Our 50 States

April 16, 2008

This book by Lynne Cheney is filled with interesting information about all 50 states. The book has a loose plot of a family traveling throughout the entire country, but with each page dedicated to a state and jam-packed with pictures and trivia, the book certainly does not read like a story. The family vacation concept does pop up on each page though; if you’re paying attention you will find the two kids sending their grandma or friends emails and text messages about the exciting things they see or learn. Our 50 States is a great way to learn about geography and the diverse culture of the United States. With so much information on each page, this is definitely a book where each look may provide you with something new.

Mrs. Cheney has also written four other books for children, including A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women. Each of her books for children includes an aspect of American history, and most, including Our 50 States and A is for Abigail are illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser and feature fun, colorful illustrations.


John, Paul, George & Ben

April 10, 2008

This book by Lane Smith was easily my favorite from the selection for class last week. It combines history, Beatles references, and humor to create a very entertaining book. I highly, highly recommend it. Actually, the more I read Lane Smith books, whether they are his own or an effort with Jon Scieszka, the more I love his work. Not only are these books fun for kids, but also for adults who read with kids (or just for the fun of it on their own). This story shows a look at five American leaders as children and how their actions as children may have impacted them as adults.

Like with Martin’s Big Words, Scholastic also put out a video for this book. The video is definitely just as good as the book. It works in some new animation as well as includes music that sounds very similar to Beatles songs. James Earl Jones also narrates. The video is great to watch if you have the opportunity, otherwise check out the book. It will absolutely make you laugh.

Here’s an advertisement for the book and video.


First the Egg

March 23, 2008

This multi-honored book by Laura Vaccaro Seeger teaches children about how things develop — first a seed then a flower, a caterpillar then a butterfly, painting then a picture. With its simple pictures and colors, First the Egg is perfect for young children. The book also features a clever cut-out design that will have both kids and adults turning the pages back and forth.

First the Egg is a 2008 Caldecott Honor and Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. The entire book can be previewed online courtesy of Lookybook. Click here to preview.


Scaredy Squirrel

March 11, 2008

I love books that give readers more than just a story. The pictures in Mélanie Watt’s Scaredy Squirrel are just as important as the text and bring a sense of interaction with readers. There are images of things Scaredy Squirrel is afraid of, a breakdown of his daily schedule, and a detailed chart of the exact locations he has visited in his tree. In his first adventure, Scaredy Squirrel explains that he is afraid of, well, pretty much everything. He never leaves his tree because of the danger that exists outside of it. However, one day his life changes when he falls out of his tree and discovers he is a flying squirrel. Now his daily schedule is different…slightly.

More Scaredy Squirrel adventures that feature the same humor and interaction: Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend and the recently released Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach.