Posts from the ‘adult’ Category

SPIDER SURPRISES

All About Spiders: A Picture Book for Kids About Spiders

Written by Jasmine Williams

Okay, spiders are not the most endearing or popular creatures. There are more than 43,000 species on earth; they live on all continents except Antarctica. Many people are terrified of them, but only two spiders are actually deadly to humans, The Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. Spiders are arachnids with bodies consisting of two parts. The silken webs they weave are not only used to trap food. The Goliath Bird-Eating Spider is the largest spider and it accomplishes exactly what its name implies. Several spiders are as small as the head of a pin. I learned that a Hawaiian spider is nicknamed the Happy Faced Spider because it seems to be smiling at us.

 

The photos in this book are unique because they are enlarged to display the features written about in the book. Children will have no difficulty understanding the concepts and information. Budding amateur scientists and animal lovers can learn a lot. The author does not shy away from using challenging vocabulary. For this reason, younger readers will need adult explanation, but readers in the seven to ten group should be able to read independently. Recommended for teachers and librarians to include on their research shelves. It may even convert some spider haters.

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PROUD AND FREE

America’s Star Spangled Story Celebrating 200 Hundred Years of the National Anthem

Written by Jane Hampton Cook

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An interesting book that uses each line of The Star Spangled Banner to trace the history of the events of the War of 1812 when the British attempted to control Washington, DC, the key players in the events, background events, and photos from the past and present. The author narrates the history of the battle for control of Fort McHenry relating to the lines of the song as it was penned in the midst of the battle. Occasionally the author dips back in time to muse about the thoughts of the Pilgrims as they landed on the shores of America, and the Patriots as they fought for freedom from Great Britain during the American Revolution. They believed that The War of 1812 and the destruction of the Capitol by the British added insult to injury.

Readers are encouraged to think about the images that each line of this now famous song evoke in their minds and hearts. Perhaps few Americans are aware that the song did not gain widespread notoriety until the end of the nineteenth century and was not made the official national anthem until the administration of Herbert Hoover.

Anyone with an interest in American history and this beautiful song will find the short book entertaining and informative. Appropriate for readers age ten and older.

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WHERE IS THAT REMOTE?

Conspirators of the Lost Sock and the Loose Change Collection Agency

Written by Dan O’Brien

Illustrated by Steve Ferchaud

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Labeled as a Fantasy Noir by the author this short tale of less than fifty pages contains interesting characters and an engaging plot. Robert Pendleton is an elderly man who apparently lives alone. Upon waking up from his customary long sleep, he is annoyed to discover that he cannot find his remote control. He bends over, smashing a lamp in the process. Robert gets down on his knees and discovers a leprechaun standing at the back of his couch. Colin McMasters is in charge of the Loose Change Collection Agency. He has come to enlist Robert’s help to defeat a malevolent creature known as The Scourge. He is the leader of a sock army of soldiers harassing the community of leprechauns.

Robert cannot believe he is taking this tale seriously, but he agrees to enter the fantasy world through a broken washing machine. He is amazed to discover that Colin is telling the truth. Will Robert succeed in his mission to defeat the invaders and then find his way back home to his world.

Targeted for ages six through eighteen, the length of this book suggests it could be appropriate for younger readers. The charming black and white pencil illustrations aptly portray the characters, and the dialogue is fun to read. On the other hand, there are some challenging words like acerbic, undulating and gargantuan that might discourage readers under age ten. Definitely not a bedtime story, but certainly a creative and well-written tale that provides an interesting discussion topic.

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LET YOUR FINGERS TAKE FLIGHT

You can draw Military Aircraft

Written and illustrated by Mike Artell

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I was provided a copy of this book and voluntarily decided to give my honest, unbiased review.

Artell has written and illustrated more than 35 books for children and adults. This book is much more than an I Can Draw book. It does include step by step instructions for drawing helicopters, prop planes and jets, which are easy to follow and simple enough for the targeted audience of seven to twelve year old plane enthusiasts.

For me even more important is the explanation of letter codes that the military use to describe the function of each machine. For example, A indicates attack fighter and M signifies that the aircraft has multiple functions. Each aircraft is preceded by an actual photograph along with statistics about size, speed, altitude and function. These are followed by several pages of step by step easy to follow drawing instructions. Perhaps the best feature is the QR code available as an app for each plane. Readers can use it to access videos of actual flight and tons of additional information on each of the fifteen selections. At the end of the book, the author supplies an extensive bibliography which the military aircraft aficionado may access for detailed information.

I learned a lot about military aircraft from this easy read. Even though my artistic ability is generally limited to stick figures, this guide is so easy that I am tempted to make a serious try to draw them. Recommended for ages seven and older.

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WAITING TO BE TAMED

Meeting of the Mustangs

Written by Cathy Kennedy

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Charming tale of less than one hundred pages focusing on the meanderings of a black mustang colt. As a young colt he loved to chase butterflies, playing with the other newborns. Traveling with the herd, he faced many dangers including attacks by a mountain lion and bear. One day he is separated from the herd. His travels will bring him across the lands of Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma. The colt must face wildfires and hunter’s traps. One fateful day he is lassoed and brought to the barn of a ranch. A young girl named Paula tries to win his devotion, but he is afraid and that leads to being taken away once more. A kind rancher tries to tame him, but the mustang feels he must escape once more. An unexpected accident on the road leads to a chance meeting with Tyler that will change both of their lives forever.

This tale is written from the viewpoint of the black mustang. It is almost a stream of consciousness, while the plot moves along there is not a central thread. The author does an excellent job of securing empathy with the colt. Children who love or own horses will identify with the protagonist. The ending came as a surprise. I would love to see a sequel as I would love to see that story fleshed out. I would especially recommend the book to middle grade readers and teen audiences.

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A SYMBOL OF PRIDE

African Wild Dogs: Amazing Facts and Fun Photos About African Wild Dogs

Written by Rita Terry

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An interesting picture book for elementary school children and all those who are interested in unusual animals. African wild dogs are related to canines and wolves. Unlike domesticated dogs they have four claws instead of five. Like wolves they live in packs. They are carnivores and their hunting habits require a rather large habitat area of 1,500 square kilometers. African wild dogs are sometimes called painted dogs because they are covered with patches of red, black, white, yellow, and brown patches. Today their habitat has been largely reduced to South Africa due to rabies, vehicle accidents and the rapid encroachment of farmers upon their territory.

Terry discusses how these creatures communicate and the rituals they perform before the hunt. She explains how the pack is dominated by an alpha male and female, but stresses the fact that all members of the pack understand their roles and are protected and maintained by the rest of the family. The inside photographs are excellent; they capture the spirit and character of the animal. The print is large and easy to read for the younger reader, and the text well-written for the most part. Nice book to put on a classroom reference shelf for those interested in animals or dogs in particular. The author has written other nonfiction books about many other animals living in the past and present. Available in kindle and print format.

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HOUSE POOR? LESS CAN BE MORE

Tiny Houses: A Beginner’s Guide….

Written by Alex Freeman

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Thinking of downsizing? Freeman’s guide will provide food for thought to anyone who is contemplating jumping on the bandwagon of now popular tiny house living.

What is considered a tiny house? The author is talking about 100 to 250 square feet of living space. Students, seniors and business owners might be some types of people considering the more economic option. Freeman covers how to plan for building, the construction and blueprints, floor plans and materials that might be used for the exterior. He outlines the possibilities for operating systems and compact appliances for the interior. Freeman presents a few ideas for the most efficient use of space in kitchens and baths as well  interior decorating ideas for home owners.

Whether you are just curious or seriously considering building or making the move to a tiny house community, this book will give you the basics that you need to know. Recommended for young adult and adult readers.

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