Thursday, July 26, 2018

Summer Reading 2018 Welcome, Wombat

Gr. 2 - 5 This is a book of advice to a young arrival at Sleepy Burrows Wombat Sanctuary from one of the older residents. Chance, the voice of experience, explains all about why the sanctuary is necessary and how the wombats are slowly prepared to return to the wild and live on their own. Along the way, he shares plentiful information about wombats, their stages of development, and human impact on their habitats. As advice to an infant wombat, the wording is simple and direct, making it perfect for elementary age readers. The book is also packed with color photos of various wombats from the sanctuary and sidebars on topics like “Burrow Basics” and “Wombat Combat.” Back matter includes a letter from the author, ideas for how to help wombats, and even a quick guide on “How to speak Aussie.” After all, readers may need to know that “chucking a tanty” means throwing a tantrum. The combination of captivating photos and Chance’s humorous narration make the material very approachable and entertaining, even as it informs. Its place as part of a series means that readers may easily find similar books once they enjoy this one. VERDICT - Perfect for middle grade fans of narrative or creative nonfiction, those researching marsupials, and readers interested in animal sanctuaries and rescue efforts.

This review was originally printed on p.100 of the May 2018 issue of School Library Journal.

Summer Reading 2018 How to Code a Sandcastle

Gr. PreK - 2 This is the first picture book in the Girls Who Code collection and features a foreword by founder Reshma Saujani. Pearl’s attempts to build a sandcastle have met with one disaster after another, but she tries again using code and some help from her robot Pascal. Employing loops, if-then-else conditions, and sequences, can the pair succeed? Josh Funk includes tongue-in-cheek computer references including the names of Pearl and Pascal, which also are names of programming languages. Illustrator Sara Palacios joins in the fun depicting loops with the words wrapping around a swim float or following the course of a moat around the sandcastle. This creative pair have taken a common childhood problem and used it to explain how coding works. They show everything from breaking a problem into smaller pieces to building on existing code. “Pearl and Pascal’s Guide to Coding” follows the story and explains the programming terms in more detail. Readers will enjoy the story even if they have never worked with code before and may find themselves curious about other uses for coding. A good addition to school libraries and computer labs. VERDICT: An excellent age-appropriate introduction to the world of coding. Highly recommended.

This review was originally printed on p.116 of the May 2018 issue of School Library Journal.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Nomad Press Summer of Books Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
"Westward ho! If you travel across certain parts of the United States, you can still see wagon wheel ruts where people crossed the West in search of more opportunity and better lives more than 200 years ago! The Oregon Trail: The Journey Across the Country From Lewis and Clark to the Transcontinental Railroad offers readers ages 9 to 12 a fascinating look at the explorers and settlers who traveled this route during the westward expansion of the United States.
  • Encourages readers to connect historic events to present-day political issues, such as, diversity, migration, and immigration.
  • Excerpts of primary sources and links to online primary sources enhance the narrative and engage readers in historical analysis."
(from publisher's description)