Archive for January, 2018

SIZE DOESN’T MATTER

Deadly Animals: 25 Most Deadly Animals in the World That You Should Know!

Written by Hathai Ross

 

While this book contains a lot of interesting information, I would rate it 3.5 stars because the photos that are included are often undersized and unclear.

The author includes animals found all over the world. Their size varies from the tiny mosquito and tsetse fly to the huge animals like the hippopotamus and polar bear. Habitats range from the sea to the glaciers and arid deserts of the Sahara. Readers will find many familiar names like the lion, rhinoceros, leopard, and elephants, but also more unfamiliar species like the Brazilian Wandering Spider, the Blue-Ringed Octopus, the Cone Snail, and the Cape Buffalo.

Ross describes each animal, its habitat, why it is dangerous, and how it affects humans. Some facts that I found particularly interesting are that the Poison Dart Frog is the most poisonous animal on the planet, the poisonous Puffer Fish is a delicacy eaten by many people, and the cute Polar Bear is not afraid of humans, and when hungry enough will even eat its own cubs.

The book is a collection of individual chapters that provide reference information about each of the twenty-five animals selected. It is useful as a starting point of research on some of the most interesting and dangerous animals with which we share our planet. Recommended for middle-grade, young adult or adult readers interested in animal research.

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BRIDGING THE GAP

The Middle Ages: People of the Middle Ages – Kings, Queens, Minstrels and Merchants, Vikings and Knights – 2nd Edition

Written by Dominique LeBeouf

 

This book presents a simplified view of the Middle Ages, a period that is often overlooked and misunderstood in history. The author tries to support her view that the period was not stagnant and dark but rather vibrant. LeBeouf discusses each of the main classifications of groups living during this period. There are brief individual studies of a few like Saint Nicholas, Joan of Arc, and Alfred the Great. She discusses major groups of the period such as the Vikings, minstrels, merchants, clergy, vassals, women, and children.

The book is not particularly well-written and there are many editing errors. Its value lies in providing an overview of the entire period and allowing readers to investigate topics further. The book permits readers to choose areas for comparison, contrast, and discussion. Homeschool parents might want to feature particular topics. Classroom teachers might divide the class into groups to launch further study after previewing this summary.

Recommended as an introduction to the Middle Ages, but not as a verifiable historical guide for ages ten and older.

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#ReadYourWorld Multicultural Book Day 2018

I am delighted to have been a part of Multicultural Book Day since its inception. This year,  I received two wonderful books from the publisher and author. If you enjoy reading these reviews, please consider following my blog by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS Feed Button in the upper right-hanc corner of this post.

THE PUMPKIN PROTECTOR

Pattan’s Pumpkin: A Traditional Flood Story from Southern India

Written by Chitra Soundar

Illustrated by Frané Lessac

I am delighted to share a Southern Indian flood tale story for 2017 Multicultural Book Day. Pattan and his wife, Kanni, lived on their farm alongside the Sahyadri Mountains. They tended goats, bulls, and elephants. Their crops included peppers, rice, nutmeg, and bananas, which they generously shared.

One day Pattan discovered a sickly plant so he decided to care for it next to his hut.  Due to his tender care, the plant miraculously grew into an enormous pumpkin. When a terrifying rainstorm did not abate, the couple decided they must flee with every living thing that lived on their farm. Where could they hide? Pattan made the decision to harvest the pumpkin. All the animals pitched in to hollow out the pumpkin as Kanni filled sacks with food supplies. When they were finished, the animals dove into the pumpkin as Pattan cut the stem holding it in place. Kanni sang a lullaby to soothe the young animals as the storm thrashed outside.

Eventually, the rains let up, and the pumpkin came to a halt. Pattan peeked out and discovered that the sun had appeared. They began their journey home. Pattan had kept one seed from the pumpkin savior. Ever since that day Pattan and his descendants look after their animals and pumpkin crop in the Kerala valley.

This hardcover book is richly illustrated in primitive folk style. The colors are brilliant and rich. I would recommend the book for young readers in preschool and the primary grades who will appreciate the narrative that unfolds through the pictures. Suggested as a bedtime story or read aloud.

 

SHELLY BEAN, SPORTS QUEEN

Shelly Bean the Sports Queen plays a game of catch

Written by Shelly Biyum-Breen

Illustrated by Marieka Heinlen

Shelly, her brothers, Matt and Ben, and her friends Audrey and Maya, are having fun attending a softball game in which Shelly’s cousin, Olivia is playing. As the game continues Shelly decides that she would like to learn how to play. Shelly eagerly accepts Olivia’s invitation to play catch with other teammates after the game. At first, Shelly throws and catches underhand, but Olivia urges her to progress to overhand throws. Soon Olivia can do both.

Olivia arrives home and proudly adds another “jewel” to her paper sports crown. Olivia sets realistic goals for herself and rewards herself for achieving them. At the end of the tale, the author includes tips on how to throw and catch a softball with a mitt. She also provides a glossary of basic baseball terminology.

The book teaches readers the values of determination and good sportsmanship. It encourages girls to pursue competition in sports.  Colorful and simple pictures with large print text allow primary grade readers to follow along easily. Recommended for girls who want to become players as well as princesses.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

 

2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan BernardoAuthor Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne BroylesAuthor Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports QueenAuthor Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.

Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

SHARKS MADE SIMPLE

Sharks: Amazing Facts & Pictures for Children, Issue No. 2

Written by Hathai Ross

 

The author has written a simple reference book that will provide young readers with the essential facts on these fascinating sea creatures. Hathai begins with a history of sharks, pointing out to young readers that they existed before the dinosaurs. She includes a few simple photos to illustrate fossil remains. In the next chapter, Ross discusses anatomy and function. Ross provides a quick glimpse of different types of sharks and their special qualities like electrical sensors, and an exceptional sense of vision, smell, and hearing. Before concluding, Ross tries to convince her readers that despite movie depictions, there are reasons not to be afraid of sharks. She delves into their unique characteristics, and the organizations working to protect them.

 

Much of the book is written in the form of question and answer. That enables young readers to follow easily, but it does break up the flow of the narrative. This book is laid out more in the form of a reference book or research tool. I don’t think that will deter readers who are fascinated by these creatures and would like a quick, comprehensive overview. The illustrations and diagrams vary in effectiveness because some are difficult to see. Recommended for animal enthusiasts and children seeking information for a research project.

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GOOD NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT

Dreams: A No-Fluff Guide to Dreams Meanings, Dreams Symbols, and Nightmares Hidden Meaning…

Written by Jada Levitt

This book provides an interesting overview and analysis of dreams and how they affect us. Levitt begins her book with an introduction that defines dreams as a way for the subconscious to communicate with the conscious mind that allows one to relive or experience their emotions. Most people will spend about six years of their life dreaming. Most dreams are forgotten within ten minutes of waking up; even those who claim they don’t remember dreaming do so regularly. There are five stages of sleep, and it is only in the fifth stage that we can dream.

Levitt describes the most common types of dreams, which range from daydreaming, falling, fires, being chased, and swimming, among many others. While an exact diagnosis for an individual cannot be made, she describes the types of symbolism within each type and what that symbolism might suggest in a person’s life situation. For example, a dreamer finding herself back in school might be facing unresolved insecurities or facing situations in life now that involve new lessons to be learned.

The author explains what happens in each of the five stages of sleep, and how to best prepare for a good night’s sleep. She talks about why remembering dreams are important and suggest some techniques that will facilitate doing so. By taking stock of our dreams relating to what is happening in our daily lives, one will be better able to cope with daily situations.

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MOVING RIGHT ALONG….

Miss Perfect and Tiny Tail

Written by Rachel Schlessinger

Illustrated by Sigalet Carmely

 

This book is a fairly well-written chapter book that features a ten-year-old named Lily who faces numerous challenges one summer. Lily is the middle child. Her older sister, Miss Perfect, and a younger sister, Tiny Tail are both dearly loved and constant annoyances. A large part of the book focuses on sibling and peer relationships as well as Lily’s conflicts with her mother.

Lily’s mother informs the three sisters that they will be moving from their small village to the big city because their father has found work there. This is the second conflict that Lily, as well as her sisters, must face and resolve. Lily has developed a crush on Tommy. At first, he seems to ignore and make fun of her.

The summer setting provides the backdrop for these three challenges. As time advances, each member of the family must face the issues revealed in the first person narrative told by Lily. Many middle-grade readers will see themselves mirrored in the characters and their conflicts. Because this book consists of short chapters consisting of less than seventy pages, reluctant readers will not be deterred. A few illustrations enhance its appeal. Recommended for middle-grade readers, teachers and parents who wish to explore the challenges faced by the middle child, parent and sibling relationships, and families who are planning a move.

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CAT CAPERS

Wendy and Black (Cat Detective 1): The Mystery House

Written by Amma Lee

First in a series of chapter books featuring a fifteen-year-old girl named Wendy and Black, her cat. Wendy has been endowed with a special gift. Once every hundred years a member of her family develops the ability to converse with cats. Wendy uses this gift to communicate with her cat. Together they have become a talented detective team. When a house down the street suddenly appears to be inhabited, Wendy and Black set out to investigate. Wendy’s mom, Mrs. Michaels, asks her to pick up a welcome package for the new neighbor.

Wendy and Black cannot contain their curiosity. They illegally break into the house drawn in by a mysterious purple light. When the floorboards cave in, and Black detects Mrs. Michaels’ presence in the house, their level of fear rises. Will the detective pair solve the mystery? Is Wendy’s mom safe?

This is a short chapter book that is most appropriate for beginning readers. There are a few editing issues. The book is targeted for nine to twelve-year-old readers but probably is not challenging enough for the older end of that age group. I would recommend it especially for reluctant readers and mystery fans.

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