United States History          Maggie Bokelman, Cumberland Valley SD