Fascinating story about the discovery of the tomb, the Egyptian pharaoh and his family. You will view Egyptian history and culture with fresh perspective. It’s amazing what has been learned simply by studying the tombs. The photos are magnificent, both full color and monochrome. This book will leave you wanting to learn even more about the history of Egypt and the pharaohs.
Criss Cross is the story of Debbie, who wishes that something good would happen to her. It is also the story of Hector, and Patty, and Lenny, and Phil. Over time, Debbie loses a necklace, goes jean shopping with her mother, learns to drive stick shift illegally, saves someone’s life and meets Peter. While waiting for something good to happen to her, Debbie’s life criss crosses with those of her friends. This 2006 Newbery Award winning book is a beautiful story of growing up and discovering who you are.
A Gold Star for Zog.
By Julia Donaldson.
Illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
Huzzah for happy endings! This charming story is told with dragons, a princess, and a knight, as well as a host of woodland creatures, who react with amusement to these characters. Zog is a young dragon who is just learning the ropes at Dragon School under the patient tutelage of Madam Dragon. Along with his classmates (a rainbow-hued and enthusiastic group of young dragons), Zog learns to fly, roar, and breathe fire over the course of three years. His efforts are mixed, often resulting in the kind of minor injuries that are easy enough to incur when trying to master a new set of skills, even for a dragon. Luckily, he is tended to each time by a kind young girl who happens by with a bag of remedies. The fourth year of Dragon School, however, brings a lesson which proves most challenging for Zog—namely, capturing a princess. Every attempt fails, but then he sees the same girl who has always come to his aid. She does so once again, revealing her identity as Princess Pearl and offering to be captured so that he can succeed in his task. When a gallant knight finally appears to come and rescue her, the princess stops them from fighting and proudly declares her true love. The result is a surprising happily ever after for everyone—dragons and humans alike. Although the text is in rhyme, the words are well-chosen and bounce along merrily, avoiding the clunky, cloying manner of most rhymed stories in picture books. Axel Scheffler’s artwork, rendered in a palette of vibrant colors, makes the characters immediately winsome, and coordinates perfectly with the text, adding to the overall pleasure of reading this story.
The Year Money Grew on Trees is set in New Mexico in the 1980s and tells the story of Jackson Jones and the year he slightly unwillingly becomes an apple farmer. Jackson’s neighbor, Mrs. Nelson offers him a business offer he cannot refuse: the opportunity to tend to 300 apple trees in Mrs. Nelson’s orchard. Jackson and Mrs. Nelson draw up a contract that could leave Jackson as the owner of the orchard if he meets her stipulations. Jackson is able to get help from his siblings and cousins with the promise of a big financial payoff at the end. Will the kids really be able to beat Mrs. Nelson and get to keep their money? Read this wonderful book and find out.
KIDS’ NONFICTION REVIEW: Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth’s Strangest Animals
Flying Snake. Blobfish. Glass Frog. Axolotl. Sea Pig. Does this sound like a list of animals made up on a whim by a kid? Of course it does! But the exciting truth is that these are all real animals living on our planet today. Not only do they have what are sometimes amusing names, they possess a range of truly incredible abilities. Honestly, aren’t you the teeniest bit curious to know about animals that can shoot blood from their eyes as far as five feet, or survive machete blows from farmers? If so, you are going to love this book.
A page or two is devoted to each of fifty animals, listed in alphabetical order by their common name. The author, however, introduces and explains biological classifications at the outset of the book, as well as a simple mnemonic device for remembering the order in which they are arranged. The entry for each animal includes its biological classification information, its scientific name, a map showing where in the world it lives, a paragraph of basic information about it, and a scale illustration of the animal in color. Most pages also include additional elements such as charts, illustrations, fun facts, or other interesting and amusing tidbits, such as a side-by-side comparison of a Yeti Crab with a Yeti. The book is engagingly and sometimes amusingly written, and can be read straight from beginning to end, though its format and layout also make it ideal for browsing and reading bit by bit. The written information is interspersed nicely with the visual information, and it is short and interesting enough to both grab and hold attention as well as remember and share later. Recommended for middle elementary grades and up, and for anyone who loves animals or learning bizarre but fun facts.
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