Wednesday, January 9, 2013

In case you have a school project coming up...

This week we are going back to some sort of normalcy at our home- holiday decorations have been put away and kids are back to school , which means school projects are now coming home.  This got me thinking about some of the projects students would be doing over the next couple of months. Of course there is the always reliable science fair, which I would explore in another posting, for this week I went with Government and Presidents.  One thing I really wanted to do was to look for alternatives to the traditional biography books on presidents and found this nice picture book.

Book Cover

Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman, published by Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012. K-2. One of the many facts you will learn about Lincoln when reading this book is that there are over 16,000 books written about our 16th president -Abraham Lincoln. Kalman’s passion for everything Lincoln is hard to miss. She shares with the reader personal details of Lincoln's life, his upbringing, his beliefs, fears, likes and dislikes- did you know that he loved his dog Fido, an classical music in particular Mozart’s The Magic Flute opera.  The illustrations are done using gouche in a mix of realism/surrealism styles using vibrant colors for backgrounds and pictures. The text itself is a mix of typed print and free hand writing. I personally liked the combination of personal facts with historical ones. This could be an interesting source for a book report or biography project.Check it out at our library.  

While I love picture books I understand that our readers would need different type of sources and the Searchlight Book Series is a great way to explore a variety of topics. They are full of beautiful photographs, short chapters, and additional resources in the glossary.

The President, Vice President, and Cabinet: A Look at the Executive Branch

Searchlight Books Series- The President, Vice President, and Cabinet by Elaine Landau, published by Lernel Publications, 2012. 2-5 Grade.  This series provides a great overview of different topics, in this case a look at the executive branch and how it works.  Full of photographs, the quick chapters contain facts and information that young readers would enjoy. Throughout the text there are text boxes inserted with interesting bits of information. The additional resources are comprehensive and appropriate for the audience. Check it out at our library.

And here is my shout out to picture books for this week. 

hello! hello!

Hello! Hello! By Matthew Cordell published by Hyperion, 2012. K-2.  Lydia, the cute red hair is hyper connected to the Whole Wide World and at the same time she is lonely. Mom is at the computer, dad on his cell, and her little brother is just playing away on the tablet- no one pays attention to her until she decides to venture out into the world. What started by just following a little leaf turns into a while race of animals- horses, buffalo, dinosaurs, chickens, and octopus!  Her imagination is running wild, until her cell phone rings and she has to return home. Would she change her parents and brother? Would they disconnect? You have to read this amazing picture book. This is one of those books that remind us to slow down and enjoy the little things like a flower or a ladybug.  I loved the author’s clever use of different fonts from the text, robotic “hello” to a free hand “hello”  when Lydia is exploring the world.  The watercolors are also limited to our character with the rest of her family grayed out until they follow Lydia into a full colorful world. Check it out at our library.