Friday, November 11, 2016

Animal Planet Strange, Unusual, Gross, & Cool Animals by Charles Ghigna

Animal Planet Strange, Unusual, Gross, & Cool Animals 
by Charles Ghigna
Published Oct. 2016
Time Inc. Books
Ages 8-11
Nonfiction
Hardcover
128 pages

Goodreads Summary
Did you know that an archerfish can spit water up to 16 feet? Or that the giant weta is the world's largest and heaviest insect? Animal Planet's fascinating exploration of animal oddities introduces young animal lovers to some of the most astonishing, gorgeous, and obscure animals in the world-including some brand new discoveries! Packed with more than 200 vibrant photographs and fun facts about animals with unusual behaviors, strange appearances, and remarkable stats, this deluxe gift book is perfect for reluctant readers or anyone who loves totally gross and amazing animals. 
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of books in the Animal Bites series benefits the principal partners of R.O.A.R. (Reach Out. Act. Respond.), Animal Planet's initiative dedicated to improving the lives of animals in our communities and in the wild.

My Thoughts
Strange, unusual, gross and cool all seem fitting words to describe the animals in this book. I learned about so many animals I never knew existed before including the markhor, maleo, rhombic egg eater and the kakapo. 
The book presents animals in large sections, Strange Animals, Unusual Animals, Gross Animals, and Cool Animals. It includes a glossary and interesting sections that focus more closely on body parts such as "The Eyes Have It" and "Fabulous Feet". 

The pages are big and covered with gorgeous photographs from Animal Planet. 
Strange, Unusual, Gross and Cool Animals would make a wonderful addition to a school or classroom library and a great gift for young animal enthusiasts. 

See what others have to say about this book:
Purple Owl Reviews

I am excited that Charles Ghigna agreed to do a guest post today. Below he describes how this book was "born". 


From a Treehouse in the Middle of Alabama
by Charles Ghigna

    It’s no wonder an author with a name like “Goose” for a pseudonym was asked to write another book about animals. But this is no ordinary book. This is a book full of well-researched animals animals, strange, unusual, gross and cool.

    I live in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama where I’ve written more than a hundred books. I like to look out the window and make up poems and stories about fictitious animals who live only in my imagination — and the imaginations of my young readers.

   But they wanted a book about real animals! Exotic animals that roam the forests of the world and swim the depths of oceans. This was not going to be a typical book of poems and stories. This was going to be a tome of timeless importance to inspire and intrigue, to captivate and gross out the preteen crowd of cool kids, kids who love to read and explore, and kids who do not like to read and explore but who would be tempted to open a book that has the word “gross” on its cover.

   So, I got up out of my cozy treehouse and drove directly to my local library asking for help. There in the wonderfully inspiring confines of the Homewood Public Library I told my librarian friends about my new project. They saw the fear in my eyes. “Help,” I said in the voice of a bug-eyed Blobfish.

   In less time than it takes for the Rosy Wolfsnail to capture and devour its prey, my arms were stacked high with books about some of the world’s most exotic animals, animals from the tops of the Amazon mountains to the bottom of the seas off the coasts of Australia.

   And so I waddled my way back to the treehouse like a happy Bluefooted Booby where I would spend the next nine months reading, writing, researching, and revising information about some of the world’s coolest animals, many of them newly discovered. I called scientists, teachers, librarians, family and friends, and asked them to suggest animals they thought should be on the list. I researched all the books I could find, as well as websites and blogs. I stayed up late at night and into the wee hours of the morning, catching late afternoon catnaps on the sofa of my treehouse.

   Then the real work began. The fun work of taking all the information I had gathered about each animal and crystalizing it into a book that no kid of any age could resist. I used my skills as a poet to “show and not tell.” I pretended I was a kid again, a curious kid discovering a new world of the most amazing collection of animals I had ever seen.

   Before long, I had a book full of exotic animals. A strange, unusual, gross and cool book of kid-friendly, kid-scary creatures. I passed my manuscript along to my editors at Time Inc. They magically transformed my text into little attractive packages of words accompanied by some of the world’s most gorgeous eye popping pictures by some of the world’s most renowned photographers.

   And so after nine months in the making, our beautiful book baby was born. We call her SUGAC for short. We love our SUGAC and we hope you like her. We hope everyone whoever wanders this planet, whoever wonders this animal planet, will like her too.


Thanks again Charles for sharing your journey to bring Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals to readers. 





Charles Ghigna - Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama.
He is the author of more than 5,000 poems and 100 award-winning books from 
Random House, Disney-Hyperion, Time Inc., Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, 
Capstone, Boyds Mills, Abrams, Orca, Charlesbridge and other publishers.

Visit his website here

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-My First Book of Hockey: A Rookie Book and Giveaway!

 My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website.


Published by Sports Illustrated Kids
September 2016
Ages 3-8
48 Pages

Goodreads Summary
The puck drops, skates flash, and sticks fly-a hockey game is underway! With a fun mix of Sports Illustrated action photography, simple text, a full glossary of terms, and cool graphics, My First Book of Hockey introduces readers to the basics. Kids (and maybe a few adults, too!) will learn how power plays work, how the three-period game flows, what a hat trick is, what's up with the referee's crease, and more.

An illustrated "rookie" character appears on every page, guiding the reader moment by moment, and helping to make My First Book of Hockey an ideal shared reading experience between parents and their young rookies before, during, and after the game.


My Thoughts
I have to admit, I don't watch a lot of hockey. However, I have been to my local hockey team games and wondered about several things. What is "icing"? What makes a "power play"? And what the heck is "off sides"? 
Well Sports Illustrated Kids has answered these questions and more in their latest addition to the Rookie Book series, My First Book of Hockey. I have written about this series before here. It is a wonderful series that teaches youngest fans about their favorite sports. Previously, they have published My First Book of Baseball and My First Book of Football
This book explains the basic elements of the game in simplistic terms with accompanying actual photographs of NHL players. The solid, bold colored backgrounds behind the photos and white text will allow little ones to focus on the information presented. 
Thick, sturdy pages will stand up to the most enthusiastic readers. 

This book is great for any young sports fan! With the holidays coming up, the series would make a wonderful gift. 

See what others have to say about this book.

Enter the Giveaway!
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Saturday, November 5, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? November 7, 2016


Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Click on the covers to learn more about each book.

An important story to share with children to build 
empathy and spark their desire to help others.

Just beautiful! Deborah Freeman is amazing! 
Share this with all your shy little ones. 

There is so much to read and examine in this 160 page biography of E.B.White. A must-have for your biography collection. 

What are you reading friends? 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Teeny Tiny Halloween by Lauren L. Wohl and Henry Cole

A Teeny Tiny Halloween 
by Lauren L. Wohl and Henry Cole
Published September 13, 2016
Persnickety Press
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher.

Goodreads Summary
It happens every fall. The leaves from the tall trees that surround her house drift down until the teeny tiny woman’s teeny tiny house is buried completely. Inside it’s dark and a teeny tiny bit scary, but the resourceful woman has a plan and a few surprises up her teeny tiny sleeve.
Written to be shared through read-aloud or story-telling, the type face indicates where the teller should be whispering and when suddenly s/he should shout – surprising the listeners, even causing them to jump, which puts this book in the realm of jump-tales, so popular at spooky-story times like Halloween and around the campfire on summer evenings. Short enough for even young children to remember after reading or hearing the story a few times, the book encourages children themselves to tell the tale themselves, making a family tradition.

Former Disney Publishing executive, Lauren L. Wohl, tells an all-new story starring a favorite character from folklore with an autumnal chill and a special treat that brings the book to a perfect-for-Halloween ending. Children will want to return to the teeny tiny house again and again to enjoy Henry Cole’s illustrations that capture the mood and the humor of the tale.


My Thoughts
The Teeny-Tiny Woman is a folktale classic. This book features the small character in a fall/Halloween story. The summary does a nice job retelling the story. The woman does some creative things to try to get the attention of anyone who might be able to find her house after it gets buried such as banging on pots and pans and clanging cookie sheets together. Some of these might be fun to act out with little ones while reading the story.
The illustrations are gorgeous with deep autumn colors. The characters are very sweet and endearing. 

This book would make a nice addition to any Halloween collection for ages 4-8. 

See what others have to say about this book:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Doodle Adventures: The Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate! by Mike Lowery

Doodle Adventures: The Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate! 
by Mike Lowery
Published Sept. 6, 2016
Workman Publishing Company
112 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Draw your way through the story!
Doodle Adventures: The Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate! is a rip-roaring adventure tale starring Carl, the friendly narrator who happens to be a duck, and the reader, who is drawn right into the story—literally. Together, they embark on the very important mission of finding out who has been stealing all of the pizza in town. Could it be the Dread Pirate Slobberts, the meanest, nastiest pirate ever to sail the Seven Seas? And, more important, how are they going to get all that pizza back?

Armed with a well-sharpened pencil and their imaginations, and following Carl’s prompts, readers fill in the blanks on each page until the story is complete. The result is a sturdy, one-of-a-kind book—starring you!—that’s as much a joy to read over and over again as it was to make.

My Thoughts
I wrote about the first book in the "Doodle Adventures" series this summer. Mike Lowery has created a fun way for kids to interact with the story. These book are perfect for kids who need to find a different way to interact with the text and kids who just love to sketch and draw. How fun to be allowed and even encouraged to draw in a book! The use of muted yellows and oranges allows for the child's illustrations to be seen and to feel like they were meant to be in the book. 
With the holidays coming up, I would highly recommend this series for book fans and budding artists ages.

See what others have to say about this book:
Geek Dad

Mike Lowery has illustrated dozens of books including Ken Jennings' Junior Genius Guides. Visit hie website here. 

Visit the publisher's website for more info about this series. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dining With Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching by Hannah Bonner

Dining With Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching 
by Hannah Bonner
Published Sept. 2016
National Geographic Kids Books
Nonfiction
48 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Sure you know that T-Rex was the meat-eating king and that brontosaurus muched on leaves, but what else was on the dino dining menu during the Mesozoic era? In this hilarious book, paleontologists reveal all! Meet the 'vores: carnivores, piscivores, herbivores, insectivores, "trashivores," "sunivores," and omnivores like us. Readers will be surprised and inspired to learn about all the crazy stuff dinos ate and they'll get insights into how scientists can tell which dinosaurs ate what just from looking at fossils! Journey through artist and author Hannah Bonner's whimsical world to learn how the dinosaurs and their contemporaries bit, chewed, and soaked up their food.

My Thoughts
Kids will love learning about dinosaurs in this engaging book! They will learn about the different kinds of "vores", what they ate and how they depended on one another in the circle of life. 

The facts are presented in an effective combination of brief text, illustrations, diagrams and captions. There are funny, yet informative cartoony creatures sprinkled throughout the book offering a bit of comedy to the factual information. 

Comic strip panels called. "Ask a Scientist" show scientists further discussing the topic presented on the page. 

At the end of the book, the author makes a connection to food chains today. There is also a great diagram of a food web and where the different "vores" fall within the web. 


Photo taken of page 7. 

There is so much to look at and learn in this book. I would highly recommend it for any dinosaur fanatic or classroom library for grades 3-5. 

See what others have to say about this book:
Kirkus-starred review

Monday, October 24, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? October 24, 2016


Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Click on the covers to learn more about each book.

An adorable addition to this series. 
Click here to see my review from last week. 

Click here to see my review from last week. 

This book should come with a pack of tissues. I have not cried because of a book since Maxi's Secrets. 

Finished
A wonderful middle grade novel in verse. 
Maine friends, it would make a nice read aloud. It is set in Maine and the characters participate in 4-H activities. And what would a book set in Maine be without a stereotypical Mainer with a thick Downeast accent?...Ayuh!

Currently Reading

What are you reading friends?