Elem. – Be a Pet Expert (Series NF)

Barder, Gemma. Be a Pet Expert (series of 6). Crabtree, 2021. 32 p. $20.75 each. $124.50 Set of 6. Grades 3-6.

Be a Cat Expert. 978-0-778-78015-1.
Be A Dog Expert. 978-0-778-78016-8.
Be a Hamster & Guinea Pig Expert. 978-0-778-78017-5.
Be a Horse & Pony Expert. 978-0-778-78018-2.
Be a Rabbit Expert. 978-0-778-78019-9.
Be a Reptile Expert. 978-0-778-78020-5.

These books provide helpful information, facts, and pet care tips for a variety of animals. Many photos, text boxes, and checklists help readers to learn more about the animals and consider them as pets. A flowchart guides readers through yes/no questions to determine what type best suits their personalities. Placing hamsters and guinea pigs in the same book will help readers to differentiate the two. Each book surprises readers with some interesting facts even on ‘well-known’ pets. For instance, no two dogs have the same noseprint; cats cannot taste sweet foods; horses and ponies have the largest eyes of any mammals on land; and rabbits can sleep with their eyes open.

THOUGHTS: These helpful books shed a positive yet truthful light on pets, which will appeal to pet-owners and animal lovers alike.

630s Domesticated Animals, Pets        Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD

Elem. – How Big is Your Brave?

Soukup, Ruth. How Big is Your Brave? ZonderKidz, 2020. $17.99. Unpaged. Grades PreK-2. 

Zippy the bunny dreams of traveling to space one day but feels uncertain about trying Space Camp. With some gentle encouragement from her family, Zippy heads to Space Camp even though she’s scared. Mom tells her, “Being brave doesn’t mean you’re never scared…courage means taking an action, even when you feel afraid.” Zippy flourishes at camp, making friends and learning a lot. When an accident derails her plans for Launch Day, Zippy feels ready to give up. Dad reminds her that “You can choose to give up or choose to keep going. It’s all up to you.” When Launch Day arrives, Zippy’s Veggie Vrrrooom wins second place and a special award for most creative design. While the title phrase never features in the story, the message is one that all kids will understand in some way, whether it’s facing scary situations with courage or working through challenges.

THOUGHTS: Zippy’s friendly face and relatable story will win over readers.

Picture book                    Lindsey Long, Lower Dauphin 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. – 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