Picture Books

Fur and Feathers

Author(s): 
Janet Halfmann
Illustrator(s): 
Laurie Allen Klein

In Sophia's dream, all the animals had their coats blown off and so she has to make new ones for them, adding her own special touches. This is the story of "Fur and Feathers" which introduces young children to animal classification.

The story has a good variety of common animals with different coats. A few parts are a bit contrived, like the frog finding the slime, but otherwise the story is engaging. The "For Creative Minds" section at the end of the book contains activities based on animal classification.

Good Night, Little Sea Otter

Book cover: 'Good Night, Little Sea Otter'
Author(s): 
Janet Halfmann
Illustrator(s): 
Wish Williams

This sweet book is about Little Sea Otter saying good night to all sorts of ocean friends. While it makes a wonderful bedtime book, the illustrations deserve some time to be admired as you read through it. The story is straightforward, and yet contains enough tidbits to include it in an ocean study. The illustrations are full of color, bringing alive Little Sea Otter's story. You can preview the book at Star Bright Books: http://www.starbrightbooks.org/details.php?id=300

Galileo's Leaning Tower Experiment

Author(s): 
Wendy Macdonald
Illustrator(s): 
Paolo Rui

Science readers are to be found if you look around enough as this book demonstrates. It is the fictional story of Massimo, a boy who regularly throws his uncle's lunch off a bridge to his boat as his uncle rows by below. Galileo happens to see that the bread and the cheese land at the same time. The story ends atop the leaning Tower of Pisa, as legend suggests Galileo did.

Follow the Line Around the World

Author(s): 
Ljungkvist, Laura

We love geography in our house! And I love it when I find books that bring geography to little ones! This picture book invites the young child to follow an imaginary line around the world, highlighting interesting facts about different places in every continent.
[This review is still under construction.]

Paul Revere's Ride

Author(s): 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Illustrator(s): 
Charlies Santore

Longfellow’s famous poem, Paul Revere’s Ride, is beautifully illustrated in this picture book by Charles Santore. Every page captures both the historical setting and the patriotic significance of a pivotal event in the American Revolution.

Illustrations are dark-toned and shadowy, just right for the middle-of-the-night setting. The suspense builds with extreme close-ups that spill over the edges, and bird’s-eye views sweeping over the nighttime landscape.

Newton and Me

Author(s): 
Lynne Mayer
Illustrator(s): 
Sherry Rogers

With the release of Newton and Me I was hoping to find an elementary science book written as an engaging story but, unfortunately, I was disappointed. The book is about a boy and his dog, Newton, discovering various forces in their daily lives, forces first described by Isaac Newton.

Famous Figures of Ancient Times

Author(s): 
Cathy Diez-Luckie

This is a fun and colorful book of cut-out paper dolls that you assemble with small brads or brass fasteners (available from an office supply store), allowing the arms and legs to be moved and posed.
The book is printed on heavy cardstock (with perforated pages for easy removal) and there are two copies of each paper doll – one in full color and one ready to be colored.

Raising Sweetness

Author(s): 
Diane Stanley

The good sheriff of Possum Trot has adopted every child in the orphanage, and is busier...and happier... than ever providing for their needs. Sadly, but not too surprisingly, he's domestically challenged, and his new family dearly hope for a mother. A letter arrives and Sweetness saves the day by quickly learning to read and write, and using those skills to reunite Tex with his long lost love: kind and capable Lucy Locket.

Saving Sweetness

Author(s): 
Diane Stanley

This delightful little story is the first of two Texas 'small tales'. Sweetness, the tiniest orphan, is aptly named which is one reason why the good-hearted but somewhat clueless sheriff can't resist her. The story is told in Texas twang entirely from the sheriff's point of view, but the clever illustrations provide a broader picture and add to the fun. There are elements of adventure, danger, cruelty, humor, justice, and goodness, all culminating in generous, fatherly love. What more could you want?

Little Black Ant on Park Street

Little Black Ant on Park Street
Author(s): 
Janet Halfmann
Illustrator(s): 
Kathleen Rietz

The Smithsonian’s Backyard Collection series “is a world of wonder for children intrigued by the wildlife outside their windows.” The books have an over-sized format, and each page filled with colorful and detailed illustrations with large-print text. This newest book in the series tells the story of Little Black Ant searching for food. Though the book may be written for younger children, this is not a book that is more story than science.

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