|July 2013 Book Reviews
Author: Pam Heller
For Younger Readers
by Maria Frazee
It’s summertime and that means it’s time for some young adventurers to go on their first roller coaster ride. This book captures the wondrous and heart-pounding anticipation, the exhilarating thrill of speed and the “it’s over too soon” emotions of a child’s first ride. The illustrations vividly express the emotions of the variety of riders as the coaster speeds through its course. This is a great read-aloud with opportunities for dramatic pacing as the coaster slowly rises, “clickity-clackity,” up the steep hill and then zooms with a “whoosh” down and around to the end of the ride. Readers will be left with the feeling of “Wheeeee! What a thrill – let’s go!” For ages 2 to 6.
Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle
by Chris Raschka
Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? When you stop to think about all the emotions and effort involved in the process, you realize the importance of this milestone for children and their parents. This book by award-winning author Chris Raschka serves as a gentle guide through the trials and tribulations of the harder-than-it-looks task of learning to ride a bicycle. The simple, yet expressive language and illustrations offer gentle encouragement along with such practical advice as, try and then try again until by “luck, grace and determination you are riding a bicycle.” This is a useful and sentimental read for parents and an empowering read for children. For ages 4 to 8.
For Older Readers
by Marilyn Singer
Congratulations to author Marilyn Singer for creating an ingenious book of fairy tales told in reverse poems. These poems, when read forward, present the point of view of one of the characters in the fairy tale. When the poems are read in the reverse from bottom to top, they present the points of view of a different character. Lush, brightly painted, two-paneled illustrations by Josee Masse link the perspectives while still maintaining their individual points of view. This book is perfect for teachers and parents working with learners at multiple grade levels on critical thinking skills, writing techniques including point-of view, the role of punctuation and emphasis and the art of oral reading performance. You only need to challenge yourself to create a reverso poem to appreciate the brilliance of this volume. For ages 7 and up.
Flight of the Phoenix (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book 1)
by R.L. LaFevers
Summer is always a good time to start a book series. For fans of mythology, cartography and fantastical creatures, the Nathaniel Fludd – Beastologist series is a great place to start. Nathaniel Fludd is a 10 year old boy who happens to be from a family of beastologists (persons who study animals thought to be mythological or extinct).
Set in England in 1828, this fast-paced adventure series is a mixture of humor, mystery and history. Within the first few pages Nate is informed his parents have been lost at sea, is shipped off to live with his aunt in a town called Batting at Flies and is grabbed up to accompany her to the Arabian desert to see a phoenix lay an egg. The quick progression and short chapters along with the cartoon-style pen-and-ink illustrations make this an appropriate choice for reluctant readers. And who can resist a pet dodo bird named Cornelius? For ages 8 to 12.