Saturday, December 22, 2018

Fall Reading 2018 Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield's First Ride


This imagined incident from the life of motorcyclist Bessie Stringfield plays on her love of speeding along on two wheels and imitates the sort of stories she often told about her own life. The additional information at the end of the story tells of her travels as an adult on her motorcycle, including her career as the only female civilian motorcycle courier for the U.S. military. It also mentions The Negro Motorist Green Book, which was used by "black people traveling in America" to find hotels and other services that were safe for them while they were on the road.

I especially like that the author discusses the discrepancies in Bessie's accounts of her early life and those that are supported by evidence. As he says, "This kind of contradicting information often follows people whose adventures are larger than life."

This is a good book to use for units for Women's History Month, Black History Month, or with guidance lessons on self-esteem and perseverance. It is also a good picture book to put into the hands of young readers who enjoy stories about transportation and people who feel "the need for speed."

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Fall Reading 2018 The Journey of York: The Unsung Hero of the Lewis and Clark Expedition


"In May 1804 Captain Lewis, Captain Clark, and twenty-eight men set out from St. Louis, Missouri, in three boats with the goal  of reaching the Pacific Ocean. All but one of those men were volunteers. This is his story." So begins this picture book account of the Lewis & Clark Expedition from the viewpoint of York, Captain Clark's slave. The text points out that York had no choice in leaving his family and home, and also does a good job of choosing a few key milestones of the journey to frame the challenges and dangers the men faced. The reaction of the native tribes to seeing someone with skin the color of York's is mentioned, including a chief who called him "Big Medicine." A feeling of sympathy between York and Sacajawea is also described, bringing attention to the similarity between their situations as York learns that the young woman was stolen from her tribe and given in trade to the man who called her his wife.

Several pages that look like very old paper are inserted into the text to hold larger chunks of exposition. The background information included in the introduction tells of President Jefferson's desire for a detailed accounting of the new territory, while the author's note at the end shares facts about the rewards the party received on their return and York's continued enslavement. The illustrations capture the work of building shelters, poling boats, a portage around waterfalls, and the majesty of Mount Hood glimpsed for the first time by the party.

This is a very helpful look at a famous group of men, and one of the often overlooked members of the party. It draws attention to the contributions of York, and also to the way famous men in our country's history used slave labor and indigenous people for their own purposes. A good book to add to units on Westward Expansion, especially for those trying to offer a more balanced picture of what occurred from beyond the European male viewpoint.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

There's an Elephant in My Bathtub Awareness Tour 2018


Enter to win a copy of There’s an Elephant in My Bathtub by Connie Bowman, and a menagerie of stuffed animals!
One (1) winner receives:
  • An autographed copy of There’s an Elephant in My Bathtub
  • A menagerie of stuffed animals, as featured in the prize image
Nine (9) winners will receive:
  • An autographed copy of There’s an Elephant in My Bathtub
Giveaway begins December 1, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 31, 2018, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
Giveaway open to residents of Canada and the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
Connie Bowman is responsible for prize fulfillment.




Have you ever watched "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"? For those who have, think back on Grandpa's crazy stories for Jeremy and Jemima. He begins one with the joke, "This morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas, and how he got into my pajamas I shall never know!" That is the sort of day that the narrator of this book seems to be having, only the elephant is in his bathtub rather than his pajamas. There seem to be wild animals throughout the house - a gorilla, a camel, a cobra, a bear, a lion, and a rhino turn up in the most unexpected places as the narrator goes about his routine. But instead of losing his cool, he calmly deals with each new surprise and then relates the incredible experiences to his child at the end of the day.

Young readers will enjoy seeing each new animal in its unlikely setting, whether that is the pantry or the bedroom window. And they are sure to be impressed by the unflappable parent as he moves each critter to a safe location. The ending will generate smiles and laughs all around as the returning child hears about the day and sees the results of the father's ingenuity in dealing with the wildlife. Illustrations give enough detail to set the scene without drawing attention away from the focal point of man and beast in each encounter.

An amusing tale perfect for bedtime with its repetitive pattern of surprise and resolution. Youngsters may find themselves imaging their own version filled with their favorite animals.


Written by Connie Bowman
Illustrated by Kelly O’Neill
Publisher’s Synopsis: When a loving father finds an elephant in his bathtub one morning he decides to take matters into his own hands. As he travels from room to room he discovers more animals making themselves quite at home. What’s a Dad to do? When his son arrives home from school he’s in for quite a surprise. Dad has gathered all of the animals together in his  son’s room for quite a safari party! At the end of the story we find that Dad has a wonderful imagination and has created a sweet story out of his son’s animals left around the house.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Belle Isle Books | December 10, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1947860261



The Children's Book Review
Tour Kick-Off & Giveaway
December 1
A Dream Within A Dream
Book Review
December 3
Mommy Ramblings
Book Review
December 4
Word Spelunking
December 5
icefairy's Treasure Chest
Book Review
December 6
The Fairview Review
Book Review
December 7
Book Review
December 10
LitPick Student Book Reviews
December 11
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
Book Review
December 12
Confessions of a Book Addict
Book Review
December 13
Book Review
December 14
Inspired by Savannah
Book Review
December 15
Glass of Wine, Glass of Milk
Book Review
December 17

FTC disclosure: the Fairview Review is participating in the blog tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Connie Bowman.