Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-A Review of The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist

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

The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist
by Margarita Engle
Illustrated by Aliona Bereghici
Published April 28, 2015
Two Lions Publishing
Picture Book Biography
Review copy provided by Blue Slip Media

Goodreads Summary
Louis loves to watch birds. He takes care of injured birds and studies how they look and how they move. His father wants him to become an engineer, but Louis dreams of being a bird artist. To achieve this dream, he must practice, practice, practice. He learns from the art of John James Audubon. But as Louis grows up, he begins to draw and paint living, flying birds in their natural habitats.
Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874–1927) is now known as the father of modern bird art. He traveled with many scientific expeditions all over the world. His best-known works—paintings for habitat exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History in New York—are still beloved by visitors today. His art helped to encourage wildlife conservation, inspiring people to celebrate and protect the world of wings.

Poems by Newbery Honor–winning author Margarita Engle and illustrations by Aliona Bereghici capture the life of Louis Fuertes and the deep sense of wonder that he felt when he painted the sky.

My Thoughts
This book is simply gorgeous! Aliona Bereghici's water color and ink illustrations accompany Margarita Engle's poetic verse in the most beautiful way. Told in first person point of view, the verses chronicle Louis Fuertes' life as a bird-lover and artist. As a small boy he took care of animals in a makeshift "hospital" under the porch. He traveled the world studying and painting until he became one of the most important nature artists of our time. Each verse has its own feeling and voice. My favorites are the descriptive verses about the places he visited as an artist, Alaska, the Caribbean, and South America, depicting gorgeous native birds, scenery. 

I love how this book shows Fuertes' passion and dedication even as a young child. He practices and practices his drawing and painting to develop his craft. This is a valuable lesson for children who, often think that important and influential people are simply born that way. 

Children will love The Sky Painter for its illustrations, its poetry and for Fuertes' story. I would highly recommend it for grades 1-5. 

View the book trailer

See what others have to say about The Sky Painter by following the blog tour. 

Mon, Apr 20     Library Fanatic
Tues, Apr 21     Kid Lit Frenzy

Wed, Apr 22    Unleashing Readers

Thurs, Apr 23   5 Minutes for Books

Fri, Apr 24     Teach Mentor Texts

Sat, Apr 25     Booking Mama

Mon, Apr 27    Sharpread

Tues, Apr 28   The Children's Book Review

Wed, Apr 29   Cracking the Cover

Thurs, Apr 30   A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust

Fri, May 1     Archimedes Notebook

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Review of Amelia's Middle School Graduation Yearbook by Marissa Moss

Amelia's Middle School Graduation Yearbook 
by Marissa Moss
Published April 28, 2015
Creston Books
80 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Amelia is excited to graduate from middle school, but she's nervous about starting high school, especially when she finds out she won't have her best friend, Carly, with her. In her graduation yearbook, drawings and "photos" nostalgically recap her earlier years and notebooks as Amelia figures out how to face the changes ahead.

My Thoughts
This is the final installment in the wildly popular Amelia's Notebook series. Like the others it is filled with Amelia's thoughts, hopes, and troubles. Amelia uses writing and drawing to discover her true feelings about situations and events. This notebook is called a "yearbook" because Amelia has used it to document middle school events, highs and lows. Rather than purchase a published yearbook, she saved the last few pages for classmate signatures. 

Amelia's problem in this story is the fact that she is finishing 8th grade and learns that her best friend Carly will be going to a private high school instead of starting high school with Amelia. This makes the end of year preparations even more bitter-sweet. I like how Amelia reacts to the Carly's news with anger. Although we adults would encourage children to react with happiness for your friend, Amelia's reaction is more typical of a middle school girl. She feels betrayed by her friend and is worried for herself. Then after lots of thinking (and drawing and writing), Amelia decides to make this end of the year celebration special for her friend. 

I LOVE Amelia. She is quirky, insecure, creative, emotional and funny. The notebooks are fun to read with adorable illustrations, and captions to accompany the story. The full color pages add to the appeal. Readers will love this latest (and seemingly last) Amelia's Notebook (yearbook). 

Monday, April 27, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? April 27, 2015

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

Here are the books I read this week. Click on the covers to learn more about them.

Great message in this book. Review soon. 

Very fun read!
Visit on Tuesday for a review of the final 
book in the Amelia's Notebook series. 

Gorgeous book!
Will share more on Nonfiction Wednesday this week. 

A humorous way to see how a child can view 
the arrival of a new sibling. 
Review soon. 

Almost done listening to

Rereading (slowly)

What Are YOU Reading Friends?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Review of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Roller Girl
by Victoria Jamieson
Published March 2015 by Dial Books
Graphic Novel
240 pages
Review copy obtained from public library

Goodreads Summary
For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school… in short, strong enough to be a roller girl.

My Thoughts
Confession time...I did not expect to love this book. I mean roller derby? But I was captivated by Astrid's story after just a few pages. After seeing a roller derby Astrid is hooked. Despite the fact that her best friend decides to attend dance camp instead of roller derby camp, Astrid goes to roller derby camp without her. It turns out to be MUCH harder than she thought. The other girls are bigger, stronger, and tougher. Astrid lies to her mother about Nicole attending the camp and dyes her hair blue in an attempt to toughen her look. After she has a fight with Nicole, who seems to have a new best friend, Astrid channels her anger into roller derby. She works harder than everyone. One thing I love about this book is that it does not have a shiny, unrealistic ending. Astrid is a character to admire for her courage, tenacity and all her faults. 

Middle Grade fans of Raina Telgemeier books will really enjoy Roller Girl.   

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading: April 13, 2015

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

Here are the books I read this week. Click on the covers to learn more about them.

It's not much but...

Really loved this graphic novel. Review later this week. 

Pages away from finishing...
and it is awesome!

Currently Listening

What are YOU reading friends? 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

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

by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen
Published 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers
32 Pages
Review copy obtained from public library
Maine Student Book Award Nominee 2015-2016

This book combines poetry, beautiful illustrations and nonfiction text about how animals stay alive in the cold. I love the concept of this book. Living in Maine, I have often wondered how many animals survive through the long, frigid winters. Did you know that the entrances to a beaver lodge are all under the ice, but the lodge itself is above water level? And a fox has hearing so acute it can hear a vole moving under the snow! This book is filled with fascinating facts nestled within beautiful poetry and described in short exposition. 
I would highly recommend Winter Bees for grades 3-6. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway- Pipsie Nature Detective: The DisappearingCaterpillar

Pipsie Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar 
by Rick DeDonato
Illustrated by Tracy Bishop
Published March 31, 2015
by Two Lions 
Review copy provided by publisher

Summary from Goodreads
Pipsie loves everything wild—from dragonflies to oceans to tall, tall trees. She also loves solving mysteries. That’s why she’s a nature detective! When she and her turtle, Alfred, notice that their new friend, Frannie the caterpillar, has vanished, Pipsie is on the case. She grabs her magnifying glass, goes to her tree-house headquarters, and begins to search for clues. It’s time to make this mystery history!

My Thoughts
This book describes the life cycle of a Monarch caterpillar in such an adorable way. After finding the little caterpillar, who they name Frannie, Pipsie and her turtle, Alfred wake to find Frannie is gone. I love how Pipsie uses her nature detective skills to find clues such as a chewed milkweed leaf. The author sprinkles in the vocabulary of a butterfly lifecycle in a natural way as Pipsie and Alfred wait ten days for Frannie to emerge. 
The illustrations are very sweet and will certainly appeal to young children. Just look at that beautiful cover! I also like to end pages that show Pipsie's science sketches and notes. 
A fun facts section in the back provides more information about butterflies. Did you know butterflies taste with their feet? Neither did I! 
Pipsie Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar would make a great read aloud book for grades PK-2. It would also make a nice addition to a unit about butterflies and life cycles. 

About the Author and Illustrator
Rick DeDonato started writing and drawing storybooks for his two kids, Alexis and Matt, when they were little. They’re grown now, but Rick is still creating stories! When he’s not dreaming up adventures for Pipsie, he’s an award-winning creative director in advertising. Born in New Jersey, he now lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with Nancy McAleer; their two dogs, Tugger and Nacho; and their turtle, Alfred E. Turtle!

Tracy Bishop won an art contest in kindergarten, and she’s been creating art ever since. A graduate of San Jose State University, she is also the illustrator of Not the Quitting Kind by Sarra J. Roth. She lives in San Jose, California, where she is inspired on a daily basis by her son, husband, and a hairy dog named Harry.

Check out for games and coloring, fun facts, more details about Pipsie and her friends, and info about the author and illustrator. There’s also a link to Alfred Z. Turtle’s blog!

Visit other stops on the Blog Tour

Tues. March 31-Mamma Drama
Wed. April 1-    Obsessive Mommy
Thurs. April 2-  A Rup Life
Mon. April 6-    Picture Book Palooza
Tues. April 7-    Right Here!
Wed. April 8-    Geo Librarian
Thurs. April 9-  Where Imagination Grows
Fri. April 10-     Sincerely Stacie

Enter to win a copy of Pipsie Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar below in the "no strings" giveaway rafflecopter (US only).

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Monday, April 6, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?-April 6, 2015

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

Here are the books I read this week. Click on the covers to learn more about them.

Fun book with nooks, crannies and lift-the-flap thingys. 

Look for a review and giveaway of Pipsie tomorrow, April 7. 

Currently Reading

Currently Listening

What Are You Reading Friends?